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May 26, 2009

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As a former Soto-shu monk, I agree that Japanese monateries don't teach much about general Buddhism.

Howeever, some of my Japanese friends studied Buddhism in Soto or Rinzai universities prior to boot camp training.

In China, Zen monks seem to also study the Surangama Sutra that is invaluable to avoid falling into wrong meditation practice.

To get a clear idea of the path, I would recommend reading William Bodri's eBooks. They are based on the teachings of Nan huai-chin who is held in high estime by Western scholars like Thomas Cleary or Isabelle Robinet.

Thank you for sharing your understanding of Buddhadharma. Here's some of my view (for better or worse :). The word 'Zen' comes from Chinese 'Chan' which in turn comes from Sanskrit 'Dhyana' meaning meditation. The Buddha himself meditated for six years and to give another example, Bodhidharma meditated on a wall in a cave for nine years.
I think most people don't need to worry about meditating too much, unless you're doing it wrong of course. For example just daydreaming but thinking you're actually meditating. In this regard help from a good teacher or Dharma friends might be a good idea.

I can't comment on Dharma centers in general in the US or Japan.

P.S.

Please comment on my posts on my blog re: sutras; I'm sure you have something worth reading.

I think that's a bit of an overstatement. Not all Zen centers are this way.

Moreover, you can go into any Japanese US Pureland temple and they have that book that they give away like the Gideon bibles, which includes sections from the Dhammapada as well as various sutras.

Moreover, you can't seriously figure out Hakuin's Zen without some knowledge of the Lotus and Lankavatara sutras.

Still, knowledge of the writings is useful to know what's beyond letters and writing.

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