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Mindfulness in Zen?
Answer
2/6/08 3:46 PM
Author: Soakn108
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

First I would like to say how I grateful I am for Daniels book and I really appreciate the direction of this forum.

I recently had a well known Vipassana teacher tell me that he heard from his friend who is a Zen teacher that Zen is now starting to teach mindfulness. I thought he was kidding at first, and then realized that he was quite serious. I have a background in Zen and was really surprised to hear that he had no idea that mindfulness was a topic of Zen Buddhism. Does this surprise anyone here as much as it did me? I like this teacher, but his comment threw me and I question his aptitude as a qualified guide and teacher. I am somewhat new to Vipassana, so maybe I am missing something here.

Thanks

Greg

RE: Mindfulness in Zen?
Answer
2/6/08 8:52 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
I find your account more standard, than exception. I don't know about your guy, but most people don't have much awareness of other schools, their specific teachings, their methods, and especially of subtle differences in treatment of something like "mindfulness". Sometimes, instead of ignorance, there's arrogance, meaning "what they teach isn't mindfulness". A Zen teacher I knew thought Vajrayana doesn't really teach meditation. I've come to know many other cases like this, both in person and through books. Huge blind spots of other kinds - intellectual, sexual, interpersonal, social - are also not uncommon among teachers. One could separate the "aptitude as a qualified guide" from the general narrow-mindedness, like with a guitar instructor or something, though it sometimes gets extremely tricky.

RE: Mindfulness in Zen?
Answer
2/7/08 2:40 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Author: daniel.rizzuto

Soakn, Different schools rarely take the time to understand one another. Each school is usually too wrapped up in their own language to understand the language of a different, yet related, school. This is all the more true amongst the various religions. It is amazing to me how many people have never realized the almost identical nature of Buddhist meditation and Christian contemplative prayer.

RE: Mindfulness in Zen?
Answer
2/8/08 2:14 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
The similarity becomes particularly striking when a mantra is used, such as "Buddho".

The way I understand it, centering prayer is a concentration practice, and mindfulness ("attention") practice is separated out into daily life, but I never investigated it closely. Theistic traditions tend to personify everything, the Buddha taught anatta. The two may be both sides of the same medal - not self and true self - I like the Buddha's Dhamma teachings best.

It's the finger-and-moon simile: when you focus on the finger pointing at the moon, you suddenly see two moons, and when focusing on the moon, two fingers.

Cheers,
Florian

Cheers,
Florian