Requesting some help here. I am writing an essay for Net of Indra .org... the site I hope to have up in January, that (fingers crossed) may become a creative laboratory for developing this medium for Sangha activity. One issue I would like to run by Treeleafers is.... "live vs. memorex" Recently, on the Zazenkai thread , Jundo said this in response to a concern about not being there up for live sitting....
This is beautiful, and I'm glad I wouldn't feel disconnected because I cannot sit live. In the "absolute" we all sit together anywhere anytime we sit.Don't overdo if not your natural waking time. The Zazenkai is intended to be sat in any time, any time zone, no difference. Don't get caught up in "live" or not.
Variation on a famous Koan ...
Zen master taps a computer screen with his stick and asks, "live or not? I won't say, I won't say."
However, in writing on this subject, and on the concerns that bricks and mortar traditionalists have (which are fair enough), there is a flip side to making no distinction in time and space. It is a new twist on the long history of conveniently invoking the Absolute. Saying "anywhere anytime it makes no difference, we sit together" can very easily slide from including those with out-of-sync schedules, into becoming a device for sanctifying practice at my convenience. Where I do not have move out of my comfort zone in any way. The result is a "together" of people sitting with recordings or empty "hangouts" ...."doing my own thing". This is surely a concern of people who see online practice as lacking real commitment, and therefore not worth recognizing. Including concerns of the traditional Zendo is a important part of this project.
I appreciate any help or feedback on this issue from the sangha... where is the practical balance? Thank you.