In Taking the Path of Zen , Robert Aitken provided a concise guide to zazen (Zen meditation) and other aspects of the practice of Zen. In The Mind of Clover he addresses the world beyond the zazen cushions, illuminating issues of appropriate personal and social action through an exploration of the philosophical complexities of Zen ethics. Aitken's approach is clear and sure as he shows how our minds can be as nurturing as clover, which enriches the soil and benefits the (...) environment as it grows. The opening chapters discuss the Ten Grave Precepts of Zen, which, Aitken points out, are "not commandments etched in stone but expressions of inspiration written in something more fluid than water." Aitken approaches these precepts, the core of Zen ethics, from several perspectives, offering many layers of interpretation. Like ripples in a pond, the circles of his interpretation increasingly widen, and he expands his focus to confront corporate theft and oppression, the role of women in Zen and society, abortion, nuclear war, pollution of the environment, and other concerns. The Mind of Clover champions the cause of personal responsibility in modern society, encouraging nonviolent activism based on clear convictions. It is a guide that engages, that invites us to realize our own potential for confident and responsible action. (shrink)
The comparative study of mysticism and inter-religious spirituality has gained more space in universities and research centers that radiate everywhere. They are also research involving Eastern religions, in its peculiar mystical trait. Also in the context of Buddhism one can talk on spirituality, understood as a search path of liberation. This article presents the theme of Zen Buddhist spirituality based on the reflection of Eihei Dogen Zenji (1200 – 1253), one of the most important and prominent teachers of (...) the Soto Zen Tradition. This text aims to show the richness of spirituality and its peculiarity concerning the everyday reality. To promote understanding of the central question presented, the theme of spirituality was situated within the historical context of the birth of Zen Buddhism and the insertion of the presence of Dogen in its field of action. The theme of Zen spirituality was becoming evident in the approach to the problem of search of the Dharma in Dogen and his attention to small signs of everyday life. Keywords: Spirituality. Buddhism. Zen. Daily life. Religions. Resumo Os estudos de mística comparada e de espiritualidade interreligiosa vão ganhando espaço cada vez mais singular nas universidades e núcleos de pesquisa que se irradiam por toda parte. São pesquisas que envolvem também as religiões orientais, em seu traço místico peculiar. Também no âmbito do budismo pode-se falar em espiritualidade, entendida como um caminho de busca da libertação. Esse artigo visa apresentar o tema da espiritualidade zen budista, com base na reflexão de Eihei Dôgen Zenji (1200-1253), um dos mais importantes e destacados mestres da tradição Soto Zen. O objetivo é mostrar a riqueza dessa espiritualidade e sua peculiaridade de adesão à realidade cotidiana. Para favorecer a compreensão da questão central apresentada, visou-se situar a temática no âmbito do contexto histórico do nascimento do zen budismo e da inserção da presença de Dôgen em seu campo de ação. A temática da espiritualidade zen foi se evidenciando na abordagem da problemática da busca do Dharma em Dôgen e de sua atenção aos pequenos sinais do cotidiano. Palavras-Chave : Espiritualidade. Budismo. Zen. Cotidiano. Religiões. (shrink)
The aim of this book is simple: to invite readers to consider what it means to lead a good life, and to offer practical advice, based on the Buddhist teachings, as to how this can be accomplished. In each of more than thirty brief essays, Master Hsing Yun treats a specific moral or ethical issue, using quotations from the rich treasury of the Buddhist scriptures as a point of departure for his discussion. Among the topics he considers are control (...) of the body and of speech, overcoming greed, ending anger, patience under insult, how to manage wealth, how to get along with others, what it means to practice Buddhism, and the blessings and joys of that practice. The Buddhist precepts are introduced as guideposts along this path of liberation, and friendship, gratitude, and service to others are presented as essential elements of a common quest to discover and to embody our innate goodness and humanity. (shrink)
In reviewing four works from the 1990s-monographs by Christopher Ives and Phillip Olson on Zen Buddhist ethics, Damien Keown's treatment of Indian Buddhist ethics, and an edited collection on Buddhism and human rights-this article examines recent scholarship on Zen Buddhist ethics in light of issues in Buddhist and comparative ethics. It highlights selected themes in the notional and real encounter of Zen Buddhism with Western thought and culture as presented in the reviewed works and identifies issues and problems (...) for further consideration, in particular, problems of comparative and cross-cultural understanding and the articulation and redefinition of Zen Buddhist tradition. (shrink)
Revitalized interest in "the virtues" has affected the study of Buddhism in recent years, and in this regard we may benefit by focusing on the Zen Master Dōgen (1200-1253). Seeking to describe Dōgen's moral virtues, we might begin by a study of his primer, the "Shōbōgenzō" Zuimonki; a particularly efficacious template for this project would appear to be one provided by Edmund L. Pincoffs in his book "Quandaries and Virtues: Against Reductivism in Ethics". This "modus operandi" reveals Dōgen's exhortation (...) of a broad array of mandatory and nonmandatory virtues, partially depend- ing on whether or not the intended recipient is a layperson or one leading the religiouslife. If valid, this description may benefit Dōgen Studies as well as contribute to, and encourage, other "Western" efforts to articulate Buddhist ethics. (shrink)
From about the fourth to the tenth century Buddhist monks in China engaged in formal, semi-public, religious disputation. I describe the Indian origins of this disputation and outline its settings, procedures, and functions. I then propose that this disputation put its participants at risk of performative contradiction with Buddhist tenets about language and salvation, and I illustrate how some chinese Buddhists attempted to transcend these contradictions, subverting disputation through creative linguistic and extra- linguistic strategies.
Buddhism first came to the West many centuries ago through the Greeks, who also influenced some of the culture and practices of Indian Buddhism. As Buddhism has spread beyond India, it has always been affected by the indigenous traditions of its new homes. When Buddhism appeared in America and Europe in the 1950s and 1960s, it encountered contemporary psychology and psychotherapy, rather than religious traditions. Since the 1990s, many efforts have been made by Westerners to (...) analyze and integrate the similarities and differences between Buddhism and it therapeutic ancestors, particularly Jungian psychology. Taking Japanese Zen-Buddhism as its starting point, this volume is a collection of critiques, commentaries, and histories about a particular meeting of Buddhism and psychology. It is based on the Zen Buddhism and Psychotherapy conference that took place in Kyoto, Japan, in 1999, expanded by additional papers, and includes: new perspectives on Buddhism and psychology, East and West cautions and insights about potential confusions traditional ideas in a new light. It also features a new translation of the conversation between Schin'ichi Hisamatsu and Carl Jung which took place in 1958. _Awakening and Insight_ expresses a meeting of minds, Japanese and Western, in a way that opens new questions about and sheds new light on our subjective lives. It will be of great interest to students, scholars and practitioners of psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and analytical psychology, as well as anyone involved in Zen Buddhism. (shrink)
If we reflect on the history of Buddhism, we should be able to acknowledge as an anomaly the present yawning chasm to be seen between North American / Japanese academic scholarship that deals with Zen/Chan and the corresponding practice community. We have on one hand a religious tradition that has, due to a combination of its own rhetorical choices and various historical turns, become largely bereft of the ongoing production of significant scholarship concerning its own history and doctrine. (...) This is juxtaposed with an academic scholarly tradition, generated from its own radically different historical roots that has a historical-philological orientation that ends up being almost completely disconnected from the concerns of the practitioner within the tradition, be she/he a monastic or lay adherent. What is further interesting about this situation is the extent to which it has, despite its peculiarity, come to be taken for granted as normative—at least within Western and Japanese scholarship. (shrink)
John Hick's "pluralistic hypothesis" of religion essays a comprehensive vision of religious diversity and its attendant soteriological, epistemological, and ontological implications. At the heart of Hick's proposal is the belief in the transcendental unity and soteriological identity of all religions. While coherent and compelling, Hick's model militates against those traditions that do not possess an ultimate noumenal referent that undergirds the phenomenal responses of culturally conditioned traditions. One of those traditions, namely Sōtō Zen Buddhism, at once defies Hick's (...) categories and presses for an alternative understanding of the epistemological, metaphysical, and soteriological issues. (shrink)
While there has been a surge in scholarship on Imperial Way Buddhism (kōdō Bukkyō) in the past several decades, little attention has been paid, particularly in Western scholarship, to the life and work of Ichikawa Hakugen (1902–1986), the most prominent and sophisticated postwar critic of the role of Buddhism, and particularly Zen, in modern Japanese militarism. By way of a thorough and critical investigation of Ichikawa’s critique, Imperial-Way Zen: Ichikawa Hakugen’s Critique and Lingering Questions for Buddhist Ethics (...) by Christopher Ives seeks to provide answers to a number of important questions regarding Zen ethics in the context of modern Japan. Particularly fruitful is Ives’ discussion, in chapter 7, of the .. (shrink)
Buddhism and Jainism share the concepts of karma, rebirth, and the desirability of escaping from rebirth. The literature of both traditions contains many stories about past, and sometimes future, lives which reveal much about these foundational doctrines. Naomi Appleton carefully explores how multi-life stories served to construct, communicate, and challenge ideas about karma and rebirth within early South Asia, examining portrayals of the different realms of rebirth, the potential paths and goals of human beings, and the biographies of (...) ideal religious figures. Appleton also deftly surveys the ability of karma to bind individuals together over multiple lives, and the nature of the supernormal memory that makes multi-life stories available in the first place. This original study not only sheds light on the individual preoccupations of Buddhist and Jain tradition, but contributes to a more complete history of religious thought in South Asia, and brings to the foreground long-neglected narrative sources. (shrink)
This deeply informed book introduces the basic teachings and practices of Buddhism and their spread across Asia. Peter D. Hershock explores the history of the enduring Japanese tradition of Zen—from its beginnings as a form of Buddhist thought and practice imported from China to its reinvention in medieval Japan as a force for religious, political, and cultural change to its role in Japan’s embrace of modernity. He deftly blends historical detail with the felt experiences of Zen practitioners grappling (...) with the meanings of human suffering, personal freedom, and the integration of social and spiritual progress. (shrink)
Enlightened experience (i.e. awakened to the truth) is the most valuable one in most religions including Christianity and Buddhism. As well-known cases of such experience are Apocalypse St. Paul and many Grand Zen masters in Zen Buddhism, it is natural for us to believe that the enlighten is for very talented or speciallytrained ones. However, applying the complexity theory on the structure of enlightenment, based on the power law function, selforganized criticality, phase transition, and emergence, it is clear (...) that the full awakening can be experienced by everyone in daily life. Furthermore, such experiences are not necessary to be limited in religious one. Rediscovering the path to full awakening by complexity theory leads to the demythologization of the enlightenment in Korean Zen Buddhism, which emphasizes a hard apprenticeship in temple for long periods for the purpose. (shrink)
To live life fully and die serenely--surely we all share these goals, so inextricably entwined. Yet a spiritual dimension is too often lacking in the attitudes, circumstances, and rites of death in modern society. Kapleau explores the subject of death and dying on a deeply personal level, interweaving the writings of Western religions with insights from his own Zen practice, and offers practical advice for the dying and their families.
This paper addresses the ways that we can understand and transform our strong emotions and how this project contributes to moral and spiritual development. To this end, I choose to think with two Tibetan Buddhist thinkers, both of whom take up the question of how passionate emotions can fit into spiritual and moral life: the famous, playful yogin Shabkar Tsodruk Rangdrol (1781–1851) and the wandering, charismatic master Patrul Rinpoche (1808–1887). Shabkar's The Autobiography of Shabkar provides excellent examples of using (...) one's own passionate emotions to connect to others and gain insight into the world. Patrul Rinpoche's The Words of My Perfect Teacher (kun bzang bla ma'i zhal lung) focuses on passionate empathy with the emotions of others. Drawing on these texts, I present a (distinctly Buddhist) conception of a passionate life and argue that passionate emotional experience is a central part of moral and spiritual development more broadly construed. (shrink)
This lucid overview of the Buddhist path takes the perspective of the three "vehicles" of Tibetan Buddhism: the Hinayana, Mahayana, and Vajrayana. While these vehicles are usually presented as a historical development, they are here equated with the attitudes that individuals bring to their Buddhist practice. Basic to them all, however, is the need to understand our own immediate condition. The primary tool for achieving this is meditation, and The Essence of Buddhism serves as a handbook for the (...) various meditative approaches of Buddhist practice. Beginning with the Four Noble Truths, Traleg Rinpoche incorporates the expansive vision of the bodhisattva path and the transformative vision of Tantra. The final chapters present the transcendent view of Mahamudra. This view dispenses with all dualistic fixations and directly realizes the natural freedom of the mind itself. Along the way, the author provides vivid definitions of fundamental concepts such as compassion, emptiness, and Buddha-nature, and answers common questions: Why does Buddhism teach that there is "no self"? Are Buddhist teachings pessimistic? Does Buddhism encourage social passivity? What is the role of sex in Buddhist Tantra? Why is it said that "samsara is nirvana"? Does it take countless lifetimes to attain enlightenment, or can it be achieved in a moment? (shrink)
This book is the first to engage Zen Buddhism philosophically on crucial issues from a perspective that is informed by the traditions of western philosophy and religion. It focuses on one renowned Zen master, Huang Po, whose recorded sayings exemplify the spirit of the 'golden age' of Zen in medieval China, and on the transmission of these writings to the West. The author makes a bold attempt to articulate a post-romantic understanding of Zen applicable to contemporary world culture. While (...) deeply sympathetic to the Zen tradition, he raises serious questions about the kinds of claims that can be made on its behalf. (shrink)
would probably have taken over the translating profession by now. At best, computer translations read awkwardly, and some of them are downright humorous. Precise, word-for-word, humanrendered translations fare no better.
The true man without any rank.--Two dimensions of ego consciousness.--Sense and nonsense in Zen Buddhism.--The philosophical problem of articulation.--Thinking and a-thinking through kōan.--The interior and exterior in Zen.--The elimination of color in Far Eastern art and photography.
Simon P. James' Zen Buddhism and Environmental Ethics offers an engaging, sophisticated, and well-argued defence of the notion that Zen Buddhism has something positive to offer the environmental movement. James' goal is two-fold: first, dispel criticism that Zen (by virtue of its anti-philosophical stance) lacks an ethical program (because it shuns conventional morality), has no concern for the environment at large (because it adopts a thoroughly anthropocentric stance), and deprives living entities of any intrinsic worth (because it operates (...) from the standpoint of the doctrine of emptiness); second, to argue that Zen's quietist stance in fact fosters the development of certain character traits (compassion, non-violence, selflessness, etc.) that in turn lead to having an enlightened attitude toward the environment. (shrink)
Far Eastern calligraphy has always been regarded by the Occident as an “esoteric” issue, laden with a peculiar “mysticism,” which presents spiritual and philosophical aspects too outlandish to truly comprehend. That is probably the reason why calligraphy was amongst the last artistic “disciplines” to gain access to the international world of the arts. This study focuses on Japanese calligraphy as a visual and verbal image, conducting a hermeneutic investigation into the nature and function of this type of image, into the (...) value and significance of this way of representing the sacred in accordance with Japanese spirituality. Undertaking an unusual exploration, this research draws together the symbolism of calligraphic art and that of Byzantine icons, looking for similarities and differences between them, seeing them as intuitive gateways to the mysteries of the universe, to revelations of an ontologically superior nature. (shrink)
Introduction: Experiential deconstructive inquiry -- Foundational philosophies and spiritual methods -- Non-duality in Advaita Vedanta and Zen Buddhism -- Ontological differences and non-duality -- Meditative inquiry, questioning, and dialoguing as a means to spiritual insight -- The undoing or deconstruction of dualistic conceptions -- Advaita Vedanta : philosophical foundations and deconstructive strategies -- Sources of the tradition -- Upaniads that art thou (Tat Tvam Asi) -- Gauapda (c.7th century) : no bondage, no liberation -- Aakara (c.7th-8th century) : there (...) is no apprehender different from this apprehension to apprehend it -- Modern and contemporary masters -- Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950) : who am I? -- H.W.L Poonja (1910-1997) : you have to do nothing to be who you are! -- Gangaji (b. 1942) : you are that! -- Advaita Vedanta summary : nothing ever happens -- Zen Buddhism : philosophical foundations and deconstructive strategies -- Sources of the tradition -- The Lakvatra Sutra and the Vajracchedik Prajñpramit Sutra all things ... are not independent of each other and not two -- Ngrjuna (c.113-213) : Sasra is Nirva -- Eihei Dgen (1200-1253) : if I am already enlightened, why must I practice -- Contemporary masters -- Ekai Korematsu (b. 1948) : return to the spine -- Hgen Yamahata (b. 1935) : why not now -- Zen Buddhism summary : neither being nor non-being is to be taken hold of -- Deconstructive techniques and dynamics of experiential undoing -- Deconstructive techniques common to both traditions -- The teacher-student dynamic -- Key deconstructive techniques -- Unfindability analysis -- Bringing everything back to the here and now -- Paradoxical problems -- Negation -- Dynamics of experiential undoing -- Non-dual experiential space -- Experiential mapping : practitioners in the space -- Experiential undoing in Advaita Vedanta -- Experiential undoing in Zen Buddhism -- Conclusion: Deconstruction of reified awareness. (shrink)
The work argues that the koans of Zen Buddhism have several intriguing non-accidental parallels with the short stories of Catholic author Flannery O'Connor. Both typically portray characters in a state of non-enlightenment in which they are egoistically obsessed with something which prevents them from perceiving and properly responding to the real world around them. Both present the characters with some opportunity for enlightenment, which they may or may not take up. Both come in a variety of forms, in order (...) to portray and address a rich variety of ways in which such obsessions become obstacles to human self-understanding and fulfillment. And both are ultimately presented for the sake of the listener or reader, who may recognize in the stories parallels to their own state, and perhaps take a lesson therefrom on their own journey towards what Zen calls enlightenment, or what Christians call grace. (shrink)