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Vippassana vs Zazen (Shikantaza)

  1. What is the difference?

  2. Does zazen only focus on jhana? Aren't these temporary states that shouldn't be attached to?

  3. Why is vippassana so detailed while zazen is so simple?

  4. Why do some Zen folks say zazen was what the Buddha taught if the most ancient living school of Theravada says that the Buddha taught Vippassana?

Thanks, guys.

Comments

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I do not practice Zen so this is just my random thought based on what I have learned from my Tibetan teacher and what others have said about Zen.

    Zazen is seeing things as they are.
    Shamatha is a single-pointed meditation where you focus on an object or your breath. The point is to calm the mind.
    Vipassana is awareness meditation, seeing things as they are, opening awareness rather than single-pointed focus. My teacher says we should use both, but to start with Shamatha as you cannot open to awareness without knowing how to calm mind. Zazen, I think, incorporates both at the same time.

    Zazen is meditation in the Zen tradition. The others are used in other traditions (and we use them in my Tibetan group).

    Everything comes down to different interpretations amongst the traditions. Zen originates (I think??) in Japan. Obviously, Buddha didn't study or live in Japan that we know of, so Zen takes on some of it's Japanese culture. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. It's only important that you do it.

    Some of the Zen folk will have better information, as like I said it is not something I have studied much or practiced. Different types of meditation work for different people. I was grateful for the differentiation as I was not ready for awareness meditation when I started. But some people are.

    Cinorjer0student0
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited November 2015

    I suspect you might be talking about vipassana from a Theravadan perspective because you say jhana rather than dhyana. So the article I link is thoughts of Trungpa comparing 'his' vajryana to the zen of his friend and contemporary Sunryu Suzuki (author of Zen Mind Begginers Mind). So this article I link may give some insight into zen from a Vajrayana master. The Vajryana also teaches (a form of) vipassana that combines shamata (calm) with vipassana (insight).

    Here is a link: http://www.lionsroar.com/zen-mind-vajra-mind/

    karastiCinorjer
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    Yes, @Jeffrey thank you. My teacher is a Vajrayana teacher so that is the point of view he approaches it from.

  • @karasti said:

    Everything comes down to different interpretations amongst the traditions. Zen originates (I think??) in Japan. Obviously, Buddha didn't study or live in Japan that we know of, so Zen takes on some of it's Japanese culture. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. It's only important that you do it.

    I believe Zen actually was brought to China by Bodhidharma. There it became known as Chan, and it was influenced by Taoism and Confucianism. From there it spread to Vietnam, Korea and Japan. It went through further changes in these countries.

    karasti
  • howhow Veteran

    @dooksta123

    Humans beings are the personification of their karmic inheritance, with
    Vipasanna & Zen being two Buddhist schools among the many who try to meditatively address our enslavement to that karmic inertia.

    You can also find many variations of detail orientation and simplicity existing within the linages, schools and adherents of both Vipasanna and Zen.

    &
    if I had a yawn for every time a Buddhist school made a claim of authority through some form of direct connection to the Buddha's truth, I'd still be snoozing.

    lobsterBunksInvincible_summerdhammachick
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited November 2015

    @dooksta123 said:
    1. What is the difference?

    Cushions. o:)

    As you progress, you sit on them in practice. This is the practical difference that makes a difference.

    I can provide pictures? ;)

    Too wikid? [Lobster goes to sit in the naughty corner ... brings cushion ... iz plan]

    CinorjerInvincible_summerseeker242dhammachick
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited November 2015

    @dooksta123 said:
    What is the difference?

    Why, does it matter? Or: Why does it matter...?

    Does zazen only focus on jhana? Aren't these temporary states that shouldn't be attached to?

    EVERYTHING is a temporary state that shouldn't be attached to.

    Why is vippassana so detailed while zazen is so simple?

    It isn't.
    It's YOU (generic) that chooses whether to make something simple, complicated, or vice-versa.....

    Why do some Zen folks say zazen was what the Buddha taught if the most ancient living school of Theravada says that the Buddha taught Vippassana?

    Some people will say anything to get attention.

    Egos huh? Darned troublesome things.... Why do YOU think they say it?

    Thanks, guys.

    No problem! WHat are friends for, if not to trip you up once in a while? ;)

    dooksta123
  • Invincible_summerInvincible_summer Heavy Metal Dhamma We(s)t coast, Canada Veteran

    @dooksta123 said:
    1. What is the difference?

    Vipassana is a Theravadan practice, whereas Zen/Chan is a Mahayana practice. This basically means that the intent of the practices are slightly different.

    Vipassana is for developing wisdom (or "insight") into the three marks of existence: impermanence, unsatisfactoriness, and non-self. This helps the practitioner along the path to eliminating defilements and becoming an arahant.

    Zen meditation is for the purpose of brushing the dust off of one's instrinsic Buddha-nature through practicing non-discursive, non-dualistic activity. Not just seated meditation, but walking, working, etc. A non-dualistic mind is a boundless mind. A boundless mind has limitless potential for compassion for all beings... thus fulfilling the Bodhisattva Vow.

    1. Does zazen only focus on jhana? Aren't these temporary states that shouldn't be attached to?

    I've never heard of any Zen teachers using the word "jhana" outright. They might talk occasionally about satori or kensho (awakening experiences), but Zen is more focused on bringing the nondualistic Buddha-nature into everyday practice.

    The Ten Oxherding Pictures is a great analogy for Zen practice.

    1. Why is vippassana so detailed while zazen is so simple?

    I can't give a historical answer as to why vipassana is a bit more involved vs zazen, but both are powerful practices. Don't be fooled by the apparent simplicity of zazen - in some ways, it's more difficult because it throws you into the deep end. You're not specifically watching the quality of the breath, nor are you specifically watching mental states, nor the body. So there can be more of a tendency to feel "anchorless" and confused in zazen, from my experience.

    1. Why do some Zen folks say zazen was what the Buddha taught if the most ancient living school of Theravada says that the Buddha taught Vippassana?

    Everyone says that.

    However, I think that what some Zen proselytizers are getting at is that the emphasis on non-duality is what the Buddha was ultimately teaching.

    Both Vipassana and zazen really teach the same goals, just slightly different techniques and emphasis on getting there.

    karastilobsterdhammachickdooksta123
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @dooksta123 said:
    2. Does zazen only focus on jhana?

    No, skikantaza doesn't focus on anything per say. It's a completely open awareness of anything and everything. "Concentrate" is just a preliminary practice to shikantaza.

    Aren't these temporary states that shouldn't be attached to?

    Yes, but shikantaza isn't focused on them anyway.

    1. Why do some Zen folks say zazen was what the Buddha taught if the most ancient living school of Theravada says that the Buddha taught Vippassana?

    Vippassana is insight meditation, so is shikintaza. So technically they are both correct because the Buddha taught insight meditation.

    This is one of the better internet descriptions of shikantaza.
    http://www.angelfire.com/electronic/awakening101/shikantaza.html

    lobsterInvincible_summer
  • Zen is from Japan

    Vipassana is from India

    Both are methods to free the mind of attachment and see the 'true' nature of reality

  • @dooksta123 said:
    1. What is the difference?

    vippassana tries to make a difference
    zazen does not try to be indifferent
    o:)

    1. Does zazen only focus on jhana?

    Que? Vipassanna focus on jhana. B)

    Aren't these temporary states that shouldn't be attached to?

    these are temporaty questions, attached too? :3

    1. Why is vippassana so detailed while zazen is so simple?

    Same moon. <3

    1. Why do some Zen folks say zazen was what the Buddha taught if the most ancient living school of Theravada says that the Buddha taught Vippassana?

    All talk and no cushion :p

    dhammachickhowdooksta123
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    "Vippassana vs Zazen (Shikantaza)"

    Not much difference really....Both involve sitting around doing nothing ...Well more or less :wink:

    howlobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited December 2015

    @dooksta123 said:
    1. What is the difference?

    I would suggest 'right concentration' methods such as shamatha, vipassana and other focus type practices are a useful prelude to mindfulness on and off the cushion. In many ways shikantaza is formal mindfulness.

    When first meditating your experience will be like this:

    ... wait a minute ... my experience is still a more subtle version of a conveyor belt of thoughts :3
    [lobster goes to back of meditation class ... again ...]

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