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5 years ago  ::  Jul 12, 2009 - 9:53AM #1
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,383

Hello.


 


I just started looking into Buddhist meditation i just took a beginners class in Tibetan Buddhism


and i found it enjoyable and enlightening  but I'm  not  sure if it's right for me, next i would like to try Zen Buddhism i don't know why but i feel kind of drawn to it even though i don't really know that much about it  i also have read about New Kadampa but that it seems to have A LOT angry  people against it i have been on a couple of websites that even forbid discussions on it


Some people are extremly sectarian.


 


Anyway any help would be appreciated

"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.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
Eleanor Roosevelt
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5 years ago  ::  Jul 14, 2009 - 2:47PM #2
Daigo
Posts: 21

It's a good idea to try different things to find out what suits you.  Tibetan Buddhism is quite elaborate, with a lot of ritual, visualisations and so on.  Zen tends to be a lot more simple, though both statements are generalisations to some extent.


The New Kadam-Pa people seem to be at loggerheads with the rest of Tibetan Buddhists, especially with the Gelug-Pa sect that they broke away from.  From what I gather, they use a deity on the mandala that seems to have no other purpose than to reek revenge on the Dalai Lama for some event that happened centuries ago.


Tibetans place a lot of emphasis on the teacher-disciple relationship, even going so far as to practically worship their guru.


Some Zen groups do a koan-interview-based practice, and those groups also place a lot of emphasis on teachers, who are supposed to be enlightened.  Some other groups focus on "just sitting", and those groups tend to regard teachers as just people who happen to be teachers.  But again I'm generalising.


The best way to find out what works for you is to give it a try.  Good luck, and I hope I've been of some help.

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 14, 2009 - 4:12PM #3
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,383

Thank you very much for your help!


i went to my first Tibetan beginners meditation class Saturday i really enjoyed it and it was enlightening! but I'm not sure if its for me


Is it possible to practice Zen on my own or do you suggest a group


 

"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.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
Eleanor Roosevelt
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5 years ago  ::  Jul 14, 2009 - 7:08PM #4
RenGalskap
Posts: 1,420
It's certainly possible to practice Zen alone, but most people do better as part of a group, or at least with instruction from a more experienced person.

BTW, I know of one Zen Buddhist who couldn't find a Zen teacher, so she studied with a teacher from the Tibetan Nyingma tradition. As far as I know, she's still doing it.
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5 years ago  ::  Jul 19, 2009 - 2:03PM #5
Larosser
Posts: 413

Jul 14, 2009 -- 7:08PM, RenGalskap wrote:

It's certainly possible to practice Zen alone, but most people do better as part of a group, or at least with instruction from a more experienced person. BTW, I know of one Zen Buddhist who couldn't find a Zen teacher, so she studied with a teacher from the Tibetan Nyingma tradition. As far as I know, she's still doing it.





I practice Soto Zen, primarily alone, simply because of location and scheduling. There's a weekly group meditation that I sometimes attend, and I find it a very fulfilling addition to my solitary practice. There are rarely Dharma talks nearby, so I read or listen to podcasts to enhance my understanding.


 


What I truly missed was dokusan, the opportunity to review my practice with someone more senior. When I mentioned this to some of my friends from the local Tibetan temple, one of the monks kindly offered to work with me. I'm not sure it's exactly dokusan, his ways are a little different, but it scratches the same itch,and I think it's helpful.


 

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 19, 2009 - 2:40PM #6
Larosser
Posts: 413

Jul 14, 2009 -- 4:12PM, Jupiter6208 wrote:


Thank you very much for your help!


i went to my first Tibetan beginners meditation class Saturday i really enjoyed it and it was enlightening! but I'm not sure if its for me


Is it possible to practice Zen on my own or do you suggest a group


 



Hi, Jupiter. Welcome to the study of Buddhism, and good luck on your journey. Since you have some interest in Zen, and that's my practice, I thought I'd share some thoughts and suggestions with you.


I personally have found Zen very amenable to solitary practice, but that's not how I'd recommend a beginner start. Zen is short on props and rituals, long on mindful living and just sitting and be-ing, which is insanely harder than it sounds until you get the hang of it. Not that it gets easy later, but you do come to understand what it feels like when you do it right, and develop some faith and confidence that it can be done. Until you reach that point, sitting can be very  frustrating, and it really helps to have someone guide you and coach you on ways to quiet your monkey mind. So if you can, I'd work with a group or a teacher, assuming you can find one that is open, authentic and that works for you.


 It saddens me to have to add this paragraph, but I feel that I must. Please keep in mind that anyone can hang out a shingle that says "Zen Center". I'm not a lineage snob, but understanding what tradition and lineage a school follows can give you some idea what to expect, and a school that does not trace their practice back to an established teacher needs careful consideration. Unfortunately, there are a number of places that are less than ideal for developing your practice. The problems range from the blind leading the blind to outright cultism. Keep in mind that Zen is, as someone said in another post, open source. If a group or a teacher forbids or discourages you from exploring other schools, or asks that you sign a contract or contribute a large amount of money, consider carefully before proceeding. That sort of behavior isn't consistent with the Dharma Path as I understand it.


 One thing I might suggest before you visit centers or groups: read a couple of good Zen books to get a flavor of the teachings. You might decide it's really not for you, but if not, you'll at least have an idea what sort of approach to expect when you do visit. A couple that I'd particularly recommend are Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, by Shuryu Suzuki and Nothing Specal by Charlotte Joko Beck. I hope others more knowledgable than I will offer better suggestions.


Now, about "types" of Zen. In Japan there are basically three, Soto, Rinzai and Obaku. I have no experience with Obaku schools, so I'll leave that for others to comment. I did spend time at both Soto and Rinzai temples, and I found them to be somewhat different in their approach. To me, Rinzai was more rigorous, more shocking and a more directed expereince. Soto was more personal, contemplatative and relied more on a persons own dedication and committment and less on a strong teaching format. Those are just my personal impressions, others may have different experiences to share.


In America, I've visited and meditated with both Soto and Renzai groups, and the difference here seems less extreme than it did in Japan. However, I have found that in America, each center really has ins own character, even those within the same sect and lineage. So I really recommend you look around until you find one that feels comfortable to you. Don't stress over the decision, though. If a place has something to offer you, feel free to study there. It's not a lifelong committment. Most practiioners of Zen have several teachers over their lifetimes, so you're just selecting the first.


Best to you,


La


 


 

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 19, 2009 - 3:48PM #7
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,383

Jul 19, 2009 -- 2:40PM, Larosser wrote:


Jul 14, 2009 -- 4:12PM, Jupiter6208 wrote:


Thank you very much for your help!


i went to my first Tibetan beginners meditation class Saturday i really enjoyed it and it was enlightening! but I'm not sure if its for me


Is it possible to practice Zen on my own or do you suggest a group


 



Hi, Jupiter. Welcome to the study of Buddhism, and good luck on your journey. Since you have some interest in Zen, and that's my practice, I thought I'd share some thoughts and suggestions with you.


I personally have found Zen very amenable to solitary practice, but that's not how I'd recommend a beginner start. Zen is short on props and rituals, long on mindful living and just sitting and be-ing, which is insanely harder than it sounds until you get the hang of it. Not that it gets easy later, but you do come to understand what it feels like when you do it right, and develop some faith and confidence that it can be done. Until you reach that point, sitting can be very  frustrating, and it really helps to have someone guide you and coach you on ways to quiet your monkey mind. So if you can, I'd work with a group or a teacher, assuming you can find one that is open, authentic and that works for you.


 It saddens me to have to add this paragraph, but I feel that I must. Please keep in mind that anyone can hang out a shingle that says "Zen Center". I'm not a lineage snob, but understanding what tradition and lineage a school follows can give you some idea what to expect, and a school that does not trace their practice back to an established teacher needs careful consideration. Unfortunately, there are a number of places that are less than ideal for developing your practice. The problems range from the blind leading the blind to outright cultism. Keep in mind that Zen is, as someone said in another post, open source. If a group or a teacher forbids or discourages you from exploring other schools, or asks that you sign a contract or contribute a large amount of money, consider carefully before proceeding. That sort of behavior isn't consistent with the Dharma Path as I understand it.


 One thing I might suggest before you visit centers or groups: read a couple of good Zen books to get a flavor of the teachings. You might decide it's really not for you, but if not, you'll at least have an idea what sort of approach to expect when you do visit. A couple that I'd particularly recommend are Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, by Shuryu Suzuki and Nothing Specal by Charlotte Joko Beck. I hope others more knowledgable than I will offer better suggestions.


Now, about "types" of Zen. In Japan there are basically three, Soto, Rinzai and Obaku. I have no experience with Obaku schools, so I'll leave that for others to comment. I did spend time at both Soto and Rinzai temples, and I found them to be somewhat different in their approach. To me, Rinzai was more rigorous, more shocking and a more directed expereince. Soto was more personal, contemplatative and relied more on a persons own dedication and committment and less on a strong teaching format. Those are just my personal impressions, others may have different experiences to share.


In America, I've visited and meditated with both Soto and Renzai groups, and the difference here seems less extreme than it did in Japan. However, I have found that in America, each center really has ins own character, even those within the same sect and lineage. So I really recommend you look around until you find one that feels comfortable to you. Don't stress over the decision, though. If a place has something to offer you, feel free to study there. It's not a lifelong committment. Most practiioners of Zen have several teachers over their lifetimes, so you're just selecting the first.


Best to you,


La


 


 




 


Thank you very much


Yes this is becoming frustrating LOL  and alot of    sectarian  sites from what  i have encountered  Just asking about Groups like NKT got me cold shoulders. what  do you think 


of white plum? i think there is a group near  me


www.floridazen.com  what do you think?  safe not safe lol

"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.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
Eleanor Roosevelt
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5 years ago  ::  Jul 19, 2009 - 4:46PM #8
Larosser
Posts: 413

Jul 19, 2009 -- 3:48PM, Jupiter6208 wrote:


Thank you very much


Yes this is becoming frustrating LOL  and alot of   sectarian  sites from what  i have encountered  Just asking about Groups like NKT got me cold shoulders. what  do you think of white plum? i think there is a group near  me


www.floridazen.com  what do you think?  safe not safe lol




Hi, Jupiter. I find this question hard to answer. I have had no personal encounters with White Plum, so I can't tell you about my experiences. There was nothing on their website that particularly raised my hackles, but that doesn't really mean much, one way or another.


As far as whether something is "safe" or "not safe", in my opinion, that has a lot more to do with you than it does with it. A person who is calm, centered, not grasping but observing, not needing but simply observing and deciding, can be exposed to some fairly toxic practices without being harmed. On the other hand, a person who is desparate, questing, demanding, can injure him or herself on even benign practices.


So if you want to be safe while exploring Buddhism, here's what I recommend:


Read about about the sects you want to experience,  focusing on authors who are broadly respected and considered mainstream to the sect. This will help you in two ways. First, it will give you information that allows you to decide if you want to explore further. Second it will give you some idea of what the "middle path" for that particular sort of Buddhism is, so that you can discern whether any school you visit aligns or diverges and decide whether that's good or bad.


Abandon the idea that some group is going to improve your spirituality, and instead take up the idea that you are going to grow spiritually and that you are looking for tools to help. Keep your eyes, ears, heart and mind open as you visit with teachers and centers. When one appeals to you, ask yourself why. Is it because they are offering to solve your problems? Does it seem like a place you can learn and grow? Be honest with yourself,  and resist the urge to align with someone who promises to "make it all right". Zen is  hard work, and no one can make it happen for you. A teacher can show you the path, but you have to walk it yourself. Make sure you pick one that that fits your feet.


Best of luck,


La

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5 years ago  ::  Jul 19, 2009 - 8:50PM #9
RenGalskap
Posts: 1,420
White Plum is a well known and respected lineage. Among the White Plum members I've dealt with was a monk who was a con man. Anyone can claim they are a member of a respected group, and anyone can join a group or get ordination. Check them out, but as Larosser says, keep your eyes open.

Their practice is a mixture of Soto and Renzai.  For information, Wikipedia has some brief articles. Also, look up the Mountains & Rivers Order (MRO) website. MRO was founded by John Loori, one of the students of White Plum's founder.
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5 years ago  ::  Jul 19, 2009 - 9:01PM #10
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,383

My God  i Think i should just do this on my own i just want to learn Buddhist meditation  i didnt think i would have such trouble with this lol 

"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.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
Eleanor Roosevelt
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