Jody, Thanks for your post. I appreciate your perspectives and welcome the opportunity to discuss topics like these in an open forum. I hope others reading these posts will feel free to share their perspectives also.
My responses are embedded in your most recent post below: Jody posted: >As much as I appreciate the Soto zen methods of meditation, I am also >curious about the Tibetan methods of focusing on an image of compassion >and moving towards it. I will use both methods at different times. If you think that is a good approach for you, then go for it! I have almost no knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism. From the little I do know, however, it's approach and teaching methods are quite different from those used in zen Buddhism. I want to make sure you don't think I represent Soto zen techniques. I do have a personal history of learning in both the Soto and Renzai zen schools, and even spent a short time later in my life with a Korean zen teacher. I have found that although their methods and techniques for beginners may differ, their core teachings and core techniques are the same. At times in my life I have incorporated various techniques: zazen, koans, chanting, visualizations, bowing, tai chi, special diets, fasting, etc... Currently I only employ zazen (shikantaza - clear mind) in my practice. >The chant I use is OM MANI PADME HUM. I found that when I learned it's >meaning I appreciated it more. I think that using this chant is like >counting breaths, it keeps your mind from jumping around. I agree with you that chanting does serve the same purpose as counting breaths. They're both used to quiet the mind - the rational mind. This is why I am still curious at your belief that knowing its meaning would better serve this purpose. For me, knowing its meaning while chanting, and worse yet appreciating that meaning, does not serve to quiet your mind. 'Knowing' and 'appreciating' are functions of your rational mind, and as long as you continue to know and appreciate, your rational mind is not quiet. Referring back to your first paragraph, 'images' and 'compassion' are also products of your rational mind. As long as you visualize images or feel compassion your rational mind is not quiet. >As I first discovered Buddhism I thought I had to pick which was best, >now I feel that Buddhism is Buddhism and all the ways are the same. It's >all part of the whole. I also want to make sure you don't think my perspectives represent traditional Buddhism. I don't consider myself a Buddhist and certainly do not speak for those who do think of themselves or their practice as Buddhist. I don't consider zen a sub-set of Buddhism as most people do. I consider zen to be a super-set, and most religions, including Buddhism and Christianity, culturally-colored subsets of zen. When I post I usually speak about zen using Buddhist terms, but I could also speak about zen using Christian terms or even non-religious/logic-based terms. For me these are just different sides of the same coin. The coin is zen, the sides - heads and tails - are just specific and partial perspectives of zen - like Buddhism and Christianity. I discovered this coin examining the Buddhist side, but having discovered and embraced it I quickly realized it was the same coin that I had been taught about in my Christian upbringing. So, when people discuss the merits of various religions, I just ask: heads or tails? It really doesn't make any difference. It's the same coin. >I just appreciate learning something new every day. >JODY So do I! Thanks for your post which contributed to my day. ...Bill! ------------------------------------ Current Book Discussion: any Zen book that you recently have read or are reading! Talk about it today!Yahoo! Groups Links <*> To visit your group on the web, go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Zen_Forum/ <*> Your email settings: Individual Email | Traditional <*> To change settings online go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Zen_Forum/join (Yahoo! ID required) <*> To change settings via email: mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] mailto:[EMAIL PROTECTED] <*> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] <*> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to: http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/