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Thread: Split Thread: Limitations and Beyond

  1. #1

    Split Thread: Limitations and Beyond

    ***************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.

  2. #2

    Split Thread: Limitations and Beyond

    Hello Keishin,

    How are you today?

    Your points are well taken. However, many of the barriers you feel to an internet Sangha, to teachers and teachings over the internet ... those are barriers of mind, artificial divisions largely of your own making. Some are true impediments, some are impediments created by not learning to open up in new ways to each other. As my visually impaired good friend explains to me, there are many modes of contact ... a Zen Sangha like ours is based on intimate communication and togetherness in other ways ... mind-to-mind without thought of time or space, heartfelt words written with care and good intent. Hearing, truly hearing via written words and the spaces between words. .

    The fact, perhaps, that some cannot "relate" to people in an online setting is because they are stymied by the Koan of "virtual" and "real". When have you ever seen your own lover, Keishin, except as light passing through the eyes, scents througn the nose and sensations through the fingertips recreated virtually in your own brain? When have you truly seen a sunrise or tasted honey ... except in the little holodeck of the mind? Do people sitting side-by-side in a building really 'know' each other? I mean, really and deeply know each other in ways that we cannot with time and sensitivity. I have had enough experience with mis-communication and distrust among folks who have "seen each other" day in and day out to know that it is much more than sight and sound. How much can you truly, truly know about others in the room with your "once a week" Sangha of a couple of hours or so, most of that spent sitting staring at a wall? You probably know more (hopefully) about the wall!

    Knock down those barriers! I have seen people in the same room, in the same family, as distant one from the other as strangers on separate continents! I have experienced folks looking each other right in the eye and not truly seeing each other, looking right past each other. In contrast, I have experienced online heart-to-heart contact by which all barriers come tumbling down.

    When have you even met "Master Dogen", or the "Buddha", except as words on a page stretching timelessly over the centuries?

    It is your own hang-up, deary. Get real, really and virtually! KNOCK THOSE MENTAL WALLS DOWN, KEISHIN, AND BE FREE!

    Gassho, Jundo (completely biased on the topic, though I may be)


    PS - Because of the dangers of an online setting, I am especially sensitive to someone getting seen by a professional in cases of depression or the like. But I would counsel someone to "get themselves checked and talk to a doctor" in almost any situation in any Zen Sangha in which a student were demonstrating a lingering depression or the like.

    PPS - The information you have all been waiting for on our "virtual Jukai" coming ... today, before the sun sets in Tsukuba, Japan.

  3. #3

    Re: Split Thread: Virtual and Real (was Life after disappointme

    I second the point that whether you are at a real Sangha or a Virtual Sangha, it is really "you" who make it what it is.

    Since we came here to sit Zazen, the main point is that we continue to do so. Whether that is in a live group setting or a virtual setting doesn't necessarily have much to do with it. Miscommunication suddenly becomes communication. Misunderstanding becomes understanding. Stupidity eventually wisdom. The main point is practice. If you are one to run away so easily, then what can you expect to learn?

    This situation was dealt in the most obvious fashion. Whether it were at a Real or virtual Sangha has no bearing. This is a place to practice Zen. Not a psychologist's or psychiatrist's office (which Jundo is not).

    This place/ non-place "is" useful for practice (of this I have no doubt)

    Gassho Will

    The Best Zen center is no Zen center (Shunryu Suzuki paraphrased)

  4. #4

    Re: Split Thread: Virtual and Real (was Life after disappointme

    This is as "real" as it can be for me. Coming from the b00nies (yeah the zero's are there for a good reason) there is one place i can go in the city to sit with a group. serveral hangups with that, are they sit 3 times a week. 2 of which are evening sittings and during that time I am home with my 2 year old. The other time available is Sunday which is totally non-doable except they don't sit that day its more of a social gathering and a Sunday-school for the so-inclined kids. And lastly i can sit with my family (cats included) and that is a very real Sangha, no?

    I do get the limitations of "typing" our responses- even the silent ones. But the limitation isnt only in the medium, its in our heads too. Things like sincerity, humor or sarcasm can be hard to convey(or often can be mis-read - one for the other), but its up to the individual to choose their words wisely... thats kinda part of being a Buddhist in general isnt it? if we use our "indoor" voices and drop our need to defend our "selves" - being some view were stuck on, some answer that HAS to be the right one etc - some then I think we can express our selves freely and just as easily as we could eye to eye(of course while keeping the our precepts or at least playing nice in the simplest terms).

    Maybe its the allegory of the cave in action here for me as I have never sat with a large group in person.
    All said, "Irregardless" - lol I am as happy with this Bus Ride and the drivers doing a great job and the passengers are cool.
    I would like to see a local Soto Zen Sangha here someday and all things allowing there will be, until then I am very grateful to practice along with all y'all .

    just throwing in my awkward 2 cents.

    Gassho
    Dirk

  5. #5

    Split Thread: Limitations and Beyond

    I am sorry this response of mine to the exchange between Jundo and Stephanie in the Life after Disappointment thread was removed from it's context.

    I also would never have given it the title 'Virtual and Real,' because that was not the point of my remarks, although I can understand Jundo, that you might be sensitive to the topic and want to respond to it separately as you have.

    Had I known I would have to make a separate thread, I probably wouldn't have made a comment: it is rare that I start a thread--but I would like the title to reflect the point of my remarks which were "Limitations and Beyond."

    As for calling me out for my barrier mindedness--all I'll say is--"Thank you."*

    * For the complete list of other suitable responses, see the thread on Aphorisms/Zen one-liners.

    Our entire life, really, is one big Thank You!

  6. #6

    Re: Split Thread: Limitations and Beyond

    HI all,

    I wanted to repeat the understanding I fell upon, everything is both the same and different. While asserting my understanding, I hope to remember that someone else's understanding is not necessarily "opposed" to mine, but another part of the whole. Same and different....at the same time.

    thank yuo for yoru time,
    rowan

  7. #7

    Re: Split Thread: Limitations and Beyond

    Limitations and Beyond
    Limitations. mmm...maybe, maybe not. I really couldn't say. I do know that I don't know what such a place should be like. And I do know that I don't know what this place is capable of. My predictions of the future are a little rusty.


    Ros
    thank yuo for yoru time,
    Yoru absotively wellcalm

    W

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