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Thread: My answer to the previous thread

  1. #1
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    My answer to the previous thread

    Time to say a few things.

    Suppose you take part in a retreat of some sort led by a charismatic and great teacher of a non Zen tradition, and you suddenly interrupt him and start to explain the whole show about Dogen, the practice, the lineage and show how it clearly works and how beautiful and true it is...I can imagine that the teacher will invite you to stop, reminding you that you are, because of your presence in this event, supposed to practice what he is teaching. You order the food that the chef is cooking, you don t walk in a Chinese restaurant asking for Indian curry. This is the meaning of :" get off my lawn, kids". Nothing wrong with Zen, nothing wrong with the other tradition, just a matter of manner, timing and being in tune with what happens.

    I would like to thank the guys here that say they don't understand : where are you? And at the same time, would invite them to give this question more time before they try to ansswer it, answering such a question is off the mark, living with this question as a dynamic and whirling action is key. Derviches never fall in the static state, the still state, zazen, is not the static state.

    A teacher is a person that does his or her very best to live accordingly to the Buddha Dharma and point to the original face of the student, a coach, a spiritual friend, he will only focus on what is really important and required without all the fluff and stuff we sometimes get lost in. And that s precisely what does not work with the New Age take on things, you merely blend traditions, merge recipes, cook your own thing and sometimes self proclaim yourself a spiritual teacher, often with a solid bank account hidden behind the stage. Rags hiding riches. In doing so you may be sharing a few inspiring advices but you are also feeding greed and confusion in people expecting something special to happen on the happy Spiritual market of spirituality, the modern quest for the latest gadget, the most up to date version of the software. The role of a teacher is to help the student to cut through that crap and come to simplicity. Tibetan Buddhism is plagued with this illness of collecting merits and doing countless initiations. Many Tibetan teachers are now asking their students to keep it simple. Otherwise, you will always be begging for something else.

    Do I read much outside Zen? Not anymore. A few beloved poems of Rumi, a text from the Mahamudra or Dzogchen tradition sometimes, I basically focus on Shobogenzo, sutras and old Chinese Chan poetry. Everything else is not necessary anymore. Call me stupid, shortsighed, call me limited and intolerant ( actually I respect the other guys very much, too much for asking from them Zen- like stuff, or taking some ofthe things they teach to fit into my way of doing this).

    Zen is Zen. Advaita is Advaita. Jundo is Jundo.

    One last thing. Two days ago I met a Zen monk form the Rinzai monastery round the block,a white scarf wrapping his head wearing a black samue, he was shopping some great food in Seven Eleven, the local combini. As I asked him where he was from and if he was a priest, he answered in complete humbleness lowering his gaze: I am just training, I am nothing really.

    This is very extreme. in Europe and in America guys voice their opinions loud and with great pride on forums and in dojos.

    I suppose the truth is somewhat in the middle. We have much too learn from this humble ( yet too often hypocritical ) soft way, they could do with a bit of our cocky style.

    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.

  2. #2
    Wonderfully simple ... Thank you for this post.

    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.

  3. #3
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Gassho Taigu.

    I agree with you for the most part. I am however such a neophyte in practice and therefore my opinions and any sort of agreement are worthless and off the mark the minute they are uttered.

    My practice has migrated over the last few years from a new age - type meditation to Soto Zen practice. I am grateful to all ancestors who have come before me and sustain me in this rich tradition.

    I also read little outside Zen now with some exceptions. I adore the poetry of Naomi Shihab Nye ( I am indebted to Myozan here - "Kindness," "Different Kinds of Prayer"), as well as Mahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian poet. His poems speak of the love of place, and the rich sadness of dry, red, soil and olive trees.

    Deep bows,
    Yugen
    Last edited by Yugen; 04-20-2013 at 02:43 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

  4. #4
    Thanks for your wisdom Taigu

  5. #5
    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    Gassho Taigu

    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

  6. #6
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Swak!

    Gassho
    迎 Geika

  7. #7
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Gassho Taigu.

    Sent from my BlackBerry 9790 using Tapatalk
    Heisoku
    平 息

  8. #8
    I have moved from Tibetan practice for exactly the reasons you talk about, Taigu. So much emphasis on merits, Tulkus, dharma protectors, initiations, blessings and so forth. I want to cut through my thinking, not add more. Shikantaza practice makes it plain that is all there is. Beginning students just sit, teachers just sit, Bodhidharma just sat. Nothing more to aspire to.

    Thank you for the reminder of keeping it simple.


    Gassho
    Andy

  9. #9
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    I won't call you anything, but my teacher.

    Thank you Taigu.

    I know I am here.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    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

  10. #10
    If I may take the liberty to clarify one point (and I am sure you agree, Taig', but correct me if wrong) is that we do not mean to say that one cannot Practice "Zen Buddhism" while also something else too. I sometimes say that one can practice Zen Buddhism while also a Republican, Democrat or apolitical, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim, Atheist or Agnostic. I would say that, so long as it is a belief system that avoids hate, violence, excess greed and such (e.g., a "Zen Buddhist Nazi" will go a dark way), all can mix.

    Also, Some forms of Christianity and Judaism or other belief may be practiced in ways that shut out or are incompatible with other systems such as Buddhism (due to the problem of rejection and exclusivism on the other side ... "Jesus is the only way, meditation is evil" etc. ... not on the "Zen" side), but not all Christians and Jews practice in such ways. Some ways of practicing Christianity and Judaism are quite compatible and harmonious with Zen Practice.

    One can be a political liberal or conservative, black or white or Asian, male or female, car mechanic or nurse, Christian or Atheist, dabbler in some Tibetan Practice or Advaita or not ... and still practice "Shikantaza". However, when practicing Shikantaza, SHIKANTAZA MUST BE SHIKANTAZA'D WITH A CERTAIN UNDERSTANDING, to wit:

    Seated Zazen is our ONE AND ONLY practice, for by the very nature of Shikantaza ... when sitting Zazen, there is nothing more to do, nothing more that need be done, no addition needed nor anything to take away. Zazen is complete and whole. No other place to be in all the world, no other place we must (or can) run to. Nothing lacks, all is sacred, and Zazen is the One Liturgy. It is vital to be sat by Zazen with such attitude. Thus, Zazen is sat each day as the One and Whole Practice. If one sits any other way, if one sits with any sensation of "'I' need to fill some hole that is not Whole" ... one kills Zazen, gets nowhere. If one sits Zazen, one need do no other practice!
    So it is ... when sitting Zazen. Getting up from the Zafu, one can then get on with life ... go to church if one wishes, or a football game.

    It is much like saying that one can play tennis, but also like football. It is just that one needs to be careful about playing football with a tennis racket, or tennis with goal posts. Some ways do not mix well.

    And while football may be a lovely sport, here in the Treeleaf Tennis School we play tennis ... not football. So, leave your cleats outside.

    Gassho, J

    (Maybe I confused things more!)
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-20-2013 at 03:01 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  11. #11
    Senior Member Juki's Avatar
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    Gassho, Taigu.


  12. #12
    Hhi guys

    In response to what Judo posted:

    ....is that we do not mean to say that one cannot Practice "Zen Buddhism" while also something else too. I sometimes say that one can practice Zen Buddhism while also a Republican, Democrat or apolitical, Catholic, Jewish or Muslim, Atheist or Agnostic. I would say that, so long as it is a belief system that avoids hate, violence, excess greed and such (e.g., a "Zen Buddhist Nazi" will go a dark way), all can mix.
    Good point and very true but I really don't read that in Taigu's post? What he says rings very true. We don't need to interrupt our beautiful Tennis game to introduce soccer, and that’s mainly what I read in Taigu’s post. Your clarification however is well placed, thank you for that. It is a topic I for one am very interested in, but hesitate to bring into play exactly because of the point Taigu is making.


    Also, Some forms of Christianity and Judaism or other belief may be practiced in ways that shut out or are incompatible with other systems such as Buddhism (because the problem of rejection and exclusivism on the other side ... "Jesus is the only way, meditation is evil" etc. ... not on the "Zen" side), but not all Christians and Jews practice in such ways. Some ways of practicing Christianity and Judaism are quite compatible and harmonious with Zen Practice.
    Very true. A short comment: I have been working on this for a long time as an active Christian with some teaching responsibilities in church. I'll admit it is hard sometimes, because not all Christian people understand this and tend to take an aggressive and dismissive stand against everything outside church walls. Times, however are changing and more and more Christian folks (like myself) happily practice Zen and go to church. Some say it is a loss, others say it is gain. Food for thought and room for discussion I’d say. Personally I can hardly wait to start Jukai preparations in the fall!

    How can Zen Buddhism and Christianity work together? It istempting to write a whole essay on this, ( many already have) in response to this quote, but like you and Taigu said earlier, "No football on the tennis court please." A very good point. Let’s stick to that. We can sure talk football and enjoy a good discussion about it, but this is a Wimbledon court and it's tennis what we are here for, right?

    I’ll get off the lawn now, before some other unknown "Jundo spider superpower" comes after me .


    Gasssho

    Enkyo

  13. #13
    Senior Member Genshin's Avatar
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    Thank you Taigu and Jundo.

    Gassho
    Matt

  14. #14
    Senior Member Oheso's Avatar
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    Obviously, I'm pretty new here. One of the first posts I made in these forums ("non-dual philosophy") came after reading a book called "radically condensed instructions for being just who you are" or something like that. in my naiveté, I picked it up in a fairly wide-ranging effort to learn more about the practice I was and am practicing, Soto Zen Shikantaza as described and taught by Master Dogen. if I feed my so-called intellect something to chew on, I know from experience that helps me a lot to move forward generally, even in areas not primarily approached through intellect, like the practice of Dogen's Soto Zen. I went tripping merrily through this book, enjoying it and feeling I was getting insights about Zen practice, and only after I finished it, learned the author was a proponent of Advaita, a philosophy, which I confess I had never even heard of. (and I'm no spring chicken) so I thought: jeez louise, here I thought I was understanding better and learning about Zen and the book was about something called "Advaita"! I'll get a Zen perspective- post in my new sangha's forum and find out more about what it is and how it relates to Zen practice. I asked something like "can a Zen person learn anything from studying Advaita?"

    the resulting thread unfolded curiously, to me. a lot of what I perceived happening was a discussion about the advisability of "mixing" traditions with a decidedly "circling of the wagons" flavor to it. at one point I felt it pertinent to ask if what was being suggested amounted to "orthodoxy is its own reward", which, by the way, I pretty much believe it is, but was not all what was I was interested in finding out. I didn't want to bowl at a hockey rink or order crispy fried chicken in an Italian restaurant. I don't doubt that I am woefully unskillful at formulating questions. words are not my thing and logic is not my strong suit. I was an art major. I am, by the grace of Providence, a painter at heart. I'm frightened by the devil and drawn to those who ain't, as the song goes-

    since then I've read posts by other sangha members, new and not, that were met by replies which seemed to me to include an attitude of being dismissive at best and mean-spirited at worst, with defensiveness somewhere in between. throw in a measure of deliberate obsfuscation and gratuitous contradictoriness to augment the mix. it's my sincere belief that sufficient time on my zafu (or seiza) will answer or render moot most if not all of the questions I have and which arise on these boards, but to my mind, the repetition of the company line of "just sit" is not always the appropriate one-size-that-fits-all
    response to individual inquiries. it feels like non-thinking in an insensitive, inconsiderate (unconsidered) sense. as for the dervishes, they have whirled completely off the radar screen of what I can follow. I know my personal psychological history often leaves me particularly liable to feeling on the outside looking in, so there's my big grain of salt and I think I've exposed most of my comprehensional deficiencies. so I thought: can these be skillful means of instruction? I know Zen instruction is known for having it's harsh side, -guess I've got to wake up and get with the program.

    I was told early-on in my association with Zen the story of the 2 animal mothers, a cat and a monkey, taking their babies across the road. the cat mother picks each one up by the scruff of the neck and carries them to the other side. the monkey mother goes scrambling across the road with her babies hanging on to her back for dear life. "Zen," said the senior monastic who was giving that particular dharma talk, "is like the monkey mother."

    clinging for all I'm worth, doubtless making it harder than it needs to be, and still grateful for the ride,

    gassho,

    Robert




    Last edited by Oheso; 04-20-2013 at 05:42 PM.
    only saps buy vowels

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Oheso View Post
    since then I've read posts by other sangha members, new and not, that were met by replies which seemed to me to include an attitude of being dismissive at best and mean-spirited at worst, with defensiveness somewhere in between. throw in a measure of deliberate obsfuscation and gratuitous contradictoriness to augment the mix. it's my sincere belief that sufficient time on my zafu (or seiza) will answer or render moot most if not all of the questions I have and which arise on these boards, but to my mind, the repetition of the company line of "just sit" is not always the appropriate one-size-that-fits-all response to individual inquiries.
    I have seen some legitimate questions answered with (for lack of a better term) "zennie" answers which seem deep at a glance but are profoundly unhelpful to the person asking the question. I don't think anyone here has the intention of being dismissive or haughty but I think it can come off that way. It is one of the downsides to reading someone's text as opposed to actually speaking with him or her. There is no inflection in plain text so a comment can seem harsher then it was intended.

    And whenever there is an authority figure involved (as there inherently will be in a teacher-student relationship no matter how much a teacher may try to make it more of a learned friend-learning friend situation) there will always be a certain amount of "Daddy pleasers" who will simply parrot what they feel the teachers want to hear without asking themselves whether or not it was even remotely helpful to the person asking the original question. I'm not trying to cast aspersions towards anyone at all. This is a fairly common dynamic.

  16. #16
    Hello Robert - I hope you stay long enough to start feeling comfortable here and not feel like an outsider looking in. I've also had - from time to time - some of the feelings you mention, but in some respects I think it's helped me to become a little more robust.

    It isn't really necessary to always agree with Jundo and Taigu - only to give due consideration to what is on offer. I know Taigu has said in the past that the last thing he wants is for everyone to jump in - in agreement - but the chewing over of what is offered is important.

    I'm still chewing over 'just sit'. It's true that I would not say that to someone myself - because I'm aeons away from being able to do this. I'm actually not confident to advise anyone at all - on any aspect of Zen.

    What I do feel is that I'm here to learn - and I have gained loads from the past year of being a member of this Sangha.

    So - if I was to give any advice - I would say - give it a year. Suspend judgement 'till you feel more at home. There are some very caring core members in this Sangha who have reached out to me through heavy times.

    Gassho

    Willow

  17. #17
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Taigu,

    To which post were you answering?

    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.

  18. #18
    The difficulty is this: there are quite a few people who have been part of this sangha for years now and are sort of inside the flow of this sangha. When a new member arrives, while we all do our best to help out and answer questions, many of us do revert to a kind of zennie "just sit" answer and also we tend to go "hey, you're here at zen school, stop asking us about advaita or whatever." There are two basic misconceptions going on here: One problem is that we, as a sangha, have forgotten what it's like to be a person new to all this stuff, with lots of questions, and we also tend to forget new people are NOT zen buddhists and many might simply be trying to figure out if they WANT to be a zen buddhist - we tend to think new folks can just easily slip in line. On the other hand, new folks tend to have a mistaken idea that just because Jundo and Taigu are extremely great zen teachers that they know something deep and penetrating about ALL buddhist/meditation stuff.

    So, I think this is a good challenge for us as a sangha to engage with difficult questions about other traditions to the best of our ability and to challenge ourselves to not fall into the easy answer of just sit or let go or whatever - that's good practice, too. And finding new ways of expressing "just sit": what a truly wonderful thing.

    Lastly, I'm not entirely sure I've seen much dismissiveness or mean-spiritedness - I participate in some literary blogs and there's some serious ugliness there. Treeleaf's so so cordial in my view.

    gassho
    Shōmon

  19. #19
    Senior Member Genshin's Avatar
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    As a relative new person to the group, I've found that folks here have been very helpful and supportive. I haven't seen any mean-spirited dismissive responses, but then I don't always have time to read every thread. I've asked lots of questions, on the forum and direct to one or two folks, I've always had a sensible often friendly response back. In contrast the last Buddhist group I attended in person was very cliquey, and it felt like questioning things was frowned upon.

    However, I have found some threads just impenetrable. I've often attempted posts only to back-out or delete the posting. This used to really bug me but I don't really see this as a failing of the forum. It's more of a confidence things for me. But then does a person need to have a deep understanding of Zen doctrine and theory, or is this just the mind trying to gain something?

    Maybe there needs to be a mentor/buddy system? But then folks probably don't have the time.

    Just my thoughts.
    Gassho
    Matt
    Last edited by Genshin; 04-20-2013 at 08:50 PM.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by hbhippo View Post
    I have seen some legitimate questions answered with (for lack of a better term) "zennie" answers which seem deep at a glance but are profoundly unhelpful to the person asking the question. I don't think anyone here has the intention of being dismissive or haughty but I think it can come off that way. It is one of the downsides to reading someone's text as opposed to actually speaking with him or her. There is no inflection in plain text so a comment can seem harsher then it was intended.

    And whenever there is an authority figure involved (as there inherently will be in a teacher-student relationship no matter how much a teacher may try to make it more of a learned friend-learning friend situation) there will always be a certain amount of "Daddy pleasers" who will simply parrot what they feel the teachers want to hear without asking themselves whether or not it was even remotely helpful to the person asking the original question. I'm not trying to cast aspersions towards anyone at all. This is a fairly common dynamic.
    Hi,

    Here is how I have come to look at this over time.

    Sometimes the teachings here are said to be too hard to fathom, while others say they are too soft core. Others find them just right. (Sounds like Goldilocks).

    Taigu and I try to present things and respond to all questions (Me in more lawyerly prose, he in a more poetic style). Some folks get it, some don't, some a bit of both. (Just as with anything to learn).

    Some folks find what they are looking for, some keep on looking and we wish them well. (We neither chase people in nor chase after people who may leave).

    We teach X, and when someone wants us instead to teach Y, we politely explain that we don't teach Y. (Usually, we try to explain why we don't teach Y. Sometimes Y is a great Path, but we just don't practice Y here ... sometimes we don't think Y so great, so we don't practice Y here).

    I am usually a softy in tone, but I can be firm. Taigu can be gruff sometimes, but he is a pussycat. (Zen Teachers of old could be real SOB's sometimes ... Sons of Buddha).

    My biggest "complaint" about folks who do not find what they are looking for in the soup we serve at Treeleaf?

    Most find it so hard to drop the "running here and there, chasing this and that" in life and "Just Sit" in Wholeness, "Just Sit" Buddha. Most are so used to looking for the answers "somewhere over the next hill" that they can't stop running, looking for the "next shiny thing". (Like the eye looking all around for the eye)
    .

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...-s-NEXT%21-%21

    Some folks "get it", what it truly means to find Stillness amid both life's stillness and motion, Silence that sings as quiet or music or the noise of bombs exploding.

    Other folks don't "get it", or take it that we are serving complacency, resignation and passivity, which is not the case either. I usually respond something like:

    We are not preaching slogans from greeting cards, not tranquilized dullness, not a foresaking of vibrant curiosity and questioning, not prescribing a drug to bring numbness ... but Crystal Clarity and Wholeness.

    [On the other hand] there is no Zen Teacher I know who would say that one should simply allow oneself to spiral into an endless whirlpool of questions, doubts, emotional dramas, self created soap operas, self-psychologizing, angsty existential searching, self-flagelating philosophizing on artificial mysteries. Even if pushed into the whirlpool by this Practice, the point is to arrive at the storm's still still center of Crystal Clarity and Wholeness ... not to wallow drowning in the shit storm.

    Anyone who says otherwise seriously misunderstands the point of this Zen enterprise and Buddhism. Some of us have a bit of Crystal Clarity Wholeness amid the chaos of life ... even as we savor the questions and mysteries that this rich life naturally offers in each fresh moment.

    Some other folks just like their angst as an anchor to cling to. They don't get their own mental game that they are caught in like a treadmill or a comfortable addiction, or are afraid to see through it. They do not understand this Path, only what they imagine it to be. They simply appear to lack True Clarity and Wholeness.
    The central point of Zen Teachings and Practice ... all Mahayana Buddhism really ... is not anything but the need to realize (grock and bring to life) and break free of the war of self/other, the dance and frictions of the Relative and Absolute ... all while living in a world of self vs. other, good and bad, soft and gruff, beautiful and ugly. Sorry, find me some Zen Teacher through the centuries who taught something else in the classic literature, and I will eat my Zafu on toast.

    Some folks get it, some folks don't. Sometimes students have good chemistry with the teachers and what is taught, sometimes not. It has been so through the centuries, since the Buddha's time. Peoples' Karmic conditions, their needs and personalities, are not "one size fits all", and the meal not fit for everyone's tongue.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-22-2013 at 01:28 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  21. #21
    Senior Member Oheso's Avatar
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    thank you Jundo, for your pretty incredible reply to hbhippo's post.

    my loss.

    gassho
    only saps buy vowels

  22. #22
    x, y, and z are all great paths and it sucks that i cant practice them all, all at once, in the same lifetime. i also hope that you stick around.

    gassho,
    justin

  23. #23
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Good idea Matt! Gassho.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by MattW View Post

    Maybe there needs to be a mentor/buddy system? But then folks probably don't have the time.


    Hey Matt,

    Actually, we have so. Didn't someone contact you from our little "Welcome Wagon" when you first signed up? They are supposed to help with any basic questions.

    It is also a good idea just to befriend folks who seem to know what is going on.

    You can also write Taigu or me any time ... although we don't always know what's going on!

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  25. #25
    Senior Member Genshin's Avatar
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    Hi Jundo,

    I did receive such a message, but just wasn't aware that it was the buddy system at work, just thought it was a friendly welcome message.

    Just to stress no criticism of anything or anyone here. All good.

    Thanks and Gassho,
    Matt

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hey Matt,

    Actually, we have so. Didn't someone contact you from our little "Welcome Wagon" when you first signed up? They are supposed to help with any basic questions.

    It is also a good idea just to befriend folks who seem to know what is going on.

    You can also write Taigu or me any time ... although we don't always know what's going on!

    Gassho, Jundo

  26. #26
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    I listened to this after posting on the 'previous thread' and it answered more questions than I was thinking about at that time!

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...t=meeting+real

    Should have listened more carefully first time round then kept quiet!

    Gassho.
    Heisoku
    平 息

  27. #27
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Got it AND not got it.

    So far, soooo good.^^
    Gassho,
    Edward
    Last edited by Myosha; 04-21-2013 at 03:38 PM. Reason: lack typing scills

  28. #28
    An answer is an answer. Good, bad, helpful, dismissive, zennie, etc. is extra.

    Gassho, John

  29. #29
    Senior Member Oheso's Avatar
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    and the beat goes on.

    Last edited by Oheso; 04-21-2013 at 05:14 PM.
    only saps buy vowels

  30. #30
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  31. #31
    There is an adyashanti thread from 4 years ago that chet disastermouse started. Can't figure out how to copy the url on my phone. Haven't read this entire thread so maybe someone already has.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  32. #32
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    There is an adyashanti thread from 4 years ago that chet disastermouse started. Can't figure out how to copy the url on my phone. Haven't read this entire thread so maybe someone already has.
    Is this the one you are referring to Rich?

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...yashanti-quote

    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.

  33. #33
    There was a time when I somehow was drawn between paths.
    The zen that is practiced here appeals to me, it makes me feel home. I find it kind of relaxing I don't have to decide for a path anymore. I know which one is right for me (at least I think so).
    When it comes to reading, I am still very open, but tend to focus on Zen and (philosophical) Taoist stuff. I am still open to take a look at indepedent teachers, to get some inspiration and just for kicks.

    The problem for someone being new here is to see Treeleaf forum like an open discussion board. IMHO it is helpful to make oneself clear that this is a forum of a specific sangha, not an open Zen board.

    Gassho,

    Timo
    no thing needs to be added

  34. #34
    Yes. Thanks dosho

  35. #35
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Late to the thread, as is my custom.

    Taigu, I love you. As you know, we come to this place (as in here, a physical, temporal, internet, and otherwise, place) from very different yet similar histories, but we get struggle. We understand and value struggle. We know there is no simple answer to release from struggle. To get out, you gotta go deeper in.

    Jundo, I love you. You get it, too. You also know struggle from different sides and personal realities. We've both been there in different ways. We both know that the way through it is to delve deeper into it.

    Taigu, Jundo, and I know that the pain is the release (well, they still know it better then me), and anyone that tells you otherwise is selling snake oil.

    The most effective medication all time, when all studies are combined, is placebo. Seriously true, look it up. That Adya guy is selling placebo.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

  36. #36
    Senior Member Oheso's Avatar
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    yes, a great loss, indeed, for all 3 of us ( I, me AND mine )

    thank you all, for everything.

    gassho,


    -Robert
    Last edited by Oheso; 04-23-2013 at 03:11 PM.
    only saps buy vowels

  37. #37
    Thank you for the post! Gassho

  38. #38
    Senior Member Matt's Avatar
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    Hello,


    This post brings up a question I have had for some time now. Apologies if this has been asked before.


    As a relative newcomer to zen, I have at times wondered why the atmosphere in zen temples and the teacher-student relationships is, from my limited experience, often so stern or strict.


    I very much believe that the teacher is trying to help the student, and that the rules in the temple are there for a good reason. However, this has been the issue I have struggled with the most in my practice, as I naturally shy away from situations in which I perceive conflict.


    I suspect part of my difficulty with this is related to operating out of a place of ego. I also realize that in asking this question I am using a discriminating mind.


    My sincere thanks in advance for any feedback.


    Gassho,
    Matt J

  39. #39
    Hi Matt,

    That is a very good question.

    In part, I would say that it comes from the typical apprentice-master relationship found in many traditional societies, and all through Asia. Not only in Buddhism, but in learning a trade or art like being a blacksmith. The apprentice/disciple was to loyally and sternly follow the teacher until reaching the point of mastery. Japan and many Asian societies are still very conscious of who is "senior" and who is "junior" all through society (the Japanese language even is very different in structure for each, as "juniors" use special respectful and submissive language to social seniors, and seniors use special casual or brusk language back). I was just listening to a podcast about the "Guru" in Tibetan Buddhism, and one must absolutely throw one's self and loyalty into faith and trust in the Guru.

    In the the West, things are much more democratic and egalitarian. Sometimes it goes too far (as Taigu sometimes reminds us), and nobody wants to listen to the teachers and everybody wants to do their own thing.

    The other aspect is that a Buddhist monastery was often very much like a boot camp, not unlike a marine boot camp, meant to break down the self in order to master the self. They may do things to teach humility and get past the ego, including slaps and insults here and there, shocking in the West where everyone is thinking about their "rights" and personal "space" and "enjoyment" very often. (At my last visit to Eiheiji, I witnessed a poor monk on the kitchen staff being chewed out in public by his screaming "drill sargent", made to stand on a box in the middle of the hallway where everyone could see, for some small error). One found Liberation right in and as and transcending what at first seems like restriction and confinement.

    Now, in the West, with a more "out in the world" Practice, one may seek Liberation right in and as and transcending the complexities and busyness of daily life and responsibilities. Same Liberation, although somewhat different approach is sometimes required. In fact, the complexities and busyness of the world ... work and family ... are their own kind of restriction and confinement! (And now, Taigu and I only verbally say something with a little bit of a slap or reproach sometimes, at which point folks say that Taigu and I are being rude and "unZenlike", are offended and run away! )

    But I think that, now and even in the old days and the strictest monasteries, people were still people. There is always plenty of laughter, games, deep friendships, lots of time to "kick back" and "let one's hair down" (of course, what hair?). A monastery is not all sternness and formalities all day. There is a balance there of serious work and ease as in all our lives.

    Anyway, that is my opinion. In a typical Japanese Zazenkai people usually don't ask so many ... if any ... questions. In the old days and even still today, you would simply bow and not question what the teacher says (at least, not in public).

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 04-26-2013 at 04:27 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  40. #40
    thanks for asking, matt. and thanks for answering, jundo. as I was wondering this too. I think its strange for us in the west because were a big "do it yourself" society. couple that with (most of) our distrust for people in power, especially in spiritual matters, people in the past who may have told us "this is how it is" and that we have to do "this and that". and, for myself atleast, it never worked out. and questions that I had never really added up. im also a traditionalist though. so if I get into anything, I want to known the heart of the matter, not any watered down versions of it, and im sure I come off like the strict zen master in other areas of my life. gassho, justin

  41. #41
    Senior Member Matt's Avatar
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    Sincere thanks for that explanation, Jundo. As well to jus for your reply.

    I have been reflecting on my question since I posted, and feel that perhaps part of my problem is that I do not want this zen practice to be too difficult, which is a failing on my part. I am resolving to use this doubt to commit more deeply with practice.

    Gassho,
    Matt J

  42. #42
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Hi Matt
    I wonder if by too difficult you mean that you do not want your 'ideas' challenged? This was something that I found myself facing after starting here.
    Since then, my views have just merged with all the other wonderful views that have been expounded in Treeleaf. In the end they are just passing clouds. Gassho.

    Sent from my BlackBerry 9790 using Tapatalk
    Heisoku
    平 息

  43. #43
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Yugen, I'm in a similar boat to you in terms of where I was pre-Treeleaf.. I refuse to give up energy work for example. There's no need to. the difference now is that I try to see it through the eyes of the soto zen Buddhist as taught here. It is actually my own expeiences in more new agey ideals that led me to Treeleaf in the first place. What I found here and in the teachings represented here felt like a missing puzzle piece and a cut to the chase approach of my mixed self style ( cross-cultural shamanism and Usui Reiki Ryoho). I haven't toally given up what I believed and what I have experienced but thus far nothing of what has been taught here conflicts with any of that.

    At first I saw some differences. Then just similarities a different way of going about the exact same thing. What I think really sealed the deal was hearing Jundo mention that the rocks and trees are also sentient beings.

    As for mixing styles in general. It can lead to severe confusion. It's part of why I stopped hanging in the new age forums. People would misunderstand something, or read and take as fact something totally misunderstood or repackaged and add it to their little collection of spiritual factoids. But not every spiritual teaching blends with every other one. Or else it would all be one form of spirituality not several.

    Just my take on things. and I rarely know what I'm talking about anyways

    Dave _/\_

  44. #44
    Senior Member YuimaSLC's Avatar
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    Some years ago a Japanese fellow, Kaoru Nonomura, wrote a book, "EAT SLEEP SIT My Year at Japan's Most Rigorous Zen Temple" that presented the author's perceptual account of his experience; rather a blow-by-blow account (pun intended) of some of the harsh realities of the time spent at Eihei-ji.

    An interesting read, although, upon my completion of reading it I (a) wondered why he was motivated to be there in the first place, despite his attempts to explain, and (b) what did he really learn? The reader is truly left at a loss to understand the value, if any, he developed being there.

    I would not recommend this book other than to understand that there is a tradition of boot-camp/hazing style going on in some monastic communities. But, it's not a secret. Referred to as "deeds of the utmost kindness" or "informal encouragement".

    And, with tongue-in-cheek, we could re-quote F. Nietzche's "....that which doesn't kill me, makes me stronger."

    I think there needs to be a strong, assertive sense of organization/discipline in a monastery...combined with an equally strong sense of kindness, gratitude and love (in contrast to enmity).

    Gassho

    Richard

  45. #45
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    A lot of people, myself included, find it difficult or simply choose not to discipline themselves much. Especially We The Outspoken Assholes of America. When this topic comes up " why can't we do whatever we waannntt?" it reminds me to do the exact opposite because I understand that mentality so well from a lifetime of living it. This beautiful practice is like anything else. We get out of it what we put into it and the sometimes rigorous discipline or insistence that things be done a certain way around here aren't actually limitations or shackles it's throwing us right into the heart of the Way. It's giving what many of us say to ourselves we want, just sometimes in a presentation different than what we expect. In a loose sort of way we are like the military ( not that I find this sangha to be overly strict mind you). We are being guided, trained, forged and honed into our true selves.

    Dave _/\_

  46. #46
    Senior Member Kent's Avatar
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    Rags hiding riches.
    Beautiful, Taigu. So evocative.
    Thank you.

    Gassho, Kent

  47. #47
    Senior Member Matt's Avatar
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    Thank you Heisoku, Richard, and Shonin for your replies. I really appreciate the insight of you folks who are more experienced. I think I should add that I have found Treeleaf to be incredibly supportive in the short time I have been here. Gassho, Matt

  48. #48
    In the West, things are much more democratic and egalitarian. Sometimes it goes too far (as Taigu sometimes reminds us), and nobody wants to listen to the teachers and everybody wants to do their own thing.
    I agree, although there are many cases where people believe what a so called “Guru” says out of blind faith. In my view, we should trust and respect our teacher, but also question his/her teaching from time to time (trust should constantly be renewed). We should trust the path we have chosen, but also keep an eye open to what other people or traditions have to say. Not doing so may lead to the creation of a separation/division between different points of view and ultimately between people. I have tried several spiritual practices (for the lack of a better word), and found that Zen practice fits me the best...very glad I found TreeLeaf : )

    Gassho, A

    “Life is a balance between opposing forces” – Lots of people said that...ahah

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