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mixing practices

howhow Veteran Veteran

Anyone have much experience in dealing with folks mixing practices that don't necessarily dove tail with each other?
Has that meant that the distance they can traverse within each practice has been limited by the other?
Can it be done without an ego-based cherry picking that bypasses the natural checks and balances of each practice?
If you are in a position as a teacher doing this, is it unethical to not inform your students of the above?

In the case I'm thinking of, it is Hinduism & Buddhism where Buddhism is seen as an augment to a wider practice of Hinduism and where the experience of anatta is discounted?

I have been asked to help participate in the zazen instruction and have uncomfortable feelings about contributing to it at all but am uncertain if I have simply become too enamored with the stink of my own Zen?

Comments

  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran
    edited May 1

    I think it helps avoid problems when talking with other people outside of your own sangha that it makes different traditions match up is to speak from your own experience and also just say "I think" "I have heard" etc

    So I think a barrier to dove tailing is that different traditions might even use words differently. People need to understand that. and when you talk from your own experience it can be assumed to be even your own lexicon in that you are trying to put your own understanding into words. Even in a same sangha people respond differently to words. So if the sangha is using a word, and I respond very differently from others in the sangha to that word, in order to go forward so to speak, I have to work with that response that I have to a given word in my own practice.

    howShoshin
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Some Theravadans would say if you’re teaching anything not contained in the Pali Canon, you’re mixing practices

    how
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    I have been asked to help participate in the zazen instruction and have uncomfortable feelings about contributing to it at all but am uncertain if I have simply become too enamored with the stink of my own Zen?

    Yes as @Jeffrey already mentioned Just speak from your own personal experience of Zen...

    On this forum you tend to explain things in a clear, precise manner and to the point...

    So be your non-self ...just be the finger that points to Zen ;)

    how
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Hinduism is part of zen. All that roshi/master/guru stuff and hierarchy. So much cross cultural applicability point of contact ... <3

    As a beginner I have mixed:

    1. Zen with know-Zen
    2. Sufism with New Ageism
    3. Alchemy with tea and everything
    4. Theism with atheism
    5. Teaching without intention

    Try and be more incompetent like fat buddha, a bit more Tao and you will be fine. B)

    Hope that helps. o:)

    If not all advice greatfully recevied or ignored as the case may be :p

    howKeromeShoshin
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I think @lobster is absolutely right, we should all follow the wise lobster, clacking our claws and scuttling about on the sea floor (which is apparently also becoming contaminated with plastics).

    Its very possible to mix teachings, I do so even today taking a pinch of osho and mixing it in my bowl of Buddhism. Sometimes these things are very complementary. It’s like Zen being a mixture of the original Buddhism and Taoism.

    One direction is for those who feel strongly drawn to these things. Think of your role as giving a taster session of Zen, for those poor Hindus who may otherwise not encounter it.

    how
  • Rob_VRob_V North Carolina Explorer
    edited May 2

    @how said:
    Anyone have much experience in dealing with folks mixing practices that don't necessarily dove tail with each other?

    I think due diligence demands you start by doing a comparison on the things that you DO believe. Have it in front of you to see and study.

    Can it be done without an ego-based cherry picking that bypasses the natural checks and balances of each practice?

    Ego almost certainly plays a part insofar as we are forced to decide what we like and dislike; what we 'want' to follow and what we don't. Our ego will nearly always guide us in those pursuits.

    If you are in a position as a teacher doing this, is it unethical to not inform your students of the above?

    Yes, it is.

    I'm not sure that being above board is necessarily detrimental either. Some would appreciate the added input. However, it would be outright dishonest, to claim to be teaching, say, tantric Vajrayana practices when you are really teaching Vedic Yoga

    In the case I'm thinking of, it is Hinduism & Buddhism where Buddhism is seen as an augment to a wider practice of Hinduism and where the experience of anatta is discounted?

    My own case is this; I follow the Thai Forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism. The nearest Thai Forest anything is 150 miles (241 kilometers) away. In order to have any social interaction with other Buddhists at all I attend a Sri Lankan Vihara, a Soto Zen Temple, and even a Won Temple (I'll let y'all look that up on your own).

    Being Theravadan by practice does not limit me to only study Theravadan influences. I season my study with a healthy dose of Taoist thought and Advaita Vedantic meditation study. I find them all to be helpful. To be honest, its my Zen friends who take the dimmest view of that.

    At the end of the day, when you sit yourself on the cushion you're there to sit. That is universal. Thoughts come, thoughts go, you sit. So does it really matter?

    I have been asked to help participate in the zazen instruction and have uncomfortable feelings about contributing to it at all but am uncertain if I have simply become too enamored with the stink of my own Zen?

    One of the funnier statements I've read of late. I think you can teach Zazen - but teach ONLY Zazen. When other contributory ideas pop up from other disciplines just be sure to properly attribute those ideas to those disciplines.

    I found this quote in another thread;

    ‘Beware of confining yourself to a particular belief and denying all else, for much good would elude you – indeed, the knowledge of reality would elude you. Be in yourself for all forms of belief, for God (Truth) is too vast and tremendous to be restricted to one belief rather than another.’

    ~Ibn Arabi

    ShoshinBunkslobsterhow
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