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Switch to Forum Live View what would be a good choice
5 years ago  ::  Jul 19, 2009 - 10:00PM #11
RenGalskap
Posts: 1,420
I think you're relying too much on other people's advice. :)

White Plum is well known and respected. I'm not a member, but if I were looking for a sangha to join and White Plum was in the area, I would definitely check them out. Use the same caution you would use in checking out a Christian congregation or minister; no more and no less.
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5 years ago  ::  Jul 20, 2009 - 12:14AM #12
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,278

Understood.

"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."  Dave Berry



You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Buddha.
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5 years ago  ::  Jul 20, 2009 - 5:21AM #13
Daigo
Posts: 21

The most important thing is to find a group and a teacher that works for you.  You certainly won't be able to make a commitment straight away, and it takes time to get a feel for what a group is about and whether it's what you're looking for.


It's a good idea to read some relevant books and check out groups' websites.  At the same time, although it is important to do some research about what you're getting into, you can't expect that research on its own to be enough to make a truly informed decision.


Yes, there are plenty of differences between different groups and lineages, and there are conflicts between different groups and teachers (and within groups) just as there are in all other walks of life.  But there's no need to understand encyclopedically everything about the various groups and their differences.  Teachers and groups are, after all, simply an aid to practice and spiritual growth.  If a group ceases to fulfill that role for you it's perfectly acceptable to go somewhere else, or even to practise alone if necessary.


The only really important difference between types of Zen practice is that some groups - Rinzai groups, and White Plum and Sanbo Kyodan even more so - place a fair bit of emphasis on enlightenment experiences, which can seem rather goal-oriented.  If you go to such a group and find its approach helpful then make use of it.  If not, don't.


The same goes for the more traditional Soto Zen groups, which emphasise "just sitting".  Some people find this approach a bit vague, and there tends to be a lot less hands-on instruction, which can feel like being abandoned to fend for oneself.


I started out by practising Rinzai Zen, and nowadays I practise "just sitting" Soto Zen.  I really wouldn't say that one is better than the other, and geography had far more to do with the change than anything else.  I will say, though, that Soto Zen took longer to get used to - in particular the Dharma talks focusing on Dogen's teachings, which can be a bit mindbending.


But the bottom line is, you don't need to understand everything (nobody does anyway).  Just find a place and a practice that work for you.

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 20, 2009 - 8:13AM #14
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,278

Jul 20, 2009 -- 5:21AM, Daigo wrote:


The most important thing is to find a group and a teacher that works for you.  You certainly won't be able to make a commitment straight away, and it takes time to get a feel for what a group is about and whether it's what you're looking for.


It's a good idea to read some relevant books and check out groups' websites.  At the same time, although it is important to do some research about what you're getting into, you can't expect that research on its own to be enough to make a truly informed decision.


Yes, there are plenty of differences between different groups and lineages, and there are conflicts between different groups and teachers (and within groups) just as there are in all other walks of life.  But there's no need to understand encyclopedically everything about the various groups and their differences.  Teachers and groups are, after all, simply an aid to practice and spiritual growth.  If a group ceases to fulfill that role for you it's perfectly acceptable to go somewhere else, or even to practise alone if necessary.


The only really important difference between types of Zen practice is that some groups - Rinzai groups, and White Plum and Sanbo Kyodan even more so - place a fair bit of emphasis on enlightenment experiences, which can seem rather goal-oriented.  If you go to such a group and find its approach helpful then make use of it.  If not, don't.


The same goes for the more traditional Soto Zen groups, which emphasise "just sitting".  Some people find this approach a bit vague, and there tends to be a lot less hands-on instruction, which can feel like being abandoned to fend for oneself.


I started out by practising Rinzai Zen, and nowadays I practise "just sitting" Soto Zen.  I really wouldn't say that one is better than the other, and geography had far more to do with the change than anything else.  I will say, though, that Soto Zen took longer to get used to - in particular the Dharma talks focusing on Dogen's teachings, which can be a bit mindbending.


But the bottom line is, you don't need to understand everything (nobody does anyway).  Just find a place and a practice that work for you.




 




Thank you Diago,




I will take your advice i guess i will start with the white plum group since it is kind of close to me, what books would you recommend?

"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."  Dave Berry



You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Buddha.
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5 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2009 - 12:00PM #15
Daigo
Posts: 21

Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki is a good introduction to Zen, as is Returning to Silence by Dainin Katagiri.


The Gateless Gate, a commentary on the Mumonkan koan collection by Zenkei Shibayama is a good introduction to koan Zen.


The Three Pillars of Zen by Philip Kapleau is generally regarded as a good introduction to the Sanbo Kyodan/ White Plum Sangha style of Zen practice.


If you're planning on going to a White Plum Sangha group, it's probably a good idea to read anything written by Maezumi Roshi, who was the founder of that sangha.


The Compass of Zen by Zen Master Seung Sahn is a very thorough practical guide to Zen theory and practice, and goes through just about the whole of Buddhist teaching as it relates to Zen.


Any of the various translations of Dogen Zenji's Shobogenzo is good for getting confused.


In addition to books specifically on Zen, it's good to read books on Buddhism in general.


What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula is a good book on the basic Buddhist teachings.


The New Buddhism by James William Coleman explores a lot of the issues involved in Western Buddhism.


...and many more...


Hope that helps.

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2009 - 2:20PM #16
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,278

Thank you,




What about  "An Introduction to Zen Buddhism "By  D.T. Suzuki ?



"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."  Dave Berry



You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Buddha.
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5 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2009 - 3:18PM #17
RenGalskap
Posts: 1,420

Jul 21, 2009 -- 2:20PM, Jupiter6208 wrote:

What about "An Introduction to Zen Buddhism "By D.T. Suzuki?


It's a fine book. D.T Suzuki was an academic writer who was fluent in English and writing at a time when only a few academic intellectuals in the West had heard of Zen. His audience was these academic intellectuals, and his concern was to explain the concepts of Zen and why it was different from Western religions and philosphies.

Give some consideration to Daigo's suggestion of S. Suzuki's "Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind". The other Suzuki was a priest at a temple in San Fransisco with a bunch of Western students who were serious about practicing Zen, but not so interested in relating it to current philosophical trends. At the same time, S. Suzuki lacked D.T.'s fluency in academic English. So he was forced to explain Zen in jargon free, straightforward terms, without dumbing it down in a way that serious students would reject.

Both books are excellent. From my descriptions, you should be able to choose which you think will fit your needs better.

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2009 - 8:34PM #18
Daigo
Posts: 21

DT Suzuki's books are not bad, but it's worth bearing in mind two things:


1.  As RenGalskap pointed out, DT Suzuki's books tend to be intellectual and professorial, rather than geared towards actual practice.


2.  DT Suzuki's way of thinking was deeply imbued with Nihonjin-ron, the theory of Japanese uniqueness.  As a result, a lot of his writing is more preoccupied with "selling" Japan than with providing accurate or reliable information.  This is especially true of Zen and Japanese Culture, which is full of the most outrageous inaccuracies and generalisations.

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2009 - 8:40PM #19
Daigo
Posts: 21

In my opinion, books by Shunryu Suzuki, Dainin Katagiri and Seung Sahn are about the best for giving practical instructions in Zen without blinding us with science.  If I were to recommend just one book, it would be Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind.

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 21, 2009 - 8:53PM #20
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,278

Thank you i will check that one out

"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."  Dave Berry



You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Buddha.
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