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Should I switch from Zen to Noting?

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Should I switch from Zen to Noting?
Answer
9/23/19 10:37 PM
I just finished reading MCTB2 and loved it. I have been practicing Kwan Um Zen for 6 months now with a teacher+sangha, and was meditating on my own for a few years before that. My practice is mantra breathing and kong-an training (not hwadu).

I am considering switching my practice to Mahasi noting, but there are no Vipassana teachers nearby. The Kwan Um group has a recognized teacher and regular half day and weekend retreats. Also, I've read and been warned that it's a bad idea to switch traditions too often since that's like "digging many separate wells, rather than one well". I mentioned not liking the Kwan Um techniques to my teacher and he said that wanting to switch techniques is just "the mind doing what it always does" (meaning trying grasp at something that's not here), so maybe he's right. On the other hand, I have a lot of doubt (as in the hindrance) during meditation because of this tradition.

Do you think the benefit of having regular access to a teacher and short retreats outweigh the benefit of practicing a tradition that I feel would work better and provides clearer instruction?

RE: Should I switch from Zen to Noting?
Answer
9/24/19 12:52 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
I think you should try different practices to find the one that suits you best.

I used to go to a Zen center for the group meditations, retreats, and talks but I didn't do the koan practice and I meditated my own way. I took the five precepts there and no one ever asked me how I meditated. 

I also think you will get more assistance for noting through this forum than you will get for Zen from a Zen master. 


I assume you have thought about why you are meditating and are considering practices that fit your goals. If not, that would be a good thing to do.

RE: Should I switch from Zen to Noting?
Answer
9/24/19 3:44 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Vince Horn posted this today.

Just Noting, Just Sitting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZX1vJLlAi4

RE: Should I switch from Zen to Noting?
Answer
9/24/19 11:06 AM as a reply to Handsome Monkey King.
Katz Videos:
I just finished reading MCTB2 and loved it. I have been practicing Kwan Um Zen for 6 months now with a teacher+sangha, and was meditating on my own for a few years before that. My practice is mantra breathing and kong-an training (not hwadu).

I am considering switching my practice to Mahasi noting, but there are no Vipassana teachers nearby. The Kwan Um group has a recognized teacher and regular half day and weekend retreats. Also, I've read and been warned that it's a bad idea to switch traditions too often since that's like "digging many separate wells, rather than one well". I mentioned not liking the Kwan Um techniques to my teacher and he said that wanting to switch techniques is just "the mind doing what it always does" (meaning trying grasp at something that's not here), so maybe he's right. On the other hand, I have a lot of doubt (as in the hindrance) during meditation because of this tradition.

Do you think the benefit of having regular access to a teacher and short retreats outweigh the benefit of practicing a tradition that I feel would work better and provides clearer instruction?

Mr. Katz ( emoticon ),

IMHO no tradition is "better", and they all point to the same result. It is hard to parse how these disparate instructions could point to the same thing, but they truly do. 

You seem to have two issues: 

1. The current availability of an experienced (and it sounds likely, realized) teacher and tradition where you are.

2. The draw to work with different techniques.

YES it is a massive boon to have a teacher who knows what they are talking about. Most people never find this. The fact that this teacher is challenging is even better... but if you aren't drawn to work with this teacher, or don't trust him/her it could be that the potential benefitis of doing so may not be useful to you. 

Having said that:
...my teacher and he said that wanting to switch techniques is just "the mind doing what it always does"

I agree with the teacher here. It's fine to experiment, and you will find some practices resonate where others do not. Most teachers will throw a number of techniques at you over time, but usually NOT before you master some preliminary practices. Keep in mind that the Mahasi techniques are not "more advanced" but simply approach the matter at hand from a different angle. 

It is fine to try some different techniques on your own, but I will differ from some posters here and say that, without some guidance from an experienced teacher, or wide personal experience of your own, this may not bear much fruit. If you could find a teacher who knows this landscape it might be useful. 

It you could find an experienced realized teacher that you resonate with, I'd say it's fine to try something different. If this teacher is what you have access too, I'd say give them a fair shake.

-

Full disclosure, I am finishing my Soto Zen ordination (though most of my Buddhist practice has been in the Dzogchen tradition.

RE: Should I switch from Zen to Noting?
Answer
9/24/19 11:20 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim Katami:
Vince Horn posted this today.

Just Noting, Just Sitting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZX1vJLlAi4

I really like Vincent's characterization of what Shikantaza is. Reminded me of something Robert Thurman said (paraphrasing): "When we sit without technique we are not PRACTICING meditation, we are actualizing enlightenment."

I don't know if I heard him suggest this, but eventually, when the mind is quiet, it is fine (ideal!) to go ahead and drop the noting part of this practice and TRULY just sit.

RE: Should I switch from Zen to Noting?
Answer
9/24/19 12:02 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
Stirling Campbell:
Kim Katami:
Vince Horn posted this today.

Just Noting, Just Sitting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZX1vJLlAi4

I really like Vincent's characterization of what Shikantaza is. Reminded me of something Robert Thurman said (paraphrasing): "When we sit without technique we are not PRACTICING meditation, we are actualizing enlightenment."

I don't know if I heard him suggest this, but eventually, when the mind is quiet, it is fine (ideal!) to go ahead and drop the noting part of this practice and TRULY just sit.
I liked Vince's presentation too. These kind of slogans, like the one from Thurman or others, are dangerous. A lot of folks sit in subtle fogs believing it's buddhanature.

RE: Should I switch from Zen to Noting?
Answer
9/24/19 12:41 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim Katami:

I liked Vince's presentation too. These kind of slogans, like the one from Thurman or others, are dangerous. A lot of folks sit in subtle fogs believing it's buddhanature.

Which is where finding a competent teacher fits in. emoticon

RE: Should I switch from Zen to Noting?
Answer
9/24/19 1:05 PM as a reply to Stirling Campbell.
And those are really really rare... You can find fistsize diamonds easier.