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Thread: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

  1. #1
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Hey all,

    I've been thinking and conversatin' with people about Zen and Zen teachers and it seems like there are a lot of different ideas, some of them pretty whacked out IMHO, about what exactly a Zen teacher is supposed to 'provide' to his/her students. Some people seem to think that Zen teachers are therapists. Others get into this weird "you're so wise/you've done so much for me!" sort of dynamic with their teachers (completely ignoring the fact that the teacher really doesn't 'provide' anything but an opportunity for genuine interaction). Some people get completely disillusioned when they find out that their teachers have human flaws (men who fall prey to sexual temptation, women who bully, etc).

    So what role do you all think that a Zen teacher fills?

    Chet

  2. #2

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    For me a Zen teacher is a guide, someone to get me started, help keep me on the right path and point out concepts that I need to know along the way.

  3. #3

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Since Jundo will probably reply shortly, my question is when should one start sanzen with him?

  4. #4

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Hi Jamie & welcome
    In answer to your question - right now
    Kind regards
    Jools

  5. #5

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Hi Guys,

    Well, I believe a Zen teacher should be something like a third base pitching & batting coach (pardon the baseball reference for those not familiar with the game, but the meaning should be clear. Some of you can think cricket. Also, sorry to Keishin for not talkin' hockey). The coach watches the pitchers and batters from the field, suggests a few things to tone up one's swing or help one's pitching. But from then on, the players have to play their own game. I can't run the bases for you.

    Sometimes a Zen teacher is compared to a mirror, reflecting one's self back to one's self. Same idea.

    In this baseball game, by the way, there is no winning and losing no matter the score, and wherever you run on the field, that is 'home'. Strange game in that way. No matter how many bases you attain, how many points you score or strike out ... no gain no loss. Also, all the players on both teams, the coaches ... the whole stadium for that matter, and the hot dogs too ... all one beyond one. In fact, all is just playing!

    Although there is no 'right' or 'wrong' way to play, and it is all a game, there are some 'right' and 'wrong' ways to play ... and the coach has to make sure that people are playing right ... we don't play with a tennis racket. Very often I get folks who want to play tennis on our baseball field, and I have to gently remove the racket from their grip and provide them a bat or glove. Sorry, no matter how open minded I am, we do not play tennis on our baseball field.

    The "Precepts" also make sure that we don't slide into each with our cleats, or throw spitballs and other harmful play.

    Practice is playing, playing is perfectly practice!

    Quote Originally Posted by jamieguinn
    Since Jundo will probably reply shortly, my question is when should one start sanzen with him?
    Hi Jaime,

    As to Sanzen, in the Koan-centered Zazen traditions such as the Rinzai schools (and some mixed Soto-Sanbokyodan lineages like Maezumi Roshi's students, Aitken Roshi and such), "Sanzen" is very important as a constant practice (it is also called "Dokusan"). In such schools, where a formal Program of Koans must be "passed" as part of the process, Sanzen/Dokusan is more a part of the process. In Soto Practice, we tend to have Sanzen/Dokusan when there is a particular matter to discuss about one's Practice. It is more "how is your Practice these days" than "What is Mu?".

    However, during a Retreat, it is common to have Sanzen times, so I will set up times during the Retreat to cover most time Zones, and we can "Sanzen-Skype". For folks doing the Retreat at other times, they can set up a special time with me for Sanzen.

    In this Sangha, I like to teach in the open, through this Forum, so that all can share (like right now! ). Also, the entire Sangha teaches the whole Sangha ... the whole team plays ball together. So, I prefer to work openly through this Forum. At other times, when private matters, and where personal questions of Practice come up, folks can Sanzen with me by setting a time.

    Let's Play Ball!

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS - As part of our Precepts study, I am planning to post a very good article by a long time Zen Practitioner, Stuart Lachs, on common stereotypes and misunderstandings that many folks have about Zen teachings and Zen teachers. Look for that in a couple of weeks. There are a lot of "whacked out" ideas (to use Chet's phrase) about Zen teachers, mostly from all those exaggerated and hagiographic old stories and legends of "enlightened" Zen masters. Anyway, I will post the article shortly, and we can talk about it.

    PPS - Baseball Koan: Why did Babe Ruth Come to Yankee Stadium?

  6. #6

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    PPS - Baseball Koan: Why did Babe Ruth Come to Yankee Stadium?
    The beer was cold and the hot dogs were hot. :mrgreen:

  7. #7

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    One of the great things about an online sangha is a question can be repeated as many times as a topic is clicked, any time anywhere.
    This gives time for not only Jundo to answer but other sangha members.
    I can ask a question at 08:30am in Spain in my living room eating breakfast, Jundo may answer at 05:33 (Japan time?), using his blackberry sat in the bath, Kenneth may read the question and answer at 16:30 at work sipping his tea, in Germany, and Jools may read the question in England while eating his tea and think, "you know, I always wondered what type of socks zen monks wear".

    Well and truly timeless

    Take care,

    Philip

  8. #8

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Hi all,...

    I think Zen teacher can't really teach us about Zen. Because Zen is not some thing that can be taught.
    Teacher just like a guide for us, but to live in the "Way", we must do it by ourselves.

    That's why, we need to be open with our teacher, so our teacher can understand about our condition.
    "Say what you mean, and mean what you say"

    Gassho, Shuidi

  9. #9

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    But we must not rely too strongly on a teacher. In doing so we prolong the trap of believing we are not it, and somehow teacher and student are different.

    Gassho

  10. #10

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?


  11. #11

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by will
    But we must not rely too strongly on a teacher. In doing so we prolong the trap of believing we are not it, and somehow teacher and student are different.

    Gassho
    Hi Will,

    Yeah, well you also have to watch the tendency that happens to all of us, at a certain point, to think that we don't need teachers any more. I agree that we must not rely too strongly on a teacher, but we should also always be willing to learn from everyone as our teachers ... even little babies.

    It is said that, at a certain point, we must "Kill the Buddha", which means to have confidence in our understanding, make the teaching our own. But, on the other hand, we must not be like the fellow who reads one Zen book and thinks he's "got it". One must know the important difference.

    Even someone who has been practicing Zen for 50 years should be humble and willing to learn. Students need Teachers, but the Teacher must always be open to learning from the Students.


    Generally, it is very dangerous (for the long term ... not for stretches here and there) to pursue Zen Practice without a competent teacher and healthy Sangha.

    Something like that. It is late, and I am too tired to express this as well as I might.

    Gassho, Jundo (Your Student)

    PS - The concept of a "Guru" as found in Tibetan Buddhism and many other forms of Eastern Practice, to whom on is to basically yield one's ego without question, is very different from Zen Practice.

    http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id= ... &ct=result

    Depends on the Zen teacher and lineage though.

  12. #12

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by plankton
    "you know, I always wondered what type of socks zen monks wear".
    All questions answered ...






  13. #13

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Thanks Jundo, I hope the water didn't get too cold.

  14. #14

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by plankton
    "you know, I always wondered what type of socks zen monks wear".
    All questions answered ...






    I tend to prefer modern streach tabi, and wear a jika-Tabi over it...less clasps to deal with ops:

  15. #15

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by aikoku tora

    I tend to prefer modern streach tabi, and wear a jika-Tabi over it...less clasps to deal with ops:
    Yes, but the tabi are just for running around outside?such as in one's 'waraji" straw sandles ...



    during Takuhatsu



    For ceremonies, you need a special type of sock without toes, like a mitten, called a "bessu" ...



    I hope I have cleared this mystery up. That is what a teacher is for.

    Gassho, Jundo

    (Actually, I think Rev. Taigu knows a lot more about this than me, so any corrections welcome).

  16. #16

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    one warning about waraji....never step in a puddle, or snow with them if you dont want instantly wet feed, and or soggy wet grass smelling shoes...wore mine last winter going to pick up my son, and jyst briefly made contact with a puddle of melted ice, took 3 days for the waraji to dry out

  17. #17

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Why did Babe Ruth Come to Yankee Stadium?
    "The cypress tree grows in Madison Square Garden"

  18. #18

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by aikoku tora
    one warning about waraji....never step in a puddle, or snow with them if you dont want instantly wet feed, and or soggy wet grass smelling shoes...wore mine last winter going to pick up my son, and jyst briefly made contact with a puddle of melted ice, took 3 days for the waraji to dry out
    Hi Aikoku,

    Jikatabi ... waraji ...

    I am curious as to why you wear all the traditional Japanese footware. Starting a new trend?

    Gassho, J

  19. #19

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Hey they look just like my wetsuit boots, cloven neoprene, may be I've been wearing mermonk sandals with out knowing it :lol:

    Blub blub blub Kev

  20. #20

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    I find these comfortable for kinhin









    If that helps?

  21. #21

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Nah, you get much better grounding with these...

    Attached files

  22. #22

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Hi Philip

    how did you know?
    Jools may read the question in England while eating his tea and think, "you know, I always wondered what type of socks zen monks wear"
    - you must be psychic !!

    Supplementary - "you know, I always wondered what type of undergarments zen monks wear?"

    With laughter

    Jools

  23. #23

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Hi Philip, hi Jools,

    Quote Originally Posted by Jools
    Hi Philip

    how did you know?
    Jools may read the question in England while eating his tea and think, "you know, I always wondered what type of socks zen monks wear"
    - you must be psychic !!

    Supplementary - "you know, I always wondered what type of undergarments zen monks wear?"

    With laughter

    Jools
    Quote Originally Posted by plankton
    ...Kenneth may read the question and answer at 16:30 at work sipping his tea, in Germany...
    Yep, I got the spooks too. :shock: :lol: :lol:

    Big brother is watching... :lol:

    Gassho
    Ken

  24. #24

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jools
    Supplementary - "you know, I always wondered what type of undergarments zen monks wear?"
    Same as a Scotsman.

    Actually, fundoshi is traditional Japanese underwear. Here is how to put it on.




  25. #25
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    And this just reminds me that I need to borrow the book and get in on the Precepts discussion...

    Chet

  26. #26

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Hi,

    I still don't understand what my first zen teacher told me once, maybe someone can suggest something as it has stuck with me for over 25 years now.

    I went to the London Buddhist Society when I was in university in the early '80s and went along to the zen class. I didn't really know how to sit and always left in quite a bit of pain. I didn't mind that so much but one day the teacher went around the room asking everyone why they came to the class. I answered, quite honestly, that I was looking for a bit more feeling of peace and quiet in my life. He replied back that I should come back in a few lifetimes. He then carried on round the room and one student answered that he came because he liked a nice cup of tea in the morning. The teacher then said that that was the sort of answer he was looking from us. I was confused and on my way home I felt angry and thought, "okay, I will go back in a few lifetimes" and never went back to that class again. The teacher died a few years after and I am still wondering why he said I should come back in a few lifetimes.

    Did he give some kind of standard 'zen' type reply to me? I felt he was just looking for some kind of 'zen' answer from everyone and was highlighting the 'cup of tea' as the 'right' answer and my 'peace and quite' and a 'wrong' answer. But he was an old and well respected zen teacher and I was a young idealist so maybe I missed something.

    Anyway, if anyone has any ideas of what he might of meant I would be interested to hear.

    Many thanks,

    Paul

  27. #27

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Hi Paul,

    It is hard to know the details from your short description, but it seems that the teacher meant that if you are looking for something (even something like a bit of peace and quiet), it will take you lifetimes to find. Perhaps the teacher was a believer in some traditional form of Buddhist post-mortem rebirth, perhaps the teacher just meant it figuratively ... that as long as you were looking, you were like a dog chasing after its own tail, and it would take lifetimes to catch). Perhaps a bit of both. I can only guess.

    Zen code words like" "just a cup of tea" usually are pretty cheap references to something like "things just as they are" or "nothing special" or "just this". Kind of cheap Zen speak, copied from reading too many old Zen stories.

    Anyway, I am just guessing.

    Who was the teacher, and what lineage was he from. Do you recall?

  28. #28

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Hi,

    I forget his name, I believe he was a peer of christmas Humpreys in the Buddhist Society at that time.

    Your explanation of the terms does sound convincing and maybe he didn't really mean for me to come back in a few lifetimes. I suppose I should have asked him then but if karma and rebirth is the way it is often described then I will get my chance later.

    Thanks,

    Paul

  29. #29

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Hi Paul,

    Back in Christmas Humpheys' day, in the 50's and 60's when there was limited information on Zen, few translations and yet little detailed scholarship, there were plenty of misconceptions, "more Zen than Zen" stereotypes and such. D.T.Suzuki (not be be confused with Shunryu Suzuki of San Francisco Zen Center) was about all anyone had to go on, and his writings are most romantic and idealized, to say the least. The fellows at the Buddhist Society (Alan Watts, the Beats and all the rest too) did the best they could with what they were exposed to.

    (On a side note, many Zen folks, even now, have a very traditional view of Rebirth. Depends on the teacher.)

    By the way, I happened to come across something interesting today in a book by Prof. Steve Heine (a friend and one of the great Dogen historians and scholars). This may be of some interest to Jordan, Harry and some of the other real "Dogen Dogs" who hang around here. One of the key phrases upon which Dogen based his insight, the "trigger" for his great awakening in China, may have been either (1) Dogen misunderstanding what his teacher, Ju-Ching, was saying due to Dogen's bad Chinese, or (2) Dogen's intentional twisting by poetic license with his teacher's phrase in order to overcome some weakness in it. In any event, the student Dogen seems not to accurately recount what his teacher said.

    [According to professor Takasaki Jikido] the term "casting off body and mind" (shinjin-datsuraku) never appears in the works of Ju-ching, Dogen's master. Another expression "casting off the mind's dust" (shinjin-datsuraku) does appear, however, though just once. It is possible, therefore, that Dogen may have understood Ju-ching's "casting off the mind's dust" as "casting off body and mind." When we consider the fact that these two expressions are homophonous in Japanese..., it is not too far-fetched to think that he may have hit upon this central idea of "casting off body and mind" by way of homophonous association, whichin turn triggered his religio-philosophical imagination.
    You can read more here on this (page 130)
    http://books.google.com/books?id=ZmIOZQ ... #PPA130,M1
    and here (page 74)
    http://books.google.com/books?id=pHFJpe ... A#PPA74,M1

    If Ju-Ching said one, and not the other, it is interesting for several arcane (but important) reasons related to Buddhist philosophy. It is a bit like finding out that Descartes actually said "I am therefore I think", instead of what is attributed to him. On the other hand, it does not mean that Dogen was "wrong" in his interpretation, just that Dogen found his own personal way to express his taste of enlightenment (even if the words were not his teacher's in fact).

    In this way, Buddhist teaching is quite a bit like cake baking. There are many tasty ways to bake and frost a cake, all delicious and expressing the very same sweetness ... even if different chefs will learn to bake their cakes a bit differently from their teachers. It is still all the same sugar and frosting.

    Got my point somewhere in there? In the end, learn from good teachers ... but bake your own cake.

    Gassho, Jundo

  30. #30

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    It is said that, at a certain point, we must "Kill the Buddha", which means to have confidence in our understanding, make the teaching our own. But, on the other hand, we must not be like the fellow who reads one Zen book and thinks he's "got it". One must know the important difference.

    Generally, it is very dangerous (for the long term ... not for stretches here and there) to pursue Zen Practice without a competent teacher and healthy Sangha.

    Gassho, Jundo (Your Student)
    Hi Jundo,

    Actually, the "kill the buddha" is about believing that enlightenment is in someone/somewhere else. This is related to the question and answer koan - student asks "what is buddha?", roshi answers "This mind is not buddha?"

    As for it being dangerous, you seem to often approve of my understanding and I have always been on my own. But I think I have done fairly well because of a constant desire for understanding and an attachment to the second vow (I don't mean to imply that I am at all unique in this). But I think continually questioning everything is a good practice.

    As far as believing that after reading one book, one understands everything - that person probably was reading the wrong book. All the books I have read, the great Chan and Zen writers of the 6th to the 18th centuries, including Dogen, write profound and difficult stuff that it would very obviously take anyone a lifetime to understand. Uji alone is good for a few decades

    I have been reading the Mujo Seppo chapter of the Shobogenzo ("the proclamation of the law by inanimate beings") which is definitely good for a few decades.

    thank you for your time,
    rowan
    who is busy wondering how she got so pompous........

  31. #31

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Hola Jools and Ken

    This photo of me at work might explain a few things,



    On side note, could anyone direct me to a good site (possibly museum) which show and explains different clothing traditions for Monks and Nuns?
    Thanks

    Mystic Phil Wizard of none

  32. #32

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by plankton
    This photo of me at work might explain a few things,
    Ahhh, just as I suspected...

  33. #33

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Plankton,
    BuddhaNet has a link to at least the illustrated differences. There might be more but I didn't dig too deep.

    http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/bud ... astics.htm

  34. #34
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    No, No, Nanette?

  35. #35

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    A while ago I emailed Jundo asking for an interview via Skype (Sanzen Skype?). A few days passed but the reply still did not come. I was uncertain as to what to do next. Should I send another e-mail and ask if he had received the first one (as I would normally do) or should I just wait and see in case this was some kind of a test for my patience that was part of training?

    After a week or longer of waiting I finally sent another mail and this time he replied very promptly and we set up the time for the interview. Apparently, he simply had misplaced the first mail which happens to all of us. Of course it was me who had those preconceived ideas of what a Zen teacher could or even should be like.

    I remembered this when listening to the Buddhist Geeks podcast interview with Stuart Lachs in which he shared his long experience as a Zen practiotioner and talked about the Zen insitutions that have contributed to creating the myth of a know-all roshi that knows all.
    (For those interested, Episode 72 "Zen Masters: Dressing the Donkey with Bells and Scarves" and Episode 73.)

    Gassho,

    Irina

  36. #36

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by CinnamonGal
    A while ago I emailed Jundo asking for an interview via Skype (Sanzen Skype?). A few days passed but the reply still did not come. I was uncertain as to what to do next. Should I send another e-mail and ask if he had received the first one (as I would normally do) or should I just wait and see in case this was some kind of a test for my patience that was part of training?
    Irina, it WAS a test, and you passed! CONGRATULATIONS! :-P

    EVERYTHING I ever do is with full awareness, and absolutely everything is meant as an expedient means, possessing a hidden, subtle purpose... the meaning of which can only be perceived by the truly Enlightened. :shock: :shock: Even when I look like I am acting like an ass, or forgetful, I am really not. (I tell that to my wife all the time, but she does not seem to believe me :roll: )

    PS- And my apologies to everyone whose emails I misplace, which I do.

    PPS- We are going to read some of Stuart Lachs' writing on "Zen stereotypes" in a week or so, as part of the Precepts study.

  37. #37

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Irina, it WAS a test, and you passed! CONGRATULATIONS! :-P

    EVERYTHING I ever do is with full awareness, and absolutely everything is meant as an expedient means, possessing a hidden, subtle purpose... the meaning of which can only be perceived by the truly Enlightened. :shock: :shock: Even when I look like I am acting like an ass, or forgetful, I am really not. (I tell that to my wife all the time, but she does not seem to believe me :roll: )
    Hey Jundo,

    That's exactly how I expect a Zen teacher to be! Great, I don't need to let go of those expectations. :lol:

    Gassho,

    Irina

    PS looking forward to more tests 8)

  38. #38
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    I know you guys are posting tongue-in-cheek, but some people really do attribute most teacher errors as profound wisdom. Then again, who's to say it isn't?

    Chet

  39. #39

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I know you guys are posting tongue-in-cheek, but some people really do attribute most teacher errors as profound wisdom. Then again, who's to say it isn't?

    Chet
    Hi Chet,

    Good to hear from you. I was thinking about you today.

    That will be precisely our topic in the Precepts study next week, when we will read about Baker Roshi and such. Please look for that.

    Gassho, J

  40. #40

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    The purpose of a zen teacher is to give zazen instructions
    anything else is superfluous

  41. #41

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    To me @ first, I really didn't know what the point of a teacher was, judge my progress along the "path"? or keep me from believing my own delusions... none of which are with in a teachers control really. So I continued practicing alone.

    After abit of that, and a lot of reading, the emphasis of student Needing a teacher got to me -right then I thought perhaps they know everything there is to know and are far more "enlightened" than I and really could bring me to some kind of realization...and I SHOULD seek a teacher!

    In the recent past I kinda got over the idea that a teacher alone will make me a better Me. that part was still up to me and a Teachers role was maybe for:


    you know guide post along the path... but really that wasn't exactly it.

    I think its a relationship that changes and grows, where both are learning and teaching.
    Right now Id say a guide along the path showing some of the spectacular views along they way...but like a good guide, letting you explore as well. Im sure that will change with time.

    So my official answer is... not sure

    Gassho, Dirk

  42. #42
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Keishin
    The purpose of a zen teacher is to give zazen instructions
    anything else is superfluous
    Really?

    Sit (followed by exposition of lotus, half-lotus, burmese, seiza, bench, chair, and kinhin postures) . Breathe (short exposition about how to count, follow, and drop the breath). Count your breaths for awhile...then drop that and follow the breath. Then even stop following the breathe and simply be aware of the wide expanse of existance.

    Okay, now do that for the rest of your life.

    There, that's Zazen instruction....and yet volumes of books are written about Zen. Every week, teachers are giving talks. Somehow, I think there's more to it than mere Zazen instruction.

  43. #43

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by krid
    I think its a relationship that changes and grows, where both are learning and teaching
    I think you nailed it right here Dirk.

    Friend, adversary, zazen instructor, pontificator of Dharma, mirror and even student; a Zen teacher is all of these things. The purpose depends on circumstance.


  44. #44

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    There, that's Zazen instruction....and yet volumes of books are written about Zen. Every week, teachers are giving talks. Somehow, I think there's more to it than mere Zazen instruction.
    Yes. Now even drop that idea.

    Simply cross the legs, breathe, and that is enough.

  45. #45
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    There, that's Zazen instruction....and yet volumes of books are written about Zen. Every week, teachers are giving talks. Somehow, I think there's more to it than mere Zazen instruction.
    Yes. Now even drop that idea.

    Simply cross the legs, breathe, and that is enough.
    I better never catch you writing a book, Jundo-san!

  46. #46

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    my first zen teacher, really wasnt my teacher, but rather an old rinzai priest i had an on going snail mail relationship with. i really just wanted acceptence at the time. to be recognized. but i've never forgotten one thing he told me "zen is just samu and zazen" that was it ,nothing special.
    my next teacher i formed quite a bond with, perhaps too close a bond, we spent holidays together, went out for lunch, to the movies, borrowed each others dvds.
    he became to me a sort of father figure.
    but i think thats what i had wanted from both of them.
    maybe its what i needed, maybe it wasnt. but it's what i got, and i'm greatful to them to this day.

  47. #47

    Re: Purpose of a Zen teacher?

    he became to me a sort of father figure.
    Eventually the kids have to grow up.

    W

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