Author Topic: The differences between Ch'an and Zen  (Read 6530 times)

Offline Anders Honore

  • Member
  • Posts: 84
  • I'm enlightened & all I got was this lousy T-shirt
    • View Profile
Re: The differences between Ch'an and Zen
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2010, 02:39:22 pm »
Two Soto priests were Banned on esangha for their anti rebirth stances.   I have read some Dogen and find his work, wonderful.  But that has nothing to do with my earlier post.    

No soto priests there were banned for their anti-rebirth stances. And only one of those you mention is opposed to rebirth anyway.

Dogen was pretty clear on rebirth - he considered it the actual state of affairs

Actually, the mark in "Chan" isn't an apostrophe, it's a tone mark, indicating that the word is pronounced in the second tone.  It's pronounced "Chan?", as if it were a question.

The mark in "Ch'an" is an apostrophe when using the Wade-Giles transliteration system, as was standard for large parts of the 20th century. Nowadays, pinyin is standard (although many Buddhologists still prefer Wade-Giles) where it is spelled "Chan" or "Chán" if you include the tone.

As for differences, all the schools of Chan and Zen descend from Huineng and are in the sourthern 'sudden' lineage (although modern scholarship shows that the northern tradition was not as gradualist as posterity has painted it. Probably a result of sectarian polemics from the infamous Heze Shenhui).

I think the main differences between Chan and Zen is that while Zen is very much a distinct school in Japan with its own monasteries and regulations, this never really happened in China, where all monasteries belong to the Sangha as a whole. A given monastery might be a 'Chan' monastery if the Abbot teaches Chan and then become a pureland monastery if the succeeding abbot taught that. The result over the centuries was that the various schools sort of grew together and necessitated a non-sectarian atmosphere between the schools. It is probably more accurate to think of Chan, Pureland, Tiantai et al as practices and outlooks existing with the school of Chinese Mahayana, rather than as distinct self-governed schools such as they exist in Japan. In smaller monasteries, you are more likely to come across a more distinct 'Chan' or pureland atmosphere dominating to the exclusion of the others, but in the larger ones you are likely to find Chan, Pureland, Sanlun and Tiantai practitioners happily co-habitating.

This and the ordination lineages being different. China still holds to the Vinaya instituted by the Buddha, with precepts of celibacy, not handling money etc, whereas Zen, as all of Japan save the Ritsu school, use the Bodhisattva precepts as their ordination platform, which allows clergy to marry, handle money and so forth (China also uses these precepts but these are in addition to the Vinaya, not instead of them).
Deaf, he hears his own nature.
Blind, he sees his Original Mind.
The empty, clear moon
In the water rises
Where heart and mind are forgotten.


- Jungkwan Ilson (1533-1608)

Offline ABC

  • Member
  • Posts: 344
    • View Profile
Re: The differences between Ch'an and Zen
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2010, 08:48:45 pm »
Dogen was pretty clear on rebirth - he considered it the actual state of affairs
You are referring to one lone single practitioner.

 :square:
Therefore, Ananda, engage with me friends and not as opponents. That will be for your long-term well-being & happiness - MN 122

Offline heybai

  • Member
  • Posts: 2145
    • View Profile
Re: The differences between Ch'an and Zen
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2010, 01:37:25 am »
Actually, the mark in "Chan" isn't an apostrophe, it's a tone mark, indicating that the word is pronounced in the second tone.  It's pronounced "Chan?", as if it were a question.

PPB,

This is an easy error to make.  Sometimes pinyin is written with tone marks; sometimes it isn't (and I don't know the protocols, if any, for deciding when they are employed or not). 

"Ch'an," as suggested above, is the Wade-Giles rendering of the character.  The pinyin, with the tone, looks like this: "Chán." 

Just think of it as another opportunity to strengthen your patience skills.   :wink1:   

 :namaste:

heybai

Offline FaDao

  • Member
  • Posts: 56
    • View Profile
Re: The differences between Ch'an and Zen
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2010, 06:52:48 am »
Two Soto priests were Banned on esangha for their anti rebirth stances.   I have read some Dogen and find his work, wonderful.  But that has nothing to do with my earlier post.    

No soto priests there were banned for their anti-rebirth stances. And only one of those you mention is opposed to rebirth anyway.

Dogen was pretty clear on rebirth - he considered it the actual state of affairs

Actually, the mark in "Chan" isn't an apostrophe, it's a tone mark, indicating that the word is pronounced in the second tone.  It's pronounced "Chan?", as if it were a question.

The mark in "Ch'an" is an apostrophe when using the Wade-Giles transliteration system, as was standard for large parts of the 20th century. Nowadays, pinyin is standard (although many Buddhologists still prefer Wade-Giles) where it is spelled "Chan" or "Chán" if you include the tone.

As for differences, all the schools of Chan and Zen descend from Huineng and are in the sourthern 'sudden' lineage (although modern scholarship shows that the northern tradition was not as gradualist as posterity has painted it. Probably a result of sectarian polemics from the infamous Heze Shenhui).

I think the main differences between Chan and Zen is that while Zen is very much a distinct school in Japan with its own monasteries and regulations, this never really happened in China, where all monasteries belong to the Sangha as a whole. A given monastery might be a 'Chan' monastery if the Abbot teaches Chan and then become a pureland monastery if the succeeding abbot taught that. The result over the centuries was that the various schools sort of grew together and necessitated a non-sectarian atmosphere between the schools. It is probably more accurate to think of Chan, Pureland, Tiantai et al as practices and outlooks existing with the school of Chinese Mahayana, rather than as distinct self-governed schools such as they exist in Japan. In smaller monasteries, you are more likely to come across a more distinct 'Chan' or pureland atmosphere dominating to the exclusion of the others, but in the larger ones you are likely to find Chan, Pureland, Sanlun and Tiantai practitioners happily co-habitating.

This and the ordination lineages being different. China still holds to the Vinaya instituted by the Buddha, with precepts of celibacy, not handling money etc, whereas Zen, as all of Japan save the Ritsu school, use the Bodhisattva precepts as their ordination platform, which allows clergy to marry, handle money and so forth (China also uses these precepts but these are in addition to the Vinaya, not instead of them).

Anders --
Thank you for a well considered post and a solid understanding of the Ch'an practice -- no matter where one puts the tonal annotations within the C-H-A-N spelling. Quibbling diacritics seems to amuse the Western Intellectual buddhist branch, but really has little to do with actual dhamma study or practice.

In Ch'an, we are accustomed to working with fellow Sangha members who may practice any of five classical study "techniques" (and several "sub-schools" within each school of "technique".) As a result, we tend to discuss dhamma understanding amongst one another -- not "technique."

Namo Amitofo
- Fa Dao -

Offline pickledpitbull

  • Member
  • Posts: 271
    • View Profile
Re: The differences between Ch'an and Zen
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2010, 07:55:57 am »
Heybai, Anders,

Thanks for the clarification.  I know there are a lot of transliterations out there.

Actually, the realization came to me while I was speaking to a monk at the monastery a few months ago.  While we were talking *it* hit me about the tone and the apostrophe.  I haven't figured out how to get the tone above the "a", though.


And thanks, Anders, for the explanation of the two schools.  I have only attended one Zen center and the Chan centers that I attend are affiliated.  It's interesting to note that many koans involve a travelling monk in China.  Are there any purely Japanese koans?
You've been taught that there is something wrong with you and that you are imperfect, but there isn't and you're not.


~ Cheri Huber

Offline Anders Honore

  • Member
  • Posts: 84
  • I'm enlightened & all I got was this lousy T-shirt
    • View Profile
Re: The differences between Ch'an and Zen
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2010, 12:43:07 pm »
And thanks, Anders, for the explanation of the two schools.  I have only attended one Zen center and the Chan centers that I attend are affiliated.  It's interesting to note that many koans involve a travelling monk in China.  Are there any purely Japanese koans?


There are plenty, although of course most of the famous ones will refer back to the 'golden age' of the Tang dynasty in China. Most famous is probably "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" which was invented by Hakuin Zenji. There are a few distinctively Japanese koan collections as well, such as The Iron Flute collection.

But although there are some differences in approach and outlook between Zen and Chan I wouldn't take the divisions too seriously in all cases. I recall listening to a Dharma talk about gung-ans from a Chinese Chan teacher and he happily brought up the one hand clapping koan and another story from Japan as examples.  :TT:
Deaf, he hears his own nature.
Blind, he sees his Original Mind.
The empty, clear moon
In the water rises
Where heart and mind are forgotten.


- Jungkwan Ilson (1533-1608)

Offline lowonthetotem

  • Member
  • Posts: 871
    • View Profile
Re: The differences between Ch'an and Zen
« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2010, 07:18:43 am »
The differences in the vows of clergy in Japan and monastics in China is quite telling.  I watched a dicumentary on the Yakuza a week or so ago in which many former mob guys became Buddhist Preists, although I am not sure which sect.  It was eery to watch an aged "standover" man walk from house to house asking for alms (in the form of money, not food) and hear the residents say, "Please protect us" as they handed over a wad of bills.  It seems that there is one or just a handful of temples in which these guys are allowed to ordain.

In Japan, aren't there both clergy and monastics, the latter of which do follow the stricter form of the Vanaya, while the clergy are primarily reposible for ministering to the public?

Offline FaDao

  • Member
  • Posts: 56
    • View Profile
Re: The differences between Ch'an and Zen
« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2010, 11:01:09 am »
And thanks, Anders, for the explanation of the two schools.  I have only attended one Zen center and the Chan centers that I attend are affiliated.  It's interesting to note that many koans involve a travelling monk in China.  Are there any purely Japanese koans?


There are plenty, although of course most of the famous ones will refer back to the 'golden age' of the Tang dynasty in China. Most famous is probably "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" which was invented by Hakuin Zenji. There are a few distinctively Japanese koan collections as well, such as The Iron Flute collection.

But although there are some differences in approach and outlook between Zen and Chan I wouldn't take the divisions too seriously in all cases. I recall listening to a Dharma talk about gung-ans from a Chinese Chan teacher and he happily brought up the one hand clapping koan and another story from Japan as examples.  :TT:


Parents will always recognize the accomplishments of their children.  :candle1:

Namo Amitofo
- Fa Dao -

Offline Anders Honore

  • Member
  • Posts: 84
  • I'm enlightened & all I got was this lousy T-shirt
    • View Profile
Re: The differences between Ch'an and Zen
« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2010, 02:21:56 pm »
In Japan, aren't there both clergy and monastics, the latter of which do follow the stricter form of the Vanaya, while the clergy are primarily reposible for ministering to the public?

The only who follow the Vinaya in Japan is the Ritsu school whcih is a very marginal one. The Obaku school of Zen followed it for a while a few centuries ago, before it got swallowed up by Rinzai practise.

But there are some divisions of 'monks in training' in the Zen school (probably others too) who follow stricter protocols during the period of their training before 'graduating' to the priesthood.
Deaf, he hears his own nature.
Blind, he sees his Original Mind.
The empty, clear moon
In the water rises
Where heart and mind are forgotten.


- Jungkwan Ilson (1533-1608)

Offline Quiet Heart

  • Member
  • Posts: 129
  • In Quietness is the beginning of all things.
    • View Profile
Re: The differences between Ch'an and Zen
« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2011, 10:14:23 pm »
 ;D

As the saying goes:

The bamboo there is short, the bamboo here is talll.

 :cold:

Offline kwanseum

  • Kwan Seum Bosal
  • Member
  • Posts: 301
  • Kwan Seum Bosal
    • View Profile
    • Kwan Seum Bosal
Re: The differences between Ch'an and Zen
« Reply #25 on: March 30, 2011, 10:31:36 pm »
The ideogram 禅 is the same in both Japanese and Chinese.
Koreans also use the Chinese ideogram and is pronounced 선 (Son or Seon).

I believe the word Zen is from Japan, but I dislike that word and all the hype and confusion around it.  Where ever possible I use the word Seon or Chan.
Many true words said in 'silence'

Offline Disney Land

  • Member
  • Posts: 53
  • The Emptiness Bliss
    • View Profile
Re: The differences between Ch'an and Zen
« Reply #26 on: March 30, 2011, 11:44:52 pm »
It seems most places on the net you go, many people will find these to be interchangeable. I have to say I find this rather disconcerting, because if you look at the practices of the 2 traditions, they are really quite different. I know that Zen came about when Ch'an was brought over from China, but the practices were adapted to suit the needs of the people which they were brought to, and so are very different from where they originated. I have never heard of zen practitioners doing nianfo, or chanting of the 88-Buddha's names, which are common practice in Ch'an. Who knows, maybe it is just me......
The word "Zen"  :dharma:, not its meaning or concept, is Japanese. It is derived from the Chinese word "Chan", which is a short form for "Chana", and which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word "Dhyana", which means meditation. In this context, any form of meditation to achieve Bodhicitta is known as Zen or Ch'an including nianfo or chanting of the 88-Buddha's names. :namaste:
n Elder Master once said:
Those who skillfully discourse on Mind and Self-Nature surely can never reject Cause and Effect; those who believe deeply in Cause and Effect naturally understand the Mind and Self-Nature in depth. This is a natural development.
If it were not for a period of penetrating cold, the plum blossom could never develop its exquisite perfume!

Offline lowonthetotem

  • Member
  • Posts: 871
    • View Profile
Re: The differences between Ch'an and Zen
« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2011, 07:21:18 am »
Yes, in China at least, the primary modes of practice at a monastery were/are largely decided by the Abbot.  Because of this, different temples within Chinese Ch'an may engage in seated meditation focused on the breath (Ch'an) as well as devotional practice towards Kwan Yin and even Pure Land chants.  In the West such practices are generally not associated with Ch'an or Zen and often poo-poo'd.  It would seem that ideological divisions in the Great Vehicle have become more exaggerated over time and with emmigration, both processes seemingly cultivating a desire for a true, pure, or original practice in many of us who sought out Buddhism rather than being born into it, so to speak.  It could even be said that the arrival of Ch'an in China coincided with a drive to find a purer practice, as opposed to the Sutra study, translation, and copying that was popular at the time, although even Bodhidharma is said to have recommended the Lankhavatara (sp?) Sutra as an appropriate subject of study for Ch'an practicioners.  The dialectics we see looking back at schools and their histories may have been less pronounced in their time, but this is understandable considering we tend to learn about them in relation to one another specifically through perceived differences rather than similarities.

Offline santamonicacj

  • Member
  • Posts: 2271
    • View Profile
Re: The differences between Ch'an and Zen
« Reply #28 on: April 01, 2011, 09:06:48 pm »
The word "Zen"  :dharma:, not its meaning or concept, is Japanese. It is derived from the Chinese word "Chan", which is a short form for "Chana", and which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word "Dhyana", which means meditation. In this context, any form of meditation to achieve Bodhicitta is known as Zen or Ch'an including nianfo or chanting of the 88-Buddha's names.
You sure? I thought the original Sanskrit word was "Jnana", or wisdom. But I don't remember where I heard that so you may be right. :twocents:
Warning: I'm enough of a fundamentalist Tibet style Buddhist to believe that for the last 1,000 years Tibet has produced a handful of enlightened masters in every generation. I do not ask that YOU believe it, but it will greatly simplify conversations if you understand that about me. Thanks.

Offline LastLegend

  • Member
  • Posts: 186
    • View Profile
Re: The differences between Ch'an and Zen
« Reply #29 on: April 02, 2011, 06:44:00 am »
The word "Zen"  :dharma:, not its meaning or concept, is Japanese. It is derived from the Chinese word "Chan", which is a short form for "Chana", and which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word "Dhyana", which means meditation. In this context, any form of meditation to achieve Bodhicitta is known as Zen or Ch'an including nianfo or chanting of the 88-Buddha's names.
You sure? I thought the original Sanskrit word was "Jnana", or wisdom. But I don't remember where I heard that so you may be right. :twocents:

Prajna is the word you are looking for meaning wisdom this is after meditation has reached concentration. By definition, all practices of Tantra, Pure Land, Meditation Meditation, etc all lead to concentration, then you will have wisdom. So all practices are meditation.

So conduct-concentration-wisdom
Beware of philosophies for the sake of knowledge without actual practice for these philosophies only increase the attachment of 'I.'-Te Cong

What is the definition/essence of meditation of all forms?-Te Cong

Thien la gi? Thien la roi phan biet chap truoc.- Lao Phap Su

You have the recipe. Now make the cake instead of thinking about cake.- La Tao Viec

Thuong Tru Tang Nhu Lai= Knowing the presence of Buddha.

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal