***************Please Note: the comment below was orginally made in response to dialogue appearing in the thread Life after Disappointment between Stephanie and Jundo, please refer to that thread to understand the context in which these comments were directed.***********************
Hello to all posting here!
Maybe this is where the pavement parts company with the road.
By that I mean that there are limitations to everything and this may be an encounter with a limitation in a 'virtual' sangha.
Mind you, I do not come here to sit. I have a sangha I sit with on a weekly basis and I sit 5 days in addition to the the 1 day a week with the sangha. While it doesn't mean I would never come here to sit, I am just not so inclined. I am though, very excited and interested in this experiment which brings zazen to folks around the world any time day or night. So I'm more like a well wishing guest here and an active bystander if you will. I add my thoughts when I have the time to, or when I think there might (hopefully) be some benefit by sharing my experiences.
At any rate, I do think there are limitations to practice which can be encountered in a real live zendo and Stephanie/Jundo part of what you may be encountering at this time might be the limitation of an on-line zendo.
Even though I read posts that folks here are web camming yourselves sitting, and it seems this works well for you, I have to say I really can not fathom it. Now maybe I'm just old school and all, and if I lived somewhere where I had no access to any zendo or didn't have a sangha; especially if I was in the boonies somewhere and had never heard of zen or buddhism before and I really wanted to know something about it, get a taste of it...I have to say Jundo, you're making this possible for others is very wonderful and inspiring.
But I just don't think it will ever take the place of real live presence of people together in silence doing samu together. Not just eating their self prepared meals together, but actually eating what another has cooked. The experience at a zendo of needing to use the bathroom and not wanting to take too much time at it because of the knowledge others were also in need of the bathroom right outside the door...
Of course sanghas are everywhere (ages ago I started a thread about that very same topic--All the world's a sangha--or something like that....
Absolutely in no way to I mean these words to belittle the endeavor here or the very rich and wonderful exchanges I have seen over the year and a half that I have been a guest/participant here.
At the same time I do think it is important--(especially as I read the exchanges on this particular thread (and I must admit I do not read everything--time is a very real limitation in and of itself!--))it is important to appreciate and acknowledge that a virtual sangha can extend it's reach far beyond any real time/here and now/live and in the flesh sangha--but at the very same time it loses something invaluable, intangible, (and MasterCard would probably call that part 'priceless.')
It is a paradox to use words to go beyond words but that is zen's dilemma.
A zen master in person has an opportunity to avail him/herself of a wide variety of responses: verbal and non-verbal. What is it communication classes tell us--that communication is 90% non-verbal or some such?
While we are able to accomplish quite a considerable amount of exchange between each other here, we are still missing out on vast VAST amounts of information between each other.
I think we have ways in which we 'fill in the blanks' and that could be a problem also.
Miscommunications come up with live person to person encounters, sorting it out can take quite a bit of time on occasion--but while the sorting out is happening all kinds of sub textual language takes place between the participants and it is invaluable in the building of relationship.
All of this is just to say that you Stephanie and you, Jundo may have met the limitations of this context at this time.
That has got to be frustrating.
For both sides.
Student with questions and teacher with responses.
I very much appreciate everyone who takes care and time in reading and in responding. What is the saddest part to me about this internet forum business is that it is not possible to respond with SILENCE. Which, believe it or not is how I respond to stuff I read here most of the time.
Silence is a very special kind of response to receive and even though there was that tongue-in-cheek 'Silence Thread' which got started, I'm sorry,
putting a " . " or a " . . . " just doesn't come anywhere near the real deal.
At any rate, limitations are to be expected and are to be taken in stride. Here, and everywhere we happen to find ourselves.