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Thread: Why so much anger?

  1. #1
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Why so much anger?

    NOTE FROM JUNDO: MY RESPONSE TO ALL THIS IS ABOUT 19 POSTS DOWN

    I come and go here, staying for a while then fading away and coming back. So recently I came back, and saw a mention of Brad Warner's new book. I followed up on it, going to his site, and I was stunned to see a host of angry comments, many coming from Jundo, some from Brad, and even a break-up between Jundo and Nishijima. What's happened? The Jundo I knew was a friendly, easy-going guy, but I didn't recognize him in some of the comments I read. I'm perplexed...

    Kirk

  2. #2
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much anger?

    While I agree with much of what you said, that's not the point. I mean, I haven't taken the precepts, though for different reasons, and I don't want to commit myself to any one person as a teacher. However, picking and choosing means you accept what's easy, and don't pick the things that may confront the part of you that needs confrontation.

    Anyone, that wasn't my question.

    One more thing I learned: that Jundo has edited some forum posts, and has banned at least two people from the forum. Now there may have been reasons for this, but it's especially surprising considering that Jundo made a point of mentioning how he was banned from the esangha forum...

    Kirk

  3. #3

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    I don't want to commit myself to any one person as a teacher
    Hiyas
    For the quote above (sorry to snip it) Taking the precepts doesn't bind you to anyone Teacher or otherwise. Really Just a ceremony commemorating your commitment to abide by the precepts. Taking or not taking doesnt tie/untie you from a teacher or lineage. Heck I can take Jukai with Jundo or Chodo Cross or Sponge Bob Zen Pants (Pat. Pend.) or anyone whom is willing to teach, do the ceremony and accept me as their student. Any other significance is in your own head! Well, it all is, really.

    I was reading some comments on Nishijima Roshis' blog when i found some comments i found a tad confusing. Until yesterday i had no idea of any of this other S*** brewing on other forums. Since then I have seen the comments on a couple of forums and between all the disjointed, ridiculous name calling by posters who are being immature beyond belief because they can post anonymously. There are issues that need to be worked out by the parties involved.

    Jundo is still Jundo, Brad is Brad and Nishijima Roshi is still Nisijima.
    and none of them are exactly the same as they were when i wrote that. :roll:

    One thing about "knowing" someone on the interwebz, in my experience, is that we can never really get the all the complexities of a person (well that applies to all interaction i guess, not just the web). All of us even, if we wrote every waking moment into this forum or some site, cannot possible relay the experience they had personally of those events to someone else reading it and Not have it come across differently even if its ever so slight its different. I read it thusly, with my life experiences filling in the gaps between the words and lines. You read i this way with the same process. We all project our personal view on it form so more thoughts on the matter and then go BACK to the web and write even more. So to be shocked when some one asses up is kinda... shocking.

    WE all, EVERY one of us, including our teachers, in Dharma or otherwise, well, inevitably A) not meet someones standard they set for us in their mind - orly? B) make a walloping mistake of some form, some time now and again just to reinforce that were all HUMAN.
    Its how that mistake is handled that makes all the difference to me.

    The question of who assed up what is something the persons involved should (be able to) figure out. The rest is just bull shit piling up on the ground, or forums. Mind your step!

    Gassho Shohei

  4. #4

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    One more thing I learned: that Jundo has edited some forum posts, and has banned at least two people from the forum. Now there may have been reasons for this, but it's especially surprising considering that Jundo made a point of mentioning how he was banned from the esangha forum...
    Hi, Kirk.
    Nice to hear from you again.

    Jundo can defend himself here if he likes, but I have been watching the "feudin'" as we might say in TN with some interest. I have seen the admirable qualities and the not-so-admirable qualities of several of the teachers I respect over the past month. Between Brad's book, Jundo response, and Nishijima's curt responses to Jundo, there has been a lot of pressure that needed to be released between these three guys. I was not as shocked by this as some apparently are as I have never been under the delusion that these guys are anything other than people just like me. If they weren't human, how could we appreciate their teachings?

    All three of the guys have contributed to a situation that is bubbling up in their blogs. I don't think it is anyone's fault in particular. There will be squabbles amongst dedicated practitioners of anything . . . in fact, the more dedicated, the stronger the squabbles.

    As to Jundo's behavior in particular, he would have to speak to that.

    I will say that my understanding is that one former treeleafer was asked to leave because he was using abusive language toward another. The second person was simply asked to leave temporarily until they sought professional help (many of us thought this person might be suicidal as their posts were almost always about how bleak the universe was). I think Jundo was simply trying to force this person to seek the help they needed, and to avoid enabling a downward spiral. Hindsight says this person was not suicidal, but at the time it seemed like the lesser evil would be to use tough-love rather than read about their suicide.

    Maybe Jundo has a temper. And? Many do. Most of the time it is OK. A couple of guys can, evidently, push his buttons. I suppose we each have our baggage, teachers included. I'm willing to cut him a break as long as he doesn't appear to cultivate his temper, and I see no evidence of that.

    Also, there is danger assuming that all "banning" is equal. Banning someone for speaking well-reasoned ideas is something I would not support. Being banned for being a continual disruption is something that is common in nearly every type of teaching institution. I have the right to ask a student to leave my class if he or she is a continual disruption or is negatively affecting the progress of the class. I would never ask someone to leave for respectfully stating an opinion no matter how outrageous, but insults and other disruptions would need to be dealt with for the sake of the whole class.

    My two cents,
    Bill

  5. #5
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much anger?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eika

    Jundo can defend himself here if he likes, but I have been watching the "feudin'" as we might say in TN with some interest. I have seen the admirable qualities and the not-so-admirable qualities of several of the teachers I respect over the past month. Between Brad's book, Jundo response, and Nishijima's curt responses to Jundo, there has been a lot of pressure that needed to be released between these three guys. I was not as shocked by this as some apparently are as I have never been under the delusion that these guys are anything other than people just like me. If they weren't human, how could we appreciate their teachings?

    All three of the guys have contributed to a situation that is bubbling up in their blogs. I don't think it is anyone's fault in particular. There will be squabbles amongst dedicated practitioners of anything . . . in fact, the more dedicated, the stronger the squabbles.
    Bill,

    I think what surprises me most is the fact that they're doing this in public, in plain sight of their students and others, rather than sitting down and talking things out (well, sitting down virtually...).

    Best,

    Kirk

  6. #6

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    Bill,

    I think what surprises me most is the fact that they're doing this in public, in plain sight of their students and others, rather than sitting down and talking things out (well, sitting down virtually...).

    Best,

    Kirk
    Yes, that surprised me too. Evidently there is enough animosity to prevent that kind of civil discourse. Also, maybe there is some email or phone contact that we are not privy to between many of the Nishijima heirs. For a while I hoped that they would bring it all out into the open and thus let it die, but now I'm of the opinion that it is best to let them deal with it however they are going to, and simply stay out of the way.
    I have no personal experience with this, but from the accounts I have read it really is not much different in a monastery setting. There are always student/teacher issues, student/student issues that cause discontent and anger. I think it is easier to believe that our teachers are supermen and superwomen who couldn't possibly break a precept, but that's not reality. The real teaching is to see HOW these teachers accept and deal with their human failings . . . so, like the sign says, life is our temple.


    Gassho,
    Bill

  7. #7

    Re: Why so much anger?

    I just happened to be listening to a talk by Barry Magid this morning on the subject of the Student Teacher Relationship, available here, and one section seemed relevant to this situation (my transcript):
    ... Because one of the things that you are asked to surrender to is an acceptance of this person with all his idiosyncracies and flaws and quirks as the teacher, as the embodiment of practice. It means being willing to accept the limitation of one particular individual as it, as sufficient. It means letting go of fantasies and idealization of the perfect teacher, of the perfect enlightened one, whose very look or word or touch is going to somehow magically give it to you. A big part of surrender is surrendering to the particular as opposed to the ideal and the general. It's surrendering to this is it. This is not a compromise or a good enough substitute for the real thing or something that we're just sort of doing now until the Dalai Lama arrives or whoever else we're waiting for who is really it. This is it....
    If you wait for the perfect teacher to come along you are going to be waiting a long time (and it's also likely that if you try to go it alone the chances are increased that you will never get anywhere either), and isn't this anyway a misunderstanding of what Zen B is about? Isn't it more to do with discovering the beauty of the world as it is, warts and all; not expecting that things and people should conform to how we think they should be, which leads to suffering.

    :Charles

  8. #8

    Re: Why so much anger?

    And it seems that one of the side-issues in this whether zazen is sufficient, automatically leading you to behave in such a way that you don't break the precepts, or whether you also need to consciously follow the precepts. Perhaps we are receiving some valuable teaching about this question.

    :Charles

  9. #9
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much anger?

    I'm not looking for the One True Teacher, whoever s/he may be. I just feel like I stumbled into a dysfunctional family's Thanksgiving dinner...

    Kirk

  10. #10
    Senior Member Kent's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much anger?

    If you stand back and look past all of this , the Dharma still remains. :| Kent

  11. #11
    Senior Member Martin's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much anger?

    .

  12. #12

    Re: Why so much anger?

    I really love to learn from Jundo. It's clear that he is a human being as every one else, and he's playing in the mud as everyone in this world. It's great! We are not learning from a guy who is living in a monastery in isolation, or treated like a god, or from one who acts in public like having no desires or anger, but his personal live is not what he shows.

    Im afraid that it's not easy to swallow a reply like that one from Nishijima Roshi, specially when Nishijima believes that Jundo is saying what actually are Brad words and teachings, so I can understand the anger and frustration.

    Anyway, I love to learn dharma from and for non-robots, that's great.

    Gassho,
    Hernán

  13. #13

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Quote Originally Posted by Yogi
    It's clear that he is a human being as every one else, and he's playing in the mud as everyone in this world. It's great! We are not learning from a guy who is living in a monastery in isolation, or treated like a god, or from one who acts in public like having no desires or anger, but his personal live is not what he shows.
    Anyway, I love to learn dharma from and for non-robots, that's great.

    Gassho,
    Hernán
    Hi, Hernan.

    I agree.

    Gassho,
    Bill

  14. #14

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kent
    If you stand back and look past all of this , the Dharma still remains. :| Kent
    I agree Kent. If you ask the wind, it won't pick sides. Nonetheless, humans are not as smart as the wind.

    Bill

  15. #15

    Re: Why so much anger?

    I think it is up to each of us to walk our own paths. Sometimes we may need someone to help us , some times we may help other people and sometimes we can walk alone. It is still the path of our own and everyone's.
    It is always important to remember whenever we bump into someone who may need help we do not judge or criticise. We are there for them if they need someone to walk with whether they have helped us in the past, we have helped them or we have never met.

    Regards

    Undo

  16. #16

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Some good, kind and compassionate responses here _/_

    Yes it has been an undefying spectacle watching Jundo mud wrestling :shock: , but for reasons mentioned above there would appear to be just cause. Personally I would prefer if Jundo could resist the temptation to set the record straight (as he sees it) in public & with a megaphone, but that is his choice. Does it negate his achievements and teachings - no, they have been wonderful. Do I wish he had the control and composure to deal with this offline - oh yes.

    Time to take stock, dust oneself off and do what you do best Jundo - teach and practice, you have a lot to give. But (IMHO) for gawd sake drop your addiction to post in other peoples (often hostile) blogs - you have plenty of scope here and at the Zen International Forum.

    With deepest respect and a wry smile

    Jools

  17. #17

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Hi Guys,

    Okay, let me try to jump in here.

    1- I believe that, over the last couple of years especially, my teacher has exhibited qualities common in some elderly people such as a frequent paranoia about some around him who care for him deeply, selective memory, confusion. This is coupled with an amazingly brilliant mind that still shines at age 90. But the fact of the matter is that half of his "Dharma Heirs", including people who have been with him for decades and who love him, cannot talk to him (by my count, about 15 or more people, although some went their own way for other reasons. Most of the rest of the "Dharma Heirs" are safely on the other side of the world, and just stay out of his way). He is in his "you are in grandma's will/you are cut out of grandma's will" stage. This IS NOT the Nishijima Roshi I have known for years, although he always was a very strong-willed and stubborn guy. I have not even gone into all of what was involved here, but what the hey! Some of it includes the fact that he began to emphasize more and more with me that he thought the "Jews run the world economy", and he was suspicious that they were trying (through me, it became clearer) to take over his legacy, copyrights to his books and such. This belief about the Jews having excessive power over the banks and media is very common in Japan, especially among people of Roshi's generation (it is just a kind of quaint ignorance, usually said in admiration for how "smart and hard working" the "hard working and smart" Japanese think about the Jewish people, so I usually laugh it off.) But this was getting to be excessive, and he really was starting to think that world-Jewry, vie Jew-ndo, had nefarious plans on his books and such. I have been told that it was one of the reasons, in part, that other Jewish Dharma heirs of Roshi have split, including the translator of his books into Hebrew.

    I say that as but --one-- example, and not the only example, of changes in Roshi. And I emphasize again, this is NOT HIM as I have known him, just the workings of a 90 year old dried out, oxygen deprived senior brain. The real man I have known for years is not like that.

    2- About 2 years ago, Brad Warner broke off all communications with me. I would write again and again to him saying that, even though we disagree, we should be friendly and share a cup of coffee. He refuses, and the last two e-mails I received from him told me, quote, "Go F--k yourself" (he did not put hyphens). Fine and good. Personally, I believe all people, including people who disagree (and especially Buddhists who disagree) should remain friendly and be willing to share tea from time to time. But, it is his choice, not mine.

    However, in one of my last clear communications with Nishijima Roshi, about 6 months ago, he told me that "Brad, as the head of Dogen Sangha International, had decided not to communicate with [me] anymore, and that Brad was now the head of DSI and if Brad had made a decision not to talk to me, then [Nishijima] was not going to talk to me." There was a witness to the conversation. I wrote to Brad and asked him to please ask Nishijima Roshi to keep communication open with me, Brad told me to go "F" myself again. I have heard from sources that Brad has, in fact, asked Nishijima Roshi not to talk to me and has pushed for it.

    And, Nishijima Roshi, as the loyal "Samurai" and retired emperor, will do as the current emperor (Brad) commands (It is a very Japanese thing that 90 year old Japanese samurai do.). Couple this with his present mental state, and I am unable to talk to my teacher. I do not enjoy that, no.

    3- Brad's book comes out, and I think it is a twisted lesson (I thought that the book was a very clever means for him to excuse his lifestyle, and turn it into a profound "Buddhist Lesson", by admitting to some of it ... he hides a lot, and prevaricates quite a bit). He puts me in it (pretty much all of Chapter 14 is about me and another 'Dharma Heir" who was critical of rumors we were hearing about him at the time), and invited me to respond (p. 223). I did. I thought my comments fair and truthful. No other Dharma Heir of Nishiijima has come forward to contradict anything I wrote about this terrible situation.

    4- To those who would like this kind of thing swept under the carpet so that they may keep their dreamy image of perfectly tranquil Zen Masters in pristine mountain temples ... I say, GROW UP. Nothing about this should be hidden or need be hidden. Do you want a Sangha Leader who keeps things in the closet? I am sorry if your image is sullied. There is nothing particularly less human about a monastery or Sangha than an office or commuter bus. That is the one message in Brad's book that I applaud him for, and which he is right to say.

    If you want a phony guy who tells you he never gets pissed off once or twice a year, go look for him/her. Look real hard. Lots of gurus out there who sell that image and, who knows, a few of them may even be for real.

    Zen monks have conflicts, like anyone. A monastery is very tight quarters, people living elbow to elbow. The one thing that Buddhists should do is talk to each other and work out their conflicts, or learn to live with them. That is now impossible in my Sangha, and that lack of ability of folks to be able to sit down and share a cup of tea is one of my major objections.

    6- I believe in speaking out when there is something wrong. I may be a bit frustrated, and a little angry, at people, but when did I ever try to teach that Zen Practice means never being a little pissed off sometimes? I just did two talks about this. Check 'em out:

    Zazen Meditation with Jundo : Even Buddhas Get the Blues
    http://blog.beliefnet.com/treeleafzen/2 ... do-ev.html
    Zazen Meditation with Jundo : Still Off My Game
    http://blog.beliefnet.com/treeleafzen/2 ... do-ze.html

    7- A couple of housekeeping points:

    And it seems that one of the side-issues in this whether zazen is sufficient, automatically leading you to behave in such a way that you don't break the precepts, or whether you also need to consciously follow the precepts.
    We're were you during the Precepts training? Did I ever say "Zazen is sufficient to allow us always to be sweetness and light"? Did I not say that we try, as we can, to abide by the Precepts? But I also believe that my speaking out as I did was, for me and my Sangha, the right thing, or better, lesser of two evils. Keeping silent had its good points too, but I felt that speaking out was the more honest course.

    The real teaching is to see HOW these teachers accept and deal with their human failings . . . so, like the sign says, life is our temple.
    Absolutely.

    I think what surprises me most is the fact that they're doing this in public, in plain sight of their students and others, rather than sitting down and talking things out (well, sitting down virtually...).
    Nobody is more surprised, or regretful, than me that that has been made not an option. I can't get these guys to even take a phone call. So, my option was to talk or keep my mouth shut (and all this under the rug). I understand which way many of you would prefer.

    For the quote above (sorry to snip it) Taking the precepts doesn't bind you to anyone Teacher or otherwise. .
    That is my interpretation too.

    One more thing I learned: that Jundo has edited some forum posts, and has banned at least two people from the forum. Now there may have been reasons for this, but it's especially surprising considering that Jundo made a point of mentioning how he was banned from the esangha forum...
    In the two years that this Forum has been here, I have deleted (in my memory) three posts by others. One was an unfunny really dirty joke (I might have kept it if it was funny), and two involved two members getting into a name calling fight here. Stephanie also reminded me that I shortened a couple of her posts when I was trying (I thought it was skillful means) to show her that her mind was running on and on with words. Harry left here (and is always welcome back) because he was picking fights, and verbally abusive to some people. Stephanie was asked to bring a doctor's note (and I recommended she follow his instructions), because I cannot have people around here I think may be a danger to themselves. That is how I felt at the time. She never complied, although I offered to pay myself for the visit.

    I will say that my understanding is that one former treeleafer was asked to leave because he was using abusive language toward another. The second person was simply asked to leave temporarily until they sought professional help (many of us thought this person might be suicidal as their posts were almost always about how bleak the universe was). I think Jundo was simply trying to force this person to seek the help they needed, and to avoid enabling a downward spiral. Hindsight says this person was not suicidal, but at the time it seemed like the lesser evil would be to use tough-love rather than read about their suicide.
    Yes, that is my recollection.

    I think that covers everything.

    If you guys don't know who I am yet, or that I'm just flesh and blood ... well, I do not chase people into this place, and I do not run after them when they go.

    I always say, the only Golden Buddhas and Perfect Zen Teachers are the dead ones ... cause they dropped all their bad habits out of the old Buddhist story books.

    Any questions? I am happy to answer.

    Gassho, Jundo

  18. #18

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Jundo, I appreciate your candor, humanity and frustration. I believe you are respected here to a great extent, and cared for as a teacher and a person. Sometimes the sh!t just hits the fan, and you if you're standing behind it.

    Gassho,
    Tobiah

  19. #19

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Any questions? I am happy to answer.
    No. I'm good.
    The anti-semitic thing is a bit of a surprise, but I don't know much about the sub-narratives of Japanese culture.

    Thanks for your openness. Gassho,
    Bill

  20. #20

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eika
    The anti-semitic thing is a bit of a surprise, but I don't know much about the sub-narratives of Japanese culture.

    Thanks for your openness. Gassho,
    Bill
    Look, my own grandmother, who died at age 94, was convinced in the end that my mother was trying to poison her breakfast coffee every morning. I am pretty sure that was not the case. My mother, in the last stages of breast cancer, had a series of strokes and was living a new imagined story every day, many of which involved being kidnapped and held for ransom by pirates. I am pretty sure that did not happen either.

    Sad as it is, I have been through this before. Nishijima is not anywhere near as bad as other older folks who get like that, but I am pretty sure that is what is going on with him too. I do not attribute his words and thoughts to the man I have known and loved for years. Okay?

    Frankly, there have been many recent cases of elderly Zen teachers getting a little confused in their old age. Soen Nakagawa basically locked himself in a room for several years, crying and wetting himself, and his students would slip meals in to him. Old Zen masters are no different from old anybody. His students have now written a very honest book about that. (No, Nishijima is no where near that stage either, and I hope he never is).

    We all get old. Hope you guys are as patient with me 40 years from now.

    Gassho, Jundo

    Ps- Yes, the whole thing is very unpleasant.

  21. #21
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much anger?

    Hi everybody,

    I met Jundo for the very first time last summer for the rakusu videos. Although we sometimes did disagree in the past I made the decision to come and help him with this jukai because I really believed he is genuine and sincere. We instantly got on like a house of fire.

    Being myself in the midst of this terrible Dogen sagha non-family as a dharma heir of a teacher that disowned me, Mike Cross, a roshi that doean't want to see me,Nishijima (I must be a kind of bastard, son of a non-Buddhist, Mike in his own words) and knowing a lot about the dirty laundry and various issues of many teachers over there, all I can say, is that Jundo is telling the truth. I witnessed a conversation between Nishijima and him, even spoke to roshi,and had a look at Brad's emails...Jundo is telling the truth and he has every right to try to make things clear. Most of Nishijima's Dharma heirs do know about Nishijima issues and expressed concern in private many times, I was also there and did communicate with them.

    Brad Warner has made terrible mistakes which he wants to be perceived as virtues.His arrogance and hubris are phenomenal and his understanding, sometimes brilliant, can also be very shallow and twisted. He represents in my eyes a tendency of Western Zen these days to promote a teenage-like vision, sooooooooo coooooooool, who wants to make a big revolution, have a god go at everything and sparkle a good amount of bad language on dharma discourses. When I read those blogs, with all the fights, the swearing, the cool attitude and disruptive behaviour, I am right back in the English London schools where I tried to teach French to a lost generation a few years ago (who did not do and didn't want to do anything to get out of where they were). Am I conservative? No I am not. I just believe in kindness, in the possibility to disagree without turning wild and provocative.

    The amount of racism found in some teachers is really a cause for concern, Nishijima is openly against Jews, so is Mike Cross calling Jundo names or adding other forms of racism to his repertoire, disliking French for instance...Sad but true.

    I was telling Jundo recently that I can see two styles of Zen practice, one that turns people into tigers, mighty, abusive, arrogant... the other on that turns people into cats. Having met many Zen teachers in my short life, I noticed that they could either be mild and very gentle, or go in the opposite direction. Both are great teaching styles. It depends what you are shopping for and how much abuse you are preapred to take. For me now, it is zero tolerance. No more abusive teachers, thank you. That is why I walk alone, seing life as it is and the numerous human beings I meet and work with as my teachers. I believe Jundo belongs to the second one. But a cat has paws and sometimes uses them. Your disappointment is an ideal picture being trashed. The collapse of your own illusion as some of you pointed out so clearly.

    So...let's go back to the cushion. And we can still respect Nishijima, Mike, Brad and the likes, but it does not mean we have to allow them to throw their tandrums and be abusive to us or others. May I remind everybody that in a bullying situation that takes place in a school between two kids, there is a bully who needs help and a victim who also create the bullying and needs to learn to handle things in a different way, learn to say no or that's enough or seek for the help of somebody in charge. Well, Jundo has done exactly what was necessary to openly say stop. In itself, it is a great teaching and takes a lot of courage.

    Gassho

    Taigu

  22. #22

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Me again,

    I will tell you, with a couple of days to look back at this, where I think I was really wrong.

    I started off with a strong, but fair critique of Brad's book (being a character in the book and all).'

    I let it gradually get to be about Nishijima Roshi and his personal problems, especially as I do not think he is responsible for that. On that, I should have respected the man's dignity and not made him the issue. I should not be talking about his health issues and foibles.

    Gassho and Mia Culpa, J

  23. #23
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Why so much anger?

    I'm a bit worried about Brad. I've never understood the SG thing, and although I think they are beautiful women, I don't see anything especially Zen or not Zen about porn. I certainly don't see anything that Zen about punk rock either.

    Most disturbing to me is Brad's reaction to criticism - it should be obvious to the self-aware person that his response is counterproductive. Brad's books are a good entry point for the angry and disaffected, but let's hope that they read and learn from more folks than just Brad Warner.

    It's also good to hear from Jundo on this. We need to be aware of how our own biases affect our judgment. Steph is permanently soured on Jundo even though what he did, I thoroughly believe, was motivated by compassion and not ego.

    We can all be soured that way. On Brad. On Jundo. On our lovers and our friends. It often has so little to do with the other person, I think we need to examine our real motivation.

    Chet

  24. #24

    Re: Why so much anger?

    I would like to thank all those for posting.

    Some of the subject matter is difficult but needs to be discussed. The fact it is done so here shows how effective this Sangha is. As it's online it must also be one of the most open.
    I joined this Treeleaf a couple of months after it started. It has without a doubt been a wonderful source of information and help with all aspects of practice. More than any other. I suspect I could have quite easily been headed to a tiger mentality but after being her for a while now I have found I do much better as a cat.

    There has been the odd problem here.I have tried to keep out of the way as these issues inevitably occurred, mainly as I thought they were dealt with carefully and compassionately. They have also been a tool to practice and as important as all the others.
    Jundo, I would never blindly offer my support to anyone (and you have never asked) but up to this point I believe you have done the right thing whole heartedly. I appreciate yours (and others) honest posts and they are great lessons for us all. The only thing I would hope is that you are not too hard on yourself about it. Also I hope other will offer all those involved the space, time and compassion they all readily deserve.

    Deepest Gassho,

    Undo

  25. #25
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much anger?

    Jundo,

    Thank you for your explanations. I appreciate hearing more about the fact that you did try to resolve this, and that it was Brad and Nishijima who didn't want to. Personally, I read one of Brad's books, and some of his website posts, and thing he's a world-class a**hole. He tries to make his foibles into something to be respected, even emulated. As for Nishijima, it's a shame to hear of the whole paranoia thing. Sigh...

    I have enormous respect for you, Jundo-sensei, and only raised the question here because I was surprised that this whole thing had turned into a blog vs. blog debate, with acrimony and vitriol almost melting my screen. My words here may have sounded like an accusation to you, but I guess that's just because I was as surprised by your language as by the comments of others. I certainly understand that you're human, and that you have anger like the rest of us. But don't you think, in the long run, it would have been better to just walk away, if these people wouldn't communicate with you? (Attempt at turning this into a lesson for dealing with anger...)

    Personally, FWIW, I have no illusions about any "Zen master" being a super-human person. Maybe if I was in my 20s, and just discovering this stuff for the first time, that might be the case. I wasn't involved here in France, but I know some people who were disciples of Deshimaru, and, apparently, after his death, the feces hit the air circulation device in a similar way... Ah, power....

    Gassho,

    Kirk

  26. #26

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Jundo

    "GROW UP" - No shouting please.

    Thank you for recognising the issues around posting about Nishijima Roshi health.

    I can see that this situation is not fair or just for you, and that you have very limited means at your disposal to put your point across. I only ask that you consider how you go about this in future.

    With respect

    Jools

  27. #27
    Senior Member Kent's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much anger?

    I guess this goes to show we are all really "just beginners". Kent

  28. #28

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Gassho to all . . . great posts. Thanks to Taigu for assisting us with his perspectives.

    For what it is worth, I think treeleaf is better for having this event occur, painful as it was and is for the principle players.

    Sincere respect and gratitude to all of you,

    Bill

  29. #29

    Re: Why so much anger?

    & to you Bill
    Gassho
    Jools

  30. #30
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Why so much anger?

    I too am heartened by the dialogue.

  31. #31
    Senior Member KellyRok's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much anger?

    Hello all,

    Jundo - thank you for laying it all out on the table for us. Up to this point, I have to be honest, I didn't really know who Brad Warner was. I've never read his books and I don't plan to, I just don't think I could appreciate his style. I've been a member of Treeleaf now for just under a year. When I joined, I didn't honestly know what my plans were for staying with Soto Zen. But after listening and sitting with you day after day, I realized that you were someone I could relate to. You are more honest and human than any spiritual teacher I have ever known and I think that is what makes you so wonderful...what makes Treeleaf so wonderful.

    I have always appreciated your honesty as well as that of the members of this Sangha. Like others have said, that is what makes us work as an online Sangha. I think you chose the right decision to try to resolve this dispute by speaking out, but I also feel that maybe there is nothing left on your part to do. The other members involved have to make a decision on what to do now...the ball is in their court. I don't understand Japanese culture or tradition, but I believe that racism in any form is completely dispicable and outrageous. I'm sorry you've had to experience this.

    I truly am sorry that your teacher, whom you obviously love and respect, has turned his back on you. I don't have any answers or advice on that...it must be very difficult. I just wanted you to know that you have my support, my humble respect and gratitude, and my ears to listen. It may not be much, but it is all I have to offer.

    A deep thank you to Taigu and you all for being so open in sharing your perspectives. Each and every one of you is my teacher.

    Gassho,
    Kelly (Jinmei)

  32. #32

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Hi Jundo,
    Thank you for your very clear and open response. I have learned to expect no less! You have always been transparent and honest with us. One thing that is definitely different from a bricks and sticks zendo and Sangha and a 100% online one like Treeleaf is every thing we say/do is open to the world to see and its documented and archived. This would seem like it should lead to a lot less depth but instead moves us all to speak very candidly and freely and as often pointed out to a depth beyond that of most "face to face" Sanghas.

    I only wish I could demonstrate my deep gratitude to you for your teachings "in and out" of the zendo.

    Taigu, as always thank you for you very clear response wise words. That is a very good point you made right off the bat, you two had some differences in the past but you put it behind and moved forward solidifying a sound relationship. I for one am very glad you did - you are a great teacher as well -including and beyond the sewing instructions (though they are very much life lessons!!!) If only other parties could do the same . Since they won't and seem to feel the need to silence themsleves besides the odd expletive I say we let it lay where it feel and keep a passionate ear open - while still moving forward and letting go - should DSI and/or those concerned decide to reopen the lines of communication.

    Growing up learning to keep the peace and my mouth shut has made me a bit shy of driving my point home for fear of retribution in some form. I bite my tongue too often. This is one place where I feel free to speak my mind and its thanks to all of you!

    That said I truly am humbled to be able to practice along side you all.

    Deepest bows
    Shohei

  33. #33

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Hello folks!

    Let us all not forget that we as sentient beings wrestle with reality all the time and that it is precisely this wrestling...struggling....experiencing different aspects of the bumpy ride called life (including interpersonal challenges) that makes our practice so valuable. Even the historical Buddha himself had sangha troubles he couldn't resolve in a nice way. Let us heed his final words before passing away: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

    Our striving may lead us down twisted paths,straight paths, beautiful and frightening paths, we may even be the thorns on some other individual's path , sometimes even thinking ourselves to be sweet scented flowers...and yet we must keep sitting. Discomfort and hardship are ultimately our greatest teachers, so although one should not turn into a voyeuristic masochist and enjoy the endless permutations of differing views crashing against one another on other blogs (no matter how justified they may be), let us return to our practice at the end of the day and remember to stay true to our own vows and to tend this garden which is Treeleaf.
    Two years online with (compared to your average online presence) so little conflict yet with so many treasures having been revealed to one another is truly remarkable and worthy of celebration.

    I know I sound like a cheap fortune cookie, but I just couldn't help it. No pretentiousness was intended, seriously.

    Gassho,

    Hans

  34. #34
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much anger?

    My first reaction to all this was "ignore it and it will go away". That would be the "easy" thing to do, but not the best thing to do. It needs to be dealt with and not swept under the rug. So, thank you for bringing it to our attention. I have faith that Jundo will do what he thinks is best. I'm not crazy about it being done quite so publicly, but it seems there was no other choice. It's a painful and ugly mess, but life is like that sometimes. Treeleaf has been a wonderful place for my practice in the past, and will continue to be so in the future.

    I can never say this too often; Thank You Jundo, Thank You everyone who is now, or has ever been a member in the past.

    Ron

  35. #35
    Senior Member Martin's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much anger?

    Lots of good sense, and lots of compassion in the posts here.

    I thought Hardcore Zen was a great book and it was part of what led me to zazen and here to Treeleaf, so I shall always be grateful to Brad for that. As a result, I had pre ordered Brad's latest, and read it eagerly when it came. I have to say it didn't work for me the way Hardcore Zen did, or at all, but perhaps that says more about where I was when I read each book.

    As Jundo has noted, part of Brad's message in the book is precisely the same as what Jundo has been teaching and saying here (and elsewhere): that Zen teachers are human beings with foibles and needs who make mistakes too. Which is just one more reason why the present situation is so sad. Jundo, it must be very hurtful, and I'm so sorry.

    Whether Jundo was "right" to speak out on Brad's blog or the Dogen Sangha site I can't know. I don't think there is a "right". Jundo spoke as he saw best at the time. I tend to the view that generally we all err on the side of saying too much, but it's hard to know when to post and when not. I posted much of what I've said in this post on this thread yesterday,but then deleted my post, partly because I felt uneasy discussing Jundo's "behaviour" on what is, after all, his site, without him and partly because I decided that yet another person weighing in on line with their opinion really added nothing. Well, here I am posting again. Which just goes to show how hard it is to know when to post and when not, and that Zen students, like Zen teachers, are human beings with foibles and needs who make mistakes too.

    As for looking for perfection in a teacher, or seeking one teacher to the exclusion of all others, I'm happy, and proud, to view Jundo as my teacher. Along with my wife, and kids, and the people who allow me to mediate their disputes, and everyone else posting here, and the rest of my life.

    Jundo, you, together with everyone else at Treeleaf, have made this a wonderful place for practice and for learning from each other's teachings and, yes, each other's mistakes. I am grateful to you all. I'm sorry for the hurt Jundo must have suffered, but I'm glad to be here with you all.

    Gassho

    Martin

  36. #36

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Hi.

    I paused for some time to think about what would be "Right Speech" in commenting on what had happened.
    Now, I do believe “Buddhists should not fight Buddhists” and “there is only one Dharma” meaning that we’re all friends on different (and same) road/s to the same goal.
    But a few injustices, or even as important unfairnesses, are worth speaking up about from time to time.

    "And what, monks, is Right Speech?
    Refraining from lying, refraining from slander, refraining from harsh speech, refraining from frivolous speech.
    This is called Right Speech."
    -Mahasatipatthana Sutra

    But do not forget that it is equally important to speak up against the same...

    And to the question whether it was "wrong" or "right"...
    I don't know, that really is not the important question here right?

    shall we sit with that?

    Mtfbwy
    Tb

  37. #37

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen

    shall we sit with that?

    Mtfbwy
    Tb
    Oh, yes. Delusion and human conflict are just dust. Let's just let it all quietly settle.

    Sorry for kicking up a big cloud of dust.

    Gassho, with tears of happiness, Jundo

  38. #38

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Hi,

    So many wonderful things said in this thread already... thank you all. If life didn't throw problems at us now and then, we wouldn't need this practice. So much ugliness, so much hurting, but also a chance to reflect and grow stronger. I'm very grateful for having the opportunity to practice with you all.

    Deep bows
    Bansho

  39. #39
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi,

    So many wonderful things said in this thread already... thank you all. If life didn't throw problems at us now and then, we wouldn't need this practice. So much ugliness, so much hurting, but also a chance to reflect and grow stronger. I'm very grateful for having the opportunity to practice with you all.

    Deep bows
    Bansho
    Life never throws problems at anyone. The practice never helps anyone with their problems. These are not minor points.

    I'm also very grateful to be able to practice with you.

    Chet

  40. #40

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Hi Chet,

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Life never throws problems at anyone. The practice never helps anyone with their problems. These are not minor points.
    Maybe so. But if we perceive them as problems and if we perceive the practice as helpful, what's the difference? And if we realize our perceptions are just are perceptions, haven't we been helped?

    Gassho
    Bansho

  41. #41
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi Chet,

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Life never throws problems at anyone. The practice never helps anyone with their problems. These are not minor points.
    Maybe so. But if we perceive them as problems and if we perceive the practice as helpful, what's the difference? And if we realize our perceptions are just are perceptions, haven't we been helped?

    Gassho
    Bansho
    Nope. You've been tricked. By yourself. Viewing the practice as a solution to problems validates and gives strength to the erroneous view that your problems are a problem to be surmounted by the practice. This very approach - the problem-solving one, is an example of wrong-view, as relates to the practice. Zazen is also not a means by which to broaden our tolerance of what we perceive as problems - taking the 'problem' view leaves intact an entire structure of resistance to reality that is both unnecessary and unhelpful.

    This is what Zen teachers mean when they say that zazen and zen practice are completely useless.

    IMHO.

    Chet

  42. #42

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Hi Chet,

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Nope. You've been tricked. By yourself. Viewing the practice as a solution to problems validates and gives strength to the erroneous view that your problems are a problem to be surmounted by the practice. This very approach - the problem-solving one, is an example of wrong-view, as relates to the practice. Zazen is also not a means by which to broaden our tolerance of what we perceive as problems - taking the 'problem' view leaves intact an entire structure of resistance to reality that is both unnecessary and unhelpful.
    No. I practice Zazen to practice Zazen, not to solve my problems. Which isn't to say that some problems are no longer problems. It's not one or the other.

    Gassho
    Bansho

  43. #43
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bansho
    Hi Chet,

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    Nope. You've been tricked. By yourself. Viewing the practice as a solution to problems validates and gives strength to the erroneous view that your problems are a problem to be surmounted by the practice. This very approach - the problem-solving one, is an example of wrong-view, as relates to the practice. Zazen is also not a means by which to broaden our tolerance of what we perceive as problems - taking the 'problem' view leaves intact an entire structure of resistance to reality that is both unnecessary and unhelpful.
    No. I practice Zazen to practice Zazen, not to solve my problems. Which isn't to say that some problems are no longer problems. It's not one or the other.

    Gassho
    Bansho
    Insightful reply!

    *gassho*

    Chet

  44. #44

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by Fugen

    shall we sit with that?

    Mtfbwy
    Tb
    Oh, yes. Delusion and human conflict are just dust. Let's just let it all quietly settle.

    Sorry for kicking up a big cloud of dust.

    Gassho, with tears of happiness, Jundo
    Yes, it settles.
    This cloud of dust is gritty dharma,
    grist to spit out or swallow
    let's drink up.

    Dear Jundo, Taigu, this dear Treeleaf Sangha & other Sangha members present here in my heart: thank-you for this teaching, thank-you for being open, thank-you for teaching through being & sharing your thoughts & processing of the types of difficulties which arise in all of our lives.

    _/_, Juko

  45. #45
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much anger?

    Hi all,

    I don't have anything profound to say and all that I'd probably ever contribute has already been said. My only comment on Brad was much as Taigu stated...I have never responsed to Brad's type of teaching, but I am aware that some need a shock to the system to change their course and since reading his books has brought some of us to Treeleaf I am grateful to him for that much.

    I would just like to thank Jundo for commenting here about the issue because, although I didn't want to ask him about it, I didn't like the idea of gossip and conjecture being the final word either. I do have to say that one of Jundo's last comments in this thread has stayed with me the last couple days:

    We all get old. Hope you guys are as patient with me 40 years from now.
    It made me reflect on the sad reality of human life we shall all be faced with soon enough, either as the caretaker or the one who needs care. May we all have someone to look out for us. But it also made me smile to think what Treeleaf could become over that time and how many good friends I will have come to know so well by then. Not very buddhist to think of a far distant future...back to this moment and the cushion.

    Gassho,
    Scott

  46. #46
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: Why so much anger?

    What a blessing! What a great teaching that all this ugliness has been so out in the open. I thank Jundo for his brave exhibition of humanness on that forum and this one. How generous of him to share his pain and anger with us and the rest of the world. We would have lost this great opportunity if the players here kept this behind closed doors. And as for our reaction to it, far too often when things get ugly we want to turn away. It makes us uncomfortable to witness the ugliness in the world, in people we look up to. But when things are ugly, when things make us uncomfortable, that is exactly the time to be looking at them directly! We can't learn if things are hidden from us! We can't learn when we look away from the ugliness! We learn by looking at the light, even when it appears dark and ugly.

    Enlightenment isn't perfection; it's dealing with ours and others imperfections. Said more crudely (ugly): Shit happens. What matters is how we deal with it. So we sit with the shit and deal with it.

    Gassho

  47. #47

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Al has just summed it up perfectly. After all that has been said there is nothing more to add except to say that I have great sympathy for you Jundo in the pain that you have suffered. I am so pleased at the support our sangha has given. What a good place this is to be.

    Blessings to all,
    Yours in the Dharma,

    Daiku

  48. #48

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrianP
    Al has just summed it up perfectly. After all that has been said there is nothing more to add except to say that I have great sympathy for you Jundo in the pain that you have suffered. I am so pleased at the support our sangha has given. What a good place this is to be.

    Blessings to all,
    Yours in the Dharma,

    Daiku
    Thank you Brian,

    Just an aged father who is not himself and being extremely difficult on some of those who love him, and a few siblings who are not acting as brotherly as I might wish. Really, no different from what many a family faces ... even if a "Buddhist Sangha" family.

    People are still people, for better or worse, even if practicing Buddhism for decades. Better, gentler and generally more peaceful and balanced people than they might have otherwise been without the practice, perhaps ... but still people.

    Gassho, A People.

  49. #49

    Re: Why so much anger?

    jundo i thank you for the lesson in peopleness.

    Gassho, Daniel.

  50. #50

    Re: Why so much anger?

    Yes, I just posted this on another thread about a major trigger of Nishijima's suspicions of "disloyalty" ...

    *PS - One of the reasons that I am on Nishijima Roshi's "sh-t" list these days is that I told him over recent years that I thought he had taken his very good ideas of Zazen as "Balance of the Autonomic Nervous System" and of Zazen having a neuro-physiological basis, and had stretched his ideas rather too far into areas where there is no scientific backing, no data, or where scientific data is directly contradicting some of what he says. I said so with all tact and respect for his (then nearly) 90 year old person, but like some of our parents and grandfathers, he does not take any contradiction well these days. He has become a kind of "my way or the highway" fellow on this issue.

    One has to be very cautious about speaking to one's seniors in Japan. That whole "hari-kiri" sword in the belly thing (I have avoided that so far).

    So, for the past couple of years I just stopped mentioning the subject when with him, and let it slide. I even just took the easy road to agree with whatever he said and say "yes yes" (he is very near the point now where everything in Buddhism comes down to "balancing the Autonomic Nervous System") But, once he had me marked as disloyal to his theory a couple of years ago, he never trusted me quite the same way.

    I want to be perfectly honest about the situation.

    He is a wonderful teacher of Shikantaza, Dogen and Zazen ... but some of his "theories" about what those all mean are his own invention that have run a bit wild over time. I think.

    Gassho, Jundo
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