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Lions Roar : July 2010
Q p..., >L1 Z C/) >L1 ........ >L1 ........ Z Z o >-< o f-< o :r:: p..., There is original Buddhism, the Buddhism of the Buddha, and the many schools of Buddhism that were developed by later generations. But whether it is original Buddhism, or Zen, or Tendai, or Vajrayana, it is still the teaching of the Buddha. The work of the Buddha is continued by his disciples-his wisdom and his teachings continued after he passed into nir- vana. We recognize the Buddha in the generations of teachers and students who have followed. What I've been doing is presenting the teachings of original Buddhism in a Mahayana spirit. Maha- yana Buddhism has a very open view, not restrict- ed, and it is wonderful to study original Buddhism with that kind of spirit. When you use Mahayana eyes in order to inquire into original Buddhism, you can discover so many things, much deeper things. You realize that all the great teachings of Mahayana can be found in the original teaching. The great ideas of Mahayana are already there. The seeds are already there in original Buddhism. So when we use the term original Buddhism, that doesn't mean that we put away the other, later traditions. We do want to connect the later tradi- tions to their roots. Then original Buddhism can become the common ground, the common de- nominator, of every Buddhist. That is why offering the teachings of original Buddhism in the spirit of Mahayana Buddhism is what we have tried to do. Buddhism in its original form was simple-sim- ple but deep. Many scholars have made Buddhism too complicated, into a kind of metaphysics or phi- 10sophy. Some students of Buddhism spend a lot of time learning these systems of thought and do not have the time to practice. It is like Master Linji [Jap- anese: Rinzai], who learned a lot of Buddhism but found that learning Buddhism was not enough. So he abandoned the learning and began to practice. Since Buddhism is still in its infancy in the West, in its beginning phase, do you feel the teachings of origi- nal Buddhism are perhaps more appropriate right now than the teachings that developed later? It's not that one particular teaching is more appropri- ate to our time. What's important is the way we un- derstand it, which depends on our approach. If you are a scholar and you work only with your intellect, you might interpret a teaching in one way. But if you are a real practitioner, your practice will help you to discover the depth of the teaching and to touch the insight brought about by the practice. Then you will )ï;> page 90