Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby DGA » Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:35 pm


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Tatsuo
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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby Tatsuo » Mon Feb 21, 2011 2:56 pm

For those, who don't know where to find the classical works by Zhiyi/Chih-i (jp. Chigi/Tendai Chisha Daishi), there are translations of "The Essentials for Practicing Calming-and-Insight & Dhyana Meditation" (修習止観坐禅法要 chin. Xiu-xi-zhi-guan-zuo-chan-fa-yao, jp. Shūjū Shikan Zazen Hōyō) and "The Six Dharma Gates to the Sublime" (六妙法門 chin. Liumiao famen, jp. Roku Myō Hōmon), that can be found .
Parts of the”Great Calm-Observation” 摩訶止観 (chin. Mo-Ho Chih-Kuan, jp. Makashikan), "The Confessional Samadhi of the Lotus Sutra" (法華三昧懺儀 chin. Fa-Hua San-Mei Ch'an-I, jp. Hokke Sanmai Sengi) and "The Prose & Verse of the Lotus Sutra" (法華文句 chin. Fa-Hua Wen-Chu, jp. Hokke Mongu) can be found .
And parts of the Makashikan and Shūjū Shikan Zazen Hōyō can be found .

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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby DGA » Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:10 pm

these are fine resources, Tatsuo. Thank you for the links.

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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby Tatsuo » Mon Feb 21, 2011 3:13 pm


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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby DGA » Tue Feb 22, 2011 5:09 pm


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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby Tatsuo » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:14 pm

You're right. There is more to Buddhist practice than meditation. I would also include recitation and study, of which many groups (at least the ones i've been to) do the former (but mostly as addition to meditation and not as actual practice in itself), but leave the latter to individual members. I'm glad, that the Tendai Buddhist Institute seems to be so actively involved in studying sutras.

Doing Kaihōgyō is considered an esoteric practice isn't it? Is one required to have taken certain vows and having been ordained/initiated (or at least have taken the refuge) or can anyone do Kaihōgyō?

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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby DGA » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:09 am

Yes, and not just studying sutras: we read, recite, and copy them (mind, speech, body).

To your questions on kaihogyo: on Hiei-zan, it's not a practice anyone off the street can do. There's a one-day version that ordinands do as part of their 60 day training, which makes one minimally qualified to be a Tendai priest (of which more later if anyone's curious). There are, of course, the longer intensive kaihogyo practices described in the Marathon Monks book. In the States, Keisho Leary regularly practices it on the California Tendai Monastery site... effectively lapping a mountain if I understand it right. At the Betsuin in New York, it's also a part of gyo or training for priests, and yes, there are specific mantras involved. It's uplifting and joyful practice.

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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby Daniel Arraes » Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:15 am


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Tatsuo
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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby Tatsuo » Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:09 am


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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby DGA » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:10 am


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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby DGA » Thu Feb 24, 2011 2:12 am


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Seishin
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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby Seishin » Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:39 am

Shame :crying:

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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby Tatsuo » Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:04 am

Thanks for clarification, Jikan! :)
Concerning the bogus Tendai teachers I think it's best to only rely on teachers and temples, that are mentioned on the and the groups, that are affiliated with them. There seems to be some teachers, that are not authorized Tendai teachers, but declare they are. Some years ago Stephen Hayes claimed to be a Tendai teacher, which is now not mentioned any more on his website. I think he was a teacher of Jion Prosser (wrote a book about Tendai gongyo) and "Jikaku" James Foster (Daiun-ji, "Great cloud temple"). Does anyone know, if those are authentic teachers?

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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby DGA » Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:36 pm


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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby Tatsuo » Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:04 pm

Thank you for your info, Jikan. So the Tendai Buddhist Insitute/Jiunzan Tendai-ji (and affiliated groups), California Tendai Monastery and the four temples in Hawaii are the seeds of Tendai in America :) It seems, that there are ways to practice Tendai in the US, but the scriptural foundation is still unsatisfactory. Apart from the few translations of Tendai teachings, there are not many classic works available in English, as Seishin and mr. gordo rightly pointed out.
I think this is the main problem Tendai has today - because most people in the West (including myself), first encountered Buddhism through reading instead of practising meditation or visiting a certain temple/group. So as long as people only read introductions to Zen and Vajrayana, because Tendai doesn't have those introductory texts, Tendai imho will not flourish in the US.
Zen and Vajrayana have these texts, written by teachers of that traditions, who have an excellent pool of translated texts to study with (and experience with the practice of course, but that is also available for people interested in Tendai) and then write easy commentary/ introductory texts, which fascinate people and make them look for that certain tradition, while Tendai teachers don't have many classic texts to base their introductory books on (but there are also not many introductory books about the practice, which is maybe easier to write at that moment).
There need to be more books and articles about Tendai written by practitioners in English to attract people to Tendai. Today there are only translations, which most people do not read, because they are difficult to read and understand without a certain foreknowledge, and of course academic literature about Tendai, which also isn't very helpful for people who are more interested in Buddhist practice than Buddhology.
Last edited by Tatsuo on Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby DGA » Thu Feb 24, 2011 10:13 pm

I think that's a fair assessment, Tatsuo. The closest thing to a practice guide suitable for a popular audience might be _Stopping and Seeing_.

This is one area in which more work definitely needs to be done in my opinion. Who will write those books? People who write English well, and who themselves have a solid basis in practice. Who is that person? We haven't found our Pema Chodron yet...

...at least not in English. Shomon Trans is getting it done in Danish.

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Tatsuo
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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby Tatsuo » Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:14 am

There is also the possibility for those American Tendai priests, who speak Japanese, to translate easy written introductions to Tendai from Japanese teachers, like it is done with books by Japanese Zen priests, who don't speak English. I think, that publication of Tendai texts is essential.

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Seishin
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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby Seishin » Fri Feb 25, 2011 12:47 pm

Agreed, those of us in the UK would definitely perchase a copy or 3

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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby jikai » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:37 pm

"There are no seperate dharma's in the Three Realms. There is only the operation of the one mind."
"Whoever wishes to benefit beings ought to establish teachings that fit their capacities, expound the dharma in accordance with their capacities, and match the doctrines to them"

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Re: Why isn't Tendai popular in the West?

Postby Malcolm » Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:44 pm





འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


Free of hope and fear, relax.
Human life spent in
a state of great spaciousness is enjoyable.


— Kunzang Dechen Lingpa


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