Soto is the same as Caodong?

Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby /johnny\ » Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:44 am

I have read this many different places and always assumed it too be true. but the more i learn the more it seems that soto is dogen zen which is totally it's own thing and perhaps derived from caodong, but not really the same. however for contrast, as far as i can tell, linji and rinzai are very similar. or at any rate more similar than caodong and soto.

thoughts?
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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby tomamundsen » Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:34 am

/johnny\ wrote:I have read this many different places and always assumed it too be true. but the more i learn the more it seems that soto is dogen zen which is totally it's own thing and perhaps derived from caodong, but not really the same. however for contrast, as far as i can tell, linji and rinzai are very similar. or at any rate more similar than caodong and soto.

thoughts?

Yea. From what I understand Soto Zen is Caodong transmitted to Japan. Of course it evolved once getting to Japan.
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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby /johnny\ » Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:14 am

tomamundsen wrote:
/johnny\ wrote:I have read this many different places and always assumed it too be true. but the more i learn the more it seems that soto is dogen zen which is totally it's own thing and perhaps derived from caodong, but not really the same. however for contrast, as far as i can tell, linji and rinzai are very similar. or at any rate more similar than caodong and soto.

thoughts?

Yea. From what I understand Soto Zen is Caodong transmitted to Japan. Of course it evolved once getting to Japan.


how similar is it though? what got changed in evolution?
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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby tomamundsen » Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:55 am

/johnny\ wrote:
tomamundsen wrote:
/johnny\ wrote:I have read this many different places and always assumed it too be true. but the more i learn the more it seems that soto is dogen zen which is totally it's own thing and perhaps derived from caodong, but not really the same. however for contrast, as far as i can tell, linji and rinzai are very similar. or at any rate more similar than caodong and soto.

thoughts?

Yea. From what I understand Soto Zen is Caodong transmitted to Japan. Of course it evolved once getting to Japan.

how similar is it though? what got changed in evolution?

To be honest, I can't say much. I have a friend that I used to practice Soto Zen with who now studies with Dharma Drum - Chinese Caodong Chan mixed with pure land, founded by Sheng Yen. PM me for his email address if you want. He loves talking, especially about Chan and Zen. Otherwise, someone like Astus on here might know.

The most I can give you is that my friend says that Sheng Yen's approach is "more inclusive" than Dogen's.
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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Aug 03, 2012 5:34 am

/johnny\ wrote:I have read this many different places and always assumed it too be true. but the more i learn the more it seems that soto is dogen zen which is totally it's own thing and perhaps derived from caodong, but not really the same. however for contrast, as far as i can tell, linji and rinzai are very similar. or at any rate more similar than caodong and soto.

thoughts?


Caodong is the Mandarin Chinese pronunciation for Soto.

Caodong in China was the original school that Dogen transmitted to Japan.

To discuss Dogen's ideas and reforms of the lineage he inherited would require several books worth of reading.

Linji and Rinzai are likewise the "same school" with the latter being the Japanese school that was transmitted from China.
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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby /johnny\ » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:01 am

Huseng wrote:
/johnny\ wrote:I have read this many different places and always assumed it too be true. but the more i learn the more it seems that soto is dogen zen which is totally it's own thing and perhaps derived from caodong, but not really the same. however for contrast, as far as i can tell, linji and rinzai are very similar. or at any rate more similar than caodong and soto.

thoughts?


Caodong is the Mandarin Chinese pronunciation for Soto.

Caodong in China was the original school that Dogen transmitted to Japan.

To discuss Dogen's ideas and reforms of the lineage he inherited would require several books worth of reading.

Linji and Rinzai are likewise the "same school" with the latter being the Japanese school that was transmitted from China.



okay, thanks.

would a caodong practitioner reading a soto manual with the word "soto" replaced with "caodong" notice a huge difference? if you had too just give an educated guess (which clearly you are very educated!), how much did dogen change?
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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby /johnny\ » Fri Aug 03, 2012 7:14 am

tomamundsen wrote:
The most I can give you is that my friend says that Sheng Yen's approach is "more inclusive" than Dogen's.


interesting. how much did sheng yen bring pure land into caodong? the two don't seem very compatible. one being based on practice leading toward awakening and total dedication to that, the other being based on a practice leading toward rebirth in amitabha's pure land and total dedication too that. not a lot of time too keep your mind clear or contemplate a koan when it's filled with a mantra at all times, nor a lot of time to chant your mantra when you are contemplating a koan or trying to keep your mind clear at all times.

although clearly i'm not the most educated in this area so perhaps that's way off!
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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:50 am

The only difference in practical terms between Caodong and Linji in China was the brief period when Dahui came up with the huatou practice and it was in the process of spreading. But in a short time everyone embraced it. Dogen was in China when kanhua practice was still relatively new. So what he brought back to Japan was mainly general Song dynasty Buddhism where Chan philosophy was prevalent.

A couple of factors should be noted. First, individual monasteries were independent and it was up to the abbot and the elder monks what kind of teachings were available and practised in the daily routine. Being a Caodong monastery meant that the abbot associated himself with that lineage, but the teachings provided in the entire monastery was not defined by that. As a modern example, both Fo Guang Shan and Chung Tai Shan are Linji lineage, just as Kwan Um Zen and Hanmaum Seon are Linji, but the only group among them that shows some "Zen style" is really the Kwan Um Zen that was influenced by Japanese Buddhism and established in the West. My point is, these "schools" are just names that tell little about what actually goes on.

The Japanese Soto school went through many changes until it reached its current centralised form. Comparing Soto with Caodong raises the problems of identifying what these names stand for. Steven Heine has a study about Dogen's sources and life that might give you the answers you are after: "Did Dōgen Go to China? - What He Wrote and When He Wrote It". For Caodong in China, the only study I know of is Morten Schlütter's "How Zen Became Zen".
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(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

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Does marvelous nature and spirit
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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 is the same as Caodong?

Postby Matylda » Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:35 pm

Astus wrote:The only difference in practical terms between Caodong and Linji in China was the brief period when Dahui came up with the huatou practice and it was in the process of spreading. But in a short time everyone embraced it. Dogen was in China when kanhua practice was still relatively new. So what he brought back to Japan was mainly general Song dynasty Buddhism where Chan philosophy was prevalent.

A couple of factors should be noted. First, individual monasteries were independent and it was up to the abbot and the elder monks what kind of teachings were available and practised in the daily routine. Being a Caodong monastery meant that the abbot associated himself with that lineage, but the teachings provided in the entire monastery was not defined by that. As a modern example, both Fo Guang Shan and Chung Tai Shan are Linji lineage, just as Kwan Um Zen and Hanmaum Seon are Linji, but the only group among them that shows some "Zen style" is really the Kwan Um Zen that was influenced by Japanese Buddhism and established in the West. My point is, these "schools" are just names that tell little about what actually goes on.

The Japanese Soto school went through many changes until it reached its current centralised form. Comparing Soto with Caodong raises the problems of identifying what these names stand for. Steven Heine has a study about Dogen's sources and life that might give you the answers you are after: "Did Dōgen Go to China? - What He Wrote and When He Wrote It". For Caodong in China, the only study I know of is Morten Schlütter's "How Zen Became Zen".



Modern soto-cao dong in China is somehow bit different then Lin chi... the difference is in koans used in practice. my friend completed both lin chi and cao dong, so I had long discussions about both. ceremonies etc. are exactly the same. Lineage is different. but monks train in the same monasteries.
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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby Astus » Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:05 pm

Matylda,

Can you specify where and what difference your friend experienced regarding koans?
"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 is the same as Caodong?

Postby /johnny\ » Sat Aug 04, 2012 6:30 am

Astus wrote:The only difference in practical terms between Caodong and Linji in China was the brief period when Dahui came up with the huatou practice and it was in the process of spreading. But in a short time everyone embraced it. Dogen was in China when kanhua practice was still relatively new. So what he brought back to Japan was mainly general Song dynasty Buddhism where Chan philosophy was prevalent.

A couple of factors should be noted. First, individual monasteries were independent and it was up to the abbot and the elder monks what kind of teachings were available and practised in the daily routine. Being a Caodong monastery meant that the abbot associated himself with that lineage, but the teachings provided in the entire monastery was not defined by that. As a modern example, both Fo Guang Shan and Chung Tai Shan are Linji lineage, just as Kwan Um Zen and Hanmaum Seon are Linji, but the only group among them that shows some "Zen style" is really the Kwan Um Zen that was influenced by Japanese Buddhism and established in the West. My point is, these "schools" are just names that tell little about what actually goes on.

The Japanese Soto school went through many changes until it reached its current centralised form. Comparing Soto with Caodong raises the problems of identifying what these names stand for. Steven Heine has a study about Dogen's sources and life that might give you the answers you are after: "Did Dōgen Go to China? - What He Wrote and When He Wrote It". For Caodong in China, the only study I know of is Morten Schlütter's "How Zen Became Zen".



ah, so the non-unification and non-standardization of chinese chan makes it near pointless too ask, correct? that makes sense. thank you.

wait, dogen may have not actually gone too china?
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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby Matylda » Sat Aug 04, 2012 9:30 am

Astus wrote:Matylda,

Can you specify where and what difference your friend experienced regarding koans?


No. In Asia it is highly improper to ask such things actually. Those are details of protected practice and such things generally are not discussed.

As far as I remember most koans are same for both traditions, there is just set of another koans which are special for soto lineage. But the number of monks is very little. About 10% of monks in training monasteries belong to cao-dong... the rest is lin ji.

There might be some other koans from the Ming era. At least it is a case in Obaku school in Japan.
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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby /johnny\ » Sun Aug 05, 2012 7:30 am

Matylda wrote:
Astus wrote:Matylda,

Can you specify where and what difference your friend experienced regarding koans?


No. In Asia it is highly improper to ask such things actually. Those are details of protected practice and such things generally are not discussed.

As far as I remember most koans are same for both traditions, there is just set of another koans which are special for soto lineage. But the number of monks is very little. About 10% of monks in training monasteries belong to cao-dong... the rest is lin ji.

There might be some other koans from the Ming era. At least it is a case in Obaku school in Japan.


ah, teaching with a closed fist. even the buddha himself didn't do that! oh well, i'm sure it's a skillful means in some way or another :smile:

this is from the parinibbana sutta where the buddha is dying. ananda and others were afraid that with the death of the buddha there would be no one too teach them. the buddha ensured them that he already taught everyone all of the dhamma, no secrets or things held back, and so the dhamma is known too them and there is nothing left too teach. they should rely on the dhamma.

"The Buddha answered him, saying: "What more does the community of bhikkhus expect from me, Ananda? I have set forth the Dhamma without making any distinction of esoteric and exoteric doctrine; there is nothing, Ananda, with regard to the teachings that the Tathagata holds to the last with the closed fist of a teacher who keeps some things back."

-DN 16

nonetheless, the zen masters probably have a plan in mind when they do what they do :smile:
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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby Matylda » Sun Aug 05, 2012 12:35 pm

Well what is easily overlooked in the West is boasting about ones own spiritual attainments. It concerns ones own understanding and attainments, authority and credibility. Koan practice is part of it. People like to boast about it, but in East Asia which has ethics based on Mahayana Brahmajala sutra the seventh precept of bodhisattva, which starts from parajika of Praising oneself is rather strictly observed.

It is also Buddha teaching. So in this sense people are rather careful. Moreover for the sake of other disciples one does not disclose koans since it is not beneficial in any way for those he practice seriously. But koans became popular subject of discussion sometimes, which is not the case in Asia. Otherwise I have no comments on the subject.
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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby White Lotus » Sun Aug 05, 2012 3:22 pm

if you wish to read Dogens koan compendium the Shoyroku, you may be able to get it on amazon. it is known in soto that koans are not as emphasised as they are in Rinzai Zen. for soto, sitting has a greater emphasis.

i believe that dogen had much experience through relatives and contacts of esoteric Shingon and also of japanese linchi (rinzai zen) before travelling to china, aged i guess in about his early twenties. he had widely studied hindu mysticism and read the abhidharma kosa aged nine. by about 19 he had 'read' the whole tripitaka. he was a childhood genius and as is so often the case with special children, his mother died when he was very young.

after getting to china he widely travelled visiting different masters but only one was his match... Tiantong Rujing, he spent some years with Rujing and eventually was enlightened.

the caodong lineage was saved by the rinzai lineage, at one time it very nearly died out, this was in the distant past, way before Dogen Zenji came on the scene. Cao dong was named after Caozi (Hui neng? (forgive my ignorance)) and Dongshan Liangje. it was one of five or six schools of zen in ancient china.

there is a tradition of not ''spilling too much water''. that is not secrecy, its just not speaking too plainly about things.

Dogens zen is somewhat esoteric, it goes beyond the standard understanding of enlightenment. you can get a taste of this in the Shinji shobogenzo and Keizans Keitoku Dentoroku (transmission of the lamp... cleary/or dojun cook) in which dogens approch is outlined to some degree. i personally dont feel the Dentoroku goes far enought. it drops a lot, mind and body etc, but not 'the' lot.

hope this is helpful.

best wishes, Tom.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby Matylda » Sun Aug 05, 2012 6:27 pm

White Lotus wrote:if you wish to read Dogens koan compendium the Shoyroku, you may be able to get it on amazon. it is known in soto that koans are not as emphasised as they are in Rinzai Zen. for soto, sitting has a greater emphasis.

i believe that dogen had much experience through relatives and contacts of esoteric Shingon and also of japanese linchi (rinzai zen) before travelling to china, aged i guess in about his early twenties. he had widely studied hindu mysticism and read the abhidharma kosa aged nine. by about 19 he had 'read' the whole tripitaka. he was a childhood genius and as is so often the case with special children, his mother died when he was very young.

after getting to china he widely travelled visiting different masters but only one was his match... Tiantong Rujing, he spent some years with Rujing and eventually was enlightened.

the caodong lineage was saved by the rinzai lineage, at one time it very nearly died out, this was in the distant past, way before Dogen Zenji came on the scene. Cao dong was named after Caozi (Hui neng? (forgive my ignorance)) and Dongshan Liangje. it was one of five or six schools of zen in ancient china.

there is a tradition of not ''spilling too much water''. that is not secrecy, its just not speaking too plainly about things.

Dogens zen is somewhat esoteric, it goes beyond the standard understanding of enlightenment. you can get a taste of this in the Shinji shobogenzo and Keizans Keitoku Dentoroku (transmission of the lamp... cleary/or dojun cook) in which dogens approch is outlined to some degree. i personally dont feel the Dentoroku goes far enought. it drops a lot, mind and body etc, but not 'the' lot.

hope this is helpful.

best wishes, Tom.



I think you are pretty mistaken. http://www.livingworkshop.net/transmission.html Keitoku Dentoroku 景徳伝燈録 has nothing to do with DENKO-ROKU of Keizan, which only by chance sounds similar however has no any additional title. Keitoku Dentoroku is purely Chinese text without any connection with Japanese zen. Moreover the author of the text was a monk of Chinese rinzai. There is no English translation yet. Keitoku is quite longer then Denkoroku of Keizan, and includes all Chinese zen schools as far as I remember. I cannot check now since I sit in the office and the copy of Keitoku I took home. But I am very sure it contains stories from all schools. Denkoroku is only soto oriented text and very Japanese in its form.
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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby White Lotus » Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:29 pm

:oops: thank you for your correction Matylda. i was unaware that Keitoku Dentoroku and Dentoroku, by Keizan are not the same text. Keizans work if you have not read it is a stomping good read. Tom.
in any matters of importance. dont rely on me. i may not know what i am talking about. take what i say as mere speculation. i am not ordained. nor do i have a formal training. i do believe though that if i am wrong on any point. there are those on this site who i hope will quickly point out my mistakes.
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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby Meido » Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:41 am

Matylda wrote:There is no English translation yet.


There is a partial translation (about 1/3). It's currently out of print:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Transmission- ... 0893415650

I've been searching for a copy without luck.

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Re: Soto is the same as Caodong?

Postby Matylda » Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:25 pm

White Lotus wrote::oops: thank you for your correction Matylda. i was unaware that Keitoku Dentoroku and Dentoroku, by Keizan are not the same text. Keizans work if you have not read it is a stomping good read. Tom.


I read several times Denkoroku of Keizan and translated it before Cook did. I've seen Cook's translation but it was heavily loaded with texts of Yasutani Hakuun's commentary to Denkoroku, which Cook must obviously have known from his teacher. It makes it easier to translate but makes differences with the original, because it has then an interpretation of the text. Dentoroku I do have but mostly I read teishos or commentaries in Japanese since it is interesting and good teachers gave also good advice or tips, but mostly they are of rinzai origin not soto. Maybe there are some who study Keitoku D. in soto but those would be rather specialists from Komazawa or so. Soto curriculum has Keizan's work.
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