Sönam wrote:Zen, of course, is bound to a method. It is for exemple called zazen which is a mind (or no mind, which is the same) oriented method (sutra style) ...
I wouldn't presume to talk about Dzogchen since my experience is little. But this statement, with respect, is "a total misconception (outsider view)" of Zen.
flavio81 wrote:Would you please elaborate on what do you mean with "Zen is not bound to any method"? This is puzzling me.
Not to speak for Astus, but this is commonly used language in Zen.
The point is that because Zen takes recognition of one's nature (kensho) as its gate, and ongoing recognition as the lifelong practice after initial awakening, there are no fixed methods. Any method, text or teaching could be taken up if it fulfills the purposes of all Zen practices, i.e. to remove obstructions to seeing one's nature, and/or to directly point it out, and/or to embody/actualize it.
Of course most Zen students will indeed practice zazen (understanding that "zazen" can be a general term referring to many practices in various teaching lines that happen to be done in the 7-point posture). But not all. Since the capacity and conditions of students obviously differ (as well as the traditions of each line) there is no fixed Zen curriculum of practice, and plenty of things besides zazen to take up. Actually, I'm reminded that a koan within one of the most important series used in Rinzai lines deals with the usefulness of teachings of even non-Buddhist traditions, when approached from the standpoint of the essential realization of Zen.
Aside from this general approach, there is the bringing of the student to awakening within the ba
(field) and by means of the kiai
(energy) of the teacher; this has no fixed method. Another koan, case #16 in the Hekiganroku, deals specifically with aspects of this "direct pointing to the mind". And finally there is the barrier of advanced practice which is not fixed at all in terms of method, and so is called the practice which even the Patriarchs can't transmit.
All of the above is a classically Rinzai way of describing things. Other Zen folks may have different ways of saying it.
Sönam wrote:Nothing else can be compared to Great Perfection ... and certainly not sutra teachings of anykind.
I respect this statement, coming from within a sublime tradition. As most folks are aware Zen has plenty of triumphalism as well: long texts explaining how it is outside the "teaching schools" (traditions depending on sutra/tantra) because it is a direct awakening to one's own Dharmakaya wisdom and takes that awakening as its practice...how it simultaneously integrates and transcends all the teachings and methods of the Three Vehicles as the supreme One Vehicle...how other paths are slower, less direct, etc. etc. At the end of the day I find such statements useful because they serve to clarify the essential points of the tradition making them, and to increase the faith of their intended audience.
That being said, I do think it wonderful and correct when practitioners view the tradition they've inherited from their teachers to be the best, supreme, highest and most excellent.