LETTER:Schools of Buddhism

Thank you for the column “What is the Pure Land Buddhism?” taken from The Conversation, an academic analysis.

What was left off is that, Pure Land Buddhism is only one denomination of what the Buddha has to offer.

There are many sects, denominations or schools of Buddhism.

The most popular form, outside of Asia, is primarily sourced from Japan.

It is called Soto Zen, the largest in Japan.

Zen has a very different view of the circle of karma and the causes and effects that keep all people from truly living up to their spiritual and personal potential.

Zen does not profess to know what’s on the other side of death.

I am a fully transmitted teacher of Zen and have been teaching in Port Angeles for 26 years.

The Zen perspective on death is best presented by a koan, a teaching story, from “The Blue Cliff Record,” case #55.

“Daowu and his student went to a house to express condolences.

The student rapped on the coffin and asked, ‘Living or dead?’

The Master said, ‘I can’t say either living or dead.’

The student persisted, ‘Why can’t you say?’

The Master said, ‘I can’t say! I can’t say!’”

Another way of putting this is from various stories in which the Master is asked, ”What happens after we die?” And the answer is, “I don’t know. I’m not dead yet.”

Please do not confuse Buddhism as primarily being just another version of what happens after death.

Kristen Larson

Port Angeles

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