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What does the mudra commonly used in Rinzai Zen symbolize?

Discussion of Japanese Rinzai Zen (臨済宗) including Obaku Zen (黄檗宗).

What does the mudra commonly used in Rinzai Zen symbolize?

Postby JessicaLeigh on Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:11 pm

And, why/how is it different from the cosmic mudra of Soto & Chan Buddhist meditation practices?
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Re: What does the mudra commonly used in Rinzai Zen symboliz

Postby Linda Anderson on Tue Sep 08, 2015 11:55 pm

what mudra is that? I don't know of any mudras in zen, not that they don't exist
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Re: What does the mudra commonly used in Rinzai Zen symboliz

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Sep 09, 2015 12:22 am

J.,

JessicaLeigh wrote:And, why/how is it different from the cosmic mudra of Soto & Chan Buddhist meditation practices?

The zazen mudra is "universal". That's why it's called ..."the Universal Mudra". ;)

Anyway, any mudra takes about a week or two to become natural to us. Or less, if it's on sesshin, where we sit many hours a day.

Let some expressly Rinzai folks chime-in. Both my teachers -- Ch'an; and Zen masters -- were heir to both Soto and Rinzai, and we used the Universal Mudra, only, as a matter of course. Maybe some folks used whatever else they wanted, instead, but I don't think so. I was often Tanto, walking and offering -- and applying -- the stick (kyosaku), and observing people very carefully, in order, of course, ultimately, to be of the most help. Such is our practice.

--Joe

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Re: What does the mudra commonly used in Rinzai Zen symboliz

Postby Meido on Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:51 am

Both are used in Rinzai circles. Their function is essentially the same, though one may have a personal preference for the feeling of one over the other.

For those not sure what is being discussed, this is the one Jessica references:

MudraOKSmall.jpg


Shown also here (Chan monk): https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/28/Grandmaster.png

And here (our old friend): http://static.newworldencyclopedia.org/thumb/e/e8/RinzaiGigen.jpg/220px-RinzaiGigen.jpg

For those interested in exploring possible symbolic significance or underpinnings, this is a good book: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/1871.html

BTW, there are a variety of other mudra used in Zen circles; what you'll find depends on the line. There are also many things which didn't necessarily make the jump West, or that are part of priest-craft so to speak and so not well known.

~ Meido
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The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺]: http://www.korinji.org
Madison Rinzai Zen Community/Ryugen-ji [機山龍源寺]: http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
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Re: What does the mudra commonly used in Rinzai Zen symboliz

Postby Linda Anderson on Wed Sep 09, 2015 2:40 am

Thanks Meido, not used to calling that a mudra. I've seen it both ways. I am most comfortable with the picture posted.
linda
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Melon flowers bloomed.
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Re: What does the mudra commonly used in Rinzai Zen symboliz

Postby Meido on Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:06 am

You're welcome, Linda.

Of course there is the one mudra which is most important :lol2:

~ Meido
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺]: http://www.korinji.org
Madison Rinzai Zen Community/Ryugen-ji [機山龍源寺]: http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community: http://www.rinzaizen.org
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Re: What does the mudra commonly used in Rinzai Zen symboliz

Postby Linda Anderson on Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:42 am

:lol2:
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Melon flowers bloomed.
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Re: What does the mudra commonly used in Rinzai Zen symboliz

Postby JessicaLeigh on Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:01 pm

Cool beans. Thank you all!

:Namaste:
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