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Author Topic: Will the Real Buddhism Please Stand Up?  (Read 7480 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #45 on: March 02, 2011, 07:23:40 PM »

None of the Buddhist sects consider the others "damned" or anything like that, especially when it comes to the Mahayana offshoots that emerged in China and spread to Vietnam, Korea, and Japan, and also Tibetan Buddhism. There are disagreements but it is rare that the differences amount to accusations of heresy. Go to any Chan temple and you will probably see Pure Land practiced there. Near me there is a Buddhist monastery in the grand Chinese Mahayana tradition- they are followers of Yin Shun- but they also study Theravada writings and their co-abbot is Bhikkhu Bodhi, a world-renowned Theravada scholar. Vajrayana teachers will routinely tell their students that the hinayana and mahayana paths are legitimate teachings of the Buddha- they are just slower paths to enlightenment than the lightning-quick tantra path.

Buddhist cosmology and soteriology remains remarkably consistent across the different sects. The differences that arise tend to be new "layers" upon the common system- for example, the Dzogchen and Kalachakra cosmologies are different but not contradictory.

The difference between Orthodoxy and Protestantism is far more profound. A Chan Buddhist can say of a Pure Land Buddhist that the latter's teaching comes from the Buddha. He would have no choice but to say so because Chan, like all Mahayana sects, accepts the common Mahayana canon which includes the Pure Land sutras which are the basis of specific Pure Land practice. Some Mahayanists might question some of the Vajrayana tantras but the tantric practices are still recognizable as stemming from common Buddhist principles.

Even the broadly differing philosophical schools- Madhyamika, Yogacara, etc.- can be made compatible and a number of teachers have proposed systems for reconciling them.

The same sort of thing cannot be said of Protestantism- there are no specficially Protestant scriptures, or specifically Roman Catholic scriptures, or anything else of the sort that we accept, which would make these heresies acceptable paths within the Church.

You keep making this point over and over, and I keep disagreeing with it over and over. I think you're wrong. I think the differences between a Teravadin Buddhist and a tantric Buddhist are at least as significant as the differences between Orthodox and Anglicans, for example. If you were able to step back from Christianity and see it with the eyes of a non-Christian, many of the sects would seem quite similar.

I was a Buddhist for several years. Everything I'm saying comes from my observatons and studies at that time, and not, as you are claiming, from me as an outsider-looking-in . I was told, again and again, by teachers and gurus of various traditions, that the differences are not fundamental. Tantric Buddhists do not consider Theravada heretical or false. At most, they'll say that it's a slower, less advanced path. Read or listen to any basic introduction to Vajrayana and you will probably har about the "three vehicles", one building up on the other.  Theravadins may, at times, express suspicion about Tantra (and Mahayana in general) and suggest that their Buddhism is "purer" but they won't deny that the Tibetans are buddhist.


Quote
Not, for example, like the difference between Chan and Pure Land. Those two sects happen to like each other, but their approach to and teaching about the path of enlightenment (even the source of  enlightenment) is exactly 100% diametrically opposite.

Then why does practically every Chan temple practice Pure Land? Why did so many teachers from both traditions conclude that both taught the same thing?
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« Reply #46 on: March 03, 2011, 07:49:20 AM »

Here's a case of Theravada and Vajrayana nuns going to a Chan master to receive full bhikshuni ordination:

http://www.thubtenchodron.org/BuddhistNunsMonasticLife/the_international_full_ordination_ceremony_in_bodhgaya.html

And this isn't the only time this has happened. Can you imagine Orthodox nuns going to an Anglican monastery to receive tonsure?
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« Reply #47 on: March 03, 2011, 01:12:58 PM »

None of the Buddhist sects consider the others "damned" or anything like that, especially when it comes to the Mahayana offshoots that emerged in China and spread to Vietnam, Korea, and Japan, and also Tibetan Buddhism. There are disagreements but it is rare that the differences amount to accusations of heresy. Go to any Chan temple and you will probably see Pure Land practiced there. Near me there is a Buddhist monastery in the grand Chinese Mahayana tradition- they are followers of Yin Shun- but they also study Theravada writings and their co-abbot is Bhikkhu Bodhi, a world-renowned Theravada scholar. Vajrayana teachers will routinely tell their students that the hinayana and mahayana paths are legitimate teachings of the Buddha- they are just slower paths to enlightenment than the lightning-quick tantra path.

Buddhist cosmology and soteriology remains remarkably consistent across the different sects. The differences that arise tend to be new "layers" upon the common system- for example, the Dzogchen and Kalachakra cosmologies are different but not contradictory.

The difference between Orthodoxy and Protestantism is far more profound. A Chan Buddhist can say of a Pure Land Buddhist that the latter's teaching comes from the Buddha. He would have no choice but to say so because Chan, like all Mahayana sects, accepts the common Mahayana canon which includes the Pure Land sutras which are the basis of specific Pure Land practice. Some Mahayanists might question some of the Vajrayana tantras but the tantric practices are still recognizable as stemming from common Buddhist principles.

Even the broadly differing philosophical schools- Madhyamika, Yogacara, etc.- can be made compatible and a number of teachers have proposed systems for reconciling them.

The same sort of thing cannot be said of Protestantism- there are no superficially Protestant scriptures, or specifically Roman Catholic scriptures, or anything else of the sort that we accept, which would make these heresies acceptable paths within the Church.

You keep making this point over and over, and I keep disagreeing with it over and over. I think you're wrong. I think the differences between a Teravadin Buddhist and a tantric Buddhist are at least as significant as the differences between Orthodox and Anglicans, for example. If you were able to step back from Christianity and see it with the eyes of a non-Christian, many of the sects would seem quite similar.

I was a Buddhist for several years. Everything I'm saying comes from my observations and studies at that time, and not, as you are claiming, from me as an outsider-looking-in . I was told, again and again, by teachers and gurus of various traditions, that the differences are not fundamental. Tantric Buddhists do not consider Theravada heretical or false. At most, they'll say that it's a slower, less advanced path. Read or listen to any basic introduction to Vajrayana and you will probably hear about the "three vehicles", one building up on the other.  Theravadins may, at times, express suspicion about Tantra (and Mahayana in general) and suggest that their Buddhism is "purer" but they won't deny that the Tibetans are Buddhist.


Quote
Not, for example, like the difference between Chan and Pure Land. Those two sects happen to like each other, but their approach to and teaching about the path of enlightenment (even the source of  enlightenment) is exactly 100% diametrically opposite.

Then why does practically every Chan temple practice Pure Land? Why did so many teachers from both traditions conclude that both taught the same thing?

The two commonly overlap in China, but the same is not true in Japan. After the Manchu takeover of the Chinese central government, religion became very mixed. The Manchus, of course, were Mongolian/Tibetan Buddhists. I don't know too much about Chinese Buddhism in the 15th--19th centuries. When a new strand of Zen came to Japan in the 17th century, however, it did not achieve much popularity. The new school was the Obaku School, and the chief barrier to popularity was the way it mixed different kinds of Buddhist practice--specifically Zen and Pure Land. Everyone was expecting something purer and closer to the source, but what they got was a jumble.

So you have to distinguish when you're talking about these schools which country you're referring to. Vietnam is another entirely different issue, for example.

Also, since Buddhism isn't a "revealed" religion in the same sense as Christianity and Judaism (i.e., the scriptures aren't divinely inspired), the fact that scriptures may differ widely is less of a problem than it would be for Christians of Jews. Orthodox and Catholics would not say they use the same Bible. But the difference in some of the basic Buddhist texts is just as profound. For example, the Heart Sutra is chanted hundreds of thousands of times a day in Japanese temples in a version that is profoundly different than the one used in Chinese temples. It's not just the difference between short and long forms. The texts themselves differ profoundly in a few places. So in a very real sense Mahayana Buddhists are not using the same scriptures, and this affects the meaning of their core teachings.
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« Reply #48 on: March 03, 2011, 01:42:58 PM »


Also, since Buddhism isn't a "revealed" religion in the same sense as Christianity and Judaism (i.e., the scriptures aren't divinely inspired)....
So, the Buddha wasn't "divine"? Roll Eyes
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« Reply #49 on: March 03, 2011, 05:02:07 PM »


Also, since Buddhism isn't a "revealed" religion in the same sense as Christianity and Judaism (i.e., the scriptures aren't divinely inspired)....
So, the Buddha wasn't "divine"? Roll Eyes

Just a man.
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« Reply #50 on: March 03, 2011, 06:12:25 PM »

The two commonly overlap in China, but the same is not true in Japan. After the Manchu takeover of the Chinese central government, religion became very mixed. The Manchus, of course, were Mongolian/Tibetan Buddhists. I don't know too much about Chinese Buddhism in the 15th--19th centuries. When a new strand of Zen came to Japan in the 17th century, however, it did not achieve much popularity. The new school was the Obaku School, and the chief barrier to popularity was the way it mixed different kinds of Buddhist practice--specifically Zen and Pure Land. Everyone was expecting something purer and closer to the source, but what they got was a jumble.

This is nonsense- I think you're just pulling theories out of your back pocket.  The mixing is just a natural expression of the Mahayana concept of "skillful means" (upaya). All Chinese Mahayana Buddhists accepted the same big canon of scriptures from India. All of these sutras were considered authoritative and taught by the Buddha, including not only the Lotus Sutra or the Flower Ornament Sutra but sutras advocating particular devotional practices like the Pure Land sutras or the sutra of Ksitigharbha Bodhisattva, and also a few lower-level tantras. All the schools of Mahayana Buddhism- Chan, Pure Land, Tiantai, etc., accept this canon.  

The first purely Chinese school of Buddhism was the Tiantai school (Tendai in Japan) which tried to put forward a system for integrating this vast range of teachings and practices. The Buddha taught them all, so naturally they must fit together somehow. They took the Lotus Sutra as the highest sutra, but accepted that the varieties of seated meditation practices, and more devotionally oriented practices ike nian fo, were all valid "skillful means" for bringing people to enlightenment, according to their dispositions. The Huayan school had a similar project, but centered on the Avatamsaka Sutra. Other sutras were deemed less central but nonetheless important and edifying.

Both of these schools arose centuries before any Manchu influence and then spread to Japan. Manchus had very little influence on the common religious life in China. Tibetan Buddhism remains rather "niche" among Chinese. Vajrayana practice in general is quite rare in Chinese Buddhism.

Tiantai spread to Japan as Tendai and was the mother sect of almost all the big-name Japanese Buddhist reformers- Dogen, Shinran, Nichiren, etc. And you want to claim that the integration of various Buddhist practices is a Manchu innovation?

Eventually Chan became the dominant sect in China, absorbing the other sects. Instead of wiping out their practices, though, it tended to integrate them more.

Quote
Everyone was expecting something purer and closer to the source, but what they got was a jumble.

"Purer"? Once again, everyone in the Mahayana accepts that the Buddha taught Pure Land, Chan, etc., so how is this a question of purity?

Quote
So you have to distinguish when you're talking about these schools which country you're referring to. Vietnam is another entirely different issue, for example.

Not very different at all. Vietnamese culture is profoundly influenced by China and Buddhism is no exception.  Vietnamese Buddhism is just as "mixed" as Chinese Buddhism.

Quote
But the difference in some of the basic Buddhist texts is just as profound. For example, the Heart Sutra is chanted hundreds of thousands of times a day in Japanese temples in a version that is profoundly different than the one used in Chinese temples. It's not just the difference between short and long forms. The texts themselves differ profoundly in a few places. So in a very real sense Mahayana Buddhists are not using the same scriptures, and this affects the meaning of their core teachings.

 ???The Heart Sutra chanted in Japanese temples is just the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese translation.
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« Reply #51 on: March 05, 2011, 11:28:05 AM »

The two commonly overlap in China, but the same is not true in Japan. After the Manchu takeover of the Chinese central government, religion became very mixed. The Manchus, of course, were Mongolian/Tibetan Buddhists. I don't know too much about Chinese Buddhism in the 15th--19th centuries. When a new strand of Zen came to Japan in the 17th century, however, it did not achieve much popularity. The new school was the Obaku School, and the chief barrier to popularity was the way it mixed different kinds of Buddhist practice--specifically Zen and Pure Land. Everyone was expecting something purer and closer to the source, but what they got was a jumble.

This is nonsense- I think you're just pulling theories out of your back pocket.  The mixing is just a natural expression of the Mahayana concept of "skillful means" (upaya). All Chinese Mahayana Buddhists accepted the same big canon of scriptures from India. All of these sutras were considered authoritative and taught by the Buddha, including not only the Lotus Sutra or the Flower Ornament Sutra but sutras advocating particular devotional practices like the Pure Land sutras or the sutra of Ksitigharbha Bodhisattva, and also a few lower-level tantras. All the schools of Mahayana Buddhism- Chan, Pure Land, Tiantai, etc., accept this canon.  

The first purely Chinese school of Buddhism was the Tiantai school (Tendai in Japan) which tried to put forward a system for integrating this vast range of teachings and practices. The Buddha taught them all, so naturally they must fit together somehow. They took the Lotus Sutra as the highest sutra, but accepted that the varieties of seated meditation practices, and more devotionally oriented practices ike nian fo, were all valid "skillful means" for bringing people to enlightenment, according to their dispositions. The Huayan school had a similar project, but centered on the Avatamsaka Sutra. Other sutras were deemed less central but nonetheless important and edifying.

Both of these schools arose centuries before any Manchu influence and then spread to Japan. Manchus had very little influence on the common religious life in China. Tibetan Buddhism remains rather "niche" among Chinese. Vajrayana practice in general is quite rare in Chinese Buddhism.

Tiantai spread to Japan as Tendai and was the mother sect of almost all the big-name Japanese Buddhist reformers- Dogen, Shinran, Nichiren, etc. And you want to claim that the integration of various Buddhist practices is a Manchu innovation?

Eventually Chan became the dominant sect in China, absorbing the other sects. Instead of wiping out their practices, though, it tended to integrate them more.

Quote
Everyone was expecting something purer and closer to the source, but what they got was a jumble.

"Purer"? Once again, everyone in the Mahayana accepts that the Buddha taught Pure Land, Chan, etc., so how is this a question of purity?

Quote
So you have to distinguish when you're talking about these schools which country you're referring to. Vietnam is another entirely different issue, for example.

Not very different at all. Vietnamese culture is profoundly influenced by China and Buddhism is no exception.  Vietnamese Buddhism is just as "mixed" as Chinese Buddhism.

Quote
But the difference in some of the basic Buddhist texts is just as profound. For example, the Heart Sutra is chanted hundreds of thousands of times a day in Japanese temples in a version that is profoundly different than the one used in Chinese temples. It's not just the difference between short and long forms. The texts themselves differ profoundly in a few places. So in a very real sense Mahayana Buddhists are not using the same scriptures, and this affects the meaning of their core teachings.

 ???The Heart Sutra chanted in Japanese temples is just the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese translation.

No. The text itself is different in at least two places at the beginning. There's an additional phrase in the opening sequence, and the section "Form is emptiness, etc." (Shiki Ku I Fu Fu Ku I Shiki) is expressed differently as well, with one less line in the standard Sino-Japanese version. These aren't slight changes; they significantly alter the meaning of the text. There are no primary Sanskrit sources to consult, the Sanskrit version that exists today being a retranslation. The Kumarajiva translation (the physical document itself) is the oldest attested source. It is amazing it (and its pagoda) survived the Cultural Revolution. But there are several versions of the translation.

Vietnamese Buddhism is mixed in a different way. It is a melding of Mahayana and Theravada. It is more like what you seem to think is typical of Buddhism as a whole.
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« Reply #52 on: March 06, 2011, 02:14:02 PM »

 
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I have never seen anything to indicate Nichiren had any contact with Christians but as you said, some idea's may have crept into the general population. However, I think my teacher ( who is a famous translator of Nichiren) would reject the suggestion.

Quote
Without some very good and reliable support I would not believe that Nichiren had ever met any Christians nor that there was Christianity in Japan until the coming of the Portuguese in the 15th

Not unless he traveled in Western China or went to the court of the Khan, and I'm not aware that he did.

While Nichiren has not been one that I have studied, it seems that all that there is is silence/no information on this point. So it looks like we're in some agreement.  Smiley

On the matter of Japanese history I have done more and any assertion that there was a Christian presence (Nestorian or otherwise) in that country prior to the coming of the Portuguese would have to have some verifiable and solid support which the various bits from the cited web site do not give. 

More fantasy instead of real history.

Ebor
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« Reply #53 on: March 06, 2011, 08:12:53 PM »

 
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I have never seen anything to indicate Nichiren had any contact with Christians but as you said, some idea's may have crept into the general population. However, I think my teacher ( who is a famous translator of Nichiren) would reject the suggestion.

Quote
Without some very good and reliable support I would not believe that Nichiren had ever met any Christians nor that there was Christianity in Japan until the coming of the Portuguese in the 15th

Not unless he traveled in Western China or went to the court of the Khan, and I'm not aware that he did.

While Nichiren has not been one that I have studied, it seems that all that there is is silence/no information on this point. So it looks like we're in some agreement.  Smiley

On the matter of Japanese history I have done more and any assertion that there was a Christian presence (Nestorian or otherwise) in that country prior to the coming of the Portuguese would have to have some verifiable and solid support which the various bits from the cited web site do not give. 

More fantasy instead of real history.

Ebor

It's possible, however, that Japanese travelers in China encountered Christians there. Dogen spent three years in China in the 1220s, and both Kukai and Saicho spent time there as well some 400 years earlier. I believe Dogen's teacher Eisai spent some time there, too, although I may be misremembering this. I don't know how extensively any of them traveled--Dogen got around a bit in the Five Mountains region, and Kukai spent time at the imperial court, but he was only in China for a year, and China is huge. So it's really all sheer speculation. If any Christians, Nestorian or otherwise, made it to Japan before the Portuguese in the 1540s, there's no record of it.
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« Reply #54 on: March 10, 2011, 11:06:06 AM »

It's possible, however, that Japanese travelers in China encountered Christians there. Dogen spent three years in China in the 1220s, and both Kukai and Saicho spent time there as well some 400 years earlier. I believe Dogen's teacher Eisai spent some time there, too, although I may be misremembering this. I don't know how extensively any of them traveled--Dogen got around a bit in the Five Mountains region, and Kukai spent time at the imperial court, but he was only in China for a year, and China is huge. So it's really all sheer speculation. If any Christians, Nestorian or otherwise, made it to Japan before the Portuguese in the 1540s, there's no record of it.

Indeed, it is *possible* but without some kind of record it is, as you wrote, sheer speculation. China is a BIG place with a large population even back then.   But sites like the one linked to state that a Christian presence in Japan prior to the 1500s as a fact and do not support it with anything but nebulous suggestions and partial quotes from persons who are not shown to know what they're writing about.  That is not true history.

Again, I think that we seem to be in agreement.  Smiley

Ebor
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« Reply #55 on: March 10, 2011, 02:01:36 PM »

It's possible, however, that Japanese travelers in China encountered Christians there. Dogen spent three years in China in the 1220s, and both Kukai and Saicho spent time there as well some 400 years earlier. I believe Dogen's teacher Eisai spent some time there, too, although I may be misremembering this. I don't know how extensively any of them traveled--Dogen got around a bit in the Five Mountains region, and Kukai spent time at the imperial court, but he was only in China for a year, and China is huge. So it's really all sheer speculation. If any Christians, Nestorian or otherwise, made it to Japan before the Portuguese in the 1540s, there's no record of it.

Indeed, it is *possible* but without some kind of record it is, as you wrote, sheer speculation. China is a BIG place with a large population even back then.   But sites like the one linked to state that a Christian presence in Japan prior to the 1500s as a fact and do not support it with anything but nebulous suggestions and partial quotes from persons who are not shown to know what they're writing about.  That is not true history.

Again, I think that we seem to be in agreement.  Smiley

Ebor


Yep. It always amazes me how certain people can be about events that happened so long ago. It's almost like an inverse proportion: The fewer primary sources we have, the more certain we are about the implications of the ones that do exist. It's a peculiar kind of National Inquirer logic.
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« Reply #56 on: March 22, 2011, 09:26:05 AM »

It's possible, however, that Japanese travelers in China encountered Christians there. Dogen spent three years in China in the 1220s, and both Kukai and Saicho spent time there as well some 400 years earlier. I believe Dogen's teacher Eisai spent some time there, too, although I may be misremembering this. I don't know how extensively any of them traveled--Dogen got around a bit in the Five Mountains region, and Kukai spent time at the imperial court, but he was only in China for a year, and China is huge. So it's really all sheer speculation. If any Christians, Nestorian or otherwise, made it to Japan before the Portuguese in the 1540s, there's no record of it.

Indeed, it is *possible* but without some kind of record it is, as you wrote, sheer speculation. China is a BIG place with a large population even back then.   But sites like the one linked to state that a Christian presence in Japan prior to the 1500s as a fact and do not support it with anything but nebulous suggestions and partial quotes from persons who are not shown to know what they're writing about.  That is not true history.

Again, I think that we seem to be in agreement.  Smiley

Ebor


Yep. It always amazes me how certain people can be about events that happened so long ago. It's almost like an inverse proportion: The fewer primary sources we have, the more certain we are about the implications of the ones that do exist. It's a peculiar kind of National Inquirer logic.

It's the part where the real primary sources are ignored or attempts are made to twist them so that they say something that they don't that get me.  This is a case in point with the suggestion that Prince Shotoku was supporting some form of Christianity when his seventeen point constitution has a clear statement about Buddha and Buddhism. 

There's also the pattern of doubting/denying the real primary sources (imho because they don't have what the speaker/writer likes) while saying that the "real truth" (which the person does like) was suppressed or hidden or something like that.   Sigh.

Ebor
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« Reply #57 on: March 07, 2012, 04:40:48 PM »

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If you look at the way meditation, virtue, and generosity are taught here [in America], it's the exact opposite of the order in which they're taught in Asia. Here, people sign up for a retreat to learn some meditation, and only when they show up at the retreat center do they learn they're going to have to observe some precepts during the retreat. And then at the very end of the retreat they learn that before they'll be allowed to go home they're going to have to be generous. It's all backwards.

Over in Thailand, children's first exposure to Buddhism, after they've learned the gesture of respect, is in giving. You see parents taking their children by the hand as a monk comes past on his alms round, lifting them up, and helping them put a spoonful of rice into the monk's bowl. Over time, as the children start doing it themselves, the process becomes less and less mechanical, and after a while they begin to take pleasure in giving.
....
[T]he spaciousness that comes from generosity gives you the right mindset for the concentration practice, gives you the right mindset for insight practice — because when you sit down and focus on the breath, what kind of mind do you have? The mind you've been creating through your generous and virtuous actions. A spacious mind, not the narrow mind of a person who doesn't have enough. It's the spacious mind of a person who has more than enough to share, the mind of a person who has no regrets or denial over past actions. In short, it's the mind of a person who realizes that true happiness doesn't see a sharp dichotomy between your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others.
"American" Buddhism has a ways to go.
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« Reply #58 on: March 10, 2012, 04:48:37 PM »

There really are no true Buddhists in the western world; most are just atheists who think they can reconcile Buddhism with rationalism, even though any Buddhist monk in the east will tell you that it is impossible and in a sense is a nihilistic philosophy. Also, I disagree with all of these various 'denominations' if you will of Buddhism. Seems like the Japanese have corrupted Buddhism from its true Thereavada form, now it is all Zen and strange offshoots of Mahayanian roots.
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« Reply #59 on: March 10, 2012, 04:56:21 PM »

There really are no true Buddhists in the western world; most are just atheists who think they can reconcile Buddhism with rationalism, even though any Buddhist monk in the east will tell you that it is impossible and in a sense is a nihilistic philosophy.
Are you saying that the Buddhist monk will claim Buddhism as nihilistic, or that the common American version of Buddhism is seen as nihilistic by Asian Buddhists?
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Also, I disagree with all of these various 'denominations' if you will of Buddhism. Seems like the Japanese have corrupted Buddhism from its true Thereavada form, now it is all Zen and strange offshoots of Mahayanian roots.
Speaking as someone who values deeply the Theravada tradition, I wouldn't be so quick to give Theravada the prize for 'the only true' Buddhism.
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« Reply #60 on: March 10, 2012, 10:50:10 PM »

"Theravadin roots"... you do realize that Theravada is itself a "denomination" among the various Hinayana groups. It just happens to be the only one still existing.

Japanese Buddhism was very much corrupted, but this has to do with the meddling of the state more than anything. Mahayana tendencies elsewhere in Asia maintained their integrity much better.
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« Reply #61 on: March 11, 2012, 04:44:23 PM »

Are you saying that the Buddhist monk will claim Buddhism as nihilistic, or that the common American version of Buddhism is seen as nihilistic by Asian Buddhists?

In a sense, a little bit of both. To the American who views Buddhism through western eyes, Buddhism will seem nihilistic because of its disregard for empirical reasoning and concentration simply on the self, which is entirely foreign to the western world since scholasticism has become engrained into our culture. And if a traditional Asian Buddhist like in India or something was to see American Buddhism, it would seem nihilistic to him spiritually because of the westerner's attempt to rationalize it empirically.

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Speaking as someone who values deeply the Theravada tradition, I wouldn't be so quick to give Theravada the prize for 'the only true' Buddhism.

I would, and that is coming from a former Theravada Buddhist, at least one of those strange, pseudo-intellectual former atheist American ones. Theravada Buddhism is to Buddhism what Orthodoxy is to Christianity; the original and oldest which seems to have preserved the truth of the faith. Everything else is born from schism or straying from the truth. Although, most Buddhists of all colors would disagree with me on this.

"Theravadin roots"... you do realize that Theravada is itself a "denomination" among the various Hinayana groups. It just happens to be the only one still existing.

Theravada is not a 'denomination' in Buddhism anymore than Orthodoxy is a denomination in Christianity because they are predenominational since Theravada Buddhism is the oldest and original school of Buddhism; at least historically if I am not mistaken.
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« Reply #62 on: March 11, 2012, 05:18:20 PM »

I would, and that is coming from a former Theravada Buddhist, at least one of those strange, pseudo-intellectual former atheist American ones. Theravada Buddhism is to Buddhism what Orthodoxy is to Christianity; the original and oldest which seems to have preserved the truth of the faith. Everything else is born from schism or straying from the truth. Although, most Buddhists of all colors would disagree with me on this.

The comparison simply doesn't work and ignores how Buddhism developed and how the different tendencies relate to one another. Mahayanists claim that their sutras were spoken by the Buddha as an advancement upon the initial "Hinayana" teachings. The Hinayana remains valid to them- incomplete, perhaps, but not heretical. The kind of cooperation one sees historically between Mahayanists and Theravadins would be unthinkable between Orthodoxy and other Christian groups. For example, Theravadin nuns are sometimes getting their vows from Chinese Chan monks and nuns, because the Theravadin school basically refused to ordain them. In the early days the divisions were not very sharp either- Mahayana and non-Mahayana monks would live in the same monasteries, belonged to the same lineages, etc.

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Theravada is not a 'denomination' in Buddhism anymore than Orthodoxy is a denomination in Christianity because they are predenominational since Theravada Buddhism is the oldest and original school of Buddhism; at least historically if I am not mistaken

You are mistaken. Theravada is one of perhaps 20 early Buddhist sects; which one was the "original" is basically impossible to prove. It just so happens that Theravada is the only one still existing today which did not embrace Mahayana. This causes a lot of confusion to many who assume that Theravada and what Mahayanists call "Hinayana" are the same thing.
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« Reply #63 on: March 13, 2012, 12:10:54 AM »


Are you saying that the Buddhist monk will claim Buddhism as nihilistic, or that the common American version of Buddhism is seen as nihilistic by Asian Buddhists?

In a sense, a little bit of both. To the American who views Buddhism through western eyes, Buddhism will seem nihilistic because of its disregard for empirical reasoning and concentration simply on the self, which is entirely foreign to the western world since scholasticism has become engrained into our culture. And if a traditional Asian Buddhist like in India or something was to see American Buddhism, it would seem nihilistic to him spiritually because of the westerner's attempt to rationalize it empirically.

Quote
Speaking as someone who values deeply the Theravada tradition, I wouldn't be so quick to give Theravada the prize for 'the only true' Buddhism.

I would, and that is coming from a former Theravada Buddhist, at least one of those strange, pseudo-intellectual former atheist American ones. Theravada Buddhism is to Buddhism what Orthodoxy is to Christianity; the original and oldest which seems to have preserved the truth of the faith. Everything else is born from schism or straying from the truth. Although, most Buddhists of all colors would disagree with me on this.

"Theravadin roots"... you do realize that Theravada is itself a "denomination" among the various Hinayana groups. It just happens to be the only one still existing.

Theravada is not a 'denomination' in Buddhism anymore than Orthodoxy is a denomination in Christianity because they are predenominational since Theravada Buddhism is the oldest and original school of Buddhism; at least historically if I am not mistaken.


Dont be too hasty. There are lots of genuine Buddhist schools that have a pure Orthodox strain. Folk religion has gotten mixed into some but not all...by any means. 
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« Reply #64 on: March 15, 2012, 11:32:36 PM »

A bumper sticker I saw a while back:

"My Other Vehicle is the Mahayana"

 Grin
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« Reply #65 on: June 13, 2012, 02:50:34 PM »

There really are no true Buddhists in the western world;

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« Reply #66 on: June 13, 2012, 03:41:53 PM »

Is that Thich Naht Hahn?
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« Reply #67 on: June 13, 2012, 03:48:28 PM »

Is that Thich Naht Hahn?

Thich Naht Hahn?  Isn't he the brother of Scott Hahn?  Roll Eyes Roll Eyes

Ohhh....I see....you mean Thich Nhat Hanh.   Grin  IOW, this guy:

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« Reply #68 on: June 13, 2012, 03:58:58 PM »

Is that Thich Naht Hahn?

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, founder of a Theravada Buddhist monastery in West Virginia.
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« Reply #69 on: June 13, 2012, 04:01:19 PM »



He's going to have a really difficult time eating soup with a spoon like that.
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« Reply #70 on: June 13, 2012, 04:03:36 PM »



He's going to have a really difficult time eating soup with a spoon like that.

Nah....that's what he uses to skewer the noodles.
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« Reply #71 on: June 13, 2012, 04:15:58 PM »

 Buddhists generally don't squabble so much about who is doing it right,
When you see a Theravadan Buddhist, call him a Hinayanan and see what happens.  Answer: squabbling.
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« Reply #72 on: June 13, 2012, 04:20:43 PM »

Is that Thich Naht Hahn?

Bhante Henepola Gunaratana, founder of a Theravada Buddhist monastery in West Virginia.

Shortly after leaving Islam and a few years before becoming Orthodox, I really enjoyed Bhante's teachings.  I had a book of his on the Noble Eightfold Path.  I recall it was pretty good.  But as Fr. Seraphim Rose liked to say, "Buddhism is good as far as it goes.  But it doesn't go far enough."  A study of Orthodox Patristics yields far more insightful gems into the psyche and it's dysfunctions after the fall than anything the Buddha did.  My wife bought this book for me a while back and I'm just awestruck on what the Fathers knew.



http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Cognitive-American-University-Studies/dp/1433113627/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1339619122&sr=1-1&keywords=alexis+trader
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« Reply #73 on: June 13, 2012, 04:21:20 PM »

 Buddhists generally don't squabble so much about who is doing it right,
When you see a Theravadan Buddhist, call him a Hinayanan and see what happens.  Answer: squabbling.

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« Reply #74 on: June 13, 2012, 05:19:36 PM »

Yes, they're called Buddhists, especially Mahayana Buddhists, all of whom recognize the Lotus Sutra and other scriptures that advocate the worship of the Buddha

Not exactly. The point is NOT to worship the historical Buddha which the LS reveals as an expedient means of teaching meant for earlier spiritual epochs. It rather advocates faith in the Eternal Buddha, Lord Shakyamuni who is omni present, omniscient and eternally existing. He is considered by LS Prophets (Tendai, Saicho and Nichiren) as "Lord and Father"

Sound familiar ? 
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« Reply #75 on: July 20, 2012, 09:12:01 AM »

I don't think it makes sense to compare the different Buddhist sects to Christian denominations. Pure Land, Chan, Tiantai, Theravada, Geluk, etc. are all different Buddhist sects, but they all recognize each other as Buddhist. Even if a given school might claim that theirs is the "higher" teaching, this does not amount to the kind of division one sees between, say, Orthodoxy and Protestantism. But I doubt anyone from these sects would recognize SGI as legitimate Buddhism.

Well, the statement that the differences aren't as pronounced as between Orthodoxy and Protestantism is flat wrong. To Buddhists, Christians look the same, too, hardly any significant differences. All Christians believe that Christ rose from the dead--even Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses believe that. They believe that He was born of Mary in Bethlehem, and they believe in the prophecies of the Old Testament. They pray to the same God and they all worship Jesus as His Son. They squabble about bread and what happens esoterically during some of their ceremonies, but on all the main points they see things pretty much the same way...

So you see how dangerous it can be to generalize. A Vajrayana Buddhist has no more in common with a Nichiren adherent than an Episcopalian does with a holy roller. And Zen Buddhists and ALL other sects differ profoundly on the fundamental teachings of what it means to be an enlightened human being. They are really complete polar opposites in terms of how they define the process and the experience.

Sorry, I don't think you understand Buddhism much at all.

Thank you.
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« Reply #76 on: July 20, 2012, 09:58:24 AM »

 
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I have never seen anything to indicate Nichiren had any contact with Christians but as you said, some idea's may have crept into the general population. However, I think my teacher ( who is a famous translator of Nichiren) would reject the suggestion.

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Without some very good and reliable support I would not believe that Nichiren had ever met any Christians nor that there was Christianity in Japan until the coming of the Portuguese in the 15th

Not unless he traveled in Western China or went to the court of the Khan, and I'm not aware that he did.

Why all this interest in Nichiren? He's one of the most unorthodox of all the reformers. His practice is exactly akin to Christians sitting around praising the title of ONE of the books of the Bible. Not reading the book, mind you, just reciting its name. "Homage to the First Letter of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians!" Because in this degenerate time, we are unable to appreciate or understand the true meaning of the book itself, and because the title represents the contents, at least in an esoteric sense. I am simplifying and reducing to absurdity, and of course devout Nichiren Buddhists study the Lotus Sutra. And there is a way in which mantra practice can be a very deep practice. But I'm only trying to point out that Nichiren's practice is one of the least mainstream, and his is one of the sects where the least correlation with Christianity could be made.

Actually it is the mainstream. Nichiren Buddhists far out number all other sects. It must have happened while you were not looking. Smiley
Just because there are a lot of them doesn't make them orthodox. And I believe it is actually Soka Gakai that outnumbers the other sects, not Nichirenshu per se. The traditional form of Nichiren (the one that has monks and stuff) is pretty small, compared to Sotoshu and the Pure Land schools.

It's pretty easily settled. Do you know how many Nichiren temples or priests there are in Japan? I don't, so this is a real question. NOT including Soka Gakai.

The SGI has around 8.3 million members in Japan and about 12 million World Wide;

The Nichiren Shu has around 3 to 5 million members in Japan. I dont know how many outside of Japan. There are six or seven Nichiren Shu Temples here in the USA.

Several Nichiren groups like Honmon Butsuryushu ( "Hapoon Ha"..Eight Chapters branch) have at least one million members and it's sister sect the Hokke Shu with another million. There are probably one or two more that size or close to it. I would think Nichiren Shoshu which the SGI came out of retains around one million

The Risso Kosikai probably has at least 3 million members.

Then there are a dozen or more small sects in the range of 30 to 60 thousand members. Kempon Hokke Shu, Fuju Fuse ha, and others.  

Sotoshu Shumucho claims about 15,000 temples in Japan and roughly 20 million adherents. It's hard to measure international membership--most US communities aren't registered, for example. But roughly the same amount overseas seems about right. Soto has large communities in Brazil (more than in the US) and Peru, as well as the US, Europe, and Southern Africa, the rest of Asia, etc. (I'm not combining Japanese Sotowith Chinese or Korean forms.)

I think we've gotten very far away from the topic.

I have heard the SGI claim 26 million members in Japan. The Japanese are very competitive with each other. And they lie  a lot. Smiley

I was just IMing a buddy who lived in a Nichiren Shu temple in  Japan for awhile. He says they have 16 Million members.. I doubt that very much.

My experience over five decades living among Japanese is that they don't lie any more than anyone else. Anyway, you might remember in this counting that many Japanese practice more than one form of Buddhism. If you add up all the membership claims, it exceeds the country's total population. Japanese Buddhist scholars say that Sotoshu, Nichiren (including SGI), and all the branches of Pure Land taken as (man would they hate that!) each have roughly the same number of adherents in Japan: somewhere between 15 million and 20 million.

I would also like to say, since I'm a pretty strong critic of SGI generally, that Ikeda-sama did a lot very good work. Not only was Japan devastated by the war; it it been morall bankrupt since at least 1910-when Japanse agents assassinated the last queen of Korea, and then solders marched in and occupied country. Pure Land, Nichiren/SGI, and the new religions seemed to speak to people's sense of bewilderment. There was also a huge Imflux of new vocations at Soto monasteries. Something similar happened in the West
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« Reply #77 on: July 20, 2012, 11:10:15 AM »

 
Quote
I have never seen anything to indicate Nichiren had any contact with Christians but as you said, some idea's may have crept into the general population. However, I think my teacher ( who is a famous translator of Nichiren) would reject the suggestion.

Quote
Without some very good and reliable support I would not believe that Nichiren had ever met any Christians nor that there was Christianity in Japan until the coming of the Portuguese in the 15th

Not unless he traveled in Western China or went to the court of the Khan, and I'm not aware that he did.

Why all this interest in Nichiren? He's one of the most unorthodox of all the reformers. His practice is exactly akin to Christians sitting around praising the title of ONE of the books of the Bible. Not reading the book, mind you, just reciting its name. "Homage to the First Letter of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthians!" Because in this degenerate time, we are unable to appreciate or understand the true meaning of the book itself, and because the title represents the contents, at least in an esoteric sense. I am simplifying and reducing to absurdity, and of course devout Nichiren Buddhists study the Lotus Sutra. And there is a way in which mantra practice can be a very deep practice. But I'm only trying to point out that Nichiren's practice is one of the least mainstream, and his is one of the sects where the least correlation with Christianity could be made.

Actually it is the mainstream. Nichiren Buddhists far out number all other sects. It must have happened while you were not looking. Smiley
Just because there are a lot of them doesn't make them orthodox. And I believe it is actually Soka Gakai that outnumbers the other sects, not Nichirenshu per se. The traditional form of Nichiren (the one that has monks and stuff) is pretty small, compared to Sotoshu and the Pure Land schools.

It's pretty easily settled. Do you know how many Nichiren temples or priests there are in Japan? I don't, so this is a real question. NOT including Soka Gakai.

The SGI has around 8.3 million members in Japan and about 12 million World Wide;

The Nichiren Shu has around 3 to 5 million members in Japan. I dont know how many outside of Japan. There are six or seven Nichiren Shu Temples here in the USA.

Several Nichiren groups like Honmon Butsuryushu ( "Hapoon Ha"..Eight Chapters branch) have at least one million members and it's sister sect the Hokke Shu with another million. There are probably one or two more that size or close to it. I would think Nichiren Shoshu which the SGI came out of retains around one million

The Risso Kosikai probably has at least 3 million members.

Then there are a dozen or more small sects in the range of 30 to 60 thousand members. Kempon Hokke Shu, Fuju Fuse ha, and others.  

Sotoshu Shumucho claims about 15,000 temples in Japan and roughly 20 million adherents. It's hard to measure international membership--most US communities aren't registered, for example. But roughly the same amount overseas seems about right. Soto has large communities in Brazil (more than in the US) and Peru, as well as the US, Europe, and Southern Africa, the rest of Asia, etc. (I'm not combining Japanese Sotowith Chinese or Korean forms.)

I think we've gotten very far away from the topic.

I have heard the SGI claim 26 million members in Japan. The Japanese are very competitive with each other. And they lie  a lot. Smiley

I was just IMing a buddy who lived in a Nichiren Shu temple in  Japan for awhile. He says they have 16 Million members.. I doubt that very much.

My experience over five decades living among Japanese is that they don't lie any more than anyone else. Anyway, you might remember in this counting that many Japanese practice more than one form of Buddhism. If you add up all the membership claims, it exceeds the country's total population. Japanese Buddhist scholars say that Sotoshu, Nichiren (including SGI), and all the branches of Pure Land taken as (man would they hate that!) each have roughly the same number of adherents in Japan: somewhere between 15 million and 20 million.

I would also like to say, since I'm a pretty strong critic of SGI generally, that Ikeda-sama did a lot very good work. Not only was Japan devastated by the war; it it been morall bankrupt since at least 1910-when Japanse agents assassinated the last queen of Korea, and then solders marched in and occupied country. Pure Land, Nichiren/SGI, and the new religions seemed to speak to people's sense of bewilderment. There was also a huge Imflux of new vocations at Soto monasteries. Something similar happened in the West


Ikeda is a classic cult guru IMHO. The difference between a "Religion" and a "Cult" is a million members Smiley

I was in a room with him once. He was sitting no more than a few feet away. I found him more impressive than I would have suspected.

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« Reply #78 on: July 20, 2012, 01:00:59 PM »

 Buddhists generally don't squabble so much about who is doing it right,
When you see a Theravadan Buddhist, call him a Hinayanan and see what happens.  Answer: squabbling.

That's because to many Theravada Buddhists, Hinayana ("lesser-vehicle") is derogatory. That'd be a bit like Catholics or Protestants calling Orthodoxy the "lesser-way".
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« Reply #79 on: July 20, 2012, 02:47:07 PM »

 Buddhists generally don't squabble so much about who is doing it right,
When you see a Theravadan Buddhist, call him a Hinayanan and see what happens.  Answer: squabbling.

That's because to many Theravada Buddhists, Hinayana ("lesser-vehicle") is derogatory. That'd be a bit like Catholics or Protestants calling Orthodoxy the "lesser-way".

More like the habit we Orthodox have of referring to ourselves as the One True Church.
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« Reply #80 on: July 20, 2012, 02:53:28 PM »

 Buddhists generally don't squabble so much about who is doing it right,
When you see a Theravadan Buddhist, call him a Hinayanan and see what happens.  Answer: squabbling.

That's because to many Theravada Buddhists, Hinayana ("lesser-vehicle") is derogatory. That'd be a bit like Catholics or Protestants calling Orthodoxy the "lesser-way".

That sense of superiority is more pronounced among Western adherents, I believe. None of my Japanese teachers ever evinced anything but respect for the Theravadan teachers. Some, like Nakagowa Soen Roshi, spent several years living and practicing with them. They are closer to the practice of the original Buddhists. And no one, IMHO, can avoid the Hinayana path, however snotty they are about t. It's just the natural place to begin.
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« Reply #81 on: July 21, 2012, 11:15:18 AM »

 Buddhists generally don't squabble so much about who is doing it right,
When you see a Theravadan Buddhist, call him a Hinayanan and see what happens.  Answer: squabbling.

That's because to many Theravada Buddhists, Hinayana ("lesser-vehicle") is derogatory. That'd be a bit like Catholics or Protestants calling Orthodoxy the "lesser-way".

That sense of superiority is more pronounced among Western adherents, I believe. None of my Japanese teachers ever evinced anything but respect for the Theravadan teachers. Some, like Nakagowa Soen Roshi, spent several years living and practicing with them. They are closer to the practice of the original Buddhists. And no one, IMHO, can avoid the Hinayana path, however snotty they are about t. It's just the natural place to begin.

Yes..But... The Lotus Sutra condemns them to Hell... so it goes.

Theravada is not a "Good place to start" if you wish to practice  Mahayana. It has different basic assumptions. This is what happens when you take the religion out of Buddhism and turn it into something like Hatha Yoga, all mechanics and technique.
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« Reply #82 on: July 22, 2012, 07:26:51 AM »

 Buddhists generally don't squabble so much about who is doing it right,
When you see a Theravadan Buddhist, call him a Hinayanan and see what happens.  Answer: squabbling.

That's because to many Theravada Buddhists, Hinayana ("lesser-vehicle") is derogatory. That'd be a bit like Catholics or Protestants calling Orthodoxy the "lesser-way".

That sense of superiority is more pronounced among Western adherents, I believe. None of my Japanese teachers ever evinced anything but respect for the Theravadan teachers. Some, like Nakagowa Soen Roshi, spent several years living and practicing with them. They are closer to the practice of the original Buddhists. And no one, IMHO, can avoid the Hinayana path, however snotty they are about t. It's just the natural place to begin.

Yes..But... The Lotus Sutra condemns them to Hell... so it goes.

Theravada is not a "Good place to start" if you wish to practice  Mahayana. It has different basic assumptions. This is what happens when you take the religion out of Buddhism and turn it into something like Hatha Yoga, all mechanics and technique.

I was a Zen monk for 20 years. I'd say I'm pretty familiar with the religion. But I do agree. It's my main issue with the idea of Zen Catholics or Zen plus anything else. It's not a technique; it's a fundamental experience of all of life,  etc.
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Marc1152
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« Reply #83 on: July 22, 2012, 04:55:45 PM »

 Buddhists generally don't squabble so much about who is doing it right,
When you see a Theravadan Buddhist, call him a Hinayanan and see what happens.  Answer: squabbling.

That's because to many Theravada Buddhists, Hinayana ("lesser-vehicle") is derogatory. That'd be a bit like Catholics or Protestants calling Orthodoxy the "lesser-way".

That sense of superiority is more pronounced among Western adherents, I believe. None of my Japanese teachers ever evinced anything but respect for the Theravadan teachers. Some, like Nakagowa Soen Roshi, spent several years living and practicing with them. They are closer to the practice of the original Buddhists. And no one, IMHO, can avoid the Hinayana path, however snotty they are about t. It's just the natural place to begin.

Yes..But... The Lotus Sutra condemns them to Hell... so it goes.

Theravada is not a "Good place to start" if you wish to practice  Mahayana. It has different basic assumptions. This is what happens when you take the religion out of Buddhism and turn it into something like Hatha Yoga, all mechanics and technique.

I was a Zen monk for 20 years. I'd say I'm pretty familiar with the religion. But I do agree. It's my main issue with the idea of Zen Catholics or Zen plus anything else. It's not a technique; it's a fundamental experience of all of life,  etc.

Where where you a monk ?

I was ordained within the Honmon Bustsuryu Shu and spent time with the Kempon Hokke and few other stops.
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« Reply #84 on: July 22, 2012, 05:15:11 PM »

 Buddhists generally don't squabble so much about who is doing it right,
When you see a Theravadan Buddhist, call him a Hinayanan and see what happens.  Answer: squabbling.

That's because to many Theravada Buddhists, Hinayana ("lesser-vehicle") is derogatory. That'd be a bit like Catholics or Protestants calling Orthodoxy the "lesser-way".

That sense of superiority is more pronounced among Western adherents, I believe. None of my Japanese teachers ever evinced anything but respect for the Theravadan teachers. Some, like Nakagowa Soen Roshi, spent several years living and practicing with them. They are closer to the practice of the original Buddhists. And no one, IMHO, can avoid the Hinayana path, however snotty they are about t. It's just the natural place to begin.

Yes..But... The Lotus Sutra condemns them to Hell... so it goes.

Theravada is not a "Good place to start" if you wish to practice  Mahayana. It has different basic assumptions. This is what happens when you take the religion out of Buddhism and turn it into something like Hatha Yoga, all mechanics and technique.

I was a Zen monk for 20 years. I'd say I'm pretty familiar with the religion. But I do agree. It's my main issue with the idea of Zen Catholics or Zen plus anything else. It's not a technique; it's a fundamental experience of all of life,  etc.

Where where you a monk ?

I was ordained within the Honmon Bustsuryu Shu and spent time with the Kempon Hokke and few other stops.

I had transmission in both Soto and Rinzai Zen lineages.

How do you find Orthodox in your church respond to your Buddhist background?
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Marc1152
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« Reply #85 on: July 22, 2012, 05:32:12 PM »

 Buddhists generally don't squabble so much about who is doing it right,
When you see a Theravadan Buddhist, call him a Hinayanan and see what happens.  Answer: squabbling.

That's because to many Theravada Buddhists, Hinayana ("lesser-vehicle") is derogatory. That'd be a bit like Catholics or Protestants calling Orthodoxy the "lesser-way".

That sense of superiority is more pronounced among Western adherents, I believe. None of my Japanese teachers ever evinced anything but respect for the Theravadan teachers. Some, like Nakagowa Soen Roshi, spent several years living and practicing with them. They are closer to the practice of the original Buddhists. And no one, IMHO, can avoid the Hinayana path, however snotty they are about t. It's just the natural place to begin.

Yes..But... The Lotus Sutra condemns them to Hell... so it goes.

Theravada is not a "Good place to start" if you wish to practice  Mahayana. It has different basic assumptions. This is what happens when you take the religion out of Buddhism and turn it into something like Hatha Yoga, all mechanics and technique.

I was a Zen monk for 20 years. I'd say I'm pretty familiar with the religion. But I do agree. It's my main issue with the idea of Zen Catholics or Zen plus anything else. It's not a technique; it's a fundamental experience of all of life,  etc.

Where where you a monk ?

I was ordained within the Honmon Bustsuryu Shu and spent time with the Kempon Hokke and few other stops.

I had transmission in both Soto and Rinzai Zen lineages.

How do you find Orthodox in your church respond to your Buddhist background?

They were more fixated on my Jewish background. They wanted to keep asking me questions about the Old Testament or Jewish Tradition. I kept saying that I was more their man for questions about the Lotus Sutra. It didn't really compute.
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« Reply #86 on: July 22, 2012, 05:57:45 PM »

I was a Zen monk for 20 years.

Wow. Good on ya!
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« Reply #87 on: July 22, 2012, 06:07:04 PM »

 Buddhists generally don't squabble so much about who is doing it right,
When you see a Theravadan Buddhist, call him a Hinayanan and see what happens.  Answer: squabbling.

That's because to many Theravada Buddhists, Hinayana ("lesser-vehicle") is derogatory. That'd be a bit like Catholics or Protestants calling Orthodoxy the "lesser-way".

That sense of superiority is more pronounced among Western adherents, I believe. None of my Japanese teachers ever evinced anything but respect for the Theravadan teachers. Some, like Nakagowa Soen Roshi, spent several years living and practicing with them. They are closer to the practice of the original Buddhists. And no one, IMHO, can avoid the Hinayana path, however snotty they are about t. It's just the natural place to begin.

Yes..But... The Lotus Sutra condemns them to Hell... so it goes.

Theravada is not a "Good place to start" if you wish to practice  Mahayana. It has different basic assumptions. This is what happens when you take the religion out of Buddhism and turn it into something like Hatha Yoga, all mechanics and technique.

I was a Zen monk for 20 years. I'd say I'm pretty familiar with the religion. But I do agree. It's my main issue with the idea of Zen Catholics or Zen plus anything else. It's not a technique; it's a fundamental experience of all of life,  etc.

Where where you a monk ?

I was ordained within the Honmon Bustsuryu Shu and spent time with the Kempon Hokke and few other stops.

I had transmission in both Soto and Rinzai Zen lineages.

How do you find Orthodox in your church respond to your Buddhist background?

They were more fixated on my Jewish background. They wanted to keep asking me questions about the Old Testament or Jewish Tradition. I kept saying that I was more their man for questions about the Lotus Sutra. It didn't really compute.

Mine literally can't imagine Zen would have anything useful to offer them. One hieromonk said my experience was probably somewhere on a spectrum between completely deluded and demonic.

I suppose it's only fair. I spent a fair amount of my life describing Christians as imbeciles who believed in fairy tales--until I became one myself!
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WeldeMikael
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« Reply #88 on: July 22, 2012, 06:12:59 PM »

 Buddhists generally don't squabble so much about who is doing it right,
When you see a Theravadan Buddhist, call him a Hinayanan and see what happens.  Answer: squabbling.

That's because to many Theravada Buddhists, Hinayana ("lesser-vehicle") is derogatory. That'd be a bit like Catholics or Protestants calling Orthodoxy the "lesser-way".

That sense of superiority is more pronounced among Western adherents, I believe. None of my Japanese teachers ever evinced anything but respect for the Theravadan teachers. Some, like Nakagowa Soen Roshi, spent several years living and practicing with them. They are closer to the practice of the original Buddhists. And no one, IMHO, can avoid the Hinayana path, however snotty they are about t. It's just the natural place to begin.

Yes..But... The Lotus Sutra condemns them to Hell... so it goes.

Theravada is not a "Good place to start" if you wish to practice  Mahayana. It has different basic assumptions. This is what happens when you take the religion out of Buddhism and turn it into something like Hatha Yoga, all mechanics and technique.

I was a Zen monk for 20 years. I'd say I'm pretty familiar with the religion. But I do agree. It's my main issue with the idea of Zen Catholics or Zen plus anything else. It's not a technique; it's a fundamental experience of all of life,  etc.

Where where you a monk ?

I was ordained within the Honmon Bustsuryu Shu and spent time with the Kempon Hokke and few other stops.

I had transmission in both Soto and Rinzai Zen lineages.

How do you find Orthodox in your church respond to your Buddhist background?

They were more fixated on my Jewish background. They wanted to keep asking me questions about the Old Testament or Jewish Tradition. I kept saying that I was more their man for questions about the Lotus Sutra. It didn't really compute.

Mine literally can't imagine Zen would have anything useful to offer them. One hieromonk said my experience was probably somewhere on a spectrum between completely deluded and demonic.

I suppose it's only fair. I spent a fair amount of my life describing Christians as imbeciles who believed in fairy tales--until I became one myself!


Any idea on what do Buddhists think about Christians ? At least your entourage when you were a monk ?
« Last Edit: July 22, 2012, 06:13:22 PM by WeldeMikael » Logged
Hermogenes
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« Reply #89 on: July 22, 2012, 07:34:30 PM »

 Buddhists generally don't squabble so much about who is doing it right,
When you see a Theravadan Buddhist, call him a Hinayanan and see what happens.  Answer: squabbling.

That's because to many Theravada Buddhists, Hinayana ("lesser-vehicle") is derogatory. That'd be a bit like Catholics or Protestants calling Orthodoxy the "lesser-way".

That sense of superiority is more pronounced among Western adherents, I believe. None of my Japanese teachers ever evinced anything but respect for the Theravadan teachers. Some, like Nakagowa Soen Roshi, spent several years living and practicing with them. They are closer to the practice of the original Buddhists. And no one, IMHO, can avoid the Hinayana path, however snotty they are about t. It's just the natural place to begin.

Yes..But... The Lotus Sutra condemns them to Hell... so it goes.

Theravada is not a "Good place to start" if you wish to practice  Mahayana. It has different basic assumptions. This is what happens when you take the religion out of Buddhism and turn it into something like Hatha Yoga, all mechanics and technique.

I was a Zen monk for 20 years. I'd say I'm pretty familiar with the religion. But I do agree. It's my main issue with the idea of Zen Catholics or Zen plus anything else. It's not a technique; it's a fundamental experience of all of life,  etc.

Where where you a monk ?

I was ordained within the Honmon Bustsuryu Shu and spent time with the Kempon Hokke and few other stops.

I had transmission in both Soto and Rinzai Zen lineages.

How do you find Orthodox in your church respond to your Buddhist background?

They were more fixated on my Jewish background. They wanted to keep asking me questions about the Old Testament or Jewish Tradition. I kept saying that I was more their man for questions about the Lotus Sutra. It didn't really compute.

Mine literally can't imagine Zen would have anything useful to offer them. One hieromonk said my experience was probably somewhere on a spectrum between completely deluded and demonic.

I suppose it's only fair. I spent a fair amount of my life describing Christians as imbeciles who believed in fairy tales--until I became one myself!


Any idea on what do Buddhists think about Christians ? At least your entourage when you were a monk ?

In general we thought Christians were ignorant believers in outlandish myths. Most Western Buddhists 40 years ago were ex-Christians or -Jews. It's not surprising we bashed our former faiths.
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