Monthly Archives: September 2010

Zen in Vietnam and Japan

September 30, 2010

Seon was taken to Vietnam as early as the second century CE through the North from central Asia and via Southern routes from India. It has had a symbiotic relationship with Taoism, Chinese spirituality, and the indigenous Vietnamese religion. Buddhism is not practiced the same as in other Asian countries and does not contain the institutional structures, hierarchy, or sanghas that exist in other traditional Buddhist settings. Many Vietnamese define their spiritual needs using a Buddhist worldview.

By the end of the second century, Vietnam developed a major Buddhist centre (probably Mahayana) in the region, commonly known as the Luy Lâu centre, now in the Bắc Ninh province, north of the present day Hanoi city. Luy Lâu was the capital of Giao Chỉ, (the former name of Vietnam), and was a popular place visited by many Indian Buddhist missionary monks to China. The monks followed the sea route from the Indian sub-continent to China used by Indian traders. A number of Mahayana sutras and the Agamas were translated into Chinese script at that centre, including the Sutra of Forty-Two Chapters and the Anapanasati.

Over the next 18 centuries Vietnam and China shared many common features of cultural, philosophical and religious heritage. This was due to geographical proximity to one another and Vietnam being annexed twice by the Chinese. Vietnamese Buddhism has been greatly influenced by the development of Mahayana Buddhism in China, with the dominant traditions of Pure Land and Ch’an/Zen. Theravada Buddhism would become incorporated through the annexation of the Khmer land and khmer people.

During the Đinh Dynasty (968-980) Buddhism was recognized by the state as an official religion suggesting that the current kings at the time held Buddhism in high regard. The Early Lê Dynasty (980-1009) would follow a similar path. Reasons for growth of Buddhism during this time is contributed to an influx of educated monks, a newly independent state needing an ideological basis on which to build a country and the development of Confucianism. Buddhism became more prominent during the Lý Dynasty (1009-1225) beginning with the founder Lý Thái Tổ who was raised in a pagoda (Buddhist temple). All of the kings during the Ly Dynasty supported Buddhism as a state religion and this continued into the Trần Dynasty (1225-1400) where Buddhism later developed in combination with Confucianism. Buddhism fell out of favor during the Later Lê Dynasty and would grow under the Nguyễn Dynasty.

A Buddhist revival started in 1920, but under Communist rule many religious practices in Vietnam Buddhism were suppressed. However a government sanctioned and approved United Buddhist Church was created in the North. In the South, The Unified Buddhist Church was created and opposed the communist government.

Thien Buddhism (Thien Tông) is the Vietnamese name for the school of Zen Buddhism. The traditional account is that in 580, when an Indian monk named Vinitaruci (Vietnamese: Tì-ni-đa-lưu-chi) traveled to Vietnam after completing his studies with Jianzhi Sengcan, the third patriarch of Chinese Zen. This would be the first appearance of Vietnamese Zen, or Thien (thiền) Buddhism. The sect that Vinitaruci and his lone Vietnamese disciple founded would become known as the oldest branch of Thien. After a period of obscurity, the Vinitaruci School became one of the most influential Buddhist groups in Vietnam by the 10th century, particularly under the patriarch Vạn-Hạnh (died 1018). Other early Vietnamese Zen schools included the Vo Ngon Thong (Vô Ngôn Thông), which was associated with the teaching of Mazu, and the Thao Duong (Thảo Đường), which incorporated nianfo chanting techniques; both were founded by Chinese monks. A new school was founded by King Trần Nhân Tông (1258–1308); called Trúc Lâm (Bamboo Grove) school, which evinced a deep influence from Confucian and Taoist philosophy. Nevertheless, Trúc Lâm’s prestige waned over the following centuries as Confucianism became dominant in the royal court. In the 17th century, a group of Chinese monks led by Nguyên Thiều introduced the Ling school ( Lâm Tế). A more domesticated offshoot of Lâm Tế, the Liễu Quán school, was founded in the 18th century and has since been the predominant branch of Vietnamese Zen.
Seon was taken to Japan by Korean missioners in the 12th century. Currently, there are three main Zen schools in the Country: Sōtō, Rinzai, and Obaku. In the 1960s, Japanese masters moved to North America and contributed to the spread of Seon/Zen; many of the Seon terms which are familiar, even to people not practising it, are in their Japanese version. Soon, American-born masters started to spread Zen in USA and Canada.

Nanpo Shōmyō (1235–1308) studied Linji teachings in China before founding the Japanese Otokan lineage, the most influential branch of Rinzai. In 1215, Dōgen, a younger contemporary of Eisai’s, journeyed to China himself, where he became a disciple of the Caodong master Tiantong Rujing. After his return, Dōgen established the Sōtō school, the Japanese branch of Caodong. The Obaku lineage was introduced in the 17th century by Ingen, a Chinese monk. Ingen had been a member of the Linji school, the Chinese equivalent of Rinzai, which had developed separately from the Japanese branch for hundreds of years. Thus, when Ingen journeyed to Japan following the fall of the Ming Dynasty to the Manchus, his teachings were seen as a separate school. The Obaku school was named for Mount Obaku (Chinese: Huangboshan), which had been Ingen’s home in China.

This post is part of Zen: from China to cyberspace free booklet. You can download for free the whole book here.

Master Thich Nhat Hanh: holding a peaceful mind in our hectic lives. Thich Nhat Hanh offers his Dharma talk on how to connect the Buddha¡¯s teachings to our Modern lives, and to find peace and happiness in our everyday lives.

Episode 15: The Basic Teachings of the Buddha
Episode 14: Meaning of True Nature
Episode 13: The Gates of Escape
Episode 12: Question and Answer Session 2
Episode 11: Question and Answer Session 1
Episode 10: The Wisdom of Discernment
Episode 9: The Importance of the Accumulation of Karma
Episode 8: Watering the Positive Seeds
Episode 7: Plum Village
Episode 6: History of Engaged Buddhism
Episode 5: Conditions of Enlightenment
Episode 4: The Truth regarding the Laws of Cause and Effect
Episode 3: Practicing with a Sangha
Episode 2: Receiving Happiness from the Teachings of the Buddha
Episode 1: Definition of Engaged Buddhism

More videos can be found on: http://www.btnworld.org BTN WORLD is the world’s first non-sectarian international Buddhist TV channel where all diverse communities from all different world traditions could turn to for various Buddhist contents. BTN WORLD will not just be a Buddhist TV network, but to become a cross cultural bridge between all adherents of the Buddha Dharma all over the world.

The only thing standing between us and our goal is the meaningless story we keep telling ourself, as to why we can’t achieve it. We change the story, we change the outcome.

As reported on http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-09/aaon-mmm092210.php a study says that learning mindfulness meditation may help people who have multiple sclerosis (MS) with the fatigue, depression and other life challenges that commonly accompany the disease. The study, published in the September 28, 2010, issue of Neurology® the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the Stanley T. Johnson Foundation, the Swiss Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, Sanofi-Aventis, Merck Serono and Biogen Dompé).

People who took an eight-week class in mindfulness meditation training reduced their fatigue and depression and improved overall quality of life compared to people with MS who received only usual medical care. The positive effects continued for at least six months.

“People with MS must often confront special challenges of life related to profession, financial security, recreational and social activities, and personal relationships, not to mention the direct fears associated with current or future physical symptoms and disability. Fatigue, depression and anxiety are also common consequences of having MS.” said study author Paul Grossman, PhD, of the University of Basel Hospital in Switzerland. “Unfortunately, the treatments that help slow the disease process may have little direct effect on people’s overall quality of life, fatigue or depression. So any complementary treatments that can quickly and directly improve quality of life are very welcome.”

For the study, 150 people with mild to moderate MS were randomly assigned to receive either the eight-week meditation training or only usual medical care for MS. The class focused on mental and physical exercises aimed at developing nonjudgmental awareness of the present moment, or mindfulness. The training included weekly classes lasting two and a half hours, plus one all-day retreat and 40 minutes per day of homework assignments.

“MS is an unpredictable disease,” Grossman said. “People can go for months feeling great and then have an attack that may reduce their ability to work or take care of their family. Mindfulness training can help those with MS better to cope with these changes. Increased mindfulness in daily life may also contribute to a more realistic sense of control, as well as a greater appreciation of positive experiences that continue be part of life.”

Participants in the mindfulness program showed extremely good attendance rates (92%) and reported high levels of satisfaction with the training. Furthermore, very few (5%) dropped out of the course before completion. Those who went through the mindfulness program improved in nearly every measure of fatigue, depression and quality of life, while those who received usual medical care declined slightly on most of the measures. For example, those with mindfulness training reduced their depressive symptoms by over 30 percent compared to those with no training.

Improvements among mindfulness participants were particularly large for those who showed significant levels of depression or fatigue at the beginning of the study. About 65 percent of participants showed evidence of serious levels of depression, anxiety or fatigue at the start of the study, and this risk group was reduced by a third at the end of training and six months later. The other benefits of the training were also still apparent six months after the training ended, although they were sometimes reduced compared to right after finishing the training. Reductions in fatigue, however, were stable from the end of treatment to six months later.

An accompanying editorial pointed out that because there was not an active control group (using a different type of intervention), it is unclear that the good results were specifically a result of mindfulness training. However, the editorialists noted that the present study was the largest of its type, and was well-conducted.

American Buddhism

Spiritual Revolution on American Buddhism
Buddhist Practice on American Ground

More videos can be found on: http://www.btnworld.org BTN WORLD is the world’s first non-sectarian international Buddhist TV channel where all diverse communities from all different world traditions could turn to for various Buddhist contents. BTN WORLD will not just be a Buddhist TV network, but to become a cross cultural bridge between all adherents of the Buddha Dharma all over the world.

xplanation of fundamental Buddhism based on the Pali Canon, recognized by Buddhist scholars as the oldest surviving written record of what the Buddha taught.

Lecture 8 The Relationship of the Social Application of Buddhist Teachings and Modern Society
Lecture 7 Buddhist Meditation
Lecture 6 Karma and Reincarnation
Lecture 5 The Theory of Dependent Origination
Lecture 4 The teachings of the Four Noble Truth (Part 2)
Lecture 3 The teachings of the Four Noble Truth (Part 1)
Lecture 2 The Meaning of Becoming a Buddhist
Lecture 1 The Life of the Buddha

More videos can be found on: http://www.btnworld.org BTN WORLD is the world’s first non-sectarian international Buddhist TV channel where all diverse communities from all different world traditions could turn to for various Buddhist contents. BTN WORLD will not just be a Buddhist TV network, but to become a cross cultural bridge between all adherents of the Buddha Dharma all over the world.

Teachings by Ven. Tenzin Palmo

September 29, 2010
On 16 February 2008, Tenzin Palmo was enthroned as “Jetsunma” in recognition of her spiritual achievements as a nun and her efforts in promoting the status of female practitioners in Tibetan Buddhism by the supreme head of the Drukpa Lineage, His Holiness the Twelfth Gyalwang Drukpa

Episode 10 Practicing Compassion
Episode 9 Nungin Zen Center
Episode 8 Sharing yields to Great Awakening
Episode 7 Dharma Practice within Communal Living (Un Mun Sa Temple)
Episode 6 Mindful Living
Episode 5 Meditation for Awakening (Part 3)
Episode 4 Meditation for Awakening (Part 2)
Episode 3 Meditation for Awakening (Part 1)
Episode 2 Life and Practice for Awakening (Part 2) Bong Un Sa Temple Bub Wang Lu Dharma Hall
Episode 1 Life and Practice for Awakening (Part 1) Bong Un Sa Temple Bub Wang Lu Dharma Hall

More videos can be found on: http://www.btnworld.org BTN WORLD is the world’s first non-sectarian international Buddhist TV channel where all diverse communities from all different world traditions could turn to for various Buddhist contents. BTN WORLD will not just be a Buddhist TV network, but to become a cross cultural bridge between all adherents of the Buddha Dharma all over the world.

The abbot of the International Zen Center Mu Sang Sa Temple, Mushin sunim, explains the meanings of the Platform Sutra.

Lecture 18 Opportunities and Conditions (Part 6)
Lecture 17 Opportunities and Conditions (Part 5)
Lecture 16 Opportunities and Conditions (Part 4)
Lecture 15 Opportunities and Conditions (Part 3)
Lecture 14 Opportunities and Conditions (Part 2)
Lecture 13 Opportunities and Conditions (Part 1)
Lecture 12 Repentance and Reform (Part 2)
Lecture 11 Repentance and Reform (Part 1)
Lecture 10 Sitting in Zen (Part 2)
Lecture 9 Sitting in Zen (Part 1)
Lecture 8 Samadhi and prajna (Part 2)
Lecture 7 Samadhi and prajna (Part 1)
Lecture 6 Prajna and Wisdom (Part 2)
Lecture 5 Prajna and Wisdom (Part 1)
Episode 4 Sharing the Dharma
Episode 3 Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng
Episode 2 Meeting the Fifth Patriarch Hongren
Episode 1 The Sixth Patriarch Hui Neng’s First Awakening

More videos can be found on: http://www.btnworld.org BTN WORLD is the world’s first non-sectarian international Buddhist TV channel where all diverse communities from all different world traditions could turn to for various Buddhist contents. BTN WORLD will not just be a Buddhist TV network, but to become a cross cultural bridge between all adherents of the Buddha Dharma all over the world.

Chong An Sunim is the Hungarian abbot of Kwan Um Zen Center in Hungary. He gives 12 talks on various topics of the Compass of Zen, at the Great Hall of Stillness during the Sunday Class of the Seoul International Zen Center at Hwa Gye Sa Temple.

Lecture 12 Emptiness
Lecture 11 Meditation Techniques
Lecture 10 Zen Circle
Lecture 9 Zen
Lecture 8 Study of the Heart Sutra
Lecture 7 Effects of the Mind (Q&A)
Lecture 6 Effects of the Mind
Lecture 5 Characteristics of Mahayana Buddhism
Lecture 4 The Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eight Fold Path
Lecture 3 Causes and types of Suffering
Lecture 2 Structure of Theravada Buddhism
Lecture 1 The Basic teachings of the Buddha

Zen Buddhism from Europe

Based on his teachings from Compass of Zen, the Hungarian monk, Chong An sunim, shares the dharma to his European students.

Episode 12
Episode 11
Episode 10
Episode 9
Episode 8
Episode 7
Episode 6
Episode 5
Episode 4
Episode 3
Episode 2
Episode 1

More videos can be found on: http://www.btnworld.org BTN WORLD is the world’s first non-sectarian international Buddhist TV channel where all diverse communities from all different world traditions could turn to for various Buddhist contents. BTN WORLD will not just be a Buddhist TV network, but to become a cross cultural bridge between all adherents of the Buddha Dharma all over the world.

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