Tendai buddhism and syncretism

Tendai buddhism and syncretism

Postby extraneusmundi » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:22 pm

Hello !

I registered on this forum because I have a few questions that could be hard to answer only by reading the books I own...

I lived in Japan for 5 years (when 11-16 years old), and when I came back to France, I became more and more interested in Buddhism. Some years after, I took refuge and practiced meditation on a daily basis.
But with time, my spiritual views changed. I learned a lot about theosophy, which became my main "spiritual school".

Still, buddhism is a huge part of my beliefs.
I recently learned about Tendai buddhism, and it stroke me that it seems to take from a lot of schools (like the fact it's somehow between vajrayana and mahayana).

Do you think that it could be the right buddhist path for me, considering my belief system is based on Theosophy ?
I'm not trying to mix everything up, but I consider (thanks to C.G Jung) that all spiritual and religious modern systems are different "readings" of a prima religion, so that there is truth in every modern religion.
Still, I'm not really searching in buddhism for a religion, but for a path to reach enlightment, of course.

I'm interested in Tendai cause it seems enough "syncretistic" to fit in my theosophic system.

I hope I've been clear enough, sorry if some parts don't make sense : my english is far from perfect :(

Thanks a lot for reading (and even more, answering :twothumbsup: )

:namaste:
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Re: Tendai buddhism and syncretism

Postby Jikan » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:29 pm

If you're interested in Theosophy and CG Jung, then the best path for you is Theosophy and CG Jung.

If you're interested in Buddha Dharma, then Tendai could be a good fit for you.

If you practice any kind of Buddhism with the expectation it will not contradict Theosophy and Jung, then you will be disappointed. There are significant differences between them.

There's only one way to find out, of course. Take the Tendai course and see where it leads you.

I wish you great accomplishment in your path.

Jikan
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Re: Tendai buddhism and syncretism

Postby BuddhaSoup » Sat Mar 30, 2013 1:41 pm

The lat Prof. David Chappell makes the case that Tendai has this characteristic (among many) of being a traditional and very popular practice, yet uniquely situated to be of great application in the modern dynamic world.

No school in Chinese Buddhism was as successful as T'ien-t'ai in providing an overall integration of the vast diversity of Indian Buddhist materials, while at the same time offering a structure of accessible methods which Chinese could find meaningful for their personal practice.
Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1987 1412-3

See the full article here: http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/DavidC254.pdf

There are others on this forum, such as Rev. Jikan, who can offer insights on your question far better than I, but I have found a very positive home in Tendai after exploring in some depth other traditions for many years. I have found at Tendai Buddhist Institute www.tendai.org a very learned, positive, and dedicated Sangha.
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Re: Tendai buddhism and syncretism

Postby Jikan » Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:14 pm

BuddhaSoup wrote: I have found a very positive home in Tendai after exploring in some depth other traditions for many years. I have found at Tendai Buddhist Institute http://www.tendai.org a very learned, positive, and dedicated Sangha.


This cheers my heart!

:namaste:
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Re: Tendai buddhism and syncretism

Postby BuddhaSoup » Sat Mar 30, 2013 2:27 pm

Actually, Jikan, Rev. Monshin and Rev. Shumon cheered my heart and illuminated it a bit!

Were it not for Dharma Wheel and your inputs from a few years ago, I wouldn't have seen Tendai on my radar. I had become quite discouraged with my search for a Sangha. I felt in 2011 as though I would rather just go it alone, than compromise my sense of integrity and values to sit with a sangha that I did not trust. Through DW, I began to research Tendai. I read the Chappell article that you referenced one day. I then saved my nickels and bought a ticket to Albany for a Wednesday evening Sangha meeting over meditation and neuroscience (one of my interests). I met members of the Sangha, including Tamarack. I spent time with Rev. Monshin discussing various subjects of interest; I really began to sense that TBI really had "something going on."

Anyway, my story is not interesting, but my experience suggests that for many, Tendai and TBI may just be the brilliant jewel in the robe.

:namaste:
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Re: Tendai buddhism and syncretism

Postby Jikan » Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:58 pm

I had a similar experience. Before I moved from the west coast to the east, the teacher I had been working with (and for whom my admiration has only increased in hindsight) told me, somewhat cryptically, to just practice with a group that understands the Mahayana at the practical level, with the meaning that I shouldn't worry about sect or tradition or whatever too much.

When I visited TBI, I met people who put the Mahayana teachings into practice in a way that was uncontrived, fresh, direct, and natural. No pretense at all: quite earthy actually. It's a live wire up there. That's why I got involved and will be involved in one way or another until shortly after this beat-up body gives up on me.
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Re: Tendai buddhism and syncretism

Postby Doko » Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:23 pm

:good:
Gassho,
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Re: Tendai buddhism and syncretism

Postby james.mcm » Tue May 07, 2013 9:42 pm

This is a great question. I'd like to add my experience. I've been involved in Buddhism for a while, and study Anthroposophy (which came from theosophy). There is no issue with the philosophy of Buddhism and that of theosophy as there are no fixed views or dogmas in Buddhism... In my view (teachers may say differently and I defer to their authority) so, in my humble view, you should feel free to engage in and enjoy Tendai practice. Theosophy might help you contextualise what you are learning., the truth not belonging to any one sector or individual. I practice in tibetan and soto zen traditions. I was looking into esoteric japanese Buddhism, and would love tonstudy Tendai or shingon. I live in the UK so for now I keep this as an aspirstion and kaihogyo / training at the USA Tendai centre is on my bucket list! (so far it's the only thing there).
Hope this helps
James
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Re: Tendai buddhism and syncretism

Postby james.mcm » Tue May 07, 2013 10:21 pm

I hasten to add, I'm no authority and in no way wish to dilute the Buddha dharma practices in Tendai. In my experience my western mystical studies were no more of an impediment to studying Buddhism than anything else. Buddhism challenges fixed views of anything. I started zen practice as an atheist and in the intervening years lost my belief in this- as bizarre as that seems.
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Re: Tendai buddhism and syncretism

Postby Seishin » Wed May 08, 2013 9:43 am

Welcome James,

I'm also from the UK and hope to ordain one day. :smile:

Gassho,
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