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Thread: What ARE we doing here? (sincere question)

  1. #1

    What ARE we doing here? (sincere question)

    Hi, all.
    The discussion in another thread got me thinking about our uses of this forum. I would love to know what others view this forum as. A place to vent? A community of folks who rarely actually see one another? A way to educate others about Zen? A way to . . . . .?

    My purpose here is to talk a bit about subjects that I never have occasion to talk about in my everyday life. I teach at a small college in eastern Tennessee so there are few opportunities to talk about anything Buddhist, more or less Soto Zen. So, I come here to read other's ideas and contribute a few of my own. I really don't consider myself as having any experiences that make my opinion about practice any more valid than anyone else's. Nonetheless, I sometimes share them, my motivation is usually to be active in the virtual community more than to share any brilliant revelations. I don't like to talk about certain aspects of my practice on this forum because I feel it would be self-centered to do so and would be of no benefit (maybe even detrimental) to my zazen. Those are the kinds of things that I would envision asking Jundo or another teacher I consider qualified. We do a lot of 'mouth-flapping' around here. I consider that OK as long as we keep in mind that idle speech is a akin to arrogance. But, in our virtual community, the alternative is to sit here with no contact between any of us, waiting for some important Zen-stuff to arise for discussion. So, we are an experiment and there will be unforseen positives and negatives to the experiment. All of the idle posting (and one person's idle post is a real helpful bit of advice to another person) is not ideal, but without it there would be no sense of any Treeleaf community. There would simply be Jundo's postings and our interactions with him via email, etc.
    The short of it is that I still really dig being here. There is a nice balance of membership and viewpoints in my opinion, and most of us seem to be concerned with the welfare of the Treeleaf experiment and the community members.
    I will end my mouth-flapping.
    Bill

    Addendum--I do believe that to be a part of any community means that there are responsibilities. A responsibility-free community is a naive concept. If we are to be part of this, we each have to tolerate and accomodate others while simultaneously staying true to our practice and holding each other accountable for our inevitable screw-ups.

  2. #2
    A lot of listening, an occasional opinion, and some random silliness.

    What you do with any group of people.

  3. #3
    It's an experiment that's for sure. There is a lot of conversation going on in this forum, and truthfully its more than I can keep up with, but I think it's a good thing giving people a chance to reach out to each other and have a dialog about something that odds are they would not be able to have without the forum.

    I think if we don't get too bogged down in the idea of trying to contribute to every thread, keeping things light, this good resource and a wonderful opportunity for this community to come together as a cohesive group.

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    For me,
    (taking into account im quite new here and to buddhism )
    I am here to learn and seek guidence. Im also here to share if i can. Right now I take more than i give at this point I have no physical place to practice or really even discuss what im doing besides my wife and i think she needs a break Treeleaf is what i have available to me and i am very greatful to have a community to seek shelter with. As said in one of the videos... "its better than nothing" (hehe couldnt resist that bit, made me laugh out loud at work when i heard it)

    _/_

    dirk

  5. #5
    For me...well... Treeleaf is Sangha, and a bit of family and friends. I have learn't a lot from taking part in this Sangha over the past months and I am very grateful for those who have helped my practice. I'm also grateful that no one has kicked me off. hehe. For that I owe graditude and hopefully in the future I can repay it.

    Gassho Will

  6. #6
    For me, I come to this forum expecting to read what I would expect to hear at a Zendo, or, what I imagine I would hear at a Zendo. That is, lots of discussion of Zen-related topics, both practical and esoteric, doctrinal and down-to-earth; discussion of struggles, questions, answers, assistance, support, etc.; some chit-chat about sports and the weather, etc.; some get-to-know-you chatter; some silliness; some creativity shared with others...

    That sort of thing. Like Rev said, the sort of thing you'd get with any group of people.

  7. #7
    Treeleaf provides me with a community where I have no community. A Sangha where I have no Sangha.

    With exception to some very brief conversation on the rarest of occasions, religious affiliation never really comes up all that much (nor should it in most circumstances). I am the only Buddhist I know in my town. To speak about the dharma to others around me gets a glazed over :shock: reaction at the best of times, and could be viewed as outright inappropriate at the worst of times.

    Treeleaf is a way I can listen and learn from the views fellow Buddhist, be taught by a knowledgeable teacher, and on occasion hang my own opinion out there and see what happens.

    The Triple Gem is said to be the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Up until recently, my Sangha has been little more than a zafu and a pile of books. Don't get me wrong, books are great, but they don't make for good conversation.

    That’s what brings me to Treeleaf.

    PS- Will, your back to you angry face... what’s up with that?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by will
    I'm also grateful that no one has kicked me off. hehe.
    Well, I thought about kicking you off for saying 'hehe' once to often, :wink:

    Gassho, Jundo (hehe)

  9. #9
    It's not angry :? That's my normal face. The smiley face was kind of a joke.

    Gassho

  10. #10
    Well, I thought about kicking you off for saying 'hehe' once to often,
    Hehe.

  11. #11
    Hey Kelly. BTW Are you sitting the retreat on Saturday?

    G,W

  12. #12

    what are we doing here

    We are here because....

    I can only answer for me. I am here because I stumbled upon this site and loved it's playfulness and beauty. It was fun to explore.
    I stayed to read and to participate. I just naturally found myself drawn to respond at times. I like to write, I like how other's express themselves in their writing.
    We share quite a bit of ourselves here despite how public it is.
    It is an interesting group of creative, good humored, intelligent folks.
    I am not a scholar. It's great to get a perspective from those who are.
    My keen interest is in the usual: the everydayness of ordinary life and just how extraordinary it is. I like to try to express that from experiences...
    As much as zen is a favorite topic, its got a toxic side to it--the fact that words are used to express what can't be put into words means there's a whole lot of words appearing and the wordlessness gets lost. If I eat too much of this stuff I get indigestion. I try to include wordlessness in my comments, or something that points to wordlessness...even so, the fact is using words will fail every time.
    So while we have our fun, we also need to take care of ourselves and each other in this regard: just like an x ray technician wears a tag indicating when there's been too much exposure to x-rays--we need to make sure we have adequate time for practice as first priority. Where the forums serve as an aid to this I say Way to Go, where the forums get into bordering on argument (a rarity) I see no point.
    There is so much to read and follow on the forums that it really takes quite a bit of time to get through the material--when time gets crunched, I give up coming to this site and put it into sitting zazen. Zazen is the cake, this is the fosting.

    I thank all of you for such wonderful fellowship (and it is mostly fellows here).

    May we continue to be an encouragement to each other's practice.

    gassho
    keishin

  13. #13
    Senior Member Martin's Avatar
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    I'm here to listen, learn and (very occasionally , where I can) offer support.

    I work as a Mediator amongst lawyers who consider my practice to be at best eccentricity and more likely a sure sign that I've finally lost what little sense I had. At home my dear wife is tolerant (if occasionally irritated) by my practice but it does nothing for her, and my teenage sons are from time to time interested but not at a stage where they are remotely likely to take as serious interest in anything other than the latest Playstation game (sigh). My working hours make reaching the only Soto sangha in my locality difficult, so this is the only place I can listen to conversations about Zen practice. It is a wonderful gift to be able to do that. Thank you all.

    So far I've found Treeleaf to be a wonderfully open supportive place, that has never the less been able to keep to pretty much to "Zen" topics. There are plenty of other groups on line of course. But I've found that they tend either not to be so open and supportive (I think "the only rule is to be kind to one another" here is great) or they become primarily "social". It's an experiment of course and I would guess that Treeleaf may become a little more "social" as we get to know one another, and that's great (and, for example, it was really good to hear about Keith's children being ok after illness) , but I hope the focus will never the less remain on our Zen practice and being a Zen sangha as opposed to becoming "merely" an on line community. There's nothing wrong with being an on line community or social site, it's just that it's the chance to learn about and deepen Zen practice that I don't have off line and that I so value here.

    Gassho

    Martin[/i]

  14. #14
    Hi all,

    Considering the amount of time spent online at Treeleaf vs. time offline, it's just a very small fraction of my day, yet it's come to be an integral part of my practice. It's kind of like going on a hike and seeing a guidepost every once in a while which lets you know you've not gone astray from the Way. To me it's a great opportunity to be a part of a new Soto Zen community, to learn from others and maybe help others learn from time to time as well. Sure, conflicts and differences of opinion will always occur, but I think there's something special about how they're handled here. I'm very thankful for Treeleaf.

    Gassho
    Kenneth

  15. #15
    Hi Folks,

    I've come here to garner help with my Zen practice. Sounds simple enough. But what I mean by my practice is every aspect of my life. I have benefited from being part of this Sangha through Jundo's teachings and others' comments and support. Perhaps, my being here and posting can assist others in their practice but I'm really just trying not to say anything too inane.

    I was skeptical at first about how this whole thing would work out. Frankly, I thought I'd read and post a bit and then eventually move on. I was surprised, however, how much a communal feel we have here, including the discomfort that sometimes occurs when being in a community. I now consider Treeleaf my Sangha and I think that's pretty damn cool.

    Gassho,
    Keith

  16. #16
    Like others, I stumbled onto the Leaf. I have been the recepient of some good advice and counsel, for which I am grateful. While I have a sangha here at Emory, this feels just as real to me in many ways. I appreciate the openess, as has been mentioned, but I really need the humor (root humus) that keeps me grounded. taking myself too seriously is a occupational hazard and Jundo's talks keep me centered as well as being at times laugh at loud funny.
    Thanks for the opportunity to reflect on how I am spending my time and energy....always a good investment.
    Blessings,
    David aka PapaDoc

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Hey Kelly. BTW Are you sitting the retreat on Saturday?

    G,W
    Hi Will, thanks for asking,

    I am working vigorously to try and have that day open. But if Saturday is not possible, Sunday will be my first alternative.

    Cheers,
    Kelly

    PS- I donno Will, the glint in your eyes seem to be one of disappointment… I can’t help but feel that your avatar is judging me! ops: Haha, just kidding Will, I’m sure its just self-consciousness on my part.

  18. #18
    That’s not to say you don’t have a handsome ‘normal face’ of course Will… just with a glint of disappointment. Haha

    -Handsome being used in the purely fraternal sense of course. 8)

  19. #19
    Keith

    I'm really just trying not to say anything too inane
    Can you teach me how to do that

    Gassho

  20. #20
    What everyone else said. Really, I found myself litterally nodding in agreement while reading this thread
    I recognize the danger in forums, but so far, I find Treeleaf really wonderful. It feels more like a real community than other online places I (used to) belong to. I am very grateful to all of you.

    --Helena

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by will
    Keith

    I'm really just trying not to say anything too inane
    Can you teach me how to do that

    Gassho
    Not yet Will, but I'll let you know!

    Gassho,
    Keith

  22. #22
    Along with the agreement to "treat each other kindly" mentioned in the introduction to the forum is the invitation to relax and put up your feet. It is useful to ask people here what they think of this or that practise or p.o.v which wouldn't be appropriate in a more formal monastery setting where everyone is more committed to a certain doctrine.

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Drut
    Along with the agreement to "treat each other kindly" mentioned in the introduction to the forum is the invitation to relax and put up your feet. It is useful to ask people here what they think of this or that practise or p.o.v which wouldn't be appropriate in a more formal monastery setting where everyone is more committed to a certain doctrine.
    Hi Drut,

    Well, we do practice 'Just Sitting' Shikantaza here, as instructed by Master Dogen.

    And, no, I do not appreciate folks putting their feet on the good furniture. :-)

    Gassho, Jundo

  24. #24
    Didn't there used to be a feet on the furniture invitation somewhere? Oh well. I'll stay in the family room with the kids where I can't break the good stuff and happy to be here.

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