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Thread: "Zen Confidential: Confessions of a Wayward Monk" (Book Review)

  1. #1
    Senior Member Juki's Avatar
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    "Zen Confidential: Confessions of a Wayward Monk" (Book Review)

    I am almost finished with this book, which is a first-person narrative by Shozan Jack Haubner, the pen-name of a Rinzai monk in southern California. The book recounts tales from Haubner's ten years of training in a California monastery, as well as his relationship with his mentor. I have laughed quite a bit so far, as Haubner is a former screenwriter and (failed) stand-up comic with a great sense of the absurd. Much of Haubner's initial Zen training occurred during happy hours in gay bars in Los Angeles (which was his mentor's chosen location for teaching).

    The stories where Haubner is the Tenzo (head cook) and the Jikijutsu (meditation leader) will make you laugh out loud. The book is full of wonderful insights, many of which have been shared with us already by Jundo and Taigu. One of my favorite passages is quoted below:

    "Karl Marx called religion the opiate of the masses, but spiritual practice earnestly undertaken does not numb you. It opens you up. What does it mean to be open? The outside comes in and the inside goes out, freely. Where before there was a gatekeeper - your self - between these two worlds of inside and outside, now there is an open door. Though it often feels more like an open wound."

    I would recommend this book to anyone as "light" reading that still teaches you about Zen practice.

    Gassho,

    William

  2. #2
    Hi William,

    Hmmm. I felt the book was by a sometimes very confused individual with a tendency to abuse alcohol and narcotics, not helped along by a teacher (Sasaki Joshu, the infamous sexual molester and convicted embezzler) who runs a very questionable group.

    I would not recommend this book at all, except as an example of what can go wrong in a Zen group that borders on a cult run by a teacher of great charisma, and a bit of insight, but ultimately a charlatan and manipulator of people responsible for much damage.

    I would not recommend the book except as an example of a Zen car crash. The book's emphasis on drugs and excess has been described as "Hunter S. Thompson meets the Dharma". The second Zen teacher he describes (could it even be a true story?), going from the Zafu to the crystal meth pipe and back, is but one example. I found it a very sad story of a fellow who, despite all the abuse and excess, somehow manages to keep his head above water and get something out of his practice in a very unhealthy situation. The fellow's attempt to put a happy face on the tale seems to me an attempt by someone in that group to wallpaper over the scandal and tragedy that has come out about Rev. Sasaki and the group that the author is dedicated to.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-03-2013 at 02:31 AM.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Juki's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi William,

    Hmmm. I felt the book was by a sometimes very confused individual with a tendency to abuse alcohol and narcotics, not helped along by a teacher (Sasaki Joshu, the infamous sexual molester and convicted embezzler) who runs a very questionable group.

    I would not recommend this book at all, except as an example of what can go wrong in a Zen group that borders on a cult run by a teacher of great charisma, and a bit of insight, but ultimately a charlatan and manipulator of people responsible for much damage.

    I would not recommend the book except as an example of a Zen car crash. The book's emphasis on drugs and excess has been described as "Hunter S. Thompson meets the Dharma". The second Zen teacher he describes (could it even be a true story?), going from the Zafu to the crystal meth pipe and back, is but one example. I found it a very sad story of a fellow who, despite all the abuse and excess, somehow manages to keep his head above water and get something out of his practice in a very unhealthy situation. The fellow's attempt to put a happy face on the situation seems to me an attempt by someone in that group to wallpaper over the scandal and tragedy that has come out about Rev. Sasaki and the group he is dedicated to.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Wow. Hmmm, right back at you. My post never intended to support Sasaki in any way, and, as a matter of fact, I am 200 pages into the book and I have yet to even see Sasaki's name mentioned once. The "mentor" that I refer to above is not Sasaki, but a much, much younger man. He too has problems of his own (including making a couple of advances at the author during the early part of their student/teacher relationship). Having not finished the book, I have no knowledge at this point as to whether Haubner even discusses Rev. Sasaki and the sex scandal that we all have heard so much about and that we all deplore.

    I do feel that you have grossly mischaracterized the intent and the message of the book. Does it involve scenes of drinking and drug abuse? Certainly? Does it reference anonymous sex in bath houses, and gay-porn videos? Yes, again. But, these activities occurred prior to the time that the author entered the monastery, whjile he was still only in a one-on-one student/teacher relationship with his mentor. And even during this time, Haubner was not the one smoking meth and having wild orgies. What I took from this book was the story of a man who seems to me to have made a profound transition from a life of drinking, drugs, confusion and cheap one-night-stands to a life of peace and peace-of-mind. He seems to have done that through dedicated and sincere practice, which he learned from a mentor who, however flawed, did seem to teach him something valuable.

    If you are so offended by this analysis, please feel free to remove the thread completely. Please feel free to remove ME completely. Everything is temporary.

    Gassho,
    William
    Last edited by Juki; 07-02-2013 at 07:27 PM.

  4. #4
    Here's an example for folks who may wonder what I am talking about with meth and Zafus. I am no an uptight moralist, celibate or Zen-conservative, but this over the edge ...

    maybe read a few pages from here:

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=G...ed=0CC0Q6AEwAA
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-02-2013 at 04:16 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Anderson View Post
    If you are so offended by this analysis, please feel free to remove the thread completely. Please feel free to remove ME completely.
    I did not sense that Jundo was offended by your analysis, but of course I am not Jundo. I did sense that you seem to be offended by Jundo's analysis. He's our teacher, and if he feels a book might give one of his students the wrong idea, I don't blame him for feeling obligated to say so. I know how it feels when what seems like legitimate insight gets brushed aside or flat-out disagreed with by our teachers, and I know that it causes those thoughts like, "Maybe I don't belong here," "Maybe this is not the practice I thought it was," "Maybe Jundo doesn't really know what he's talking about," or, "Maybe these are not the droids I'm looking for," but down the road a few days I've always realized that the problem was me attaching to my opinion or insight, whether or not I felt like I was right or wrong.

    I remember a thread in which Willow and I were off-topic discussing Krishnamurti. Taigu told us that Krishnamurti's teachings weren't worth the time it takes to exhaustively try to understand them, no matter how much like Zen they seem (and please forgive me, Taigu, if I still misunderstand). Just drop it; everything. Why look for Zen from a man who does not teach it? His teachings may help me with my own understanding of Zen, but he had is own ideas and agenda (or lack thereof). I took a couple of days to think about that one, because I have always been very pressured by Krishnamurti's talks, feeling for some reason that they are truth. Taigu thwacked me one and I still don't even really understand, which feels good. I like to be thwacked, now. I like to be told, "Hey, that's not quite the right track," because it has always served me well where Treeleaf is concerned. Maybe I am just blinded by love of the cult, I don't know.

    I am sure the book is an interesting read for those of us who are not new to practice. Give the book to someone who is just becoming interested in practice, and they may get on the wrong track.
    迎 Geika

  6. #6
    Hi,

    One more issue that bothered me about this book (besides the seemingly ambivalent ... mildly critical at most ... attitude toward use of very heavy drugs like meth and recreational vicodan as a Zen student), is the fact that it never does even once mention directly the decades of sexual harassment cases involving Rev. Sasaki, the head of the monastery in California where this fellow lived for years and where the book is largely set. That is like ignoring the elephant in the room. How can one write a memoir about years living in close quarters at a training center enmeshed in a huge public scandal about sex, monastic abuse and Zen, and never mention the subject in a book so much about sex, monastery life and Zen?

    The only thing close to a mention, in fact, are one or two passages like the following where he seems to speak of Zen monks who are a "mess of contradictions" who can be "addicted" without being "attached". Please read a couple of paragraphs from this section "In the Belly of the Beast" here:

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=G...akened&f=false

    There are also several other references to how Rev. Sasaki's regularly giving hugs in the Dokusan room to the author was just one more example of the Roshi's ability to show "infinite love" (no mention being made of how he was notorious for slipping a hand in his female students' robes in the Dokusan room for a quick feel).

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=G...%20hug&f=false

    In this sense, the book strikes me as an attempt to dance over or explain the sexual abuse and use of drugs around that Sangha as, if not pretty, just a natural and "boys will be boys" side of Zen practice.

    Another book that I recently read which attempts to put "lipstick on a pig" is one by Chogyam Trungpa's widow, a memoir ("Dragon Thunder") of their years together, which is supposed to be an honest look at his years of alcoholism and strange behavior, yet comes across like an attempt to spin and polish up his legend. A member of that group on another Forum gives a summary ...

    Chogyam Trungpa was a buddhist master of the Kagyu lineage. He was also a tulku. So, to judge him as a "good" or "bad" buddhist master one should use strictly the criteria of the Kagyu lineage, NOT our vulgar preconceptions of good and bad inherited from centuries of Catholic moral.

    So let's see. Was he certified "good" by a respected Kagyu authority? Yes, by none other than the 16th Karmapa, one of the last true great mahasiddhas on the western world, who expressed about CTR in no other terms than being his "heart son" and being "no different" than him. Also by the incomparable Dilgo Khyentse Rimpoche.

    Chogyam Trungpa had an immense task -- to bring tibetan buddhism to the western world in the most skillful way. And he delivered. ...

    DRUGS

    He went to USA to find deluded, hedonistic folks that indulged themselves in drugs, and used all sorts of New Age and eastern spirituality to ultimately increase their egos. Chogyam Trungpa mingled with the hippies, and with the Ginsberg-like crowd, and tried the drugs these guys were taking, NOT to indulge himself, but to have a full understanding of the way these guys were living and experiencing life. Doing everything -including doing things that have the danger to damage yourself- to best understand the needs of your disciple is no other than an example of immense compassion. ...

    SEX and PRIVACY

    To people obsessed with the sex topic, you must understand that lay and/or nomadic Tibetan culture has an attitude to sex that, from the viewpoint of the Bible Belt would totally be described as "promiscuous". He wasn't a monk anymore so there were no reason he couldn't have sex.

    ... Trungpa's sexuality ... could NOT call "affairs" (because they weren't hidden from anyone) nor exploits (because, correctly understood, the purpose is not to take advantage of the other person but to aid them into their dharma path. Sex is the ultimate form of personal communication.)

    It is wrong to judge this behavior assuming CTR's mind was mundane. In the same way it is plainly wrong for a student to try to behave as CTR did, without having exactly his same level of realization, endorsed by somebody of the straospheric caliber of someone like the 16th karmapa.

    Again, CTR wasn't your typical sutrayana buddhism master. He was acting right within the framework of the Kagyu tradition, which he was an approved member. The drinking, the sex, getting two specific students naked by force, etc, make perfect sense once one studies the life of Tilopa, Naropa, and Marpa, three of the most important historic masters of the Kagyu lineage, as correctly pointed out on previous posts.

    ...


    ALCOHOL

    Many videos of Trunga's talks show him with physical signs (eyes, body movements) of being under the physical influence of alcohol. But what is startling is that his mind didn't seem to be affected by him. This is confirmed once he opens his mouth and starts to talk. Zero nonsense came out from that mouth. Can we, then, honestly say his mind was "inebriated" or "intoxicated"?

    Diana Mukpo, on her book, notes she didn't like Trungpa drinking at all, that it wasn't good at all for his health, obviously. Here is the only real controversy or mystery i can find with CTR. No one knows for sure why he did drink so much to put his own health at risk. On past posts somebody has noted that perhaps it was his way to deal with the physical pain he chronically suffer after his accident. Any guess?

    But it cannot be stressed enough that CTR's alcohol consumption did harm no other than himself and only himself, for he never stopped teaching.
    This book, Zen Confidential, strikes me as trying to put on the same kind of "positive spin", tiptoeing around an ugly situation. I am no prude when it comes to sex and a sometime friendly drink or three, but these stories go way way way over the line into real abuse and harm.

    Also, some of the descriptions of how to practice Zen in Zen Confidential just sound off key and off balance, but no need to go into that topic.

    So, as was said by Amelia, "I am sure the book is an interesting read for those of us who are not new to practice. Give the book to someone who is just becoming interested in practice, and they may get on the wrong track."

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-03-2013 at 08:58 AM.
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  7. #7
    Despite the great respect I have for Trungpa s teaching and work, I totally disagree with the fact that his excentric and crazy life style could be sold as sheer Dharma. It was just plain confusion. It created a lot of pain and problems and appeared somehow weird in the display of useless courts and atistocratic theatre.
    He remains for me a constant inspiration and also a teacher of what has to be avoided. A zen priest I was having a conversation with about Trungpa summed it all: " Trungpa was such an inspiring teacher , I would have loved to study with him but I am sure he would have pissed me off with his nonsense".
    This is one of the main issues with the Guru thing and can be found in Zen too.

    Gassho


    Taigu

  8. #8
    I have been impressed by the way the (mostly western) Zen community (as much as there is such a thing) has dealt with sexual scandals by teachers by bringing them out into the open and more interest in the well-being of students and would-be students than the reputation of any teacher or lineage. In Tibetan traditions the guru relationship between student and teacher and seeing the teacher as Buddha makes this much harder. Continued veneration of Trungpa and seeing his sexual freedom with students and alcoholism as examples of an enlightened being teaching have not helped this. Putting lipstick on a pig should not disguise the fact that it is still a pig.

    I can understand why books like Zen Confidential are popular as they contain juicy subject matter and will appeal to many who (and I am not including you among this, William) still cling to the hippy ideal that drugs and meditation are two ways to the same end and not mutually exclusive. Personally, I love Kerouac's 'The Dharma Bums' but see at as a product of its time when Buddhism was still finding a foothold in the west. Crazy wisdom is a popular thing as it doesn't seem to need the discipline that I equate with any spiritual path taken seriously. Lacking wisdom it is just crazy and not a good example for others to follow. Dedicated daily sitting practice certainly doesn't make such a fine story but as a path to practice there is little better.

    Gassho
    Andy

  9. #9
    Hi Andy,

    Just to be fair, the author does seem to have greatly straightened up his act over the years, helped along much by his Zen practice no doubt. I do not think the book advocates drug use and Zazen as the same. It is just that the book still seems rather positive and tolerant about meth smoking Zen Teachers and fondling Roshis.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-03-2013 at 02:05 PM.
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  10. #10
    Fair enough, Jundo. If I understand correctly, then, your criticism of it does not directly concern the behaviour of the author, which improves with his practice and taking of monastic vows, by his own lack of criticism of the wayward behaviour of his teachers?

    Gassho
    Andy

  11. #11
    Sex scandals are what make Zen all the more interesting

    I wonder though how teachers who accomplished so much fall for such things. Also why so many teachers in Zen and not in Theravada schools or other schools. Is there something specific to Zen that can be causing this?

    - Sam

  12. #12
    Senior Member Genshin's Avatar
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    Hi Sam,

    I don't think such scandals as you call them are unique to Zen. There are other traditions out there that have gone through similar controversy or allegations etc. IMHO.

    Gassho
    Matt
    Last edited by Genshin; 07-03-2013 at 12:26 PM.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by shikantazen View Post
    Also why so many teachers in Zen and not in Theravada schools or other schools.
    Hi Sam,

    I am sorry to say that bad apples are found in all schools, just as they are in all religions and professions. Theravada has its share of problem priests too.

    Buddhist monks walk away from sex-abuse cases
    Across the U.S., temples frustrate investigators by insisting they have no control over monks' actions, whereabouts
    Chicago Tribune July 24, 2011


    The meeting took place at Wat Dhammaram, a cavernous Theravada Buddhist temple on the southwest edge of Chicago. A tearful 12-year-old told three monks how another monk had turned off the lights during a tutoring session, lifted her shirt and kissed and fondled her breasts while pressing against her, according to a lawsuit.

    ... But 11 years later, the monk, Camnong Boa-Ubol, serves at a temple in California, where he says he interacts with children even as he faces a second claim, supported by DNA, that he impregnated a girl in the Chicago area.

    ... Because they answer to no outside ecclesiastical authority, the temples respond to allegations as they see fit. And because the monks are viewed as free agents, temples claim to have no way of controlling what they do next. Those found guilty of wrongdoing can pack a bag and move to another temple — much to the dismay of victims, law enforcement and other monks.

    "You'd think they'd want to make sure these guys are not out there trying to get into other temples," said Rishi Agrawal, the attorney for a victim of a west suburban monk convicted of battery for sexual contact last fall. "What is the institutional approach here? It seems to be ignorance and inaction."

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2...s-paul-numrich
    On the morning of June 22, 2006, the people of Thailand woke up to shocking headlines in the tabloid newspapers. A well-known Phra Khru abbot from the province of Phatthalung had been caught on film engaging in illicit sexual acts. In several of the more than 60 photographs, his partner appeared to be a young girl, probably under age, while the abbot himself is in his late 60s or early 70s. Even more horrifying was the image of the monk having sexual intercourse with a dog.

    The photos had allegedly been taken in secret by laymen living near the temple who were fed up with the abbot's behaviour and wanted to reveal his actions to the public. They took the evidence to his senior monks and to the police, but by the time the police arrived, the abbot had fled. He is still at large.

    Sex scandals involving monks are nothing new in Thailand and in most Theravada Buddhist countries.

    http://www.asiaviews.org/regional-ne...eportalias6815
    But, as tragic as these cases are, I usually caution this:

    a handful of crashed Teachers lead some to the falacious impression that there is some wide spread systemic problem in the Zen world. Critics, often foolishly shortsighted or even with an axe to grind, are quick to assert that the whole Zen adventure is dangerous or corrupt based on isolated and extreme situations. Nothing could be farther from the truth! What such doomsayers overlook is the fact of all the other teachers … hundreds of caring, devoted, wise, compassionate, well trained, illuminating, enlightening folks … who do not get involved in such things. who range from competent to truly gifted pilots who do not do harm to their students and, in fact, bring illumination and change lives for the better. They are out shadowed by the few (a very few) teachers who have crashed and burned.

    http://sweepingzen.com/sit-a-long-wi...safe-landings/
    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Karasu View Post
    Fair enough, Jundo. If I understand correctly, then, your criticism of it does not directly concern the behaviour of the author, which improves with his practice and taking of monastic vows, by his own lack of criticism of the wayward behaviour of his teachers?

    Gassho
    Andy
    Yes, lack of criticism of very extreme behavior, no discussion of the case surrounding his teacher, as well as justifying and sometimes downright supportive statements concerning drug related and other extreme behavior.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  15. #15
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    For what it’s worth, I think Jundos reaction to this recommendation was not only warranted but necessary. Tree Leaf is our Zendo, these forums are our walls, our bricks and mortar. The library shelves within the walls of any zendo are stocked by the teacher. What is read outside of these walls is at our own discretion as free thinking “I’s”. But within these walls we are students and the library is filled with what our teachers recommends. I know it has been stated in the past, if there is a book that we find valuable to please share it with Jundo or Taigu first, if they feel it is appropriate for their students, they will add it to the recommended list of books. My only criticism of the teachers is that perhaps, by not imposing too many “rules” in our sangha, we students sometimes forget the “softly spoken” guidelines. Then it stings a bit more when we are thwacked with the virtual keisaku.

    Of course, read what you want, watch what you want, listen to what you want. But within these walls, we should follow the guidance of our teachers. Just one “I’s” opinion.

  16. #16
    Well said chuck13. I second that.

    Gasho

    Enkyo

  17. #17
    Hi Chuck,

    Oh my yes, we are not banning books, burning books or forbidding folks to read whatever they wish! Oh no! It is just that I cannot recommend the book or, if someone reads it, I want to offer a caution and comment.

    Like with many things, my criticism has probably caused some folks to buy the book who otherwise might not have, just to see what all the fuss is about.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  18. #18
    Hi there - I'm just wondering if William will come back to this thread and hoping he hasn't taken too much offence?

    I didn't read Jundo's comments as at all critical in a negative way - (and I can be super-sensitive over this 'thwacking' notion ) he's just saying what he feels about the book and giving some guidance. I do remember that we were asked to run book recommendations past Jundo or Taigu but that seems a bit of a burden on them as they can't be expected to have read everything? Have to admit I'd forgot about that request.

    Back to the notion of 'thwacking' - personally I'd really like to get rid of that word. There are interventions made here that are clearly 'Zen' interventions - but this thread (IMHO) is just about a book criticism and some teaching guidance as concerns the content.

    To see it otherwise makes it seem as though we're all being 'thwaked' the whole time and should be going round seeing stars

    Sometimes a comment is just a comment - yes?

    Gassho

    Willow
    Last edited by willow; 07-03-2013 at 05:24 PM.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    The word, or onomatopoeia, "thwack", to me, describe that sudden, biting moment when you come crashing through a wall of your own opinion into open space, an obvious draw from how the kyosaku straightens a sitter into wakefulness. In fact, "thwack" might be going too easy. How about "crash, stumble, burn and cry over your ego for a few days then pick yourself up and realize that you don't want to run from the mean old teacher who taught you a lesson"?

    And the word, "thwack" was used in context of my own experience. Can I not use the words I choose to describe my own experience? Feel free to use your own and please feel free to avoid that word altogether. Honestly, I could care less what words people use, deemed offensive or not. I'll let context help me to decide and keep trying to be a nice person, myself.

    Words are not words, therefore we call them words. A thwack is not a thwack, therefore we call it a thwack.

    And look how easily it looses meaning:

    thwack
    thwack
    thwack
    thwack
    thwack
    ...

    Doesn't even look like it means anything.

    Last edited by Amelia; 07-04-2013 at 01:41 AM.
    迎 Geika

  20. #20
    I meant to thwack the book, not thwack William. I hope that is not misunderstood.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  21. #21
    Hi Amelia - of course you're free to use the word 'thwack' however you wish. Words have many connotations and our response and use of them can be highly individual. I do understand that to be 'thwacked' - 'hit' - can have a positive connotation and is connected to the revelatory. Apologies if my words caused offence.

    What I was attempting to say is that within a given context words also have a shared meaning. For myself - I do care very much how words are used. I understand I'm probably in a minority in needing to explore why the language of Zen sometimes concerns me, when embedded within the notion of being 'hit' in a figurative way - and also interested to explore how that plays out in teaching methods and student responses/learning.

    There's been quite a few references on the message board recently by members relating to this, saying they welcome being 'hit' (figuratively speaking ) - how they learn from this, etc.
    Conversely - (sorry can't pin-point the thread) one member stated quite clearly she did not like to be 'hit'.

    I empathise more with the latter point of view - that is all. I find I don't relate well to the stern Zen master image - and sometimes wonder if it would be possible to make an intervention without recourse to it.

    The point of this is just to tentatively suggest that the emphasis could maybe be evened out a little so that there's less of an atmosphere of a student automatically thinking 'well that must have been the verbal equivalent to the keisaku' - because that's the way it's always been done in Zen.

    However - in this case I do feel the intention was clear - Jundo thwacked the book not William.

    Gassho

    Willow
    Last edited by willow; 07-04-2013 at 04:13 PM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Juki's Avatar
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    Hmmmm. Well, while you may have MOSTLY been thwacking the book, to the extent that I recommended the book, your emphatic negations (zen car crash, example of what can go wrong, etc.) are clearly a thwacking of me. No problem there, however. This is not, as Amelia suspected, an ego issue. This is fundamentally a Zen issue, or at least a Zen teaching issue.

    if this practice promises us anything (and most will tell you that there are no promises), it promises that with sincere practice, we can come to know our own hearts and minds in the present moment. In this moment, my heart and mind tell me that it is not my job to judge the actions of others. It is my job to learn from those actions.

    jundo's response would have you believe that there is nothing that we can learn from Sasaki (who, again, is never mentioned by name in the book) and his students. I disagree. We may witness a dozen small acts of kindness in any given day, but how many of them really sink in and take root? Mostly, they are either unnoticed or, if noticed, easily forgotten. But the horrific acts hang with us forever. Those are true teaching moments, because they startle us into the realization that there is a path and that someone has wandered far off that path. The horrific acts provide the context which allows us to appreciate those small acts of kindness.

    those horrific acts keep the rest of us on the path. Saints need sinners far more than sinners need saints.

    gassho,
    william
    Last edited by Juki; 07-06-2013 at 10:33 PM.

  23. #23
    No ego issue? Really, William, are you sure? Absolutely sure it is true?

    You see, you are not targetted here. Jundo made a point about how much this is not an exemple, that 's all. There is no thwacking at all.

    By the way, the point you are making about sinners inspiring saints, is rather rhetorical. There is no doubt that our own delusion can be inspiring. This is the very core of Dogen s vision as exposed in Genjokoan, Buddhas are enlightened about their own delusions. That being said, the vision of abuse and suffering is just plain sad, my friend. Would I need this, ask for this to fuel my practice, I would turn into a spiritual blood sucker, a Zen vampire feeding his journey with people downfall, misery and twisted lifes. The young Gautama did not spend his life going out of the palace and seing over and over again suffering to understand he had to do something. Once was enough.

    Take care William and open your heart to this boundless generosity of life, your life.

    Gassho

    Taigu
    Last edited by Taigu; 07-07-2013 at 01:09 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.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Seizan's Avatar
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    Thank you all for this thread- I purchased this book on my ereader at an airport before a flight, knowing nothing about the author, his teacher or his group. I find the writing witty and funny and poignant... which is a bit sad with all the other things that come to light. I can imagine someone who doesn't research well being quite a bit mislead. I do find it a bit inappropriate that he skirted such major issues and scandals, but I do think (like Jundo said) that he has straightened up, maybe with the assistance of his zen practice. I still have a profound respect for all mentioned in the book, all brave enough or smart enough or stupid enough to enter into a monastic life or try to. Thank you all for this debate and information.

    Gassho
    Seizan

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