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Thread: Spiritual Friendship

  1. #51
    Hi Kojip,

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    Treeleaf is a community. A practice community. If it was just another Buddhist forum it would not be worth participating in. A Buddhist forum is where people argue about what they think is true, and play-out endless doubting and dissecting. I came here and want to settle here as my "neighborhood Zendo" after seeing the nature of Buddhist fora, from both the participant and the administration side. They are frequently the last place someone who wants to get on with practice should be .... always having more words... always having another comeback. The heart of this community, in my worthless opinion, is the group practice and its development using new media. That last thing I need another Buddhist forum.
    I think this really sums it up more or less!
    Before I came here I had visited several Zen online boards (in different languages), and I was very disappointed that there was no difference to other online boards. (I had been moderator in an online forum years ago and it was just crazy, you wouldn't believe it). Lots of people seeking attention, even people who seemed fond of arguing. And the one thing I had expected least from Zen folks: lots of attachments - my school is better, that sect just doesn't get it, you must reach, reach, reach enlightenment, oh nooo he just said the forbidden "E" word! I felt almost appalled.
    I kind of accepted I would carry on practising on my own when I stumbled upon Treeleaf. And it was the place I knew I would feel comfortable with. It is like an internet Zen oasis.

    Still, I agree with Chet that we should check/review our own practice from time to time. I personally don't want to be attached to it. As soon as I feel I can't live without it any more, then I know something is probably wrong.

    Gassho,

    Timo
    Last edited by Daitetsu; 11-26-2012 at 08:58 PM.
    no thing needs to be added

  2. #52
    Senior Member Daisho's Avatar
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    Im fairly new here and spend spend quite a bit of time wandering around Treeleaf all hours of day and night. I feel a sense of community and certainly evidence of caring for sanga members. If a thread begins to feel to me lost in "hairsplitting" or maybe just not pertinent to me at the time, I move on. If I've got a question I ask it and know it will be answered usually sooner than later My tendency is to get stuck in detail so part of my practice here is to keep moving and listening to what u all have to say. And, yes, Nindo, gratitude plays a big part in being a member o this sanga and having the spiritual friends who are in my life.
    Gassho,

    Daisho


    (Jack K.)

  3. #53
    Dear All,

    Chet (Disastermouse), against my recommendation that he stay, has said he needs to "step away" from participation here. I am sorry to hear that, and encouraged him to stay. I also wrote him that he is welcome back at any time. I believe that, over the years he has been a member here, this is not the first time. I deactivated his account, so he cannot receive PMs at this time (should anyone wish to write him, I will take the liberty of passing on his email if you write me).

    I do not usually comment on someone's personal motivations, and need to be very careful here. Also, we are now looking at Precepts on being critical in our Jukai study. However, I want to make a general statement here given some of the things said in this thread.

    In this community, we do not "proselytize", neither trying to chase people into Zen Practice or this Sangha, nor chasing after folks once they leave. In fact, this Practice or Place is not right for everyone, and people have different paths and needs. This Sangha, Zen, all Buddhism may not be "right" for someone or most people.

    However, before someone asserts that "this practice" or "this community" are not right, they need to really give the "old college try" to all the aspects of Practice here before rejecting the same. If someone, whether here for 5 minutes or 5 years (no matter), does not particularly join in any of our group sittings or gatherings (other than chatting away on this forum, which is meant to be merely a side support to all the other aspects of active Practice), avoids Jukai, Precepts study or sewing without even trying, avoids or has never sat a long retreat (either here or at a "brick and wood" Sangha), pops in and out of the community at one's convenience, avoids any Practice too inconvenient or not to one's tastes without diving in for at least awhile, never particularly volunteers to help out around the place or roll up one's sleeves to help organize things, and is principally focused on their own complaints and "needs" instead of helping the other sentient beings ... one is not perhaps properly situated and experienced to conclude "this place is not what I need it to be". One cannot know that because one never really tried "this place".

    I am not talking about Chet here, but all of us ... even folks here since the days the doors opened.

    This is a good time to post for newcomers what I usually say about "the college try" and need to trust in this Practice at the start ...

    I believe that starting off in Buddhist practice takes a certain amount of "trust & dedication" (a term I actually prefer to "faith" because of all the baggage that "faith" carries for many folks coming out of a Judeo-Christian background). At the outset, one has to trust that there is something to what our practice and philosophy is about, because one yet has no personal experience and must just go on the assumption that the teachings and teachers and books are reliable.

    We need the same faith the first time we try anything without personal experience. Even a cake recipe from a book requires a certain trust in the recipe and the book's authors, although sooner or later that recipe must prove itself in the real baking. Same with these Practices and Teachings, which require some trust, effort and open-mindedness until actually proven in our lives. The Buddha said as much in many of the oldest Suttas.
    Maybe someone should give any Practice ... from sitting to sewing to chanting to bowing to whatever ... at least six (6) good, solid sincere months before forming any opinions (especially about our way of dropping effort and opinions! ). One might be here for 6 years, but never really even tried some things for 6 months.

    In order to really know ... one must really try, really try-non-trying.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-27-2012 at 03:23 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #54
    Jundo, thank you for letting us know ... I wish all the best to Chet and hopefully one day we will see him here again.

    Gassho
    Michael
    真 眼

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  5. #55
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    I'm sorry Chet has decided to take a hiatus - his dedication to making an effort at sitting on G+ has given my own practice some spine and I respect his effort and sincerity. I may not always agree with what he has to say, but I do not doubt his sincerity, his seeking. I know it has been difficult to face a regular practice, and Chet has been making an effort. I thank you Chet, my practice has benefited from your presence. Fair winds and see you when we see you -

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  6. #56
    Junior Member George's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    Maybe someone should give any Practice ... from sitting to sewing to chanting to bowing to whatever ... at least six (6) good, solid sincere months before forming any opinions (especially about our way of dropping effort and opinions! ). One might be here for 6 years, but never really even tried some things for 6 months.
    Extremely wise and important point.

    I think a lot of us who "try" Buddhism can be put off at first by the seemingly religious apsect of it and can be a little prejudiced against those parts of Buddhism that do make sense immediately.

    One group I attended for a while made quite a big thing about being reborn and the different realms and the deities/gods. This put me off most of the traditional Buddhist art involving deities until a monk at another group talked through his understanding of his favourite tankha of Avalokiteshvara and his understanding of the symbolic rather than literal meaning within.

    After taking me more than two years to be able to appreciate a single picture I have tried thereafter not to judge practices that have helped others for hundreds of years. Incidentally the same monk helped me to understand chanting and I now have a few chants on my iPod but I am still waiting for the whole bowing thing to feel right/make sense.

  7. #57
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Chet (Disastermouse), against my recommendation that he stay, has said he needs to "step away" from participation here. I am sorry to hear that, and encouraged him to stay. I also wrote him that he is welcome back at any time. I believe that, over the years he has been a member here, this is not the first time. I deactivated his account, so he cannot receive PMs at this time (should anyone wish to write him, I will take the liberty of passing on his email if you write me).
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  8. #58
    ..what Dosho just said
    _()_
    Myoku

  9. #59
    Although I've not been here for long, I will miss him.
    Very often he brought in different aspects, opinions, and ways to see things - and he dared to express them.
    I do hope he comes back...
    no thing needs to be added

  10. #60
    Hope he comes back too. I know what it feels like to be holding a position, and the whole thing becoming more intense by being opposed and feeling isolated. It's painful, and I just want to disappear after the dust settles.

    Gassho. kojip
    大山

  11. #61
    Senior Member Heishu's Avatar
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    This news is not what I had hoped for.

    My hope for now is that Chet rethinks his decision but whatever he does I wish him the best.

    I do agree that if someone chooses to participate they should do so as best they can.

    Life sure has a lot of lessons to be learned.

    I am not happy about how this lesson turned out.

    Gassho
    Alan

  12. #62
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    That's very sad.
    Kinda ironic outcome of a thread with this title and intention.
    In which Chet was called a troll and told to shut up.
    I wish him well.
    --- In every moment of our sitting all beings are receiving the ultimate help; they are all achieving perfect peace and perfect rest. --- Norman Fischer

  13. #63
    I am very sad that Chet has left - hope he returns.

  14. #64
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Again,
    迎 Geika

  15. #65
    Chet can only be Chet and only Chet knows what he must do. He trusts himself. Sometimes we may fool ourselves, but if he is certain he needs to be away from Treeleaf for a while, then it may be so. He'll be back. I hope. If not, then that is so.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    In a spring outside time, flowers bloom on a withered tree;
    you ride a jade elephant backwards, chasing the winged dragon-deer;
    now as you hide far beyond innumerable peaks--
    the white moon, a cool breeze, the dawn of a fortunate day

  16. #66
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LimoLama View Post
    Although I've not been here for long, I will miss him.
    Very often he brought in different aspects, opinions, and ways to see things - and he dared to express them.
    I do hope he comes back...

    And I very much agree with you on Chet here, Limo.

    It seems some are always attempting to chase him away, our way or the highway. And wonder if what they are practicing, with the continual talking down to him from a seemingly higher view, says more about them then him, and could make others confused on what this practice really is about.

    He and I sometimes push a few buttons, when seemingly they may need pushing depending on perception, and it all works out, lessons await continuously.

    I was enjoying the conversation with Chet, miss ya Chet, my best!

    Also enjoyed Jundo's take on giving it a try, thats what this is about. I may be more like Chet in that, I move rather slow to group things, patience is the key. I have sat through some of the 4 hour ceremonies, so it could be said I jumped in, maybe not to everyone level or judgment of such.

    Thanks for this thread and your posting, Nindo!


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  17. #67
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    Hope he comes back too. I know what it feels like to be holding a position, and the whole thing becoming more intense by being opposed and feeling isolated. It's painful, and I just want to disappear after the dust settles.

    Gassho. kojip


    Kojip... do you really hope he comes back ? It seems you did your best to run him off?!


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  18. #68
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo View Post
    That's very sad.
    Kinda ironic outcome of a thread with this title and intention.
    In which Chet was called a troll and told to shut up.
    I wish him well.

    EXACTLY!


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  19. #69
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Just to be clear, when I used the phrase "shut up" I was referring to sitting on a zafu instead of asking so many questions! I was NOT telling him he couldn't post. I've chatted with him since he left and I believe Chet is well aware of the spirit in which my comment was intended.

    I did not want Chet to leave; I very much wanted him to stay and hope he feels free to come back if he chooses. My post was an attempt to empower him, not quiet him.

    Gassho,
    Dosho


    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo View Post
    That's very sad.
    Kinda ironic outcome of a thread with this title and intention.
    In which Chet was called a troll and told to shut up.
    I wish him well.
    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    EXACTLY!
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  20. #70
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho View Post
    Just to be clear, when I used the phrase "shut up" I was referring to sitting on a zafu instead of asking so many questions! I was NOT telling him he couldn't post. I've chatted with him since he left and I believe Chet is well aware of the spirit in which my comment was intended.

    I did not want Chet to leave; I very much wanted him to stay and hope he feels free to come back if he chooses. My post was an attempt to empower him, not quiet him.

    Gassho,
    Dosho


    Its all good, Dosho. It is what it is.

    Other threads in the past you have attacked him, and while I did know some of his history, he was doing no harm, the only harm it seemed was he did not fit in your box, and it just seems unbecoming of a Buddhist, esp a priest in waiting (or wanting).


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  21. #71
    Some go away for awhile and don't announce it, others announce it in the going away but coming back thread. In Chet's case Jundo announced it but I'm a little puzzled as to why his account was deactivated. The last time it was deactiviated he was kind of being obnoxious but in this case he was just being disagreeable. Jundo, I understand there may be personal issues with Chet that prevent you from disclosing anything further.

    I did feel a little uncomfortable with the tone of some of the comments directed at Chet. In general life sometimes presents us with people and questions that we strongly disagree with but we have to answer in a respectful and considerate way no matter how much we disagree. IMHO
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  22. #72
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    "....it just seems unbecoming of a Buddhist, esp a priest in waiting (or wanting)."

    It is legitimate I believe to raise whether or not a verbal/written attack has taken place, in the context of a discussion of right speech or skillful means - to claim that an individual has attacked another and then proceed to issue an attack or attribution regarding someone's intentions does not advance the discussion except to demonstrate an example of harmful speech. If one has a concern to seriously discuss with a colleague regarding that individual's behavior/intentions in the sangha, might it best be done via PM? Public snarkiness does not strike me as helpful....

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 11-28-2012 at 06:59 PM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  23. #73
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Galen,

    I feel confident that Chet would not describe any of my posts as an attack, but for a moment let's assume he would: To what posts are you referring?

    Gassho,
    Dosho

    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    Its all good, Dosho. It is what it is.
    Other threads in the past you have attacked him, and while I did know some of his history, he was doing no harm, the only harm it seemed was he did not fit in your box, and it just seems unbecoming of a Buddhist, esp a priest in waiting (or wanting).
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  24. #74
    I've been practising by myself for a a couple of years, although not in this tradition. I came here specifically to try and make spiritual friends. Not because I thought it would help my practice, particularly (although I think it will) but because I thought it would be nice to discuss dharma matters with other people who are on the same path, and to learn from those who have already scouted ahead.



    Ian

  25. #75
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Some go away for awhile and don't announce it, others announce it in the going away but coming back thread. In Chet's case Jundo announced it but I'm a little puzzled as to why his account was deactivated. The last time it was deactiviated he was kind of being obnoxious but in this case he was just being disagreeable. Jundo, I understand there may be personal issues with Chet that prevent you from disclosing anything further.

    I did feel a little uncomfortable with the tone of some of the comments directed at Chet. In general life sometimes presents us with people and questions that we strongly disagree with but we have to answer in a respectful and considerate way no matter how much we disagree. IMHO


    Thanks Rich for posting what I was thinking but held back. He was taking a break, but I also was wondering if he was cut off, not knowing how all this works, but I was wondering. So he will not see the many of us that are sad about this on here. He caused harm only to a few here, and while he is not perfect, who in the hell among us is? The man's earnest and his heart is into it even if it does not match others perceptions of what is Right. So do we just throw out oneness when it gets inconvenient, instead of compassion and bearing with?? Is not he apart of us all? It seems some of this hypocrisy even comes from the top, I do not get it, when all of a sudden a discomfort is a time for duality and separation. Saddened by the `whole deal. Thanks for you courage here, Rich.


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  26. #76
    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo View Post
    That's very sad.
    Kinda ironic outcome of a thread with this title and intention.
    In which Chet was called a troll and told to shut up.
    I wish him well.

    For what it's worth, I meant the trolling comment. Trolling or trolling-like behaviour doesn't mean insincere. It can be very sincere, heartfelt. Now someone can think or say something badly about me if they like. That's ok.

    Gassho, kojip
    大山

  27. #77
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    "....it just seems unbecoming of a Buddhist, esp a priest in waiting (or wanting)."

    It is legitimate I believe to raise whether or not a verbal/written attack has taken place, in the context of a discussion of right speech or skillful means - to claim that an individual has attacked another and then proceed to issue an attack or attribution regarding someone's intentions does not advance the discussion except to demonstrate an example of harmful speech. If one has a concern to seriously discuss with a colleague regarding that individual's behavior/intentions in the sangha, might it best be done via PM? Public snarkiness does not strike me as helpful....

    Deep bows
    Yugen


    Snarkiness is fine, I will own `your perception here, Yugen. The PM also would have been good advice in telling him what he do, and how he should act. I do not remember you making that point earlier in his defense. But I have been out of line here, just felt like it was a personal attack on myself, and yes did not handle it well. Thank you for pointing this out.


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  28. #78
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho View Post
    Galen,

    I feel confident that Chet would not describe any of my posts as an attack, but for a moment let's assume he would: To what posts are you referring?

    Gassho,
    Dosho

    Dosho... I had addressed it at that time... moving on.


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  29. #79
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    This is one of those episodes where a legitimate discussion devolves to the point where everyone gets their underwear bunched up.... At this point it is no longer about Chet, or about you, or about me. It is certainly no longer about us, and our connection to one another. What I wonder when I see all the time spent on the back and forth, all the navel gazing, all the attributions and counterclaims, the dust gets kicked up and no one can see any more - I wonder - what ratio of time is spent sitting/posting? IMHO being a Buddhist is about sitting, standing, walking, lying down, and understanding the great matter. Posting on the Forum I believe should be an adjunct, or support to one's practice. I struggle with these discursive spirals - while this is community it is not practice. Our teachers and colleagues are "good friends" who support one another in practice - and this in my mind is the purpose of the forums. I am off to the local zendo to sit, and I'll be sitting on G+ later tonight Eastern time. Shared silence can be far more eloquent and profound than noise.....I love you all and want to practice with you. See ya....

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 11-28-2012 at 08:54 PM.
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  30. #80
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Galen

    Deep bows - thank you

    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  31. #81
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    Galen

    Deep bows - thank you

    Yugen


    Thank you Yugen.

    It seems everything Is practice.


    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  32. #82
    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    This is one of those episodes where a legitimate discussion devolves to the point where everyone gets their underwear bunched up.... At this point it is no longer about Chet, or about you, or about me. It is certainly no longer about us, and our connection to one another. What I wonder when I see all the time spent on the back and forth, all the navel gazing, all the attributions and counterclaims, the dust gets kicked up and no one can see any more - I wonder - what ratio of time is spent sitting/posting? IMHO being a Buddhist is about sitting, standing, walking, lying down, and understanding the great matter. Posting on the Forum I believe should be an adjunct, or support to one's practice. I struggle with these discursive spirals - while this is community it is not practice. Our teachers and colleagues are "good friends" who support one another in practice - and this in my mind is the purpose of the forums. I am off to the local zendo to sit, and I'll be sitting on G+ later tonight Eastern time. Shared silence can be far more eloquent and profound than noise.....I love you all and want to practice with you. See ya....

    Deep bows
    Yugen
    Thank you Yugen, nicely put.

    Gassho
    Michael
    真 眼

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  33. #83
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    Some go away for awhile and don't announce it, others announce it in the going away but coming back thread. In Chet's case Jundo announced it but I'm a little puzzled as to why his account was deactivated. The last time it was deactiviated he was kind of being obnoxious but in this case he was just being disagreeable. Jundo, I understand there may be personal issues with Chet that prevent you from disclosing anything further.

    I did feel a little uncomfortable with the tone of some of the comments directed at Chet. In general life sometimes presents us with people and questions that we strongly disagree with but we have to answer in a respectful and considerate way no matter how much we disagree. IMHO
    Hi Rich,

    Chet knows that he is welcome back at any time, and I have told him so several times these last few days. He has not asked to come back.

    Everyone, be gentle with each other. Be kind to each other and mutually maintain “gentle speech” in all communication, even when voices disagree on hot issues.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  34. #84
    Quote Originally Posted by Wordsmith View Post
    I've been practising by myself for a a couple of years, although not in this tradition. I came here specifically to try and make spiritual friends. Not because I thought it would help my practice, particularly (although I think it will) but because I thought it would be nice to discuss dharma matters with other people who are on the same path, and to learn from those who have already scouted ahead.



    Ian
    Hi Ian,

    Of course, we do require folks who participate in our Sangha to be sitting in the style of 'Just Sitting' Shikantaza at least once per day in the manner Practiced here. We ask everyone to do so (otherwise it is much like reading about 'swimming' without jumping in the water ... without being the waters flowing!). We also strongly encourage folks to join in the many other non-acitivities and Practices offered here. The Forum is intended merely as an aid to doing-non-doing so.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-29-2012 at 01:42 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  35. #85
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post
    Geez, I seem to be Nindo's contrarian lately, but I disagree with this post.

    I'm hardly an example in my daily sitting practice, but with many other practices in my life, I have found myself to be stronger in these practices because I do them alone. If your practice can't survive without the support of other people, you are not curious enough. You're not fed up enough with your dissatisfaction and you're not curious enough about its causes. This isn't necessarily a problem though, as eventually, I think we all end up very disappointed in dukkha. Maybe this just isn't the lifetime that you're tired enough of dissatisfaction.

    If zazen is a grinding, repressing practice of 'self-control', it will require considerable support and willpower....but that should also be an indication that something is wrong with your practice - not because your ego doesn't like it, but because the OTHER part of your ego that you think isn't your ego is at war with the part of yourself that hates it. Lately, I've been sitting more lightly by ignoring both voices.

    Chet
    I have been thinking about this question, and I too sometimes feel like I wish I could just practice by myself. But no matter where you go, you cannot avoid the Sangha. Treeleaf is our Sangha, but so is the town we live in, the community we live in, etc. We are never practicing alone. We are never practicing for ourselves. Awakening is not for ourselves alone; in fact, our vows are to help all sentient beings before we help ourself, even though most of the time I'm more concerned with myself.. I usually put myself first, my own stress, relaxation, avoiding dukkha at any cost. When studying during Jukai, specifically the part about taking refuge in the three treasures, we see Sangha from varying degrees.

    When I think of Sangha, I have to think of the meaning of taking refuge in the Sangha. I don't take refuge to retreat and have others think for me and solve my problems. I think of refuge as a way of retreating from delusion, to see through delusion, or as a way to help me stay on the path to see through delusion, to support the bodhisattva vows. And we should absolutely take responsibility for our own practice. But I feel responsible for others' practice here as well. Of course I'm not responsible for everyone's practice but in a sense I am. I cannot do the practice for others, but I can have influence.

    No doubt, when you post about your practice, you influence mine. If I see someone who is struggling with practice, I can empathize with that struggle and share or learn from that experience, and vice versa. There are countless seen and unseen influencers. The way the practice informs our lives can have direct impact on others... sorry absolutely does have impact on others. But you are right, if your practice is warped then something does need to be adjusted, but we have to start somewhere. Everyone's practice is warped to some degree, which is why we practice.

    I think the Sangha can be a refuge with that as well. By talking about things, it's a way of openly acknowledging them. We are in this together, and that shared experience really helps me a lot. We are social animals, no doubt, and if we didn't share certain thoughts or a "moral grammar" we could not function as a society. So even if we are by ourselves, we aren't really alone.

    In any case, it's not one or the other. Only "siths think in absolutes." hahhaah

    Anyway you were talking about why you prefer to sit alone, and now I got off topic. lol

    I am a fallible, human being. Sometimes I don't want to sit zazen, or do zazenkai or avoid swearing or sweets during ango; anything that is "practice". On one hand I could berate myself that my practice sucks. But I do that enough, and it's self-sabotage to not practice. But having a group helps me with that. It helps keep the intent alive. If I feel like giving up, seeing Dokan's or Dosho's practice or listening to one of Taigu's or Jundo's talks (for example) can help. With or without the Sangha, if we are on the path, we have to practice. Personally, I think the Sangha helps me.

    I always appreciate your posts because they are very well articulated, and they make me think about my practice. I wouldn't necessarily get that if I didn't read what you posted in this Sangha, so even if you prefer practicing alone, I know my practice is richer with you being here. You've been sitting for years, and I can always see that experience in what you post.

    Gassho,

    Risho

  36. #86
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Thank you Risho...deep bows for your teaching and your practice.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  37. #87
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Ian,

    Of course, we do require folks who participate in our Sangha to be sitting in the style of 'Just Sitting' Shikantaza at least once per day in the manner Practiced here. We ask everyone to do so (otherwise it is much like reading about 'swimming' without jumping in the water ... without being the waters flowing!). We also strongly encourage folks to join in the many other non-acitivities and Practices offered here. The Forum is intended merely as an aid to doing-non-doing so.

    Gassho, J
    That's fair enough. I think I may have underestimated the specificity of this sangha, and the emphasis on Google+, for which I apologize. I won't be using the latter at any point, so I think it fair to you all if I bow out now.

    Gassho,

    ian

  38. #88
    Member Thane's Avatar
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    Hi Nindo

    Thanks for your post on spiritual friendship. I am new to Treeleaf and haven't managed to get involved too much due to a busy home/work life period the past few months. However, i am really enjoying the book club and sitting on google+ with some of the Sangha members. Although new to Treeleaf, i have been practicing Buddhism for 13 years. One thing i am am sure of is the benefit of spiritual friendship. I also agree that this can have a different quality to it. I can think of people i took the precepts with back in 2003 and the members of a local Buddhist group i used to attend regularly and how i can discuss things with them that i can with few others and how grateful i am for that. I can also think of how close i have felt to people that i hardly know, when i have attended silent retreats. A bond forged with people below the ego, very special.

    So thanks for your post. I read it today, where i have been off work unwell (the flu, nothing serious, but it is man flu, the worst type!) and it reminded me, on a day when i did not feel it, to appreciate my life, including my spiritual fiends. The Sangha is true treasure.

    Gassho Nindo

  39. #89
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Thane and Nindo,

    Deep bows of gratitude to you both. There is nothing I can or need to add to what you have said so well.

    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  40. #90
    have to say it made me think that i actually need to sit not only for myself.
    but for the people i love and my family. so i can realize things for them! and just be a better person.


    Gassho, Dojin.
    I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
    - the Buddha

  41. #91
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wordsmith View Post
    That's fair enough. I think I may have underestimated the specificity of this sangha, and the emphasis on Google+, for which I apologize. I won't be using the latter at any point, so I think it fair to you all if I bow out now.

    Gassho,

    ian
    I don't think sitting on Google + is a requirement. The rest.....


    Shugen
    As a priest in training, please take everything I say with a pinch of salt

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  42. #92
    Treeleaf Unsui Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hello,
    What is there to say here?

    Sit Zazen then go to bed. Tomorrow worry about tomorrow. Good night.

    I wish you well.

    Gassho,
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  43. #93
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Treeleaf is not a forum where you discuss a movie or rant about something on the news.

    Treeleaf is a sangha, where we sit and practice together. We help, listen and understand.

    This is home.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  44. #94
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    I have been thinking about this question, and I too sometimes feel like I wish I could just practice by myself. But no matter where you go, you cannot avoid the Sangha. Treeleaf is our Sangha, but so is the town we live in, the community we live in, etc. We are never practicing alone. We are never practicing for ourselves. Awakening is not for ourselves alone; in fact, our vows are to help all sentient beings before we help ourself, even though most of the time I'm more concerned with myself.. I usually put myself first, my own stress, relaxation, avoiding dukkha at any cost. When studying during Jukai, specifically the part about taking refuge in the three treasures, we see Sangha from varying degrees.
    Thank you, Risho, for a beautiful description of Sangha.

    I was just reading this morning an old Sutta from the Vinaya describing the original formation of the Sangha 2500 years ago ... and all the bumps and frictions of personality in that community. The more things change, the more things stay the same.


    At that time some Bhikkhus, as they had no upagghâyas (preceptor-mentors to show them proper decorum) and received no exhortation and instruction, went on their rounds for alms wearing improper under and upper garments (or, wearing their under and upper garments improperly), and in an improper attire. While people were eating, they held out [asking for more] their alms-bowls in which were still leavings of food over the hard food (which the people were eating), and held them out over soft food, and held them out over savoury food, and held them out over drinks. They asked for soup and boiled rice themselves, and ate it; in the dining halls they made a great and loud noise. ...Some Bhikkhus heard those people that were annoyed, murmured, and had become angry. Those Bhikkhus who were moderate, frugal, modest, conscientious, anxious for training, were annoyed, murmured, and became angry: 'How can the Bhikkhus go on their rounds for alms wearing improper under and upper garments, &c.? How can they make so great and loud a noise in the dining halls?'
    http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/sbe13/sbe1312.htm

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-30-2012 at 02:25 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  45. #95
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Very good Jundo... thank you for this. It seems like this will be more comforting moving forward, well done.

    Thank you Risho for another delightful post!

    Jundo, if you would please, could I get Chet's email dropped into my box.



    Gassho
    Nothing Special

  46. #96
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wordsmith View Post
    I came here specifically to try and make spiritual friends.
    Don't worry, Ian, it's not usually like this. There's usually little to no opposition to the status quo and when there is, they usually leave a lot like Chet did.

    Gassho,

    Lisa

  47. #97
    Quote Originally Posted by ZenHarmony View Post
    Don't worry, Ian, it's not usually like this. There's usually little to no opposition to the status quo and when there is, they usually leave a lot like Chet did.

    Gassho,

    Lisa
    Hello Lisa,

    Even though what you say is true, do you think that it's the best way? In my experience (I'm going to qualify with that), people who passionately, vehemently disagree with you are very important to practice. Chet, both on here and in our personal correspondence, was and is very important to my practice precisely because I disagree with him on many points, and he with me. Working with this disagreement in an environment of mutual respect and understanding has certainly deepened my practice because it forces me to examine my assumptions, beliefs, and understanding in a way that wouldn't happen if we always agreed.

    Steve Jobs, a man who I have a solidly neutral opinion of, said this in an interview:
    [ ... ]

    And so we had a lot of great ideas when we started [the Mac]. But what I've always felt that a team of people doing something they really believe in is like is like when I was a young kid there was a widowed man that lived up the street. He was in his eighties. He was a little scary looking. And I got to know him a little bit. I think he may have paid me to mow his lawn or something.


    And one day he said to me, "come on into my garage I want to show you something." And he pulled out this dusty old rock tumbler. It was a motor and a coffee can and a little band between them. And he said, "come on with me." We went out into the back and we got just some rocks. Some regular old ugly rocks. And we put them in the can with a little bit of liquid and little bit of grit powder, and we closed the can up and he turned this motor on and he said, "come back tomorrow."


    And this can was making a racket as the stones went around.


    And I came back the next day, and we opened the can. And we took out these amazingly beautiful polished rocks. The same common stones that had gone in, through rubbing against each other like this (clapping his hands), creating a little bit of friction, creating a little bit of noise, had come out these beautiful polished rocks.


    That's always been in my mind my metaphor for a team working really hard on something they're passionate about. It's that through the team, through that group of incredibly talented people bumping up against each other, having arguments, having fights sometimes, making some noise, and working together they polish each other and they polish the ideas, and what comes out are these really beautiful stones. (Source)
    I see Zen practice in the same way. There is disharmony, and there is harmony. But in an environment of mutual respect, even the disharmony is harmony. In my own life, the most important times are when I bump up against something disagreeable, something that I don't want to deal with, something that I didn't even know it was there. In the local Zen center, there is this notion that Soto doesn't work with koans--this is precisely why I disagree. When you come up to a wall that you didn't know was there, or when you're forced to face something you'd rather not, what is the appropriate response? Every day I work with this in a variety of ways. Chet was and is important precisely because he's rough, often disagreeable, and very frequently points out things that it turns out I was working very hard to not see. In this way, he is a spiritual friend.

    Thank you all for your practice. May all beings realize the Buddha-Way together.

    In Gassho,

    Saijun
    To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity. --RBB

  48. #98
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saijun View Post
    Hello Lisa,

    Even though what you say is true, do you think that it's the best way? In my experience (I'm going to qualify with that), people who passionately, vehemently disagree with you are very important to practice... Working with this disagreement in an environment of mutual respect and understanding has certainly deepened my practice because it forces me to examine my assumptions, beliefs, and understanding in a way that wouldn't happen if we always agreed.
    I agree completely, Saijun, my post was simply an observation, nothing more and no disrespect meant to anyone.

    ,

    Lisa

  49. #99
    Quote Originally Posted by ZenHarmony View Post
    I agree completely, Saijun, my post was simply an observation, nothing more and no disrespect meant to anyone.

    ,

    Lisa
    Hello Lisa,

    I didn't see or consider anything you wrote to be disrespectful at all. That part of my post was just to emphasize that I feel mutual respect is key in difficult situations like this one (and all other situations!) because, especially through a medium like this, feelings can get easily hurt and meanings can be missed or expressed in a less-than-completely clear and skillful way (see my previous post!). My apologies for not being clear enough to express my meaning the first time through.

    In Gassho,

    Saijun
    To give up yourself without regret is the greatest charity. --RBB

  50. #100
    In a world where everyone agreed with me, I would remain an insufferable two-year-old my whole life . So gratitude for friction and disagreement is probably a good idea . But there is also something more than just disagreement that happens on discussion boards, where there is semi-anonymity. It is the acting-out of an "idee fixe". Within the online Buddhist scene this is frequently some version of... "I'm awakened and get it. Others, especially ordained teachers, don't get it". On a typical forum there is a continual stream of perseveration on this, riding the edge of the terms of service, and challenging any and all. It presents a moderating problem for Buddhists who want to be "compassionate" and "non-judgemental".

    Gassho, kojip
    大山

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