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Non-denominational Mahayana?

Discussion of general East-Asian Mahayana Buddhism, Sutras & Shastras.

Non-denominational Mahayana?

Postby TonyD on Mon Jan 25, 2016 2:44 pm

Greetings,

Is there such a thing as a non-denominational Buddhist school with a distinctly Mahayana bent? I have seen some non-sectarian organizations that appear to be distinctly Theravada-influenced, or modernist/secular, but I'm looking for one that has more of the traditional Mahayana bodhisattva spirit.

Just asking because I have been reviewing the writings of past Buddhist masters and I am getting depressed reading their frequent attacks on other competing teachers of Buddhism as "slanderers of the Dharma." So it makes me feel I don't want to be part of a "school" at all, if I am required to look down on other schools that are actually only superficially different.

Gassho
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Re: Non-denominational Mahayana?

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Jan 25, 2016 2:49 pm

Tony,

Just don't read that old stuff. Those utterances are dead -- fell to the ground long ago.

No one is required to "look down" on anyone. The only requirement for awakening and for saving beings is correct and sincere practice.

There is no "non-denominational school". The very term is self-contradictory. ;)

"Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha" are found in any school, at any practice-place. It's only necessary to find oneself there, too. :tongueincheek:

best,

--Joe
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Re: Non-denominational Mahayana?

Postby TonyD on Mon Jan 25, 2016 6:51 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:Tony,

Just don't read that old stuff. Those utterances are dead -- fell to the ground long ago.

No one is required to "look down" on anyone. The only requirement for awakening and for saving beings is correct and sincere practice.

There is no "non-denominational school". The very term is self-contradictory. ;)

"Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha" are found in any school, at any practice-place. It's only necessary to find oneself there, too. :tongueincheek:

best,

--Joe


Okay, how about a non-denominational non-school? :P The sad fact is, politics and sectarianism are part of all religions, including Buddhism. I guess I'm looking for a branch of Buddhism that genuinely upholds the bodhisattva spirit without criticizing other teachers as inadequate, stupid, or as "slanderers of the Dharma" (the ultimate insult in Buddhism).

Thanks
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Re: Non-denominational Mahayana?

Postby Nonin on Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:06 pm

In any school, you'll find people who put others down; this is their personal failing. Most contemporary Soto and Rinzai Zen Buddhist teachers don't engage in this. As a Soto Zen Buddhist teacher in training, I was discouraged from such activity, so look for a Soto or Rinzai Zen Buddhist teacher, and if you find one who engages in such activity, find another one.

Hands palm-to-palm,

Nonin
Soto Zen Buddhist Priest. Transmitted Dharma Heir of Dainin Katagiri Roshi.
Abbot and Head Teacher, Nebraska Zen Center / Heartland Temple, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
http://www.prairiewindzen.org
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Re: Non-denominational Mahayana?

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Jan 25, 2016 7:15 pm

Tony,

TonyD wrote:Okay, how about a non-denominational non-school?

Right. Let us know if you find one. :tongueincheek:

I guess I'm looking for a branch of Buddhism that genuinely upholds the bodhisattva spirit without criticizing other teachers as inadequate, stupid, or as "slanderers of the Dharma" (the ultimate insult in Buddhism).

A branch, or a school, does not criticize. Only individuals do. Just avoid those individuals you find objectionable at any stage. Simple.

--Joe
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Re: Non-denominational Mahayana?

Postby Caodemarte on Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:42 pm

See the great Rinzai revitalizer Hakuin's letter to a Nichiren nun (where he tells her not to switch to Rinzai Zen) for a good example of why good teachers are not partisan.

Quite a bit that is regarded as sectarian attacks in old Zen literature turns out to be, in fact, not criticism of other sects, but criticism of bad practice. For example, Rinzai criticism of those who sit like a log is often regarded as criticism of the Soto sect. However, you can then find Soto worthies saying the same thing. Similarly when a Soto teacher criticizes those "striving to obtain (or add) enlightenment" it is often seen as an attack on Rinzai, when in fact Rinzai teachers agree. Both are often interpreted as "really" being about the other sect. This is not say that there were not partisans who attacked other sects, just that it is often greatly exaggerated in latter interpretations (people are eager to see a good fight).
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Re: Non-denominational Mahayana?

Postby TonyD on Tue Jan 26, 2016 4:37 pm

Okay, this is encouraging. Thank you.

Gassho
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