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Thread: A clear view on tokudo - Shiho and all the thing...

  1. #1

    A clear view on tokudo - Shiho and all the thing...

    Hi everyone!
    I was looking to the Antaiji's Lotus in the Fire article Taigu pointed to in one of his comments on the sit-a-long ( http://antaiji.dogen-zen.de/eng/200801.shtml ) when I've seen Muho's articles called "What does it take to become a full-fledged Soto-shu priest and is it really worth the whole deal?".
    I haven't been around Antaiji's website these last months so I didn't see it yet, and I must say that for they really helped me to understand Sotoshu's ordination hierarchy.
    So, if you have some time to spend around these not so important, very japanese, but also part of our "Soto family" things, please jump in :
    http://antaiji.dogen-zen.de/eng/201003.shtml part 1
    http://antaiji.dogen-zen.de/eng/201005.shtml part 2
    http://antaiji.dogen-zen.de/eng/201007.shtml part 3

    Don't hesitate to look around, Muho's articles generaly worth the time spent in reading.

    deep gassho,
    Jinyu

  2. #2

    Re: A clear view on tokudo - Shiho and all the thing...

    Hi everybody,

    Indeed Muho's writings are often interesting. The way he looks at the whole system is very clear. May I suggest that we don't belong, at least I don't (but I am sure Jundo will agree on that one too), to the Sotoshu as such. That is to say, Muho is an official abbot of a temple and I am not. He went through the whole process and I did not. He sees Shiho or Denpo as part of a cursus, I see it as Dogen used to see it, as a transmission process that acknowledges a person as a valid teacher. What applies to the Sotoshu does not apply to Treeleaf. That being said and careers left aside, Muho is an inspiration to many. I would add that sometimes he comes up with ideas and directions that, in my limited understanding, are still very rigid and dogmatic ( But I seem to be rigid too, sometimes ). The will of Nishijima was also to take transmission out of Sotoshu'hands and make it a reality in the outside world. Even if Treeleaf does not belong to Dogen Sangha, we still carry the same vow and view practice-realisation in that light. We respect our fellow Japanese brothers and sisters, understand the tradition they belong to and, at the same time, we are willing to come back to a more ancient way of doing things through a very modern media. That's what we do here at Treeleaf. That's why you will never see me sitting for ceremonies in Eiheiji or Sojiji or trying to get official stamps and papers. It is a way which is not mine. I think everybody needs to understand the difference between this honorable institution of Soto Zen in Japan and the guys here. Same stuff but a very different way to live, practice and transmit it.
    That being said, i feel strongly connected to old Soto teachers like Niwa or Menzan through my lineage.

    gassho


    Taigu

  3. #3

    Re: A clear view on tokudo - Shiho and all the thing...

    Hi,

    Yes, Nishijima Roshi is all about bringing this practice out from behind monastery walls ... and freeing it from the church bureaucracy of the Soto Sect in Japan (not unlike the Catholic Church in the West in structure and attitude, complete with a top-down hierarchy of popes and cardinals) ... and expanding those monastery walls to include our homes, families, offices, factories and the city streets. That is the philosophy here. He ordains some as priests who so wish, he bestows "Dharma Transmission" upon those he feels have embody-minded the Buddhist teachings and would make good teachers.

    If you came to Japan, you might be shocked at what you find at the typical "Soto Zen" temple here ... Zazen not practiced at most, with the central focus being on the conducting of expensive funerals and memorial services for temple parishioners (that is not true, by the way, of Muho's temple, and that is to his deep credit). Temples are now inherited from father to son (sometimes daughter, but she is usually expected to find a husband who will actually serve as the priest and heir), and a huge system has developed to sustain this inheritance of temple rights. "Dharma Transmission" has little or anything to do with "enlightenment", piercing the teachings, being a good teacher ... and is typically given to the sons of fathers who are temple priests so that they can inherit and continue the "family funeral business" that is the temple. Nishijima Roshi never had any interest in that, was ordained as a priest while continuing his life as a husband, father and working man, now lives in a tiny apartment, and has sought all his life to bring this Practice out to ordinary people so that everyone can practice. Nishijima seeks to return to the original ways of Master Dogen, a simpler time, and to center this practice on the centerless center of Zazen. For that reason, some of the traditional temple priests and monastic types do not like what we are trying to do here. Fortunately, others do and we have much support across the Soto Zen world.

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #4

    Re: A clear view on tokudo - Shiho and all the thing...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo

    If you came to Japan, you might be shocked at what you find at the typical "Soto Zen" temple here ... Zazen not practiced at most, with the central focus being on the conducting of expensive funerals and memorial services for temple parishioners (that is not true, by the way, of Muho's temple, and that is to his deep credit). Temples are now inherited from father to son (sometimes daughter, but she is usually expected to find a husband who will actually serve as the priest and heir), and a huge system has developed to sustain this inheritance of temple rights. "Dharma Transmission" has little or anything to do with "enlightenment", piercing the teachings, being a good teacher ... and is typically given to the sons of fathers who are temple priests so that they can inherit and continue the "family funeral business" that is the temple. Nishijima Roshi never had any interest in that, was ordained as a priest while continuing his life as a husband, father and working man, now lives in a tiny apartment, and has sought all his life to bring this Practice out to ordinary people so that everyone can practice. Nishijima seeks to return to the original ways of Master Dogen, a simpler time, and to center this practice on the centerless center of Zazen. For that reason, some of the traditional temple priests and monastic types do not like what we are trying to do here. Fortunately, others do and we have much support across the Soto Zen world.

    Gassho, Jundo

    Sounds more or less like in our un-traditional way of doing things, we here in the "cyver west" are preserving more tradition than many of the 'traditional" folks you describe.
    VERY like the western Church, really... you have some priests/ministers with a pure heart toward their callings, and others for whom the Church and its trappings are a proffession, a seat of authority, a family business, or simply "what we do on Sunday."
    Gassho to Treeleaf, and all who color outside the lines in order to make the picture more perfect.

  5. #5

    Re: A clear view on tokudo - Shiho and all the thing...

    Hiya,
    I remember seeing a documentary series in the eighties with Ronald Eyre called the long search where he checked out all the worlds religions. In the one on Zen he visited a monastery, I am afraid I cannot remember which but the abbot told him that (rough quote from memory here) "Zen in Japan is dead; we need to re-import it from the west where it is very much alive". I do not think he said this just as a compliment to the British cameras.


    Probably irelavent ( just like my typing sometimes)


    Gassho

    Joe

  6. #6

    Re: A clear view on tokudo - Shiho and all the thing...

    Quote Originally Posted by JoeTurner
    Hiya,
    I remember seeing a documentary series in the eighties with Ronald Eyre called the long search where he checked out all the worlds religions. In the one on Zen he visited a monastery, I am afraid I cannot remember which but the abbot told him that (rough quote from memory here) "Zen in Japan is dead; we need to re-import it from the west where it is very much alive". I do not think he said this just as a compliment to the British cameras.


    Probably irelavent ( just like my typing sometimes)


    Gassho

    Joe
    One of my goalless goals is to bring a small, modest "Western style" Zen center to Japan, as strange as that sounds ("Western style", not meaning some form of cultural imperialism, but simply a Zen center focused on Zazen, less on funerals and paid for ceremonies, more equalitarian, questioning, bridging the gap of lay and ordained ... like this Treeleaf place. If you ever go to the typical Zazenkai in Japan, they are rather dry and unfriendly, little discussion following the teacher's one way talk, people gathering once a month or week at most, much of the temple priest's activities centered on funerals.).

    So far, not so much "no gain no loss" success on that front. I need to put more effort in, and part is that I need to move our Zazenkais from midnight Japan time to another hour (when more people will come).

    Gassho, J

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Unsui Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Re: A clear view on tokudo - Shiho and all the thing...

    Hi Jundo,
    I would like to come and sit in that temple you speak of. I would like to come and see what you are doing in Japan one day.
    Gassho,
    Soen

  8. #8

    Re: A clear view on tokudo - Shiho and all the thing...

    Hi Jundo
    One of my goalless goals is to bring a small, modest "Western style" Zen center to Japan, as strange as that sounds ("Western style", not meaning some form of cultural imperialism, but simply a Zen center focused on Zazen, less on funerals and paid for ceremonies, more equalitarian, questioning, bridging the gap of lay and ordained ... like this Treeleaf place.
    And most (if not all ) of us appreciate it very deeply.

    Much gassho

    Joe

  9. #9

    Re: A clear view on tokudo - Shiho and all the thing...

    Hi everyone!
    I'm happy that Taigu and Jundo said a word on this!
    And to be really honest, I'm also happy that our tradition has a more organic and direct way of doing things...
    because it looks a little "robotic", so institutionalized.

    gassho,
    Jinyu

  10. #10

    Re: A clear view on tokudo - Shiho and all the thing...

    I thinks this is very true.I remember reading about shunryu suzuki's goals in coming to America and i think he also wanted to promote boundless zen.My previous teacher always emphasized on this.

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