Matylda wrote: ↑
Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:03 am
In fact it always surprises me how people try to find all sorts of origins of zen practice, as if it had any real meaning, maybe it has just intelectual value or is only information. But still it has no influence on current zen practice. There is none in fact.
More surprising is repeating about connection of zen to taoism etc. it goes on without any knowledge of indian roots and origins of zen practice. People imagine probably that zen was just dropped to China out of the blue, without any support or proper instructions.
There is nothing wrong with Zen having a connection to Daoism, just as there's nothing wrong with Buddhism's connection to Hinduism in its various forms. That doesn't make Zen any less legitimate than other forms of Buddhadharma. Chan in China and Vietnam is even more influenced by Daoism/Shenism than Japanese Zen is. It is not uncommon to find Chan masters who talk about the Jade Emperor, Immortals, etc. and the Surangama sutra shows clear Daoist influence.
The Buddhadharma adapts to sentient beings and their needs, there should be no shame in this.
In Japan one may hardly find books on breathing in zazen which are not connected to Indian origins. Mostly authors base their materials on Indian sources not taoist. Somehow in the West people came to funny conclusion that taoism and zen are strongly connected. I dooubt this connection and since I started to ask teachers in Japan about it their eyebrows were lifted in surprise, and they asked back why Westerners do not see Indian origin or yoga origin?
On the surface they bear similarity to pranayama, but looking deeper they don't, IMO.
Daoist breathing practices focus on returning to naturalness, that is, the pre-heaven state before birth. That's the point of focusing on the dantien, this is in opposition to the focus of Indian pranayama, which is the central channel. Dr. Michael Saso has written about these differences in energetic cultivation on his blog, if you'd like a more in-depth explanation from someone who is both an ordained Daoist and Tendai priest, I'd look there. I won't deny that there is possibly partial origins in India, but to deny these practices have any Daoist origin at all is absurd.
In Japan Indian monks were present since 7th century, did they do nothing??? In China Indian monks were present for many centuries, and the number of them was really great. Why Chinese buddhists, including zen monks should go to taoists for information about breathing, who in fact were often hostile to buddhism or zen???
Daoists and Buddhists lived on the same mountains, practiced in the same caves, were in frequent contact with each other, etc. many Buddhist monks were converts from Daoism and vice-versa.
But after all who cares where all the pointers and instructions of a true master are from? just trust his wisdom and long experience that is really enough.. all the rest is just unnecessary ballast added to our heads.
I understand this is just samsaric activity, but so are plenty of other things we all do, like posting on this forum. If you trust your master and their teachings, there's no reason to feel hostile towards the non-Buddhist origins of certain practices.