I have posted an important message with today's sitting, and I hope everyone will have a look.
http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2008/02 ... blood.html
I have not yet reached any decisions, but I will within a few days. For me, one particular message touched me (I said it was by Keishin on the video, but it was from Lynn):
We are not an internet Sangha, an internet Forum or a social club. We are a Sangha. If any of you visited a temple. monastery, Zazenkai or Zen Center anywhere from Japan to London to New York, you would be expected to behave in a certain manner. You would be gentle, respectful, soft, open and cooperative with others, respectful and deferential to the teacher. I will keep the same standards here as if people were visiting my temple or Zen Center made of wood and bricks in Tsukuba, Japan. That is just the way it will be.So, most of us seem to be on a similar flow about guest behaviour based on societal standards: we don't walk into someone's home, throw ourself on the couch, but our shoe-shod feet on the coffee table, demand that our host start making us dinner simply because we've "suited up and shown up", speak snidely, sarcastically and angrily at the other guests, then proceed to berate our host for being intolerant etc. because they want us to please remove our feet from the table, take our shoes off at the door, speak respectfully to others and stop demanding their services as if those services were a requirement to keep *us in the house.
In the "real time" world, how would that play? Why should it look different in a virtual home and, most importantly, in a virtual zendo? (I will give slack for the fact that *some people may not have been in a real time zendo and are unfamiliar with etiquette and protocol.)
It might be time for Jundo to be a bit more specific regarding guest behaviours because this is his home and our shared zendo. One can use skillfull means to be clear and still be welcoming.
The reason is not to massage my ego, or because I am a dictator, or because I want everyone to kiss my ring and take every bit of mumbling out of my mouth as the word of God. The reason is only that this is a place of learning, mutual support and peace ... and a certain environment conducive to that must be kept.
So, whatever decisions I make, it will not please everyone. However, anyone who has been around this place the past year knows what kind of an open and warm atmosphere we have been able to maintain. There are really only two rules: In this Sangha, we Practice Shikantaza. And, we shall be kind to each other in doing so.
That means that we shall talk to each other softly, sweetly, gently and in a cooperative and supportive tone without harsh speech or a sharp tongue. If people find it false or say that it "is not their style" or that they disagree, I am sorry. You are free to say anything here, criticize any idea, or raise any question, but you must do so in a respectful, open, positive and non-aggressive manner. The tone does count and I must be the judge.
For better of worse, I am the teacher here and that requires me to assume a certain role. When the teacher talks, people are expected to listen respectfully. They can doubt anything the teacher says or disagree, they can think his opinions wrong, but they are expected to do so respectfully. Finally, if they are in this place, they are expected to make some effort to comply with the Practices as taught here. A certain Practice is taught here, and that is the reason for the place (again, it is not a social club or a bar).
There is no Sangha in the world with a written and video record more public than ours. There is no cult activity going on here, there is no abusive situation. There is only a group of people who must maintain a certain society in order to study and Practice. The record clearly shows that the only thing that trips my trigger is folks failing to act in this place with the proper respect for the place, the teacher and fellow practitioners. I am sorry if I am coming across as speaking sharply while telling others not to speak sharply, but it is the teacher's duty and prerogative to tell the class to hush, listen and learn a certain way.
This is a place of learning. It is our house, it is my house. My standard will be the decorum that would be expected at any bricks and mortar temple, monastery or Zen Center in Asia or in the West.