Repentance Practices

Discussion of Zen Buddhism, Soto Zen, Rinzai Zen, Chan, Seon and Thien.

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SunWuKong
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by SunWuKong » Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:00 am

Where I’m at - call these religious beliefs if you prefer - is there are no beings, no birth, no death, no soul, “we” don’t own or possess any of these things. On a good day Im at peace with this. “We” are part of a fabric of existence, not part of a whole, but part of just this part - sentient beings arise so that in essence we can see “ourselves” the Universe so to speak has an innate desire to see and understand itself - not necessarily a time forward evolution, but catastrophic jumps and sudden starts of realization, enlightenment LOL is a peak experience where it peeks at itself. Reincarnation or a lack of it, if it’s real, there’s a remedy for that. I could dress this up in fancy Buddhist language, but plain and imperfect as it is - that’s where I’m coming from -

all this talk of disease and repentance, Karma and such. It forever remains speculative, but it’s not how healers generally heal people. I’ve seen miraculous healing from terminal cancer when I was a church goer. One of the strangest episodes of my life. No one got anything out of it except the child whose cancer went into remission. Everyone else forgot the miracle. In another case, The wife of a senator from Taiwan also sat in our house and she told us how prayer had healed her son, he just sat there and smiled, obviously they were some type of Buddhists but I never found out what. She had promised to always tell this story, and she did.

I don’t erroneously believe everything is as it should be, or that there’s some kind of perfect plan or law that everything follows, because it’s kind of boring. Things are complex and don’t need simplistic organization. That’s just invented by humans to easily explain things. Does not make it true.

Oh here’s my $0.02 worth

Peace
--- Eric H., also know as Sun Wu Kong, "an authentic genuine human being"
Birth is thus
Death is thus
Verse or no verse
What’s the fuss?

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KeithA
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by KeithA » Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:47 pm

SunWuKong wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 5:00 am
Where I’m at - call these religious beliefs if you prefer - is there are no beings, no birth, no death, no soul, “we” don’t own or possess any of these things. On a good day Im at peace with this. “We” are part of a fabric of existence, not part of a whole, but part of just this part - sentient beings arise so that in essence we can see “ourselves” the Universe so to speak has an innate desire to see and understand itself - not necessarily a time forward evolution, but catastrophic jumps and sudden starts of realization, enlightenment LOL is a peak experience where it peeks at itself. Reincarnation or a lack of it, if it’s real, there’s a remedy for that. I could dress this up in fancy Buddhist language, but plain and imperfect as it is - that’s where I’m coming from -
Yes, originally no beings, no birth, no death, no soul...and yet, here we are having a conversation on the internet.

Not one, not two.
all this talk of disease and repentance, Karma and such. It forever remains speculative, but it’s not how healers generally heal people. I’ve seen miraculous healing from terminal cancer when I was a church goer. One of the strangest episodes of my life. No one got anything out of it except the child whose cancer went into remission. Everyone else forgot the miracle. In another case, The wife of a senator from Taiwan also sat in our house and she told us how prayer had healed her son, he just sat there and smiled, obviously they were some type of Buddhists but I never found out what. She had promised to always tell this story, and she did.
Coming to terms with why we find ourselves where we are is exactly a healing process. Personally, I turned the corner on repentance when I realized it is not an attitude of wallowing in self-negativity and lack of worth. Instead, it's a clear-eyed understanding of my role in the suffering in this world. That realization is both healing and liberating.
I don’t erroneously believe everything is as it should be, or that there’s some kind of perfect plan or law that everything follows, because it’s kind of boring. Things are complex and don’t need simplistic organization. That’s just invented by humans to easily explain things. Does not make it true.

Oh here’s my $0.02 worth

Peace
I agree that the view that everything is as it should be is an erroneous view. Our actions, moment to moment, determine our future. We can't do anything about our past actions, but live with the consequences of them. It's not rocket science:

1. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

2. Mind precedes all mental states. Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow.


Verses one and two from the Dhammapada

All of Buddhism is invented by humans to explain things. Originally, these ideas have no self-nature. That doesn't make them useless, though. Hopefully, we can use these ideas, not be used by them.

I am forever grateful for the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.

_/|\_
You make, you get.

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[james]
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by [james] » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:01 pm

KeithA wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:47 pm
Personally, I turned the corner on repentance when I realized it is not an attitude of wallowing in self-negativity and lack of worth. Instead, it's a clear-eyed understanding of my role in the suffering in this world. That realization is both healing and liberating.
Thanks for saying so. This is helpful to me in better understanding the nature of repentance practice.

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SunWuKong
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by SunWuKong » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:06 pm

There’s church people that think sin causes cancer; some of them flatly reject the medical genesis of cancers; the one that pops into my mind is the carcinogenic environment humans have created for themselves, the carcinogenic fumes in the air, the food we eat, what we treat our crops with, not to mention run off in our water systems if known carcinogens. We’ve all allowed this to take place do by the same flawed logic we all deserve cancer. Which we don’t. But like I said these church people believe sin causes cancer, illness, poverty, inequality, and a whole number of things that are actually caused by the toxic social environment we live in and our unwillingness and seeming inability to address. Positive thoughts and mental attitude have shown over and over again to have no effect in curing cancer but that won’t stop people from believing it. The best intervention is still early detection and treatment. For every dollar spent on curing cancer, 100 dollars worth of prevention is wasted. I’ve had a long time to think about this as I’m already outliving my mother and father in law. My father and wife have been treated for cancer as well. His cancer is slow and he lives somewhat comfortably with it in his late 90’s. Hers is due to playing outdoors in Oklahoma and Texas growing up as a child. Repentance (and sin) LOL - right this is what our practice is - we perform repentance as a means of purification to gain entry to the favors of the deity, as all religions do. Anything else really isn’t Buddhism. But we oddly don’t have a deity. Or do we?
--- Eric H., also know as Sun Wu Kong, "an authentic genuine human being"
Birth is thus
Death is thus
Verse or no verse
What’s the fuss?

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KeithA
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by KeithA » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:20 pm

SunWuKong wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:06 pm
There’s church people that think sin causes cancer; some of them flatly reject the medical genesis of cancers; the one that pops into my mind is the carcinogenic environment humans have created for themselves, the carcinogenic fumes in the air, the food we eat, what we treat our crops with, not to mention run off in our water systems if known carcinogens. We’ve all allowed this to take place do by the same flawed logic we all deserve cancer. Which we don’t. But like I said these church people believe sin causes cancer, illness, poverty, inequality, and a whole number of things that are actually caused by the toxic social environment we live in and our unwillingness and seeming inability to address. Positive thoughts and mental attitude have shown over and over again to have no effect in curing cancer but that won’t stop people from believing it. The best intervention is still early detection and treatment. For every dollar spent on curing cancer, 100 dollars worth of prevention is wasted. I’ve had a long time to think about this as I’m already outliving my mother and father in law. My father and wife have been treated for cancer as well. His cancer is slow and he lives somewhat comfortably with it in his late 90’s. Hers is due to playing outdoors in Oklahoma and Texas growing up as a child. Repentance (and sin) LOL - right this is what our practice is - we perform repentance as a means of purification to gain entry to the favors of the deity, as all religions do. Anything else really isn’t Buddhism. But we oddly don’t have a deity. Or do we?
Ah well, back to the cancer thing. Sorry if a nerve has been hit. I have also lost close family members to cancer. I don't know anyone who hasn't.

I never said anything about "what our practice is". Repentance practice is something I incorporate in my world view. That's all. Clearly, it's an emotional topic.

_/|\_
You make, you get.

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KeithA
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by KeithA » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:24 pm

[james] wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:01 pm
KeithA wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:47 pm
Personally, I turned the corner on repentance when I realized it is not an attitude of wallowing in self-negativity and lack of worth. Instead, it's a clear-eyed understanding of my role in the suffering in this world. That realization is both healing and liberating.
Thanks for saying so. This is helpful to me in better understanding the nature of repentance practice.
It goes back to what Meido mentioned earlier. I suspect the western cultural default when discussing repentance is to think of it as this miserable self-loathing. Not saying this is your particular thinking, just a general observation and definitely the thinking I had about it.

_/|\_
You make, you get.

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SunWuKong
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by SunWuKong » Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:32 pm

KeithA wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:24 pm
[james] wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 4:01 pm
KeithA wrote:
Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:47 pm
Personally, I turned the corner on repentance when I realized it is not an attitude of wallowing in self-negativity and lack of worth. Instead, it's a clear-eyed understanding of my role in the suffering in this world. That realization is both healing and liberating.
Thanks for saying so. This is helpful to me in better understanding the nature of repentance practice.
It goes back to what Meido mentioned earlier. I suspect the western cultural default when discussing repentance is to think of it as this miserable self-loathing. Not saying this is your particular thinking, just a general observation and definitely the thinking I had about it.

_/|\_
Actually the attitude of penance is good - deity or not. What we truly seek is not so much purification as it is a change of heart by which we can live more skillfully, less harmfully. It also moves our practice towards more integration of the whole person, body mind and soul to use the vernacular. Mind heart and hara, as they say in Soto. I’m voting Aye!
--- Eric H., also know as Sun Wu Kong, "an authentic genuine human being"
Birth is thus
Death is thus
Verse or no verse
What’s the fuss?

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by Dan74 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:05 am

I've been thinking about this thread and of repentance. When we are kids and we screw up, we get punished. As adults we may believe in karma or may believe we can get away with it, not get caught, a white lie, an excuse, another...

I have not had a formal repentance practice of any sort. I'm pretty sure it was included in the Korean chants we did during the retreats (we had translations and did some in English too), but not by myself.

Years ago, I invited the Zen fellow who was at the time the Chaplaincy coordinator for the Buddhist Council of Victoria to come to the prison to do a little Buddha's Birthday ceremony. He was a very casual chap, but brought a kesa and as we settled on our zafus, he intoned in the deepest baritone that came out of nowhere
All the evil karma ever created by me since of old,
On account of my beginningless greed, hatred, and ignorance,
Born of my body, mouth, and thought,
I now confess openly and fully.
One inmate burst into a fit of giggles, but at this very moment I was somehow really touched. I don't know, but there is something to it.

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by Caodemarte » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:01 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:05 am
All the evil karma ever created by me since of old,
On account of my beginningless greed, hatred, and ignorance,
Born of my body, mouth, and thought,
I now confess openly and fully.
... at this very moment I was somehow really touched. I don't know, but there is something to it.
I, too, am touched whenever we chant this in group practice.

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by KeithA » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:04 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:01 pm
Dan74 wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:05 am
All the evil karma ever created by me since of old,
On account of my beginningless greed, hatred, and ignorance,
Born of my body, mouth, and thought,
I now confess openly and fully.
... at this very moment I was somehow really touched. I don't know, but there is something to it.
I, too, am touched whenever we chant this in group practice.
This is part of our Precepts ceremony. _/|\_
You make, you get.

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Meido
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by Meido » Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:11 pm

KeithA wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:04 pm
This is part of our Precepts ceremony.
Yes, ours as well.

One thing we did not inherit here is any kind of abbreviated (non-monastic) daily ceremony for home/lay use. When putting one together, I thought it important to include this (in Japanese Sangemon, the "repentance verse"):

http://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/eng/lib ... repentance

~ Meido
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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Nicholas
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by Nicholas » Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:53 pm

Here is the Great Compassion Repentance, all in English:

http://huntingtonarchive.org/resources/ ... al.doc.pdf
Whatever one frequently thinks and ponders upon, that will become the inclination of his mind. -- MN 19

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by guo gu » Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:44 am

Meido wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:11 pm
KeithA wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:04 pm
This is part of our Precepts ceremony.
Yes, ours as well.

One thing we did not inherit here is any kind of abbreviated (non-monastic) daily ceremony for home/lay use. When putting one together, I thought it important to include this (in Japanese Sangemon, the "repentance verse"):

http://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/eng/lib ... repentance

~ Meido
as you already know, these verses are not particular to zen or soto zen but part of the generic repentance liturgy recited by all east asian mahāyāna buddhists. this is the verse i recommend to my students.

be well,
guo gu

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Meido
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by Meido » Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:06 am

Guo Gu, a little off topic, but is there a daily recitation or liturgy for lay folks that you teach at your place? Curious what that looks like on your side...

[I may split this off into another topic, actually, since it might be nice to share what people do at home].

:namaste:

~ Meido
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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Crystal
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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by Crystal » Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:49 am

.

I like this reminder from the Dhammapada chapter 14:

Doing no evil,
Engaging in what is skilful.
And purifying one's mind:
This is the teaching of the buddhas.

Patient endurance is the supreme austerity,
The Buddha's say that Nirvana is supreme.
One who injures others is no renunciant;
One who harms another is no contemplative.

Not disparaging others, not causing injury,
Practising restraint by the monastic rules,
Knowing moderation in food,
Dwelling in solitude,
And pursuing the higher states of mind,
This is the teaching of the Buddhas.



:namaste:

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by fuki » Thu Mar 08, 2018 8:23 pm

guo gu wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:44 am
Meido wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:11 pm
KeithA wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:04 pm
This is part of our Precepts ceremony.
Yes, ours as well.

One thing we did not inherit here is any kind of abbreviated (non-monastic) daily ceremony for home/lay use. When putting one together, I thought it important to include this (in Japanese Sangemon, the "repentance verse"):

http://global.sotozen-net.or.jp/eng/lib ... repentance

~ Meido
as you already know, these verses are not particular to zen or soto zen but part of the generic repentance liturgy recited by all east asian mahāyāna buddhists. this is the verse i recommend to my students.

be well,
guo gu
Thanks Guo Gu,
I did notice in the past that eventhough repentance practise/ceremony does open the heart, there is still (for me at least) a dwelling by identifying the past (good/evil) with the present and its projection into the future, which can actually reify the notion of self thus joy/fear. However in (practising) non-dwelling there is no good/evil, past/present/future, duality/non-duality, repentence/non-repentence. All compounded formations are a creation of the elements, but elements have no notion of gain/loss, bondage/liberation, that is a human concept. Non-dwelling is beyond speech and silence, beyond repentance and non-repentance, awakening is real when all that's left of you is Love, beyond notions of love/hate. True Repentance for me is that, no notions of past, present, future. :111:
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

IZIhttp://www.zeninstitute.org/en/iziae/main.html

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by Emmet » Sun May 13, 2018 10:09 pm

Meido wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 7:08 pm

I wonder if anyone has anything they'd like to share related to the topic of repentance/confession/purification practices: what is done in their traditions, experiences regarding same, benefits or challenges connected with these that they have experienced, etc.

I would say that this is an important topic, as it touches upon the manner in which obstructions and challenges can be worked with creatively.

~ Meido
I vaguely recall someone once asking a teacher to explain the concept of sin in Zen. If I recall correctly, he responded that there isn't one, but that the closest analog he was aware of was a Japanese (or Sanskrit) word (or phrase) which I don't recall, which he said could be construed to mean "off the path". It had nothing to say about one's relationship to some divinity or their relative value or merit as a person (we all posses intrinsic Buddha nature), but simply meant having wandered off of the trail, and being at risk of becoming lost.
Where I live, wandering off of the trail can mean a wet, cold, and hungry night or two in the mountains; but it can also mean death by exposure or stumbling into a river or off a cliff in the dark. Repentance is simply an opportunity for me to stop and reflect upon my position, the choices which I have made which led me to this point, and the opportunity to apply any insights thus learned to correct my course and develop a way forward. My practice of the Precepts is often considerably less than stellar. Repentance, when entered into with all sincerity, offers me a process of atonement and reconciliation; not only with those whom I might have treated badly, but with myself; reminding me of the vows I have taken and the values I purport to uphold, and offers me the opportunity to rededicate myself to my practice; to return to a place where what I think, say, and do are in harmony once again. To get back on the path.

THE REPENTANCE GATHA
All evil actions committed by me since time immemorial,
stemming from greed, anger, and delusion,
arising from body, speech and mind,
I now repent having committed.

THE THREE TREASURES
I take refuge in Buddha,
and resolve that with all beings
I will understand the Great Way
whereby the Buddha seed may forever thrive.
I take refuge in Dharma,
and resolve that with all beings
I will enter deeply into the sutra-treasure
whereby my wisdom may grow as vast as the ocean.
I take refuge in sangha,
and in its wisdom, example, and never failing help,
and resolve to live in harmony with all sentient beings.

THE THREE GENERAL RESOLUTIONS
I resolve to avoid evil.
I resolve to do good.
I resolve to liberate all sentient beings.

THE TEN CARDINAL PRECEPTS
I resolve not to kill, but to cherish all life.
I resolve not to take what is not given, but to respect the things of others.
I resolve not to engage in improper sexuality, but to be caring and responsible.
I resolve not to lie but to speak the truth.
I resolve not to cause others to take substances that confuse the mind, nor to do so myself, but to keep the mind clear at all times.
I resolve not to speak of the faults of others, but to be understanding and sympathetic.
I resolve not to praise myself and disparage others, but to overcome my own shortcomings.
I resolve not to withhold spiritual or material aid, but to give them freely where needed.
I resolve not to indulge in anger, but to exercise restraint.
I resolve not to revile the Three Treasures, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, but to cherish and uphold them.

THE FOUR VOWS
All beings without number I vow to liberate.
Endless blind passions I vow to uproot.
Dharma gates beyond measure I vow to penetrate.
The great way of Buddha I vow to attain.

RETURN OF MERIT
Faith in Buddha, Dharma, Sangha
brings true liberation.
We now return the merit of our chanting to:
Shakyamuni Buddha,
Mañjushrı Bodhisattva,
Avalokita Bodhisattva,
Bhadra Bodhisattva.
We place our faith in the Great Heart of Perfect Wisdom.
May all beings attain Buddhahood!
Ten Directions, Three Worlds,
All Buddhas, Bodhisattva-mahasattvas,
Maha Prajña Paramita.

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Re: Repentance Practices

Post by desert_woodworker » Mon May 14, 2018 12:42 am

Master Sheng Yen taught us repentance prostrations.

This practice can be especially powerful and purifying when practicing all together on Ch'an retreat, say, for a period the same duration as a usual Zazen practice "sit", perhaps 30 or 40 minutes, very slowly, while recalling something or some incident or attitude, behavior, or way of treating others that one regrets and now repents.

Some instruction was given before the practice.

I can't now remember if the leader has us all prostrate in-time to a hand-bell, or if we prostrate at our own speed during this practice. Usually, as I recall, the practice was not taken up until one or more of the later days of 7-day retreat; that is, not until near the end.

--Joe

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