The Five Varieties of Zen
The fourth classification is called daijo, Great Vehicle [Mahayana] Zen,
and this is a truly Buddhist Zen, for it has as its central purpose
Kensho, that is, seeing into your essential nature and realizing the Way
in your daily life.
For those able to comprehend the import of the Buddha's own
Enlightenment experience and with a desire to break through their own
illusory view of the universe and experience absolute, undifferentiated
Reality, the Buddha taught this mode of Zen.
Buddhism is essentially a religion of Enlightenment. The Buddha after
his own supreme Awakening spent some fifty years teaching people how
they might themselves realize their Self-nature. His methods have been
transmitted from master to disciple right down to the present day. So it
can be said that a Zen which ignores or denies or belittles
Enlightenment is not true daijo Buddhist Zen.
In the practice of daijo Zen your aim in the beginning is to awaken to
your True-nature, but upon Enlightenment you realize that Zazen is more
than a means to Enlightenment - it is the actualization of your
In this type of Zen, which has as its object Satori, it is easy to
mistakenly regard Zazen as but a means. A wise teacher, however, will
point out from the onset that Zazen is in fact THE actualization of the
innate Buddha-nature and not merely a technique for achieving
Enlightenment. If Zazen were no more than such a technique, it would
follow that after Satori, Zazen would be unnecessary. But as Dogen-zenji
himself pointed out, precisely the reverse is true; the more deeply you
experience Satori, the more you perceive the need for practice.
The last of the five types is saijojo Zen, the highest vehicle, the
culmination and crown of Buddhist Zen. This Zen was practiced by the
Buddha - Shakyamuni - and is the expression of Absolute Life, life in
its purest form. It is the Zazen which Dogen-zenji
<http://sped2work.tripod.com/dogen.html> chiefly advocated and it
involves no struggle for Satori or any other object. It is called
In this highest practice, means and end coalesce. Daijo Zen and Saijojo
Zen are, in point of fact, complementary.
The Rinzai sect places daijo uppermost and saijojo beneath, whereas the
Soto sect does the reverse.
In saijojo, when rightly practiced, you sit in the firm conviction that
Zazen is the actualization of your undefiled True-nature, and at the
same time you sit in complete faith that the day will come when,
exclaiming, "Oh, this is it!" you will unmistakably realize this
True-nature. Therefore you need not self-consciously strive for
Today many in the Soto sect hold that since we are all innately Buddhas,
Satori is unnecessary. Such an egregious error reduces Shikantaza, which
properly is the highest form of sitting, to nothing more than Bompu Zen,
the first of the five types.
--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "HHS1963" <billsm...@...> wrote:
> Tao Mountain Sage One,
> JMJM's description of slow versus gradual is pretty much the same as I
was taught in both Soto and Rienzi Zen.
> Soto is very much the same as described below- a long period of
preparation and a sudden enlightenment. Rienzi focuses on the sudden
enlightenment part and then deals with the rest later.