Guidance

Forum for discussion of East Asian Buddhism. Questions specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
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NoName
Posts: 5
Joined: Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:17 pm

Guidance

Post by NoName »

Hi,



I'm drawn to Zen from participating in Zazen in my local Soto Zen Dojo & readings some of the books about Zen. I've received sitting instructions there and attended a sesshin as well. There is also something about Japanese Buddhism in particular that I feel drawn to. I don't know what it is, but I feel more connected to something there, hence I am posting here with the hope that you could offer some guidance.

But I've encountered two issues there:
1) there is no temple in my country
2) this particular direction does not seem to have much in terms of links to many Buddhist texts/ sutras etc.

My husband is a Vajrayana practitioner and he knows many mantras and sutras - and even reading around here I feel a huge disconnect between the vastness of Buddhist traditions and the very minimalist context that I know from my own practice.

A lot of the advice about finding the right tradition for you seems to be about finding a teacher.
I am not sure about how I'd go around finding a teacher as a lay person in an Zen school in the UK, and I am not even sure if the "find the right teacher" thing applies in this case, as from the way it looks in Soto Zen the main thing seems to be about instructions and shared practice. And... I don't know how to balance wanting to learn more about the wider tradition as well.

I am essentially attracted to the simplicty of Zen practice, but at the same time I feel that something is missing in terms of learning about the wider context and fitting into a tradition. I tried exploring Tibetan Buddhism, but I do feel it is not for me - at least not for now. I get a bit lots in it, and I feel that it works with emotion and energy, to use them as tools to help working with the mind. This is not appropriate for me as I have huge emotional/energetic resources that I am not particularly in touch with, I feel it would be dangerous if I used them as support when I am a bit out of touch with them. I am also a bit uncertain about the "finding your teacher" thing, it was obvious that the concept of the Tibetan student/teacher relationship did not work for me - I mistrust the power dynamic inherent in some teacher/student relationships, and tend to crumble when following rigid courses of teaching and I don't want to put myself into a situation where it hinders my practice.

I'd be grateful for some advice what traditions and practices I should research.
thank you
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PadmaVonSamba
Posts: 4567
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: Guidance

Post by PadmaVonSamba »

If you feel a connection with zen, do zen.
The book, ‘Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma’ (author:Red Pine) is an excellent book, and of course there are many.
There’s no need to hurry up and find a tradition or a teacher. If you read, practice, maybe watch videos, and keep up a regular practice of meditation, then whatever teachers appear, or Dharma centers open, you will know whether they are a good fit.
At the heart of the Dharma, it’s all about being there.
EMPTIFUL.
An inward outlook develops outward insight.
SilenceMonkey
Posts: 458
Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2018 9:54 am

Re: Guidance

Post by SilenceMonkey »

Maybe zen traditions from other countries besides japan? It could be that you have zen in your area and don't know it.
avatamsaka3
Posts: 719
Joined: Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:11 am

Re: Guidance

Post by avatamsaka3 »

Just sit and practice. What else in necessary?
karmanyingpo
Posts: 324
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2020 4:19 pm

Re: Guidance

Post by karmanyingpo »

NoName wrote: Wed Feb 10, 2021 11:50 pm Hi,



I'm drawn to Zen from participating in Zazen in my local Soto Zen Dojo & readings some of the books about Zen. I've received sitting instructions there and attended a sesshin as well. There is also something about Japanese Buddhism in particular that I feel drawn to. I don't know what it is, but I feel more connected to something there, hence I am posting here with the hope that you could offer some guidance.

But I've encountered two issues there:
1) there is no temple in my country
2) this particular direction does not seem to have much in terms of links to many Buddhist texts/ sutras etc.

My husband is a Vajrayana practitioner and he knows many mantras and sutras - and even reading around here I feel a huge disconnect between the vastness of Buddhist traditions and the very minimalist context that I know from my own practice.

A lot of the advice about finding the right tradition for you seems to be about finding a teacher.
I am not sure about how I'd go around finding a teacher as a lay person in an Zen school in the UK, and I am not even sure if the "find the right teacher" thing applies in this case, as from the way it looks in Soto Zen the main thing seems to be about instructions and shared practice. And... I don't know how to balance wanting to learn more about the wider tradition as well.

I am essentially attracted to the simplicty of Zen practice, but at the same time I feel that something is missing in terms of learning about the wider context and fitting into a tradition. I tried exploring Tibetan Buddhism, but I do feel it is not for me - at least not for now. I get a bit lots in it, and I feel that it works with emotion and energy, to use them as tools to help working with the mind. This is not appropriate for me as I have huge emotional/energetic resources that I am not particularly in touch with, I feel it would be dangerous if I used them as support when I am a bit out of touch with them. I am also a bit uncertain about the "finding your teacher" thing, it was obvious that the concept of the Tibetan student/teacher relationship did not work for me - I mistrust the power dynamic inherent in some teacher/student relationships, and tend to crumble when following rigid courses of teaching and I don't want to put myself into a situation where it hinders my practice.

I'd be grateful for some advice what traditions and practices I should research.
thank you
External form can look very different even when inner meaning is very similar or the same. Whether Vajrayana or Zen, bodhicitta motivation is key. The view is also similar. Zen does include sutra even if it may be de emphasized in the west. Actually you may find that Western Zen has certain things presented differently to cater to Western tastes and tendencies. Actually I have seen research on differences in beliefs among Zen practitioners in traditionally Buddhist environments vs west and there are differences regarding how enlightened beings bodhisattvas and buddhas are viewed (e.g., what are they, what powers do they have etc) and things like karma and rebirth...

Anyway not to derail to much... My point is that Western Zen may look more far off from Vajrayana than Zen in its more traditional forms (but western zen is also not monolithical)

Another consideration: going from sutra to tantra or general mahayana to vajrayana is a thing... going from vajrayana/tantra to general mahayana/sutra is not as much of a thing.. So no harm in starting with Zen whether you stay in Zen or not.

Also of note... Zen doesn't have to be "just Zen" it also often includes Pure Land

KN
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