Malcolm wrote: Meido wrote:
Astus wrote:I did not mean yidams are used in practice by followers of Zen or other schools, it's just that I did not see people questioning the validity of it (except for some I have only heard of who despise Tantric/Tibetan Buddhism for some reason, but they are hardly if ever known among Western Buddhists).
Exactly. Again, my only statement was that Zen does not negate the existence of ishta-devata (meaning, that it does not negate the validity of such practices...which is what I took the OP's assertion to be). Shumon Mujintoron
is one text that devotes some discussion to a Japanese Zen (Rinzai) view of Tendai and Shingon practices in particular, and it clearly asserts their validity as Buddhadharma (though naturally within its own hierarchy of traditions).
I am not completely unfamiliar with yidam practice. I mentioned the Marici blessing amulets only as an example of everyday Zen engagement with deities that figure in such practices (and mostly because I was literally working on their prep at that moment). The ceremony for empowering these involves mantra, mudra and embodiment as the deity. But I do not call this yidam practice, and since Zen generally doesn't use kanjo but rather takes seeing nature to be the necessary entry into practice, I do not call such things "Vajrayana", whatever their origins.
Sorry for Zen distraction in the Tibetan forum. Had meant to express support, actually.
If there is visualization of oneself as a deity, or you invite a deity in front of you, than this is exactly what yidam practice is. However, he difficulty lies in how this transmission is communicated from one generation to another. If there is no need for empowerment, i.e, if the idea is that one can simply pick up a text, recite mantras, perform mudras, and so on, this really does not qualify.
I appreciate your expression of supporrt, and understood it as such, but in order to prevent confusion these distinctions must be made.
I am very reluctant to write about it, but yes indeed there is such thing within zen tradition. However it is reserved for "graduate" priests, so to say... And there is clear vision of dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya as well, what is done mostly in 100day retreat which is a requirement to perform certain rituals later. Rereat may or may not be strict, however the room of the retreat person by no means could be entered by anyone else. Due to certain visual set up of special altar etc. As for the lineage... its origin is mostly tendai, some lineages come from shingon and for example in soto zen it is reserved for people who did receive dharma transmission and have sizeable training already.
Dharma transmission includes things like abhisheka and proper procedure including the use of abhisheka water, empowering the water, mantras mudras etc. etc. and taking the proper form at that time... I mean non-human form..
Well,still I guess it is not vajrayana practice, however zen tradition is much vaster and profound than it is known in the West... Rev. Meido made some very good points about it. Anyway I would like to return to my first words, I am reluctant about these things beacause mostly they are spread under the oath of secrecy... the written material comes always from one's own lineage, in form of hand written private notes one writes while listening to the master.
And it is difficult to communicate with other individuals holding similar transmissions, since there is almost no random exchange of info between lineages. And it is strictly observed. However there are some groups of zen teachers in Japan who belong to the very same circle and they collect their private materials and publish it for themselves of course. In these way they try to preserve precious teachings. But even in those collections not all is written, there are always certain points where it is indicated - kuden, which means that further instruction one must hear directly from the mouth of a teacher.
And finally... generally it is not for common practicioners, beginners, etc. for years one has to focus on zazen or what master says, before one could enter the other part safely. There is certain degree of maturity requiered at that point.