Practice and Faith

Practice and Faith

Postby Astus » Mon Feb 28, 2011 1:50 pm

Ven. Shengyan says in Chan Practice and Faith (PDF):

People interested in Chan practice often find it difficult to have religious faith. As faith is intrinsically emotional, and Chan practitioners emphasize personal cultivation to gain physical and mental benefits or the experience of Chan, they find it hard to accept religious faith. This is actually a great mistake.
Many people think that Chan practice depends solely on their own efforts, requiring self-reliance, while those who practice by reciting the Buddha's name depend solely on external help. Both of these views are incorrect. In reality, Chan practice also requires external help, and the practice of reciting the Buddha's name also requires one's own effort. One can hardly become an accomplished Chan practitioner through one's own efforts. In India, China and Tibet, all meditators need the support and assistance of teachers, Dharma-protecting deities, and the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. That is why Chan monasteries in China erect and worship the statues of Dharma-protecting deities such as the eight divisions of divinities and the four deva kings.
In the past, eminent masters often encouraged Chan practitioners to "entrust their bodies to the monastery and their lives to the Dharma-protecting deities" during Chan meditation. You don't need to be concerned about your body since it will be taken care of by the masters on duty. You simply follow the monastery's routines. However, to achieve good results in your practice, you need the support of Dharma-protecting deities. Without such assistance, one may face physical and mental obstructions, which may turn into demonic hindrances. Practicing Chan depending solely on one's own efforts without believing in the power of the Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and Dharma-protecting deities cannot be considered practicing Buddhism at all.


I think I'm not far from the truth if I say that hardly any Western Zen (Chan, Seon, Thien, however you prefer) teacher talks about the presence and meaning of such religious faith in their respective communities and publications. They might have some rituals they preserved that were originally expressions of belief in different entities but those ceremonies are explained only as a nice tradition and nothing more.

Is there any change in this attitude in the West in recent years? Will it ever change? Or is it important not to mention anything resembling a religion when advertising Zen (Buddhism) to Westerners?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby Indrajala » Thu Mar 10, 2011 4:39 pm

I think I'm not far from the truth if I say that hardly any Western Zen (Chan, Seon, Thien, however you prefer) teacher talks about the presence and meaning of such religious faith in their respective communities and publications. They might have some rituals they preserved that were originally expressions of belief in different entities but those ceremonies are explained only as a nice tradition and nothing more.


I think in Japan as well most teachers would explain away such rituals as just rituals and not representing a way of cultivating a connection to dharma guardians or Bodhisattvas that are actually thought to be real.


Is there any change in this attitude in the West in recent years? Will it ever change? Or is it important not to mention anything resembling a religion when advertising Zen (Buddhism) to Westerners?


Interesting questions.

If you go around saying you believe Guanyin provides great aid to your practice and protects you, you might have snarky remarks from atheist types who accuse you of having imaginary friends and comparing your beliefs with a belief in the Tooth Fairy, or more recently, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Likewise prostrating to dharma guardians and requesting they look after you and the sangha would be met with similar sentiments from a lot of self-proclaimed atheists who feel it is their duty to slander anyone they think is superstitious.

So, if you live in the west, you could face a lot of slander and criticism for believing in deities, bodhisattvas and Buddhas. That's why it is safer in many circumstances to defer to metaphysical explanations of the dharmakāya rather than talking about how one benefits from making prayers to the Buddhas of the ten directions, or talking about dharma guardians and so on.

Personally when I first started with Buddhism I was like most people from my generation in Canada in that I disliked ritual and wanted "the essence" of Buddhism. That's why I was drawn to Nagarjuna's work initially -- it seemed sanitized of disagreeable superstition and religion. After that I developed a profound respect for the Buddhadharma and saw that indeed the Buddha did speak quite literally about the existence of deva and other worlds. I also read of masters who lived a life of great virtue and attained great wisdom, and meanwhile practiced all those rituals I had found so disagreeable at first.

After traveling around Asia, I have also seen how faith, or perhaps conviction, is the foundation of popular Buddhism. Conviction or faith, however you want to call it, is the foundation of all practice. In that sense carving Buddha statues or singing songs about Buddha's life, though not practices directed specifically at liberation, are useful ways of inspiring and cultivating conviction and appreciation of dharma in people who would otherwise take no interest in the Buddha's teachings.

So, in time I developed a great appreciation for all the rituals and art.

I also studied enough philosophy to realize that there is more than one way of knowing things. Moreover, I learned that the default ideology in western society nowadays -- nihilistic materialism -- is only one way of thinking. When I started to see how this physical world really could be all but a manifestation of mental activity, the reality of deva, deva-loka, arupa-loka and transcendental dharma guardians became apparent.

However, I think a lot of Zen teachers in the west fail to see how their upbringing, which even if religious still taught them that the most realistic worldview to have is nihilistic materialism, dictates their approach to traditional Buddhist ideas that they purport to teach, yet actually wholeheartedly dismiss.

On the other hand, most Tibetan Buddhists in the west are fine with rituals and belief in transcendental deities.

Again though, if you're brought up in the west, then chances are you're a nihilistic-materialist in your worldview by default even if you don't realize it, so in western versions of Zen where rituals and deities are often dismissed as mere traditions there is a kind of easily digestible quality to it, even if traditionally Zen really did believe in those rituals and deities. I mean even rebirth is largely rejected as a mere superstition by the lot of Zen Buddhists both in Japan and the west -- so how much more the efficacy of rituals and deity worship?

I actually find myself quite attracted to rituals and Buddhist deities in recent months. I rather enjoy sitting in on a puja, even if I don't know the language it is being conducted in, or offering incense to Buddha or Bodhisattva images. The dharma guardians are also to be respected.
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby Astus » Thu Mar 10, 2011 5:11 pm

"When I started to see how this physical world really could be all but a manifestation of mental activity, the reality of deva, deva-loka, arupa-loka and transcendental dharma guardians became apparent."

Happened in a similar way to me, it's just that I was reading "Pure Land Buddhism: Dialogs with Ancient Masters" (PDF) when the implications of mind only and its relation to buddha-lands and such started to be clear to me, IIRC.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby mindyourmind » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:48 am

Huseng wrote:
I think I'm not far from the truth if I say that hardly any Western Zen (Chan, Seon, Thien, however you prefer) teacher talks about the presence and meaning of such religious faith in their respective communities and publications. They might have some rituals they preserved that were originally expressions of belief in different entities but those ceremonies are explained only as a nice tradition and nothing more.


I think in Japan as well most teachers would explain away such rituals as just rituals and not representing a way of cultivating a connection to dharma guardians or Bodhisattvas that are actually thought to be real.


Is there any change in this attitude in the West in recent years? Will it ever change? Or is it important not to mention anything resembling a religion when advertising Zen (Buddhism) to Westerners?


Interesting questions.

If you go around saying you believe Guanyin provides great aid to your practice and protects you, you might have snarky remarks from atheist types who accuse you of having imaginary friends and comparing your beliefs with a belief in the Tooth Fairy, or more recently, the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Likewise prostrating to dharma guardians and requesting they look after you and the sangha would be met with similar sentiments from a lot of self-proclaimed atheists who feel it is their duty to slander anyone they think is superstitious.

So, if you live in the west, you could face a lot of slander and criticism for believing in deities, bodhisattvas and Buddhas. That's why it is safer in many circumstances to defer to metaphysical explanations of the dharmakāya rather than talking about how one benefits from making prayers to the Buddhas of the ten directions, or talking about dharma guardians and so on.

Personally when I first started with Buddhism I was like most people from my generation in Canada in that I disliked ritual and wanted "the essence" of Buddhism. That's why I was drawn to Nagarjuna's work initially -- it seemed sanitized of disagreeable superstition and religion. After that I developed a profound respect for the Buddhadharma and saw that indeed the Buddha did speak quite literally about the existence of deva and other worlds. I also read of masters who lived a life of great virtue and attained great wisdom, and meanwhile practiced all those rituals I had found so disagreeable at first.

After traveling around Asia, I have also seen how faith, or perhaps conviction, is the foundation of popular Buddhism. Conviction or faith, however you want to call it, is the foundation of all practice. In that sense carving Buddha statues or singing songs about Buddha's life, though not practices directed specifically at liberation, are useful ways of inspiring and cultivating conviction and appreciation of dharma in people who would otherwise take no interest in the Buddha's teachings.

So, in time I developed a great appreciation for all the rituals and art.

I also studied enough philosophy to realize that there is more than one way of knowing things. Moreover, I learned that the default ideology in western society nowadays -- nihilistic materialism -- is only one way of thinking. When I started to see how this physical world really could be all but a manifestation of mental activity, the reality of deva, deva-loka, arupa-loka and transcendental dharma guardians became apparent.

However, I think a lot of Zen teachers in the west fail to see how their upbringing, which even if religious still taught them that the most realistic worldview to have is nihilistic materialism, dictates their approach to traditional Buddhist ideas that they purport to teach, yet actually wholeheartedly dismiss.

On the other hand, most Tibetan Buddhists in the west are fine with rituals and belief in transcendental deities.

Again though, if you're brought up in the west, then chances are you're a nihilistic-materialist in your worldview by default even if you don't realize it, so in western versions of Zen where rituals and deities are often dismissed as mere traditions there is a kind of easily digestible quality to it, even if traditionally Zen really did believe in those rituals and deities. I mean even rebirth is largely rejected as a mere superstition by the lot of Zen Buddhists both in Japan and the west -- so how much more the efficacy of rituals and deity worship?

I actually find myself quite attracted to rituals and Buddhist deities in recent months. I rather enjoy sitting in on a puja, even if I don't know the language it is being conducted in, or offering incense to Buddha or Bodhisattva images. The dharma guardians are also to be respected.


I could not even begin to put my own experiences and thoughts better than that, so I will not even try.

Well said. This is, in my view, the correct and best way to practice the Dharma. The stripped down "Western" version we come across holds within it the danger of becoming very little more than a pastime, a pretty bauble designed to keep us away from boredom, but having very little value as a vehicle of liberation.
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby Indrajala » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:07 pm

mindyourmind wrote:Well said. This is, in my view, the correct and best way to practice the Dharma. The stripped down "Western" version we come across holds within it the danger of becoming very little more than a pastime, a pretty bauble designed to keep us away from boredom, but having very little value as a vehicle of liberation.


For many people Buddhism is a hobby.

Call them on their bullshit and they will run away.
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby Astus » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:38 pm

I think it is all right to have Buddhism as a hobby. Isn't that a great entertainment? I think this has been like this ever since, a number of higher class lay people (and possibly monastics too) used Buddhism simply for their intellectual and spiritual amusement without any religious fervour. We could even call this an entry stage. The question is if this hobby form is something that may lead some to get really involved and take refuge in their heart or not? I believe the answer is positive thus it is fine to spread some kind of "Zen Lite" among the masses, i.e. the path of men and gods (same as the Zen of outsiders and ordinary people).
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby Indrajala » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:40 pm

Astus wrote:I think it is all right to have Buddhism as a hobby. Isn't that a great entertainment? I think this has been like this ever since, a number of higher class lay people (and possibly monastics too) used Buddhism simply for their intellectual and spiritual amusement without any religious fervour. We could even call this an entry stage. The question is if this hobby form is something that may lead some to get really involved and take refuge in their heart or not? I believe the answer is positive thus it is fine to spread some kind of "Zen Lite" among the masses, i.e. the path of men and gods (same as the Zen of outsiders and ordinary people).


I don't mind hobbyist Buddhists, but I don't appreciate much when they write books or proclaim themselves as teachers.
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby Astus » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:45 pm

If there are no teachers of hobby Buddhism how could anyone learn about it? Or, you could simply say that it is just normal that it's hard to find a teacher with high qualities.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:50 pm

Huseng wrote:Call them on their bullshit and they will run away.


And then what will have been achieved? Is this upaya?
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby mindyourmind » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:05 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:
Huseng wrote:Call them on their bullshit and they will run away.


And then what will have been achieved? Is this upaya?


Could be upaya, I suppose. Personally I would rather not try.
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby Jikan » Fri Mar 11, 2011 2:32 pm

Right now I'm writing a dissertation proposal for a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies on the topic of Western Buddhism. Specifically, the discourse, practice, and manufacture of the 'mindfulness' business: in institutions, in the marketplace, at work, and so on. I think it's a significant phenomenon for North American culture generally (probably for Europe too).

I don't know if it's good or bad. I'm interested in getting to the bottom of how it works, what people are really doing with it, how much money is made by it, and so on.

That said, the tendency to divorce "practice' from "faith" is one of the first characteristics, though, and from a Buddhist position (rather than a cultural historian's position), I find this to be counterproductive unless it's an upaya to draw people toward practice with faith somehow. I'm not ready to say one way or the other if it is or if it isn't, or if it may be a mixed aggregate.
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby Lazy_eye » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:53 pm

Jikan wrote:Right now I'm writing a dissertation proposal for a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies on the topic of Western Buddhism. Specifically, the discourse, practice, and manufacture of the 'mindfulness' business: in institutions, in the marketplace, at work, and so on. I think it's a significant phenomenon for North American culture generally (probably for Europe too).

I don't know if it's good or bad. I'm interested in getting to the bottom of how it works, what people are really doing with it, how much money is made by it, and so on.

That said, the tendency to divorce "practice' from "faith" is one of the first characteristics, though, and from a Buddhist position (rather than a cultural historian's position), I find this to be counterproductive unless it's an upaya to draw people toward practice with faith somehow. I'm not ready to say one way or the other if it is or if it isn't, or if it may be a mixed aggregate.


My experience is that most people negotiate between their comfort zone and that which is challenging for them somehow. If you don't push beyond the familiar, things eventually stagnate; but without anchor points, one can become lost and intimidated. For those with a secular or agnostic predisposition, the "rational" element in Buddhism is the the anchor and the devotional part terra incognita...

We could make similar observations about people who live in a commercial society, where anything perceived as valuable is quickly appropriated for marketing purposes. Then again, Buddhism in some historical contexts bears the imprint of a monarchic or feudal sociopolitical order. Conditioning wherever we look.
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby mindyourmind » Sat Mar 12, 2011 7:33 am

Jikan wrote:Right now I'm writing a dissertation proposal for a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies on the topic of Western Buddhism. Specifically, the discourse, practice, and manufacture of the 'mindfulness' business: in institutions, in the marketplace, at work, and so on. I think it's a significant phenomenon for North American culture generally (probably for Europe too).

I don't know if it's good or bad. I'm interested in getting to the bottom of how it works, what people are really doing with it, how much money is made by it, and so on.

That said, the tendency to divorce "practice' from "faith" is one of the first characteristics, though, and from a Buddhist position (rather than a cultural historian's position), I find this to be counterproductive unless it's an upaya to draw people toward practice with faith somehow. I'm not ready to say one way or the other if it is or if it isn't, or if it may be a mixed aggregate.


A friend of mine, Dr. Adrian Konik, just published a rather brilliant book dealing in part with this. Last time I saw it was available on the Net. It is of course also available from the publishers. Let me know if you want to get in touch with him.
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby ground » Sat Mar 12, 2011 4:54 pm

Having been put off repeatedly by so called "Zen" practitioners I rejoice in the quotation delivered with the OP and your responses. Really it makes my happy to learn to appreciate this tradition which used to appear so distorted through the conduct of these fellow beings.

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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby zengammon » Sun Mar 13, 2011 12:57 am

[i]Is there any change in this attitude in the West in recent years? Will it ever change? Or is it important not to mention anything resembling a religion when advertising Zen (Buddhism) to Westerners?[/i]

Thanks Astus and Huseng.

When Westerners ask me about Zen (Seon) I do avoid Religion, mostly because they get so upset about it. I'm not trying to convince them of anything anyway, and no one can be persuaded to walk this long path, so I just make it painless for them. And I came down a similar path to the one Huseng describes, so I allow these people their own path. How do I know where it is going?

To me, their questions are mostly like the turtle and fish story of Ajahn Dune, not answerable in the context that they insist on. (posted below for those who don't know the story)

And--if my western friends knew that I think science is just as much a religion as buddhism they would really have a melt down.


"One day, when a turtle came down into the water, it told a group of fish about how much fun it was to be on land: The lights and colors were pretty, and there were none of the difficulties that came from being in the water.

"The fish were intrigued, and wanted to see what it was like on land, so they asked the turtle, 'Is it very deep on land?'

"The turtle answered, 'What would be deep about it? It's land.'

"The fish: 'Are there lots of waves on land?'

"The turtle: 'What would be wavy about it? It's land.'

"The fish: 'Is it murky with mud?'

"The turtle: 'What would be murky about it? It's land.'

(excerpted from 'Gifts He Left Behind')


thankful to be learning and practicing in the East,
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby Astus » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:41 pm

Ven. Sheng-yen on Prayer

Sakyamuni did not teach his disciples to pray to a deity, to God, or even to the Buddha himself or another, for help or salvation. He encoraged sentient beings to help themselves as well as others. ... When people sincerely pray to deities, bodhisattvas, or even God, they will be helped or appeased. But the response to the prayers does not come from the deities, bodhisattvas or God. It comes in part from the mental power of the person seeking help, and it also comes from the collective power of all the people seeking help from a particular deity or bodhisattva. When a sufficient number of people sincerely seek help from a bodhisattva or deity, power will manifest, whether or not the bodhisattva or deity exists. It happens. People seek help, and their prayers and answered.
(Zen Wisdom: Knowing and Doing, p. 215, 217)

When someone prays, his faith engenders a mental state of supernormal, unified concentration, by which he can stimulate or arouse the compassionate vow-energy of the beings (such as Buddhas or bodhisattvas) to whom he prays, and thereby receive a response. That is, the mental energy resulting from the supplicant's concentration tallies and interacts with the energy of a Buddha's or bodhisattva's vows. This interaction, in turn, gives rise to an inconceivable, extraordinary power, which produces the special experiences and efficacious results of prayer.
(Orthodox Chinese Buddhism, p. 51)

Recitation, or prayer, is another element of the Chan practice that I teach. The power of prayer cannot be explained by psychology or science. When we pray, we generate power. In Buddhism, we say the relationship between the person who prays and the object of prayer is like the relationship between a bell and the person who rings the bell, or a mirror and the person standing in front of the mirror. Then bell won't ring without someone to ring it. The mirror does not make a reflection without someone standing in front of it. The being - the object of prayer - can only have pwer if people have faith in it. It's the same as in Christianity. You are saved only if you have faith. On this level, the faith in Buddhism is no different from that in Western religion. Faith is what gives prayer its power.
(Footprints in the Snow: The Autobiography of a Chinese Buddhist Monk, p. 182)

Ch'an practitioners do not deny the existence of bodhisattvas. They believe strongly in bodhisattvas, Buddhas, and patriarchs, but they do not pray to them as people would pray to a deity or God. They recognize that patriarchs and bodhisattvas are beings at different levels of practice. They revere bodhisattvas and seek to emulate them, but they do not typically ask for their help. In a humble, sober manner, Ch'an followers practice on their own, or under the guidance of a master.
(Dharma drum: the life and heart of Ch'an practice, p. 281)
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby plwk » Wed Mar 30, 2011 4:52 pm

Where are all of the iconoclastic zennies when you need em? :tongue:
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby LastLegend » Sun Apr 10, 2011 9:22 pm

Astus wrote:Ven. Shengyan says in Chan Practice and Faith (PDF):

People interested in Chan practice often find it difficult to have religious faith. As faith is intrinsically emotional, and Chan practitioners emphasize personal cultivation to gain physical and mental benefits or the experience of Chan, they find it hard to accept religious faith. This is actually a great mistake.
Many people think that Chan practice depends solely on their own efforts, requiring self-reliance, while those who practice by reciting the Buddha's name depend solely on external help. Both of these views are incorrect. In reality, Chan practice also requires external help, and the practice of reciting the Buddha's name also requires one's own effort. One can hardly become an accomplished Chan practitioner through one's own efforts. In India, China and Tibet, all meditators need the support and assistance of teachers, Dharma-protecting deities, and the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. That is why Chan monasteries in China erect and worship the statues of Dharma-protecting deities such as the eight divisions of divinities and the four deva kings.
In the past, eminent masters often encouraged Chan practitioners to "entrust their bodies to the monastery and their lives to the Dharma-protecting deities" during Chan meditation. You don't need to be concerned about your body since it will be taken care of by the masters on duty. You simply follow the monastery's routines. However, to achieve good results in your practice, you need the support of Dharma-protecting deities. Without such assistance, one may face physical and mental obstructions, which may turn into demonic hindrances. Practicing Chan depending solely on one's own efforts without believing in the power of the Buddhas, bodhisattvas, and Dharma-protecting deities cannot be considered practicing Buddhism at all.


I think I'm not far from the truth if I say that hardly any Western Zen (Chan, Seon, Thien, however you prefer) teacher talks about the presence and meaning of such religious faith in their respective communities and publications. They might have some rituals they preserved that were originally expressions of belief in different entities but those ceremonies are explained only as a nice tradition and nothing more.

Is there any change in this attitude in the West in recent years? Will it ever change? Or is it important not to mention anything resembling a religion when advertising Zen (Buddhism) to Westerners?


Whether Chan or Pure Land, the practitioner still needs to rely on his/her own effort. The reason simply is Amitabha wants to help you but you need to help yourself also. If you don't help yourself by cultivating Pure Land, there is not much Amitabha can do about it. Cultivating Pure Land just like cultivating any other form of Buddhism. By this I mean you have to abandon every attachment and only have Amitabha in Mind. At least this is the goal. As long as there is one string of attachment tying you to the six realms of death and rebirth, Amitabha cannot help you. But don't be discouraged, Pure Land does not say you have to completely get rid of all attachments by their roots, but you need to subdue them and do not let them arise by constantly having Amitabha in Mind...Anand thought that he did not need to practice because Buddha was his cousin and that Buddha in the future will transmit meditation practice to him. So Anand depended on Buddha more than his own effort, and when disturbed by a girl Buddha had to save him for Anand did not have power of Concentration from practicing meditation (Conduct/Concentration/Wisdom).
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Practice and Faith

Postby Quiet Heart » Tue May 31, 2011 6:44 am

:shrug:
I read through the comments on this topic...and all I can say is at the present I will just have to respectfully agree to disagree.
I'm not being rude, it's just that personally, when I start reading such things as "Prayers to XXXXX for Good Forune" and "Homages to be Sung to XXXXXXXX for his/her Blessing" I can only absorb so much before my eyes begin to glase over.
On the other hand, I have been criticised/scolded before from other "Zennies" for merely mentioning that long ago I read Taoist matierial and that I thought it's Philosophical basis was interesting to me.
(No,No....please don't hit me!)
Maybe it's like planting seeds in the spring, and waiting to see what does eventually sprouts from those seeds.
I've bben planting a lot of seeds in the last few years....so I'll just have to wait to see what sprouts I guess.
To be honest even 2 or 3 years ago I wouldn't have even read your opinions...much less bothered to respond to them.
Maybe It's just I'm getting older, and less arguementive now.
:smile:
Shame on you Shakyamuni for setting the precedent of leaving home.
Did you think it was not there--
in your wife's lovely face
in your baby's laughter?
Did you think you had to go elsewhere (simply) to find it?
from - Judyth Collin
The Layman's Lament
From What Book, 1998, p. 52
Edited by Gary Gach
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Quiet Heart
 
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