An essay penned by me in honor of my Teacher (and Taigu's Teacher's Teacher), who died this past month. It is about his way of practicing Zen and how he saw Buddhism changing as it came West and into modern times ...

You can check it out here:

http://sweepingzen.com/eight-ways-gu...-zen-buddhism/

Eight Ways GUDO WAFU NISHIJIMA Will Help Change ZEN BUDDHISM

In a series of essays in the coming weeks, I hope to expand on each of these points. I will not assert that all are original ideas to Nishijima alone. There are many other folks these days who share such views to varying degrees. Nonetheless, what was unique about Nishijima Roshi was how thoroughly and energetically he called for a new vision of Zen Buddhism. Suchness transcends time, place and change, while Buddhist Truth is not dependent on outer wrappings. Yet, Buddhist traditions and practices must constantly change as they encounter new times, places and cultures. I believe that these eight changes which Nishijima symbolizes will have lasting effects on the future of Zen in the West; and Treeleaf Sangha, where I am one teacher, is dedicated and committed to their furtherance.

1 – STEPPING THROUGH THE TRADITIONAL FOURFOLD CATEGORIES OF PRIEST & LAY, MALE & FEMALE:

2 – FINDING OUR PLACE OF PRACTICE AND TRAINING “OUT IN THE WORLD”:

3 – SAVING ZEN PRACTICE FROM THE ‘FUNERAL CULTURE’ DOMINANT IN JAPAN & THE CREEPING INSTITUTIONAL “CHURCHNESS” APPEARING IN THE WEST:

4 – OFFERING A HOME TO ZEN FOLKS WHO ARE REFUGEES FROM INSTITUTIONALISM, SECT POLITICS AND SCANDAL IN CERTAIN PARTS OF THE ZEN WORLD:

5 – A RESPECT FOR TRADITION, YET AN EMPHASIS ON FINDING BRAND NEW EXPRESSIONS SUITABLE FOR MODERN TIMES AND WESTERN CULTURE:

6 – AN INTERPRETATION OF ZAZEN AS THE FULFILMENT OF REALITY ITSELF:

7 – LOOKING FOR COMMON GROUND AND THE COMPATIBILITY OF BUDDHIST TEACHINGS, ZEN AND ZAZEN WITH WESTERN PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE:

8 – AVOIDING SUPERSTITION, FANTASY, MIRACLES & MAGICAL INCANTATION IN BUDDHISM:
Gassho, J