PDA

View Full Version : Influence on Zen?



Kamuii
7th September 2000, 07:10
I do not know if this should be posted here, but I did it anyway. Feel free to relocate this thread if necessary. Thank you. :)

Ok, my question is: Has Taoism influence Zen in any way? I believe it did not, but I am not sure, since I am not an expert in this field. Any comments or replies are welcome. Thank you. :)

Arnold Vargas
Genbukan Satoichi Dojo
&
Tsunami-Ryu Bujutsu

jion
8th September 2000, 01:30
Greetings Arnold-

Zen & Taoism. Funny how one gets labeled as an "-ism" and the other retains it's classically-oriented Japanese title (guess Ch'an didn't get picked up in the West).

Timewise, I think we'd be on the safe side to say that the development of Zen DID in fact rely heavily on then-prominent Taoist terminology. When many of the important Zen sutras, commentaries and lectures were being translated, written and given, a wealth of Taoist terms were "borrowed" to explain concepts for which the Chinese lacked an appropriate "Zen term."

In so doing, it's only natural that terms bring with them the baggage of where they departed from. And as Chinese Ch'an matured and split into its various sub-sects, these Taoist-generated ideas were more deeply investigated and challenged.

Just as an aside, what kind of influences were you thinking of (looking for?)

Kamuii
8th September 2000, 03:39
Hi Jion!

Well, it was just a question one of my students made me and since I did not have a really concrete answer I posted the question here to see if I and eventually my student would get some insight on the event. :) But then again it is interesting how these get intertwined(sp?) Then, is Zen(Zenism:) ) a mixture of Buddhism and Taoism?

Thank you! :)

Arnold Vargas

[Edited by KAMUII on 09-07-2000 at 10:48 PM]

ghp
8th September 2000, 06:19
Jion,


(guess Ch'an didn't get picked up in the West).


WHAT!!!! Have you never heard of "Charlie Ch'an"?? Originally his name was Dhyana Ch'an, but the immigration officials at Angel Island, CA, couldn't pronounce it properly. Therefore, instead of calling him "Johnny Jan" they wrote down "Charlie Chan."

Honest, I read it on the internet. :D


Regards,
Guy

Gyate, gyate, haragyate; haraso-gyate. Boji sowaka.
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.
Going, going, going on beyond; always going beyond. Becoming enlightened.

Kamuii
8th September 2000, 06:47
Guy:

I see the "mantra"/"jumon" of the Heart Sutra... Are you a practitioner?

Best,

Arnold

ghp
8th September 2000, 19:11
Arnold,

I am a "non-practicing" (due to laziness, not belief) adherent of Soto-shu.
http://obcon.org/mhall.gif
I'm not in this photo, by the way --- even though I have the same barber :D

Took my jukai-tokudo at Shasta Abbey http://www.obcon.org/obchome.html from Jiyu-Kennett Roshi and spent a couple of five-day Sesshin (retreats) there. Still have my wa-gesa somewhere .......



Regards,
Guy

Okami
10th September 2000, 23:01
In fact many of the "koans" written in "Zen" books are in fact borrowed from Tao clasics.Ive heard that even Zen masters in Japan use Taoistic stories from books like "Chuang tzu".

Cheers.

Russ Qureshi
5th October 2000, 20:04
Hey everyone,

I'm a complete neophyte when it comes to this..., but..., do you think it would be accurate to say that the essential experience of Zen, the Tao, Christianity, Judaism etc. is the same?

I ask because a friend of mine took part in a lecture that included Douglas Harding ("On Having No Head") and John Toller (a Zen Abbott). John Toller said, according to my friend, that the essential experience of Zen is the same as the experience of "having no head". So I'm curious as to the cross over with other prevalent philosophies and religions. Any feedback would be appreciated.

Russ

DJM
13th November 2000, 20:09
Well I'm no expert, but it's always seemed to me that Zen, Tao, and many other philosophies, have always shared a common goal, at their heart, which is perceiving - and ultimately becoming one with - "The Truth". Be it Tao, the Holy Spirit or any one of (I'm sure) a thousand different names.. I don't think it's strange that paths with the same goal have a great many similarities..
Peace,
David

Okami
21st November 2000, 22:32
I agree with DJM!

IMHO, in what religion you believe doesn't matter.The only thing that matter is the person...

But somehow "exotic" religions are always more interresting then the domestic (the right word?) religions...

As for the similarities between religions:

Just take a look at the christian "Meister Eckhardt" ,his writings are almost pure Zen.Or the thoughts of Heraklit...
And so on.

If you want to I can make a little research for you (If Mr. Svinth isn't faster, He he he ;) ).

Bye.

kusanku
22nd November 2000, 01:08
The essence of all Religions, is one.

The experience of Truth.

The goal of many Philosophies, is similar to that of religions,

the discovery of truth.

The goal of science and the gol of Philosophy show they are the same, it is also the discovery of truth.

The difference between science or philosophy and religion, is that in religion, the truth is revealed, and in science and philosophy, it is discovered.

In both, the role of the person is to search for truth.

Truth by its very definition , is One, and does not admit of multiplicity. But man multiplies it.

I found the satement that esoteric religions( and you could include philosophies ) seem more attractive to many , than 'domestic' ones.

But look how many adherents the 'domestic' ones have.Definitely in the majority, wouldn't you say?

At any rate it is true that those unwilling to look for truth in their front or back yard, or their living room,do seem to seek it in the far reaches of the world, or the galaxy, as Somerset Maugham's hero does in 'The Razor's Edge.'

And when they find it or some of it, there, they embody the Zen maxim that 'It takes eight years to get rid of the stink of enlightenment.'

You can find it in all the world's religions, in many a philosophy the truths can be found sated, in science books one can see if one really looks, the same truth,and you can find it in your heart and soul and mind, you inner being or inmost true self, however you refer to it.

And it is the most valuable thing there is.

Seek it with diligence wherever and however you can, and wish to.

Haply you may find it.

Regards,

Russ Qureshi
22nd November 2000, 14:22
Originally posted by kusanku
The essence of all Religions, is one.

The experience of Truth.

The goal of many Philosophies, is similar to that of religions,

the discovery of truth.

The goal of science and the gol of Philosophy show they are the same, it is also the discovery of truth.

The difference between science or philosophy and religion, is that in religion, the truth is revealed, and in science and philosophy, it is discovered.

In both, the role of the person is to search for truth.



Thanks, very lucid discourse. I wonder though if truth needs either revealing or discovery. Is it not there in front of us. The reality of what we see prior to naming it (filtering the experience through our conditioning)? Is searching needed when the truth is not only where you are but is actually you. Hmmmmm......

Thank you

Russ

Okami
23rd November 2000, 22:37
KUSANKU:
I found the satement that esoteric religions( and you could include philosophies ) seem more attractive to many , than 'domestic' ones.

But look how many adherents the 'domestic' ones have.Definitely in the majority, wouldn't you say?

At any rate it is true that those unwilling to look for truth in their front or back yard, or their living room,do seem to seek it in the far reaches of the world, or the galaxy, as Somerset Maugham's hero does in 'The Razor's Edge.'

And when they find it or some of it, there, they embody the Zen maxim that 'It takes eight years to get rid of the stink of enlightenment.'

You can find it in all the world's religions, in many a philosophy the truths can be found sated, in science books one can see if one really looks, the same truth,and you can find it in your heart and soul and mind, you inner being or inmost true self, however you refer to it.


Agree, that the domestic religions have a majority, but I really don't think this has to do with the religions itself.More with other factors (in what religion you was "borned in" and others).

Too I totally agree that most of the people seek for peace,love etc. outside (of themselves and outside of their religions,countries...).

As for the finding of thruth...I think Mr. Qureshi has
about the same thoughts as I do.

But that's not of importance.These things have been discussed by smarter people than me (and with some better knowledge of the english language).

Thank you all for your interresting thoughts.

Bye.

kusanku
25th November 2000, 05:04
On nature of and need for search for or discovery of, the truth.

Well, if we all had the knwledge and practice, however mperfectly, of what is in fact all around us, in front of us, and within us, how could there be disgreements leading to warfare, povery, aggression, oppression and injustice?

If we all knew that we 'were' the trth or had the essence of truth folded up within us, would or could these things happen?

So, evidently, for those who are not so fortunate as yet to have reconciled their inner and outer realities with those of the rest of of mankind, the Universe and That which sustains it , yes, it is necessary to search, make efforts, discover, and wen evenpartial discoveries are made, they must seek the way in which the discovery can best be used for the benefit of all.

If they don't, you have what we see now, world wide.

Yes, some indviduals, groups and even entire Faiths may well be okay, some scientists and philosophers may too, some entire communities too, but most are inconfusion, discord, at war, in trouble, and just plain lost.

We got to learn to first, get together, then get it togehter ourselves. Some feel its the other way around, that first we must solve all our problems then we can unite.

Actually, we can't solve them all until we unite.

And that's the truth.


Kusanku

Russ Qureshi
25th November 2000, 15:01
Originally posted by kusanku
On nature of and need for search for or discovery of, the truth.

Yes, some indviduals, groups and even entire Faiths may well be okay, some scientists and philosophers may too, some entire communities too, but most are inconfusion, discord, at war, in trouble, and just plain lost.

We got to learn to first, get together, then get it togehter ourselves. Some feel its the other way around, that first we must solve all our problems then we can unite.

Actually, we can't solve them all until we unite.

And that's the truth.

Kusanku

Well put again and I see your point. I guess what I'm trying to say is that, really, there is no separation between us and them. No separation between this community and that one. By our inherent nature we are already united. Cannot truth be understood when we give up conceptualization.....? Isn't the cause of suffering the ideas of division. Nationalism, religion...,my way of doing things etc. Do we not cling to these ideals because of the FEAR of what is so obviously right in front of us? (I don't know, for sure, I'm asking the question.) Isn't our want (not need, want) of security, safety and comfort part of the cause of suffering in the world?

As Krishnamurti would say: "Don't answer the speaker, ask the questions yourself..."

Sincerely,

Russ

kusanku
26th November 2000, 03:01
'Don't answer the speaker, ask the questions yourself.'

If everyone would do this, we might get where we need to, faster and more easily than we seem to be doing now.

Sometimes it is a matter not of having the answers or accss to them but of asking the questions. Search, and discover or yourself.

'Seek, and ye shall find.'

But many find things they don't seek, and think they have it. Clue:If what you found makes you hate or feel better than anyone else on earth, intrinsically, that ain't it.Keep asking and keep looking.

Someday, maybe everyone will be able to see what is right in front of them.

To become in harmony with All that Is.To be in complete physical, mental, emotonal and spiritual balance, as indeed some are today, and have no need or desire to hate others,to fight them, or to feel inferior or superior.

'It is easier to conquer nations than to conquer self.'

But the latter can be done.Part of why it is not, more often than is the case, may well be that it is not seen to be as desirable a goal as it was in some past times.

Robert W. Smith in Chinese Boxing, Masters and Methods, quoted a conversation between a Rabbbi and a student.'Rabbi, it is said that in ancient times, men were able to look upon the Face of God. How is it that today, they are unable?'

The Rabbi replied:'Because no one today is willing to stoop so low.'

The reason then, that more people do not overcome self and desire, could be that, simply, they do not wish to make the necessary efforts to do so?

Worth thinking about.

Regards,
Kusanku

Steve C
24th January 2001, 15:14
Originally posted by Russ Qureshi
Hey everyone,

I'm a complete neophyte when it comes to this..., but..., do you think it would be accurate to say that the essential experience of Zen, the Tao, Christianity, Judaism etc. is the same?

I don't think it is. I'll try to explain why by comparing christianity and taoism.

I think that in christianity, there's a tendancy to talk about things that are supernatural - God, heaven, whatever. It tends to view the world as a testing ground for another level of existence.

I've always though that study of the Tao was about the real world, about breaking down barriers that you have in your own mind that divorce you from experiencing things directly.

So taoism plants your feet firmly in the boring earth, and christianity asks you to look at the clouds and imagine something on the other side.

Actually - is Taoism a religion at all? Or a philosophy? Or a viewpoint?

Any ideas?

Steve

jimei
28th January 2001, 14:47
Chan Buddhism and Taoism had periods of
interaction and exchange in Chinese history
and Chan was very influenced by Taoist
concepts and practices over the centuries.
James Fraser, Jimei University, Xiamen, PROC

Kamuii
31st January 2001, 07:09
Hi again! :)

Well, ok. So Zen Buddism had influence from Taoism and so Chan Buddhism also had influence from Zen Buddhism as well, right? So Taoism influenced the branches of Buddhism it got in touch with through its path, right?

Ok, now I would like to make another question. I was told once that there was ZEN and ZEN BUDDHISM. Is this correct or are they both the same thing? I understand they are the same, but can anyone clarify or verify this?

Best,

DJM
10th February 2001, 17:33
Arnold,
I don't pretend to know much about Zen, but to the best of my knowledge Zen is, I suppose, the thought process that accompanies Zen Buddhism. I suppose you could look at it, in a way, as separating philosophy and religion - though I don't believe there's always much in the way of a distinction, particularly in Eastern religion/philosophy...
Please, anyone, feel free to tell me I'm talking from my proverbial...
I suppose the above also starts to answer Steve's question -What is Taoism? I'd argue, personally, that it is, simply, Taoism. Questions of philosophy and religion are matters of people, and usage. A rock remains a rock, irrespectively of it being used to grind wheat or split skulls.. Tao is like this, since it encompasses everything it transcends definition, or more likely encompasses all definitions...
I hope some of that made sense!
Peace,
David