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Thread: Buddhist infighting

  1. #1
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Buddhist infighting

    This was inspired by the Big Mind thread, but I decided this was the bigger issue, thus it needed its own space.

    One of the things that has always impressed me about Buddhism is how it embraces the concept of non-duality – no right/wrong, just being whole and not separate, etc. So I am always puzzled whenever I see Buddhists arguing amongst themselves over their different forms of practice, how one is right and another is wrong. Even Dogen (in Beyond Thinking, by John Daido Loori) railed against those that have wrong practice and how he was giving everyone right practice. Isn’t this attachment to duality? And besides, the Buddha said not to take his word for it (dogma) but rather a person needs to find out for him or herself. And since there are many different kinds of self out there in terms of physical makeup and personal experiences, it seems to me that there are lots of different “right” ways for people to practice, thus transcending this whole right/wrong practice issue. To say a practice is wrong or right seems dogmatic to me, and that’s not the Buddhism I signed up for. One of the main reasons I turned away from theistic religion was to get away from just this sort of right/wrong talk.

    For example, take this Big Mind practice being promoted by Genpo Merzel and denounced by Brad Warner, among others (see other forum thread). I am not up to speed on this whole Big Mind controversy, if that’s the right word, but I don’t recall ever hearing about Genpo Merzel saying that other practices are wrong, just that his practice works for some people. Yet his detractors seem to try and discredit that practice as wrong. That seems petty to me… but that’s just me, and what do I know. Anytime someone says I am right and the other guy is wrong I get squeamish about that person (this includes Dogen). One of the things I like about Jundo is that he doesn’t get into this sort of petty stuff. I am aware that he has been the victim of it in the past, which might be one reason why he doesn’t get into it. Anyway, I believe it is to his credit that he stays above the fray.

    Finally, it occurred to me this morning that Buddhists seem to get along better with other religions than they do with different practices within Buddhism. Jews, Christians, and Muslims fighting amongst each other is sort of similar to different Buddhist practices disagreeing with each other. Of course the scale of disagreement is much smaller in Buddhism, as I am unaware of any Buddhist Crusades such as Pure Land vs. Zen, for example.

    There’s a koan in here somewhere… Ah, yes, I think I see it.

    But anyway, please enlighten me with your thoughts on Buddhist infighting?

  2. #2

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    I am unaware of any Buddhist Crusades such as Pure Land vs. Zen, for example.

    This happened. Quite a bit in Japan. But I am sure other places as well.

    Gassho,
    Jordan

  3. #3
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Buddhist infighting

    So there really were Buddhist versions of the crusades! Huh, we really are scared little humans no matter what our beliefs. How enlightening to hear of such un-enlightenment.

  4. #4

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Hi AlanLa,

    Thanks for the post. You expressed some of the same feelings I've had over the last 3 years of Zen practice. I wrote about it here a few months ago. I felt the same way when I was a practicing Catholic, which is just one of the things that turned me away. The whole dogma of "we have the correct practice and you don't... neener, neener" has always struck me as childish and nonproductive. Like you, I'm happy to say I haven't seen a whole lot of it here, but I have seen it in Dogen's writings (e.g., Bendowa), as well as in the writings of some his contemporary disciples. While a practice, style, religion, or philosophy may not work for me, it may work for others. And as long as it's not doing any harm, I say go with God.

    Gassho,
    Keith

  5. #5

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    While I do see the Big Mind as a get enlightened quick scheme that preys on peoples insecurities or worse for a large profit, infighting in the past (and possibly the present in some cases) was largely a matter of survival or quest for power in this life. Many religions and various sects there of had to remain the dominant belief of the land to avoid being persecuted. You had to be the one the king or local leader followed or you became the enemy,especially if the religion was popular with the common population and the local leader was not. This lead to some basic "we're right and you're wrong" arguments done purely for survival at one time that eventually lead to being ingrained in believers minds to the point that future generations continued the argument without ever knowing why it started in the first place. Also, often the fighting occurs because of a few power hungry and greedy people at the top wanting more. Let the king smile on them then let the donations to the church flow into their pockets. Or, worse in my opinion, they positively feed on the adoration of their followers.

    This is not to say that fighting amongst ourselves is right or wrong. But there are historical reasons of why it has occurred and it may just be a bad habit continued by modern generations.

    Gassho,
    Jen

  6. #6
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Disagreements are certainly healthy in any context, because they can make people think more deeply about things and try and come to conclusions. Unfortunately, people like Brad Warner who cultivates a persona of snarkiness (that's the polite way of saying he's way too often an asshole), turn disagreements into real battles. The Internet breeds such things as well, by anonymity. I doubt that the kinds of things you read in some forums (not this one, fortunately) about Buddhism would get spoken face-to-face.

    On a broader level, there certainly have been schisms in Buddhist thought, but I don't think any of them led to the same kinds of wars that monotheistic and polytheistic religions have led to. (But I certainly my be wrong.)

    Kirk

  7. #7

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    Disagreements are certainly healthy in any context, because they can make people think more deeply about things and try and come to conclusions. Unfortunately, people like Brad Warner who cultivates a persona of snarkiness (that's the polite way of saying he's way too often an asshole), turn disagreements into real battles. The Internet breeds such things as well, by anonymity. I doubt that the kinds of things you read in some forums (not this one, fortunately) about Buddhism would get spoken face-to-face.

    On a broader level, there certainly have been schisms in Buddhist thought, but I don't think any of them led to the same kinds of wars that monotheistic and polytheistic religions have led to. (But I certainly my be wrong.)

    Kirk
    Oh thats so funny Kirk, you almost got me! :lol: :lol: :lol:

  8. #8
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Um, what about it was funny?

    Kirk

  9. #9

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    Um, what about it was funny?

    Unfortunately, people like Brad Warner who cultivates a persona of snarkiness (that's the polite way of saying he's way too often an asshole), turn disagreements into real battles. The Internet breeds such things as well, by anonymity.
    Kirk
    I thought you were being snarky. since you are one of the most anonymous people here. And there is a few hundred years of history of snarkiness in zen.

    It would be a real shame if I was mistaken. ops:

  10. #10
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan

    I thought you were being snarky. since you are one of the most anonymous people here.
    "...most anonymous people here"? What does that mean?

    Kirk

  11. #11

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    from what I've studied in anthropology, and through other various studies, and time in other parts of the world, even the infighting between Buddhist sects is tame and its very very rare that any physical action was taken.

    most of the end results I see when it comes to separation of beliefs tend to be an exile, which often, like is the case when Shinran shonen was chased off, ended up founding jodo shinshou, those outside just buid upon what they believe and it grows in relative peace...

    but your right, Buddhists seem in my studies to me the most relaxed about the splintering in it's family...dare we even look at the judao family ( which does include Islam) and how often they have turned a blade, or burning stake or gun, or car bomb at each other over the most subtle of differences ..

  12. #12

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan


    "...most anonymous people here"? What does that mean?

    Kirk
    That's a good question! But I think it is wandering off topic.

    Take good care,
    Jordan

  13. #13
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Kieth said: While a practice, style, religion, or philosophy may not work for me, it may work for others. And as long as it's not doing any harm, I say go with God.
    Yes, I agree. As long as the precepts are being followed, I don't see much problem with simple disagreements about practice as long as people are respectful and honor individual differences. My problem is when it stops being a discussion of practice and starts getting personal, which would seem to be a violation of right speech. Saying something is right/wrong still seems dualistic, and that dualism in regards to a practice that is supposed to help us do away with dualism troubles me, but I also understand we need that dualism for the real world power issues (as talked about by Jen), among other things.

    This occurred to me this morning regarding Buddhist disagreements: when sitting just sit, and when arguing about Buddhism just argue about Buddhism. This might explain why those arguments can be so vociferous sometimes, but it does not explain those personal attacks that happen. Saying a form of practice is bogus/wrong is not great (see paragraph above), but saying the practitioner is an idiot asshole snarky snake oil sales person only in it for the money, or whatever (insert personal insult here) seems to go way out of precepts bounds.

    Finally, mea culpa: Beyond Thinking was edited by Tanahashi, not Loori.

  14. #14

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    My problem is when it stops being a discussion of practice and starts getting personal,
    Alan,
    Isn't practice personal?

    Gassho,
    Jordan

  15. #15
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Buddhist infighting

    AlanLa wrote:
    My problem is when it stops being a discussion of practice and starts getting personal,


    Alan,
    Isn't practice personal?

    Gassho,
    Jordan
    Personal insults don't seem like right speech, but personal discussion of practice does seem like right speech.

  16. #16

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    "Doctrinal" disagreements are part of being human. Buddhism is no exception. From the day of the First Council up to now, disagreements arose (and they still are). I can't think of major disputes between Buddhist that led to wars, but there have been times when disputes have gotten out of hand. Here is one example:

    BBC World: Asia-Pacific
    Monks charged over temple violence
    Thursday, December 24, 1998 Published at 12:11 GMT

    South Korean police have charged 28 people, most of them monks, after a day of pitched battles to oust members of the order from occupying a temple.

    A total of 77 people were detained after up to 1,000 riot police were brought in to storm the Chogye Temple on Wednesday.

    Around 100 monks had barricaded themselves inside for 43 days. During the battles, some threatened to commit suicide rather than surrender.
    [....]
    The dissident monks took over the temple last month after ousting a rival faction in a bitter dispute over who manages South Korean Buddhist funds worth millions of dollars.
    As far Ven. Warner, I have his two books and really find them informative. His blog is...well...a blog. I think he is choosing the Ikkyu path of Buddhism. :mrgreen:

  17. #17

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Of course the scale of disagreement is much smaller in Buddhism, as I am unaware of any Buddhist Crusades such as Pure Land vs. Zen, for example.
    From the introduction to Enlightenment Unfolds: The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Dogen, Tanahashi, ed.:
    "It {approx. 1205 A.D.} was a dark and confusing time for Buddhists. All the high positions of the Tendai establishment were occupied by people from aristocratic families. Temples were competing with one another to gain imperial patronage, offering a variety of magical prayers. Mt. Hiei {near Kyoto} housed one of the strongest of the various armies of monk soldiers who frequently engaged in battle, often burning other monasteries. "
    Tanahashi goes on to describe how the Tendai establishment arranged for the imperial government to expel the popular Pure Land founder, Monk Honen, from Kyoto in 1207. Dogen eventually was targeted by the Tendai sect as well, forcing him to found a monastery in Fukakusa, near Kyoto, and then in Echizen, in an isolated mountain area well north of Kyoto, to escape all this violence and political intrigue.

  18. #18

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Hey All,

    Let me jump right into this thorny thicket ...

    I absolutely agree with the idea that different paths are right for different people, one size does not fit all. My best friend in life and his wife became evangelical Christians many years ago, it turned his life completely around for the good, they raised a lovely family and are happy. It was certainly the right way for them, if not for me or others. I think Buddhism would likely not have been the right way for my friend, given his needs and personality.

    Same with the so-called "Rinzai Kana (Koan) Zazen v. "Soto 'Just Sitting' Shikantaza" thingy ... DIfferent strokes for different folks, and the hard Japanese Rinzai style might suit some personality types, Shikantaza other personality types. I know which way is right for me, and I have a suspicion that more people (especially Western lay people) benefit from Shikantaza than Koan Zazen Practice, so I teach that way. But that is just an opinion, and both the high road and the low road might get you to the Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Loman. Some folks in my own Lineage, including Nishijima Roshi, are much more partisan than I am.

    Now, all that being said, there is absolutely nothing wrong with civil, reasonable, constructive, non-aggressive, intelligent debate, opinion and disagreement on the merits and demerits, pros and cons of different practices. Nothing at all. (It is just that people, these days, seem to have lost the art of civil discourse, be it about religion, politics or any subject at all ... especially on these here "internets"). It is the one thing I strive to maintain here at Treeleaf ... discuss about anything concerning Buddhism and religion, but be "kind to each other and gentle in tone". I think it has worked so far.

    I agree with Alan ...

    Personal insults don't seem like right speech, but personal discussion of practice does seem like right speech.
    Let's try to remember to be civil and "kind to each other" in this thread too please. :?

    But anyway, please enlighten me with your thoughts on Buddhist infighting?
    Physical violence (beyond mere ideological debate or agrument) has happened, but rarely. The whole "non-violence" aspect of Buddhism usually prevents differences and disagreements from going beyond the verbal into the physical. There have been violent sects of Buddhists in Asian history from time to time ... but, like the Tendai warriors of Old Japan or the Sungbyong of 16th century Korea, usually they were really soldiers dressed as monks caught up in the political wars of the time (or the large Buddhist temples had become more political players, rather than religious institutions, not unlike the Catholic Church's history in Europe in many a century past) ... In the following cases, it was not Buddhist infighting, but really just political wars.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sohei

    http://buddhistmilitarysangha.blogspot. ... rrior.html

    Note on Dogen: He was quite non-critical of others and ecumenical when he first started teaching (asserting that there is no "Zen" or "Soto Zen", only "Buddhism" for example), but he did become more critical of other sects, including of Rinzai Zen, later on. One reason is that, by that point in time, the powerful Tendai and Rinzai Zen temples in Kyoto and Kamakura had pretty much run Dogen, the upstart, out of town so that he had to build Eiheiji in the boondocks and were always giving him a pretty hard time ... and he also had issues with trying to unite diverse monks in his monastery, who had come from very different backgrounds, into a single teaching ideology. Plus, like a lot of us, he may just have gotten a bit crotchety in his (relatively) old age. :evil:

    http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/putney1.htm

    South Korean police have charged 28 people, most of them monks, after a day of pitched battles to oust members of the order from occupying a temple.
    As I understand the story ... the major Buddhist order in South Korea (the Chogye branch of Zen) is a huge institution, a great church part of which (just part) is corrupt as all heck. That one part is in with the politicians and money interests doing land deals, business deals ... you know, CORRUPTION. The 'monk riot' was related to that. And many of the 'monks' were not even monks (you can tell from the photos of the guys with the gas and knives), but hired 'Yakuza' (mafia) and other thugs dressed up in monks robes for the day. You can read a very detailed discussion of the story here:

    http://www.geocities.com/volodyatikhono ... ghting.htm

    As to Ven. Brad Warner, mentioned here several times (and I have received a couple of PM over the last couple of days about him), well, I am just going to reprint here some parts of something I wrote awhile back. I don't try to hide this. ... I hope he and I can disagree while maintaining kindness and "Right Speech" about some criticisms I have of his way of doing things, namely, his interpretation of "Right Speech" ... :wink:

    I would like to say that I have long been one of Brad's strongest defenders, and I still am. I know that may sound strange, but it is true. (Brad also, I am sure, would not care or want anyone to defend him ... but I get asked about Brad so often that I defend him, plus I truly mean what I say in his defense). In fact, I wrote the following just the other day to some other Buddhist clergy who are very critical of Brad. It also hints at why I feel I must criticize him so strongly about some things.

    Over the last few years, I have grown more and more critical within the Sangha of some of his activities. In fact, I even went so far as to ask my teacher to declare my own Treeleaf Sangha as independent, because I was not happy with the situation (Nishijima Roshi granted me that last year). Brad and I have butted horns a few times. But, in order to explain that, I would actually like to defend him here a bit ...

    -- Brad was always first and foremost, I think, in the mold of those fiery, wrathful Tibetan Dieties who turned their power against ignorance. He is as serious a Zazen teacher as you will encounter, and rarely if ever has turned his words or actions against people (he has been a critic of some other Buddhist teachers, and in the strongest terms ... but almost always for doctrinal reasons.). If you look closely at his fire, it is almost always directed at what he considers to be the fake, hypocritical, deceiving or harmful in the Buddhist world or in society, and his wrath is emitted in the cause of hard Zen practice. If you ever met him, he is gentle, soft spoken and kind ... very unlike his written persona. If you look at his writings very closely, he is using vitriol and ugly language against falsity and ignorance, not against people. (His most recent article was in no way in support of the lifestyle he described, if you read it closely).

    -- As was noted by someone (I cannot find the quote right now), he speaks to a generation that is completely different from the generation of 'old codgers' and ex-hippies that are most current Zen teachers. I can see in my own Sangha that I have trouble relating to many folks in their 20's (and younger) or early 30's, and Brad succeeds. His first book attracted hundreds and hundreds of people to Soto practice who never would have started and so many of those folks have stuck with it and gone deeper (I have a bunch in my Sangha, and others probably do too). One of his recent projects has been to write for an online magazine aimed at the folks with the body piercings and tattoos ... Brad makes a darn good argument that folks like that need to hear about Buddhism, that Brad is one of the few teachers equipped to talk to people like that, that in order to do so he needs to speak their language. If you look closely at his writings, he is not approving the lifestyle (certainly, he is 100% anti drink and drugs), and is preaching Buddhism to folks it is hard to preach to. If you want to talk to folks, you have to go where they hang out.

    That being said, I have been a strong critic of Brad very often. I think he sometimes forgets his real intent and falls into shock for shock's sake. I thinks he often overdoes it and comes across as petty and mean. In fact, this week, I publicly let loose on him with both barrels ... certainly I myself forgot "Right Speech" in the process, something I regret. I described the way he runs his website as resembling the "Jerry Springer" TV show or a circus... shock shock shock and dirty words wrapped in a fishwrap pseudo moral talk (at least, it comes across that way even if he is sincere). I am disgusted because I feel he has overstepped a line several times in recent years. The teaching has sometimes become secondary to his need to get the "F-word" in somewhere in his essays. Whatever his intent, it does not come across well.

    Even if not one's real intent, it is just not proper to be spreading a message that it is okay to be a cursing and insulting, angry against people (even if he just comes across that way and is not like that inside) Buddhist. You cannot be an "insulting and angry against people Buddhist." Sorry. It is like being a doctor who advocates cigarette smoking, a peace activist who shoots anyone who disagrees with him. It does not compute.

    On the Precepts, I agree with Rev. Nonin. and Anders. I could not have said it any other way myself. I do not manage my own Sangha in any other way, and we treat each other with kindness and dignity. The Buddhist concept of right speech is not just an "old tradition", but a darn good teaching. We take the Precepts as being at the heart of our Practice, hand in hand with Zazen.


    Right speech is the first principle of ethical conduct in the eightfold path. Ethical conduct is viewed as a guideline ... which supports the other principles of the path. This aspect is not self-sufficient, however essential, because mental purification can only be achieved through the cultivation of ethical conduct. The importance of speech in the context of Buddhist ethics is obvious: words can break or save lives, make enemies or friends, start war or create peace. Buddha explained right speech as follows: ... not to use words maliciously against others,. to abstain from harsh words that offend or hurt others. ... , Positively phrased, this means to tell the truth, to speak friendly, warm, and gently and to talk only when necessary.
    Fortunately, with me and Brad ... it is quite unlikely that we will mount armies against each other. :|

    Gassho, Jundo

  19. #19

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Fortunately, with me and Brad ... it is quite unlikely that we will mount armies against each other. :|
    Well. It could be done thru 2nd Life or Dungeons and Dragons, but....that's geeky! :mrgreen:

  20. #20

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    ^^HAHA or WoW

    Gassho
    Dirk

  21. #21

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Hi everybody.

    I like the idea of WH fantasy, alot of zealots and priests going at each other...

    May the force be with you
    Tb

  22. #22

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Hi everybody.

    I think i have read an article stating that dogen wasnt soto or rinzai according to his writings and so forth.
    The question being, why, if he wasnt soto, is Dogen sangha/treeleaf sangha soto? (or is it?)
    Is it just a question of "the easiest way"?

    May the force be with you.
    Tb

  23. #23

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Hey Tb,

    Dogen wasn't Soto or Zen or Buddhist or Christian or Jewish or Chinese or Japanese or Swedish or Martian in the way, in out Practice, all walls come tumbling down ... and neither is Treeleaf. In fact, what "Treeleaf"?

    But otherwise, Dogen was the person who brought Soto (Caodong in Chinese) Zen to Japan, and our ways and traditions are particular enough to be called a particular sect of Zen/Ch'an Buddhism ... to which Treeleaf and my Teacher surely belong.

    I would be interested in seeing the article to which you refer.

    Gassho, Jundo

  24. #24

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Hey Tb,

    Dogen wasn't Soto or Zen or Buddhist or Christian or Jewish or Chinese or Japanese or Swedish or Martian in the way, in out Practice, all walls come tumbling down ... and neither is Treeleaf. In fact, what "Treeleaf"?

    But otherwise, Dogen was the person who brought Soto (Caodong in Chinese) Zen to Japan, and our ways and traditions are particular enough to be called a particular sect of Zen/Ch'an Buddhism ... to which Treeleaf and my Teacher surely belong.

    I would be interested in seeing the article to which you refer.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Hi everybody.
    I'm waiting for slapsko (bengt) to come home from skåne so i can get it back.
    I'll keep you on your toes until then...

    and here's another article in the matter...
    http://scbs.stanford.edu/calendar/1999- ... foulk.html

    May the force be with you
    Tb

  25. #25
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Buddhist infighting

    All this talk of warring monks and crotchety old Dogen (my word exactly, Jundo) makes me think of West Side Story for some reason. I picture Dogen dancing with his monks as they all sing "When you are Zen you are Zen" and so on. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Altho maybe old Dogen was more like Officer Krupke :roll: :roll: :roll:

    Sorry if I offend, just having fun...

  26. #26

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    I think this is the article TB may have been refering to, It is from Master Dogen's Bendowa.

    Q: Samadhi dwells in the three training, and dhyanaparamita (means of meditation) in the six means of enlightenment. All Bodhisattvas study them from the beginning. They train without discriminating cleverness and stupidity. Even this zazen may be a part of them. Why do you say that the true law is gathered in zazen?

    A: This question comes from giving the name "Zen sect" to the treasury of the essence of the true law, and to the unexcelled doctrine-the most important teachings of the Buddha. You must understand that the name "Zen sect" emerged from China and the East; it was not heard in India. When Bodhidharma stayed at Shao-Lin ssu in Sung-shan, gazing at the wall for nine years, the priests and laymen did not understand the true law of the Buddha; they called him a Brahmana who emphasized sitting cross-legged. Afterward every patriarch devoted himself to sitting cross-legged. Unenlightened laymen who saw them carelessly referred to them as the zazen sect without understanding the truth. Today the "Za" has been dropped, and the followers of this practice are known as members of the Zen sect. This is clear in the manuscripts of the patriarchs. You must not equate zazen with the meditation in the six means and the three training. The spirit of transmission in Buddhism is clear in the career of the Buddha. To Mahakasyapa alone on Grdhrakuta Mountain the Buddha transmitted the eye and treasury of the true law, the superior mind of enlightenment and supreme doctrine, and some gods in heaven saw it. Don't doubt this. The gods of heaven protect Buddhism eternally. This is still a living fact. You must understand that zazen is the full way of Buddhism. It is incomparable.
    There is a nice transcription here:http://civet-cat.skandinaviskzencent...gs/bendowa.htm

    With a note that I have seen a wide varieties of translations of this, others are not as kindly worded.

    Gassho,
    Jordan

  27. #27

    Re: Buddhist infighting


  28. #28

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    I think this is the article TB may have been refering to, It is from Master Dogen's Bendowa.

    There is a nice transcription here:http://civet-cat.skandinaviskzencent...gs/bendowa.htm

    With a note that I have seen a wide varieties of translations of this, others are not as kindly worded.

    Gassho,
    Jordan
    Hi everybody.

    Actually, no. I' refering to some articles in which they "prove" their thesis that there are another "branch" of the zenbranch of the buddhismtree.
    I thought it was more or less common knowledge that "buddhistscholars", perticulary those interested in the zenbranch, say that there are three different subbranches (or even four i've heard someone say...) in the zenbranch: Soto, Rinzai, and Dogen.

    They often use Bendowa and other texts from the shobogenzo to prove their point.
    I, myself stumbled across this when i researched a little for my masterthesis but thought nothing of it until i posted in this thread...

    May the force be with you
    Tb

  29. #29

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    Yes, that is a book by Maezumi Roshi of the White Plum, which is the Harada-Yasutani-Sanbokyodan-Diamond Sangha lineage. It is a beautiful chapter, but the average Zen reader should be aware of one thing when reading anything from that particular lineage:

    As I have written about before, that particular branch of Soto is a relatively recent hybrid of Soto and Rinzai that emphasizes Koan centered Zazen over Shikantaza (although they practice both at various stages of their training) and seeking big "Kensho". They also may sometimes speak of Shikantaza done with a hard Rinzai edge, for example, practice until you "sweat" and have an "explosion" (as was found in the chapter on Shikantaza by Yasutani Roshi in the recent book "The Art of Just Sitting"). That is all fine and good, and to each his own.

    As I said, all are paths up the mountain.

    But the only thing I have to say about it is that folks in that lineage are always writing books and articles in which they try to prove or assert that Dogen was also a "Koan Zazen" or "Big Kensho seeking" guy. He simply was not, no matter how much they try to revision history. (Our Soto perspective on "Kensho", by the way, is that sometimes such views appear, sometimes they do not, sometimes they are big little or not, and all is the scenery of Zazen. We run after nothing, seek no special states ... with the perspective that "not seeking to-the-marrow any special state" --IS-- a very very special state and way to be).

    That line is much much more influential outside Japan than in Japan, because it happens to be the source of such lineages as the Diamond Sangha (Aitken Roshi), Rochester Zen Center (Kapleau Roshi) and the White Plum (Maezumi Roshi). While the Sanbokyodan portion left Soto-shu, some of their people stayed within Soto-shu in name. More power to them, but the attempts sometimes to unite that with "Just Sitting" Dogen are often an awkward fit at best.

    I wrote this once ...

    One has to be cautious in reading 'Zen' books ... because 'Zen' really comes in two somewhat different flavors. I have spoken about this before.

    On the one hand is the flavor of those Zen schools that teach that we are out to achieve something, usually called 'Satori' or 'Enlightenment', and this is done though Practice, primarily Zazen (and typically Zazen focused on 'solving Koans'). This perspective, to paint with a broad brush, is usually associated more with the 'Rinzai' school (or lineages that are 'Rinzai-Soto hybrids, like Maezumi Roshi's lineage and the Sanbokyodan) than traditional Soto school teachings.This 'Satori' clears away illusions and lets us realize our 'True Self before our mother and father were born'.

    On the other hand, the traditional Soto teaching (as represented by Dogen, for example) is that what we need to 'achieve' is the realization of radical non-achievement. We both see through life (seeing that all phenomena are impermanent, unsatisfactory and lack 'self-hood') AND that all phenomena and life in general are 'just what they are' with not a darn thing to change. This realization is illusions cleared away, our 'True Self', now and before our mother and father were born. The 'Koans' melt away and are resolved, WIsdom and Compassion manifest. We drop all judgments and categorizations about life, likes and dislikes, and just allow things to be even beyond ideas of "being" or "not being" (although, of course, we simultaneously require judgments, 'being/not being' and other ideas, catergorizations and likes-dislikes in order to live daily life, so we keep these on another 'channel' at the same time). The way we realize this is not by thinking that 'Practice" (such as Zazen) is to achieve 'enlightenment', but that Practice and all of life --is-- already enlightenment itself.

    The key to our approach is that giving up all idea of a revolution --IS-- a revolution achieved, for this is attaining non-attaining!

    The difference between the two approaches may be like, in the first case, running all over looking for your nose, and in the second case, finding your nose by going no place and realizing it was there all along and you did not need to do anything to 'find' it! I like to think that both approaches get you to the same place in the end (which is no place, and just your nose being where it belongs), but 'Zen' books can be misleading as they are phrased differently depending on the perspective, but don't often say that they are of one type or the other. One of the most radical examples of the first 'goal oriented' types is 'Three Pillars of Zen' (a book I do not recommend because of its radical insistence on an explosive, life changing 'Kensho' experience) and books by D.T,Suzuki, and of the second type, 'Opening the Hand of Thought' (which we are reading in the Book Club) and 'Zen Mind Beginners Mind' by Shunryu Suzuki (don't confuse your Suzukis!!).

    So around here I teach 'Just Sitting' Shikantaza, which means that we practice very very hard for no goal at all, in order to realize that there is nothing about life to add or take away, it all is what it is ... like a mountain is just a mountain, and the 'Venus d'Milo' is perfectly the 'Venus d'Milo' despite her missing limbs.
    Gassho, Jundo

    PS- Alan wrote ...

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa
    Sorry if I offend, just having fun...
    As long as its good natured, anything and everything around here is fair game. NOTHING is sacrosanct.

    (Except anything Jundo says, of course) 8)

    Gassho, Jundo

  30. #30

    Re: Buddhist infighting

    I can see in my own Sangha that I have trouble relating to many folks in their 20's (and younger) or early 30's, and Brad succeeds.
    Not to belabour the Brad thing, but I'm in my mid-50's, and, had it not been for his blog and books, I would have probably given up on the whole practice of Western Zen (not, I emphasise, Zen itself) as a tiresome old hippie fad years ago. I see him as a satirist: he skewers the nerdy elements of American Zen so accurately that I laugh aloud, and then think, yikes, I do that too, don't I? It's that realization that makes him a great teacher. His (fairly) recent blog posts about how Buddhists use words such as "mindful" and "skillful" as pompous jargon were brilliant. The fact that so many people refer to him as "an asshole" shows how accurately his barbs hit their targets. His language is simply his teaching technique: the equivalent of a teacher striking his student to shock him into kensho. Besides, I'm amazed that anyone's shocked by by language and sex talk: you'll hear the same, and worse, just brushing up against any TV show or film these days.

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