Zen in the East & West, a term paper by Jim Gibbs of W.P.

, NY This paper may be copied freely, and is public domain, however, it must be copied with this notice, and my name. It contains some pc-write codes, but it will work well with other ascii word processors. #.R:B # A Short Introduction to # # Buddism and Zen# #.M:2 #.F: #.F:...$$$... #.N:2 #.DM:2 #.DF:b:notes

Buddhism is based on the teachings of a man who was born in what is now India during the sixth century B.C. He was called by many names, but the most famous of them are Siddhartha(the one who has reached the goal), Sakyamuni(sage of the Sakyas), and Buddha(the enlightened). His was an "ideal" childhood, both priveleged and protected. His father told the servants not to let him outside the palace compound where they lived, but the legends say that he once got away long enough to witness old age and sickness. These things bothered him, and he set out to find an answer through religion. He gave up his position and wealth, and for six years he searched for answers to his questions. After spending another six years in meditation, he gave up on traditional religion. He then went to beg for rice, and had his first full meal since he had left the palace. He then went to meditate under the Bodhi tree, where he achieved enlightenment. The Buddha then traveled around India, teaching his beliefs. Ten years after the Buddha died, a council was assembled to write down the things that the Buddha had felt and said. This was necessary because the Buddha had not left any written instructions regarding his beliefs. At this first council, the people produced a group of sutras, now held to be the religious tenets of Buddism. Since the beginnings of Buddhism, many different sects have been formed within the religion. One of the major sects is called Zen. Zen is not a religion; there is no God to worship in Zen, and there are no ceremonial rites to be carried out by the followers of Zen. The afterlife is not descibed or even mentioned in a positive way. Many Zen monks feel that there is no afterlife, and that the purpose of Zen is to achieve happiness by realizing that material goods don't matter. It is felt by these monks that all unhappiness comes from material goods and circumstances in the world. It is also their belief that through Zen, a person can see how meaningless these things are and be truly happy. Zen has no sacred books or tenets. It has no set of doctrines that are imposed on followers, and it has no intellectual analysis to teach. Zen is against all religious conventionalism. It is also above conventional meditation. It's purpose is to discipline the mind, and make it the master of its surroundings.

# #The Ways of Zen# One of the basic needs of a system like Zen is a leader, and the leaders of Zen were called Patriarchs. The Patriarch would be (extremely) roughly analogous to The Pope. There have been a total of twenty-eight of these men. To give an idea of what life for early Zen monks was like, and how a Patriarch was chosen, the following story is given: The Fifth Patriarch, who ruled in the seventh century A.D., decided that he would choose the Sixth Patriarch by means of a sort of contest: Whichever of his disciples could compose a stanza showing true understanding of the mind would be made Sixth Patriarch. The monks assumed that the leading scholar of the monastery, Shen-hsiu, would win, so they decided not to write anything at all. Shen-hsiu worked for four days and then anonymously wrote a stanza on the corridor wall. It ran: #.M:1 #.Our body is the Bodhi-tree, And our mind a mirror bright. Carefully we wipe them hour by hour, And let no dust alight. [1] #.+ #.M:2 #.D 1. Hoover, Thomas. Zen Culture, pg. 47 #.D This verse did not please the Fifth Patriarch, who advised Shen-hsiu to write another. Before Shen-hsiu had composed another, an illiterate disciple, named Hui-neng, had the verse read to him. After hearing it, he dictated a verse to be written next to it. Hui-neng's verse ran: #.M:1 #.The Bodhi (True Wisdom) is not like the tree; The mirror bright is nowhere shining: As there is nothing from the first, Where does the dust itself collect? [2] #.+ #.M:2 #.D 2. Suzuki, Daisetz T. The Essentials of Zen Buddhism, pg. 29 #.D The legend says that all of the monks were amazed, and the Fifth Patriarch rubbed out the verse to protect Hui-neng from the other jealous monks. Later, he summoned Hui-neng in the middle of the night and pronounced him the Sixth Patriarch. He gave him the robe and begging bowl of Bodhidharma (the First Patriarch). He also presented him with the Diamond Sutra, which Hui-neng later established as the primary scripture of Zen. The Fifth Patriarch advised Hui-neng to flee to the south, because he felt that it would be unsafe for him to stay in the area. Zen went through some radical changes close to this time, the

most signifigant of which was the addition of the koan system of attaining enlightenment. A koan is a statement made by an old Zen master, or an answer of his. The uninitiated are expected to study the koan without attempting to figure them out with logic. He is expected to try to feel the meaning of the koan. Often, this goes on for years. During this entire period, the monk is supposed to be keeping the koan first and foremost in his mind. It is said that eventually, if the circumstances are right he will finally realize what it means, and he will have attained enlightenment. The most famous koan tells that when asked, "Is there Buddha-nature in a dog?" Joshu (a famous Zen master) replied, "Mu!" (pronounced Wu). Mu literally means "not" or "none", but when in reference to the question of the dog, it is "Mu", pure and simple.[3] This representative koan shows the difficulty a person might have in attempting to understand what the master was talking about. The koan were absolutely necessary for the survival of Zen. There are still Zen masters who claim that they are "contrived," and not a viable way of attaining enlightenment. However, without the koan system, Zen very probably would have died out. Before their use, Zen was thought of as mysticism, and many monks became frustrated and skeptical. Without the koan, there is a good chance that Zen wouldn't have withstood the onslaught of Christan missionaries to the Orient. #.D 3. Suzuki, Daisetz T. The Essentials of zen Buddhism, pg. 291 #.D

# #Modern Zen Life# A modern Zen monk pursues the same goals and ideals that the monks of two thousand years ago did. However, in day to day life, much is different. The most signifigant changes to the lives of Zen pupils are those made to the monasteries where they lived. Before the Zen had a system of learning for themselves, most lived in monasteries of the Vinaya sect. The principles that the Vinaya believe in have much in common with the principles of the Zen, but there are some differences. These differences made it hard for struggling Zen monks of the time. The modern Zen system of education is unique to the Zen monasteries. It uses a combination of lectures and learning through living, to show the monks the pathway to Zen. The man who devised this system was called Hyakujo. He wrote a book on how a Zen monasterey should be established and kept running. The book contained detailed regulations on the forming of meditation halls. Meditation halls are a part of a Zen monastery that no other sect uses. Although the original book was lost, the monks of today still use set of rules based on the practices of monasteries known to have been established in accordance with the original book. The monasteries of the Chinese Zen are much larger and grander than the monasteries of the Japanese Zen. The Japanese felt that luxury was not necessary to the practice of Zen. They also didn't have the money to spare, as Zen was not "government subsidized" in Japan the way it was in China. Besides the work on meditation halls, Hyakujo is best known for his guiding principle of life. He expressed this simply as, "no work, no eating." This represents a much broader philosophical viewpoint than it appears to. The Zen feel that no labor is too demeaning, and that there is no distinction of respectability or honor between lighting holy candles and such tasks as sweeping. In a typical Zen monastery, the older, more experienced monks are given the most menial tasks. This stresses the idea expressed by, "no work, no eating." Hyakujo felt that there was no honor in eating undeserved bread. When Hyakujo became old and weak, his monks hid all of his gardening tools so that he would not have to do the garden work. He refused to eat until the monks returned his tools and let him go on working. This idea was not simply a principle to Hyakujo; he did not hold by it merely because he thought it was right. He knew that men who fall into the trap of exercising the mind without working with the body become thoughtless. I say, "thoughtless," in a literal sense, Hyakujo did not want the Zen monks to get caught in the trap that ruined many other sects of Buddhism. He was saving them from mental inactivity and an unbalanced mind with his simple, "no work, no eating." In the Zen meditation halls of today, life is difficult for uninitiated monks. Part of the training of Zen involves humility, and all new Zen monks taken into a monastery are refused at first. They are expected to wait near the front of the building all day. When the time to eat comes, they request food. The Zen masters go along with this, as they do not refuse food or board to a traveler. At night, the new monk must ask for a place to sleep. He is usually shown into an unfurnished room for the night. The next morning he goes to wait outside again.

This will go on until the new monk gives up, or until the masters are impressed with the monk's patience and let him into the brotherhood. This often goes on for weeks. Life is not easy for the accepted monks in any monastery either. Each monk is allowed an area of floor to live on. This area is no larger than a three by six foot rectangle. In this space, each monk must sit, meditate, sleep, and exercise. He can never use more than one quilt throughout the seasons, and can have no pillow. His belongings are kept in a box one foot square. These belongings usually consist of nothing more than a few books, a razor (to be used for the head), a set of differentsized bowls, and some clothes. The monks are summoned to eat by the sound of a gong, and they proceed to the food hall. Zen monks get very little in the way of food, but do not seem to suffer from it. Early in the morning, near six a.m., the monks are summoned to the food hall to be given rice gruel. They carry a bowl to the hall, where they can eat as much gruel as they like, as well as any vegetables they have picked. At around ten a.m., they are given rice, vegetable soup, and pickles. Four p.m. is the monks' last chance to eat in the day unless they are lucky enough to be invited for dinner to a generous host's house. They do not waste food, and the four p.m. "meal" consists only of leftover rice and rice gruel. The monks always eat in silence, and fold their hands as a way of requesting more food. When the monk-waiter comes around, they wipe off their bowl to, "rid it of impurities introduced by them." These acts are representative of the peace that these monks feel. Being a Zen monk is not easy, but there aren't many dissatisfied monks either.

# #Zen and The Western World# In a dialogue that took place in New York, at the Rochester Zen Center, Students from Rochester College spoke with a Zen monk. A Japanese student asked about wall hangings and said they were strange to him and that in Japan he never saw them. A Chinese student heard this and told the Japanese student that Zen was originally Chinese and had been taken to Japan. He said that the Japanese way was not necassarily the right way. An Indian student responded by saying that Buddha was Indian and that they should remember that always. The Zen monk then stopped them to explain that the American way of Zen was a mixture of all of these ways. He said: #.M:1 #.The three of you need to be reminded that our American tradition is to use all traditions freely. Each of your countries has poured the waters of its own Buddhist culture into the ocean of Buddhism. These waters are now quenching the spiritual thirst of many Americans. The Buddha's Way is universal, transcending all cultures. The Buddha isn't found just in India or China or Japan but wherever men and women revere him and live according to his teachings.[4] #.+ #.M:2 #.D 4. Kapleau, Roshi Philip. Zen Dawn In the West, pg. 7 #.D This quote is representative of the feelings of many Americans towards Zen. The monk's response shows the melting pot spirit of America all over again. He has taken the ideals of the founders of America to heart and applied then to the study of, "Americanized Zen." This form of Zen holds great possibilities for the future of America. On the whole, Americans are extremely frustrated and dissatisfied because of material wealth. These are exactly the kinds of problems that Zen deals with, showing how unimportant they really are. Frequently, American owners and managers of large corporations attend group meeting with Zen monks to find out about Zen. They ask questions about how Zen could help their company if they provided free study for their employees. Corporations could use Zen to keep employee morale up. When a person is enlightened through Zen, he sees work in a new light, and doesn't mind menial tasks. Like the great Zen masters of Japan sweeping the porches, the people of a company would be working for themselves as well as for the group. Zen is also approved and suggested by a growing number of psychiatrists and psychoanalysts in America. Zen has shown good results in many situations where the analyst recommends it. Most American monasteries and Zen Centers will take in mildly anxious, depressed, and disturbed people. If they feel that a person is showing true interest in Zen, they will take in that person and try to help him through Zen. The meditation, or zazen, part of

Zen is very relaxing, and can help nervous people. Zen also allows people to see the world and its problems in perspective, thus helping depressed and disturbed individuals. When asked to clarify what he used Zen for, a psychoanalyst said, "I feel that my job is to clear up the confusion and mental instability of my patients so that they can one day be ready for Zen."[5] #.D 5. Kapleau, Roshi Philip. Zen Dawn in The West, pg. 14 #.D Another question that American Zen monks are often asked is how well they think other methods work for attaining enlightenment, and if other methods can be used in conjunction with Zen. The other methods of relaxation and attaining enlightenment include such practices as est, TM, Hare Krishna, and even biofeedback and bioenergetics. In response, most Zen monks will say that these other methods work well for relaxation and, "mind expansion," but not for true enlightenment. They seem to feel that to simply improve your concentration, relaxation abilities, and body, these other disciplines are more than enough. But they feel that Zen involves much more, and that it is the true path to happiness. In Zen, one breaks through both the conscious and the unconscious, whereas in the other methods of spiritual awakening, one only attains mind expansion or heightened awareness. The monks do not feel that these things mix well with Zen, and do not suggest that they be used in conjunction with it. They do say that both hatha yoga and tai chi can be used with Zen, as long as the person using them separates them from their philosophic theories. Biofeedback is not at all suitable to be used with or in place of Zen, despite the fact that it has been called, "electric Zen." The monks feels that the uses of biofeedback do not extend beyond simple relaxation and helping high blood pressure and such problems.

# #American Zen# Americans have taken Zen and changed it to fit their lifestyles. The largest change they have made is the almost complete removal of the Buddhist beliefs. There are very few Zen priests in America because most Americans are searching to gain from the practice of Zen without giving up the religions that they hold. When a Zen master feels that a student is ready to become a priest, the student is offered the robe of the Buddha. Zen masters generally look upon people who accept Zen and refuse to accept the Buddhism that it is based on as somewhat akin to parasites. A person can hardly blame them. In recent years, however, these students have been seen by many masters in a kinder light. Many masters have recognized the need for something in between laymen and priest. American Zen "laymen" are said to belong to the new Maitreya Zen Buddhism. They do have a robe like the robe of the Buddha, which they are given when their teachers feel they are ready. It is often purple, and it is almost always made of patched cotton to show the makeshift nature of American Zen. New American Zen practices are being developed at most of the American monasteries, too. The following is an excerpt that shows the feeling of the American Zen and its robes.(dharma are the traditional Japanese robes) #.M:1 #.Come Buddha, please sit for a while under this shadowless tree and meditate on my ragged, handme-down Zen dharma. I have patched it together from scraps of material gathered from the garbage dumps of my Zen enviroment. This patchwork dharma may look like a raggle-taggle affair, full of intellectual holes, but I think you will find it soft, of good texture, well made and comfortable. [6] #.+ #.M:2 #.D 6. Mountain, Marian. The Zen Enviroment, pg. 227 #.D Conclusion: All in all, Zen could be very beneficial to America. It has been shown that it can help large corporations become more productive, while at the same time increasing employee satisfaction levels. Since this can be done without infringing on the workers rights in any way, and at little expense to the employer, it is an ideal way to improve a business. It has also been shown that Zen can be very useful in helping disturbed people when it is coupled with psychanalysis. This would be extremely good for America, as we have one of the highest suicide and depression rate of major countries. If a great number of people would try to use Zen, it might also lower the drug problem in the U.S., for the same reasons it would help the suicide problem. Zen also encourages the giving up of impure substances. It does not require it, but Zen monks say that if a person practices for long enough they will want to give up drugs and

refined foods. Zen could help America with most of its major problems, and is just now (after centuries) becoming differentiated from cults in the average Anerican's mind. #