Soto views on rebirth?

Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri May 10, 2013 5:47 pm

Simon E. wrote:I know little of Zen, whether Soto or Rinzai but there is debate within the Theravada which I am aware of about the "Three Lifetimes " model and the " One Lifetime" model. The Three Lifetimes are of course the last life, this life, and the next life. The One Lifetime model does not necessarily deny the possibility of the three lifetimes, but says that they are conjectural, and that all Dharma can be found in the present lifetime.

Unless I'm mistaken that debate is about the interpretation of the 12 links of Paticcasamuppada, not really about rebirth, which I think is taken for granted.
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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby shel » Fri May 10, 2013 5:48 pm

Simon E. wrote:I do not know if the discussion happens in Zen in the same kind of terms but from what I have read of Brad Warner's writings he may hold a similar view..whether his view is typical of modern Soto I also don't know but he has a large following, including in Japan.


I wouldn't worry about the "large following" of teachers like this. For instance, in a city (LA) of almost four million barley a handful will show up at the tiny house in Santa Monica to sit with him once a week. Identical story for Nonin Chowaney in Omaha, though the population there is only one million. Jundo at Treeleaf.com has a much larger following, but that's probably because his students don't need to leave their house or even change out of their pajamas to participate.
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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby Beatzen » Fri May 10, 2013 5:53 pm

Matylda wrote:
Luke wrote:Quite a few modern Soto Zen teachers seem to not believe in the traditional Buddhist idea of rebirth. Are modern Rinzai Zen teachers the same way? Or do most Rinzai Zen teachers have more traditional views about rebirth?


Who among soto teachers denies rebirth? I never herd of any...


They might not believe in spiritual transmigration and physical reincarnation, but they definitely believe in "becoming" (which is a better translation anyway), karmic retribution and dependent origination.
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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby Simon E. » Fri May 10, 2013 5:57 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
Simon E. wrote:I know little of Zen, whether Soto or Rinzai but there is debate within the Theravada which I am aware of about the "Three Lifetimes " model and the " One Lifetime" model. The Three Lifetimes are of course the last life, this life, and the next life. The One Lifetime model does not necessarily deny the possibility of the three lifetimes, but says that they are conjectural, and that all Dharma can be found in the present lifetime.

Unless I'm mistaken that debate is about the interpretation of the 12 links of Paticcasamuppada, not really about rebirth, which I think is taken for granted.

I may be mistaken also dzogchungpa, but Ajahn Buddhadasa as far as I understand him seems to represent a view within the Theravada that says that rebirth ( and paticcasamuppada ) happens constantly in nanoseconds, and that the concept of post-mortem rebirth is a distortion of the Buddha's teaching.
Of course this may not shed light on current Soto teachings.
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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby Beatzen » Fri May 10, 2013 6:00 pm

shel wrote:
Simon E. wrote:I do not know if the discussion happens in Zen in the same kind of terms but from what I have read of Brad Warner's writings he may hold a similar view..whether his view is typical of modern Soto I also don't know but he has a large following, including in Japan.


I wouldn't worry about the "large following" of teachers like this. For instance, in a city (LA) of almost four million barley a handful will show up at the tiny house in Santa Monica to sit with him once a week. Identical story for Nonin Chowaney in Omaha, though the population there is only one million. Jundo at Treeleaf.com has a much larger following, but that's probably because his students don't need to leave their house or even change out of their pajamas to participate.


I am a Soto practitioner. As far as I've experienced, we don't really talk about doctrine, we talk about practice. It's something I've come to appreciate about Kagyu practitioners in general.

When we do talk doctrine, sometimes as a larger community, we struggle with certain Yogacarin and Taoist influences that have made their way into the fold over the centuries.

But yeah, generally we don't argue and speculate as much as most other schools. We just sit. and sit. and eat. and sleep. and sit again.
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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri May 10, 2013 6:17 pm

Beatzen wrote:We just sit. and sit. and eat. and sleep. and sit again.

I don't think Dogen advocated that. Is that what Soto is like now?
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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby Beatzen » Fri May 10, 2013 6:45 pm

in some ways, it is hyperbole on my part. In other ways, it depends on the culture of the particular Soto community you're talking about.

But, my own study of the Soto school's history -after- Dogen tells me that they did begin emphasizing Zazen more and more. But again, that's a broad generalization considering the variety of teaching styles there is within the larger Soto community at this point, from traditional to modern.

For example, a typical service at my own temple includes two half-hour to fourty-five minute periods of seated meditation, broken up by 15-20 minute periods of kinhin (walking meditation). Zazenkai and Sesshin schedules usually include around 4 hour work-practice periods. At least at our affiliated monastery here in Oregon. During Sesshin, they might have two four-hour zazen sessions with dharma lectures dispersed. remember that these people are generally waking up at 5am, meditating and working the monastery grounds until lights out at 10pm.

[edit] in my own understanding, factoring in my own personal take on Zen, like I said I admire the Kagyupas (but particularly the kagyumas, lol) for their emphasis on practice/perfection through action. Of course, their doctrines and philosophy may differ, but i like how Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo put it: the dharma is like a clear elixir. in every culture that it has encountered, that same elixir is placed in a different receptacle. In Nepal/Ladakh/Tibet, it might be contained in a jeweled chalice (or maybe some poor dead monk's skull). In japan, an austere minimalist wooden bowl. But the elixir is the same, no matter what.

My own roshi has said things like "these schools and traditions are all just different varietals of flowers in one garden." also "the more dharma, the more dharma."
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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby Beatzen » Fri May 10, 2013 7:06 pm

My understanding of Dogen as a man, was such that he was a very austere sort of man. He was erudite, but somewhat severe.

But to be fair, it is certainly true that some Soto academics distort Dogen's memory as a rigid proponent of seated meditation.

Personally, I think a little intellectual understanding can go a long way. I think at least a very rough understanding of the abhidharma is something that could be more-commonly emphasized in the Soto communities that I've hung out in.
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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri May 10, 2013 7:49 pm

OK, the reason I asked is because I'm having a look at Foulk’s essay
“‘Just Sitting?’ Dogen’s Take on Zazen, Sutra Reading, and other Conventional Buddhist Practices”
which you can read about here:
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wildfoxzen/2012/02/913.html
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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby Beatzen » Fri May 10, 2013 7:54 pm

I'm reading it, but i'm already saying @ it:

I've never been to a zen sangha that didn't burn incense, do prostrations and chant sutras. So Idk what the author is talking about, cuz that's not my experience.
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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby Beatzen » Fri May 10, 2013 8:04 pm

article wrote: There are plenty of practitioners and teachers who also embrace it because it so nicely aligns with the culturally-conditioned, self-serving dream that makes Western Zen something like a box of chocolates and we get to pick the ones we like and leave the rest.


What is with all these white buddhist pseudo-scholars who hate this mysterious phantom conspiracy called "western buddhism" that reportedly exists solely to trivialize medieval asian culture and dilute the "pure dharma"
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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby Simon E. » Fri May 10, 2013 8:10 pm

Good question... :smile:
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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri May 10, 2013 8:12 pm

Well, I'm not recommending Dosho Port, but Foulk is a pretty reputable scholar I believe. I only linked to that article because it describes Foulk's essay. Here's an excerpt from the first paragraph:
Dogen has often been cast by modern scholars as the leading proponent of a "pure" form of Zen practice... The erroneous nature of that depiction, and the not-so-hidden agenda of the Japanese scholars who formulated it in the century following the Meiji Restoration are matters that I have addressed in some detail in previous publications.
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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby Beatzen » Fri May 10, 2013 8:31 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:Well, I'm not recommending Dosho Port, but Foulk is a pretty reputable scholar I believe. I only linked to that article because it describes Foulk's essay. Here's an excerpt from the first paragraph:
Dogen has often been cast by modern scholars as the leading proponent of a "pure" form of Zen practice... The erroneous nature of that depiction, and the not-so-hidden agenda of the Japanese scholars who formulated it in the century following the Meiji Restoration are matters that I have addressed in some detail in previous publications.


I totally agree. He is remembered as such though only because of historical revisionists. The whole notion of him presenting a "pure zen" honestly reminds me of cultural conservatives in contemporary america who pine for an idealized past that never really existed.

That being said, it is clear through what's been preserved of his writings that he was indeed a genius. I've heard several Roshis refer to him as having been "enlightened beyond enlightenment." - which really is too steeped in nomenclature ideosycratic to "dogenphiles" that it'd be a waste of time trying to explain what i understand it to mean.

And of course Foulk is a reputable scholar. That particular text wouldn't have been promoted by John Daido Loori (my opinion here) if he weren't.
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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby kirtu » Sat May 11, 2013 12:08 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
Beatzen wrote:We just sit. and sit. and eat. and sleep. and sit again.

I don't think Dogen advocated that. Is that what Soto is like now?


With one addition (your mind is/you are /Buddha) that is exactly what Dogen advocated.

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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat May 11, 2013 12:34 am

kirtu wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
Beatzen wrote:We just sit. and sit. and eat. and sleep. and sit again.

I don't think Dogen advocated that. Is that what Soto is like now?


With one addition (your mind is/you are /Buddha) that is exactly what Dogen advocated.

Kirt

OK, take it up with Foulk.
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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby kirtu » Sat May 11, 2013 3:22 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
kirtu wrote:With one addition (your mind is/you are /Buddha) that is exactly what Dogen advocated.

OK, take it up with Foulk.


No that's not what I meant. I didn't realize that zazen-only was under discussion. Dogen clearly practiced other than zazen - for him (and in the best Soto tradition everything) is practice. So when I said "that's exactly what Dogen taught" I meant that sitting is practice, bowing is practice, chanting is practice, offering is practice, etc. Another way of putting it is that bowing is zazen, chanting is zazen, eating is zazen, etc.

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Re: Soto views on rebirth?

Postby Beatzen » Sat May 11, 2013 8:01 pm

kirtu wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:
kirtu wrote:With one addition (your mind is/you are /Buddha) that is exactly what Dogen advocated.

OK, take it up with Foulk.


No that's not what I meant. I didn't realize that zazen-only was under discussion. Dogen clearly practiced other than zazen - for him (and in the best Soto tradition everything) is practice. So when I said "that's exactly what Dogen taught" I meant that sitting is practice, bowing is practice, chanting is practice, offering is practice, etc. Another way of putting it is that bowing is zazen, chanting is zazen, eating is zazen, etc.

Kirt


Yes, exactly. That's why I am so fond of it, and so fond of the Kagyu lineage for the same reason (perfection through action).
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