Auckland Zen Centre

This morning I attended the Auckland Zen Centre; tired, full of mucous and with something going on that I’m not that aware of yet. And my wife is still in such deep pain after the death of her sister earlier this year such that last night she was in a reactive mode, so perhaps it was that. So before walking in I thought to have some measure of centering myself in the car before I came in.

This now makes it the third Zen centre that I’ve been to. The other two were in Singapore. One seemed to be in the Korean tradition and the other seemed to be in the Japanese Rinzai tradition. The Korean one had a kind of public dokusan. You learned Koans and their answers by rote. One session was enough for me, which was a shame because I really enjoyed Dropping Ashes on the Buddha – a book of Koans and their answers by a moden Korean Zen master (?) Seung Sahn.

This morning’s session started with an introduction to Buddhism. Then we had an introduction to zazen followed by two sittings with some walking meditation in between then a wrap up.

I chatted with the sensei afterwards about their tradition. She called it integral Zen – apparently an integration between soto and rinzai. I like sitting. Koan practise used to hold some appeal. I can see a use, but I think something that gives me a deeper insight into others’ suffering could be useful and that would be in line with my last psychosynthesis session.

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One Response to “Auckland Zen Centre”

  1. Geoffrey says:

    I agree with you about Japanese Rinzai, koan practice seeming to defeat the whole purpose of Buddhism as taught by the Zen ancestors. Japanese soto Zen teaches only zazen and Kinhin (walking zen). Actually Dogen recommended only; Posture, Breathing and Observing the Mind, that is Shikantaza (Just Sitting), Mushotoku (no goal) and Hishiryo (thinking without thinking)

    Today there is a trend to combine Rinzai and Soto, but this can’t be as Dogen was so against Koans, so if these zen associations integrate the two methods they can’t say they teach Soto as true Soto teaching rejects Koan practice completely. Such teachers as Kodo Sawaki, Taisen Deshimaru and Shunryu Suzuki didn’t believe Koan practice was helpful anyway what soever.

    Soto only practices Just sitting.

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