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Thread: SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: I AM-NOT-NOT-AM-AM A ZEN ARTIST CLERGY !

  1. #1

    SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: I AM-NOT-NOT-AM-AM A ZEN ARTIST CLERGY !

    My Dharma Bro. BRAD WARNER has written (HERE) that we are not Zen "Clergy" ... or at least, he is not "Clergy". He writes ...


    Zen has to be just a little bit dangerous. If it’s not, it ceases to be Zen. The reason that Zen can go as deeply as it does into the question of what it means to be truly human comes in a large part because it’s not entirely safe. The safer, more rule-bound, more structured and organized it becomes, the shallower and less valuable it gets. Nobody gets hurt (supposedly) but nobody learns much of anything either.


    I completely agree, except that I don't. In fact, I totally disagree, except that Brad is totally right. Anyway, what one does is more important than some artificial name or category. Beyond names and mental categories.

    Our Teacher, GUDO WAFU NISHIJIMA, was a Traditionalist (as seen in the picture over there with the funny hat and fly swatter), except when he wasn't at all. Sometimes he taught us to follow "Old Timeless Traditions", but often he told us to make "New Timeless Traditions" fitting for our culture and times. Sometimes he told us that his way was to be "his way or the highway", except when he let us go our own way. Sometimes he stuck closely to every word and rule of Dogen, except when he didn't.



    So, are we artisans? clergy? artists? wandering musicians? ministers? comedians? priests? rabbis? bakers or candle stick makers?



    Last edited by Jundo; 01-10-2013 at 06:23 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  2. #2
    Thank you Jundo for this talk and I guess thank you Brad for coming up with these articles that stir things up. There's a danger with any label. For Brad, if I understood him correctly, "clergy" is belonging to a group and following its "rigid" rules and for Jundo "clergy" is helping people with their spiritual matters, among other things. The same word can be both very limiting and very liberating at the same time.
    Gassho,
    Andy

  3. #3
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Thank you Jundo and good for you Andy. I think you hit it right on. We obviously have a ministering rabbi in our midst who cares for us and wants us to do well. Hence, his continuous admonition of "Just sit!"

    gassho to you both and Brad as well
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  4. #4
    Thank you, Jundo.


    Tradition/Free-play ... no problem.

    Gassho, kojip.
    大山

  5. #5
    Thank you Jundo ... I really enjoyed this talk.

    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.

  6. #6
    Thank you Jundo and thank you to Brad too.

    Gassho
    Shohei

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Thank you Jundo. Thank you Brad for keeping the Earth moving under our feet.

    Gassho.
    Chris

  8. #8
    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    Thanks Jundo. To the point and wide open

    Gassho,

    Daido
    Jiken Daido - Unsui at Treeleaf's Brother Sangha, the Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage.

    Do not just accept what I say. Decide for yourself if it rings true for you

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Sometimes he told us that his way was to be "his way or the highway", except when he let us go our own way. Sometimes he stuck closely to every word and rule of Dogen, except when he didn't.
    This is great.
    I think when we are immersed, soaked in doing, our ideas and definitions of who we are evaporate. When we are teaching, we are teachers; when dancing, dancers; when ministering or comforting, we're ministers. Our labels are a lot more about us giving ourselves a box for our idea of self. Useful in the everyday sense, but ultimately off the mark. I think . . .


    Gassho,
    Eika


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    [size=150:m8cet5u6]??[/size:m8cet5u6] We are involved in a life that passes understanding and our highest business is our daily life---John Cage

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    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    I like the way Brad describes how he learnt from Nishijima, by watching and not necessarily by being told.
    迎 Geika

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    I like the way Brad describes how he learnt from Nishijima, by watching and not necessarily by being told.
    That is a way of teaching called Mi-narai ... learning by seeing ... very common throughout Japan (and many other traditional societies with master-apprentice systems).

    One of the best "mi-narai" stories I know tells of a young apprentice in a traditional Sushi restaurant who, for the first years, was allowed to do little more than wash and prepare the rice ... never picking up a knife or touching the fish, only observing the master's work from nearby. One day, after a few years, the master took sick and the apprentice was asked to fill in. Exclaimed the apprentice, "But I don't know how to do anything but wash rice!"

    The master responded, "What? What have you been looking at all these years?"

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  13. #13
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    That is a way of teaching called Mi-narai ... learning by seeing ... very common throughout Japan (and many other traditional societies with master-apprentice systems).

    One of the best "mi-narai" stories I know tells of a young apprentice in a traditional Sushi restaurant who, for the first years, was allowed to do little more than wash and prepare the rice ... never picking up a knife or touching the fish, only observing the master's work from nearby. One day, after a few years, the master took sick and the apprentice was asked to fill in. Exclaimed the apprentice, "But I don't know how to do anything but wash rice!"

    The master responded, "What? What have you been looking at all these years?"

    Gassho, J
    迎 Geika

  14. #14
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Thank you for the talk.


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

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  15. #15
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Thank you, Jundo.

    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

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    That is a way of teaching called Mi-narai ... learning by seeing ... very common throughout Japan (and many other traditional societies with master-apprentice systems).
    ...
    The master responded, "What? What have you been looking at all these years?"

    Gassho, J
    Thank you, Jundo! I've learned a lot in life not from the degreed "experts" but from the skilled craftsmen. And maybe that has some bearing here: it doesn't matter what "title" a person has, but what skills and wisdom he can impart. Sometimes even a "fool" can have tremendous insight. Schooling is good, but it can't guarantee wisdom. Maybe this is why the Buddha wanted us to put everything to the test?

    I consider you, Brad, Taigu, and many others here "journeymen artisans" I enjoy learning from!

    Gassho, Dennis
    Last edited by Dennis; 01-18-2013 at 07:27 AM.

  17. #17
    In my martial art this Mi-narai is important. In Japan in small dojo they look more than in the West, without asking so much questions, and it works, their leveil are generally higher than here even they practice less.
    It implies that you comprehend by your self and your eyes are used to work, what can make things easily when you do kata to observe your partner.

    Gassho
    Myoshin 妙 心
    "A person who receives the Buddhist Precepts enters the state of Buddha at once. They stand at the same level as Gautama Buddha. We can say they are a child of the Buddha." Jundo

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    Thank you
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

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    Thank you Jundo.
    Neika / Ian Adams

    寧 Nei - Peaceful/Courteous
    火 Ka - Fire

    Look for Buddha outside your own mind, and Buddha becomes the devil. --Dogen

  20. #20
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    What I consider wonderful about Zen is that it is perhaps the last pure form of apprenticeship out there - we learn by practicing, watching, and repeating... most often the instruction is wordless. I forwarded Brad Warner's blog post regarding "Clergy" to a friend and person whom I consider an important teacher of mine - more like a "good friend" along the way - Gary Lawless of Gulf of Maine books. He publishes the work of Nanao Sakaki (whom I highly suggest you check out in his own right) - Nanao and Gary were some of the original Dharma bums with Gary Snyder and Alan Ginsburg - I'd like to share his response (I have permission).... and I'm interested in your thoughts. I think Brad was right on the mark when he said Zen has to be just a little bit dangerous - unpredictable - and individual. Please pay attention to Gary's description of the Chinese character for sincerity near the end....

    We are surrounded by many teachers, and there are gifts of lessons that are taught simply by living. This is one of them I believe...

    "my involvement with zen practice has been a very non church, non clergy experience - particularly because it comes through gary snyder and nanao
    i had read about zen buddhism before i got to snyder's house, but once i was there, i was a part of a practicing zen community. as in the essay, i was gary's apprentice - nothing was ever overt - i watched, listened, participated -
    and part of that was zazen every morning - 7 days a week - we gathered at an outdoor zendo - people walked there from several houses nearby, and we sat, did some chanting, had dharma talks on saturday - and yes the clergy in robes were there - baker roshi, sometimes huston smith, alan watts, ed espe brown, philip whalen, always snyder - and then a bunch of us stumbling beginners with no formal "education" in what we were doing
    but there was a difference betwen baker roshi's approach, and snyder's approach, and then there was nanao who was definitely not interested in church or clergy but seemed to me the best example of zen practiced in living -
    so i was twisted away from clergy, lineage, church - and just lived every day learning as much as i could, listening, watching - as this essay said yes
    no one told me to bow to the statue, but everyone did it -
    and i know that for many the structure and map of progress is useful and necessary -
    i just never became a serious practitioner -
    i listened more to nanao
    became an apprentice dharma bum
    you know the chinese character for sincerity - with the man standing next to words coming out of a mouth -
    standing by your word, your words the same when inside and outside
    that kind of practice in the world -
    i think that dogen and nanao would have gotten along, and it would have been fun to see"


    Deep bows,
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 01-24-2013 at 01:45 AM.
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    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

  21. #21
    Great post Yugen, thank you.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

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

  22. #22
    Hello all,

    Have really been enjoying all of these sit-a-longs, an exquisite melding of message, humor and "shall we sit with/as that..." The dialogue that follows is wonderful, thank you

    Yugen, thanks, too, for your quote from Gary Lawless/Gulf of Maine Books...in a most circuitous manner, while researching Albert Saijo, I contacted Gary in order to find a 2000 recording of Snyder, Sakaki and Saijo reciting poetry here in Hawaii; poet Richard Hamasaki had recently sent him copies (if you have not already done so also good to listen to, "Break the Mirror" was one of them)...at the same time, picked up Gary's Caribouddhism and Rexroth's In the Sierra, enjoying those as well

    many ways to practice

    Gassho,
    Jon
    #SatToday

  23. #23
    Thank you Jon,

    I just listened again to this old talk, and might amend something I said about the old Buddhist Vinaya, the set of extremely detailed rules for Monk behavior from India. Our friend and recent guest at Treeleaf, Buddhist historian and translator Jeff Kotyk, points out in many of his writings that the Vinaya built up over time ... much of it long after the time of the Buddha ... as rule piled up on rule, much like the U.S. Tax Code!

    So, while never "loose", the Buddha's original Community and its environment may have been quite a bit more flexible and simple in the rules. I doubt it was ever a "hippy commune", however, and I believe that the Buddha was always concerned with moderating or abandoning desires, leaving worldly attachments behind for monks, right and ethical behavior. It was just much more minimalist and less rule based. On his excellent blog, Jeff does quite a bit of writing about this (recommended only for Buddhist history wonks however):

    https://sites.google.com/site/dharma...buddhismvinaya

    https://sites.google.com/site/dharma...-in-the-vinaya

    Gassho, J

    #Sat Today!
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-07-2014 at 06:05 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

    #SAT TODAY!

  24. #24
    thank you, Jundo, what an amazing blog - fascinating accounts on both links - bookmarked!

    monk ordination certificates for sale? how naive of me to think such certificates are a relatively modern scheme :-)

    Gassho,
    Jon
    #SatToday

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