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Thread: scandals

  1. #1
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    scandals

    Brad says he is going to sell his Okesa on ebay ( he is a great guy but useless with a needle...I am just the opposite, great with a needle, usless as a man), teachers are but sexual predators ( look at all the scandals in America). So...What to think? Let me tell you something, some thirty years ago I have sewn my first robe, I still do, as long as I liive I wish I will. No best seller. Not funky-punky-brilliant Dharma. Salaryman in the train.

    what is important?

    "Dogen's naked bones sitting
    Your naked bones sitting
    Bones sitting"


    everything else is noise, chatter, smoke.


    Back to the cushion.





    Taigu


    PS: As I was telling one of my students tonight, how can Brad let go of the kesa as he sits and wears it from the start? Like all of you...So no worry, really ( on top of this, he has never sewn a kesa) So...all is well. and please do ,isten to his teaching, a great teaching indeed.
    Last edited by Taigu; 12-12-2012 at 01:08 PM.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  2. #2
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Taigu,

    Actually he said he's going to keep the rakusus and kesas, so he must have meant his kimono and/or koromo for sale on eBay. I suggested he return the rakusus and kesas to Nishijima, but I tend to doubt he'll take any advice I offer.

    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.

  3. #3
    I don't see that Brad Warner said anything about putting his robes up on Ebay, and his comment (in a Facebook post) about not considering himself clergy is not so shocking. Our whole Lineage is very much about softening and knocking down all the traditional barriers in Buddhism between "Ordained Clergy" "Lay Householders" "Male" and "Female". I would disagree with him about whether we are "clergy", because we function in that role in my eyes. Brad sometimes describes himself more as an "artist" or "Zen troubadour" or "spiritual entertainer", the label Alan Watts used to describe himself, and Brad may actually be a more effective voice of the Dharma in such role than leading a typical Zen Group or preaching to the same choir as all the other Zen folks.

    I wear the Chinese Robes out of respect for Tradition, and only once in awhile at our more formal Zazenkai, honoring Tradition. One can sit Zazen in a track suit or naked too.

    I wear the Kesa/Rakusu as an embodiment and symbol for the Buddha's Teachings and this Way ... but I feel I do so merely as a convention of my own heart. The magic is what I place in the threads by my sentiment. It is not unlike how Christians might stick two pieces of ordinary wood together and find the embodiment of their Teachings in doing so ... And it is the same for the ordinary cloth of a Kesa. The Buddha's Cloth is the "Robe of Liberation ... Beyond Form or Formless" because we place such meaning there.

    Anyway, Brad is keeping his it seems, so he must also see some value in such.

    As to sex scandals that pop up among some Zen Roshi (the latest being Sasaki Roshi, now 105 but apparently a groper in the Dokusan room for 50 years), I once wrote this ...

    --------------------------

    Today's subject in our "BIG Questions" series ... "When Roshis Act Ugly, Small And All Too Human".

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...8Bad-Roshis%29
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-13-2012 at 02:13 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I don't see that Bro. Brad Warner said anything about putting his robes up on Ebay
    Brad said, in a comment on his own Facebook post:

    I'll put the robes up on eBay pretty soon. Hopefully I can get some of my money back!
    Of course he could be joking, but he made a seperate comment about his rakusus and kesa:

    I'll keep the stuff that Nishijima gave me, like the rakusus and kesa. I'll also keep one of the robes because it has an interesting history. But I won't be wearing them in any clergy type capacity ever again for fear of causing more confusion.
    That led me to the conclusion that he meant his underrobes, but with Brad anything is possible (and I mean that in a good way for the most part).

    All that aside, my only concern is for people who did consider him their teacher. Many of the people who follow his blog and Facebook page will undoubtedly think Brad's words very wise and perhaps they are if they merely reveal who he has been all along (again, not saying that's a bad thing). I've complained in the past that he sees himself as an entertainer and he said exactly that in his original post:

    Just for the record, I do not now, nor have I ever considered myself a "member of clergy." I am a writer and an entertainer. It's true that I was once ordained as a monk. That was a mistake. I apologize for the confusion.
    So, I'm fine with what he said, although I'll admit referring to his ordination as a "mistake" did surprise me. I just figure some people will be upset and I hope Brad will see it as an obligation, clergy or not, to guide those folks to other resources.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Last edited by Dosho; 12-12-2012 at 04:32 PM.
    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.

  5. #5
    I don't think he is serious.

    Nishijima's Roshi's students are a diverse bunch, I often refer to as the Island of Misfit Zen Toys (referring to an old children's program in the US seen this time of year about an island near the North Pole where all the broken and misfit toys went to live from Santa's workshop ... the wooden train with 5 wheels, for example, and the square basketball ... )...



    Nishijima provided a home to some folks, each very devoted to this Zen Way in his or her own way. They range from Brad, on the one hand, to Dagmar Doko Waskoenig in Germany and Austria, a very conservative teacher who is very serious about the Vinaya rules, and became a full Vinaya nun ...

    http://www.buddhistwomen.eu/EN/index...agmarWaskoenig

    ... and many folks in between. I am an inbetweener on the "rules" I suppose.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  6. #6
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I am an inbetweener on the "rules" I suppose.
    And I tend to take things a little too seriously.

    We shall see.

    Gassho, D
    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.

  7. #7
    I see Dosho's point re: the pedestal that some put Brad (and all teachers, as well) on. I like and enjoy his writing, but I've never for once considered him a teacher nor do I think he would ever want to be a teacher to anyone! But perhaps we are all guilty (at times) of some adoration of teachers and think of them without fault.
    Hogen (Matt); formerly "mcurtiss"

  8. #8
    Hello,

    it's not about Brad's practise, it's not about Sasaki's practise or Shakyamuni Buddha's practise. Only about your own practise. How will you act when you are in a position of authority. how will you act when you get to know about a teacher sexually abusing someone first hand?

    YOUR practise, YOUR life, all else is building a few new appartments inside a daydream castle.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  9. #9
    Yup!

    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

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    it's not about Brad's practise, it's not about Sasaki's practise or Shakyamuni Buddha's practise. Only about your own practise. How will you act when you are in a position of authority. how will you act when you get to know about a teacher sexually abusing someone first hand?

    YOUR practise, YOUR life, all else is building a few new appartments inside a daydream castle.
    I know that...my question was whether or not people who consider Brad their teacher (and there are plenty of those) know that and how they will deal with him saying that he's not a zen teacher.

    But perhaps Jundo is right and Brad is just joking.

    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.

  11. #11
    Thanks taigu and hans.

    If there is / was a scandal I think everyone is late. I mean the guy is 105.

  12. #12
    If Brad really gives away his stuff, then it is a perfect example for non-attachment.

    Reminds me a bit of the famous story of the Zen master who burnt wooden Buddha statues to make some fire in winter.
    The teaching of non-attachment is IMHO one of the most important Zen has to offer.

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by LimoLama View Post

    Reminds me a bit of the famous story of the Zen master who burnt wooden Buddha statues to make some fire in winter.
    The teaching of non-attachment is IMHO one of the most important Zen has to offer.

    I feel so.

    Of course, I usually bow down to Buddha Statues endless times more than I burn them. However, sometimes it is fine to burn them, and one should never be attached. A Buddha Statue is also a piece of wood, nothing special. However, a Buddha Statue is also a reMINDer and symbol and embodiment of these Teachings. So, while not attached, I bow down and do embrace fully and honor the meaning in my heart. So it is with wearing Robes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    If there is / was a scandal I think everyone is late. I mean the guy is 105.
    As to Sasaki Roshi, although 105 he appears to have continued this even these days, not to mention the past decades.

    Neither is sex itself the issue. Japanese monks started having girlfriends and marrying a 150 years ago (actually many from centuries earlier, but not officially), and though many disagree, I find it a healthy thing … bringing this Way out into life. So long as we avoid the truly harmful, predatory, abusive, then sex is good, sex is fun, sex is beautiful.

    And that’s the issue … not sex. Zen Priests in the modern world can date, have sexual relationships, marry if they choose (or be celibate if they choose, a beautiful path for some. Different strokes … or the lack thereof … for different folks!). The real issue is the misuse of power, using the cloak of bestowing a “Special Teaching” as a pick-up line, saying that crawling into bed with the “Roshi” or being fondled is a necessary spiritual practice and that the seducee is somehow unworthy if she refuses, confusing the aura of “spiritual friend or guide” with the role of lover … something that can be very damaging to folks who are often (not always) at a very sensitive, fragile, searching time in their lives where they are absolutely trusting and easily (not always) damaged and disillusioned when the fires of sex are misused. A further question is the culture of cover-up the allowed it to continue, or explained it away, for decades.

    The following, published yesterday, is long but required reading for any serious Zen person.

    http://sweepingzen.com/some-reflecti...o-david-rubin/

    And folks newer to Zen should not be discouraged by such things. For every Teacher out there with a shadow, there are dozens and dozens of Zen teachers I know who are gentle, caring, dedicated, sincere men or women who would not hurt a fly. A few bad apples (or good apples with blemish here or there) do not ruin the whole orchard. I posted this comment after reading it ...

    May we all have students willing to write openly about our failings someday.

    This only strengthens my trust in this Way. The more beauty and ugliness appear to the eye, a Buddha’s Eye sees through-and-through.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-13-2012 at 08:59 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    What is a teacher of Zen anyway? Zen being seen as a direct pointing to the mind, outside of words and letters, actively being a Zen teacher or rejecting that "title" doesn't matter. Brad, helps a lot, in his own way. Whether he knows about it or not. It is very easy to project our ideas on how we want our teachers to be, especially if someone has transmission. (oooo big word).

    I met Brad once. He just like his books and writings.

    In the end, all it just pointers. nothing more. No teachings, no teachers. Nothing to impart. Nothing to take.
    See where all this is pointing to, and simply drop everything and go...
    Humbly,
    Seiryu

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Seiryu View Post

    In the end, all it just pointers. nothing more. No teachings, no teachers. Nothing to impart. Nothing
    And mastering such Way of Something-Nothing is greatly aided by having experienced Teachers and Sangha companions to help one along the way.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-13-2012 at 01:38 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Glanced at the title and thought this thread was about sandals. It's nice to get out of hot, stuffy, shoes when the warm weather comes.... let the toes hang out. But no. Never mind.

    .. have no insight on scandals.. Gassho, kojip
    大山

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by LimoLama View Post
    If Brad really gives away his stuff, then it is a perfect example for non-attachment.
    Yes, non-attachment. But in my experience, non-attachment for the sake of non-attachment can also be a sign of aversion (one of the three poisons).

    I'm not saying this is true for Brad!
    Just wanted to point that out.
    I kinda like the way he sometimes challenges my ideas in his unique way.

    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

  18. #18
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip View Post
    Glanced at the title and thought this thread was about sandals. It's nice to get out of hot, stuffy, shoes when the warm weather comes.... let the toes hang out. But no. Never mind.

    .. have no insight on scandals.. Gassho, kojip
    And this has made my morning! Thank you
    Try not to be a jerk-- one of the Buddhas

  19. #19
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Hello,
    Does anyone know if the SZBA have clear guidelines on dealing with sexual and physical abuse issues?
    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."

  20. #20
    Hi Myozan,

    They ask and encourage all their members to have ethics policies in place, including on issues of abuse, and have various committees charged with advising on good ethical standards for Soto Zen Clergy and developing "model" ethics policies.

    http://szba.org/wp-content/uploads/S..._Sept_2011.pdf

    Ours here at Treeleaf is modeled on that ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...plaint-Box-%29

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  21. #21
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Thanks Jundo.
    I'll be interested in looking these guidelines over. Like any guidelines, they are only of use if followed, of course.
    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."

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Myozan Kodo View Post
    Thanks Jundo.
    I'll be interested in looking these guidelines over. Like any guidelines, they are only of use if followed, of course.
    Gassho
    Myozan
    As a priest-in-training here, you are expected to uphold them and be bound by them. You were, of course, familiar with our ethics guidelines here at Treeleaf before today I hope.

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  23. #23
    Junior Member esotericsam's Avatar
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    This all strikes me as a bit shady. He's now "disrobing" and claiming he never considered himself a teacher. But he wrote 3 popular Zen books, founded a popular youth movement, and holds regular sittings where he is in charge. Brad. is most certainly human, just as I am so I don't want to assume a punishing and judging mentality

    I've encountered this kind of thing in evangelicalism - trying so hard to be cool and relevant that you get to treat people how they would like to be treated. In the process thousands of young "Hardcore Zen" followers are left behind. Marketing gone wrong.

    There's nothing hardcore, cool, or rebellious, about Zen. It's a very old, traditional, and demanding practice. It stands on its own merits of imparting joy, happiness, peace, mindfulness, and mental health. That should be enough.

  24. #24
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    "There's nothing hardcore, cool, or rebellious, about Zen. It's a very old, traditional, and demanding practice..."

    Why does it have to be one or the other? I would agree with both statements. Zen is a very old and demanding practice. It has migrated across continents through the hundreds and thousands of years.... Shikantaza is also very demanding..... indeed, it gets harder the more time you spend on the cushion..... as far as being rebellious goes, from a historical perspective Chinese emperors and rulers over the centuries alternatively co-opted, bought into, and attempted to eradicate Chan/Zen Buddhism because of its potential to challenge centralized authority. The same was true in Japan in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and I am sure more knowledgeable folks here than me will indicate this was the case much earlier as well.

    Shikantaza can be very hardcore as well - it is not new age meditation - to be alone with a zafu and your own thoughts is tough stuff and requires enormous discipline. To sit and face a blank wall for day after day, year after year, when it is easier to watch TV, go shopping, or eat Twinkies is pretty hardcore in my mind.

    From a cultural perspective in the United States, the notion of Zen as rebellious and cool is a cultural one - may have started with Gary Snyder and Alan Ginsberg and colleagues of their generation - thought of as counterculture and anti-establishment.... this is somewhat unfortunate as the more I read Snyder's work I like what he has to say. It is thoughtful and he is very close to our own lineage's emphasis on dissolving the boundaries between lay and clerical/monastic practice. He very much advocates practicing "out in the world." Just as Koans have been used to disrupt conventional thought processes there have been practitioners (aren't we all teachers?) who have thought to challenge the status quo by utilising techniques, commentary, and fora that are considered "in your face," "improper" or not conventional (Brad?). The maple tree outside my window is a marvelous teacher to me - it doesn't wear an Okesa - does that delegitimize it? In my mind this is the only way our practice is advanced, and prevents becoming arteriosclerotic. More power to Brad, as far as I am concerned. I may not always agree with what he says, but he challenges our thinking and practice. The truth is that Zen takes on the character of the cultures and society it migrates into - it changed when it migrated from China to Japan, and it is changing as develops in the United States and Europe - it takes on the flavors of the things it is mixed with. We depend on experienced teachers and "good friends" in practice to help us stay on track and determine whether or not our practice is authentic and consistent with the teachings....both from the past and present. I have to be careful with the word tradition because that can become a euphemism for rejecting change or evolution. There are many varieties of Zen practice, and the US is not without those who differ significantly as to what constitutes Zen practice. I find the intramural squabbling in the Zen community - picking and choosing - to be foolish and a waste of time. Sit, live and love. Practice with a sangha. Follow your heart. The rest is beyond our control.

    Deep bows,
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 12-13-2012 at 05:40 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

  25. #25
    Junior Member esotericsam's Avatar
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    I very much appreciated your thoughts Yugen. Thanks. I am very new to Zen.

  26. #26
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    And I am very glad you are here to practice with us! Like you, I am very new to Zen - every day!

    I also owe you an apology - my comments were very US-centric - I do not know a lot about Zen practice in Canada - and do not presume they are the same. Perhaps you will share with us what you find...

    Keep it up!

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 12-13-2012 at 05:59 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

  27. #27
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    As a priest-in-training here, you are expected to uphold them and be bound by them. You were, of course, familiar with our ethics guidelines here at Treeleaf before today I hope.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Yes. I was looking into the SZBA guidelines. I know we have guidelines. An ethics committee. I was interested in any concerted effort at offering guidelines to the wider Soto Zen world in the west. I am not ignorant of our ethical guidelines and our five-man committee.

    Regarding our ethics committee, maybe we should have a woman or two on board for gender balance?

    Thanks for the link.
    Gassho
    Myozan
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-14-2012 at 01:48 AM.
    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."

  28. #28
    Senior Member Jakudo's Avatar
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    Spot on Yugen, I'm tired of the bickering that goes on....just sit. I have met Brad and he was nothing like his writing style would suggest. Also when I was practising without a teacher I would occasionally e mail Brad with questions about practice and he always got back to me with good advice and I am grateful for that. All our life is our temple, and everything can be our teacher.
    Gassho, Shawn Jakudo Hinton
    It all begins when we say, I. Everything that follows is illusion.
    "Even to speak the word Buddha is dragging in the mud soaking wet; Even to say the word Zen is a total embarrassment."
    寂道

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    "There's nothing hardcore, cool, or rebellious, about Zen. It's a very old, traditional, and demanding practice..."

    Why does it have to be one or the other? I would agree with both statements. Zen is a very old and demanding practice. It has migrated across continents through the hundreds and thousands of years.... Shikantaza is also very demanding..... indeed, it gets harder the more time you spend on the cushion..... as far as being rebellious goes, from a historical perspective Chinese emperors and rulers over the centuries alternatively co-opted, bought into, and attempted to eradicate Chan/Zen Buddhism because of its potential to challenge centralized authority. The same was true in Japan in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and I am sure more knowledgeable folks here than me will indicate this was the case much earlier as well.

    Shikantaza can be very hardcore as well - it is not new age meditation - to be alone with a zafu and your own thoughts is tough stuff and requires enormous discipline. To sit and face a blank wall for day after day, year after year, when it is easier to watch TV, go shopping, or eat Twinkies is pretty hardcore in my mind.

    From a cultural perspective in the United States, the notion of Zen as rebellious and cool is a cultural one - may have started with Gary Snyder and Alan Ginsberg and colleagues of their generation - thought of as counterculture and anti-establishment.... this is somewhat unfortunate as the more I read Snyder's work I like what he has to say. It is thoughtful and he is very close to our own lineage's emphasis on dissolving the boundaries between lay and clerical/monastic practice. He very much advocates practicing "out in the world." Just as Koans have been used to disrupt conventional thought processes there have been practitioners (aren't we all teachers?) who have thought to challenge the status quo by utilising techniques, commentary, and fora that are considered "in your face," "improper" or not conventional (Brad?). The maple tree outside my window is a marvelous teacher to me - it doesn't wear an Okesa - does that delegitimize it? In my mind this is the only way our practice is advanced, and prevents becoming arteriosclerotic. More power to Brad, as far as I am concerned. I may not always agree with what he says, but he challenges our thinking and practice. The truth is that Zen takes on the character of the cultures and society it migrates into - it changed when it migrated from China to Japan, and it is changing as develops in the United States and Europe - it takes on the flavors of the things it is mixed with. We depend on experienced teachers and "good friends" in practice to help us stay on track and determine whether or not our practice is authentic and consistent with the teachings....both from the past and present. I have to be careful with the word tradition because that can become a euphemism for rejecting change or evolution. There are many varieties of Zen practice, and the US is not without those who differ significantly as to what constitutes Zen practice. I find the intramural squabbling in the Zen community - picking and choosing - to be foolish and a waste of time. Sit, live and love. Practice with a sangha. Follow your heart. The rest is beyond our control.

    Deep bows,
    Yugen
    Thank you, Yugen, this speaks my heart too.

    Throughout its history, Zen has been rebellious and iconoclastic, but also conservative and honoring of Tradition ... and usually it was the same people who were both at once. For all his supposed sexual and moral freedom, Ikkyu has also been shown by historians to be quite the stick in the mud and traditionalist in other ways. There is a time for each. Let's manifest "Rebel-Non-Rebel" ... both bowing down and burning the wooden Buddha statue when the time is right (Ikkyu would bow down to statues, but also reportedly pissed on one he was asked to consecrate). I find Brad ... so "straight edge", conservative about drink, drugs and certainly no "seducer of women" ... to be such a Rebel-Non-Rebel. (Me too, Taigu too!).

    I wrote this to and about Brad regarding being "clergy" ... just my feeling ...

    Our whole Lineage [through Niwa, the Abbot of Eiheiji and Nishijima, the priest-working man he ordained] is very much about softening and knocking down all the traditional barriers in Buddhism between “Ordained Clergy” “Lay Householders” “Male” and “Female”. I would disagree with him about whether we are “clergy”, because we function in that role in my eyes … like someone is a “bus driver” when they drive a bus on a regular basis. [Beyond one having undergone the rituals of "Home Leaving" Ordination and "Dharma Transmission"], if one is writing books about Zen, is leading sittings and writing advice columns on peoples’ personal issues in a major Buddhist magazine [like Tricycle, as Brad is], then one would be functioning as “clergy”. But that is just my view, and need not be Brad’s view and, for what it is worth, I support it. Brad sometimes describes himself more as an “artist” or “Zen troubadour” or “spiritual entertainer”, the same label Alan Watts used to describe himself, and Brad may actually be a more effective voice of the Dharma in such role than leading a typical Zen Group or preaching to the same choir as all the other Zen folks.

    More here on Ikkyu ... the surprisingly sometimes conservative rebel ...

    His life grew progressively more unconventional with time, just the opposite of most. Beginning as a classicist in the finest Kyoto tradition, he had gone on to become a spiritual recluse in the mountains under a harsh meditation master. After all this training he then took the road, becoming a wandering monk in the traditional T'ang mode.

    Well, almost in the traditional mode. He seemed to wander into brothels and wine shops almost as often as into Zen temples. He consorted with high and low, merchant and commoner, male and female. Our record of these explorations, both geographic and social, is in his writings, particularly his poetry. He also harbored a vendetta against the complacency and corruption of Japanese Zen and its masters, particularly the new abbot of Daitoku-ji, an older man named Yoso who had once been a fellow disciple of his beloved Kaso.

    When Ikkyu was forty-six he was invited by Yoso to head a subtemple in the Daitoku-ji compound. He accepted, much to the delight of his admirers, who began bringing the temple donations in gratitude. However, after only ten days Ikkyu concluded that Daitoku-ji too had become more concerned with ceremony than with the preservation of Zen, and he wrote a famous protest poem as a parting gesture—claiming he could find more of Zen in the meat, drink, and sex traditionally forbidden Buddhists.

    For ten days in this temple my mind's been in turmoil,
    My feet are entangled in endless red tape.
    If some day you get around to looking for me,
    Try the fish-shop, the wine parlor, or the brothel.17

    Ikkyu's attack on the commercialization of Zen was not without cause. The scholar Jan Covell observes that in Ikkyu's time, "Rinzai Zen had sunk to a low point and enlightenment was 'sold,' particularly by those temples associated with the Shogunate. Zen temples also made money in sake-brewing and through usury. In the mid-fifteenth century one Zen temple, Shokoku-ji, furnished all the advisers to the Shogunate's government and received most of the bribes. The imperial-sanctioned temple of Daitoku-ji was only on the fringe of this corruption, but Ikkyu felt he could not criticize it enough."18

    ... Ikkyu used his poetry (later collected as the "Crazy Cloud Poems" or Kyoun-shu) as a means of expressing his enlightenment, as well as his criticism of the establishment. It also, as often as not, celebrated sensual over spiritual pleasures. ... When Ikkyu was in his seventies, during the disastrous civil conflict known as the Onin war, he had a love affair with a forty-year-old temple attendant named Mori. On languid afternoons she would play the Japanese koto or harp and he the wistful-sounding shakuhachi, a long bamboo flute sometimes carried by monks as a weapon. This late-life love affair occasioned a number of erotic poems, including one that claims her restoration of his virility (called by the Chinese euphemism "jade stalk") cheered his disciples.

    How is my hand like Mori's hand?
    Self confidence is the vassal, Freedom the master.
    When I am ill she cures the jade stalk
    And brings joy back to my followers.22

    Ironically, the real-life Ikkyu spent his twilight years restoring Daitoku-ji after its destruction (along with the rest of Kyoto) from the ten-year Onin war (1467-77), by taking over the temple and using his contacts in the merchant community to raise funds. He had over a hundred disciples at this time, a popularity that saddened him since earlier (and, he thought, more deserving) masters had had many fewer followers. Thus in the last decade of his life he finally exchanged his straw sandals and reed hat for the robes of a prestigious abbot over a major monastery. His own ambivalence on this he confessed in a poem:

    Fifty years a rustic wanderer,
    Now mortified in purple robes.26

    From: The Zen Experience by Thomas Hoover
    http://www.gutenberg.org/files/34325...-h/34325-h.htm
    By the way, Barbara O'brien over at "About Buddhism" has what I feel is a very fair assessment of Brad and what he is saying on teacher-student sexual relationships ...

    http://buddhism.about.com/b/2012/12/...s-disagree.htm

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 12-14-2012 at 01:43 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Myozan Kodo View Post

    Regarding our ethics committee, maybe we should have a woman or two on board for gender balance? ...

    Thanks for the link.
    Gassho
    Myozan
    Excellent suggestion.

    And, although we see beyond and through-and-through all mental divisions of male, female, gay, straight, transgender and everything beyond ... I would like to see soon more novice priests-in-training of the female persuasion and such.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  31. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    "There's nothing hardcore, cool, or rebellious, about Zen. It's a very old, traditional, and demanding practice..."

    Why does it have to be one or the other? I would agree with both statements. Zen is a very old and demanding practice. It has migrated across continents through the hundreds and thousands of years.... Shikantaza is also very demanding..... indeed, it gets harder the more time you spend on the cushion..... as far as being rebellious goes, from a historical perspective Chinese emperors and rulers over the centuries alternatively co-opted, bought into, and attempted to eradicate Chan/Zen Buddhism because of its potential to challenge centralized authority. The same was true in Japan in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and I am sure more knowledgeable folks here than me will indicate this was the case much earlier as well.

    Shikantaza can be very hardcore as well - it is not new age meditation - to be alone with a zafu and your own thoughts is tough stuff and requires enormous discipline. To sit and face a blank wall for day after day, year after year, when it is easier to watch TV, go shopping, or eat Twinkies is pretty hardcore in my mind.

    From a cultural perspective in the United States, the notion of Zen as rebellious and cool is a cultural one - may have started with Gary Snyder and Alan Ginsberg and colleagues of their generation - thought of as counterculture and anti-establishment.... this is somewhat unfortunate as the more I read Snyder's work I like what he has to say. It is thoughtful and he is very close to our own lineage's emphasis on dissolving the boundaries between lay and clerical/monastic practice. He very much advocates practicing "out in the world." Just as Koans have been used to disrupt conventional thought processes there have been practitioners (aren't we all teachers?) who have thought to challenge the status quo by utilising techniques, commentary, and fora that are considered "in your face," "improper" or not conventional (Brad?). The maple tree outside my window is a marvelous teacher to me - it doesn't wear an Okesa - does that delegitimize it? In my mind this is the only way our practice is advanced, and prevents becoming arteriosclerotic. More power to Brad, as far as I am concerned. I may not always agree with what he says, but he challenges our thinking and practice. The truth is that Zen takes on the character of the cultures and society it migrates into - it changed when it migrated from China to Japan, and it is changing as develops in the United States and Europe - it takes on the flavors of the things it is mixed with. We depend on experienced teachers and "good friends" in practice to help us stay on track and determine whether or not our practice is authentic and consistent with the teachings....both from the past and present. I have to be careful with the word tradition because that can become a euphemism for rejecting change or evolution. There are many varieties of Zen practice, and the US is not without those who differ significantly as to what constitutes Zen practice. I find the intramural squabbling in the Zen community - picking and choosing - to be foolish and a waste of time. Sit, live and love. Practice with a sangha. Follow your heart. The rest is beyond our control.

    Deep bows,
    Yugen
    This was a wonderful post Yugen, thank you, I enjoyed that very much.

    Gassho
    Michael
    倫道 真現

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

  32. #32
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Yes Yugen, it is very well expressed and pretty close to what I deeply feel.
    Originally, we see the universe as a kesa. And we practice sewing one too.
    There is room for siiting with or without a kesa, even wihout one, the okesa of space is wrapping peoples body.

    Our tradition is simple.

    There is room for punk Zen and room for okesa Zen.


    Gassho


    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  33. #33
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Yes. A great post Yugen. Thank you.

    Taigu, is Zen Zen without the Okesa? And I don't mean here the deeper meaning of this reality which is stitched together.

    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."

  34. #34
    Hi Jundo,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Of course, I usually bow down to Buddha Statues endless times more than I burn them. However, sometimes it is fine to burn them, and one should never be attached. A Buddha Statue is also a piece of wood, nothing special. However, a Buddha Statue is also a reMINDer and symbol and embodiment of these Teachings. So, while not attached, I bow down and do embrace fully and honor the meaning in my heart. So it is with wearing Robes.
    I totally agree with you.
    Actually, it depends on how we approach it - a Buddha statue can be both something holy and something ordinary. The same holds true for my vacuum cleaner or any dust particle it removes.
    While these don't have a commonly accepted religious meaning I can give them the meaning when I approach them in a certain manner.

    It is like TNH's Gatha I use when I wash the dishes:
    Washing the dishes
    is like bathing a baby Buddha.
    The profane is the sacred.
    Everyday mind is Buddha's mind.

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  35. #35
    Senior Member ZenHarmony's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    ...The maple tree outside my window is a marvelous teacher to me - it doesn't wear an Okesa - does that delegitimize it? ... We depend on experienced teachers and "good friends" in practice to help us stay on track and determine whether or not our practice is authentic and consistent with the teachings....both from the past and present. ... I find the intramural squabbling in the Zen community - picking and choosing - to be foolish and a waste of time. Sit, live and love. Practice with a sangha. Follow your heart. The rest is beyond our control.
    Exactly.



    Lisa

  36. #36
    First ordained sangha is ordained sangha,
    then ordained sangha is not ordained sangha
    then ordained sangha is ordained sangha,


    When ordained sangha is not ordained sangha, it is so for all, it is not selective...as in mountains but not rivers. It is mountains and rivers. It is all burned up in the kalpa fire (or however it is said). The "Absolute" can only be invoked from a hidden position, a hidden partiality. It is the propaganda of uncooked practice. So I can only pass on that, and just keep chewing grass. While Bowing to ordained sangha.

    impatient, runny nosed, Gassho, kojip
    Last edited by Daizan; 12-14-2012 at 11:33 AM.
    大山

  37. #37
    Senior Member Matt's Avatar
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    When reading all of the back and forth going on over the scandals - and here I'm referring primarily to Sweeping Zen and not this particular discussion thread - I've felt a lack of what I would call 'loving-kindness' in the correspondence. Yes, I know that zen folk are still human. Their feelings can be hurt. They can react defensively.

    But the tone of much of that discussion has bothered me. I would hope that, even when we disagree with others, that we would try and understand where the other person is coming from and respond in a compassionate manner, even when we disagree about such serious issues. I would hope that this would be especially true for those who are zen leaders.

    I am encouraged by Jundo's words: ''And folks newer to Zen should not be discouraged by such things. For every Teacher out there with a shadow, there are dozens and dozens of Zen teachers I know who are gentle, caring, dedicated, sincere men or women who would not hurt a fly. A few bad apples (or good apples with blemish here or there) do not ruin the whole orchard."

    Gassho,
    Matt

  38. #38
    I met Sasaki Roshi in 1980, I think. It was a three day sesshin and my first time ever sitting formally and doing dokusan. He gave me a koan I still keep with me and think it often. It was training koan, nothing heavy. He was such an imposing presence sitting there. Never forgot that either.

    At the end of the last day sitting I was asked to drive him and his wife to visit a student of his in South Miami, not far. The student had build a tea house in the garden and wanted Roshi to service a tea ceremony. It was Roshi, his student and his wife and little old me there in that simple and powerful little bamboo and palm hut.

    I treasure the memory and can be there at will, even these many years since. His wife did the ceremony. Her grace lifting the bamboo ladle and placing it just so and handling the tea spoon and green tea powder.....the hot water from the fire pit......the turning of the cup this way and then the opposite direction. Roshi in zazen, immutable. The student, a large martial arts type immovable. Me taking it all in, present.

    Never saw Roshi again but he is still with me in that hut. That I keep, the rest I let go. Yet...

    Last edited by Ed; 12-14-2012 at 04:42 PM.
    "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to it....it is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
    Dogen zenji in Bendowa






  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post

    The following, published yesterday, is long but required reading for any serious Zen person.

    http://sweepingzen.com/some-reflecti...o-david-rubin/


    Gassho, Jundo[/I]
    Very credible and compelling narrative. Wouldn't be surprised if his dharma heir is announced and he is retired to the farm.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  40. #40
    Quote Originally Posted by LimoLama View Post
    Hi Jundo,


    I totally agree with you.
    Actually, it depends on how we approach it - a Buddha statue can be both something holy and something ordinary. The same holds true for my vacuum cleaner or any dust particle it removes.
    While these don't have a commonly accepted religious meaning I can give them the meaning when I approach them in a certain manner.

    It is like TNH's Gatha I use when I wash the dishes:
    Washing the dishes
    is like bathing a baby Buddha.
    The profane is the sacred.
    Everyday mind is Buddha's mind.

    Gassho,

    Timo
    Timo, I put this into Practice today for our Zazenkai, if you look about 2 minutes from the start.

    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  41. #41
    Hi Jundo,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Timo, I put this into Practice today for our Zazenkai, if you look about 2 minutes from the start.
    That was awesome (also wrote an answer at the Zazenkai thread), I was there "live"...
    I couldn't believe it - I love unconventional methods!
    I'm just glad you didn't burn anything...

    I guess we must be very careful what we say here - who knows what else you'll put into practice?

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

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