by: Mokuho Guy Mercier : About Shantideva: Shantideva was an eighth century Indian monk highly renowned in the Mahayana tradition of Buddhism. Like Shakyamuni, he came from a royal family, but renounced his royalty to devote himself to meditation. He was ordained a monk at Nalanda, a monastic university, where he continued to study the sutras, and […]
This is the first in a series of talks looking at different Buddhist teachings from a Zen perspective. I thought I’d start with the first sermon the Buddha gave, on the Four Noble Truths, look at what he said, and also the Zen attitude to this.
Transcription of Talk given at Crosby Hall Sesshin 2010
I’m going to speak a little about the origins of Mahayana Buddhism -how it relates to our practice and Dogen’s thinking. I’m going to focus on the ideas that are most relevant to us.
The ideal of Mahayana Buddhism is the bodhisattva. Bodhi means awakening while sattva means existence. The bodhisattva is therefore an awakening being, awakening existence. Awakening is at the heart of all existence.
Often, when I give a talk, somebody asks: “Zen, Buddhism … are they a religion?” And I often reply, “As you like.” You can practise zazen as a technique for well-being, to feel better, to have a more interesting life, to be happier. That’s possible. It is also possible that you will achieve those goals to a greater or lesser extent.