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Zen is the original Buddhism?

SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
edited May 24 in Philosophy

According to this site, Zen is the original teaching of the Buddha, and the other Buddhist schools are just "dogmatic religions": http://www.zen-buddhism.net/faq/zen-faq.html

What Are The Differences Between Zen And Buddhism?
"Around five centuries after the Buddha passed away, Buddhism traveled to various Asian countries where it got transformed into a dogmatic religion with rituals and ceremony, departing from its true origins. Zen stayed true to the original teaching of the Buddha which lays emphasis on Zazen, and not on rituals and theoretical concepts."

But hang on a minute. Buddhism arrived first in China ( one of the "Asian countries" ) where it mingled with Taoism and became known as Chan, then later it migrated to Japan and adapted to Japanese culture, becoming known as "Zen".

So how can they imply that only Zen stayed true to the original teaching of the Buddha, and claim that all the other Buddhist schools are merely "dogmatic religions"? To me it sounds nonsensical, just self-promoting rhetoric. I get the point about a focus on meditation, but that isn't exclusive to Zen.

Comments

  • DavidDavid some guy The Hammer in Ontario, Canada, eh Veteran

    That's a bit screwy.

    I just read a quote saying Zen is the Taoists Buddhism or the Buddhists Taoism. As far as I know Zen was born from Buddhism and the Tao building on common ground. Sure, I would hope that much of the original teachings are there even if they are influenced by Taoism.

    I myself am a Taoist Buddhist but I am not exclusive to Zen.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    People should be forbidden from posting untruths on the internet. It's false news!

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    That's easily refuted, I've heard from Tibetans that Tibetan Buddhism is perfectly transmitted from Nalanda University in India and is actually the true form of Buddhism.

    Not only that but coming from reliable Theravada sources they can link their Buddhism to the original words and scriptures actually spoken by the Buddha himself.

    So there is not only one source but at least two credible sources outside of Zen that are teaching the True form of Buddhism. So, easily refuted.

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    @SpinyNorman said:
    But hang on a minute. Buddhism arrived first in China ( one of the "Asian countries" ) where it mingled with Taoism and became known as Chan, then later it migrated to Japan and adapted to Japanese culture, becoming known as "Zen".

    It is said that the "Lankavatara masters" brought chan to China, not that it originated in China. :)

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    So does that mean there is no non-Chan Buddhism in China, and no non-Zen in Japan?

  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    Zen thinks highly of itself.
    -Yes and no...

  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    I read somewhere that the true purpose of zen is to see things as they are, to observe things as they are, and to let everything go as it goes.

    With some local variations that are more or less attached to ritual and flamboyance, in general Zen does seem to be more streamlined and purist, very close to the Buddha's original teaching, than other schools.

    But that does not render other schools more dogmatic.
    Such a comment seems pretty dogmatic to me🐉 <3

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited May 24

    @person said:
    That's easily refuted, I've heard from Tibetans that Tibetan Buddhism is perfectly transmitted from Nalanda University in India and is actually the true form of Buddhism.

    Not only that but coming from reliable Theravada sources they can link their Buddhism to the original words and scriptures actually spoken by the Buddha himself.

    So there is not only one source but at least two credible sources outside of Zen that are teaching the True form of Buddhism. So, easily refuted.

    Nalanda University, several experts have told me, taught Tantra, as well as Buddhist philosophy, so it was by no means a purveyor of "true" Buddhism. After an initial flourishing, Buddhism began to become corrupt with Hindu elements, such as the guru cult, tantra, etc., and this somewhat hybridized form of Buddhism--tantric Buddhism--entered the program at Nalanda.

    According to David Snellgrove, one of the main 20th Century authorities on the history of Buddhism, Tibetans kind of vacuumed up all the Buddhist literature they could find, in the early days of Buddhism in Tibet, and translated it into Tibetan indiscriminately, without weeding out texts that clearly contradicted the teachings of the Buddha. They felt that as long as it was written in Sanskrit, it was "authentic". So some wonky stuff entered the Tibetan canon that way.
    (See: "Indo-Tibetan Buddhism", 2 volumes by Snellgrove)

    person
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    Well there are some interesting stories around Padmasambhava and Santaraksita... I quote from Wikipedia:

    According to this enlarged story, King Trisong Detsen, the 38th king of the Yarlung dynasty and the first Emperor of Tibet (742–797), invited the Nalanda University abbot Śāntarakṣita (Tibetan Shiwatso) to Tibet. Śāntarakṣita started the building of Samye. Demonical forces hindered the introduction of the Buddhist dharma, and Padmasambhava was invited to Tibet to subdue the demonic forces. The demons were not annihilated, but were obliged to submit to the dharma. This was in accordance with the tantric principle of not eliminating negative forces but redirecting them to fuel the journey toward spiritual awakening. According to tradition, Padmasambhava received the Emperor's wife, identified with the dakini Yeshe Tsogyal, as a consort.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Padmasambhava

    Later supposedly Padmasambhava founded the tantric traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. I'm not saying Snellgrove is incorrect, there is bound to have been a transmission of texts as well as oral lore from a master.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I think the point is that every sect of Buddhism claims it is the one true Buddhist way. The claim from the website is refuted simply because at least 2 other schools of Buddhism claim the same thing.

    I don't think it matters, personally, nor do I care. I don't think there is one true Buddhism, as different methods will appeal to different people. I prefer the APA method of cites sources while others prefer MLA or Chicago. None is more true. Just different ways to impart the same information.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited May 24

    @Kerome said:
    So does that mean there is no non-Chan Buddhism in China, and no non-Zen in Japan?

    There used to be a Japanese school/sect of Vajrayana, but it got stamped out (unless it still survives underground). There's Vajrayana in the Tibetan regions of China, in the border areas around Tibet. Other than that, my guess is: no.

    My memory is a little fuzzy on this, but I think Stephen and Martine Batchelor said that rebirth did come up in Korean Zen. Stephen left the TB monastery in Switzerland where he'd been a monk, because he said the abbot required a belief in rebirth. SB said it was ok to question teachings, including rebirth, as long as you eventually came to the "right" conclusion. That was dogma, he felt. So he went to Korea to try out Zen, looking for a non-dogmatic Buddhism, but he was disappointed there, as well.

    Rebirth may not be discussed in Zen sanghas in the West, but apparently it came up in the monastic education, in the Batchelors' experience. Though another reason they left was that the abbot passed away, and the replacement wasn't up to the high standard of the previous one. They decided they wanted to start a non-dogmatic school of Buddhism, where it was not required to believe in rebirth.

    A new book was published recently, examining the Buddha's earliest teachings, and it says that there's nothing at all there about rebirth. That early group of teachings provides support for people who believe that the rebirth doctrine was the result of later Hindu influence on the Buddhism. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias=stripbooks&amp;field-keywords=The+Buddha+before+Buddhism,+Fronsdal

    Tomato, tomahto, lol.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited May 24

    @Kerome said:
    Well there are some interesting stories around Padmasambhava and Santaraksita... I quote from Wikipedia:

    According to this enlarged story, King Trisong Detsen, the 38th king of the Yarlung dynasty and the first Emperor of Tibet (742–797), invited the Nalanda University abbot Śāntarakṣita (Tibetan Shiwatso) to Tibet. Śāntarakṣita started the building of Samye. Demonical forces hindered the introduction of the Buddhist dharma, and Padmasambhava was invited to Tibet to subdue the demonic forces. The demons were not annihilated, but were obliged to submit to the dharma. This was in accordance with the tantric principle of not eliminating negative forces but redirecting them to fuel the journey toward spiritual awakening. According to tradition, Padmasambhava received the Emperor's wife, identified with the dakini Yeshe Tsogyal, as a consort.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Padmasambhava

    Later supposedly Padmasambhava founded the tantric traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. I'm not saying Snellgrove is incorrect, there is bound to have been a transmission of texts as well as oral lore from a master.

    Yes, he covers that, too, of course. There's a side to the Padmasambhava history in Tibet that isn't well known. The introduction of tantra into Tibet was highly controversial, and the king disapproved (he wrote a treatise against it, which Snellgrove quotes). He says Padmasambhava eventually was banned from Tibet for practicing sorcery. The stories we're more familiar with come from the Nyingma lineage he founded; they're in the tradition of a saint's hagiography, designed to glorify their founding father, so to speak, rather than present a well-rounded, objective history.

  • WalkerWalker Veteran
    edited May 24

    Yes there are other schools of Buddhism in Japan and China @Dakini (Pure Land, Nichiren). Zen adherents aren't even a majority of Buddhists in Japan.

  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    @Walker said:
    Yes there are other schools of Buddhism in Japan and China @Dakini (Pure Land, Nichiren). Zen adherents aren't even a majority of Buddhists in Japan.

    Oh, right, thanks. I knew that.... ;)

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Khaggavisāna-sutta
    http://www.hermitary.com/solitude/rhinoceros.html
    Could be a plan for zen then?

    I am off to find Adi ...
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanghyang_Adi_Buddha

    ... Maybe I will find Ajita ...
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maitreya

    @SpinyNorman said:
    To me it sounds nonsensical, just self-promoting rhetoric.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    about sectarian and dogma,shakyamuni,said something like,pararaphrasing,clinging to strong beliefs may lead to stress.i believe the context was about philisophical or religious debate.on a side note , excited about prince ajita,the next buddha.personally,i believe in him,when our buddha shakyamuni teaching is gone.til then we buddhist carry on our practice, no matter what school of buddhism,we endeavor we practice in.good buddha soup.thank you shakyamuni.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    this lead to a fun thoght about buddha soup, the broth is dharma.the flavor is the school of thought.salt may be theravada.the lettuce cabbage ,mahyanna--spelling wrong.and tabetan--spelling wrong--some dash of pepper.the garnish,a flower,that sums it up.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    I take it the Buddha is the bare bones as base for the stock... the sangha is probably all the pearl barley, peas and lentils that add substance and density....oh this is fun... I could get into this quite easily!

    paulyso
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited May 25

    @genkaku said:> Zen thinks highly of itself. So what? Other schools see Zen as utterly bogus. Question: Do you want to discuss it or do you want to find out?

    Frankly I am put off "finding out" by the kind of arrogant self-promoting BS in the OP article.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran
    edited May 25

    @Kerome said:
    People should be forbidden from posting untruths on the internet. It's false news!

    I am used to spin, self-promotion and BS from politicians, but it's disappointing when Buddhists indulge in it.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    'Bandwagon Buddhism' - jumping onto the coat tails of a hitherto successful venture, and dragging it through the mud.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    I am used to spin, self-promotion and BS from politicians, but it's disappointing when Buddhists indulge in it.

    @SpinyNorman -- My take: It takes a while to realize that such a disappointment exists in any well-appointed outlook. Buddhists, like NASCAR drivers, have to hone their skills and get around/through the distasteful bits. If everything is well-spun and smooth as whipped cream -- so flawless, dontcha know -- how can anyone expect to learn anything?

    Still, if something puts you off your feed -- I really don't like anchovies -- then don't consume it.

  • upekkaupekka Veteran

    @genkaku said:
    if something puts you off your feed -- I really don't like anchovies -- then don't consume it.

    spot on

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