Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

fckw
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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by fckw » Sun May 21, 2017 10:02 am

I see. So, where according to the Mahamudra traditions comes ignorance into play? (And what vocabulary are you referring here to denote emptiness and appearance regarding the Mahamudra teachings?) I'm just realizing that the theoretical framework of Mahamudra is less clear to me than Dzogchen.

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Malcolm
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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by Malcolm » Sun May 21, 2017 1:34 pm

fckw wrote:I see. So, where according to the Mahamudra traditions comes ignorance into play? (And what vocabulary are you referring here to denote emptiness and appearance regarding the Mahamudra teachings?) I'm just realizing that the theoretical framework of Mahamudra is less clear to me than Dzogchen.

Mahāmudra does not divide ignorance up the way it is done in Dzogchen. Mahāmudra merely asserts that ignorance is connate with the mind. It is with the mind from the beginning.
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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by MalaBeads » Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:44 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Matt J wrote:You could take it in a number of ways, that is exactly the problem. We can have a group of people who all claim to practice Shikantaza, and say they are just sitting without grasping or rejection, but really, one person may be sinking into a dull, indeterminate state; one person may be cultivating mindfulness; another may be daydreaming and engaging in mental chatter. It is hard to say without practical and detailed guidance, which is largely missing in Soto Zen (at least as transmitted in the West). Some Soto masters have even turned to Mahamudra and Dzogchen to obtain guidance not offered by their tradition. I don't think drawing a superficial similarity necessarily means they are the same, on the other hand, if properly practiced, I don't think they are necessarily different.
:good:

Not to be impolitic but I did not understand what Zazen actually was supposed to be "doing" until being exposed to Mahamudra and Dzogchen instruction. There is a whole lot of exhortation to "just sit" out there and not enough guidance about how to do it, IME.

I'm not qualified to say how similar or different forms of meditation are, I just now that at some point reflecting on my Zen practice I had a lot of "oh, that's what that was for" type moments, whereas at the time it seems like there is not even a language in much of Western Zen for evaluating one's practice, maybe even it's that evaluation was shunned period.
Me too. (I am referring to johnny's post)
I am well aware of my idiocy. I am also very aware that you too are an idiot. Therein lies our mutuality.

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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by heart » Wed Jun 07, 2017 4:56 pm

fckw wrote:I see. So, where according to the Mahamudra traditions comes ignorance into play? (And what vocabulary are you referring here to denote emptiness and appearance regarding the Mahamudra teachings?) I'm just realizing that the theoretical framework of Mahamudra is less clear to me than Dzogchen.
I realised the same many years ago, but there are some Mahamudra texts that make sense to me. For example The Royal Seal of Mahamudra.

/magnus
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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by Meido » Wed Jun 07, 2017 5:26 pm

Not to be impolitic but I did not understand what Zazen actually was supposed to be "doing" until being exposed to Mahamudra and Dzogchen instruction. There is a whole lot of exhortation to "just sit" out there and not enough guidance about how to do it, IME.

I'm not qualified to say how similar or different forms of meditation are, I just now that at some point reflecting on my Zen practice I had a lot of "oh, that's what that was for" type moments, whereas at the time it seems like there is not even a language in much of Western Zen for evaluating one's practice, maybe even it's that evaluation was shunned period.
MalaBeads wrote:Me too. (I am referring to johnny's post)
[As an aside here, I like to remind that it's important to use the word zazen carefully, since in the context of speaking about methods it does not refer to only one, but rather to a mode of practice within which many methods can be taken up. Breath counting (susokukan), wato/koan practice, various breathing methods (kokyuho), visualizations (e.g. nanso no ho), etc. can all be done within zazen.]

In Rinzai practice there is certainly a very precise language for evaluating one's practice, and an established manner for doing so that occurs within relationship with one's teacher.

If I were to critique some aspects of Western Zen I have observed, though, it would be that in some quarters a misunderstanding of words like "just sit" and "ordinary mind" leads many practitioners to go off in a mistaken direction, often for years or decades. Their "just sit" is, in fact, just sitting there within the habitual arising of stale habit, and their "ordinary mind" is really just ordinary, delusional mind. Yet they are immune to correction, as they have read and been told for years that "just sit" is sufficient, that "practice IS enlightenment," etc...and have interpreted those words according to their own understanding/experience, rather than as goads to genuine realization and descriptions of the radical confidence/faith that arise within the fruition of practice.

A few Soto folks I have spoken with in the West have said that they believe there are several trends contributing to these issues, namely...

1. De-emphasis of the teacher's role, as well as the holding up of Protestant Christian pastoral, or psychotherapeutic, professions as models for what a teacher should be and do.
2. De-emphasis of awakening as entrance of the path, and therefore of the teacher's activity of direct pointing and evaluation (see 1, above).
3. Misunderstanding of the differences between the basic experience of clarity, samadhi, and genuine awakening, with little guidance regarding actual fruition of practice. (see 1, above).

I would add the general self-indulgent/self-referential approach to life in general, reflected in practice: if something feels pleasant and "natural", it must be correct; if something seems difficult it is the fault of the environment or method, not the person; sufficiently correct motivation for practice is to improve oneself and "be happy." Etc.

That last issue is pan-tradition, of course.

~ Meido
Even though you have attained insight into the True Nature (kensho), there is yet the barrier of differentiation, and there is the One Path of Advanced Practice. If you have not yet even seen into the True Nature, what a lot there is yet to do! - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by MalaBeads » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:33 pm

I too should say that my primary experience was soto and not rinzai. I understand that rinzai is more developed than soto, at least as far as explanations go. I was given no explanation for anything. (Nor did i ask).

Thank you meido.
I am well aware of my idiocy. I am also very aware that you too are an idiot. Therein lies our mutuality.

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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by Anonymous X » Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:43 am

Meido makes good points. In taking up the practice of zazen, ideally there should be a good basis of study of what Zen is all about. For myself, it is with the original Chan teachings that firmly introduced me to the fundamental principles of what Chan is, and what it means to sit. Chan masters like Huineng, Zongmi, Huangbo, Bodhidharma, and many others give you the lay of the land, a perspective of contemplation. This takes time and builds commitment and certainty.

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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by Matylda » Thu Jun 08, 2017 5:55 pm

Meido wrote: A few Soto folks I have spoken with in the West have said that they believe there are several trends contributing to these issues, namely...

1. De-emphasis of the teacher's role, as well as the holding up of Protestant Christian pastoral, or psychotherapeutic, professions as models for what a teacher should be and do.
2. De-emphasis of awakening as entrance of the path, and therefore of the teacher's activity of direct pointing and evaluation (see 1, above).
3. Misunderstanding of the differences between the basic experience of clarity, samadhi, and genuine awakening, with little guidance regarding actual fruition of practice. (see 1, above).

I would add the general self-indulgent/self-referential approach to life in general, reflected in practice: if something feels pleasant and "natural", it must be correct; if something seems difficult it is the fault of the environment or method, not the person; sufficiently correct motivation for practice is to improve oneself and "be happy." Etc.

That last issue is pan-tradition, of course.

~ Meido
Probably there is no need to add aything but I would like to join the view Meido Roshi presented here. It is also my feeling after contact with soto peopale in th West.. the last part squarely shows the fact which is behind many people's motivation. It means that zen is in very dengerous stage of changing into some new strange form, more related to some new psychological or spiritual ways, of course on its own.

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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by MalaBeads » Thu Jun 08, 2017 6:41 pm

Anonymous X wrote: ideally.
Yes, well.....I certainly agree with "ideally" part but real life is often very different from the ideal, isn't it?

Ideally many things but in reality.....
I am well aware of my idiocy. I am also very aware that you too are an idiot. Therein lies our mutuality.

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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by Anonymous X » Thu Jun 08, 2017 6:53 pm

MalaBeads wrote:
Anonymous X wrote: ideally.
Yes, well.....I certainly agree with "ideally" part but real life is often very different from the ideal, isn't it?

Ideally many things but in reality.....
But in this case, you can put this study into practice and the ideal becomes your real life. It's essential to get some kind of picture of what the teaching is all about. Going to the source via the books and a teacher who is grounded in them can make a big difference.

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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:17 pm

Meido wrote:
Not to be impolitic but I did not understand what Zazen actually was supposed to be "doing" until being exposed to Mahamudra and Dzogchen instruction. There is a whole lot of exhortation to "just sit" out there and not enough guidance about how to do it, IME.

I'm not qualified to say how similar or different forms of meditation are, I just now that at some point reflecting on my Zen practice I had a lot of "oh, that's what that was for" type moments, whereas at the time it seems like there is not even a language in much of Western Zen for evaluating one's practice, maybe even it's that evaluation was shunned period.
MalaBeads wrote:Me too. (I am referring to johnny's post)
[As an aside here, I like to remind that it's important to use the word zazen carefully, since in the context of speaking about methods it does not refer to only one, but rather to a mode of practice within which many methods can be taken up. Breath counting (susokukan), wato/koan practice, various breathing methods (kokyuho), visualizations (e.g. nanso no ho), etc. can all be done within zazen.]

In Rinzai practice there is certainly a very precise language for evaluating one's practice, and an established manner for doing so that occurs within relationship with one's teacher.

If I were to critique some aspects of Western Zen I have observed, though, it would be that in some quarters a misunderstanding of words like "just sit" and "ordinary mind" leads many practitioners to go off in a mistaken direction, often for years or decades. Their "just sit" is, in fact, just sitting there within the habitual arising of stale habit, and their "ordinary mind" is really just ordinary, delusional mind. Yet they are immune to correction, as they have read and been told for years that "just sit" is sufficient, that "practice IS enlightenment," etc...and have interpreted those words according to their own understanding/experience, rather than as goads to genuine realization and descriptions of the radical confidence/faith that arise within the fruition of practice.

A few Soto folks I have spoken with in the West have said that they believe there are several trends contributing to these issues, namely...

1. De-emphasis of the teacher's role, as well as the holding up of Protestant Christian pastoral, or psychotherapeutic, professions as models for what a teacher should be and do.
2. De-emphasis of awakening as entrance of the path, and therefore of the teacher's activity of direct pointing and evaluation (see 1, above).
3. Misunderstanding of the differences between the basic experience of clarity, samadhi, and genuine awakening, with little guidance regarding actual fruition of practice. (see 1, above).

I would add the general self-indulgent/self-referential approach to life in general, reflected in practice: if something feels pleasant and "natural", it must be correct; if something seems difficult it is the fault of the environment or method, not the person; sufficiently correct motivation for practice is to improve oneself and "be happy." Etc.

That last issue is pan-tradition, of course.

~ Meido
Thanks Meido, informative and fascinating post as usual. Honestly it touches on the things that made me always say "hmmm" when I was involved with Western (Soto) Zen, particularly the anti-intellectual "just sit and it fixes everything" bit.

There are so many practices I learned that now I think are quite profound (kinhin for example) that at the time I could not even make sense of due to a total lack of explanation/context. I don't doubt that some people have the Karma to still get some result from these things devoid of context, but I'm not one of them.
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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by Meido » Thu Jun 08, 2017 10:31 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote: I don't doubt that some people have the Karma to still get some result from these things devoid of context, but I'm not one of them.
Nor I.

Probably part of the problem is that many writings that do provide very direct, practical instruction are not yet translated. On the Rinzai side we at least have translations of really kind texts like Omori Roshi's Sanzen Nyumon, and of course Torei's Shumon Mujintoron which I'm always plugging. On the Soto side, I'm not sure what folks use other than Dogen's writings.

But even with such things, if someone has not received or really put into practice the oral instructions, then of course they will not be able to provide much guidance to students in the future.

~ Meido
Even though you have attained insight into the True Nature (kensho), there is yet the barrier of differentiation, and there is the One Path of Advanced Practice. If you have not yet even seen into the True Nature, what a lot there is yet to do! - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by MalaBeads » Sat Jun 10, 2017 1:29 am

Anonymous X wrote:
MalaBeads wrote:
Anonymous X wrote: ideally.
Yes, well.....I certainly agree with "ideally" part but real life is often very different from the ideal, isn't it?

Ideally many things but in reality.....
But in this case, you can put this study into practice and the ideal becomes your real life. It's essential to get some kind of picture of what the teaching is all about. Going to the source via the books and a teacher who is grounded in them can make a big difference.

My zen days are long ago. And I've learned a lot since then.
I am well aware of my idiocy. I am also very aware that you too are an idiot. Therein lies our mutuality.

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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by MalaBeads » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:02 am

Matylda wrote:
Meido wrote: A few Soto folks I have spoken with in the West have said that they believe there are several trends contributing to these issues, namely...

1. De-emphasis of the teacher's role, as well as the holding up of Protestant Christian pastoral, or psychotherapeutic, professions as models for what a teacher should be and do.
2. De-emphasis of awakening as entrance of the path, and therefore of the teacher's activity of direct pointing and evaluation (see 1, above).
3. Misunderstanding of the differences between the basic experience of clarity, samadhi, and genuine awakening, with little guidance regarding actual fruition of practice. (see 1, above).

I would add the general self-indulgent/self-referential approach to life in general, reflected in practice: if something feels pleasant and "natural", it must be correct; if something seems difficult it is the fault of the environment or method, not the person; sufficiently correct motivation for practice is to improve oneself and "be happy." Etc.

That last issue is pan-tradition, of course.

~ Meido
Probably there is no need to add aything but I would like to join the view Meido Roshi presented here. It is also my feeling after contact with soto peopale in th West.. the last part squarely shows the fact which is behind many people's motivation. It means that zen is in very dengerous stage of changing into some new strange form, more related to some new psychological or spiritual ways, of course on its own.

:shrug:

It makes sense to me that Zen Buddhism would change its forms of expression when it enters a different culture.
I am well aware of my idiocy. I am also very aware that you too are an idiot. Therein lies our mutuality.

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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by Matylda » Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:47 pm

MalaBeads wrote:
Matylda wrote:
Meido wrote: A few Soto folks I have spoken with in the West have said that they believe there are several trends contributing to these issues, namely...

1. De-emphasis of the teacher's role, as well as the holding up of Protestant Christian pastoral, or psychotherapeutic, professions as models for what a teacher should be and do.
2. De-emphasis of awakening as entrance of the path, and therefore of the teacher's activity of direct pointing and evaluation (see 1, above).
3. Misunderstanding of the differences between the basic experience of clarity, samadhi, and genuine awakening, with little guidance regarding actual fruition of practice. (see 1, above).

I would add the general self-indulgent/self-referential approach to life in general, reflected in practice: if something feels pleasant and "natural", it must be correct; if something seems difficult it is the fault of the environment or method, not the person; sufficiently correct motivation for practice is to improve oneself and "be happy." Etc.

That last issue is pan-tradition, of course.

~ Meido
Probably there is no need to add aything but I would like to join the view Meido Roshi presented here. It is also my feeling after contact with soto peopale in th West.. the last part squarely shows the fact which is behind many people's motivation. It means that zen is in very dengerous stage of changing into some new strange form, more related to some new psychological or spiritual ways, of course on its own.

:shrug:

It makes sense to me that Zen Buddhism would change its forms of expression when it enters a different culture.

Expression is some sort of puzzle for me.. what does it mean exactly? what worries me is rather an input of nondharma notions and strong hold on culture delusions, which may easily be imported before dharma will be really understood..

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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by MalaBeads » Mon Jul 03, 2017 3:49 am

The only thing I can offer is to listen to the zen talks of Edward Espe Brown on soundcloud.com. I think he does a good job of using the teachings with modern day psychology and not "throwing the baby out with bath water" (so to speak). In other words, I think he is teaching dharma with modern psychology too. He is a soto priest who has been sitting since 1965. I have been slowly making my way through these talks.

(In particular I would suggest a talk entitled "Practice and Creativity". It is a ways down the line of talks.)
I am well aware of my idiocy. I am also very aware that you too are an idiot. Therein lies our mutuality.

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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by MalaBeads » Mon Jul 03, 2017 1:19 pm

Forms of "expression": sitting in a chair for sesshin rather than on a zafu. An expression would be a cultural form rather than the result. The "result" in this case would be Dharma. Hope that is more clear. It isn't always so easy to distinguish.
I am well aware of my idiocy. I am also very aware that you too are an idiot. Therein lies our mutuality.

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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by Matylda » Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:03 pm

MalaBeads wrote:Forms of "expression": sitting in a chair for sesshin rather than on a zafu. An expression would be a cultural form rather than the result. The "result" in this case would be Dharma. Hope that is more clear. It isn't always so easy to distinguish.
A chair is hardly culture issue, rather physical one.. used in Japan as well..

http://blogimg.goo.ne.jp/user_image/45/ ... 286e5c.jpg

this picutre is from Japanese zendo

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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by Anonymous X » Tue Jul 04, 2017 5:42 am

Matylda wrote:
MalaBeads wrote:
Matylda wrote:
Probably there is no need to add aything but I would like to join the view Meido Roshi presented here. It is also my feeling after contact with soto peopale in th West.. the last part squarely shows the fact which is behind many people's motivation. It means that zen is in very dengerous stage of changing into some new strange form, more related to some new psychological or spiritual ways, of course on its own.

:shrug:

It makes sense to me that Zen Buddhism would change its forms of expression when it enters a different culture.

Expression is some sort of puzzle for me.. what does it mean exactly? what worries me is rather an input of nondharma notions and strong hold on culture delusions, which may easily be imported before dharma will be really understood..
Your statement can also apply to Japanese delusions. Certainly Ch'an changed when it was adapted in Japan.

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Re: Mahamudra same as Shikantaza

Post by Matylda » Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:11 am

Anonymous X wrote:
Matylda wrote:
MalaBeads wrote:

:shrug:

It makes sense to me that Zen Buddhism would change its forms of expression when it enters a different culture.

Expression is some sort of puzzle for me.. what does it mean exactly? what worries me is rather an input of nondharma notions and strong hold on culture delusions, which may easily be imported before dharma will be really understood..
Your statement can also apply to Japanese delusions. Certainly Ch'an changed when it was adapted in Japan.
In a way yes in a way no... there was big difference in adopting zen in China, Japan and the West...

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