I've been going down the rabbit hole in the past week because I had to prepare what I was going to say at an event. So I studied all the primary sources again for a few days. The effect wasn't good at all. It made me depressed and I realize now that Zen not right thing for me. It's quite a heartless affair. They hit, beat and shout at each other to get "realization". I don't get this impression from the Dao De Jing though or from as taught by Thich Nath Hanh for example.

This may have something to do with the difference between Theravada and Mahayana. Zen is based on Mahayana which seems to be quite far from the early teaching of Buddha from what I can gather.

@reto that would be true. There were a few very early Mahayana texts in the Gandhara collection, so it’s always been around, but a minor tradition in India.

@ShaunBartone yeah, but of course I only know Zen from what I've read and watched so I might misunderstand. it's fairly complicated to bring all those different forms of together 😁

@reto One monk achieved enlightenment, and another asked them what it was like. "More depressing than ever," replied the monk. 😜

@reto another good realization: Buddhism can be authoritarian. Westerners are resisting that, and some Asians cry ‘Tradition’ or ‘cultural appropriation’ or ‘colonialism’; but in the long run I think the Asians will be sick of authoritarianism and accept the change.

@reto The sudden stuff is Rinzai Zen. Check out Soto Zen for the slow and steady approach.

@mithriltabby thanks, I know the Zen practices a bit. Soto is close to what I mean. but I imagine something like a place you could go to and the only motto and goal would be to be mindful. that would be the teaching and the practice. hmm yeah, and maybe different activities. the difference to the world would be that it should be done mindfully, whatever it is.

@mithriltabby so there could be discussions, "just sitting", sports, music, anything. only the approach would differ. it would all happen with more awareness and the awareness can heal us. when people do this together the energy increases and it becomes easier for the individual.

@reto I often compare meditation to a gym workout for the “letting go” circuit in the brain. Cultivating that does, I think, need some accompanying discussion of ethical systems and nurturing of universal lovingkindness. Otherwise you get the pre-Mahayana lofty attitude. You could certainly ground that in mundane concerns over community than a bodhisattva vow, though.

@mithriltabby I mean if there aren't any lofty concepts then this shouldn't be a problem. no enlightenment, no nirvana, no heaven, no pure land, no salvation, no meditation. just one thing more is added: mindfulness. and mindfulness brings understanding and understanding brings love. you don't even need all the concepts and theories because they will grow out of mindfulness.

@reto I’m not sure you get the mindfulness without some zazen, and if you have the zazen, you need some framework for coping with the weird stuff that shows up like makyo and satori.

Focusing too much on enlightenment is detrimental to progress anyway. The “crossing to the other shore” metaphor is counterproductive— even the Buddha kept sitting for the rest of his life! He didn’t just enter enlightenment and stay there.

@reto Zen should make it more clear that moments of thusness are just moments, and no one should ever expect to dwell there full-time. Nirvana, likewise, just means “blowing out”, and the fires of greed, anger, and delusion are like those ever-lighting trick candles. We experience these things only for moments, but we can take inspiration from those moments.

@mithriltabby Yeah, many people are caught up in such experiences. It's good to have such a clear view on it.

@mithriltabby I guess it shouldn't have Zazen then. To me mindfulness just means not to live constantly in thoughts about the past or future. Focusing on the moment. Just as we have learned to be forgetful, we can learn again to be mindful. There is not meditation needed for that. A bit of explanation and then practice.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Dharma Realm

Dharma Realm is an open, friendly, diverse Instance that serves the Dharma community, including (but not limited to) all forms of Buddhism, Yoga, Advaita, Hinduism, Tantra, Tao and related spiritualities, and contemporary forms of Dharma philosophy and practice. All we ask is that you bring curiosity, kindness and an open mind. Dharma Realm is hosted on