I can see from the terms that the 'five varieties' of zen are classified by
some Japanese. In Chinese, chan is the same word as zen. However:
Daijo is the Japanese word for mahayana. All kinds of zen fall into this
category. I don't think Sakyamuni Buddha taught this mode of zen, as mahayana
appeared 500 years after his death, unless you believe he taught it to deities
Shikantaza denotes only the idea of 'just sitting'. If you say it is the
highest form of zazen, you must have attached additional concept to the
I don't want to get into heated argument again on the meaning of shikantaza. If
you believe it is the way you say it, it is up to you. But don't ever show the
original Japanese (=Chinese) characters.
Subject: Re: [Zen] Chan -northern and southern schools, mental/spiritual chan,
pure body/pure mind
Date: Monday, 10 January, 2011, 9:46 PM
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
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 True-nature.
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
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 chiefly advocated and it involves no struggle for
Satori or any other object. It is called Shikantaza.
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 Enlightenment.
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
--- 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.