Being a Zen Buddhists that practices at a Shambhala Center, I often feel like a foreign exchange student. Other than the koans that the Rinzai folk use, every single Zen center I have ever been a part of had just one teacher, and the practice was always chanting (sometimes, not always). sitting zazen, work practice, walking meditation, practicing mindfulness, and the occasional interview w/ the teacher (who could be counted on to never give you an answer unless you specifically asked a question, and most answers consisted of 'go sit w/ that'). Even during a sesshin that's all we did, we just did it all day long.
The Tibetans are a totally different animal. Dedication of merit, Tonglen practice, contemplation practice, guides, senior teachers, you name it. One member of our group won't be at tomorrow's meditation and lunch because they are going across the bay to Tampa to participate is some sort of Green Tara Puja deal. I have a link below
I don't fool w/ any of this because I don't think mixing practices is such a good idea. Even Crazy Wisdom Trungpa counseled against that. Looking at some of the goings on w/ the Tibetans, I may as well be Dorothy in the Land of Oz. So I just go for the usual meditations there, which are essentially Zen sits, and I will do the contemplation meditations, but I just do my usual Zen meditation. I participate in the social stuff too.
So my questions is, why do they do all this fancy smancy stuff that is akin to Buddhist sorcery? It seems very convoluted. Honestly, all the Buddha did was sitting meditation and he woke up. I have had some wake ups using mindfulness, which I find much more difficult to do that sitting zazen, but it is much more powerful too. There were times when I was totally in the moment and karma was instantaneous. If you've ever experienced that you know what I mean. So if that's all anyone needs to wake up, and it is in my book, why do these different lineages like the Tibetans and Shambhala have all these complicated mantras and meditations when if you practice just one discipline diligently, enlightenment is in this very moment? I just don't get it. Obviously the chanting and drums and stuff in the Green Tara ritual are designed to get "you" out of the picture, I get that. It's the goddess diety business that I don't get. Along w/ a lot of other stuff. It drives me a little crazy. Why don't they just meditate and be done w/ it?