Does Zen have ethics?

Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:06 pm

yan kong wrote:
oushi wrote:Maybe that's what killed Zen in Japan... It I a common phenomena that number of precepts and commandments increases with time, no matter what religion or tradition we look at.


Ethics? I would say a lack of them or at least a disregard for them would be what killed it.


Buddhism in Japan isn't dead. I'd say it is in decline, sure, but not dead yet.

I used to think it was the lack of attention to precepts that initiated the decline, but then when I saw how often corrupted Buddhism is elsewhere in the world, Japan's problems in many ways seem minor.

The priests usually marry and drink in public. Okay, but that's nothing compared to the stuff you hear about in the apparently Vinaya-strict parts of the Buddhist world.

No, it was extreme rationalization and secularization that had people drop interest in Buddhism. Bear in mind before WWII some Chinese monks were commenting on how healthy Buddhism in Japan seemed, in contrast to their traditions which were in rapid decline and full of critical problems.
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby yan kong » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:09 pm

oushi wrote: Zen is the source of morality, not ethics imposed by Zen Buddhism. Yamada Mumom was wrong with one thing. That is, he believed that it can be re-imported from US, not realizing that they exported a dead body in the first place. That's why we see a Roshi called masters master by some, Sasaki, revealing the rotten inside of Zen Buddhism. A structure used to abuse people. And this is becoming universal phenomena. Teaching dead words in golden covers, preaching ethics while being immoral. Morality is a natural consequence which cannot be imposed by rules or precepts. This is well known from all great religions. This is the teaching of truly great masters.



The precepts and ehtical rules are not for the sake of great masters but for the sake of unenlightened beings that strive to better themselves by decreasing the harm they do to others. That being said a "great master" should beable to uphold those ethics and precepts effortlessly which at least for some zen teachers in the west, Japanese or otherwise, has not been the case.
"Meditation is a spiritual exercise, not a therapeutic regime... Our intention is to enter Nirvana, not to make life in Samsara more tolerable." Chan Master Hsu Yun
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby yan kong » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:32 pm

Indrajala wrote:
yan kong wrote:
oushi wrote:Maybe that's what killed Zen in Japan... It I a common phenomena that number of precepts and commandments increases with time, no matter what religion or tradition we look at.


Ethics? I would say a lack of them or at least a disregard for them would be what killed it.


Buddhism in Japan isn't dead. I'd say it is in decline, sure, but not dead yet.

I used to think it was the lack of attention to precepts that initiated the decline, but then when I saw how often corrupted Buddhism is elsewhere in the world, Japan's problems in many ways seem minor.

The priests usually marry and drink in public. Okay, but that's nothing compared to the stuff you hear about in the apparently Vinaya-strict parts of the Buddhist world.

No, it was extreme rationalization and secularization that had people drop interest in Buddhism. Bear in mind before WWII some Chinese monks were commenting on how healthy Buddhism in Japan seemed, in contrast to their traditions which were in rapid decline and full of critical problems.


Certainly I don't think that Japan is the only country with problems concerning Buddhism. But whether you publically brush the ethics aside or just try to ignore them in secret, as in vinya-strict countries, it is a problem.
"Meditation is a spiritual exercise, not a therapeutic regime... Our intention is to enter Nirvana, not to make life in Samsara more tolerable." Chan Master Hsu Yun
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby Indrajala » Fri Aug 30, 2013 5:45 pm

yan kong wrote:Certainly I don't think that Japan is the only country with problems concerning Buddhism. But whether you publically brush the ethics aside or just try to ignore them in secret, as in vinya-strict countries, it is a problem.


In some ways though Japanese Buddhists behave themselves better than what you see elsewhere.

In any case, a living tree will inevitably have a few rotten branches. This is something a lot of Vinaya revivalists tend to overlook. They take the idea of "so long as the Vinaya is upheld, the Dharma will abide in the world" to an extreme and think the bad monks are responsible for perceived degeneration of the sangha and practice in the world.

In reality, it is quite normal, as in any large community, for at least a few people to catastrophically screw up and maybe even get away with it because of institutional concerns. In a lot of Buddhist countries such transgressions are begrudgingly tolerated for the sake of keeping the peace, rather than being brought to trial.

Trying to get everyone to behave according to the book is idealistic and moreover dangerous, because it is unrealistic and people who are otherwise good but somewhat lazy and unenthusiastic will be forced out or put under undue stress.

A living tradition is made up of flawed humans. There will always be problems. It is only a matter of how you deal with them. Internal policing and defrocking is one solution, but the outcome might be an unsustainable community because it is made up of rigid people who can't adapt to a disagreeable reality. Remember that grass bends and survives the wind storm whereas the mightiest oak might topple.
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Re: Does Zen have ethics?

Postby shel » Fri Aug 30, 2013 7:12 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:I think the real question is "Does ethics have Zen?"
Think about it.


Do moral principles have Buddhist moral principles? Well, not exactly. They are however common to human ethics, for what that's worth.
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