Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

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kirtu
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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by kirtu » Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:30 pm

A koan from the Kwan Um School:
A man was imprisoned and sentenced to death. He spent the day and night before his scheduled execution chanting Kanzeon Bodhisattva's name. Was he executed the next day?
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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kirtu
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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by kirtu » Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:35 pm

There is a lot of Zen/Ch'an/Seon material where bodhisattvas make appearances esp. nowadays. Some of the classic material published in the beginning of the Zen transmission to the West also reflects this:

Manual of Zen Buddhism, 1934, Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki
all the sutras in his sutra section are classic and nowadays have more than one translation in western languages (usually more than one translation in English)
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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KeithA
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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by KeithA » Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:31 am

kirtu wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 4:27 am
There are other chants but these three would be found at almost any Zen center in North America.

Also the Kwan Um School of Zen is kind of more chanting based and they have a remarkable chanting liturgy replete with mantras taken from Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism. They tend to mention Bodhisattvas in their liturgy quite a bit.
This is very true, regarding the Kwan Um group. But, we tend to practice as was described in the OP. Mostly doing four practice forms (bowing, chanting, sitting and walking), with very little talking. Not sure what that has to do with Protestantism. We just don't place a lot of value on theory and conceptual discussions. 😎

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KeithA
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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by KeithA » Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:35 am

kirtu wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:30 pm
A koan from the Kwan Um School:
A man was imprisoned and sentenced to death. He spent the day and night before his scheduled execution chanting Kanzeon Bodhisattva's name. Was he executed the next day?
Haha! I like that one. Not sure it's a KUZ one, though.

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kirtu
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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by kirtu » Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:40 am

KeithA wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:35 am
kirtu wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:30 pm
A koan from the Kwan Um School:
A man was imprisoned and sentenced to death. He spent the day and night before his scheduled execution chanting Kanzeon Bodhisattva's name. Was he executed the next day?
Haha! I like that one. Not sure it's a KUZ one, though.
It may not be exactly but it's one put to me by Soeng Hyang in a retreat during interview. Actually I think she used this as a starting point for a teisho.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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kirtu
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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by kirtu » Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:51 am

KeithA wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:31 am
Mostly doing four practice forms (bowing, chanting, sitting and walking), with very little talking.
Right, but Kwan Um has what would be called strong "energy practices" with powerful chanting.
Not sure what that has to do with Protestantism.


North American and from what I have seen some European Zen has this Protestant tendency. I was not addressing Kwan Um directly.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

Trilobyte
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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by Trilobyte » Fri Aug 31, 2018 8:07 pm

I'm very pleasantly surprised with the depth and thoughtfulness of the answers in this thread. I'm still reading "Popular Deities in Chinese Buddhism" which I am about halfway through. There are some claims I would question (like Tibetan Buddhism and Vajrayana being equivalent terms) it's been very informative despite my not being the target audience of the book.

It also makes me think I'm in the right place at the zendo because I would be uncomfortable participating in some of the more devotional paths described, so studying with a Zen teacher while incorporating some "general Mahayana" practices towards the Bodhisattvas in my private practice seems like the right path for me. I can respect people who engage primarily devotionaly, but I prefer to be self reliant to the extent I'm able, just with some help and direction when I get stuck.

Tibetan Buddhism is interesting too, but it makes sense to focus on the zendo considering I don't have a teacher of Tibetan Buddhism locally and since as a beginner I would probably be taught similarly even if I did.

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KeithA
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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by KeithA » Sat Sep 01, 2018 2:30 am

kirtu wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:40 am
KeithA wrote:
Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:35 am
kirtu wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:30 pm
A koan from the Kwan Um School:

Haha! I like that one. Not sure it's a KUZ one, though.
It may not be exactly but it's one put to me by Soeng Hyang in a retreat during interview. Actually I think she used this as a starting point for a teisho.

Kirt
I am glad you got to practice with ZMSH, she is both fierce and kind.
That sounds like a warm up Kong an. 😊

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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by Kanji » Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:12 am

Trilobyte wrote: It also makes me think I'm in the right place at the zendo because I would be uncomfortable participating in some of the more devotional paths described
Come to a similar conclusion, I'm not keen on too much formalised ritual. Thanks to Kirtu for the quotes, love the one about trying to disrupt that chit of a girl's meditation! :D

Trilobyte
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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by Trilobyte » Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:08 pm

Kanji wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:12 am
Trilobyte wrote: It also makes me think I'm in the right place at the zendo because I would be uncomfortable participating in some of the more devotional paths described
Come to a similar conclusion, I'm not keen on too much formalised ritual. Thanks to Kirtu for the quotes, love the one about trying to disrupt that chit of a girl's meditation! :D
I actually like ritual quite a bit and find it helps ground the practice in my life, but the book goes into some simpler ritual practices to honor various Bodhisattvas that wouldn't be overly involved or difficult to do privately. Since my home altar I set up already has Kuan Yin and the Medicine Buddha in addition to our historical Buddha that is probably where I would start.

What I meant I was uncomfortable with is stuff like Kuan Yin appearing in a vision and promising to help a lady with her pregnancy and in exchange lady would become a devotee of Kuan Yin and serve Kuan Yin (paraphrasing) or relying on faith in Amitabha and his pure as the primary practice towards enlightenment rather than self cultivation (in the sense of the "ultimate" self) being the primary path. Maybe my discomfort with practicing protestant Christianity is why I react this way, but when I see someone saying I should surrender myself and have faith in a powerful, loving being who's going to deliver me then part of me shuts down. Once that happens I'm less open new information and experiences that I might otherwise benefit from while participating in the tradition, which isn't the best mindset for learning.

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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:30 pm

or relying on faith in Amitabha and his pure as the primary practice towards enlightenment rather than self cultivation (in the sense of the "ultimate" self) being the primary path
Greetings!
Sukhavati is like a university run by professor bodhisattvas and a dean Amitabha.
People go there for the same reason we would go to a university: to seek learning and training from experts in a supportive environment.
We make the progress we can here, and at death, instead of being reborn in Samsara and backsliding, we go to Sukhavati to continue training there.

There's also considerable Amitabha practice in Chan and Thien, if you're interested someday. For instance, Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith by Thich Thien Tam, Pure-Land Zen, Zen Pure-Land by Yin Kuang, Dialogues With Ancient Masters, or Master Ou-i's Commentary on the Amitabha Sutra.
Amitābha!
OM PADMO USHNISHA VIMALE HUM PHAT (Lotus Pinnacle of Amoghapasha)
OM HANU PHASHA BHARA HE YE SVAHA ("Just by Seeing" Mantra)
AH AAH SHA SA MA HA (Six Syllables of Clairvoyance Mantra)


The Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have unobstructed vision in all directions.
Everything is in their presence; and I stand in front of them. -- Shantideva

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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by Kanji » Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:19 pm

Trilobyte wrote:
I actually like ritual quite a bit and find it helps ground the practice in my life, but the book goes into some simpler ritual practices to honor various Bodhisattvas that wouldn't be overly involved or difficult to do privately. Since my home altar I set up already has Kuan Yin and the Medicine Buddha in addition to our historical Buddha that is probably where I would start.

What I meant I was uncomfortable with is stuff like Kuan Yin appearing in a vision and promising to help a lady with her pregnancy and in exchange lady would become a devotee of Kuan Yin and serve Kuan Yin (paraphrasing) or relying on faith in Amitabha and his pure as the primary practice towards enlightenment rather than self cultivation (in the sense of the "ultimate" self) being the primary path. Maybe my discomfort with practicing protestant Christianity is why I react this way, but when I see someone saying I should surrender myself and have faith in a powerful, loving being who's going to deliver me then part of me shuts down. Once that happens I'm less open new information and experiences that I might otherwise benefit from while participating in the tradition, which isn't the best mindset for learning.
My favorite Dali Lama quote '"the mind is like a parachute. It works better when it's open.' I'm not one for submitting to the opinions of another and the Buddha never advocated it, either. It's about finding your own way.

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SonamTashi
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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by SonamTashi » Thu Sep 06, 2018 1:55 pm

Trilobyte wrote:
Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:08 pm
Kanji wrote:
Sat Sep 01, 2018 5:12 am
Trilobyte wrote: It also makes me think I'm in the right place at the zendo because I would be uncomfortable participating in some of the more devotional paths described
Come to a similar conclusion, I'm not keen on too much formalised ritual. Thanks to Kirtu for the quotes, love the one about trying to disrupt that chit of a girl's meditation! :D
I actually like ritual quite a bit and find it helps ground the practice in my life, but the book goes into some simpler ritual practices to honor various Bodhisattvas that wouldn't be overly involved or difficult to do privately. Since my home altar I set up already has Kuan Yin and the Medicine Buddha in addition to our historical Buddha that is probably where I would start.

What I meant I was uncomfortable with is stuff like Kuan Yin appearing in a vision and promising to help a lady with her pregnancy and in exchange lady would become a devotee of Kuan Yin and serve Kuan Yin (paraphrasing) or relying on faith in Amitabha and his pure as the primary practice towards enlightenment rather than self cultivation (in the sense of the "ultimate" self) being the primary path. Maybe my discomfort with practicing protestant Christianity is why I react this way, but when I see someone saying I should surrender myself and have faith in a powerful, loving being who's going to deliver me then part of me shuts down. Once that happens I'm less open new information and experiences that I might otherwise benefit from while participating in the tradition, which isn't the best mindset for learning.
Really, a large part of Buddhism is about destroying and transcending habitual tendencies and ingrained thought patterns. Especially in Vajrayana, one of the best ways to do this is by engaging in practices that challenge these tendencies and thought patterns. A good exoteric example of this is developing concentration to counteract the frantic monkey minds we have. In Vajrayana, one might eat token amounts of meat in a ritual to get over thinking of different things as impure.

In the West, Christianity and the culture around it is probably one of the largest factors in our upbringing and the tendencies we develop. The point about Protestantism in this thread and the point about idols and relying on a loving being that you're getting at are a major part of this. I'm not saying you should practice Tibetan Buddhism, Pure Land or another devotional practice. But it may be a good idea to become more familiar with them and gradually let go of your hang-ups regarding them. Reading about them is one way to do that, which you're already doing, which is a good thing. Another thing you can do if you get a chance is to attend a sangha like that, not to convert, but to get an idea of what it looks like on the ground and perhaps ask questions of teachers and senior students who may be able to give you their perspective and maybe clear up some misconceptions. For example, if you go somewhere on vacation that has such a sangha, it might be fun and informative to give a local sangha a look (make sure to look up the schedule and what is expected of visitors before you go; call ahead if necessary). One day you may find that you suddenly have the opportunity and the desire to participate in a more devotional practice, so just try not to be too closed-minded about it.

Theravada and Zen were the first two groups I was interested in. My first teacher was a Zen monk. In the beginning I felt pretty much the same way you do. I started studying Pure Land which got me over most of my doubts, and eventually I started practicing with a Nyingma sangha. My current teacher started out in Zen for a while too, for a long time actually, and started practicing Tibetan Buddhism when she suddenly realized she wanted a more devotional practice. So just understand that things change, and the way you feel now may be very different from how you feel years or even months from now. In general, I think gaining an appreciation for all the other schools of Buddhism is only helpful for one's own practice, and hang-ups about other schools can get in the way.
:bow: :buddha1: :bow: :anjali: :meditate:

Kanji
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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by Kanji » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:50 pm

That should have been Dalai Lama back there, posting while switching trains is not good for spelling :emb:

Sentient Light
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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by Sentient Light » Fri Sep 07, 2018 8:13 pm

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:30 pm
Greetings!
Sukhavati is like a university run by professor bodhisattvas and a dean Amitabha.
People go there for the same reason we would go to a university: to seek learning and training from experts in a supportive environment.
We make the progress we can here, and at death, instead of being reborn in Samsara and backsliding, we go to Sukhavati to continue training there.

There's also considerable Amitabha practice in Chan and Thien, if you're interested someday. For instance, Buddhism of Wisdom and Faith by Thich Thien Tam, Pure-Land Zen, Zen Pure-Land by Yin Kuang, Dialogues With Ancient Masters, or Master Ou-i's Commentary on the Amitabha Sutra.
:good:
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

Trilobyte
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Re: Information about Bodhisattvas and other Buddhist teachings

Post by Trilobyte » Sun Sep 09, 2018 4:57 am

Yeah, I definitely realize it's a hang up and I've tried to describe it that way. At the same time I think it makes sense to start with the path of least resistance with regards to dealing with ingrained thought patterns, which is what I mean. Especially since traveling is not something I've been able to do for a number of years, so if I had the opportunity to visit a different Sangha it would probably 2-4+ years out from now.

I also think there may be some confusion where I'm referring to specific practices mentioned in the book that I would be uncomfortable participating in and people think I'm dismissing entire traditions.

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