We need to translate the teachings to our own daily life and practice.
Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. It is likely just that a lot of us have live in Asian countries for a long time, learned the language and such. And there is a lot of stuff to translate, so there you go!
(In my case too, it is that my family likes to eat).
Hey, don't you live in an Asian country, and aren't you learning the language??
Well, a lot of the teachings by the Chinese and Japanese masters become clearer if you can see through language differences and the lens of culture. You also have to separate what is Buddhist teachings and "Zen" from what is Japanese or Chinese culture (Zen is not paper screens, kimono, Mt. Fuji and gardens) ... sometimes you can't. Sometimes the Buddhist teachings flourish because of the soil of culture.
Here is another one of those funny but true films.
This is also true in the Tibetan tradition. Western Buddhism suffers from some unfortunate word choices in translation. (Emptiness and suffering are two words that are suspect. Although I am not sure what English words I would have chosen instead.) So, I can see the desire to read the works in the original language and context.Originally Posted by Jundo
I am grateful for Jundo's knowledge of Japanese language and culture to help guide us through some of the more culturally related aspects of Soto Zen.
Thak you Linda. I hope I can do that. Language study, like Zen Practice, is a lifetime pursuit that is done day by day. I have 18 years of Japanese study and need about 50 more. Actually, I live in Japan in an old, traditional farmhouse with a garden and big rocks and lanterns and an old wooden Zendo. That is the Treeleaf Zendo with buildings (hope some folks will come for a visit now and then!)Originally Posted by lindabeekeeper
(Here is some film from the day the Shinto Priest came at my wife's behest to appease the spirits and ancestors ... click on the link 'Watch O-Harai')
http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2007/08 ... -gods.html
One of my hopes is to use living in Japan as a base to separate what is "Zen" culture from what is just "Japanese" or "Asian" culture. Sometimes, there is no need to separate, and in fact, one supports and nourishes the other (for example, Zen gardening, Oryoki eating, bowing and such).
Here is a trivia question:
In traditional Japanese supplicating (called "dogeza"), the hands are palm down ...
... but in our Zen practice we sometimes bow with the palms up. Why the difference?
The winner of the trivia question gets a very Zen prize: NOTHING
I think that the upturned palm is a gesture meaning we are willing to receive (as in the teaching) where as not showing the hands or tucking them in is a way of making yourself harmless.
I love guessing games!
With palms up,
I've heard that the reason for lifting the hands in a full prostration is that we are symbolically lifting the Buddha's feet above our own heads.
picture 1: man lost contact lenses and is desperately searching.
picture 2: man found the missing contacts but accidently got his noggin stuck in carelessly disgarded wad of gum.
1) is humility or appologetic
2) is adoration or showing respect.
I think in soto zen it read as lifting up the universe or budda above you :?:
The bowing with the palms facing upwards is pre-Buddhism, and stems from bowing to those of a higher class. It was to show that there weren't any hidden weapons within the hands. It is found within most older feudal cultures across Central Asia/Europe (especially in Muslim countries).
Ever wondered why Buddhists uncover the right shoulder? well for the same reason, it showed that there were no weapons hidden and there was no evil intent.
It's nice that these quaint old modes of greeting have adopted symbolic and spiritual connections - that wasn't the intention however.
You all win! I've always thought that we are lifting up the Buddha/Universe/All Beings/The Dharma (which is just the same as our being lifted from another perspective) ... All the answers are great.
I guess you could carry your piece in a shoulder holster on the left.Originally Posted by Jun