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 Post subject: Written Assignment Help
PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 4:16 pm 
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Hi DW Community,

First time poster here but I read the forums quite often. In my first year Intro to Buddhism class, we were just given an assignment to write 2.5page max essay on Vajrayana and Zen Buddhist models. I was wondering if anyone had any pointers or knowledge they would like to share regarding the topic.

Here is the assignment outline:



Any information you guys care to share on the listed topics would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
-Pax


Last edited by paxton on Thu Apr 08, 2010 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 06, 2010 11:41 pm 
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Have you come across this book?

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Look at the unfathomable spinelessness of man: all the means he's been given to stay alert he uses, in the end, to ornament his sleep. – Rene Daumal


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 2:25 am 
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paxton wrote:

"...Vajrayana and Zen Buddhists developed models of the path to Buddhahood that differed significantly from those of earlier forms of Buddhism. Vajrayana Buddhists developed three main models: Yoga tantra, highest yoga tantra and Dzogchen...."


Thanks in advance,
-Pax



Hi Pax,

Not entirely sure if your assignment details are necessarily correct. For example, in the Tibetan models of Tantra (vajrayana) originating from the 'new translation' era in general it is accepted that there are four levels of Tantra - Kriya, C[h]arya, Yoga, and Anuttara Yoga (Highest Yoga). The exception to this is the 'older' school of Nyingma, which I really don;t know enough about to pontificate. Again Dzogchen is more the realm of the Nyingma school. You might want to read up also on Mahamudra. (The scope of your assignment is enormous btw).

Also most of those who follow the Vajrayana would argue that what they practice is not so much "differing" from what the Buddha taught openly during his time, but more of an extension of it, much of it was already implied in his teaching - and would probably argue the Buddha already secretly taught. For the open minded non-practitioner who is trying to understand the basic principles of vajrayana, at the very minimum the first argument is important to explore. In the proper practice of the Vajrayana one is supposed to be duly 'prepared' by intense practice aimed at generating wisdom regarding shunyata (the roots of which are clearly found even in the Pali Canon) and (conventional) bodhicitta which is, if you like, the highest expression of compassion and love (karuna and metta) the two of which most certainly can also be found in the Pali Canon.

wishing you the best,

m


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:10 am 
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paxton wrote:
Hi DW Community,

First time poster here but I read the forums quite often. In my first year Intro to Buddhism class, we were just given an assignment to write 2.5page max essay on Vajrayana and Zen Buddhist models. I was wondering if anyone had any pointers or knowledge they would like to share regarding the topic.

Here is the assignment outline:

Vajrayana and Zen Buddhists developed models of the path to Buddhahood that differed significantly from those of earlier forms of Buddhism. Vajrayana Buddhists developed three main models: Yoga tantra, highest yoga tantra and Dzogchen. Zen Buddhists claimed to teach "sudden enlightenment". What were the conceptual foundations of these models and how did Buddhists believe that these methods led to Buddhahood? In discussing the Dzogchen system, be sure to discuss how the Dzochen vision of the path to Buddhahood is based on its vision of the origin of the universe. In discussing sudden enlightenment, be sure to discuss how Shen-hui established this doctrine as the "official" doctrine of Zen, and the different ways that it was interpreted by Zen thinkers, including Shen-hui himself, the teachers of the "Golden Age of Ch'an" the Rinzai school and the Soto school."

Any information you guys care to share on the listed topics would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
-Pax


What required and recommended reading has your teacher given you?

Start there.

I say this, because as someone who helps mark undergrad assignments and essays in Buddhist studies at a large University, I would definitely want the students to first follow the teachers instructions and directions. Ignoring these, and asking anonymous people on an online Buddhist forum, is the sure way to trouble. Teachers favor certain scholars and books and understandings, and they certainly have good reason for doing so. If you inadvertently pick up some scholar or book which runs contrary to your teacher, ... hehe, well, you can imagine the results. Even if you don't cite the scholar or book, most teachers know the material very well, and can track down the line of thought that the student is using. (Students often think that they are very objective, but most teachers can easily know exactly what reference materials that they are using.)

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:53 am 
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Location: Penang, Malaysia
Huifeng wrote:
What required and recommended reading has your teacher given you?

Start there.

Very good advices indeed. :twothumbsup:


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