Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Raitanator » Fri Jun 22, 2012 5:54 pm

"...How fortunate we are to have been born as human beings given the opportunity to prepare meals for the Three Treasures. Our attitude should trulry be one of joy and gratefulness.
We should also reflect on waht our lives might have been had we been born in one of the realms of hell, as an insatiable spirit, as some lowly animal, or as a demon. How difficult our lives would be if we suffered the misfortunes of these four circumstances or any other of the eight misfortunate conditions. We would be unable to practice the dharma with the strength of the community even though we had a mind to do so. Much less would we be able to prepare food with our own hands and offer it to the Three Treasures. Our bodies and minds would be bound by the limitations and afflictions of those worlds and would have to suffer their burdens..."

"...Therefore, rejoice in your birth into the world, where you are capable of using your body freely to offer food to the Three Treasures: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Samgha. Considering the innumerable possibilities in a timeless universe we have been given a marvelous opportunity. The merit of working as a tenzo will never decay. My sincerest desire that you exhaust all the strength and effort of all your lives - past, present, and future - and every moment of every day into your practice through the work of the tenzo, so that you form a strong connection with the buddhadharma. To view all things with this attitude is called Joyful Mind..."


How to cook your life

There's lot of discussion whether Dogen accepted migration from samsaric realm to another - here we have a clear proof (imo) that he was quite traditional in his views. Although there are some certain people who claim exact opposite.

What do you guys think?
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jun 23, 2012 2:53 am

Raitanator wrote:There's lot of discussion whether Dogen accepted migration from samsaric realm to another - here we have a clear proof (imo) that he was quite traditional in his views. Although there are some certain people who claim exact opposite.

What do you guys think?


Up until the last century you don't see Japanese Zen thinkers rejecting rebirth.

Dogen was quite ordinary in the sense he accepted rebirth. All Buddhists did.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Greg_the_poet » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:47 am

I saw a youtube video of Brad Warner, and he claims that Dogen never advocated reincarnation, or re-birth, that it wasn't a Buddhist concept and was only grafted on later.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby tomamundsen » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:51 am

Greg_the_poet wrote:I saw a youtube video of Brad Warner, and he claims that Dogen never advocated reincarnation, or re-birth, that it wasn't a Buddhist concept and was only grafted on later.

Yup. He's a really nice guy and sincere Zen practitioner. I practiced with him and his group in Santa Monica for a year or so. And even though he read Shobogenzo multiple times, he is just dead wrong here.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Astus » Thu Jul 12, 2012 9:49 am

I think it is a good indicator of understanding whether a teacher accepts rebirth or not. It's because one needs to comprehend dependent origination, the way the aggregates function, and avoid the extreme views of permanence and annihilation. That is also why "correct view" is first of all defined as accepting the work of karma and rebirth.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:12 am

Greg_the_poet wrote:I saw a youtube video of Brad Warner, and he claims that Dogen never advocated reincarnation, or re-birth, that it wasn't a Buddhist concept and was only grafted on later.



Mr Warners approach to this issue is as Ngapa Chogyams in the Tibetan tradition. And as is is Ajahn Buddhadasas in the Theravada. It about our basic simplistic understanding of time as linear.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jul 12, 2012 1:48 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Greg_the_poet wrote:I saw a youtube video of Brad Warner, and he claims that Dogen never advocated reincarnation, or re-birth, that it wasn't a Buddhist concept and was only grafted on later.



Mr Warners approach to this issue is as Ngapa Chogyams in the Tibetan tradition. And as is is Ajahn Buddhadasas in the Theravada. It about our basic simplistic understanding of time as linear.


In any case, the Buddha taught rebirth as a very real and literal phenomenon where post-mortem you as an individual being (sattva) take rebirth. The mechanics of that process have been discussed for centuries, but nevertheless the Buddha clearly taught that the phenomenon happens.

No need for revision on that point.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:27 pm

So you may believe.
But if there was universal agreement on that point Huseng then Brad Warner, Ngagpa Chogyam and Ajahn Buddhadasa would not be teaching what they (independently ) teach (or taught ). And they would not have between them have many followers.
Ajahn Buddhadasa in particular is a huge influence.
There are thousands of people in both the East and West who say that without his teaching they would have no interest in Buddhism.
Its "Bon Buddhists " who form a tiny minority. Although you wouldn't think so from the attention they require.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:40 pm

Simon E. wrote:So you may believe.
But if there was universal agreement on that point Huseng then Brad Warner, Ngagpa Chogyam and Ajahn Buddhadasa would not be teaching what they (independently ) teach (or taught ). And they would not have between them have many followers.


These men are all rather small fish in the greater pond of modern Buddhism.

Let's be realistic. No need to blow out of proportion a few revisionist mavericks.

Ajahn Buddhadasa in particular is a huge influence.


I doubt his influence was all that great.




There are thousands of people in both the East and West who say that without his teaching they would have no interest in Buddhism.
Its "Bon Buddhists " who form a tiny minority. Although you wouldn't think so from the attention they require.


There are several hundred million Buddhists in the world of which a few thousand might take an interest in your aforementioned figures.

Again, small fish.

I shouldn't have to say this, but both scholars and actual Buddhist leaders (not people on internet forums) agree that the Buddha quite clearly taught rebirth as an integral part of his dharma. His disciples likewise took note of this themselves and conveyed unto later generations the importance of rebirth and consequently arranging your life around this harsh reality (i.e., if you don't want to be reborn in unfavourable circumstances, avoid all evil and generate merit in the aims of liberation).

No notable academic I know of would suggest the Buddha did not teach rebirth as an integral part of his religious system of liberation.

As an individual you have the freedom to reject rebirth, but to suggest that the Buddha did not teach literal rebirth is complete foolishness.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jul 12, 2012 2:53 pm

I havent said what I believe. Nor do I think that what I believe is important either to myself or anyone else.
The fact remains that if you place the question on a Soto Zen site, and the OP was specific to Soto and to Dogen then you would find that many Soto "scholars and actual teachers " have a view on the literal nature of Rebirth that might be a surprise to you. Jundo Cohens views are by no means unusual . neither are they of modern origin and most definitely are not restricted to Caucasian teachers.
Incidentally If you suggested on a Theravadin site that Ajahn Buddhadasa was small fish I think that would be a surprise to the Theravada. Even among those who disagree with him recognise him as a pretty big fish in Theravada terms.. Ajahn Chah was a great admirer.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:00 pm

Simon E. wrote:I havent said what I believe. Nor do I think that what I believe is important either to myself or anyone else.
The fact remains that if you place the question on a Soto Zen site, and the OP was specific to Soto and to Dogen then you would find that many Soto "scholars and actual teachers " have a view on the literally nature of Rebirth that might be a surprise to you. Jundo Cohens views are by no means unusual . neither are they of modern origin and most definitely are not restricted to Caucasian teachers.


Oh I'm well aware of what I would encounter with Soto Zen. I have a MA degree in Buddhist Studies from Soto Zen's university in Tokyo.

The point though is that the Buddha and Dogen all believed in this post-mortem continuity called rebirth. Modern revisionism is a whole other matter and why they may personally reject rebirth, they cannot deny the aforementioned figures all believed in rebirth. You really only find self-identifying Buddhists rejecting rebirth in the 20th century.



Incidentally If you suggested on a Theravadin site that Ajahn Buddhadasa was small fish I think that would be a surprise to the Theravada. Even among those who disagree with him recognise him as a pretty big fish in Theravada terms.. Ajahn Chah was a great admirer.


In the big picture such revisionists are insubstantial.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:02 pm

We may have to agree to disagree on what constitutes the bigger picture.

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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Astus » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:17 pm

As for Soto Zen, here's the Dedication of Merit verse from the daily practice booklet (PDF):

"With the good karma gathered in this practice, we repay the virtuous toils of our fathers and mothers, that the living may be blessed with joy and long life without dis- tress, and the deceased freed from suffering and born in the pure land. May the four benefactors, sentient beings in the three classes of existence, and those born in the three evil destinies and eight difficulties all be able to repent their transgressions, purify their defects, entirely escape the round of rebirth, and be bom in the pure land."

And there are quite a few other rituals and ceremonies (like funerals) present in Soto Zen that would have no meaning at all without rebirth.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jul 12, 2012 3:36 pm

Au Contraire Astus. There is perfect sense to got from those words while not embracing the Three Life model.
To recapitulate it is all to do with time and how it is viewed.
Buddhadasa and some followers of Dogen see Reality as atemporal.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby pueraeternus » Thu Jul 12, 2012 4:59 pm

Simon E. wrote:Au Contraire Astus. There is perfect sense to got from those words while not embracing the Three Life model.


It does not make any sense without rebirth, and only those who resort to convoluted mental contortions will think that it makes sense in any fashion. This is especially true when one learns the body of the dharma in its entirety.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

- The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:03 pm

I spent quite a number of years studying dharma...I would hesitate to say in its entirety.. :smile:
And both the One Lifetime model and Three Lifetime model makes perfect sense to me. With no mental contortions at all, just a knowledge of cultural context and a willingness to go beyond the literal.
If you are interested, and I suspect you wont be...try a little Buddhadasa. Theres lots on line.

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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Nighthawk » Thu Jul 12, 2012 6:57 pm

Astus wrote:As for Soto Zen, here's the Dedication of Merit verse from the daily practice booklet (PDF):

"With the good karma gathered in this practice, we repay the virtuous toils of our fathers and mothers, that the living may be blessed with joy and long life without dis- tress, and the deceased freed from suffering and born in the pure land. May the four benefactors, sentient beings in the three classes of existence, and those born in the three evil destinies and eight difficulties all be able to repent their transgressions, purify their defects, entirely escape the round of rebirth, and be bom in the pure land."

And there are quite a few other rituals and ceremonies (like funerals) present in Soto Zen that would have no meaning at all without rebirth.

I never knew Soto zennites pray for rebirth in the pure land. I must of only read the westernized teachings of Soto.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby pueraeternus » Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:32 pm

Simon E. wrote:I spent quite a number of years studying dharma...I would hesitate to say in its entirety.. :smile:
And both the One Lifetime model and Three Lifetime model makes perfect sense to me. With no mental contortions at all, just a knowledge of cultural context and a willingness to go beyond the literal.
If you are interested, and I suspect you wont be...try a little Buddhadasa. Theres lots on line.

:namaste:


I have many years under my belt too, and honestly speaking, I would not hesitate to say that rebirth is critical to understanding the dharma in its entirety. The One Lifetime model is ludicrous in the light of so many other key teachings within Buddhism. And it is not just a literal understanding - it is also common-sensical. Some people think that to accept rebirth is to merely take the sutras literally, but that is untrue. The reason why most Buddhists (scholars, laymen, whatever) accept rebirth is because it makes sense, especially in the light of the dharma as a whole.

Having an interest in Theravadin practices, I have read Buddhadasa. Its ok, but nothing special. To me, his "dhamma language" idea conflates the two truths unwisely.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

- The Open-Ended Proof from The Panoplia Prophetica
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby tomamundsen » Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:48 pm

Brad just blogged about this topic again yesterday - http://suicidegirlsblog.com/blog/brad-w ... r-you-die/
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:26 pm

pueraeternus wrote:
Simon E. wrote:I spent quite a number of years studying dharma...I would hesitate to say in its entirety.. :smile:
And both the One Lifetime model and Three Lifetime model makes perfect sense to me. With no mental contortions at all, just a knowledge of cultural context and a willingness to go beyond the literal.
If you are interested, and I suspect you wont be...try a little Buddhadasa. Theres lots on line.

:namaste:


I have many years under my belt too, and honestly speaking, I would not hesitate to say that rebirth is critical to understanding the dharma in its entirety. The One Lifetime model is ludicrous in the light of so many other key teachings within Buddhism. And it is not just a literal understanding - it is also common-sensical. Some people think that to accept rebirth is to merely take the sutras literally, but that is untrue. The reason why most Buddhists (scholars, laymen, whatever) accept rebirth is because it makes sense, especially in the light of the dharma as a whole.

Having an interest in Theravadin practices, I have read Buddhadasa. Its ok, but nothing special. To me, his "dhamma language" idea conflates the two truths unwisely.

I respect your view. My interest as a Dzogchen student is primarily in inclusivity. Or perhaps non exclusivity. :smile: Everyone is welcome aboard. Whatever model of reality they favour.
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