"Shingon Zen"

"Shingon Zen"

Postby mujushinkyo » Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:38 pm

I've been doing Shingon "Ajikan" meditation for some time now. The main way is where you visualize the letter "A" in Siddham script on a moon disk and then let it sink into your heart. There's also a version where you merely repeat the sound "Ah" with every breath. It seems a good thing to shake up one's "practice" now and then by trying new techniques, because doing the same thing can become stagnant. This is, of course, only my opinion.
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby Leo Rivers » Sun Jun 10, 2012 6:56 pm

That is indistinguishable from Tibetan practices ... and The Yoga Tantras behind Shingon share the same 5 basic features of the Mahayoga texts that came a tad later and went to Tibet. (3 samadhis, ect...) AND - these same methods show up as support in Ati as well.
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby mujushinkyo » Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:56 pm

Leo Rivers wrote:That is indistinguishable from Tibetan practices ... and The Yoga Tantras behind Shingon share the same 5 basic features of the Mahayoga texts that came a tad later and went to Tibet. (3 samadhis, ect...) AND - these same methods show up as support in Ati as well.


Undoubtedly. Thanks.
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby Acala » Sun Feb 15, 2015 4:53 pm

The Ajikan (at least by some scholars) is not actually considered a "tantric" practice of Shingon. It is Shingon, and there are tantric practices in Shingon...but this is usually not thought of as such.

Many people have noticed its similarities to Chan meditation. Some modern Chinese Buddhists (especially those from Contemporary Chinese Zhenyan) frame this as the "esoteric chan meditation".
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby WuMing » Fri Feb 20, 2015 8:20 pm

As Shingon is a pure esoteric form of Buddhism, so is Ajikan, too. When people who are not fully introduced to Shingon (meaning receiving tokudo and all the subsequent teachings and practicing it) say that they practice Ajikan according to Shingon, it is usually a very simplified form of it and lacking essential oral instructions. Ajinkan in Shingon is regarded as one of the highest forms of practice, if not the highest. All information (concerning Ajinkan) one may find on the internet is actually insufficient in order to practice proper Ajinkan.
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
- Anzan Hoshin Roshi
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby Acala » Tue Feb 24, 2015 5:46 pm

WuMing wrote:As Shingon is a pure esoteric form of Buddhism, so is Ajikan, too. When people who are not fully introduced to Shingon (meaning receiving tokudo and all the subsequent teachings and practicing it) say that they practice Ajikan according to Shingon, it is usually a very simplified form of it and lacking essential oral instructions. Ajinkan in Shingon is regarded as one of the highest forms of practice, if not the highest. All information (concerning Ajinkan) one may find on the internet is actually insufficient in order to practice proper Ajinkan.


Actually, much of what you say is not very correct.

Shingon is not "pure" esoteric Buddhism (what does that even mean? it is PURELY esoteric (meaning no exoteric?...well, we know that is not the case) or it is the "purest form of esoteric buddhism?" thats a sectarian stance that does not hold up to history). Perhaps you have another meaning that went over my head.

Ajikan needs little oral instructions. Unlike other Shingon rituals...it has, since the Kamakura, been laid out in totally straight forward terms. Its popularity is in large part due to how easy it is to perform (correctly!).

And you say "it is regarded as one of the highest forms of practice, if not the highest" I am interested in where you get that from. Any Tom Dick and Harry can sit in on an Ajikan course in Japan (and abroad) and start practicing it. The more complex rituals on the other hand...not so much.
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby WuMing » Tue Feb 24, 2015 6:23 pm

Acala wrote:Actually, much of what you say is not very correct.

Shingon is not "pure" esoteric Buddhism (what does that even mean? it is PURELY esoteric (meaning no exoteric?...well, we know that is not the case) or it is the "purest form of esoteric buddhism?" thats a sectarian stance that does not hold up to history). Perhaps you have another meaning that went over my head.

Ajikan needs little oral instructions. Unlike other Shingon rituals...it has, since the Kamakura, been laid out in totally straight forward terms. Its popularity is in large part due to how easy it is to perform (correctly!).

And you say "it is regarded as one of the highest forms of practice, if not the highest" I am interested in where you get that from. Any Tom Dick and Harry can sit in on an Ajikan course in Japan (and abroad) and start practicing it. The more complex rituals on the other hand...not so much.


Shingon is a purely esoteric Buddhist tradition, when it comes to practice. There are elements of exoteric Buddhism in it, which are used as skillful means. But again, Shingon is a purely esoteric tradition.

Ajikan is an abbreviated and advanced practice. In order to practice it properly and correct it is necessary to go through Shido Kegyo and teachings which follow after Dembo Kanjo. So, definitely NO: Ajikan is not an easy to do practice. Ajikan as taught today to people without knowledge or experience of Shido Kegyo and subsequent teachings is lacking essential oral instructions, which are not given to lay people. It is simple as that!
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
- Anzan Hoshin Roshi
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby Acala » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:29 am

WuMing wrote:Shingon is a purely esoteric Buddhist tradition, when it comes to practice.


What does that mean? You keep using the term "purely esoteric", to quote Inigo Montoya, "I do not think it means what you think it means" :shrug: What do you mean by that? Just by tacking "when it comes to practice" on the end of the word does not at all define what you mean.

There are elements of exoteric Buddhism in it, which are used as skillful means.


Shingon does not see exoteric Budhism as merely upaya...so I really have no idea where you are getting any of this from.

Ajikan is an abbreviated and advanced practice.


Pick one please. Which is it?

In order to practice it properly and correct it is necessary to go through Shido Kegyo and teachings which follow after Dembo Kanjo.


No, thats not true. Give me a source for this. If you have none (please, no convenient internet quotes) then you just made this up.

I think you do not know much about Shingon. I have noticed this the case for most people on this board (which is why it is sort of the deadest section). Please back up what you say. If you cannot (and when I say "back up", do not just ramble, tack on a few words to your original comment or try to rationalize...give sources) then it means you made it up.
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby WuMing » Wed Feb 25, 2015 4:50 am

Acala wrote:
WuMing wrote:Shingon is a purely esoteric Buddhist tradition, when it comes to practice.


What does that mean? You keep using the term "purely esoteric", to quote Inigo Montoya, "I do not think it means what you think it means" :shrug: What do you mean by that? Just by tacking "when it comes to practice" on the end of the word does not at all define what you mean.

Shingon is classified into zōmitsu 雑密 (mixed esoteric teachings) and junmitsu 純密 (purely esoteric teachings). Shingon teaches junmitsu exclusively. In the past Rev. Eijo summed it up very nicely: "Junmitsu is concerned with bodhi. Zōmitsu is involved with the fascinating baubles along the way, some may help some people a little, some are neutral, and some harm if you play with them too much."

Acala wrote:
WuMing wrote:Ajikan is an abbreviated and advanced practice.


Pick one please. Which is it?

It is an abbreviated practice and therefore advanced. AGAIN, in order to practice it correctly one must go through Shido Kegyo and subsequent teachings.

Acala wrote:
WuMing wrote:In order to practice it properly and correct it is necessary to go through Shido Kegyo and teachings which follow after Dembo Kanjo.


No, thats not true. Give me a source for this. If you have none (please, no convenient internet quotes) then you just made this up.

I think you do not know much about Shingon. I have noticed this the case for most people on this board (which is why it is sort of the deadest section). Please back up what you say. If you cannot (and when I say "back up", do not just ramble, tack on a few words to your original comment or try to rationalize...give sources) then it means you made it up.


I was once ordained and initated into Shingon on Mt. Koya in Japan. Went through shido kegyo and received Dembo Kanjo on Koyasan. One of my sources is Rev. Eijo.

Where do you get your information from?
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
- Anzan Hoshin Roshi
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby Acala » Wed Feb 25, 2015 5:10 am

WuMing wrote:What does that mean? You keep using the term "purely esoteric", to quote Inigo Montoya, "I do not think it means what you think it means" :shrug: What do you mean by that? Just by tacking "when it comes to practice" on the end of the word does not at all define what you mean.

Shingon is classified into zōmitsu 雑密 (mixed esoteric teachings) and junmitsu 純密 (purely esoteric teachings). Shingon teaches junmitsu exclusively. In the past Rev. Eijo summed it up very nicely: "Junmitsu is concerned with bodhi. Zōmitsu is involved with the fascinating baubles along the way, some may help some people a little, some are neutral, and some harm if you play with them too much."[/quote]

This distinction has shown to be contrary to history and (merely) a classification used to promote Shingon as superior to other forms of esoteric Buddhism. So this (as I stated) is a sectarian stance, not one actually validated by history.

Acala wrote:
WuMing wrote:Ajikan is an abbreviated and advanced practice.


Pick one please. Which is it?
WuMing wrote:It is an abbreviated practice and therefore advanced. AGAIN, in order to practice it correctly one must go through Shido Kegyo and subsequent teachings.


Abbreviated from what? There are longer and shorter versions. But there is no need to go through Shido Kegyo to do it.

Acala wrote:
WuMing wrote:In order to practice it properly and correct it is necessary to go through Shido Kegyo and teachings which follow after Dembo Kanjo.


No, thats not true. Give me a source for this. If you have none (please, no convenient internet quotes) then you just made this up.

I think you do not know much about Shingon. I have noticed this the case for most people on this board (which is why it is sort of the deadest section). Please back up what you say. If you cannot (and when I say "back up", do not just ramble, tack on a few words to your original comment or try to rationalize...give sources) then it means you made it up.

WuMing wrote:I was once ordained and initated into Shingon on Mt. Koya in Japan. Went through shido kegyo and received Dembo Kanjo on Koyasan. One of my sources is Rev. Eijo.

Where do you get your information from?


Plenty of places:
Shown to be used as a training practice...which I have also witnessed at a number of Shingon centers
“Complicated forms of practice require considerable ability in visualization and concentration….the A-syllable visualization, on the other hand, can develop ability in meditation through gently graded states, and so has been used as a preparation for more difficult practices”- Taiko Yamasaki, Shingon: Japanese Esoteric Buddhism, p. 191 The fact that this ritual is (relatively) super simple applies to the elongated version as well.

Most common Shingon practice:
The Shingon Ajikan: Diagrammatic Analysis of Ritual Syntax, p 217

Since its drop in popularity, especially in the Meiji, it is now used as a tool of outreach and propagation for the laity:
Gerald Cooke, “Traditional Buddhist Sects and Modernization in Japan” p. 329

Also from Cooke:
"It has now become accepted to simply include ajikan meditation as one element in the daily temple ritual the priest is obliged to perform in worship of dainichi nyorai….how, quite a number of laymen have taken up the practice."

Saying Eijo is "a source" does not give any validation...I have no idea what he actually said. I am giving you actual citations and quoting personal, firsthand experience of what I have seen. You haven't actually provided any reliable sources for anything you have said concerning this.

I have witnessed at countless Shingon centers the Ajikan being used as the preliminary practice and a method for training. It is taught BEFORE one even begins to think about doing Shido Kegyo...not after. If what you said was true, it would come after, not before.
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby Fortyeightvows » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:42 am

I'm glad to see the shingon section of this website come to life! I'm learning more already!
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby WuMing » Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:22 pm

I wouldn't rely on any of the resources you mentioned when it comes to Ajikan practice. Cooke says that Ajikan is a
... narrowly cultic practice ...
Well, I let that pass without any comment. From a second quote in Cooke's article: If you really believe that by fixing your
... gaze intently on the visual symbol "A" while focusing his mind wholly on "A," is believed to arrive at a comprehension of all buddhas and the entire universe.
you practice Ajikan, well then ...

Payne gives a general overview of the Ajikan practice.
Zoei’s text provides a relatively full description of the ritual.
emphasis mine.

What I said before you find in one of his footnotes:
... usually Zoei gives full explanations, in this instance he gives only the name of the ritual action to be taken, apparently assuming that the practitioner already knows what is intended from prior training; the expansion given here is based the action as it is known in other Shingon rituals, such as the four training rituals. ...
emphasis mine.

I wonder where the countless Shingon centers are and who is teaching there, teaching you?
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
- Anzan Hoshin Roshi
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby Redfaery » Wed Feb 25, 2015 1:06 pm

WuMing wrote:Shingon is a purely esoteric Buddhist tradition, when it comes to practice. There are elements of exoteric Buddhism in it, which are used as skillful means. But again, Shingon is a purely esoteric tradition.


Popping in here to add my voice to this. If I recall correctly, one of the main reasons for the initial splintering of the new forms of Japanese Buddhism in the early 9th century was the difference of opinions between Kukai and Saicho as to the relative superiority of esotericism and the usefulness of exoteric learning. The way things went, as I recall, Kobo Daishi was very definitely of the opinion that the school he founded - Shingon - was to be esoteric in nature and that exoteric learning from books was only an expedient means, as you say. I believe he told Saicho that books were "the dregs of Buddhism" and that truth could only be transmitted "from mind to mind."

So...sounds like a pretty clear cut case in favor of the tradition of esoteric transmission in Shingon.

(My source for the quotes is the Cambridge History of Japan, Volume 2. Heian Japan. Specifically Chapter 7, "Aristocratic Buddhism", the quotes appear on page 468.)
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby Fortyeightvows » Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:26 pm

He sure did alot of writing himself though.
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby Redfaery » Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:32 pm

Fortyeightvows wrote:He sure did alot of writing himself though.


Well....he was founding a new tradition in Japan. And he had to have something to show those perhaps-not-too-learned aristocrats in Heian-kyo...
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby Acala » Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:38 pm

Instead of providing sources...you nitpick words.

I see you have no sources. That is fine, no problem. It would a bit less disingenuous if you just admitted it.

WuMing wrote:I wouldn't rely on any of the resources you mentioned when it comes to Ajikan practice. Cooke says that Ajikan is a
... narrowly cultic practice ...
Well, I let that pass without any comment.


Maybe it is age, (I am old) but if you happened to look at the date...1974? Cultic did not mean cult. Neither does it in contemporary religious studies. It means, um, "religious/sectarian" so you just had a little "woopsy" moment there, because "that word does not mean what you think it means" (this is happening a lot).

WuMing wrote:From a second quote in Cooke's article: If you really believe that by fixing your
... gaze intently on the visual symbol "A" while focusing his mind wholly on "A," is believed to arrive at a comprehension of all buddhas and the entire universe.
you practice Ajikan, well then ...


Oh, but kind sir, I thought it was, ahem, "the most advanced practice"?!?!? Can't have it both ways darling. Pick one.



WuMing wrote:Payne gives a general overview of the Ajikan practice.
Zoei’s text provides a relatively full description of the ritual.
emphasis mine.

And? Yes, its pretty full. So all of the mumbo jumbo you keep pretending is "secret", isnt!

WuMing wrote:What I said before you find in one of his footnotes:
... usually Zoei gives full explanations, in this instance he gives only the name of the ritual action to be taken, apparently assuming that the practitioner already knows what is intended from prior training; the expansion given here is based the action as it is known in other Shingon rituals, such as the four training rituals. ... emphasis mine.


I am thinking English is not your first language. I apologize if this is making these citations difficult or you to understand. Yes, the same action is in OTHER SHINGON RITUALS, is also in the Ajikan. Nowhere does it say it is a prerequisite.

So far, you have only:
1. Refused to offer any references
2. Misunderstood basic English
3. Ignored my points

I see you did not refute the fact that Ajikan is used as a preliminary practice...and is taught WAY before anyone ever does the Shido Kegyo...so you clearly know this is true :sage:

So...to the point, if practicing the Shido Kegyo and receiving all the instructions and empowerments is a prerequisite to understanding the Ajikan..THEN WHY IS IT TAUGHT FIRST? And why is it used as a training ritual?

we know you have no references, so not going to waste my time asking for some. You asked..I provided, but as you cannot..you won't. So it is clear you have none. The very least you can do is try to answer the question above without double talk. :namaste:
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby Acala » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:05 pm

Redfaery wrote:
WuMing wrote:Shingon is a purely esoteric Buddhist tradition, when it comes to practice. There are elements of exoteric Buddhism in it, which are used as skillful means. But again, Shingon is a purely esoteric tradition.


Popping in here to add my voice to this. If I recall correctly, one of the main reasons for the initial splintering of the new forms of Japanese Buddhism in the early 9th century was the difference of opinions between Kukai and Saicho as to the relative superiority of esotericism and the usefulness of exoteric learning. The way things went, as I recall, Kobo Daishi was very definitely of the opinion that the school he founded - Shingon - was to be esoteric in nature and that exoteric learning from books was only an expedient means, as you say. I believe he told Saicho that books were "the dregs of Buddhism" and that truth could only be transmitted "from mind to mind."

So...sounds like a pretty clear cut case in favor of the tradition of esoteric transmission in Shingon.

(My source for the quotes is the Cambridge History of Japan, Volume 2. Heian Japan. Specifically Chapter 7, "Aristocratic Buddhism", the quotes appear on page 468.)


Thank you for the awesome source! :applause:

That is (obviously) a bit of an oversimplication. Kukai actually viewed them as complimentary.

https://books.google.com.tw/books?id=0ExNmHIACskC&pg=PA13&lpg=PA13&dq=kukai+exoteric&source=bl&ots=j06mQlfkPt&sig=gwH_Lh_6FFZX3UFWXVulz3YW-Us&hl=en&sa=X&ei=mA3uVLn0NpDr8AWHuIHwBA&ved=0CDoQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=kukai%20exoteric&f=false

"Mind to mind" is Chan/Zen by the way.....wrong denomination :jedi:
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby WuMing » Wed Feb 25, 2015 7:41 pm

Acala wrote:
WuMing wrote:Payne gives a general overview of the Ajikan practice.
Zoei’s text provides a relatively full description of the ritual.
emphasis mine.

And? Yes, its pretty full. So all of the mumbo jumbo you keep pretending is "secret", isnt!


No it is not secret, it is open to everyone who starts proper training, beginning with Tokudo, followed by Shido Kegyo and Dembo Kanjo and the subsequent teachings.

Acala wrote:
WuMing wrote:What I said before you find in one of his footnotes:
... usually Zoei gives full explanations, in this instance he gives only the name of the ritual action to be taken, apparently assuming that the practitioner already knows what is intended from prior training; the expansion given here is based the action as it is known in other Shingon rituals, such as the four training rituals. ... emphasis mine.


I am thinking English is not your first language. I apologize if this is making these citations difficult or you to understand. Yes, the same action is in OTHER SHINGON RITUALS, is also in the Ajikan. Nowhere does it say it is a prerequisite.


Right, English isn't my native tongue but I understand enough what
assuming that the practitioner already knows what is intended from prior training; the expansion given here is based the action as it is known in other Shingon rituals, such as the four training rituals.

means. Or don't you understand what prior training means?

Acala wrote:So...to the point, if practicing the Shido Kegyo and receiving all the instructions and empowerments is a prerequisite to understanding the Ajikan..THEN WHY IS IT TAUGHT FIRST? And why is it used as a training ritual?

we know you have no references, so not going to waste my time asking for some. You asked..I provided, but as you cannot..you won't. So it is clear you have none. The very least you can do is try to answer the question above without double talk. :namaste:


That Ajikan is taught to people without training is a relatively new movement, beginning only around 100 - 150 years ago, I was taught. Prior to that time this wasn't the case, at all. Why it was done so, I unfortunately don't know.
Anyone who is teaching it responsibly to people without prior training should make them understand and tell them that it is lacking essential oral instructions, which are only taught if one underwent prior training and practices, as I already described above.
I do have an Ajikan manual but I won't make any of its content public, because of reasons which should be clear by now. But again for your clarity, it's not because it is secret, but because it requires prior training and practice, again, as already described above.

Acala wrote: ... "Mind to mind" is Chan/Zen by the way.....wrong denomination :jedi:


In the Shingon Ono-ryū for example there is an abhiṣeka called ishin-kanjo (transmission from mind to mind), so this term "From Mind to Mind" does exist in Shingon.
今以佛眼觀之佛與眾生同住解脫之床。無此無彼無二平等。
Now, observing with the eye of the Buddha, both the Buddha and ordinary beings are in the same liberated state. There is neither this nor that: there is only non-duality and identity.
- 空海 Kūkai 弘法大師 in Unjigi 吽字義 The Meaning of the Letter Hūṃ
new translation: Kūkai on the Philosophy of Language by Takagi Shingen and Dreitlein Eijō
_______
Our life is very simple, very direct, very beautiful, very vast and very terrifying, but it is not at all convenient.
- Anzan Hoshin Roshi
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby Redfaery » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:31 pm

Acala wrote:"Mind to mind" is Chan/Zen by the way.....wrong denomination :jedi:


Take that up with Kukai then. It's a direct quote from one of his letters. Or do you have more training in the history of Buddhism in Japan than the authors of the Cambridge History?
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Re: "Shingon Zen"

Postby Fortyeightvows » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:34 pm

It is sort of a hallmark of vajrayana Buddhism.
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