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 Post subject: Obaku?
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 2:28 pm 
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No Obaku subforum? Any Obaku practitioners out there? I am very interested in learning about Obaku Zen. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 11:12 am 
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Why is it that most Zen practitioners in the west are either Soto or Rinzai, maybe Obaku has less exposure in the west?


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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 12:46 pm 
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Interesting, I had never heard of Obaku, nor did I know that Chinese monks went to Japan in the Ming Dynasty.


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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 1:24 pm 
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Besides that there are only a couple of books available in English on Obaku-shu, if anyone wanted to practice in a sort of zen-nenbutsu style, it is a lot easier to just go for Chinese Buddhism.

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"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)


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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 11:04 pm 
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Rokushu wrote:
No Obaku subforum? Any Obaku practitioners out there? I am very interested in learning about Obaku Zen. Any responses would be greatly appreciated.


Unfortunately Obaku has practically no representation outside of Japan.

irt

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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2014 11:44 pm 
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Rokushu wrote:
Why is it that most Zen practitioners in the west are either Soto or Rinzai, maybe Obaku has less exposure in the west?


Maybe that has to do with D.T. Suzuki and Taisen Deshimaru.


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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 12:54 am 
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Obaku Zen is small even in Japan.

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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 1:02 am 
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There was an e-sangha guy who said he was there studying for a bit. Basically today Obaku is no different than Rinzai and the koan is something like 'who is the one listening to the Buddha's name' it's not what it was....
gassho
Rory

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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 7:00 am 
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Obaku was my main interest after Tendai; but resources were pretty hard to find.
Here's the "Introduction" page on the Obakusan (Obaku Zen head temple) official site, next there's this page for another Obaku Zen temple, called Jokyu Ji and here's the school info for Obaku on the Jokyu Ji page.
All the above sites are in Japanese, but you may be able to throw the text into Google Translate.

rory wrote:
Basically today Obaku is no different than Rinzai and the koan is something like 'who is the one listening to the Buddha's name' it's not what it was....


The koan is "Who is the one reciting the Buddha-name?" and it's a very old koan.
Obaku was always a mix of dhyana (zen) meditation and nianfo (nembutsu).
Here's a link to a joint council between Rinzai and Obaku Zen

From the Obaku Zen school info page I listed above:
Quote:
『唯心(この世で実在するのは心だけであり、総ての事物、現象は心の働きによって仮に現れたものである)の浄土(汚れや迷いのない土地、佛の世界)己身(自分の身、自身)の弥陀(阿弥陀仏)』と説かれている。

「無限の自由と愛の世界この身このままが仏である」

私たちは、本来、心の中に阿弥陀様がおられる。自分の心の中に極楽浄土を見いだし、心の中にいます阿弥陀様気づかされることである。

"Mind Only (only the mind is real in this world, all things and phenomena are temporary appearances due to the workings of the mind) Pure Land (the land with no impurities or doubt, the world of the Buddha) Self Nature (one's True Nature, oneself) Amida (Amitabha Tathagata)" [para: Mind Only Pure Land, Self Nature Amida] will be explained below.

"Your True Nature is the Tathagata of Infinite Freedom and Compassion"

As for us, our True Nature is the Amida-sama in our heart-minds. We can discover Sukhavati (the land of Bliss) in our very own heart-minds, we can awaken to the Amida-sama residing our heart-minds.


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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 4:27 pm 
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Kinda screwed up this translation...
PorkChop wrote:
「無限の自由と愛の世界この身このままが仏である」
"Your True Nature is the Tathagata of Infinite Freedom and Compassion"


Literally:
"A world of infinite freedom and compassion; this very self - just as it is, is the Tathagata."


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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 6:23 am 
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Thanks for posting Pork Chop & first correcting me:) and then the rest. So interesting. If there is a FGS temple your way you might enjoy it as they did do a very good job teaching Pure Land from a Chan perspective with old excellent texts. Really good, scholarly.

gassho
ROry

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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 9:41 am 
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I found this short, but nice summary of the history of Obaku Zen:

http://www.angelfire.com/indie/cameroon ... kuZen.html


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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 8:38 am 
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Very interesting replies, true as Rory pointed out it is basically the same in doctrine with Rinzai, in Japan they are under the same organization, but their history is quite fascinating and different.


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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 1:24 pm 
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Rokushu wrote:
Very interesting replies, true as Rory pointed out it is basically the same in doctrine with Rinzai, in Japan they are under the same organization, but their history is quite fascinating and different.


Just as an FYI, Rinzai has had periods of very stringent disregard for mindfulness of the Buddha (nembutsu) practices.
In that sense the doctrines are not identical.


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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 5:01 am 
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So true, PorkChop, this is why I like Obaku, they are not so "sectarian" like other Japanese sects can sometimes be. They had no problem combining Zazen with Nembutsu(or just continuing the same practice from China, where both are practiced toghether and pretty much always were), this is what makes them unique in Japanese Buddhism, though totally common in other east Asian Mahayana countries, for example I've been to Taiwan, China and Vietnam, nobody sees a conflict between doing sitting meditation AND chanting Namo Amituofo/Namo Adida Phat or whatever, and would be a bit confused if you told them it was one or the other, not both.


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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 6:41 am 
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Rokoshu:
the older sects in Japan have multiple practices; so the Nara sect schools and Tendai would all practice; studying texts, nembutsu or chanting Kannon's name ,meditation, esoteric rituals. Shingon specializes in esoteric ritual. The single practice sects derive from Tendai: Zen, Pure Land, Nichiren. I too am not a fan of single practice...I've tried it and it's not for me. I study, chant mantras and practice meditation.
gassho
Rory

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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 8:46 am 
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Rory, I'm totally with you on this, that's why I'm primarily interested in the 6 schools of Nara Buddhism now. True, the sectarianism doesn't appear to have started until these Tendai offshoots came about and said "just this practice" or whatever.


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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 9:09 am 
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Rokushu wrote:
Rory, I'm totally with you on this, that's why I'm primarily interested in the 6 schools of Nara Buddhism now. True, the sectarianism doesn't appear to have started until these Tendai offshoots came about and said "just this practice" or whatever.


Rokoshu ; Single practice schools started with Honen the founder of Jodo Shu (Pure Land) who said all other practices are unecessary just do Nembutsu and he was followed by Shinran, founder of Jodo Shinshu, then Dogen Soto Shu, Nichiren....In the early days there really weren't schools/sects rather it was more like study groups, monks would study Kegon (Avatamsaka) philosophy at Todaiji and then go to another temple to learn from another master, Ven. Indrajala and I far prefer this. Though I have to say sectarianism has resulted in temples wonderfully preserving their traditions, manuscripts, statuary. Japan really is a treasure house. The Nara schools are my favorite too; have you read "Living Yogacara" it;s written by Shun'ei Tagawa the head abbot of Kofukuji, the head temple of the Hosso school.
gassho
Rory

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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 9:58 am 
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As a background information on the origin of the Obaku school I recommend the book Enlightenment in Dispute. It shows how Yinyuan Longqi (Ingen Ryuki, founder of Obaku-shu) was a member of a highly sectarian group that worked hard to take over the (Chan) Buddhist scene in China.
And an essay by the same author on Mount Huangbo: Building a Dharma-Transmission Monastery in Seventennth-Century China (PDF).

As for the idea that Soto Zen is a "one practice school", that is a major simplification. Dogen basically took everything he had seen and learnt in China back to Japan, including monastic regulations and architectural style. It is a very modern idea - strongly propagated by Kodo Sawaki - to reduce everything to seated meditation as the sole thing to do. Even the emphasis on Dogen and his works is an 18th century innovation of the Soto school started by Menzan Zuiho.

_________________
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)


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 Post subject: Re: Obaku?
PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 1:31 pm 
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Rokushu wrote:
So true, PorkChop, this is why I like Obaku, they are not so "sectarian" like other Japanese sects can sometimes be. They had no problem combining Zazen with Nembutsu(or just continuing the same practice from China, where both are practiced toghether and pretty much always were), this is what makes them unique in Japanese Buddhism, though totally common in other east Asian Mahayana countries, for example I've been to Taiwan, China and Vietnam, nobody sees a conflict between doing sitting meditation AND chanting Namo Amituofo/Namo Adida Phat or whatever, and would be a bit confused if you told them it was one or the other, not both.


I hear you. I started out in Vietnamese Tiantai - which is a lot like Japanese Tendai without the esoteric teachings. Even there, though, people specialized in specific sutras or teachings; with the general priority placed on the Lotus Sutra. So it's been a little hard to reconcile the outlook of the single practice schools. At the same time, I've never seen anybody chastised for reading other sutras; for example both Honen and Shinran quoted a large number of non-Pure Land sutras in their respective magnum opi, respectively the "Senchakushu" and the "Kyogyoshinsho". The idea of "single practice" may be misleading too, for example many Shin temples (especially in the US) are also offering meditation classes and Jodo Shu services typically feature any number of practices. In the case of the Pure Land schools, it's more a matter of "if you want X result, do Y" not "under NO circumstances must you do Z". So sutra recitation, seated meditation (or "deep listening"), various forms of introspection ("naikan"), precepts, vows, offerings, repentance, merit transference, etc are all part and parcel of those schools. I imagine the situation is similar for the other "single practice" schools as well. I know for a fact that there are Soto Zen people who do, in fact, chant nembutsu and one only need to look at a Soto Zen service book to see that they do a lot more than "just sit".


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