Zen, doctrines and sutras

Zen, doctrines and sutras

Postby zamotcr » Wed Dec 12, 2012 9:48 pm

Hello,

I would like to know Zen attitude towards different sutras. Do they accept the whole canon, they accept literally some sutras, or they deny some sutras and accept others?
Also, how do they take for example the pure land doctrines? I mean, almost every Mahayana sutra mentions Buddhalands, do they accept it literally or allegorical?

Basically, I want to know the correct attitude to have, not to discard everything, but not to believe all.

For example some will take Brahma Net Sutra literally, others reject it.
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Re: Zen, doctrines and sutras

Postby icylake » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:09 pm

based on my limited understanding. there is no clear dinal to certain sutras in Zen, that is just personal view, and what is more important is Zen is practice pattern of East Asian mahayana buddhism, just like tantric practice for Tibetan buddhism. all zen orders are sharing basic mahayana scholarly tradition and ritual tradition as well. in fact, westernized zen, which practiced in "centers" may be only emphasizing "the pure zen practice and meditation", but, Asian zen sects are enomoursly hybrid in actual ceremonies, a Zen monk would meditate 14hours during retreat, but in daily life he/she would read Amitabha sutra for ceremonies. and Asians would take it for granted. nothing strage here..

but generally, zen sects put empasis on Diamond Sutra, but except japanese zen sects, all of East Asian zen monks in China, Korea, Vietnam must study various sutras for many years , that means in Asian countries, scholarly cultivation and practice are interconnected very closly. there is no independent ZEN(Zen of the zen, zen by the zen, zen for the zen) in Asia.

and pure land tradition and zen tradition are merged each other very well, especially in Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese Obaku-zen order. there is not dissonance at all. but if someone would practice pure-land zen(meditating while calling buddha's name in mind or with mouth) he/she mostly consider the pure land as the status of dhnaya. but if the same monk read Sutras in funerals, he could take the pure-land" as real. so Asian way of thinking is very flexible compared to western one ;)
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Re: Zen, doctrines and sutras

Postby Matylda » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:53 pm

icylake wrote: but generally, zen sects put empasis on Diamond Sutra, but except japanese zen sects


Both soto and rinzai chant diamond sutra on daiy baisis. Soto would use it in special chantings, rinzai uses it in basic morning services... copies of diamond sutra for recitation practices are very common in all buddhist bookshops...
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Re: Zen, doctrines and sutras

Postby Astus » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:56 pm

It is said that Zen is not based on written or oral teachings. On one hand, that means that the nature of mind is beyond concepts. On the other, Zen accepts the entire Buddhist Canon as authentic and does not make a single sutra or a set of sutras as their primary source. Nevertheless, there are certain sutras favoured by the tradition, mostly the popular scriptures in East Asia.
"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: Zen, doctrines and sutras

Postby Matylda » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:57 pm

btw in Japan there is vast zen commentarial literature on diamond sutra, and different commentaries of different zen masters and scholars are easily available.
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Re: Zen, doctrines and sutras

Postby icylake » Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:32 am

Matylda wrote:
icylake wrote: but generally, zen sects put empasis on Diamond Sutra, but except japanese zen sects


Both soto and rinzai chant diamond sutra on daiy baisis. Soto would use it in special chantings, rinzai uses it in basic morning services... copies of diamond sutra for recitation practices are very common in all buddhist bookshops...


yes. true, .. i mean, the process of becoming monks are different in each Asian countries. in Japan, generally a monks' son go to Zen temple to get license for Abbot of his father's temple. in many cases it dosn't need many years. in many casese just one year is needed. (even there is correspondence course in Soto zen)of course there are many earnest scholars and practitioners there too. but other Asian Zen sects, attending seminary for 3-4years is mandatory for receiving bhikku precepts. then go to zen hall to meditate..during this seminary course they study various buddhist sutras and theories. the processes are quite different. and sutra studies of Japanese zen sects are mostly fulfilled in modernized buddhist universities. so there are many speciallized, wonderful scholars - monastics and laities-all around Japan, so in Japan it seemed that modernized buddhist study and cultivationg monks are onother process .
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