Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3516
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:19 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote: I disagree. what Shikantanza actually is matters quite a bit. If you don't understand what a practice does, or more accurately, what it -is-, you end up chasing romantic notions of practice, or slogans..instead of actually putting what you've studied into practice. I'm sure there are ranges of explaining such things from the crazily technical to poetic, but IMO rejecting understanding out of hand is a mistake.

There is a huge difference between wanting to understand the view of your practice, and objectifying or fetishizing it.
It's not 'rejecting understanding out of hand'. it is 'following the instructions'. No sitting ever takes place on Internet forums, anyway, all you see here are 'tangles, thickets, and writings of views', which is what this is.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 7451
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:29 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote: I disagree. what Shikantanza actually is matters quite a bit. If you don't understand what a practice does, or more accurately, what it -is-, you end up chasing romantic notions of practice, or slogans..instead of actually putting what you've studied into practice. I'm sure there are ranges of explaining such things from the crazily technical to poetic, but IMO rejecting understanding out of hand is a mistake.

There is a huge difference between wanting to understand the view of your practice, and objectifying or fetishizing it.
It's not 'rejecting understanding out of hand'. it is 'following the instructions'. No sitting ever takes place on Internet forums, anyway, all you see here are 'tangles, thickets, and writings of views', which is what this is.
It's not for you to decide what conversations are fruitful for me, and you are not anyone's Zen teacher. If you're interested in continuing to talk on the subject, great. If not, don't expect me to take this stereotypical "just practice" comment seriously, not your job to shut down discussions you don't like.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 7451
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:31 am

These identifications and labeling do not exist within Zen.
Thanks Kirt, I know the terminology isn't used, that's not what I meant though, I mean insofar as Zen teachers describe what Shikantanza is supposed to "be", how is it different? When I practiced Soto, there were no real 'instructions' as such, we literally just sat.. and I gathered that was sort of the point. Still, it just seems like a pedagogical difference to me, which is why I'm asking.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

Justmeagain
Posts: 89
Joined: Thu Feb 25, 2016 10:12 pm

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by Justmeagain » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:55 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:While I never got much explanation of what is shikantaza when I was involved in Zen, I will say that it basically sounds like what other teachers describe as the union of shamatha and vipaysana. If it's not, I'd love to know how/why it's different, other than the nomenclature used.
:good:

Matylda
Posts: 575
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by Matylda » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:54 am

Justmeagain wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:While I never got much explanation of what is shikantaza when I was involved in Zen, I will say that it basically sounds like what other teachers describe as the union of shamatha and vipaysana. If it's not, I'd love to know how/why it's different, other than the nomenclature used.
:good:
Basically s/v is gradual approach, while shikan taza is not... it is why one needs very experienced teacher to get proper instructions, which are given mostly only in private.

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6707
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by Astus » Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:53 am

Johnny Dangerous wrote:While I never got much explanation of what is shikantaza when I was involved in Zen, I will say that it basically sounds like what other teachers describe as the union of shamatha and vipaysana. If it's not, I'd love to know how/why it's different, other than the nomenclature used.
The traditional Zen term is the unity of samadhi and prajna.

"Good friends, our teaching takes meditation and wisdom as its fundamental. Everyone, do not say in your delusion that meditation and wisdom are different."
(Platform Sutra, ch 4, BDK ed, p 41)

Dogen basically says the same by calling zazen practice-enlightenment.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

DGA
Former staff member
Posts: 8776
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by DGA » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:00 pm

Matylda wrote:
DGA wrote:
Justmeagain wrote:https://opendoorzencommunity.org/wp-con ... ischer.pdf

See Norman Fischer talking about what sounds identical to Burmese style Vipassana here...
Yes, it does. Fischer also uses descriptors developed by Chogyam Trungpa to explain meditation practice. But with that said...

...that is an explanation of Zazen. Are zazen and shikantaza the same?
This is rather non of shikan taza thing.. neither real explanation of zazen.. moreover even if one uses some oehter systems and teachers to expalin zazen it does not mean that is is real zazen instruction... I geuss there is very little of known in the West zazen instructions.. so people are forcesd to use intellectually some other available instructions unrelated to zazen..

as for zazen of course it is same as shikan taza.. there could be other zazen practices but in fact all are properly done in the way of shikan taza finally..
Thank you for this. I should have said:

According to Fischer, this is an explanation of Zazen. Fischer does not mention shikantaza. Does his article represent the view of the Soto school generally, or only his view? I think the answer to that is clear.

DGA
Former staff member
Posts: 8776
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by DGA » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:05 pm

rory wrote:Shikan 止観.is the meditation, that the Tendai school does; it is Shi shamatha and kan vipassana. Dogen was a Tendai monk but I have no scholarly books with me that distinguish his later 只管 shikantaza (note the different characters(.

gassho
Rory
Dōgen elaborates it in his Shōbōgenzō. I haven't made a systematic reading of it yet. I am eager to do so. What a treasure.

I can say that if you are familiar with Tendai Daishi's writings on meditation, you can't miss the difference with Dōgen.

http://www.bdkamerica.org/book/sh%C5%8D ... y-volume-i

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6707
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by Astus » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:25 pm

DGA wrote:Dōgen elaborates it in his Shōbōgenzō.
Where exactly? Briefly in the Bendowa he rejects the option of using Tendai or other methods for meditation.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

DGA
Former staff member
Posts: 8776
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by DGA » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:35 pm

Astus wrote:
DGA wrote:Dōgen elaborates it in his Shōbōgenzō.
Where exactly? Briefly in the Bendowa he rejects the option of using Tendai or other methods for meditation.
I remember reading around in book 6, in which zazen is described.

My point is that Dogen's descriptions of meditation don't really look or feel (if you will) like the teachings of Zhiyi.

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6707
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by Astus » Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:32 pm

DGA wrote:I remember reading around in book 6, in which zazen is described.
Book 6? The BDK edition has 4 volumes.
My point is that Dogen's descriptions of meditation don't really look or feel (if you will) like the teachings of Zhiyi.
Chan can be matched with Tiantai's sudden and perfect method of the neither sitting nor walking samadhi. Dogen's works are part of the mature Zen literature, so he uses lots of Chan lingo.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

DGA
Former staff member
Posts: 8776
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm
Contact:

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by DGA » Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:45 pm

Astus wrote:
DGA wrote:I remember reading around in book 6, in which zazen is described.
Book 6? The BDK edition has 4 volumes.
my memory isn't perfect. :shrug:
My point is that Dogen's descriptions of meditation don't really look or feel (if you will) like the teachings of Zhiyi.
Chan can be matched with Tiantai's sudden and perfect method of the neither sitting nor walking samadhi. Dogen's works are part of the mature Zen literature, so he uses lots of Chan lingo.
Yes, I think that's fair for Ch'an, and I think you are right about Dogen's writing style and diction. That doesn't address the question of whether shi kan and shikantaza are comparable.

I think Dogen is writing about something different from shi kan when he describes shikantaza. For starters, he wasn't a fool. If he wanted to discuss shi kan, he would have done so rather than developing a new concept to get his teaching across.

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6707
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by Astus » Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:57 pm

DGA wrote:I think Dogen is writing about something different from shi kan when he describes shikantaza. For starters, he wasn't a fool. If he wanted to discuss shi kan, he would have done so rather than developing a new concept to get his teaching across.
The only new thing about Dogen's approach to meditation that I can find is his focus on the physical posture. But as for what is to be done while seated, the matter of neither-thinking (hishiryo) and dropping body and mind (shinjin datsuraku), those are not different from prajnaparamita (non-abiding, no-thought, etc.).
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 7451
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Apr 11, 2017 3:23 pm

Matylda wrote:
Justmeagain wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:While I never got much explanation of what is shikantaza when I was involved in Zen, I will say that it basically sounds like what other teachers describe as the union of shamatha and vipaysana. If it's not, I'd love to know how/why it's different, other than the nomenclature used.
:good:
Basically s/v is gradual approach, while shikan taza is not... it is why one needs very experienced teacher to get proper instructions, which are given mostly only in private.
There are some practices that are described as the unity of shamatha and vipaysana that are not really 'gradual' as such, so again, it really seems like a difference of nomenclature to me.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

User avatar
rory
Posts: 1360
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 8:08 am
Location: SouthEast USA

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by rory » Tue Apr 11, 2017 8:54 pm

Astus wrote: Chan can be matched with Tiantai's sudden and perfect method of the neither sitting nor walking samadhi. Dogen's works are part of the mature Zen literature, so he uses lots of Chan lingo.
Carl Bielefeldt in Dogen's Manual of Zen Meditation makes the point that Zhiyi's T'ien T'ai hsiao chih-kuan was the first popular meditation manual available to the Chinese, giving concrete explicit techniques for breath control, posture, mind and did influence Northern Chan and Tsung-tse...Dogen does deny any influence of Tendai shikan in Bendo wabut he regarded Zhiyi as the best of the scholastic masters and had considerable respect for Tendai. He also mentions the direct connection between shamatha and the attainment of nirvana in Hsaio chih-kuanp. 86

Bielefeldt discusses the argument of the influential Tendai scholar Shindai Sekiguchi who argues quite explicitly on the Tiantai influence on the Ch'an tradition all further meditation manuals of Zen and Ch'an and Dogen's Fuken zazen-gi have relied at least indirectly on Zhiyi. p.62.

It's all terribly interesting, I dare say we need more research in this area.
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

User avatar
rory
Posts: 1360
Joined: Mon May 16, 2011 8:08 am
Location: SouthEast USA

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by rory » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:06 pm

Astus wrote:
DGA wrote:I think Dogen is writing about something different from shi kan when he describes shikantaza. For starters, he wasn't a fool. If he wanted to discuss shi kan, he would have done so rather than developing a new concept to get his teaching across.
The only new thing about Dogen's approach to meditation that I can find is his focus on the physical posture. But as for what is to be done while seated, the matter of neither-thinking (hishiryo) and dropping body and mind (shinjin datsuraku), those are not different from prajnaparamita (non-abiding, no-thought, etc.).
Hee Jin-Kim in a footnote Eihei Dogen Mystical Realist compares Dogen's samadhi of self-fufilling activity as 'unconditioned freedom' to Shinran's
naturalness jinen-honi the spontaneous working of the Tathagata's vow-power without human contrivance (footnote 21)

Suzuki wrote Infinite Buddha, saying Shin was the flip side of Zen...
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

Matylda
Posts: 575
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by Matylda » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:21 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:
Matylda wrote:
Justmeagain wrote:
:good:
Basically s/v is gradual approach, while shikan taza is not... it is why one needs very experienced teacher to get proper instructions, which are given mostly only in private.
There are some practices that are described as the unity of shamatha and vipaysana that are not really 'gradual' as such, so again, it really seems like a difference of nomenclature to me.
Well we may look into all sorts of traditions within buddhism.. however it does not really reflect the point. As I rote before none of soto masters ever mentioned any similarity to s/v or its unity.. as we know none of the other traditions made similar comparisons of their own distinctive practices with shikan taza... so still I do not know what is the point in such search.

Anyway each tradition is authonomus within its borders, therefore it was never any need to look at others or to use others instructions.. to train within one tradition of practice is life long pursue, there is very little time to cut a lice of bread from others before mastering its own way. It is nothing sectarian though.

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 7451
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:40 pm

Matylda wrote:

Well we may look into all sorts of traditions within buddhism.. however it does not really reflect the point. As I rote before none of soto masters ever mentioned any similarity to s/v or its unity.. as we know none of the other traditions made similar comparisons of their own distinctive practices with shikan taza... so still I do not know what is the point in such search.
Just because it's interesting, and because Shamatha and Vipaysana typically one can find as the bedrock of many Buddhist practices, for hopefully obvious reasons, and even if they are otherwise named. Traditions may be autonomous, but I also think they are often consistent. You don't need to understand why other people do things, nor are things you don't understand necessarily pointless.
Anyway each tradition is authonomus within its borders, therefore it was never any need to look at others or to use others instructions.. to train within one tradition of practice is life long pursue, there is very little time to cut a lice of bread from others before mastering its own way. It is nothing sectarian though.
I wasn't really asking for advice, I already have teachers. Additionally, this is a nice, standard thing to say, but in the modern experience of Buddha dharma most have had experience of more than one school's teaching, so these questions will arise. You can be dismissive, and think they are not worthy questions if you want, that's certainly your right, but that opinion doesn't concern me.
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
Posts: 6707
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by Astus » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:44 pm

rory wrote:Dogen does deny any influence of Tendai shikan in Bendo wa
I have not found that part of Bendowa. What he writes there regarding shikan:

"[Someone] asks, “Is there nothing to prevent a person who practices this zazen from also performing mantra and quiet-reflection practices?”
I say: When I was in China, I heard the true essence of the teachings from a true master; he said that he had never heard that any of the patriarchs who received the authentic transmission of the Buddha-seal ever performed such practices additionally, in the Western Heavens or in the Eastern Lands, in the past or in the present. Certainly, unless we devote ourselves to one thing, we will not attain complete wisdom."

(SBGZ, vol 1, p 16)

And the footnote to the question states for "quiet-reflection" (although I do not completely agree with it):

"Shikan, lit., “ceasing and reflecting,” representing the Sanskrit words śamatha (quietness) and vipaśyanā (insight, reflection), is a practice of the Tendai sect: the method of practice is almost the same as the practice of zazen explained by Master Dōgen, but in the Tendai sect the practice is not regarded as sufficient in itself."
(p28n85)
He also mentions the direct connection between shamatha and the attainment of nirvana in Hsaio chih-kuanp. 86
That is an exaggeration. The section Bielefeldt refers to is about how one can attain calmness through realising emptiness. In other words, nirvana is perfect samatha.
compares Dogen's samadhi of self-fufilling activity as 'unconditioned freedom' to Shinran's naturalness
I consider it a misunderstanding of both Shinran and Dogen to make such comparisons.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"

User avatar
Johnny Dangerous
Global Moderator
Posts: 7451
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2012 10:58 pm
Location: Olympia WA
Contact:

Re: Is Shikantaza a requisite of being a Soto Zennie?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Apr 11, 2017 9:54 pm

Astus wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:While I never got much explanation of what is shikantaza when I was involved in Zen, I will say that it basically sounds like what other teachers describe as the union of shamatha and vipaysana. If it's not, I'd love to know how/why it's different, other than the nomenclature used.
The traditional Zen term is the unity of samadhi and prajna.

"Good friends, our teaching takes meditation and wisdom as its fundamental. Everyone, do not say in your delusion that meditation and wisdom are different."
(Platform Sutra, ch 4, BDK ed, p 41)

Dogen basically says the same by calling zazen practice-enlightenment.
This seems like a qualified "yes" to me..I will read up more, thanks, this is interesting!
"it must be coming from the mouthy mastermind of raunchy rapper, Johnny Dangerous”

-Jeff H.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: aebaxter and 2 guests