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Thread: new member

  1. #1

    new member

    Hello everyone,

    I am a new forum member, writing from Denmark.
    I've practiced meditation for some years now. Got started with zen in Spain, lived three months in Jiko An and even tried the Japanese trip but my anarchists ideas and my questioning of authority left me no place in that tradition.
    Then J. Krishnamurti, Yoga, and finally Theravada where I found the theoretical bagground for my practice which always has been centered around sitting meditation.
    Though I knew of treeleaf zendo before it is now I have decided to get involved with you. I have been in a 4 days lonely retreat and there I was virtually pushed to Hongzhi's silent illumination teachings so I wanted to know more about Dogen's shikantaza.
    I won't be mixing any teachings, nor comparing, nor trying to show you how much I do (not) know. My sole purpose is to explore meditation as taught in this open and accessible group and see how deep I can get in this exploration with you.
    I'm waiting my copy of Opening the hand of thought so I can get to work!!

    I look forward having a rich dialog with you

  2. #2
    Welcome, welcome. Dive right in and immerse yourself!

    "....my questioning of authority..." A very good and healthy attitude, I might add!

    gassho

  3. #3
    Welcome David. I think you will find this a good place to be, whatever questions you may bring.
    Again welcome.
    David aka PapaDoc

  4. #4
    Hi David,

    Welcome, nice to have you here with us.

    Gassho
    Ken

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Shohei's Avatar
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    Hi and welcome!

    Gassho
    Dirk

  6. #6
    Hi David, Welcome to Treeleaf. After reading your message I'm now wondering whether Zen is anarchistic or authoritarian. I previously thought it was communitarian.....

    Gassho,
    John

  7. #7

  8. #8
    Hi david and welcome!

    Questioning authority is a good thing, but just because you question it doesn't mean you shouldn't obey your boss (at least if you want to keep your job ). 8)

    If you'd like to share your experiences I'd be interested to hear exactly what kind of trouble did you end up with the Zen tradition you tried?

  9. #9
    Thank you for the warm welcome!

    Hi David, Welcome to Treeleaf. After reading your message I'm now wondering whether Zen is anarchistic or authoritarian. I previously thought it was communitarian.....
    If you'd like to share your experiences I'd be interested to hear exactly what kind of trouble did you end up with the Zen tradition you tried?
    Actually I don't know whether zen is anarchistic, authoritarian or communitarian. I'm sure anyway that there are as many zens as people practising, preaching and reading about it.

    At the time i was practising zen (middle 90's) I found the samurai zen: don't talk too much, sit until your legs fall apart, don't read and so on. In Japan I met the traditional monastery training which reminded me so much the military system I had been protesting against years back in Spain. Then there was the master-disciple relationship which I sometimes found almost sectarian and blind.
    These were some reasons that forced me to keep on looking the way. I must anyway say that the zen teachings were with me almost all the time and the knowledge that all not zen is the same: the place I mentioned before, Jiko An is a very open place, where the practice is wonderfully followed.

    But I don't want to center on what was but on what is on right now. I don't know, John, if zen is communitarian or not. Is it something you believed or you believe now? I just can say that if I am going to wait for it to become communitarian then I will wait a long time! Just practice is just that, I can't wait to do it with others.

  10. #10
    Welcome and whassup David.




    Quote Originally Posted by John
    Hi David, Welcome to Treeleaf. After reading your message I'm now wondering whether Zen is anarchistic or authoritarian. I previously thought it was communitarian.....
    Hey John
    To your wonderings and thoughts I say, yes.

    But that is just me.

    R

  11. #11
    Welcome David and thanks for the insight into your experiences so far.

    Gassho

    Kev

  12. #12

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by david


    But I don't want to center on what was but on what is on right now. I don't know, John, if zen is communitarian or not. Is it something you believed or you believe now?
    I don't really know David. I studied political philosophy at one time and your message resonated with that :-) The communitarian claim that we are shaped by and get our values from the society we live in (like co-dependent origination?) seems more Zen-like to me than the liberal view that we are atomistic self-determining individuals . But I am not concerned with all that philosophical stuff any more. Like you say, Zen is a more experiental study,

    Gassho,
    John

  14. #14
    Zen is a more experiental study,

    Gassho,
    John
    ... and there is where I'm sitting. :wink:

    Gassho

  15. #15
    Welcome,

    I look forward to learning with you.

    see in the book club, I think we've got a rather nice book to get into together.

    take care,

    Greg

  16. #16
    Dear David,

    Welcome again. We can always use an anarchist around here (as long as not the bomb throwing kind), and until the point that I, as the resident Authoritarian Dictator-for-Life-, order complete obedience and compliance. ;-)

    Actually, the rigid, militaristic "boot camp" of Zen training is useful (I think), but only for short periods of time (I think). The reason is that, like any "boot camp", the physical discomforts, psychological stresses and need to leave our personal likes and dislikes at the door and "tow the line" are each beneficial in teaching us how to find "freedom within confinement". I have helped teach at some Zen Sangha at maximum security prisons in Florida, and the life for the inmates there can be like a Zen monastery. We learn that "inner freedom" has little relation to outward restrictions, humiliations and unplesantries.

    (On a related theme, I will be giving a talk in a couple of days about a book and movie called "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly"

    http://www.thedivingbellandthebutterfly-themovie.com/

    It is a true story about a fellow who was suddenly paralyzed save for the ability to blink one eye. His sharp mind, humor and great spirit, however, brought him freedom. A wonderful, uplifting tale that demonstrates the resources we may have within us).

    Anyway, back to our main topic: The only trouble I find with that "boot camp" mentality is that some Western Zen Buddhist groups try to be "more Japanese than the Japanese", and have created some artificial, stereotypical image of what Zen training and a Zen teacher is supposed to be. It can come to be cultish, with the Zen teacher as some infallible awakened being handing out Zen-like pronouncements and bits of "Wisdom". Anyone who resists the group is not "enlightened". That kind of silliness. (It happened in a certain lineage in Europe, at the San Francisco Zen Center under Baker Roshi, and other places).

    In any event, while I feel the captain has to keep the ship on course, and run a tight ship with a clean galley and all ropes properly knotted, I don't believe in that kind of exaggerated "Zen" thing. I am certainly not Captain Bligh (permission to mutiny and set me adrift in a lifeboat if I ever act that way). If I see a student getting too comfortable, I will push them to doing things they might resist from time to time (I wish we had more folks around here taking their Samu seriously, with outside volunteer work if they have time!!). But, there is no need to live full time or long term in a rigid monastery to know the true fruits of our Zen Practice, I think. Having a job in an office with a boss and co-workers, and a wife/husband and bills to be paid and health concerns, etc., can be just as "confining" and an excellent environment for Zen Practice.

    So, to make a long story short: Do not flee from confining circumstance, nor run toward them. Do not run toward anarchy for anarchy's sake. Just come to be yourself, doing your own Practice, in a world which is a mixture of liberties and restrictions. Know that true freedom has nothing to do with external circumstances.

    Gassho, Jundo the Great, President for Life and Grand High Poobah

  17. #17
    Hi David. Welcome.

    Gassho Will

  18. #18
    Hello David.
    Look forward to hearing more from you.

  19. #19
    Greetings, David! Nice to have you "here" and "there." Do join us for our latest book club offering...I think you'll enjoy it and it would be great to have your input.

    In Gassho~

    *Lynn

  20. #20
    Welcome again. We can always use an anarchist around here (as long as not the bomb throwing kind), and until the point that I, as the resident Authoritarian Dictator-for-Life-, order complete obedience and compliance.
    Dear Jundo the Great, president for life and so on... and to all:

    the anarchist thing was about 15-17 years ago. Today I'm just a "meditator" who tries to involve his practice in ALL aspects of his life: as a husband, as a father, walking, cykling, swimming and trying to do while sleeping (!)...
    I do keep on questioning, not accepting things easily but rather proving what I consider worthy and listening until my ears drop off, not to miss anything, again and again.

    Do you know how I usually finish my morning meditation? my 4 year old daughter gets up and sits on my lap, she says she is meditating with me. It's just Buddha preaching the Dharma.

    Anyway, no anarchy-thing but sane inquiry.

    And again, thank you all for your warm welcome. I have received my copy of Opening... and will come back later with commentaries.

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