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So if Zen is not a "religion" how do you explain this?

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by ryuei2000:

A video of Soto Zen temple service at Eiheiji (the main Soto Shu temple in Japan founded by Dogen himself):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpPkvzglupw&feature=related
BTW, Dogen established a Buddha-hall for Buddhist services and also performed such services, though certainly his main emphasis was zazen. So it is not like this was only done after his time. And there are plenty of other videos like this. Also, I live in San Francisco and have seen Buddhist religious services at both San Francisco Zen Center and at Soko-ji, the Soto Zen temple in Japan-town. Zen cannot be reduced to "religion" and is certainly not like Western monotheisms, but I cannot see how anyone can deny that religion is very much a part of the tradition for both clergy and laity.
@ Just to be a bit clearer most of the actual Zen practitioners in SF seem to know full well that Zen has religious aspects. They actually do study the sutras, do ceremonies, take precepts, etc... While I am not in total agreement with them on every point, I respect the fact that they are being true to their own tradition and lineage. It is those who have read a couple of books by Alan Watts or D.T. Suzuki and who seem to think that Zen is not Buddhism, or that Buddhism is not a religion that I am pointing this out to.
As for the definition of religion - it is certainly not confined only to monotheistic religions. At least no anthropologist or religious studies person I have ever heard of has every restricted "religion" to only Western style monotheisms. I am taking religion to be a tradition with a worldview, system of ethics, devotional practices, and a recommended way of life for realizing life's ultimate purpose. Certainly a philosophy may have many of these elements, but no shar

Answer by John the Buddhist
Whats your point? Zenists so often mess up the Dharma, it was not founded that way but in the west, Zen is only a "diet coke" Buddhism. Semi Buddhism. And this secularized Zen is spreading like roaches into other Buddhist sects, corrupting them. There is WAY more to Buddhism then mindfulness. Zennists expound only certain parts of the Dharma, not all of it holistically. Shame. And that other sects pick up on it like the whole "rebirth is optional" stuff is a shame.
Modern Zen, unlike the real deal (which is good), is not Buddhism.
edit: I kinda feel bad, I did not emphasize that there IS real Zen in the world, even in the west. I am sure there are many "religious" Zen people. But in hindsight, even "religious" Buddhists often don't want that Buddhism be called a religion.
Namu Myoho Renge Kyo

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Zen, and other Buddhist Sects/Schools are religions, just as they are philosophies. They are not a religion in the western Monotheistic sense, but it is still a religion none-the-less
ༀམཎིཔདྨེཧཱུྃ (Om mani peme hung)
-- རྡོ་རྗེ །བློ་བཟང་ (Dorje Lobsang)

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define religion . . . if you are suggesting that anything that has ritual is a religion, then Congress, and Major League baseball are both religions . . . . .
"religion can not be defined without the use of the word "God"",
Buddha is not a God
Buddhism is not a religion.

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Zen (or any other Buddhist sect) is like a road map. The religious services are like a car. Having only the ritual is like driving aimlessly. Having only the map is like walking cross-country. It would be possible for someone to reach their goal either of those ways. But, come on, guys, why would you want to make it harder than it has to be?

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It has all the hallmarks of a religion and one can be Zen and practice other "sects" of Buddhism as well
There are those who take practices from Zen and dismiss much or all of the cosmology, etc and produce such things as 'Christian Zen"( which may be neither Christian nor Buddhist)or ' secular Zen/chan'

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The Ch'an in Chinese (or Zen in Japanese) schools founder was Bohdidharma, an Indian Buddhist master, came to China about the latter half of the fifth century and the first half of the sixth century. The main message of Bodhidharma was:
"Not relying on the words and letters, teachings are transmitted outside the Scriptures; Pointing directly into one's mind, then one can “see” into his own nature and attains Buddhahood."

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My mum used to say: don't judge a book by its cover.
Good advice, I suggest.

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