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Thread: So Dogen was wrong...

  1. #1
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    So Dogen was wrong...

    http://zennist.typepad.com/zenfiles/201 ... stake.html

    "For anyone who has bothered to read even a tenth of the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, Dogenís Buddhism is something quite different from Gautamaís."

    To be honest, even I had noticed that there was a difference...

  2. #2

    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    Hi Kirk,

    The "Zennist" is a fellow also known as "Zenmar" (and some other names around the net) who bills himself as teaching something called "Mystical Zen" and who runs a website called "DarkZen" that has a particular reputation and take on things. Very smart and well read fellow, but he is pushing his own little sect that he created ...

    Zenmar claims that all modern schools of Zen are inferior and incomplete at best and over the centuries have been corrupted. He claims to have discovered the "true" zen teachings and those are mystical in nature. The Zen practice according to him must be directed toward experiencing the supernatural light of Buddha. Thus Mystical or Dark Zen. You must be transformed, all trace of will submerged into this experience. All this talk of Everyday Mind or Buddha Nature in us or Clear Mind is nonsense to him. Buddha Nature is an actual, supernatural force existing out there (thus "mystical") that can be tapped into if you reject this world.

    He attracted a few disciples and a lot of rejection for such an obvious rewriting of basic Zen tenets. His online disciples started calling him Master Zenmar, and his website continues. According to his postings back then, he was a monk for a while but gave it up due to being treated badly by the other monks. Since he rejects the entire Transmission of Dharma tradition of existing Zen schools, this self-styled elevation to the title of Master and starting his own school of Zen Buddhism doesn't bother him or his followers.

    What he teaches is not a type of, variation of, or school of Buddhism. It is a rejection of Buddhism as it is currently practiced by the Sangha and an attempt to replace centuries of enlightened teaching with his own ideas.
    Here is Zenmar's description of his "Mystical Zen" ...

    Dark Zen: Our basis, if you wish to call it that, is Mindís luminous originative power which can also be characterized as an intelligible light. Its other name is Buddha who is a ďlight-maker.Ē

    ...

    Question: Can you describe this so-called 'dark principle' of which you speak?

    Dark Zen: It's an intractable subject, I must say. If I describe it by saying that all constructed things flow from this dark principle while it, itself, remains unconstruced and unmoved, what can such words really explain? At this stage it is a far off goal, like some great mountain seen in the distance. You, as a person, must still make the journey on your own.
    ..

    Question: Yes, I tend to agree with you. But back to the dark principle. Could you at least sketch it out?

    Dark Zen: I will try although I am hesitant to say too much about it. I can't promise you miracles! [laughing] First of all, each of us has access to this dark principle. All of us can tap into it. This is a given. However, owing to our habit of following appearances, we have lost the ability to communicate with it even though it is coexistent with us. Now, in the case of the Buddha, with regard to the dark principle, when he reached complete enlightenment he entered into what might be called primordial light. But more than just mere light, it is sheer productive power, or the same, sheer potentiality. Naturally, it is free and independent of phenomena although without it, phenomena would not be. With that I can't say much more.

    http://www.darkzen.org/basis_of_darkzen.htmll

    Not to say that Dogen was infallible, but that fellow has his shotgun out for anything Soto Zen ...

    Gassho, J

  3. #3

    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    darkzen was one of the first websites I found back in the day. it was a little much for me even then.

  4. #4

    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    Hello,

    I remember stumbling over Zenmar's website back in 2003, when my meditation practise began to turn into Zen practise. He does raise a lot of interesting points once in a while, however this sense of his being on a mission to set everyone straight feels very unconfortable to me, so I tend to stay away. After I had invested a a bit of time into googling and researching Zenmar...well, I for one was put off even more... My advice would be to not waste too much time on his site. Some of his questions are really good and intriguing, but if truth be told his answers feel tainted to me, tainted by a huge desire to be the one self-righteous custodian of the one and only truth.


    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen

  5. #5
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    Thanks for the context. I didn't look too far on his site.

    Kind of Aleister Crowley meets Zen...?

  6. #6

    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    Just to add my thoughts...When we look carefully we will find things in Dogen that will seem different from the historical Buddha. When we look at Tibetan, or Mahayana in general we will find differences. But this is because, not that the teachings have gone astray, but the teachings are responding to the needs of the people. Buddha's way of teaching was not a engrave in stone way, he was responding to the needs of the students who approached him, which is why even in the Buddha's teachings one will find contradictions. Not because the Buddha was confused, but because different students need different methods.

    Dogen was also responding to his time. All the great master were simply teaching in a way that was a response to their time.

    If a teaching works for you then one should take it up, if it doesn't one should drop. But to do this one must see for themselves...

    Just some thoughts....

  7. #7

    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    This only confirms my suspicion that Zen Masters are really Jedi. :shock:
    I'll stick to ol' Ben Kanobi, seductive as the dark side may be.

  8. #8

    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    I think this type of critique could be useful. It stirs things up, makes one to question the "obvious", like the notion that all Dogen's writings are perfect and beyond critique. In the history of Buddhism there's been so much literature, even the "original" (Pali canon) Buddha's teachings may seem conflicting at times and should be take in the context of the time and the place when it was compiled.

    I really like what John Daido Loori Roshi was saying very often in his talks. It goes something lke this: "All the sutras and all the great works of the masters of the past are just pointers to the realization experience of somebody else, like a finger pointing at the moon. One must use them as tools and strive to get his/her own realization and direct experience of the reality."

  9. #9

    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    Seiryu, your posts always amaze me. You are wise beyond your years. You said what I had planned to say but so much better, which was:

    "Dogenís Buddhism is something quite different from Gautamaís" -- don't we already know that? Everyone's Buddhism is different. It is not finite, it is not dogmatic. It is not even real!

    Gassho to you Seiryu, I always look forward to your posts.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    Dark Zen sounds like Light-Working with Buddhist terms, not a new Buddhist tradition. ("new tradition :roll: ) Light-Workers borrow from practically every religion.

  11. #11

    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    Indeed Seiryu, Dogen's teaching is very much rooted in an imaginary, a space made of dreams, cultural and social aspects and all the rest of it. It just takes very simple arrogant minds to not see that every time and every teacher generates a specific and quite original expression of the Dharma and yet, this Dharma remains universal. Having a look at this article, I have never red something so shortsighed and to put it bluntly as an ex scholar, just so poor. It also raises another nice issue, the thirst for a pure teaching, an original something that drives a lot of blind believers to throw toys, stones, planes and more in the face of innocent victims. One of the greatest dangers in this century is this so called quest for the real original thing, Purity. Ideological drunkness.
    gassho


    Taigu

  12. #12

    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    If you meet Buddha, kill Buddha. If you meet Dogen, kill Dogen. If you meet... well, we all clearly get that basic Zen wisdom!

    That having been said, allow me to quote, very contradictorily, Dogen from Fukanzazengi: "Put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases & learn to take the backward step." Fingers pointing at the moon indeed!

    I wanted to +1 this last thought of Taigu's:

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    One of the greatest dangers in this century is this so called quest for the real original thing, Purity. Ideological drunkness.
    All too often, when someone couldn't kill their pure Buddha (or God or marriage or race or...), many others have suffered or died....

  13. #13

    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisA
    That having been said, allow me to quote, very contradictorily, Dogen from Fukanzazengi: "Put aside the intellectual practice of investigating words and chasing phrases & learn to take the backward step." Fingers pointing at the moon indeed!
    Honestly, I don't see anything contradictory about this statement. To me to go backward means to see what preceds the "words and phrases", to see what they represent i.e. the reality itself. Or may be I misunderstood what you meant by contradiction

  14. #14

    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    I meant not that the quotation was contradictory, but that my gesture of saying "kill Dogen" and then quoting him was. (Attempt at humor! ops

  15. #15

    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    http://zennist.typepad.com/zenfiles/2011/09/dogens-category-mistake.html

    "For anyone who has bothered to read even a tenth of the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra, Dogenís Buddhism is something quite different from Gautamaís."
    Bit of an odd claim to make because the Mahaparinirvana Sutra itself could be described as "quite different from Gautama". Which is not to disparage it -- just seems the attack on Dogen is resting on a shaky premise.

  16. #16
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    One of the greatest dangers in this century is this so called quest for the real original thing, Purity. Ideological drunkness.
    It's not specific to this century. The quest for the original has been around for a very long time. It stems from the mistaken belief that things were better in the "good old days," before they got changed by time. Thing is, if you could find that original, it would be wrong for this time. Each era has adapted perennial knowledge to its time.

  17. #17

    Re: So Dogen was wrong...

    Sure kirkmc and it has today a particular relevance.

    gassho


    Taigu

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