Meditation techniques in each tradition

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Nicholas2727
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Meditation techniques in each tradition

Post by Nicholas2727 »

Hello,

I have posted on other forms looking to get more information about each school. While I do not necessarily label myself as one tradition, the boddhisatva ideal is very intriguing to me, although much of my Buddhist knowledge is in the Theravada tradition. In Theravada, I have been introduced to three meditation techniques, samatha, vipassana, and metta bhavana. From my knowledge:

Samatha: One pointed focus used for relaxation or calming

Vipassana: Insight meditation, observing multiple experiences while practicing mindfulness with a focus on impermance, dukha and nonself

Metta Bhavana: Saying loving and kind words towards yourself and towards others

I have heard other words used in Mahayana and Vajrayana such as tantric practices, mahamudra, dzogchen, zazen, huatuo meditation and a few others. How do these practices differ from the classic Theravada styles of mediation or how can they simply be described such as I did with the other three mediation techniques? I know that Tendai doctrines has samatha and vipassana teachings although how do these differ from classic Theravada?
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

As the question is phrased in somewhat general terms,
It’s probably accurate enough to describe dzogchen and mahamudra as simply allowing the mind to rest in awareness, while the activity of the mind itself occurs without being either a focus of attention or a distraction from concentration.


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Malcolm
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

Post by Malcolm »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:09 pm As the question is phrased in somewhat general terms,
It’s probably accurate enough to describe dzogchen and mahamudra as simply allowing the mind to rest in awareness...
Probably not. One does not allow one's mind to rest in a mental factor in either tradition.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
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PadmaVonSamba
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

Malcolm wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:18 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:09 pm As the question is phrased in somewhat general terms,
It’s probably accurate enough to describe dzogchen and mahamudra as simply allowing the mind to rest in awareness...
Probably not. One does not allow one's mind to rest in a mental factor in either tradition.

So, you are saying, ‘simply rest’ with no awareness?
...because in many examples (none of which I can cite at the moment) Thrangu Rinpoche explains the practice of mahamudra as simply allowing the mind to rest naturally.
That’s either gotta include or exclude awareness.
I’m going with the inclusion of awareness, otherwise there is no experience of it, which would be pointless.

Anyway, as I suggested, that description is probably accurate enough, reflecting the degree of specificity used in the opening post describing other types of meditation.
Sure, one could delve into infinite and perhaps contradictory fine points in any of them. But, it works.
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

Post by Malcolm »

PadmaVonSamba wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:17 pm
Malcolm wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:18 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:09 pm As the question is phrased in somewhat general terms,
It’s probably accurate enough to describe dzogchen and mahamudra as simply allowing the mind to rest in awareness...
Probably not. One does not allow one's mind to rest in a mental factor in either tradition.

So, you are saying, ‘simply rest’ with no awareness?
...because in many examples (none of which I can cite at the moment) Thrangu Rinpoche explains the practice of mahamudra as simply allowing the mind to rest naturally.
That’s either gotta include or exclude awareness.
I’m going with the inclusion of awareness, otherwise there is no experience of it, which would be pointless.

Anyway, as I suggested, that description is probably accurate enough, reflecting the degree of specificity used in the opening post describing other types of meditation.
Sure, one could delve into infinite and perhaps contradictory fine points in any of them. But, it works.
We are not resting in awareness, we are resting in the natural state of the mind, clarity and emptiness. We use mindfulness and awareness in tandem to sustain resting in the nature of the mind. We are aware of something in Dzogchen and Mahamudra, that is, a moment of unfabricated consciousness. But we are not resting in awareness per se. Mindfulness (dran pa) and awareness (shes bzhin) are two mental factors that always function together. If one is aware, one is mindful, if one is mindful, one is aware. Clarity on the other hand is not a mental factor, it is part of the nature of the mind, just as one aspect of the nature of water is wetness. But it is the nature of the mind is not only clarity, it is also empty, just as limpidity is also an aspect of the nature of water.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
Nicholas2727
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

Post by Nicholas2727 »

Malcolm wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 7:10 pm
PadmaVonSamba wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 6:17 pm
Malcolm wrote: Wed Jul 01, 2020 5:18 pm

Probably not. One does not allow one's mind to rest in a mental factor in either tradition.

So, you are saying, ‘simply rest’ with no awareness?
...because in many examples (none of which I can cite at the moment) Thrangu Rinpoche explains the practice of mahamudra as simply allowing the mind to rest naturally.
That’s either gotta include or exclude awareness.
I’m going with the inclusion of awareness, otherwise there is no experience of it, which would be pointless.

Anyway, as I suggested, that description is probably accurate enough, reflecting the degree of specificity used in the opening post describing other types of meditation.
Sure, one could delve into infinite and perhaps contradictory fine points in any of them. But, it works.
We are not resting in awareness, we are resting in the natural state of the mind, clarity and emptiness. We use mindfulness and awareness in tandem to sustain resting in the nature of the mind. We are aware of something in Dzogchen and Mahamudra, that is, a moment of unfabricated consciousness. But we are not resting in awareness per se. Mindfulness (dran pa) and awareness (shes bzhin) are two mental factors that always function together. If one is aware, one is mindful, if one is mindful, one is aware. Clarity on the other hand is not a mental factor, it is part of the nature of the mind, just as one aspect of the nature of water is wetness. But it is the nature of the mind is not only clarity, it is also empty, just as limpidity is also an aspect of the nature of water.

Thank you both for the replies. I can already tell that Dzogchen is a very deep meditation that may have many practitioners questioning in the beginning. With my prior experience in Vipassana, Metta, and Samatha meditation I am confused at how someone would actually practice Dzogchen by your descriptions. My experience in Vipassana is in the Mahasi Sayadaw style and from what I can tell Dzogchen seems very similar, just not actually noting the experiences. So if one is sitting and meditating and an emotion pops up or a thought one is aware of the thought in Dzogchen? The same style was taught to me instead one would note this experience as saying "feeling" "feeling" or "thinking" "thinking". Do I understand this correctly or am I far off?
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

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Nicholas2727 wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:26 amThe same style was taught to me instead one would note this experience as saying "feeling" "feeling" or "thinking" "thinking". Do I understand this correctly or am I far off?
Labelling experiences is the first stage, using simple words to help one recognise what actually happens. Eventually such labels are let go of in vipassana, and dhammas are perceived without them. That stage, where there is no longer any labelling, conceptualisation (paññatti), is where one can see things as they are, and that is where the vipassana knowledges can happen.
You can see in Mahayana that one has to get to the same non-conceptualising mindfulness where impressions are not clung to, nor suppressed, and that is the ideal attitude.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

Post by LastLegend »

Astus wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:05 am
Nicholas2727 wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:26 amThe same style was taught to me instead one would note this experience as saying "feeling" "feeling" or "thinking" "thinking". Do I understand this correctly or am I far off?
Labelling experiences is the first stage, using simple words to help one recognise what actually happens. Eventually such labels are let go of in vipassana, and dhammas are perceived without them. That stage, where there is no longer any labelling, conceptualisation (paññatti), is where one can see things as they are, and that is where the vipassana knowledges can happen.
You can see in Mahayana that one has to get to the same non-conceptualising mindfulness where impressions are not clung to, nor suppressed, and that is the ideal attitude.
I am confused I don’t know which is is which anymore. It seems like it’s all the same?
It’s eye blinking.
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Matt J
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

Post by Matt J »

The main difference, on my experience, between Theravada-style practice and Zen and Dzogchen/Mahamudra is that the latter requires you to work with a teacher to gain clarity on what in both traditions is referred to as the nature of mind. Mahamudra in particular uses a step-by-step approach, whereas Dzogchen and Zen tends to be more direct. Whether this is the same or not is the subject of much debate (on this forum anyway). Once this is established, the practice is based on this.

If you have 35 minutes, Mingyur Rinpoche explains a brief overview of Mahamudra here:



If you want a longer explanation, Tulku Urgyen gives a good discussion here:

https://buddhismnow.com/2013/05/11/reco ... -rinpoche/

However, the problem with these public teachings is that they lead people to think they get it, when they usually don't. Again, one is required to work with a teacher to clarify what is meant by nature of mind. There are many, many errors possible --- so many errors that it requires a teacher familiar with the nature of mind to provide guidance. It is very much like trying to find your way through a minefield (ha ha I originally wrote mindfield) without any map or equipment.

If you want to know more about Zen, I would look to Meido Moore Roshi's messages on this forum.
Nicholas2727 wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:26 am Thank you both for the replies. I can already tell that Dzogchen is a very deep meditation that may have many practitioners questioning in the beginning. With my prior experience in Vipassana, Metta, and Samatha meditation I am confused at how someone would actually practice Dzogchen by your descriptions. My experience in Vipassana is in the Mahasi Sayadaw style and from what I can tell Dzogchen seems very similar, just not actually noting the experiences. So if one is sitting and meditating and an emotion pops up or a thought one is aware of the thought in Dzogchen? The same style was taught to me instead one would note this experience as saying "feeling" "feeling" or "thinking" "thinking". Do I understand this correctly or am I far off?
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

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LastLegend wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:16 pmI am confused I don’t know which is is which anymore. It seems like it’s all the same?
One evening, after a Dharma talk at the Boston Dharmadhatu, a student said to Seung Sahn Soen-sa, "At a recent seminar on Zen and Tantra, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche compared Zen to black and white and tantra to color. What do you think of this?"
...
Soen-sa said, ... "When you are thinking, your mind and my mind are different. When you are not thinking, your mind and my mind are the same. Now tell me - when you are not thinking, is there color? Is there black and white? Not thinking, your mind is empty mind. Empty minds means cutting off all speech and words. Is there color then?"

(Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, p 79)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

Post by Malcolm »

Astus wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:21 pm
LastLegend wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 2:16 pmI am confused I don’t know which is is which anymore. It seems like it’s all the same?
One evening, after a Dharma talk at the Boston Dharmadhatu, a student said to Seung Sahn Soen-sa, "At a recent seminar on Zen and Tantra, Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche compared Zen to black and white and tantra to color. What do you think of this?"
...
Soen-sa said, ... "When you are thinking, your mind and my mind are different. When you are not thinking, your mind and my mind are the same. Now tell me - when you are not thinking, is there color? Is there black and white? Not thinking, your mind is empty mind. Empty minds means cutting off all speech and words. Is there color then?"

(Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, p 79)
This is not a very good answer. This kind of idea, the cessation of thinking, just results in more samsara.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

Post by Astus »

Malcolm wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:33 pmThis is not a very good answer. This kind of idea, the cessation of thinking, just results in more samsara.
That is right, aiming for and grasping at a thoughtless state at best takes one to a heavenly birth. But that was not the intended message, at least from my side. Rather that while there are methodical differences, when it comes to not conceptualising what is experienced, there are no distinctions that can be made.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

Post by Malcolm »

Astus wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:12 pm
Malcolm wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 3:33 pmThis is not a very good answer. This kind of idea, the cessation of thinking, just results in more samsara.
That is right, aiming for and grasping at a thoughtless state at best takes one to a heavenly birth. But that was not the intended message, at least from my side. Rather that while there are methodical differences, when it comes to not conceptualising what is experienced, there are no distinctions that can be made.
That is not what the citation says.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

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Malcolm wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:30 pmThat is not what the citation says.
Right, it's not a full story, I just thought it fitting on the issue of comparison. Here's an extension on empty mind.

'True emptiness is before thinking. Before thinking is just like this. So life is only life; death is only death. You must not be attached to names and forms. It is like a clear mirror. In a clear mirror, all is nothing; there is only the clear mirror. Red comes, the mirror is red. Yellow comes, there is yellow. A woman comes, there is a woman. A man comes, there is a man. Death comes, there is death. Life comes, there is life. But all of these do not exist. The mirror does not hold on to anything. There is only the coming and the going. This is before thinking: all things are just as they are. The name for this mind is original pure mind.'
(Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, p 90)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
Malcolm
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

Post by Malcolm »

Astus wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:23 pm
Malcolm wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:30 pmThat is not what the citation says.
Right, it's not a full story, I just thought it fitting on the issue of comparison. Here's an extension on empty mind.

'True emptiness is before thinking. Before thinking is just like this. So life is only life; death is only death. You must not be attached to names and forms. It is like a clear mirror. In a clear mirror, all is nothing; there is only the clear mirror. Red comes, the mirror is red. Yellow comes, there is yellow. A woman comes, there is a woman. A man comes, there is a man. Death comes, there is death. Life comes, there is life. But all of these do not exist. The mirror does not hold on to anything. There is only the coming and the going. This is before thinking: all things are just as they are. The name for this mind is original pure mind.'
(Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, p 90)
This is still just referring to a mind devoid of concepts. So, it still does not escape the criticism.
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
Nicholas2727
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

Post by Nicholas2727 »

Astus wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:23 pm
Malcolm wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 9:30 pmThat is not what the citation says.
Right, it's not a full story, I just thought it fitting on the issue of comparison. Here's an extension on empty mind.

'True emptiness is before thinking. Before thinking is just like this. So life is only life; death is only death. You must not be attached to names and forms. It is like a clear mirror. In a clear mirror, all is nothing; there is only the clear mirror. Red comes, the mirror is red. Yellow comes, there is yellow. A woman comes, there is a woman. A man comes, there is a man. Death comes, there is death. Life comes, there is life. But all of these do not exist. The mirror does not hold on to anything. There is only the coming and the going. This is before thinking: all things are just as they are. The name for this mind is original pure mind.'
(Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, p 90)
From my understanding of zen/chan (again I have very little knowledge, just know beginning to learn more) but one of the practices is to let go of concepts so that makes sense to me, although the practice of how to get there is what I am confused about. I understand that when we see red, just see it, although can this be done simply by just following the breath? Same goes for the other style of meditations such as Dzogchen. A google search says that Dzogchen is a practice aimed at discovering and continuing in the natural state of being. Another example would be zazen which google says is a practice that regulates attention. While being told what they are in these terms is useful, I get confused at the practical side of them. How do either of these differ from some of the meditation styles in Theravada (Specifically following the breath, Metta, and Mahasi Sayadaw style of vipassana)?
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

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Malcolm wrote: Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:28 pmThis is still just referring to a mind devoid of concepts. So, it still does not escape the criticism.
Not really the same. There are things, but there is no attachment to them. It's possible to match it with there being no longer the concept of self that puts concepts into a samsaric frame. A little more on "just as they are":

"At 360° all things are just as they are; the truth is just like this. 'Like this' means that there is no attachment to anything. This point is exactly the same as the zero point: we arrive where we began, where we have always been. The difference is that O° is attachment thinking, while 360° is no-attachment thinking."
(Dropping Ashes on the Buddha, p 7)
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

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Nicholas2727 wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:52 amthe practices is to let go of concepts so that makes sense to me, although the practice of how to get there is what I am confused about.
The practice is to let go of concepts, full stop. Well, actually, that is taken in Zen as the essential practice, but not the only one. However, the very understanding of 'concepts' here can cause some serious confusions. Practically the key element is to recognise how one attaches to an idea and perpetuates it, turning a single thought into a chain of thoughts. But even that can sound (rightly) ambiguous, so think of right effort (samma vayama), how skilful and unskilful needs to be differentiated (note: this is part of the samadhi section), and think of dependent origination, how from contact/impression arises feeling, and from feeling craving, then grasping, etc. Although with this added explanation it doesn't look very Zennish, but then you can see how they point to the same mental function.
As for the various techniques used to help people to see into their own mental operations, the method of kanhua (看話 - "phrase contemplation") is the most popular everywhere, with the sole exception of Soto Zen. There are also two versions of kanhua practice, one following the older type of contemplating the huatou (話頭 - "phrase head"), and there is the practice with a koan curriculum in Rinzai Zen. So basically the Japanese Zen schools are a bit different from the others (China, Korea, Vietnam).
I understand that when we see red, just see it, although can this be done simply by just following the breath?
If you watch the breath, then it's the breath that comes and goes. The attitude should be the same, not grasping, not rejecting, not identifying, not disidentifying, but being simply aware without assuming oneself to be the doer (breather), the observer (I feel breath), the owner (it is my breath), or any other version of positioning oneself somewhere (or in a "nowhere").
How do either of these differ from some of the meditation styles in Theravada (Specifically following the breath, Metta, and Mahasi Sayadaw style of vipassana)?
To see that better, one always needs to be familiar with the specific methods. Even just for "following the breath" there are many versions in Theravada and Mahayana. To compare them, one needs to know them. What you can do for a start is to read a bit about the actual methods themselves first. Then you might like one or another, and try it, then you may have questions and doubts, so you will find someone (a good friend, a teacher, an experienced person) to help further. One big difficulty of comparing these methods in such broad strokes here is that there are just to many details to cover in a post. So you can also try more specific questions.
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
Nicholas2727
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

Post by Nicholas2727 »

Astus wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 8:49 am
Nicholas2727 wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:52 amthe practices is to let go of concepts so that makes sense to me, although the practice of how to get there is what I am confused about.
The practice is to let go of concepts, full stop. Well, actually, that is taken in Zen as the essential practice, but not the only one. However, the very understanding of 'concepts' here can cause some serious confusions. Practically the key element is to recognise how one attaches to an idea and perpetuates it, turning a single thought into a chain of thoughts. But even that can sound (rightly) ambiguous, so think of right effort (samma vayama), how skilful and unskilful needs to be differentiated (note: this is part of the samadhi section), and think of dependent origination, how from contact/impression arises feeling, and from feeling craving, then grasping, etc. Although with this added explanation it doesn't look very Zennish, but then you can see how they point to the same mental function.
As for the various techniques used to help people to see into their own mental operations, the method of kanhua (看話 - "phrase contemplation") is the most popular everywhere, with the sole exception of Soto Zen. There are also two versions of kanhua practice, one following the older type of contemplating the huatou (話頭 - "phrase head"), and there is the practice with a koan curriculum in Rinzai Zen. So basically the Japanese Zen schools are a bit different from the others (China, Korea, Vietnam).
I understand that when we see red, just see it, although can this be done simply by just following the breath?
If you watch the breath, then it's the breath that comes and goes. The attitude should be the same, not grasping, not rejecting, not identifying, not disidentifying, but being simply aware without assuming oneself to be the doer (breather), the observer (I feel breath), the owner (it is my breath), or any other version of positioning oneself somewhere (or in a "nowhere").
How do either of these differ from some of the meditation styles in Theravada (Specifically following the breath, Metta, and Mahasi Sayadaw style of vipassana)?
To see that better, one always needs to be familiar with the specific methods. Even just for "following the breath" there are many versions in Theravada and Mahayana. To compare them, one needs to know them. What you can do for a start is to read a bit about the actual methods themselves first. Then you might like one or another, and try it, then you may have questions and doubts, so you will find someone (a good friend, a teacher, an experienced person) to help further. One big difficulty of comparing these methods in such broad strokes here is that there are just to many details to cover in a post. So you can also try more specific questions.
Thank you so much for all of the explaining done in your reply. I have heard much about the huatuo practice and have heard the examples of the questions "who am I?" Although, this may be a Rinzai example I am not sure. Is this a practice that is used alongside other meditation techniques or do most chan/zen centers focus entirely on a huatuo practice? Also when practicing this huatuo does the practitioner repeat these questions over and over or do they start by asking the question and then sit with it for awhile?

As you said "one should not identify as the doer or the observer" For my background in the Mahasi style of meditation we are taught to observe and note each breath, each thought and each experience. Not saying one is right or one is wrong, but would chan/zen schools not recommend this style of practice since it notes the experiences or does noting fit into the practice since it does not mean one is considering them the observer?

Do you have any suggestions for readings that go over the different versions of meditation? Getting a better background on all of the different techniques may help get me background knowledge on them and form better questions when I have enough background information.
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Astus
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Re: Meditation techniques in each tradition

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Nicholas2727 wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 4:09 pmIs this a practice that is used alongside other meditation techniques or do most chan/zen centers focus entirely on a huatuo practice?
It can be with or without other practices. It depends on the individual needs and the community.

Here are some introductory materials:
Essentials of Practice and Enlightenment for Beginners by Hanshan Deqing
Prerequisites of the Ch’an Training by Xuyun

More extensive works:
Knocking Gently on the Door of Chan: On the Practice of Huatou by Guo Ru
What is Ganhwa Seon?
Not saying one is right or one is wrong, but would chan/zen schools not recommend this style of practice since it notes the experiences or does noting fit into the practice since it does not mean one is considering them the observer?
If by noting you mean verbal labelling, then not really. However, Chan is not a very fixed method or doctrine, and a lot depends on the individual and the teacher.
Do you have any suggestions for readings that go over the different versions of meditation?
I have not yet seen such a comprehensive work, especially not focused on meditation only. At the same time, you should be aware that there are teachings in Mahayana as well about samatha and vipasyana. Here are some sources you might enjoy:

The four foundations of mindfulness by Nagarjuna
The Four Close Applications of Mindfulness by Śāntideva
The Essentials of Buddhist Meditation by Shramana Zhiyi
The Six Dharma Gates to the Sublime by Shramana Zhiyi
Nagarjuna on the Six Perfections
The Sutra on the Concentration of Sitting Meditation
1 Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

2 If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

3 Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

4 With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.


1 Huangbo, T2012Ap381c1 2 Nirvana Sutra, T374p521b3; tr. Yamamoto 3 Mazu, X1321p3b23; tr. J. Jia 4 Yongjia, T2014p395c14; tr. from "The Sword of Wisdom"
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