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Thread: the stink of traditions

  1. #1

    the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    The behavior by the mods of that forum have forever turned me away from Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhists. I no longer even read Tibetan Buddhist books or scriptures of any kind because no one from the Tibetan community has reigned in the bigotry on that site.
    As Zennists, we understand the phrase “the stink of Zen” and have all either suffered from it at one time (or even now!) or seen it. I think all traditions have their equivalent. Some months ago, I attempted to initiate a thread on E-sangha to discuss this – but it was immediately deleted. Here is what I posted:
    The phrase “the stink of Zen” is sometimes used to describe someone or something. The phrase has been used, described and defined by many Zennists and non-Zennists. We know what it means, and we sometimes properly use the phrase to describe a post that reeks of Zen.

    I wonder, do other traditions “stink”? Is there a “stink of Theravada”? Or a “stink of Varja”? And what would that mean? Or is there a tradition whose sh*t don’t stink?
    The behavior that disastermouse has observed, that I have observed, and that others have observed is, I think, the ‘stink of Varja’ and just as we would not want Zen judged on the basis of someone who is exhibiting the ‘stink of Zen’, we should not judge Varjayana on the basis of those who ‘stink of Varja’.

    I am not well-versed in Varjayana, but I have not read a Varja text nor heard a teaching given by an established Varjayana teacher that displays the arrogance I sense in some Varja students. Let us not dismiss Varjayana because of the conduct of some followers.

    Do no harm,
    clyde

  2. #2

    Re: the stink of traditions

    yeah, it can all stink, having been around the 3 schools -- and before that, hindu stuff(ananda village, swami kryananda -- muktananda, sri chinmoy) -- but i assume you mean the "look at my enlightenment" stink -- not the "love me and die" stink as in osel tendzin, a lot more serious stuff

    anything that involves some kind of "guru yoga", as in vajryana, is going to be ripe for the more serious abuse, cause of the god/mortal power differential -- you know the old thing about not putting any head above your own -- and anytime acquisition of "powers" are part of the deal, same thing

    hey clyde, how's sacramento? -- lived there for years, worked on skid row with the sacramento singlemen's selfhelp group, probably now long gone, organized for the california homemaker's association, ran a program called s.t.e.p.s., and another called drydock(alchohol related) -- always loved the trees

    gassho, bob

  3. #3

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Hi all,

    As I have read it in various medieval zen texts, I believe that the "stink of zen" refers to radiating a personal sort of glow after one's first kensho experience and one runs around basking in the Oneness of It All (with many capital letters). Rather like the glow of Falling In Love. In the texts I read it seemed to be a rather affectionate term with a kindly :roll: and :wink:

    However, this is just a side note to your posts.

    gassho,
    rowan
    reliably petty minded at all times

  4. #4
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by roky

    anything that involves some kind of "guru yoga", as in vajryana, is going to be ripe for the more serious abuse, cause of the god/mortal power differential -- you know the old thing about not putting any head above your own -- and anytime acquisition of "powers" are part of the deal, same thing.
    This line really resonated with me. It's a large part of why the TB path puts me off. I've never been fond of 'arguments from authority'. I'm so fucking punk-rock! /self-deprecation

  5. #5

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Coming from a Theravadin background, a universally respected monk (ajahn brahm) once joked that theravadins are sometime "terror-vadins". He was alluding to the view some Theravadins have that they are the school that follows the original teachings and precepts and as such are............"orginal". Basically the monk was saying, yes the practice is pure, but just keep to the practice without getting ur ego getting all puffed up.

    The above term might have sounded odious if it had not come from a well loved monk.

  6. #6

    Re: the stink of traditions

    In my experience, the use of the term 'the stink of zen' would be the equivalent to the 'holier than thou' used in Christian/secular context.
    my two cents

  7. #7

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin
    In my experience, the use of the term 'the stink of zen' would be the equivalent to the 'holier than thou' used in Christian/secular context.
    my two cents
    That's my understanding as well. That makes 4 cents, Keishin.

    Best,
    Keith

  8. #8
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: the stink of traditions

    Make it 6!

  9. #9

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Hi Clyde,

    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde
    I wonder, do other traditions “stink”? Is there a “stink of Theravada”? Or a “stink of Varja”? And what would that mean? Or is there a tradition whose sh*t don’t stink?
    What is a 'tradition'? Is it anything apart from the actions of those people who practice(d) it in the past, present and future? I don't think so. Tradition which isn't lived out is just an ideal, a dry concept which neither stinks nor doesn't stink.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde
    I am not well-versed in Varjayana, but I have not read a Varja text nor heard a teaching given by an established Varjayana teacher that displays the arrogance I sense in some Varja students. Let us not dismiss Varjayana because of the conduct of some followers.
    Yes, I agree completely with that.

    Gassho
    Ken

  10. #10
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Kenneth
    Hi Clyde,

    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde
    I wonder, do other traditions “stink”? Is there a “stink of Theravada”? Or a “stink of Varja”? And what would that mean? Or is there a tradition whose sh*t don’t stink?
    What is a 'tradition'? Is it anything apart from the actions of those people who practice(d) it in the past, present and future? I don't think so. Tradition which isn't lived out is just an ideal, a dry concept which neither stinks nor doesn't stink.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clyde
    I am not well-versed in Varjayana, but I have not read a Varja text nor heard a teaching given by an established Varjayana teacher that displays the arrogance I sense in some Varja students. Let us not dismiss Varjayana because of the conduct of some followers.
    Yes, I agree completely with that.

    Gassho
    Ken
    I call bullshit on this. The teachers should be reigning in this behavior - and whoever gave Namdrol teaching credentials should definitely have his head checked.

  11. #11

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Kenneth; By “tradition” I mean the living practice in addition to doctrinal views. By ‘stink’ I mean cause suffering. It’s easier to see actions as causing suffering (stink), but concepts may ‘stink’ in so far as they lead to actions which cause suffering.

    disastermouse; Does the bullsh*t stink Seriously, I agree that Buddhist teachers of all traditions have a responsibility to teach their students Right Speech, but it is the student who is responsible for their speech and actions. Regarding Namdrol, I do not know who his teachers are and if they are aware of his conduct. My view (that we should not dismiss a tradition because of the conduct of a follower) is unchanged even if his teachers are aware and approve. Teachers are followers too and so I would not dismiss Buddhism because of the actions of one or even a few Buddhists. What matters to me is what Buddhism, as I understand and practice, does for me.

    Do no harm,
    clyde


    p.s: Bob, it’s August in Sacramento, so it’s HOT. We moved here about 8 years ago from Alameda and live along the Sacramento River in the ‘Little Pocket’ area, about 15 minutes south of downtown.

  12. #12

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by clyde
    Regarding Namdrol, I do not know who his teachers are and if they are aware of his conduct.
    Maybe he will pop in and tell us. :mrgreen: I know that N visits this site and reads the posts. Heck, he might be even be a member. :P

  13. #13
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    Quote Originally Posted by clyde
    Regarding Namdrol, I do not know who his teachers are and if they are aware of his conduct.
    Maybe he will pop in and tell us. :mrgreen: I know that N visits this site and reads the posts. Heck, he might be even be a member. :P
    Yeah, I saw him bust you in the thread on e-sangha...

    It's actually what brought me here.

    I wouldn't mind him posting here - he'd be at the same level as the rest of us.

  14. #14

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Yeah, I saw him bust you in the thread on e-sangha...
    :mrgreen:

    He didn't answer my question, though. Ah. Well.

  15. #15
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Yeah, I saw him bust you in the thread on e-sangha...
    :mrgreen:

    He didn't answer my question, though. Ah. Well.
    He rarely does - he uses contempt as a subterfuge to avoid it.

  16. #16

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Let's me nice here in our words and thoughts to Mr. Namdrol.

    Let us direct much Metta toward him.

    Gassho, Jundo

  17. #17

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Just for the record, I'm Namdrol.



















  18. #18
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Let's me nice here in our words and thoughts to Mr. Namdrol.

    Let us direct much Metta toward him.

    Gassho, Jundo
    We can be nice. But we can also be realistic. His heart's probably in the right place.

  19. #19

    Re: the stink of traditions

    no.........i'm namdrol!!

    Attached files

  20. #20

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Let's me nice here in our words and thoughts to Mr. Namdrol.

    Let us direct much Metta toward him.

    Gassho, Jundo
    To tell you the truth, I find his posts on Tibetan Buddhism very informative.

  21. #21

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Hi disastermouse,

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I call bullshit on this. The teachers should be reigning in this behavior - and whoever gave Namdrol teaching credentials should definitely have his head checked.
    Well, I was rather speaking generally and wasn't referring to anyone in particular. BTW I was thrown out of e-sangha myself for expressing my intention of freely discussing Soto Zen in the Soto Zen forum. :wink:

    Gassho
    Ken

  22. #22

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by clyde
    I am not well-versed in Varjayana, but I have not read a Varja text nor heard a teaching given by an established Varjayana teacher that displays the arrogance I sense in some Varja students. Let us not dismiss Varjayana because of the conduct of some followers.
    Yet what are the "established Vajrayana teachers" doing to reign-in their students on e-sangha?

    Nothing at all, it would seem. In my view, that says a lot.

  23. #23

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Re: Namdrol
    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    To tell you the truth, I find his posts on Tibetan Buddhism very informative.
    Yes, but so is reading a book. So long as Namdrol doesn't go any further than regurgitating texts, he can't do all that much damage. But he goes further than that, and goes beyond his station.

  24. #24

    Re: the stink of traditions

    I would like to see the Dalai Lama step forwards and make a clear, unequivocal statement with regards to his beliefs on rebirth. One gets the impression that he has serious doubts about it himself, since whenever he talks about rebirth he often does so in a joking manner - as though he feels guilty about something. But he never comes out and says directly what is on his mind.

    All he needs to say is, "I don't know whether the idea of literal rebirth is true or not". Now that's not too much to ask, is it?

    Sure, Tibetan Buddhism would fall apart at the seams - but that's long overdue.

  25. #25

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Hi Kevin,

    I am a "different paths up the mountain for different folks" kind of Buddhist* ... though I think the path I walk is a fine one, a way I know well and appreciate. Thus I recommend it to others.

    But, in the end, what is important is not the path, but the mountain.

    Gassho, Jundo

    *Perhaps it need not even be a "Buddhist" path

  26. #26

    Re: the stink of traditions

    I had already forgotten about my post or this issue. :shock: I still go to e-Sangha, but I limit myself to lurking.

  27. #27

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    It's a large part of why the TB path puts me off.
    Hi.

    Was that a pun at me ? :shock:

    May the force be with you
    Tb

  28. #28

    Re: the stink of traditions

    It's interesting to me that I come across this topic today...

    I've been thinking about this a lot lately as I meditate on my personal journey. I'm fairly new to Buddhism compared to many and am finding myself in the first time with a teacher/student relationship. My sangha asked a teacher, who had been offering guidance to the group for the last few years, to officially become our spiritual guide and teacher. With this as well, there is a form tie to the Drikung Kagyu lineage and her Lama, Garchen Rinpoche. That's all fine and dandy, no issues there.

    I, as many do, come from a Christian background, and I find the bad taste still remains in my mouth. This leaves me very skeptical when it comes to many things, and my sensors are going off many times as I do more research into the lineage, it's teachings, beliefs, etc. The major warning bells go off for me when it comes to practices like Guru Yoga, Phowa, and with the closing, long life prayers we recite in our meetings. I am all for respecting our teachers, but some of this just seems to go a bit far for me and gives off the feeling of deifying them and/or worshiping them.

    Am I just too sensitive given my past issues with Christianity?

    I think this is one of the things that initially drew me to zen, as I didn't come across the more esoteric and "out there" (imho) practices I'm encountering with Tibetan.

    On another note, one of the sangha members said she was grateful to have a sangha from the Tibetan side of things as she in the past year met with a local group of zen practitioners and encountered what many would consider the "stink of zen". She said they were very arrogant and told her if she didn't have the heart sutra memorized within the next couple meetings then she was no longer welcome to meet with them. She's an EXTREMELY sensitive woman, so it may not have transpired exactly like that, but all I know is that I've been trying to track down this group and have been unsuccessful. I had no idea there were any zen practitioners in my small remote town.

  29. #29

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Hi Scotty,

    One question I want to ask: Are you practicing Shikantaza?

    That is about the one thing expected in these doors anyway (that, and to be kind to each other). I am not an advocate of mixing Shikantaza with most Tibetan Practices, and I am truly quite critical of the mix&match approach.

    Gassho, Jundo

  30. #30

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Hi Scotty,

    One question I want to ask: Are you practicing Shikantaza?

    That is about the one thing expected in these doors anyway (that, and to be kind to each other). I am not an advocate of mixing Shikantaza with most Tibetan Practices, and I am truly quite critical of the mix&match approach.

    Gassho, Jundo
    That is what I am currently practicing in my personal practice, though as a sangha it has been requested that we do another as a group, though it is very similar to Shikantaza, which is why she has said she has no problems with my choice of personal meditation.

    I'm not a fan of the mix & match approach too much, though I admit that's been my experience so far as I'm discovering my path. I read and am taught many different types of meditation, but I just can't drop Shikantaza, and have a hard time doing others, it just sits well with me I guess. (no pun intended).

  31. #31

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Hi Scotty,

    You will have to make a choice at some point. Sorry to sound like those folks with the "Heart Sutra", but you have to choose at some point whether to practice Karate in the Karate Dojo or Ai-Ki-Do in the Ai-Ki-Do Dojo ... not Kara-Ki-Do! 8) "Kara-Ki-Do" will just have you all tangled up in knots, tripping over your own two feet!

    Shikantaza, precisely for being a Practice of radical non-searching ... dropping all running after special states in this life or any other (with that "dropping of all searching and running after" being, right there, the Special of Special States when tasted as such) ... simply should not be mixed with practices that speak of some other way.

    It is fine for other folks perhaps, walking up their own mountain path. But not on this path, by which we give up the searching and seeking ... finding the mountain ever under foot.

    Sorry to sound like a hard-ass suddenly. Up at 4AM with a sick child.

    Gassho, Jundo

  32. #32

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Sorry to sound like a hard-ass suddenly. Up at 4AM with a sick child.
    Oh those mornings are the best =)

    No worries, you don't sound like a hard-ass. I appreciate you just telling it like it is, that works best for me. I have known that I will ultimately need to make a choice. What's been tough is that my only local resource is tibetan, and even though I'm not particularly drawn to tibetan, I do crave having face to face interaction with like-minded people (which is hard in a 90% Mormon town, when you're not Mormon). There is this elusive group of zen practitioners I mentioned that I have yet to locate...this may help my choice.

    I very much appreciate your advice and/or comments.

    I guess my situation really is one of the reason for Treeleaf's existence eh? No local resources.

    Gassho.

  33. #33

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by ScottyDoo

    On another note, one of the sangha members said she was grateful to have a sangha from the Tibetan side of things as she in the past year met with a local group of zen practitioners and encountered what many would consider the "stink of zen". She said they were very arrogant and told her if she didn't have the heart sutra memorized within the next couple meetings then she was no longer welcome to meet with them. She's an EXTREMELY sensitive woman, so it may not have transpired exactly like that, but all I know is that I've been trying to track down this group and have been unsuccessful. I had no idea there were any zen practitioners in my small remote town.
    That's is unfortunate. And that is one zendo I am staying away from. I can see how monks and nuns may need to memorize chants, sutras, etc, but "lay" folks like most of us in this forum do not have to (IMHO). If you can, great for you, but requiring memorization w/i a time frame, that''s just a no-no for me. I probably only remember the first line and last line.

    I am not sure why this big rift or sectarianism that exists w/i some quarters between TB and ZB. In our Sangha, due to the size of the Buddhist community, it's "ecumenical." We have TB, ZB, Buddhists, and even non-Buddhists. But. When hit the gong....we sit. No sides. No sects. Just the Dharma.

  34. #34

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Quote Originally Posted by chicanobudista
    I am not sure why this big rift or sectarianism that exists w/i some quarters between TB and ZB. In our Sangha, due to the size of the Buddhist community, it's "ecumenical." We have TB, ZB, Buddhists, and even non-Buddhists. But. When hit the gong....we sit. No sides. No sects. Just the Dharma.
    I have heard that referred to as a Rime sangha. I don't know the origin of the word, but I understand it to be a sangha of members on various paths, with different teachers, from different lineages...but as you say, when the gong chimes...you sit.

  35. #35

    Re: the stink of traditions

    when the gong chimes...you sit.
    I'm one of those Buddhists who don't do anything different.

    Or, more normally, whatever everyone else does, I'll do the opposite. I've learned that's usually the right way. It's a kind of rule of thumb: "When two or three people meet together, they do something wrong."

  36. #36

    Re: the stink of traditions

    HI,

    I have been following this thread for a few days. A lot of uncomfortable if not down right nasty experiences have been described. I really don’t think it is the traditions that are the issue but rather the individuals in the groups encountered. If one is uncomfortable then it is probably a good bet that the group is not going to change nor is the teacher or leader, so it is up to the individual to make the decision to stay with a group or leader or split.

    I had a real nasty supervisor many years ago and I went to the top manager of the unit who was also my mentor and expressed my frustration with the ineptness of my supervisor. The manager’s answer was unexpected. Simply stated, "you have to learn to live with it or find another path. Your supervisor is not going to change". In other words there is no value in bad mouthing a group or leader, it’s up to the individual to accept or change the situation.

    For me, picking a tradition or sangha to practice with was sort of like finding a solid and dry rock in the middle of a stream. I had been jumping from one rock to another so to speak for over 10 years, often slipping into the stream and getting discouraged to the point of giving it all up. Then, late last spring I found a very solid and dry rock in Treeleaf. Practicing with this one tradition and one sangha has eliminated the bad experiences, the unsettled feelings and confusion and as a spin off I find myself better dealing with some very complex life issues. Works for me.


    Wish you all well,

    JIm

  37. #37

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Very well put Jim. I agree with what you said, generally it does seem to be the people and not the tradition.

    I've been jumping rock to rock as well for awhile and am tired of slipping. I've received some good and simple advice from our dear Jundo today, but it's exactly what I needed to hear (or read I guess). Thank you all.

    With palms together...

  38. #38

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Sameness and Difference

    We can celebrate our one identity and unbroken wholeness ... we can honor and live our own uniqueness.

    We can also learn from each other, while yet civilly and respectfully criticizing and contrasting our various ways.

    I like sports Koans ...

    I do not say that baseball is a "better" sport than soccer(football) for all people in all situations ... and all sports are but the universe at play. But as a baseball coach and player, I know the beauties of my own sport and that one had better stick to one game at a time. One should not try to play soccer with a baseball bat, or try to hit a home run without using one's hands (although, at the same time, that is the Koan and precisely what we must do!) :shock: No points to score, no field to run ...even as we round the bases or move down field!

    In any event, on this Treeleaf Field of Dreams ... we play baseball!

    Gassho, the Coach

    .

  39. #39
    rodonn
    Guest

    Re: the stink of traditions

    Having read over this thread, nearly every thing can be resolved by

    "Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense"

    It's the 'sanity check' I use almost daily. It applies to so many things, well beyond the realm of religious thought.

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