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Buddhadharma : Fall 2007
buddhadharma| 41 |fall 2007 If we begin to discuss the two approaches of Zen and tantra, we will be lost. If we take a glimpse at their conclusions, we might have some- thing more concrete. The reason is that all of us are more or less thoroughly involved in, or at least interested in, the practice of meditation. At this stage in the Buddhist development of America, both Zen and tantra have become extraordinarily seductive. In comparing the two, we are not talking about competition between them or which is best. Instead, we are looking at the landmarks that have developed in the Zen tradition, as well as the landmarks of the tantric tradition. Although we are mainly talking about different landmarks, we still cannot dismiss the gradual, linear process in which the teachings were presented by the Buddha. We cannot dismiss the turning of the dharma wheel of the sutra teachings of the Hinayana and Mahayana and of the teach- ings of both the lower and higher tantras. We still have to go through that linear approach. First comes Zen. In the Zen tradition, the basis of life or the basis of discipline is accuracy. To a certain extent, it is the accuracy of black and white. In the Zen tradition there is no gray, nor is there yellow, red, green, or blue; it is black and white. That is the paramita of meditation. The very nature of black and white brings a student of Zen into a highly disciplined place, without any escape. A practitioner of Zen or Chan has been cornered by the choicelessness and also cornered by the lack of entertainment. So we could say that Zen is a practitioner’s lineage, and a Zen student is a traditional practitioner in the Mahayana school of discipline, the highest one of all. Another branch of the Mahayana school, which developed in Tibet, can be seen in the Gelukpa tradition. In India, the Nalanda and Vikramashila universities developed a school of logic in which instead of doing pure sitting practice, you prac- tice sharpening your intellect. This demands that the basic sophistication of intelligence is raised Chögyam Trungpa rinpoChe (1939–87) founded naropa insTiTuTe and The inTer naTional shambhala CommuniTy. he was also The auThor of many books, inCluding Cutting through Spiritual MaterialiSM and Meditation in aCtion. This arTiCle is adapTed from a new book of his TeaChings, the teaCup and the SkullCup, published by VajradhaTu publiCaTions, 2007. ITem#342,ColleCtionoftheRubinMuseuMofARtwww.RmAnyC.oRg (Opposite) Enso Kazuaki Tanahashi (Below) Mandala of Vajrayogini Tibet, 1800 – 1899