jeeprs wrote:There are a handful of literary accounts of life in Zen monasteries from the perspective of westerners, notably The Empty Mirror: Experiences in a Japanese Zen Monastery Janwillem van de Wetering and Thank You and Ok!: An American Zen Failure in Japan by David Chadwick.
From what I understand, discipline in Zen monasteries is indeed very rigorous, although I have no experience myself. But Japanese culture has a strong work ethic and places a lot of emphasis on self-discipline. They don't do things by halves, from what I understand of it.
In my last short retreat, three years ago, it was mentioned that one of the resident Thai monks had spent time in a Zen monastery in the past, and found it too strict, so he returned to the Thai order he had started in. And he was already a monk!
Robert Buswell, a Buddhist scholar who spent five years as a Zen monk in Korea, draws on personal experience in this insightful account of day-to-day Zen monastic practice. In discussing the activities of the postulants, the meditation monks, the teachers and administrators, and the support monks of the monastery of Songgwang-sa, Buswell reveals a religious tradition that differs radically from the stereotype prevalent in the West. The author's treatment lucidly relates contemporary Zen practice to the historical development of the tradition and to Korean history more generally, and his portrayal of the life of modern Zen monks in Korea provides an innovative and provocative look at Zen from the inside.
shaunc wrote:It's great the things you learn here. I would have thought the Thai tradition being Theravada would have been the strictest. There's also another Japanese sect known as the marathon monks. If I went there I reckon I'd be dead before the week was out.
what Is the theory behind this way of practice, pushing your self to the limit finding enlightenment this way.
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