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National flavorings - ordinary_mind
January 31st, 2004
07:42 am
[shiba_inu]

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National flavorings
I've heard it said that zen is like tofu: very nutritious but has no flavor of its own so it takes on the flavor of whatever it's cooked with. This observation seems to be borne out when one considers the differences in Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese and American (to name just a few) schools.

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From:cranehaven
Date:February 2nd, 2004 09:31 am (UTC)
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Interesting observation, shiba...I guess the idea is to strip away the flavor...~P
From:shiba_inu
Date:February 3rd, 2004 05:19 pm (UTC)

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Hm. I see that I was being too oblique. What I was interested in was a discussion on ways in which various national groups differ in their practice. For example, I've read that buddhism never really caught on very well in China. The writer felt that it was because confucianism and taoism were too deeply ingrained in the national character for buddhism to really take hold. Japan, however, embraced it heartily, especially the samurai class. I'm told that Vietnamese buddhism is different also but I'm not too clear on what the difference is.
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From:cranehaven
Date:February 4th, 2004 05:41 am (UTC)

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Interesting comments, Shiba. I guess that being a "practice oriented" person, I mis-read your intent. I do not know much about the various 'Buddhisms' However, regarding your comments about Chinese Buddhism, I do know that historically, Buddhism was actively persecuted. C'han [Zen] survived the persecution because of its non-reliance on relics, images, structures and rituals. Also, Zen in China has been much influenced by Toaist beliefs. Similarly, Tibetan Buddhism was heavily influenced by Bon, the indigenous animistic religion of pre-Buddhist Tibet. If I find the reference, I will post it. ~P
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