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Thread: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Who Is a Priest ...

  1. #1

    SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Who Is a Priest ...



    Who is a Zen Priest ... and how to nurture their Training?

    And who perhaps is not?

    These are difficult questions, especially in our little Sangha.




    Listen Through our Treeleaf Audio Podcast HERE:
    http://treeleaf.podbean.com/e/july-2...o-is-a-priest/
    Last edited by Sekishi; 07-28-2016 at 08:27 PM. Reason: Added podcast link.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you Jundo, again, a clear and concise teaching.

    Gassho
    Shingen

    s@today
    RINDO 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

    SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Who Is a Priest ...

    Thank you Jundo, a very clear and heartfelt talk.

    I'd like to offer two thoughts:

    First, the more I learn about the history of Chan and Zen Buddhism in China and Japan it becomes clear to me that there is not one path to training, learning, and transmitting the teachings from generation to generation. There have been different paths and relationships between teacher and student, including over distance, and controversy has always been a feature of the landscape, fostered in particular by certain quarters where a more "establishment" type process or progression is favored. Huineng, the sixth zen patriarch is a great case in point - he had to engage in a period of quietude following his receiving transmission just because his teacher feared people would hunt him down and kill him, so upset were they at his manner of recognition.....

    Second, "what is a priest?" ..... This is a question whose answer is in play every day. Yes, someone who can lead a flock..... And there are different ways to lead, and serve. Many priests serve quietly, and by their own example lead. I do agree with you that basic knowledge of priestcraft is required, and in service and action often some priests are quietly at work in the community, including parish priests in Japan, or hospice workers or environmental and social activists. I'm not disagreeing with you, just ruminating out loud that the altar, the place of practice, and the "flock" can be a group of practitioners, the earth, the ocean, the mountains. All these things together.

    Lovely talk, and a cause for reflection. Thank you.

    Deep bows
    Yugen




    sat2day

  4. #4
    Hi Yugen,

    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    Huineng, the sixth zen patriarch is a great case in point - he had to engage in a period of quietude following his receiving transmission just because his teacher feared people would hunt him down and kill him, so upset were they at his manner of recognition.....
    I so much agree. Although the Huineng legend is probably a made up story for the most part, there have always been folks who don't appreciate new ways of doing things. Sometimes those folks are right by the way, and the "new way" is not so good, but sometimes the "new way" is a good way. In our Treeleaf case, only time will tell.

    And there are different ways to lead, and serve. Many priests serve quietly, and by their own example lead. I do agree with you that basic knowledge of priestcraft is required, and in service and action often some priests are quietly at work in the community, including parish priests in Japan, or hospice workers or environmental and social activists.
    I so much agree here too, and should have made this clear. For modern times, some folks might find their "priest path", not through standard Teaching, but as artists or film makers, social workers, hospice workers, writers or even softward designers (important for an online place like this) and ... the possibilities are so many.

    I still expect any Priest to have some basic understand of our History, Teachings and ... although we are not into elaborate ceremony around here ... basic ceremony and ritual. I also expect to see some attitude and direction that emphasizes that, when one steps into the role of priest, one has not become the "leader" of the flock so much as the "lead servant" to the flock.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Hi Jundo,
    Often stories or legends are the way traditions are passed from generation to generation, and the story of Huineng, which as you correctly point out is most likely a composite of contemporary experiences and disputes, it does tell an important story regarding the "path," and lively discussion regarding "legitimacy" and "transmission" which is not unique to our place or time period in the history of Chan and Zen Buddhism.

    Deep bows
    Yugen


    sat2day

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    Hi Jundo,
    Often stories or legends are the way traditions are passed from generation to generation, and the story of Huineng, which as you correctly point out is most likely a composite of contemporary experiences and disputes, it does tell an important story regarding the "path," and lively discussion regarding "legitimacy" and "transmission" which is not unique to our place or time period in the history of Chan and Zen Buddhism.

    Deep bows
    Yugen


    sat2day
    I still believe that the critics of our Ways of Training here are right ... until, through the quality and substance of the Priests turned out here, criticisms might be shown wrong. Until then, I believe all doubts are justified.

    The extent to which we are seeking to blend "homeleaving" priest with "homestaying" parent/spouse and worker would be unheard of in traditional Buddhism, and our methods of Training largely at a distance a rarity even today (in fact, in the Zen Buddhist world I do not know a reputable attempt ... although I do know a couple of not so reputable places that offer degrees online).

    Thus, I side with the critics and skeptics ... until we can prove otherwise. The burden is on us, and only by a lifetime of Practice as dedicated and sincere priests can we say otherwise.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7

    SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Who Is a Priest ...

    Hi Jundo,
    Completely agree with you. In some ways our responsibility is even heavier because we have chosen an innovative path, and I have to do better in my own efforts to support and serve this program and Sangha.

    Thank you again for the lesson.

    Deep bows
    Yugen

    sat2day

  8. #8
    This Sanga has been a blessing for myself (who lives in an area where there is no traditional temple). I think what you are doing here is ahead of the curve and I wish you all the best in future endeavours.

    Gassho
    Derek
    Sat today
    "Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment."

    Gassho

    Derek

  9. #9
    Thank you, Jundo. It's too bad Treeleaf doesn't need a cook or a gardener, I'd be the first to line up

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  10. #10
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Really interesting thoughts and much to mull over even for those of us who practice as lay people.

    Deep bows
    Kokuu
    #sattoday
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  11. #11

    SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Who Is a Priest ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Joyo View Post
    Thank you, Jundo. It's too bad Treeleaf doesn't need a cook or a gardener, I'd be the first to line up

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today
    But Joyo, you already are. Every time you post, share a concern or offer support you care for living things and nurture the soil that we work with in our daily lives. You are an essential ingredient of this community. Every one of you is - we all contribute to the stewpot that is always on the burner - we all pull weeds and tend to the landscape of our daily lives when we share here.

    By the way, if you haven't, have a look at Dogen's Tenzo Kyokun - Instructions for the Cook. It's on our reading list I believe. One of the "must reads" in my opinion, certainly to be read before you submit your job application....

    Deep bows
    Yugen


    sat2day
    Last edited by Yugen; 07-07-2016 at 08:36 PM.

  12. #12
    Thank you for this talk, Jundo and everyone for the discussion. I have to say that the teachers, priests in training, and other active members of this community are both helpful and inspirational to my practice. I'm grateful for the Treeleaf experiment.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    SatToday

  13. #13
    Jundo;

    I have found your talk an inspiration, to learn from are hardships is of great importance, but I believe and in the way of your speech I understood that it is not only learning from the hardships but being able to walk through them with a heart and mind the is calm and a smile of compassion.

    I was also moved to reflect upon my journey through the spirit since I was a child, I have touched upon the monastic and have left the come close to priesthood three times now. Each time my heart was there but my mind was moved by fear and uncertainty, so I took my leave. Yet here I am once again, this both my mind and heart are on the same page.

    If I may share this small story. A week ago I was fired from my job because of a conflict of interest with one of the owners. My wife asked me what are you going to do now? I sat down and was overcome with laughter, soon my wife and my parents were laughing, then we had a good cry followed by another good laugh. When we all calmed down and wiped away the tears my wife looked at me and said I know what you will do and that is live. Wherever the winds take that is where I will go for I must learn something... We all do.

    Thank you so much Jundo
    Gassho

    Oh I'm not totally unemployed I still throw papers as a form of early morning meditation before zazen.

    Sent from my X9 using Tapatalk

  14. #14
    Hello,

    Thanks and Metta to all.


    Gassho
    Myosha
    sat today

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Yugen View Post
    But Joyo, you already are. Every time you post, share a concern or offer support you care for living things and nurture the soil that we work with in our daily lives. You are an essential ingredient of this community. Every one of you is - we all contribute to the stewpot that is always on the burner - we all pull weeds and tend to the landscape of our daily lives when we share here.

    By the way, if you haven't, have a look at Dogen's Tenzo Kyokun - Instructions for the Cook. It's on our reading list I believe. One of the "must reads" in my opinion, certainly to be read before you submit your job application....
    Oh, I so second this (a "not one not two" Zen second! )!!

    For Joyo and the other helpful and wise pillars of this community. Folks teach and support each other around here.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-08-2016 at 01:12 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    Wonderful. Thank you.

    Gassho, Kyotai
    ST
    I am a student at Treeleaf. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. Gassho

  17. #17
    Thank you Jun do. Gassho. Josan
    Sat today

  18. #18
    Thanks Jundo - have only just seen this.

    In the main I agree with everything you say but would maybe add that I can see no point at all in training to be a priest unless one intends to be very actively involved in bringing Zen to a wider community.

    That may sound harsh. Expressing Zen through art/writing/ etc may be a wonderful expression of Zen that we can share with others, but I'm struggling to see how that might be equated with a 'priest' path.

    In a way I'm surprised to find myself holding a conservative view but I would not trust my own (or another person's motives) if it wasn't very clear that that person was striving hard to to fulfil responsibilities and commitments to a wider community. I feel that has to extend beyond the internet because one's practice and commitment would need to be nurtured (and tested) in the wider world (beyond the obvious concerns of family life, job, etc)

    I understand we've 'talked' about the following thought and you don't necessarily agree with me - but I think it's really necessary to be able to function in the outside world on many levels - to be able to establish a bricks and mortar sangha - to share in the rituals/history/teachings with others in a concrete physical space (beyond the virtual) to be credible as a priest.


    That is not to disavow at all what happens here - Tree Leaf is a wonderful Sangha - but it is so because of your years of experience/knowledge/faith in the practice that is played out in the virtual and concrete world.
    I think its going to be a very hard call for unsui to follow and I think you're right to toughen up (because that does seem to be what is happening?)

    For myself - I would like to see an additional category of training - for those who are very committed to this path - but do not feel up to the challenge of priesthood.
    The Christian religions seem to make a space and opening for this that has a degree of formality/training- not sure if there is any such opening in Zen?

    Anyway - just some thoughts,

    Gassho,

    Willow/Jinyo

    sat today
    Last edited by willow; 08-01-2016 at 10:08 AM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    Thanks Jundo - have only just seen this.

    In the main I agree with everything you say but would maybe add that I can see no point at all in training to be a priest unless one intends to be very actively involved in bringing Zen to a wider community.

    That may sound harsh. Expressing Zen through art/writing/ etc may be a wonderful expression of Zen that we can share with others, but I'm struggling to see how that might be equated with a 'priest' path.

    In a way I'm surprised to find myself holding a conservative view but I would not trust my own (or another person's motives) if it wasn't very clear that that person was striving hard to to fulfil responsibilities and commitments to a wider community. I feel that has to extend beyond the internet because one's practice and commitment would need to be nurtured (and tested) in the wider world (beyond the obvious concerns of family life, job, etc)

    I understand we've 'talked' about the following thought and you don't necessarily agree with me - but I think it's really necessary to be able to function in the outside world on many levels - to be able to establish a bricks and mortar sangha - to share in the rituals/history/teachings with others in a concrete physical space (beyond the virtual) to be credible as a priest.


    That is not to disavow at all what happens here - Tree Leaf is a wonderful Sangha - but it is so because of your years of experience/knowledge/faith in the practice that is played out in the virtual and concrete world.
    I think its going to be a very hard call for unsui to follow and I think you're right to toughen up (because that does seem to be what is happening?)

    For myself - I would like to see an additional category of training - for those who are very committed to this path - but do not feel up to the challenge of priesthood.
    The Christian religions seem to make a space and opening for this that has a degree of formality/training- not sure if there is any such opening in Zen?

    Anyway - just some thoughts,

    Gassho,

    Willow/Jinyo

    sat today
    Hi Willow,

    I so much agree with your words. For most priests, especially in the West, that is the needed role.

    Yet too, throughout Buddhist history, there have been special categories of priests who were not that. Priests who just cooked in the kitchen feeding the Sangha, such being their ministry. There were priests who were gardeners or builders who maintained the temple structures. Priests who were artists and poets more than any other role (for example, the great Haikuist Basho always dressed as a Zen priest, and it was not clear if he was or was not ... perhaps he just wore the robes ... and yet, WHAT POEMS!) ...



    These days there might be priests who are primarily software writers and programmers! Writing code for apps and games to spread the Dharma! (Why not?)

    Maybe not every Priest needs to be on a Path to be a "Teacher" in the way it is usually thought of in Western Buddhism, i.e., someone who gives talks and answers questions about Dharma, leads Ceremonies of various kinds, passes on Traditions to the next generation. One can be a "Priest" whose ministry is cooking, art, social work, software design, gardening ... the sky is the limit if there is Buddhist and Zen Practice and substance involved and helping the sentient beings.

    However, if one is going to "Teach" in the way of someone who gives talks and answers questions about Dharma, leads Ceremonies of various kinds, passes on Traditions to the next generation, explain and administer Precepts, then I insist that the person know their stuff, and not muck up the ceremony and Traditions too terribly thank you, is ethical and "other" directed. Willow, your description is right on the mark!

    We may come to have such multiple paths, e.g., someone who was going to be a "priest of Zen art" or "priest of the electronic Dharma" only without being on Track to give Talks, lead Ceremonies, explain and administer Precepts, etc. We also can continue to soften the hard borders between the traditional Sangha categories of "Ordained Lay Male Female" in this Sangha, embodying all.

    Nishijima advocated a form of ordination that fully steps beyond and drops away divisions of “Priest or Lay, Male or Female”, yet allows us to fully embody and actuate each and all as the situation requires. In our lineage, we are not ashamed of nor try to hide our sexuality and worldly relationships, nor do we feel conflicted that we are “monks” with kids and mortgages. When I am a parent to my children, I am 100% that and fully there for them. When I am a worker at my job, I am that and embody such a role with sincerity and dedication. And when I am asked to step into the role of hosting zazen, offering a dharma talk, practicing and embodying our history and teachings and passing them on to others, I fully carry out and embody 100% the role of “Priest” in that moment. Whatever the moment requires: maintaining a sangha community, bestowing the Precepts, working with others to help sentient beings. The names we call ourselves do not matter. In Nishijima’s way, we do not ask and are unconcerned with whether we are “Priest” or “Lay”, for we are neither that alone, while always thoroughly both; exclusively each in purest and unadulterated form, yet wholly all at once. It is just as, in the West, we have come to step beyond the hard divisions and discriminations between “male” and “female”, recognizing that each of us may embody all manner of qualities to varying degrees as the circumstances present, and that traditional “male” and “female” stereotypes are not so clear-cut as once held. So it is with the divisions of “Priest” and “Lay”.
    http://sweepingzen.com/eight-ways-gu...-zen-buddhism/
    It is all part of the great experiment.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-01-2016 at 11:30 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #20
    Hi Jundo,

    For some reason I missed this teaching when you first posted it, but I just saw it and it was just the perfect time.

    In my humble opinion, we become priests because we know at heart we are here to give and to serve. To live by the dharma and to pass it on. We are here because we understand there is an endless path we must walk and because we know Zen Buddhism works as a medicine to all the craziness of the modern world.

    We need more silence. We need more stillness. And at the same time we are noise and movement. And in the middle there is us living by the dharma.

    Well I be a teacher or be transmitted? I have no idea. But I sure do what I can to help the living beings around.

    Thank you for this teaching.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    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

  21. #21
    Member Geika's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    San Diego County, California
    Just to clarify, our unsui are the same as monks and nuns, right? Committed to the Dharma, but not necessarily going to be a teacher? To me, "priest" carries a more responsible connotation than "monk", so I wanted to make sure I know what is meant by "priest in training".

    Gassho, sat today
    迎 Geika

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post


    That is not to disavow at all what happens here - Tree Leaf is a wonderful Sangha - but it is so because of your years of experience/knowledge/faith in the practice that is played out in the virtual and concrete world.
    I think its going to be a very hard call for unsui to follow and I think you're right to toughen up (because that does seem to be what is happening?)
    I agree.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Geika View Post
    Just to clarify, our unsui are the same as monks and nuns, right? Committed to the Dharma, but not necessarily going to be a teacher? To me, "priest" carries a more responsible connotation than "monk", so I wanted to make sure I know what is meant by "priest in training".

    Gassho, sat today
    "Priest" and "monk/nun" are Christian words that don't quite fit the Asia terms, and were stuck on when Westerners came to Asia in the 19th century. The term I very much care for regarding Zen clergy might be closer to "Sangha Friend" or "Sangha Companion".

    By the way, "monk" and "priest" are both very imperfect names. The words "monk" and "priest" do not really work as good translations of the Japanese terms, and were picked, obviously, from the Judeo-Christian vocabulary of Western missionaries in the 19th century. "Priest" carries the feeling of working some power to intervene with God/the Spirits, and most Zen "monks" in Japan now only reside in monasteries maintaining celibacy for short periods as part of their training ... so both words are not good fits (except when the person is actually residing in a monastery and might be described then as a "monk". Of course, many "Zen priests" in Japan and China do reside in temples in which they are largely concerned with performing funeral and other ceremonies for parishioners to appease the spirits, bring good fortune or the like. In such case, "priest" is not inaccurate to describe such folks.)

    So, better than "priest" or "monk, " I often use "Zen clergy". One of the many Japanese terms usually (and awkwardly) translated as "monk/priest" in English is actually closer to "Sangha companion" , which I care for very much ... 僧侶 ("Soryo", the first kanji derives from the "san" of Sanskrit sangha = community, and the second means companion)

    So "Buddhist companion" or "Sangha Friend and Companion" may be the most accurate for a monk.

    As well, someone who has been Ordained, but is still in Training, is not considered a full priest ... and we call them "Unsui" ... clouds and water, for they should have the flexibility to flow so. Around here, I often call them "priests-in-training" or "novice priests". Maybe I should better call them "Sangha Companions in Training!!"
    Below is my usual comment about all these names (plus others like Roshi and such) ...

    Gassho, J

    ====================

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

    What is the meaning of Master, Reverend, Osho, Roshi (and "Sensei" too)?

    In Japanese Soto, "Roshi" just means literally an "Old Teacher" and does not imply any particular rank or attainment beyond being a fully ordained priest who one wants to refer to with some respect due to age or the like (the Rinzai folks use the term in a much more specific way ... see this Wiki for more details).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%C5%8Dshi

    Soko Morinaga, a well respected Japanese Soto Zen teacher, once famously said, "A roshi is anyone who calls himself a roshi and can get other people to do the same."

    The Sensei/Roshi ranking found in some Western Sangha is largely an American invention. A "Sensei" in Japan is a general title that can be applied to anyone from a school teacher, to a lawyer or doctor, to a politician. It is NOT a common title in the Zen world in Japan to denote some particular rank or attainment, and its use in the West for Zen teachers is pretty much a complete Western invention. There is no sense in Japan or China that "Sensei" is a lower rank, or less attained than a "Roshi". [ONE WOULD NEVER CALL THEMSELF "ROSHI" AS SOME TEACHERS DO, and to do so is even considered to be in poor taste ... rather like "His Honor" the judge calling himself "My Honor".] From a Japanese language/cultural point of view, it is rather amusing that in the West teachers are making artificial ranks based on those terms, or calling themself by such title.

    In the rules of the Soto-shu in Japan, an "Osho" is anyone who has received Dharma Transmission (plus has done all the proper paperwork, ceremonies, and paid the needed fees to Soto-shu). Again, the Rinzai folks define the term a little differently. The term "Osho" comes from the Indian "acharya", which is a guide or instructor in religious matters.

    In my view, "master" is someone with some "mastery" in an art or tradition to pass on and pass down ... from carpentry to medicine to martial arts to Zen Buddhary. It need not mean the "master" is perfect (one can be a "master carpenter", yet not every corner will always be smooth; a "master surgeon" cannot cure every patient, and even the most gifted may sometimes make a bad cut). However, one should be pretty darn skilled.

    "Reverend" is a nice general western term to refer to clergy or a minister.

    By the way, "monk" and "priest" are both very imperfect names. The words "monk" and "priest" do not really work as good translations of the Japanese terms, and were picked, obviously, from the Judeo-Christian vocabulary of Western missionaries in the 19th century. "Priest" carries the feeling of working some power to intervene with God/the Spirits, and most Zen "monks" in Japan now only reside in monasteries maintaining celibacy for short periods as part of their training ... so both words are not good fits (except when the person is actually residing in a monastery and might be described then as a "monk". Of course, many "Zen priests" in Japan and China do reside in temples in which they are largely concerned with performing funeral and other ceremonies for parishioners to appease the spirits, bring good fortune or the like. In such case, "priest" is not inaccurate to describe such folks.)

    So, better than "priest" or "monk, " I often use "Zen clergy". One of the many Japanese terms usually (and awkwardly) translated as "monk/priest" in English is actually closer to "Sangha companion" , which I care for very much ... 僧侶 ("Soryo", the first kanji derives from the "san" of Sanskrit sangha = community, and the second means companion)

    So "Buddhist companion" or "Sangha Friend and Companion" may be the most accurate for a monk.

    As well, someone who has been Ordained, but is still in Training, is not considered a full priest ... and we call them "Unsui" ... clouds and water, for they should have the flexibility to flow so. Around here, I often call them "priests-in-training" or "novice priests". Maybe I should better call them "Sangha Companions in Training!!"

    In my view, for a Teacher who has received Dharma Transmission and authorization to Teach, the best translations might be "Companion" "Guide" "Teacher" or even "Rabbi (my favorite, which also means "Teacher")" or even "minister".

    A very nice old term for a Buddhist teacher used in China is "shanzhishi" = a "good wise friend" (善知識, Sanskrit kalyanamitra.)

    BOTTOM LINE: In my case, just call me Jundo or or Rev. Jundo (or Rabbi) or "Hey You" or 'Teach or Cap'n Jundo. Maybe, in a few years, you can start calling me Admiral Jundo. Call me Roshi or Sensei or "Whatsya-say?". I like "Dharma Friend". My father from the Bronx used to say, "Call me whatever, just don't call me late for dinner"

    A rose by any other name is still a rose. A lemon by another name is still a lemon.


    Gassho, Jundo

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-02-2016 at 01:48 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  24. #24
    Member Geika's Avatar
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    San Diego County, California
    Thank you, Jundo, I was mistaken! Gassho

    Sat today
    迎 Geika

  25. #25
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Thank you Jundo, for the 'clear' statement of the case at hand. it is very difficult for anyone with a background in other traditions and cuitures to grasp the concepts you refer to. This is obvious in the Buddhism that is practised in North america and perhaps Europe as well. However as an Unsui, I continue on my merry way and you can call me Shokai.

    Sat and gassho,
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we be peaceful. embracing ALL conditions of life

  26. #26
    Yes, wonderful explanation Jundo, thank you for that. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    s@today
    RINDO 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.

  27. #27
    Thank you Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Theophan
    (Sekishi)

    Sat today

  28. #28
    Thanks Jundo - is it Ok if I play devil's advocate?

    I would suggest that out in the world the names we call ourselves - the labels we attach to - really do matter.
    Someone coming to Zen/Buddhism with no prior knowledge/understanding will probably have immediate (and possibly clearly defined) connotations around the label 'priest' or 'trainee priest'. If we are about softening boundaries, introducing broader connotations maybe the label really does need to be changed. I like the word Unsui - though it's maybe a bit esoteric - 'Sangha companion in Training' is possibly too long but I prefer it.

    Secondly - does having a ministry necessarily equate with priesthood. I can see that collectively a sangha could be said to have a Zen ministry (the vow to save all beings) etc, and that by taking the precepts we collectively embrace a commitment to a certain way of being in the world. In that respect we all embrace a ministry - but to be a priest would seem to imply something in addition.

    So I do feel some division needs be held between 'priest' and 'lay' else we could end up with a muddle. Maybe to be a priest should involve more than a desire to serve - else it's almost like we're grading that desire - it's like we're saying it's all the same really but a priest's desire is a bit stronger or manifests in a particular way. I'm not at all clear about this?

    I would hasten to say I'm not questioning any individual's motives here - it's just the nuts and bolts of the whole process.

    As this is an experiment maybe we should go for broke - take the whole edifice apart and see how it might be put back together? It would be interesting to share with others how they might like things to change - what to retain and build on - what to discard?



    Willow/Jinyo

    sat today
    Last edited by willow; 08-02-2016 at 08:32 PM.

  29. #29
    Thank you for this talk.

    The part where you talk about bringing all of life INTO training. So true for all of us, not just priests. All of life is our temple and is our practice.

    Also, given the amount of corruption amok in the brick and mortar Zen world, I am not so sure the "traditional" ways are inherently proving themselves to be necessarily better.

    Perhaps the heart is where true Zen practice can be found. Our reality may be virtual, but our sincerity is what matters.

    Gassho
    Sat Today

    Ishin

  30. #30
    Thank you, Jundo, for speaking openly and transparently about such an important (and in most places secretive) topic. It is helps new folks like me to develop trust in the teacher and the sangha here. It also gives me greater respect for those here who choose and persist on what sounds like a daunting path to priesthood.

    Colin

    sat today

  31. #31
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Hey folks,

    Maybe I misread something but why don't we just use the Japanese words? I recognize that they will be mispronounced terribly (by me and others probably) but with a little bit of use they will likely become part of the Sanga members vocabularies.


    Gassho
    Adam (El Duderino)
    Sattoday

  32. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by Dude View Post
    Hey folks,

    Maybe I misread something but why don't we just use the Japanese words? I recognize that they will be mispronounced terribly (by me and others probably) but with a little bit of use they will likely become part of the Sanga members vocabularies.


    Gassho
    Adam (El Duderino)
    Sattoday
    Hmmm. Interesting. On the other hand, folks will ask "what does this mysterious 'Soryo' mean" and we still need to explain anyway ... plus it a little bit conveys that Japanese language is "real Zen". Zen is not a matter of language.

    For example, we chant the Heart Sutra once a month in Sino-Japanese during our monthly Zazenkai to respect our roots, otherwise we chant in English. I am not a fan of folks confusing Zen with "oriental culture" too much.

    However, hmmm, certainly a good suggestion, something to consider. Soryo.

    Another couple of terms I came up with to describe our "priests" who combine life as moms and dads, workers and neighbors with their ministry recognizes the transcendence of the traditional categories of "Priest Lay Male Female" that Nishijima Roshi describes in the quote I posted ...

    How about "Plays" (Priest-Lay) or, recognizing our role of service to support the entire Sangha, "Liests" ... I like the second one better, as the first might imply we are only "playin' around".

    Nishijima advocated a form of ordination that fully steps beyond and drops away divisions of “Priest or Lay, Male or Female”, yet allows us to fully embody and actuate each and all as the situation requires. In our lineage, we are not ashamed of nor try to hide our sexuality and worldly relationships, nor do we feel conflicted that we are “monks” with kids and mortgages. When I am a parent to my children, I am 100% that and fully there for them. When I am a worker at my job, I am that and embody such a role with sincerity and dedication. And when I am asked to step into the role of hosting zazen, offering a dharma talk, practicing and embodying our history and teachings and passing them on to others, I fully carry out and embody 100% the role of “Priest” in that moment. Whatever the moment requires: maintaining a sangha community, bestowing the Precepts, working with others to help sentient beings. The names we call ourselves do not matter. In Nishijima’s way, we do not ask and are unconcerned with whether we are “Priest” or “Lay”, for we are neither that alone, while always thoroughly both; exclusively each in purest and unadulterated form, yet wholly all at once. It is just as, in the West, we have come to step beyond the hard divisions and discriminations between “male” and “female”, recognizing that each of us may embody all manner of qualities to varying degrees as the circumstances present, and that traditional “male” and “female” stereotypes are not so clear-cut as once held. So it is with the divisions of “Priest” and “Lay”.
    http://sweepingzen.com/eight-ways-gu...-zen-buddhism/
    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  33. #33
    I just listened to the podcast version. I particularly like the idea that being a priest is not for everybody. Being a father of two high needs kids and having mental issues myself (and wanting to stay married), being a priest is definitely not in the cards. The idea that it's OK just to practice and do what I can and still be a member of the Sangha with no further expectations is huge for me. Very different from the church I used to believe in but was slowly destroying me. Anyway, if I misunderstood anything I apologize, but it was helpful to me nonetheless.

    Gassho,
    Paul
    Sat today

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G920AZ using Tapatalk
    Paul

    Gassho,
    sat today

  34. #34
    In a lot of sects, you get the impression that monastics are doing the "real" Buddhism and lay practitioners are just there to support them. I feel like it's really the other way around (it's both ways around). The dharma is meant to be lived, and not just in a safe, quiet, artificial environment, but in the noisy, messy, pain-filled world. The practice of a layman isn't a lesser practice. It's not even a different practice, it just looks different. My inner Jundo says they're not-two.
    Priests aren't here to hand down the word of God from on high, but to support and serve the laypeople. Not even just lay Buddhists, but all people. All beings.
    I'm not sure if I had a point.

    Grasshoppers,
    Dudley
    (sat today)

  35. #35
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Cincinnati Ohio Area (Northern Kentucky)
    Quote Originally Posted by dudleyf View Post
    In a lot of sects, you get the impression that monastics are doing the "real" Buddhism and lay practitioners are just there to support them. I feel like it's really the other way around (it's both ways around). The dharma is meant to be lived, and not just in a safe, quiet, artificial environment, but in the noisy, messy, pain-filled world. The practice of a layman isn't a lesser practice. It's not even a different practice, it just looks different. My inner Jundo says they're not-two.
    Priests aren't here to hand down the word of God from on high, but to support and serve the laypeople. Not even just lay Buddhists, but all people. All beings.
    I'm not sure if I had a point.

    Grasshoppers,
    Dudley
    (sat today)
    Well put "Grasshoppers, Dudley".

    (My auto correct does the same thing)

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    #sattoday


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    As a priest in training, please take everything I say with a pinch of salt

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Shugen View Post
    Well put "Grasshoppers, Dudley".

    (My auto correct does the same thing)

    Gassho,

    Shugen

    #sattoday


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Mine did once and I liked it so much, I decided to keep it

    Gas shi,
    Dudley
    (sat today)

  37. #37
    Thanks, Jundo.

    Sat today after watching this.



    Paul
    _/\_
    Paul

  38. #38
    I know I'm a bit late to this thread, but I just wanted to raise the point of accessibility. I haven't yet seen any mention of people who are unable to attend a physical sangha or monastery and the ways traditional priest/teacher/sangha companion training excludes such individuals--thus losing a well of rich wisdom and devotion to the dharma and the sangha. I think for anyone leaning towards traditional priest training as the only acceptable method, they must be mindful of this fact when making their case.

    An example of the population that traditional training would exclude: I have a friend with cerebral palsy for whom any outing is quite costly--with the attendance of the needed caregiver, the arrangement of accessible transportation, and so forth. Yet as an educator, she has benefited thousands of students in the span of her 30-year career. She has been a tremendous support and companion to me as chronic illness has transitioned me from able-bodied to differently abled. Do conservative Buddhists believe such individuals have nothing to offer a sangha simply because they cannot prostrate themselves, fast, and regularly attend services? Should such individuals be barred from clergical roles due to their disability? I think we can all agree on the fact that such discrimination would be antithetical to Buddhist doctrines. Yet that is exactly the effect of insisting that all priests/teachers/sangha companions are trained in brick-and-mortar temples.

    I myself developed chronic migraines halfway through grad school and had to complete an online-only masters program and teaching internship. Lucky for me, universities have to comply with the ADA and my internship was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. And after losing two jobs at brick-and-mortar institutions, I have been holding down an online-only gig teaching English to Chinese students and developing ESL curriculum for a Chinese education company that serves over 30,000 students. Am I a real teacher? Yes. Do I have a real M.Ed. degree? Of course! Just because something is performed wholly online doesn't mean it is necessarily incomplete--if done in the right spirit and effort.

    The emphasis should always be on quality--not medium. I have no idea whether I will ever even ponder becoming a Buddhist clergy-woman. What I do know is that Jundo's and Treeleaf's commitment to inclusion and accessibility at the deepest levels and the oldest roots of this tradition were a big part of what drew me to this zendo. And if this first experiment fails, it still doesn't mean that online-only Buddhism is somehow lesser-than. Any move towards inclusion in any institution is always a process, with its ups and downs. Happy to be here on the ride with you all.

    Gassho
    Sat Today

    Sent from my iPhone

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by M.C. Easton View Post
    I know I'm a bit late to this thread, but I just wanted to raise the point of accessibility. I haven't yet seen any mention of people who are unable to attend a physical sangha or monastery and the ways traditional priest/teacher/sangha companion training excludes such individuals--thus losing a well of rich wisdom and devotion to the dharma and the sangha. I think for anyone leaning towards traditional priest training as the only acceptable method, they must be mindful of this fact when making their case.

    An example of the population that traditional training would exclude: I have a friend with cerebral palsy for whom any outing is quite costly--with the attendance of the needed caregiver, the arrangement of accessible transportation, and so forth. Yet as an educator, she has benefited thousands of students in the span of her 30-year career. She has been a tremendous support and companion to me as chronic illness has transitioned me from able-bodied to differently abled. Do conservative Buddhists believe such individuals have nothing to offer a sangha simply because they cannot prostrate themselves, fast, and regularly attend services? Should such individuals be barred from clergical roles due to their disability? I think we can all agree on the fact that such discrimination would be antithetical to Buddhist doctrines. Yet that is exactly the effect of insisting that all priests/teachers/sangha companions are trained in brick-and-mortar temples.

    I myself developed chronic migraines halfway through grad school and had to complete an online-only masters program and teaching internship. Lucky for me, universities have to comply with the ADA and my internship was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. And after losing two jobs at brick-and-mortar institutions, I have been holding down an online-only gig teaching English to Chinese students and developing ESL curriculum for a Chinese education company that serves over 30,000 students. Am I a real teacher? Yes. Do I have a real M.Ed. degree? Of course! Just because something is performed wholly online doesn't mean it is necessarily incomplete--if done in the right spirit and effort.

    The emphasis should always be on quality--not medium. I have no idea whether I will ever even ponder becoming a Buddhist clergy-woman. What I do know is that Jundo's and Treeleaf's commitment to inclusion and accessibility at the deepest levels and the oldest roots of this tradition were a big part of what drew me to this zendo. And if this first experiment fails, it still doesn't mean that online-only Buddhism is somehow lesser-than. Any move towards inclusion in any institution is always a process, with its ups and downs. Happy to be here on the ride with you all.

    Gassho
    Sat Today

    Sent from my iPhone
    Thank you. Our training program seeks ethical behavior, love of this Way and dedication for a lifetime. A Priest-Trainee must be a person who is trustworthy, committed to Ordaining primarily to serve others before themselves, willing to stick with it over the years and years with no promise that it will ever come to anything. Physical disabilities would not be a factor so long as there is some way to communicate, and we can always adjust things creatively to try to accommodate a need or restriction.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  40. #40
    Devils advocate:

    I want to play in the NBA but I can't dribble, rebound, shoot the 3 and dunk.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  41. #41
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Jishin, thank me later

    http://www.playr.org/play/nba_jam/360


    Gassho,
    Geoff.

    SatToday
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  42. #42
    Quote Originally Posted by Getchi View Post
    Jishin, thank me later

    http://www.playr.org/play/nba_jam/360


    Gassho,
    Geoff.

    SatToday
    Ha! I can play pro ball after all.

    Gassho, Jishin, ST

  43. #43
    Being a good Zen priest requires many things. However, it does not require the ability to make a windmill dunk (and this was the ref!) ...



    One can rule the court in many ways.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday , Slam Dunk
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  44. #44
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Virginia, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Being a good Zen priest requires many things. However, it does not require the ability to make a windmill dunk
    Thank goodness!

    Gassho,
    Sekishi #sat #nodunk
    sekishi
    石志

    As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  45. #45
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Virginia, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    Ha! I can play pro ball after all.
    jishin-dunk.jpg

    Gassho,
    Sekishi #sat
    sekishi
    石志

    As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by Sekishi View Post
    jishin-dunk.jpg

    Gassho,
    Sekishi #sat
    Ha! I can jam!



    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  47. #47



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    serene
    ​field

  48. #48
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    You can jam with me anytime Jishin friend

    And mad skillz Sekishi /wicked.


    Gassho,
    GEoff.

    SAtToday.
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  49. #49
    Another reminder that there a many ways to play the game ...



    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  50. #50
    Wow! These guys rock.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

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