I have actually practiced at least briefly in all three; after I moved back to North Carolina, I practiced with a Tibetan group for a year before I found the Zen Center.
People sometimes get caught up in the distinctions among the three traditions, but I think theyre trivial.
I began practicing here because Taitaku reminded me of Larry. So Id like to talk today about the teaching of meditation in those two traditions, the Theravada and Zen traditions. Larry himself says that those traditions are the two that are most alike.
We have published two books, Breath by Breath: The Liberating Practice of Insight Meditation, and Living in the Light of Death: On the Art of Being Truly Alive.
Writing the books has deepened our relationship, and Ive learned a lot from the process.
But there is also something that is beyond either of those categories, something that can see both of them.
Sometimes that final phrase is translated as "Beyond thinking." Thats where our practice is headed.
Krishnamurti was his first teacher, he says, and probably hell be his last.
Larry believes, and I do too, that its fine to learn from all three traditions, but its best to practice in just one.
When I do give instructions, I always talk about the three major Buddhist meditative traditions in this country, Theravada Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, and the Chan/Zen tradition.
Then I put the book down, and five minutes later I dont know how to meditate anymore.
He was just as likely to quote a Chinese master or the Dalai Lama as a Vipassana teacher, maybe more so.