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9 years ago  ::  Mar 19, 2009 - 10:13AM #1
Gerald_ford
Posts: 34

Hello,


Haven't been on this forum in ages (busy with life and other things), but I recently found an interesting article on the issue between Zen and Pure Land Buddhism, from a Japanese perspective.  In mainland asia, the two branches of Buddhism are more closely intertwined, but Japanese Buddhism has a habit of sectarianism more than others.  So, on paper at least, Zen and Pure Land have nothing to do with one another.


However, I found a good article by a respected Jodo Shinshu (Pure Land) minister who relates his experiences with both, and talks about Zen masters he knew who were deeply inspired by Pure Land teachings.  Finally he addresses the issue of whether one should do zazen, nembutsu, or both?


The first time I read the article years ago, I didn't really get it, but now that I am a little more experienced, I can appreciate what's he talking about.  Speaking as another Shinshu follower.

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9 years ago  ::  Mar 19, 2009 - 10:40PM #2
RenGalskap
Posts: 1,420
Hi Gerald. Thanks for the link. It was an interesting read.

As TexZen once said, it's all about conveyance.
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9 years ago  ::  Mar 21, 2009 - 1:12AM #3
Kaspalita
Posts: 1

That's great thanks, will have a read and then maybe post some comments. I've been reading The Centre Withing by Gyomay Kubose, who founded Bright Dawn, a Pureland Buddhist centre (now in California, I think). Although ordained as a Pureland Priest, he lived in a Zen temple whilst doing his masters (phd?) in Japan - and you can feel the Zen influence throughout the book.


 


 

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9 years ago  ::  Mar 23, 2009 - 6:24PM #4
Gerald_ford
Posts: 34

@Ren: Conveyance indeed.  :)


@Kaspalita: Rev. Kubose is kind of an unconventional figure within the Pure Land tradition, but I don't necessarily mean "unconventional" in a bad way, just unorthodox.  On the other hand, I'd recommend Rev. Ogui's "Zen Shin Talks" on the same subject.  He's head of the BCA, so while unconventional himself, he speaks with great authority.  Actually, I wouldn't be so surprised if the two of them taught similar ideas.


Zen and Shin do have an interesting history between them.

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7 years ago  ::  Aug 15, 2010 - 11:39PM #5
Daigo
Posts: 21

Anyone who doesn't swallow the doctrines of JodoShinShu a hundred percent is unconventional in that sect. While it presents a veneer of open-mindedness in the West, just about every ShinShu priest in Japan will say that Zen, and even the Heart Sutra and any sutras other than the JodoSanBuKyo should be avoided as they are "self-power". I asked one priest if that also applied to the Prajnaparamita (of which the Heart Sutra is a part) when Shinran quotes it in the KyoGyoShinSho, and he basically ran away from me to avoid answering the question.


Of the two main sects, Otani (Higashi) is a bit more open-minded than Honpa (Nishi). Zen-influenced reform-minded scholars like DT Suzuki and Nishida Kitaro were connected with Otani, and Suzuki even kept his job as a professor at Otani University in spite of practising and advocating Zen.


"The Pure Land tradition" is a very broad and vague phrase, and there are various branches of Pure Land Buddhism. Most other branches are a lot more open than ShinShu, and don't have extreme rules like no Sakyamuni statues, no Kannon statues, and no saying of the Nembutsu more than six times at once.


In JodoShu services, they do extended Nembutsu chanting for sometimes an hour at a time. All other non-ShinShu traditions to my knowledge also do extended Nembutsu. In Chinese Buddhism they have "FoQi" - "Buddha Seven" - retreats that last seven days and consist of almost continuous Nembutsu. TendaiShu even has JogyoZammai, consisting of ninety-day retreats of continuous Nembutsu.

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7 years ago  ::  Aug 15, 2010 - 11:48PM #6
Daigo
Posts: 21

Continuous Nembutsu recitation has historically been central to most branches of Pure Land Buddhism. A number of important Zen teachers - including Yongming Yanshou, Zhuhong, Bassui and Ingen Zenji - have realised that there is an affinity with the practice of Nembutsu and Zen practice. Also realising that formal Zen meditation is not something everyone can do, they have tended to recommend Nembutsu to laypeople, sometimes introducing a koan element. ("Who is the repeater of the Buddha's Name?")


At the end of the day, all Buddhist paths are skilful means. Which one each person chooses is a highly individual thing, as is the question of whether to combine elements of one practice with those of another.

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