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Thread: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

  1. #1

    SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    .
    One thing my mother always used to tell me is "don't discuss religion with people, cause people get too easily defensive and offended about their personal religion.". It's true. Of course, that's a little hard to avoid when one is posting on an internet forum devoted to religion, Zen Buddhism in this case. People tend to take any criticism of their religion ... no matter how couched in "it's just my opinion", and no matter how small and reasonable the criticism ... as an affront. That's especially true when the critic is not an outsider, but someone inside the religion ... and maybe most especially clergy of the religion like Taigu and me.

    This recently happened when I posted my last Sit-A-Long talk supportive of "out in the world" practice, and critical of some aspects (emphasis on "some aspects among many good points") of monastic practice entitled Knocking Down Monastery Walls, at ZFI, a sometimes surprisingly conservative place. People began to really jump on me and Taigu (who also added some comments very critical of monasteries and some of the institutionalized religion-ness that often accompanies them), accusing us sometimes as if we really wanted to rent bulldozers and do a sneak attack on helpless monks!

    Taigu and I were taking our usual stand about how, for some or many folks (emphasis on "some or many" not "all"), training out in the world to be a priest might be a good path, and monastery life not possible or the wrong soil for that individual (emphasis on "for that individual"). The substance of the attitude of some folks can be symbolized by a typical post ...

    There are many life situations which make someone not a proper candidate for ordination. Parents of small children, people in deep financial debt or legal difficulty, pregnant women, people in the armed forces... they have other obligations and are not proper candidates for ordination. They are also not proper candidates for the space program, a traveling circus, etc. This is not about "who is good enough." ... It's called home leaving.
    To which I would typically respond with something like ...

    Perchance, if one truly knows how to look ... some particularly wise folks can overturn the delusions of life right in the heart of life, shining in/as/right through life. Radical transformation can manifest where we stand. Buddhas can be seen in our small children, and freedom from the shackles of life are in the key of financial debt and legal difficulties. Pregnant women have Buddha Nature too (for one? for two?), and people in the armed forces serve in places where the "rubber meets the road" of the Precepts in action. Is not Enlightenment something even vaster than space, and is not life just a wondrous (sometimes beautiful, sometimes ugly) circus?
    And again, my point is that monasteries may be right for some people, but wrong for other people. "Out in the world" training may be right for some people, but wrong for other people. To each his own, and many good paths up the mountain suited to different people and needs.

    I also became a bit hot under the collar at one point in one post with one guy, but generally kept my cool. However, I did notice a tendency of folks in such religious discussions to completely ignore how a statement is couched and hear what they want to hear, a kind of Cognitive Dissonance. For example, I pull no punches in my criticisms of certain small aspects of Buddhism and Zen, calling them "superstitious" and the like, or "abusive". But I typically do it in the following way ... in effect, pulling my punches!

    In my humble opinion, and that is all it is (for one man's "made up legends" is another man's "sacred stories" that he has full right to believe) ... Buddhism does, among the many many very good things, contain much "superstition, bull-crackers, hocus-pocus and made up legends, baseless claims, funny hats and dusty rituals, institutional church-iness" that we could often do without, in my limited view ... and some situations which, among the many good situations, are sometimes occaisionally abusive, disfunctional, even cult-like

    ... but which, I fully recognize and respect, may be very beautiful and precious to others, interpreted quite differently by them. Lovely, and many paths up the mountain for different folks (anyway, ultimately, what mountain?) We cherish and honor the right of such folks to practice their religion as they wish in their Sanghas ... just as we cherish and honor the right of Jews, Christians, Muslims, Scientologists, Hari Khrisna's, Atheists, Agnostics of all stripes to practice their beliefs as they wish ... and we will practice as we wish in our little Sangha.
    ... which some people seem to hear in their minds as ...

    You think Zen is bullshit, monasteries are all abusive and Buddhism is like Scientology!

    Oy vey.

    I'll have more on this topic in a future post ... including how people became very upset when I once turned into Bro. Brad and typed "bullshit" instead of "bull crackers". That became a more important topic than the monasteries!



    .
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-10-2016 at 04:06 PM.

  2. #2

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    "magic hocus pocus bunkum" :lol:

  3. #3

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Quote Originally Posted by Sydney
    "magic hocus pocus bunkum" :lol:
    Sydney! Wonderful to hear from you. How are you?

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #4

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    None the worse for wear & tear.

    I usually have no idea what to say on forum threads, but you slapped a big grin on me with this one.

  5. #5

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Hi.

    The first rule of religion: "We don't talk about religion"... :lol:

    Thank you, very good talk.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  6. #6

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Thanks Jundo,
    very well put into words, we all come from our
    limited views, if we only could agree about this,
    this would help already a lot ... I believe
    _()_
    Peter

  7. #7

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    I am very new to Treeleaf and have benefited from the support of Jundo, Taigu, and other members as I've sought footing along the Zen path. I've also been participating and reading over at ZFI, and followed the Knocking Down Monastery Walls discussion there, chiming in once. Though I continually caution myself to resist my propensity to over-thinking, I must admit that found much of the exchange confusing.

    I can articulate my confusion best by referencing the related contexts of teaching and the sangha. I take as given that those interested in Zen Buddhism have a professed commitment to compassion, understanding, and metta (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbIGar_-AqM[/video]]gassho to Taigu for his metta/nasty soup talk), and have experienced this commitment firsthand both on Treeleaf and elsewhere. I also increasingly understand that methods of teaching vary widely across the history of Zen and within the "transmission to the West," and given my own background (I've taught philosophy of education and published on pedagogy in particular), I have a pretty good sense of the complexities that are inherent in any teaching relationship or environment. Finally, I take Jundo at his word when he states that being transparent and open is at the heart of Treeleaf's sangha, and I've written this post in that trust instead of starting a back-channel conversation.

    Much of what has confused me is the manner in which the beliefs of others are characterized in these discussions. My professional career involves work on cultural differences and conflict resolution, and in that work we attend carefully to how we characterize the positions of those with whom we disagree. (This careful attention to the difference between actions and motivations is not just my opinion; check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0Ti-gkJiXc[/video]]Jay Smooth's widely shared video on the difference between the "You Sounded Racist" and "You Are Racist" conversations.) I believe, tentatively, that this care is an aspect of metta; I also believe that this care need not be "nice Buddhism" to be metta.

    There are many heated, confused disputes going on in the online world of Zen Buddhism right now, but only this one concerns two communities in which I'm directly, if newly, involved. Thus I am hoping that we can discuss this matter using Jundo's OP in this topic by attending to the places in which others' opinions, beliefs, or predispositions are characterized (emphasis mine; I removed Jundo's):

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    One thing my mother always used to tell me is "don't discuss religion with people, cause people get too easily defensive and offended about their personal religion.". It's true. ... People tend to take any criticism of their religion ... no matter how couched in "it's just my opinion", and no matter how small and reasonable the criticism ... as an affront. ...

    The substance of the attitude of some folks can be symbolized by a typical post ...

    I did notice a tendency of folks in such religious discussions to completely ignore how a statement is couched and hear what they want to hear, a kind of Cognitive Dissonance.

    ... which some people seem to hear in their minds as ...

    ... I'll have more on this topic in a future post ... including how people became very upset when I once turned into Bro.
    I do not understand the purpose of stating that someone else is defensive, offended, or affronted; possessing any given attitude or tendency; hearing things in their mind; and so on. Again, my background involves work on conflict resolution, and in that work these sorts of characterizations of others feed conflict. Thus my question: why characterize others in this manner?

    I also do not understand the method of pedagogy (or whatever the appropriate term would be) used in this instance. What are the goals and methods of this teaching, and to whom is it aimed?

    I also do not understand how this approach is an extension of the practices of compassion, understanding, and metta. If it is, how so? If it is not -- if, for example, this approach is more akin to a katsu -- then how so?

    One last question: the sit-a-long title references "dangers." What are these dangers? To whom?

    Please take these questions in the spirit they are intended. Despite my attempt to do so, I found that I could not "sit-a-long" with this particular talk, could not use it as a basis for sitting or for shikantaza throughout my day. Thus I bring my sincere questions here in an attempt to better understand and participate in this sangha, and to better understand and reflect upon its teaching.

    Gassho.

  8. #8

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Thank you Chris,
    I think these are very good questions and will give Jundo the opportunity to explore even a bit more;
    I must admit that personally I never found Jundo talking about "someone else" here, but about people,
    not excluding anyone, so not even himself, in this context it makes much sense to me. However,
    I must admit I not carefully looked at the wording, rather grasped a spirit I tried to express in
    my above post, we all should be aware we talk "from our limited perspective".
    _()_
    Peter

  9. #9

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    I spent a good hour or so reading through the 15 pages on ZFI...wish I hadn't.

    Thank you for your teachings Taigu & Jundo. Thank you for speaking your opinions. Thank you for your amazing patience.

    I was surprised at the discussion to be honest. Not much metta to be found. I understand that there is a lot of background on this forum between the posters and so I suppose that lends to the tone, but I'm not sure I'd have the willingness to continue there after reading through the forum.

    Much metta to all those posting on ZFI and once again, deep bows to my sangha, truly a privilege to practice with you all.

    Gassho,

    Shawn

  10. #10

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA
    I am very new to Treeleaf and have benefited from the support of Jundo, Taigu, and other members as I've sought footing along the Zen path. I've also been participating and reading over at ZFI, and followed the Knocking Down Monastery Walls discussion there, chiming in once. Though I continually caution myself to resist my propensity to over-thinking, I must admit that found much of the exchange confusing.
    Hi Chris,

    It could be. I thought the issues being raised by Taigu and myself were bringing more rancor and personal attack than any interest in discussing the issues. I felt that folks seemed to be hopping onto "attacking the messengers" instead of discussing the message. Alas, such is the internet ... even the Buddhist internet. My impression could be wrong, and I fell into a "hot under the collar" posting once too.

    In any event, in this place, we will continue to offer to those who may benefit an "out in the world" opportunity to train for those flowers for whom it may be the right soil. I know Taigu and I both salute and support those who may feel called to a different path.

    Gassho, Jundo

  11. #11

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Thank you for your response. I'm not sure that you answered my questions per se, but sometimes not answering questions provides its own answer.

    Gassho.

  12. #12

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA
    Thank you for your response. I'm not sure that you answered my questions per se, but sometimes not answering questions provides its own answer.

    Gassho.
    Hi Chris,

    Sorry, I thought I did. Let me try again more specifically, or please ask again if I missed something.

    You commented:

    I do not understand the purpose of stating that someone else is defensive, offended, or affronted; possessing any given attitude or tendency
    I honestly feel that several key folks' responses there were generally defensive and offended in tone to Taigu and my proposals that monasteries need to be "opened up" or fully done away with (for some people), and also that the power structures in monasteries (have you ever read any Stuart Lachs, for example? ... I will be commenting more on him over there in the coming days) contributes to some sometimes unhealthy, disfunctional, even "cult-like" behavior in some Buddhist groups. I thought that folks were, via the content and tone of their words, offended and affronted by these notions, and attacking the messengers instead of focusing on the message.

    I also understand your perspective that, from a "conflicts resolution" point of view, we should not focus on peoples' motivations, only on the content of the their speech and the reasons behind it. I agree. But I still feel that "defensive, offended, affronted" is accurate.

    You also said ...

    I also do not understand the method of pedagogy (or whatever the appropriate term would be) used in this instance. What are the goals and methods of this teaching, and to whom is it aimed?

    I also do not understand how this approach is an extension of the practices of compassion, understanding, and metta. If it is, how so? If it is not -- if, for example, this approach is more akin to a katsu -- then how so?
    Well, I think we are making a small proclamation of sorts to some corners of the Buddhist world that, in our limited view (and for our own Sangha and others that may follow suit), now is the time for some of us to abandon the divisions of priest vs. lay (just as the traditional divisions of male priest vs. female priest have been abandoned in most ... not all ... Sangha in the West), and also to "knock down the monasteries" in a figurative sense for some people. Any such "declaration" is always going to sound a bit bombastic, but needs to be said. I don't know if it is a "teaching" so much as a statement and explanation of the reasons.

    Believe it or not, that is a pretty big deal in the Buddhist world, where folks spend tremendous amounts of time arguing about whose Precepts and Ordination methods are more "Kosher". Personally, I do not believe so much in such debates ... which is why our "proclamation" is really an "anti-proclamation" against all such nonsense.

    And last ...

    One last question: the sit-a-long title references "dangers." What are these dangers? To whom?
    Just what my mother said, and the old adage that "it's dangerous to talk religion or politics in mixed company."

    I still don't know if I addressed your questions, but I am trying.

    Gassho, Jundo

    __________________________________________________ ___________

    PS - Someone asked me to point out the comment which I am not proud of because I "lost my cool". It was triggered, I feel, when Rev. Nonin, otherwise a long time friend whose calligraphy hangs in our Zendo, said something to Taigu and me that I felt was very unfair. Taigu said ...

    Just a quick word about my background .I started sitting when I was 13 because a very early grasp of the fleeting and painful nature of things. I was ordained at 18 and from then did numerous retreats and spend many months in monastery-like settings. The AZI at the time (and still now) had a particular strong flavour: kyosaku, rensaku, strong discipline and a lot of military aspects ( including the booze at times). My early time with Western teachers and some Japanese teachers made it pretty clear that this was a tough path. The good thing about the Deshimaru lineage at the time( not anymore ) is that they did not try to copy the Japanese clergy but following Sawaki Kodo 's wish were busy bringing Zen into the world.
    and I wrote this about my background ...

    I have not formed my opinions based on hearsay, but upon 30 years on the Zen road, 25 years in Japan, 10 years hanging around Sojiji and Zen priests ... and seeing with my own eyes.

    ...

    I have completed several months of cumulative, formal Sesshin time at Japanese Soto Zen monasteries of the likes of Sojiji Head Temple, Eiheiji-Betsuen, Zuigakuin and (from about 2003 with Nishijima, although he ran a more relaxed Sesshin than those other places) at the Tokei-in in Japan, garnered over the 1980's, 90's and 00's. That, I would assume, means that I have more formal Sesshin time in Japanese monasteries than perhaps 90% of Soto Zen priests and other practitioners in the west....
    ... which Nonin discounted as ...

    I find that those who belittle monastic practice and who set themselves up as experts in what it's about are usually those who've never done it themselves and are, therefore, unreliable as authorities. ...

    ...

    Taigu,

    "Monastery-like" training is not monastery training.

    Jundo,

    By your own admission, you have never done any extended monastery training. A couple of days here and there doesn't get it.

    Both of you are down-playing and belittling forms of practice that you have never done. You have formed your opinions from hearsay.
    He said that kind of thing a few times, and I tried to deflect nicely. Finally, I responded that I did not want to get into a competition about "whose Kyosaku was bigger" even if his repeating a few times the phrase "a couple of days here and there" is rather ridiculous, but in doing so I became much too sarcastic and "Brooklyn" myself in responding. It must have been that episode of "Jersey Shore" I saw last week ...

    Hi Nonin,

    The following is said with deep respect (as my Italian friend says in New Jersey) :wink: ...

    I gotta love the meat eating, booze drinking, fornicating (at least, once in a awhile ), middle class, "flew over on a jet and took a taxi to the monastery" Zen priests like you who are expert in the "real monastic experience" because they spent a couple of years pretending in their youth that they were "a monk like in Dogen's time" cause they got up at 4am. At least you came to Japan for a couple of years to see what Japan is like, though I imagine you do not speak the language well and had to have most things translated for you during that time. It is, perhaps, much more authentic than the Americans pretending to be ancient Japanese in 21st century Minnesota and California. But how long did you practice at Eiheiji, Nonin, and how long would you have lasted there at a "hard" monastery where the "real" Japanese priests train ... and not one of those places that make special arrangements for foreigners?

    But you are absolutely right, 30 years ... Taigu and I would have no information on what's what, would know nothing about the state of Zen in Japan and the West. Heck, we both had our eyes closed the whole time. Months of cumulative Sesshin in Japan is less authentic than all those priests back in Minnesota pretending that their experience is "just what Dogen described" because they are eating with chopsticks, have memorized phonetically the Sho Sai Myo Kichijo Dharani, and bow before they use the toilet.

    Come on!
    The reference to "meat eating, beer drinking, fornicating" is Zen priest "inside baseball talk" for the debate on "meat eating and fornicating" priests that happened during the allowing of priestly marriage in Japan 150 years ago.

    I later apologized for the tone and sarcasm, but not so much for the points I was trying to make about debates regarding whose practice is more "real".

  13. #13

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    I don't yet know the manner by which I can communicate deeper gratitude than "gassho," Jundo, so "Gassho!" will have to suffice. You've answered my questions directly and I'm very appreciative.

    Have a wonderful Monday, Jundo.

  14. #14

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    It's too bad the arrow misses it's mark with some people who ignore the whole picture only to focus on certain pieces of it. I imagine it would be like Roger Ebert rating films after seeing only the trailers!
    I have always found the teachings here very inspirational and often times empowering!

    Gassho,
    John

  15. #15

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Granted, I am new to Zen but not to Buddhism and I totally agree with you, Jundo-san.

    Things change and the world evolves. As we develop more ways to communicate and new techs, we must use them to our advantage and adapt to how things are.

    If Zen needs a new and refreshed way to train monks, so be it. If one can develop and learn Zen via the Internet, so be it.

    At the end of the day the Zen movement and culture gets the benefits of thinking outside of the box and making people live and practice in different cultures.

    I really dig this pragmatic point of view. Thank you Jundo and Taigu.

    Deep, deep bows.

  16. #16

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Thank you, Chris, for asking those questions.

    And thank you, Jundo, for answering them.

    Gassho

    Jennifer

  17. #17
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Mar 2009
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    Sarnia, Ontario Canada
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    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Thank you Jundo-oso, for your candor and sincerity but, please don't be spreading that rumor about Santa Claus :shock: because his spirit lives on in my world as does Buddha/Shakamuni, Avalokitesvara/Kannon , Bodidharma, Maitreya, Jizo and all those other guys/girls 8) . And, as for the Easter Bunny, he/she died last week. Living in the yard next to mine, he was attacked by a raccoon and did not survive. However, He/she still lives on in memory

  18. #18

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Indeed Jundo,
    We should not forget that the Zen we have today that people defend so vehemently came about through the efforts of earlier Zen radicals like Rinzai and Dogen. Why should we now stop challenging, is Zen not as impermanent as the rest of the universe (not really two seperate things).

  19. #19

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Quote Originally Posted by Onshin
    Indeed Jundo,
    We should not forget that the Zen we have today that people defend so vehemently came about through the efforts of earlier Zen radicals like Rinzai and Dogen. Why should we now stop challenging, is Zen not as impermanent as the rest of the universe (not really two seperate things).

    Hello Onshin,

    That all depends on the point of view, no?

    A monk asked Daizui,
    "When the great kalpa fire bursts out, the whole universe [2] will be
    destroyed. I wonder if IT will also be destroyed or not."
    Daizui said,
    "Destroyed."
    The monk said,
    "If so, will IT be gone with the other [3]?"
    Daizui said,
    "Gone with the other."

    A monk asked Ryusai,
    "When the great kalpa fire bursts out, the whole universe will be
    destroyed. I wonder if IT will also be destroyed or not."
    Ryusai said,
    "Not destroyed."
    The monk said,
    "Why is it not destroyed?"
    Ryusai said,
    "Because it is the same as the whole universe."
    Source
    Metta and Gassho,

    Saijun

  20. #20

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Well quoted Saijun, many bows _/_

  21. #21

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Thank you for that post. It was refreshing

    Gassho,

    Risho

  22. #22

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    I couldn't help but picture a pissed-off Jundo in full Zen regalia, looking in the mirror.. "you talkin' to ME?! I don't see any other monks around here so you MUST be talking to ME!"

    Heh... thanks for sharing and for further answering Chris's questions.

    Gassho,
    Matt

  23. #23

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Matt wrote:
    I couldn't help but picture a pissed-off Jundo in full Zen regalia, looking in the mirror.. "you talkin' to ME?! I don't see any other monks around here so you MUST be talking to ME!"
    :lol:

  24. #24
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    I love talking about politics and religion in mixed company, as I occasionally run across a totally new way of thinking about things. Sometimes the discussion becomes heated, but that doesn't make it bad. Furthermore, the discussion on ZFI was informative, disheartening, and sparkling all at the same time.

  25. #25

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse
    I love talking about politics and religion in mixed company, .
    Why does that not surprise me! :mrgreen:

  26. #26

    Re: SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: The Dangers of Talkin' Religion

    Thank you Jundo for having the courage to offer up your opinion. Living in the states, it seems sometimes that if you disagree, you better be ready for an argument rather then a discussion.



    Gassho,
    Dave

  27. #27
    Thank you Jundo

    Gassho
    raindrop
    sat today

  28. #28
    Thank You Jundo

    Gassho
    Theophan
    Sat Today

  29. #29

  30. #30
    Thank you for this, Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Sergey
    sat-today

  31. #31
    Thank you Jundo. I personally love the simplicity (and learnedness) of your teachings as I do Joko Beck's 'Simple Mind' philosophy. As a beginner I find passionate discussion refreshing......and fun. As for offending others I'm also fond of Eleanor Roosevelt's rather Buddhist-like observation that ' no-one can make you feel inferior without your consent' (or something like that!).
    Gassho
    Cathy
    Sat today

  32. #32
    Thank you, Jundo.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    SatToday

  33. #33
    It's not just religion, it's parenting also. Always a topic I tread very lightly upon. Just the other day on facebook, a (now former) facebook friend posted that she's sick of kids being brats and parents need to discipline their kids more. Someone commented and started calling kids who behave a certain way spoiled brats. I posted, very nicely I might add, to please not assume because there can be more going on than meets the eye. I gave the example of my son and how he used to throw the worst tantrums in public, and now he's older and a great kid. However, all the guy heard was "please don't assume" and got very defensive towards me. I left the conversation, and this made him more angry at me and told me it's a shame I won't listen to his educated opinion. OOyy, thank goodness for delete buttons on facebook. I rarely open my mouth with my opinions and this is why.

    You are so right, Jundo. People will only hear what they want to hear. Thank you for your openness and honesty here.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  34. #34
    Thank you for your insight Jundo. I recently had the opportunity to discuss my Buddhist practice with my father (a devout Christian). I have avoided this conversation for years because I felt ashamed to admit to my father that I no longer shared his beliefs or religious affiliations. After all these years, what gave me the strength to speak to my father honestly about my religious views was a perspective I have tried to cultivate in my own mind: I do not speak about religion with any intentions of winning the conversation. I accept what I believe, but that does not require (in my mind) the rejection of someone else's beliefs for them. It's like accepting that my favorite color is black, and my son's favorite color is red. My perspective does not require validation through conformity of those I share it with. I believe this is similar to what you have written about the monastic vs. layman paths and discussions of religion.
    Thank you.
    Lou
    (I sat today)


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    thank you
    -Lou Sat Today

  35. #35
    I just came across this thread today. It has me thinking about many things.

    This week we are taking about Case #60, and I commented how, to me, this koan spoke about the person of no rank. Jundo often mentions that entering the priesthood is a step DOWN, not a step up. I can easily see how monastics could come to a feeling that they are the "real" buddhists. I admit I personally take issue with this perspective; not because I feel like they are not serious practitioners, but more perhaps because they feel like this sets them, in their minds ABOVE. ( though I am not saying all do feel this way) I also find myself inherently skeptical of monastic practice that is not self sufficient and depends on donations of lay practitioners, again separation of practitioners in a type of hierarchical pecking order. Can we not find enlightenment chopping wood and carrying water? Are the monastics going to the feast on Mt Tai or laying down?

    Gassho
    #Sat Today

    Grateful for your practice

  36. #36
    Thank you Jundo.
    for this Talk I think that when one has a Opinion its just
    that a opinion to some degree i feel some get angry or
    offended because they see some truth ? I don't know
    for sure its just something i think about from time to time

    Gassho
    Cyd
    Sat2day

  37. #37
    This is unfolding in my life right now, but I'm the offended, affronted one. I tried to have a conversation with someone very dear to me about Buddhism, and it got emotional pretty quickly. I could see she had some misconceptions (and some accurate criticisms).

    I've had to stop and look deeply at my reaction. Why do I feel like I need to defend? Why do I feel like I need to change her mind? Is engaging in this and trying to convince her to see things my way going to help anybody?

    Like Mr. Lou said above, I have to let go of my ideas of winning the conversation. My attachment to being right is going to keep causing suffering for everyone involved, so I just need to let it go.

    I've been letting it go about 300 times a day. It's sticky.

    Grasshoppers,
    Dudley
    #sat

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by dudleyf View Post

    Why do I feel like I need to defend? Why do I feel like I need to change her mind? Is engaging in this and trying to convince her to see things my way going to help anybody?
    Why do I feel like I need to defend? Why do I feel like I need to change her mind?

    ---- Ego does not want to let go of itself (sounds funny, doesn't it?) for fear of disappearing. Delusional thinking.

    Is engaging in this and trying to convince her to see things my way going to help anybody?

    --- Maybe. If you are doing it for her, yes. If you are doing it for yourself, no. Sounds like your Ego is trying to get stronger if you ask me.

    Complicated. Complicated.

    My 2 cents.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_
    "The Great Way is not difficult. It only excludes picking and choosing. Once you stop loving and hating, It will enlighten itself." - Xin Xin Ming

  39. #39
    You're more right than you know, Jishin, thanks

    Grasshoppers,
    Dudley (sat today)

  40. #40
    Just listened to this and I appreciate it. I have to bite my tongue a lot now that I am the family "heretic/apostate" for no longer believing in the "one true religion". I have never been one to push my ideas on others but I am constantly on the receiving end such behaviors these days. Being able to let go has been hugely helpful in my mental health being the one that is different in a homogeneous religious group. It's kind of ironic there is so much discussion of processes and not outcomes sometimes. I think we lose sight of the target due to obsession with the tools supposed to help us get there. I don't know anything about Monasteries and have not been practicing but a few years so my opinion is to be taken as such but I greatly appreciate what I perceive as Jundo's focus on the principles as opposed to the traditions. I think something that is accessible to everyone has a much greater chance of improving the world/reducing suffering than one that is only accomplished by a few. Just my 2 cents. Thanks again for all the wisdom Jundo!

    Gassho,
    Paul
    Sat today
    Paul

    Gassho,
    sat today

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