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Thread: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

  1. #1

    TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Dear Everyone,

    Master Dogen tells us that his trip to China took a month on a leaky boat, plagued by sickness and storm ...




    Me ... I'll be flying economy on a 777 from Tokyo to Guangzhou, probably plagued by nothing more than tight leg room and a bad movie. :roll:

    On Monday, December 5th, after sitting our Treeleaf 'Rohatsu' Retreat, I will be heading off to China. My wife and son will follow the next week. Our main objective is to fetch our new daughter, age 1 ... a girl who our family has been waiting for about 5 years and thought sometimes would never come ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/sit-a-long/with ... child.html

    Yeah!

    During the first week, though, I will be on pilgrimage to some famous Zen sites ... and I hope to take you all along with me as much as the internet will allow. I just received word (thanks to Andy Ferguson ... more about him later) that I will be able to stay and sit some Zazen for a day or two in the guest quarters of NANHUA CHAN-SI, the temple where the 6th Patriarch (Master Hui-Neng, of the Platform/Altar Sutra) is said to have spend most of his later life and died ...

    http://www.china.org.cn/english/2003/Jan/52722.htm

    ... and still home to what is reported to be his mummified remains, sitting Zazen through the centuries ...



    I will also visit other temples associated with Masters Hui-neng, Yummen and 'ol Bodhidharma ... such as:

    Guangxiao Temple, said visited by Bodhidharma and where Master Hui-neng was Ordained (but only many many years after becoming the '6th Patriarch' as a lay person) ... It is also the place where the famous Hui-neng Koan is said to have taken place .. not the flag nor the wind, but the mind that is moving ...

    Hualin Temple, said to have been built my Master Bodhidharma when he first set foot in China ...

    ... and more!

    Then, my wife, son and I will be on to a two week adventure of meeting our new daughter in neighboring Guangxi Provence, getting settled and acquainted ... and working through mountains of remaining red tape and Chinese/America/Japanese government procedures for the adoption! I hope to take my Treeleaf family along on that adventure too! Hopefully, if all goes as it is expected, we will all be back in Japan by December 24th, in time to celebrate the New Year as a family!

    Internet access will be sporadic, and I will stay away from the computer when on Retreat. Also, Youtube and Justin.tv may be blocked in China. However, I intend to post as and when I can, blog in this thread most days, post photos ... and (if some alternative to Youtube) video too.

    Please get your bags packed to come along! My wife and I met as exchange students in Beijing back in the 80's (she from Japan, me from America), and so it is a kind of turn of the circle for us. Mina still speaks good Chinese, but mine is mangled and rusty as an old bucket. What's more, they speak Cantonese down there, and not Mandarin ... but we will get by!

    Also, thanks to Shohei, Mongen and Fugen, our SATURDAY ZAZENKAI's will continue during my travels ... so be there and sit square!

    Also remember these words of Dogen, from the Fukanzazengi ...

    In our world and others, in both India and China, all equally hold the buddha-seal. While each lineage expresses its own style, they are all simply devoted to sitting, totally sitting in resolute stability. Although they say that there are ten thousand distinctions and a thousand variations, they just wholeheartedly engage the way in zazen. Why leave behind the seat in your own home to wander in vain through the dusty realms of other lands? If you make one misstep you stumble past what is directly in front of you.

    Gassho, Jundo

  2. #2

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Buen Viaje!!!!

    A safe trip to you and your family. We will all be there with you all.

    take care

    Gassho

    Undo

    I now have this on brain loupe so thought it only fair to share :twisted:
    [youtube] [/youtube]

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    This is so exciting to hear! I can't wait to see pictures of your little girl. I am sure she is beautiful. One-year olds are super cute and full of love, energy and vitality. They just want our love, affection and security. Very precious indeed. After 5 years, you and Mina must bouncing off the walls for the upcoming day to finally hold her in your arms. Makes me teary-eyed just thinking about it and I can't imagine how you guys feel. Is Leon excited too?

    Thanks for wanting to take us along with you on the trip to China.

    Thanks,
    Jodi

  4. #4

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Quote Originally Posted by jodi_h
    Makes me teary-eyed just thinking about it and I can't imagine how you guys feel. Is Leon excited too?

    Thanks for wanting to take us along with you on the trip to China.
    Hi Jodi,

    Thank you.

    Leon has been asking for years when his sister "Sada" would get here ... and we have had to make excuses for years to him, and also leave room for the possibility of her never coming (I remember telling him that 'life' or 'God' is like Santa Clause, and sometimes gives you what you want ... and sometimes not ... and so we have to be patient and accept each present just as it is and play with what we have ... my attempt at Zen teachings for an 8 year old! :wink: ). Now, he treats it like she is already here. When we showed him the photos, he said "Yeah, that's her". He is making her room ready, getting some toys ready for her too.

    We are very happy that he can come with us on this trip thanks to cooperative teachers in his school who prepared lessons for him to take with him.

    Gassho, J

  5. #5
    Senior Member Heisoku's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Best wishes for your family adventure Jundo. Happy travels.

  6. #6

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    It sounds like a wonderful trip and I am sure all will go great! It is super exciting that you will finally get to bring your daughter home! I can't wait to see video and pictures of the little girl and everything else you will be doing.

    -Corey W

  7. #7

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Good luck with your trip Jundo and looking forward to visiting China with you!

  8. #8

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Sounds like a wonderful new chapter for your family. Smooth sailing sensei!

    G

    S

    Sent from my I897 using Tapatalk

  9. #9

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    keep it safe
    an experience-full pilgrimage and visits in China
    a good luck with the adoption

    i cannot wait for pictures

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Jundo,

    I am so happy for you, Mina and Leon. I've only been a year on Treeleaf, but that's enough to know what you guys have been through to have Sada home with you and knowing that you will finally have her in your arms.

    Thank you for sharing all this with us.

    Please have a safe trip, learn a lot and get back home with your baby girl.

    We will sit with you all the time.

    Deep, deep gassho.

  11. #11

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Exciting!!
    So happy for you and your now growing family

    Safe travels!!!

    deep bows
    Shohei

  12. #12

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    That is awesome! Have a fun trip!

  13. #13

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Hi Jundo, Mina and Leon
    Such a long wait…. We will be thinking of you guys for the next weeks till Sada is home.
    Take care, be safe and see you back at Treeleaf soon.

    Jim

  14. #14

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    I'm so happy for you and your (growing ) family!

    Have a fun and safe trip.

    gassho
    Greg

  15. #15
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Exciting! Family is the most glorious thing in the world
    Glad to hear that everything is set to come together wonderfully! Looking forward to hearing your reports from China.

    Gassho,
    John

  16. #16
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Jundo,

    Such a long time coming....I'm glad we'll be along for the ride.

    Best luck to you and the family on your trip and I'll be looking forward to a safe return to Tsukuba!

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  17. #17

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Great news! I'm very pleased for you.

    Hope the trip goes well . . . I look forward to seeing around Treeleaf.

    Gassho,
    Eika

  18. #18

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Good luck and safe travels!

    Gassho,

    Matt

  19. #19
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Bon Voyage! Both on your trip to China and your being a father again.
    I am very happy for you and your (growing) family. I know it means a lot to you.

  20. #20
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Thank you for sharing your excitement and this voyage with us! I am very happy for you and your family.

    Looking forward to your reportage - Be well and safe travels!!

    Gassho,
    Yugen

  21. #21

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Can't wait to meet your daughter. How exciting! Have a safe trip. -gassho Andrea

  22. #22
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Have a safe trip! Congratulations and thank you got inviting us along!

    Ron

  23. #23

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Very exciting news on all fronts! Can't wait to hear about the adoption process and of course all the sightseeing adventures.

    Safe travels!

  24. #24

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Jundo,

    What wonderful news! I wish you safe travels full of adventure and smiles. You will all be in my thoughts, my heart and my metta. Can't wait to see beautiful Sada when you bring her home.

    love,
    Kelly/Jinmei

  25. #25

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Jundo,
    Your sit-a-long "The Absent Child" was very moving, I felt sadness for you.
    I sincerely hope your trip goes safely and smoothly and that your daughter brings much happiness to your family, she is a lucky girl to have you as a parent.
    I'm looking froward to news of your journey.
    Gassho
    Gary

  26. #26

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    At last! You must be thrilled, (while at the same time taking totally in you r stride like a good Buddhist) :twisted:

    Happy travels and looking forward to sharing it with you.

  27. #27
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    I am so very happy for you and you family. May your travelling be safe.

    Also have a wonderful pilgrimage and say "Hi" to Patriarch Hui-Neng for me as he is in the Patrilineal ancestry of the Chan Order I received ordination through.

    Gassho,

    Seishin

  28. #28

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Quote Originally Posted by Kyrillos
    I am so very happy for you and you family. May your travelling be safe.

    Also have a wonderful pilgrimage and say "Hi" to Patriarch Hui-Neng for me as he is in the Patrilineal ancestry of the Chan Order I received ordination through.

    Gassho,

    Seishin
    Thank you, Kyrillos.

    Actually Daddy Hui-Neng is in all our Chan Lineages. We will be chanting his name when we recite the List of Ancestors during our Rohatsu Retreat tomorrow.

    Gassho, Jundo

  29. #29

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    At last! I'm very happy!
    Congratulations!

    My own son is a miracle. He came into this world with no pulse and no breathing, but is now strong as a wild ox and as hard to tame! For nearly two years now he has been a most wonderful teacher. It is amazing to see a child experience the world in their own uncomplicated way, cry when they need to cry, eat when they need to eat, sleep when they need to sleep, popoo when they need to popoo! Run after a bird and laugh when it flies away. Run some more for the sake of running and then suddenly stop to pick up a flower. They can also test you in more ways than even the cunniest zen master of old, including slapping you in the face or turning a glass of water over your head!

    /Pontus

  30. #30
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Jundo, wishing you well for your travels and for this new adventure of bringing the girl into your family and raising her!

    The one thing I can't get my head around - and I don't mean this in a joking way - is that if you've been waiting for her for 5 years, how come she's only 1 year old? Sorry, you may have explained this at some time, and I know absolutely nothing about adoption procedures. Had there been a girl chosen 5 years ago, and then it didn't work out? Or did you not even get that far then? Most children adopted from China (that I hear of) seem to be very young - what happens to the older orphans?

  31. #31
    Senior Member Hogo's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Very warming news, glad to hear of your new, and overdue addition.
    Safe travels to you and your family.
    Gassho.

  32. #32

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo
    Jundo, wishing you well for your travels and for this new adventure of bringing the girl into your family and raising her!

    one thing I can't get my head around - and I don't mean this in a joking way - is that if you've been waiting for her for 5 years, how come she's only 1 year old? Sorry, you may have explained this at some time, and I know absolutely nothing about adoption procedures. Had there been a girl chosen 5 years ago, and then it didn't work out? Or did you not even get that far then? Most children adopted from China (that I hear of) seem to be very young - what happens to the older orphans?
    Hi Nindo,

    The officials-in-charge do not designate a specific child for each couple until near the end of the adoption process. So, for most years, there was no specific child ... and she was not even born yet.

    Unfortunately, there are so many children ... and the bureaucracies make it so hard.

    I am not sure what happens to the older children, and they are much harder to place. Everyone wants a baby. However, I was surprised to read recently that children raised in orphanages ... if any kind of decent and stable environment ... do surprisingly well in school and later in life. A decent orphanage ... with caretakers and children one is raised with ... may be better than so many disfunctional families these days! :cry:

    Gassho, J

  33. #33

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Best wishes to you, Mina, Leon and baby Sada. Wonderful to hear this is coming to fruition.
    That should make for a great new years card! _()_ Louis

  34. #34

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    TRAVEL DIARY I:

    Hello every-One!

    Just a quick note to say that I have made it to Guangzhou .... with a bit of a head cold, so taking it easy today. Yesterday, there was one last minute, nearly forgotten document for the adoption needed, so my rush to the airport began with a rush to the American Embassy in Tokyo for a last minute notarization! Always one more form! However, got it, and made it to the airport in time for the plane.

    Today, my goal is to get a cell phone and visit Bodhidharma's temple! Bodhidharma did not have a cell phone or a plane, yet he made it from the West and still speaks clearly to all of us! (Ha ha). In the afternoon, I will telephone to the 6th Patriarch's temple to confirm I am coming tomorrow. They are in the mountains about 3 hours from here.

    I am in Communist China, so cannot access Youtube or Justin.tv (or Blogger and many other websites) at all. So, I cannot see how the Retreat ended (it never ends), and thank all who sat sit will sit. Now, onto the Retreat with Taigu in Europe!

    Gassho, Jundo (Ah Choooo ..... )

  35. #35

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Glad to hear you made it safely!

    Fear not, the 2nd day of Rohatsu went off without a hitch. _/_

    Looking forward to more updates. By the way, forgive my ignorance of Chinese culture, but given that it's a communist country, why does the government allow monasteries/Buddhist temples to operate?

    Safe travels!

  36. #36
    Senior Member Nindo's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    And how come the ancestor (fortunately!) survived the cultural revolution?
    Edit: I mean the mummy ... since he was dead already :shock:

  37. #37

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Gassho, Jundo (Ah Choooo ..... )
    KAZOONTITE 8)

    take care

    gassho
    Greg

  38. #38

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    ?? (yì b?i suì)!

    Glad to hear you made it OK!

    G

    S

    Sent from my SGH-I897 using Tapatalk

  39. #39
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Glad you made it so far!

    Thank you for the updates, Jundo Sensei

  40. #40

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Quote Originally Posted by Nindo
    And how come the ancestor (fortunately!) survived the cultural revolution?
    Edit: I mean the mummy ... since he was dead already :shock:
    Hi Guys,

    The PRC has been more tolerant of religion in the post-Mao days, so long as the religions don't make waves. In fact, they are more tolerant of the Buddhists (not including the Tibetans, for obvious reasons) perhaps than Christians (seen as a nefarious foreign influence ... the Chinese Catholic Church is not allowed to have any connection to Rome) and Taoists (often leaders of peasant revolts in centuries past). In fact, throughout Chinese history, the Buddhists were pretty much a conservative religion, supportive of the rulers. They are not trouble makers overall.

    As to the 6th Patriarch's mummy ... it was much abused during the Cultural Revolution, but apparently survived enough to be restored. Red Pine's lovely China travel diary, Zen Baggage, has the story of how some local Buddhists rescued it from the Red Guards.

    Rev.Huifeng at ZFI posted a link to an article on the subject of Buddhist mummification ...

    Gildow, Douglas and Marcus Bingenheimer. 2002. “Buddhist Mummification in Taiwan: Two Case Studies.” Asia Major. Third Series, Volume 15, Part 2

    http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~dmgildo...onTwoCases.pdf

    also this

    [quote]The Buddhist "mummies" appeared in China during the 4th century and during the 11th century in Japan, with the exception of the corpse of the monk Kukai, founder of Shingon [in Japan], the esoteric school of Buddhism at the 9th century. The monk Kukai (posthumous name Kobo Daishi) is the most famous case. He would have entered in samadhi, at the end of his life, at the Koya mountain in the south of Osaka (Japan) at the beginning of the 9th century. His is the legendary model which the monk-ascetics of the Edo period were to follow from the 12th til19th century whose mummies were found in the North of Japan. The Japanese tradition reports that Kukai, at the time to of his death, announced to his disciples that he was going to enter Samadhi to leave there only at the time of the coming of the future Buddha Maitreya. At the end 49 days (7 times 7), his disciples opened the sarcophagus and noted that he was "as if living sat in meditation"; 70 years later, another eminent monk went up on imperial order to the top of MT Koya to open the mausoleum once again and found the body intact. He left after having cut the hair of Kukai (which had continued to grow) and having changed his clothes. The door of the mausoleum was not reopened except every fifty years by the Archbishop of Koya san to cut the nails and the hair and to change his clothes for him which will then be used to manufacture amulets for the faithful. ...

    The Tetsumonkai saint ascetics of the Chuzen temple, Chûkai of the Dainichibô temple, those of the Kaikoji temple or the 18 others, all chose this self-mummification at the end of their life, to give to the world the merits acquired during the course of their life because the population suffered from epidemics. The monk Chukai began his life of asceticism by offering his left eye to the god-dragon to benefit Tokyo which suffered at the time from an epidemic of pox. His altruistic gesture reproduced that of the future Sakyamuni Buddha which in one his former lives, offered his life to the tiger so that it could have milk in sufficiency to be able to nurse its young. During the feudal times, the epidemics were thought to be the manifestation of demons. It seems that the belief in the continuity of the supernatural capacities of the Saints remains even beyond death, through the relics. There is thus a survival of the Saints beyond death itself. I make a point of specifying that the presence of only one relic is equivalent to the presence of an alive Buddha in flesh and bone! Not only do the relics have all the capacities of the late one, but they connect the world of the living to the invisible world.

    http://members.shaw.ca/shugendo/mummies.html

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-13-2013 at 03:01 AM.

  41. #41

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    TRAVEL DIARY II:

    Today was off to a good start, as I was able to get around town and pick up a cheap disposable cell phone. I was pretty content, as the folks I bought it from did not speak a lick of English, and I had to make my way with incredibly broken Mandarin. The conversation on my part went something like ...

    I want phone. Small money phone. I China 4 weeks, (makes throw away in trash gesture), no want good phone. Bad ugly old phone is okay. I want phone to call Beijing. Oh, cheap phone number contains unlucky number? I okay unlucky cheap number! Can I call Beiing this phone? Yes!? Oh I very happy! Oh happy happy phone!

    It is amazing what one can do with a vocabulary of 20 words! They gave me discount for making them laugh so hard! My only other purchases of the day were a Chinese Inkin and a mallot for our Mokugyo, both Buddhist musical instruments ...

    http://terebess.hu/zen/szoto/hangszersz.html

    Oh, happy happy Inkin!

    Then, I wandered over to Guangxiao temple, said to be have been visited by Bodhidharma, and home to a tree (of the same kind as the 'Bodhi' Tree in India under which Buddha sat for enlightenment) where the 6th ancestor was said to have been Ordained. Next to it is a Pagoda said to contain hairs from the 6th Ancestors head!



    Then, speaking to a kindly monk, I was invited to join into a HUGE ceremony in which monks and lay folks would circumnamulate the temple singing (more than chanting) the name of Amida Buddha! (In China, Chan and Amida Buddhism have been largely mixed all together for centuries.). The ceremony looked something like this ...

    pic_authentic01007.jpg

    Male priests walked in front, then nuns, then male lay folk then women lay folk. I was back with the women lay folk (most Chinese priests don't know where to place Japanese priests .... married and with kids ... and consider them lay people for that reason. No problem by me! Being a barbarian who barged into their ceremony unannounced because of the kind priest, I had no Kesa and no interest in raising the issue, I don't believe in the walls between male-female-lay-ordained anyway, and I think the back of the Buddhist bus is best!!).

    The whole atmosphere of the temple, like most Chinese temples, is devotional to Amida and the other Buddhas (and Kannon) ... as devotional as a Catholic Church toward Jesus and Mary on Sunday. Hundreds of worshiper filled the temple (yes, there seems to be quite a Buddhist revival in China) lighting incense ...



    ...before the Golden Buddha statues.



    Are we making a mistake in the West of stepping away from that devotional aspect of Asian Buddhism?

    Tomorrow, a three hour bus ride to the Temple of the 6th Ancestor, in the mountains north of here. I will be spending a couple of days in their visitors' house.

    Likely no internet there, so I will be out of touch till Friday.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 10-13-2013 at 03:06 AM.

  42. #42
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    [The conversation on my part went something like ...

    I want phone. Small money phone. I China 4 weeks, (makes throw away in trash gesture), no want good phone. Bad ugly old phone is okay. I want phone to call Beijing. Oh, cheap phone number contains unlucky number? I okay unlucky cheap number! Can I call Beiing this phone? Yes!? Oh I very happy! Oh happy happy phone!

    It is amazing what one can do with a vocabulary of 20 words! They gave me discount for making them laugh so hard!
    Oh, that's brilliant! :lol: :lol: :lol:

    Jen

  43. #43
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Hahaha :lol:
    Your Chinese sounds a lot like my Japanese. Or I should say, my happy happy Japanese :wink: :lol:!

    Jundo wrote:
    I don't believe in the walls between male-female-lay-ordained anyway, and I think the back of the Buddhist bus is best!!).
    _/_

  44. #44
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    In response to the purpose of your trip, Jundo, I say:

    "YAY!"

    ...Or, "Happy, happy new baby!"

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    I want phone. Small money phone. I China 4 weeks, (makes throw away in trash gesture), no want good phone. Bad ugly old phone is okay. I want phone to call Beijing. Oh, cheap phone number contains unlucky number? I okay unlucky cheap number! Can I call Beiing this phone? Yes!? Oh I very happy! Oh happy happy phone!
    _/_ :mrgreen:

  45. #45

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Hello Jundo,

    Very nice to hear about your trip! It sounds marvelous, especially considering what will come out of it (with the adoption)!

    I hope it's not too disrespectful to ponder about some of the things you said?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Then, speaking to a kindly monk, I was invited to join into a HUGE ceremony in which monks and lay folks would circumnamulate the temple singing (more than chanting) the name of Amida Buddha! (In China, Chan and Amida Buddhism have been largely mixed all together for centuries.).
    The reason chan methods and pure land methods have been mixed together is because they are just that - methods. They are not separate "schools" as in Japan, even if they can be called schools. It's not as clear cut. When you say "Amida Buddhism" it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking about the Japanese schools, which are definitely not the same as the Chinese practices you see going on there. Well, obviously you know this, but there may be people here not knowing this. So, FWIW.

    Male priests walked in front, then nuns, then male lay folk then women lay folk. I was back with the women lay folk (most Chinese priests don't know where to place Japanese priests .... married and with kids ... and consider them lay people for that reason. No problem by me! Being a barbarian who barged into their ceremony unannounced because of the kind priest, I had no Kesa and no interest in raising the issue, I don't believe in the walls between male-female-lay-ordained anyway, and I think the back of the Buddhist bus is best!!).
    I think this is because married people with kids, like you and me, *are* lay people in Buddhist terminology. Even if you are a teacher, you are still a lay teacher. That has always been my understanding. This is a lay samgha, but that doesn't mean it is worth less. I wouldn't be here if I thought that. Please, correct me if I have misunderstood this entirely!

    It's not just the Chinese that see it this way, by the way, it's the mainstream thought of almost all Buddhist schools (except the Japanese). I am curious though, why would you see this as an issue? Well, obviously, if you *don't* see yourself as a lay teacher, this is an issue, but since I was under the impression that you are ... well, needless to say, I am a bit confused! The reason for my confusion could be stemming from the fact that I'm practicing with both Japanese and Chinese "schools".

    The whole atmosphere of the temple, like most Chinese temples, is devotional to Amida and the other Buddhas (and Kannon) ... as devotional as a Catholic Church toward Jesus and Mary on Sunday. Hundreds of worshiper filled the temple (yes, there seems to be quite a Buddhist revival in China) lighting incense ...

    Are we making a mistake in the West of stepping away from that devotional aspect of Asian Buddhism?
    I do not think "devotional" and "worship" is the right word here. Pure land methods have faith at its core, but it cannot be likened to that of the Catholic church. It is an entirely different concept. Chanting amituofo can be, and is, considered as one meditation method. It's right concentration and right action all in one! As you know, I practice pure land methods as well, so this is an important question for me, and not in any way meant as criticism. I cannot stress this enough.

    But yes, perhaps we are making a mistake in the west by neglecting the other side of the no-sided coin.

    Respectfully,

    anista (who wishes you a pleasant and rewarding trip!)

    _/_

  46. #46

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Thanks for the update! Your cell phone purchasing bit was hilarious

    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    I do not think "devotional" and "worship" is the right word here. Pure land methods have faith at its core, but it cannot be likened to that of the Catholic church. It is an entirely different concept. Chanting amituofo can be, and is, considered as one meditation method. It's right concentration and right action all in one!
    I wonder, is that the case for the laity in China? From what Jundo has described at other times, it sounds to me that laity with a very casual relationship to Buddhism (not unlike "Sunday Christians" here) might very well have a worship-like relationship with Amida/etc, full of devotion, praying for assistance, et al that you would see in the Western traditions. Maybe there are people who truly worship Buddhist figures in a literal sense?

    It seems that the West has adopted Buddhism as something contrary to the Abrahamic worship style of religion and has left behind many of the devotional aspects of practice. I would say this is definitely true of Western Zen in the Japanse style from what I've seen.

    Interesting topic.

  47. #47

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Hi Anista,

    Quote Originally Posted by anista
    The reason chan methods and pure land methods have been mixed together is because they are just that - methods. They are not separate "schools" as in Japan, even if they can be called schools. It's not as clear cut. When you say "Amida Buddhism" it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking about the Japanese schools, which are definitely not the same as the Chinese practices you see going on there. Well, obviously you know this, but there may be people here not knowing this. So, FWIW.
    Different medicines for different folks with different needs. Some may benefit from Zen, Rinzai Way or Soto, from Amida, from Jesus or from some other way. Some may mix and match (although like all medicines, it must be done skillfully or the combination may backfire). Here, we teach Shikantaza.

    Some may practice Karate, some Ai-ki-do, some may create something new called "Kara-kido". Here, we practice Ai-ki-do alone.

    Some may mix Ai-ki-do with Karate and come up with something good. Some may try to mix A-ki-do with Tea Ceremony and may a real mess of both arts! Here we practice Ai-ki-do alone ... or, rather, Shikantaza.

    I think this is because married people with kids, like you and me, *are* lay people in Buddhist terminology. Even if you are a teacher, you are still a lay teacher. That has always been my understanding. This is a lay samgha, but that doesn't mean it is worth less. I wouldn't be here if I thought that. Please, correct me if I have misunderstood this entirely!
    No, we are not ... nor are we not not! Japanese Buddhist clergy do not consider themselves "lay". When attending events on "the continent" in Asia, most will not concede to sit and stand with but the other clergy. In the case of our Sangha, the distinction of male-female-lay-ordained is simply dropped into emptiness. Some are Sentient Beings who function in the role of Clergy much as some Sentient Beings function in the role of bus driver, doctor or mechanic, spouse or parent when trained or functioning in those roles in life. Much as with the distinction between "male" and "female" Zen teachers and practitioners in the West, it is simply forgotten.

    Much as occurred during the Reformation in Europe, changes are happening. The Buddha spoke of four categories for the Sangha, and it is still upheld in much of Continental Asia. The Buddha was simply a man of his times ... and Buddhism the product of conservative, traditional cultures ... and times change. Perhaps the Buddha was just wrong to see the distinction in the first place, as he was wrong about many minor things (though, fortunately for us, not the major things).

    No, we do not ride at the back of the bus which has no front or back ... and even though one passenger plays the role of bus driver.

    I do not think "devotional" and "worship" is the right word here. Pure land methods have faith at its core, but it cannot be likened to that of the Catholic church. It is an entirely different concept. Chanting amituofo can be, and is, considered as one meditation method. It's right concentration and right action all in one! As you know, I practice pure land methods as well, so this is an important question for me, and not in any way meant as criticism. I cannot stress this enough.
    Yes, I hope you find what is to find in your Practice. I would say that many devotional or mystical Christians (like Fr. K) and Jews find much the same as you describe. Also, I would say that most of the folks I see when visiting temples from Bangkok to Tokyo are there to light incense to a Buddha statue for the same reason that an old lady in Boston lights a candle before a statue of Mary. They are not thinking of "meditation method" ... and both chant the Rosary in their own way.

    There are some interpretations of Pure Land Teachings and Chan which served to smoothly work a merging of the two ... into Kara-ki-do. However, most of the folks visiting temples have no interest or even awareness of that ... and are simply there to worship their deity (yes, that is what Buddha is to most of these folks, and that is fine).

    Gassho, J (neither priest nor lay nor man nor woman)

  48. #48

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Has it really been 5 years?

    Good luck, have fun, pass along my congratulations to the family, and safe journey!

  49. #49
    Treeleaf Unsui Kyrillos's Avatar
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    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    This pilgrimage of Jundo's to China has proven itself to be fertile ground for some wonderful consideration and conversation, especially coming out of Ango and Rohatsu, as it has.

    I believe that I have mentioned somehwere here before that I have been called a "Buddhedictine" by my dear cousin. At first I was amused by her amalgamation of these two "ways" into something that described what I looked like to her; but then as time went by, I have begun to embrace the title as something that has validity....for me. So I will not be starting a Buddhedictine School of Zen, al la Kara-kido as Jundo describes; but I recognize that more than one thing can occupy my spiritual ethos at a time, not working at odds but (for me) enhancing my spiritual life. If someone asks, I will tell (no Pentagon rules here !!!) them that both work for me; but I cannot and will not offer my pattern as a sine qua non for anyone else.

    I have been fortunate in that my monastic training has incorporated both the Eastern and Western Christian disciplines and practices; both the Prayer of the Heart of the Greek Elders and Russian Staretzy and the Rule of Benedict based on the Desert Fathers have been at the root of my training and understanding of hte Christian monastic path. The Prayer of the Heart, or Jesus Prayer, developed in my heart and mind the ability to recognize a similar purpose and use of mantra and japa meditation such as the Tibetan "Om Mani Padme Hum" and "Namo Amitufo". Lectio Divina, meditation and comtemplation opened me to the possibility that sitting Shikantanza is not a waste of time, or opening myself to demonic forces, as some of my more conservative Christian brothers and sisters might espouse. But, I have to add this caveat, it fits with me and does not ruin me either as a Christian, a monk or a Buddhist because of the circumsatnces I have lived through for the past 40+ years in my monastic journey, and this is so also because of the wise guidance of my teachers along the way, who recognized that it could work for and in me: people like my Elder Seraphim, Abbot Herman, Jundo and Fajian.

    Putting these things together works ...for me and perhaps some others . For each of us it is a different experience...no cookie-cutters here. Fr. Thomas Merton understood Buddhism in a very intellectual way that opened up his heart. I have taken the path of the heart to Buddhism and it has opened my mind. I think that somewhere in the Lord Buddha's 80,000 Ways the one I am on may be found, but I am not "looking" for it, I am simply trying to live and experience it as much as I am able in whatever time is left to me.

    Gassho,

    Seishin Kyrill

  50. #50

    Re: TRAVEL DIARY: Jundo Goes To China

    Anista,

    I cannot stress it enough that you drop your knowledge, your head filled with this and that, and come back to Anista. Anista before Anista. Anista before all this Buddhist stuff. Anista playing somewhere in the back of a building with red cheeks friends. ånista laughing, crying.Anista just being.

    You know, you are much more and so much lighter when you sing the voiceless song of this, just this.


    Take care


    gassho


    Taigu

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