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GLaCorte: Zazen Kapleau

To: alt.philosophy.zen,alt.zen,alt.religion,talk.religion.buddhism,talk.religion.misc,alt.magick.tyagi
From: (Robert Wahl)
Subject: Re: GLaCorte: Zazen re: Kapleau
Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 05:48:06 GMT (John Neatrour) writes:
>i think that using raja-yoga categories to understand zazen will result in
>misunderstanding. zazen has little to do with controled regulation of the
>breath (pranayama) or the withdrawal of the senses from their objects
>(pratyahara). blanking the mind is expressly not how zazen is practiced.
>as for the breath, one simply lets it alone.
>in the Eihei-goroku Dogen specifically recommends _against_ counting or
>following the breath exercises, lengthening or shortening the breath, or
>manipulating it in any way. Dogen's think-non-thinking is giving up control of
>the chain of thoughts, not suppressing thought, but accepting all sense
>objects or thoughts and simply letting them pass.

Well put!  Most books on Zen meditation (including Kapleau's) are quite
careful to explain these points.  Nevertheless, people tend to see only
the similarities with whatever form of meditation they're used to, and
gloss over the differences.

Counting the breath is usually a preparatory step for developing enough
concentration to "follow" (rather than control) the breath.  Books
aimed at beginners naturally stress beginning techniques, which often leads
to a misunderstanding of mature Zen practice.

>>On the other side 
>>of the scale, enlightenment appears to occur all to often - Kapleau must 
>>be refering to dhyana or samadhi in those cases.
>>On the other hand, he mentions kensho and satori quite a bit.  But I'm 
>>uncertain as to where and how they fit in to the raja-yoga picture.  
>>Could you help me?

Again, I agree with John -- it's not really a valid comparison.  It presumes
that yoga and zazen produce similar "fruits".  The Buddha studied under
several eminent teachers of his day, until he had perfected what they
taught and surpassed them in ability.  None of the practices he studied
addressed the issues which disturbed him.  That required an original
approach.  Learning the violin may help you to learn the oboe, but 
a virtuoso violinist is likely an ear-splitting oboist.

We'd like to believe that all spiritual practices lead toward the same
thing (Truth/Reality).  But every path takes you through different
Robert Wahl	Denver, Colorado, USA

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