Tugas Gunadarma Gunadarma Tutorial VB.NET Download OST Anime Soundtrack Anime Opening Anime Ending Anime OST Anime Japan Download Lagu Anime Jepang

Results 1 to 35 of 35

Thread: Japanese Monk?

  1. #1

    Japanese Monk?

    I was listening to an interview with Robert Thurman and during the interview he was talking about the importance of monastic traditions and stuff like that. I know there was a post about "knocking down monastery walls" so I'm not here to re-start that thread. What I am interested in is what Thurman said about Japanese monks not being real monks because they do not have to be celibate and can have a wife and children. Since it is not a traditional Bhikshu ordination they should not call themselves monk because, in his words, "monk means celibate, they should called themselves priest or ministers, not monks."

    In my limited understanding, this seems like a very narrow view about monk-hood to hold.
    And sounds a lot like, "my tradition has real monks, not yours" type of attitude.

    I remember what the current Kalu Rinpoche said about what makes a monk. If one sincerely wishes to help all beings, and is truly living their life according to the Dharma or precepts, then they are already a monk.

    I have heard similar things stated about the Japanese monk tradition before from different traditions, and I'm just curious to know what you guys think about this.

  2. #2

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    My feeling is, who cares what label you have? Monk this, monk that. Are you living the Bodhisattva way? Then you are a monk. Or you are not a monk.

    Seems like "much ado about nothing!"

    :?

  3. #3

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin
    My feeling is, who cares what label you have? Monk this, monk that. Are you living the Bodhisattva way? Then you are a monk. Or you are not a monk.

    Seems like "much ado about nothing!"

    :?
    I completely agree indeed.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Shawn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    592

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    In my humble opinion...

    In today’s day in age, a "monk" who is married, has children, lives among the people (takes there kids to soccer practice) will be much more likely to have an impact (through helping others reduce suffering) then if they were inside a walled in monastery..(not that there is anything wrong with that)

    There was a Buddhist monastery near my college. Although many seemed intrigued/interested in this way of life, it can be incredibly intimidating for the average Joe to just walk up, bang on the door and ask to learn more.

    Someone already immersed in the community I feel would be more approachable. Perhaps I am way off. Nevertheless....

    Shawn

  5. #5

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    I am reminded of a quote I like

    There is a Chinese saying “A low practitioner does retreat in the forest, a high practitioner does retreat in the cities”. A practitioner who moves away from the cities to do practice in the quiet and remote forest is only a low level practitioner; a high practitioner can do his practice amidst all the physical pollution and human complications of a city, he excels in that kind of environment, like a peacock who thrives on eating poisonous plants, He, is the real master.

  6. #6

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    I've seen . I think he was speaking to how the system in Japan had the tendency to turn temples into family businesses that were passed down instead of places for enlightenment and liberation from suffering. He also says he doesn't have a problem with "the Japanese Zen people." He just doesn't think they are Bhikkhus and should use a different label.

  7. #7

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    If you consider yourself a monk, you are a monk.

  8. #8
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Near Stratford-upon-Avon, England
    Posts
    899

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    If you consider yourself a monk, you are a monk.
    Really? So if I consider myself a super-hero with awesome powers, does that make me one?

    I tend to disagree. In fact, the use of the word "monk" does bother me, because I don't think it fits with the way such people act and interact with the world. Monk, in English, has very strong connotations of being apart from others. This is historically because of the way Catholic monks lived, but we can't shake those connotations. (I'm a firm believer in the power of semantics, notably the power of unconscious connotations of words.)

    The dictionary on my Mac defines it as:

    a member of a religious community of men typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

    (Of course, the same entry also has this, which will please Jundo:

    Monk, Thelonious |m?NGk|
    (1917–82), US jazz pianist and composer; a founder of the bebop style in the early 1940s; full name Thelonious Sphere Monk. Notable compositions: “Round Midnight,”“Straight, No Chaser,” and “Well, You Needn't.”


    No, I agree that there should be a different word. I think "cleric" would be the most apt, and the thesaurus on my Mac gives a number of other possibilities for words that are similar to "priest":

    cleric, churchman, churchwoman, man/woman of the cloth, man/woman of God, ecclesiastic; priest, minister, pastor, preacher, chaplain, father, bishop, rector, parson, vicar, curate, deacon, deaconess; monk, nun, religious, friar, sister, brother; informal reverend, padre, sky pilot, Bible thumper; dated divine.

    Okay, we can perhaps leave out "Bible thumper," but I really like "sky pilot;" I never heard that before. :-)

  9. #9

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    Really? So if I consider myself a super-hero with awesome powers, does that make me one?
    Yes! Exactly!

    If you just say you are a Soto Zen monk, not everybody will agree. Some may ask you to show some sort of certificate that you are an official monk.
    But if you feel deeply that you are a monk, if you live the way you think a monk should be living, robe, bowl, certificate, temple, none of that matters to me, you are a monk.
    And you do have awesome powers.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  10. #10
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Near Stratford-upon-Avon, England
    Posts
    899

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    I don't think it requires a certificate, but I do think it implies a certain way of living. (And also a certain dharma transmission, which may not have a certificate, but which, in most traditions, is considered to be essential.)

  11. #11

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    Really? So if I consider myself a super-hero with awesome powers, does that make me one?
    Yes! Exactly!

    If you just say you are a Soto Zen monk, not everybody will agree. Some may ask you to show some sort of certificate that you are an official monk.
    But if you feel deeply that you are a monk, if you live the way you think a monk should be living, robe, bowl, certificate, temple, none of that matters to me, you are a monk.
    And you do have awesome powers.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    Pontus,
    I have to disagree with you. Declaring yourself a monk or a roshi or a guru is very dangerous. The history is full of examples of such cults, many of these were extremely destructive. Aum Shinrikyo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aum_Shinrikyo, for example. Another aspect of it is that without an external confirmation by some kind of authority (a teacher) it may be just a game that our ego is playing.

  12. #12

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    This is a word thing, and words mean different things to different people. To one person "Monk" means being celibate, to another that is not a necessary part of the definition. "Bhikkhu" sounds celibate to me, "monk" could be celibate, but could also be married while keeping practice the core of life, and living simply. "Priest" does not imply celibacy.

    The issue here is that a practitioner in one stream of Buddhism seems to be casting doubt and discredit on ordination in another. That is not cool.

  13. #13

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Quote Originally Posted by andyZ
    Pontus,
    I have to disagree with you.
    That's OK, I'm not saying my view is right! Some people are calling themselves Zen Masters... That's just ridiculous! :roll: :lol:

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  14. #14

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Hi,

    I feel that Bob Thurman, the gifted Tibetan translator and scholar ... and father to actress Uma Thurman ... is very right ... and very wrong.

    Japanese male Zen clergy may marry ... but first they typically, in their younger years, spend several years of celibate practice in an "all boys" traditional monastery (though, granted, perhaps some have girlfriends they see during the breaks, but it is discouraged). I think that, when practicing for years in a traditional monastic environment, living a monkish lifestyle, they properly can be described as "monks". So, Prof. Thurman is wrong. Later, when (as the majority do) they marry and are functioning more to service a temple parish, "priest" may be more appropriate, as Uma's dad says.

    Anyway ... a name is a name is a name.

    In truth, the terms "priest" or "monk" are words that are pretty ill fitting translations for the original Japanese/Chinese (or Pali/Sanskrit) ... imposed when Judeo-Christian vocabulary was used in the 19th century to roughly translate concepts that are different in important ways. I usually post this ...

    The words "monk" and "priest" do not really work as good translations of the Japanese terms, and were picked, obviously, from a Judeo-Christian vocabulary. "Priest" carries the feeling of working some power to intervene with God/the spirits, and most Zen "monks" only reside in monasteries for periods as part of their training ... so both words are not good fits (except when the person is actually residing in a monastery and might be described then as a "monk".). The best translations might be "Companion" "Guide" "Teacher" or (my favorite) "Rabbi (which also means "teacher")".

    A very nice old term for a teacher used in China is "shanzhishi" = a good spiritual friend (Sanskrit kalyanamitra.)

    I prefer "Zen clergy or teacher or minister ". One of the many Japanese terms usually (and awkwardly) translated as "monk/priest" in English is actually closer to "Buddhist companion" , which I care for very much ...

    ?? (the first kanji derives from the "san" of Sanskrit sangha = community, and the second means companion)

    So "Buddhist companion" or "Sangha Friend and Companion" may be the most accurate.

    Since I have a wife and two kids ... and do not not feel that I intervene with the gods and spirits, I think that "monk" and "priest" are both pretty poor labels to describe me. I am content to be a companion, teacher or friend.

    Of course, many "Zen priests" in Japan and China do reside in temples in which they are largely concerned with performing funeral and other ceremonies for parishioners to appease the spirits, bring good fortune or the like. In such case, "priest" is not at all inaccurate to describe such folks.

    A rose by any other name ...
    Traditionally, the Buddhist Sangha was divided into Bikkhu (monks), Bikkhuni (nuns), Upasaka (laymen), Upasika (laywomen). The monks and nuns were completely celibate (Soto Zen nuns in Japan, by the way, overwhelmingly tend to maintain celibacy and not marry ... although that is primarily their personal choice at this point). For our ordinations here, I wrote this on "Home leaving" ...

    Traditionally, in India, China, Japan and the other Buddhist countries of Asia, one was expected to leave one’s home and family behind in order to begin the necessary training and practice of an “apprentice”. Thus, the ancient ceremony of ordination in Buddhism became known as Shukke Tokudo, “Leaving Home to Take the Way”. Now, in modern Japan and in the West, one of the great changes in the nature of Buddhist clergy has been that most of us function more as “ministers” than “monks”, with family and children, often with outside jobs as “Right Livelihood” supporting us, while ministering to a community of parishioners. This, in keeping with changes in cultures and society, has done much to bring Buddhism out from behind monastery walls. While, now, we may be living in a monastic setting for periods of weeks or months (and thus can be called “monks” during such times), we then return to the world beyond monastery walls, where these teachings have such relevance for helping people in this ordinary life. We are not bound by monastery walls, dropping all barriers separating "inside" from "out". Thus, the term “leaving home” has come to have a wider meaning, of “leaving behind” greed, anger, ignorance, the harmful emotions and attachments that fuel so much of this world, in order to find the “True Home” we all share. In such way, we find that Home that can never be left, take to the Way that cannot be taken.
    Now, this leads to a couple of controversial topics, touched on in Bob Thurman's interview. One is the place of monasticism in the future of Western Buddhism. That is a topic for another day.

    A second issue is this:

    Japanese Buddhist priests of any Japanese lineage (Shingon, Tendai, Jodo, Nichiren, Rinzai or Soto Zen Buddhist) takes ordination upon the Sixteen Bodhisattva Precepts only, while most traditions "on the continent" still take the traditional 227 Vinaya Precepts (although the Bodhisattva Precepts are asserted by the Japanese to hold the "essence" of the full Vinaya). Most Japanese male clergy marry, almost no clergy on the continent do (although, interestingly, many "monks" in Bob Thurman's Tibet do marry or have sexual consorts ... and many in Seung Sahn's Kwan Um school where the interviewer is from marry, and Seung Sahn himself had very many sexual affairs while still calling himself a "monk", although off topic). Anyway ...

    There is a tendency of some of the "227" Priests to try to force the Japanese Priests into "second class" or lay status ... for example, not allowing them to join into rituals, or requiring them to sit in the back of the room at shared events. Of course, the Japanese priests are generally not so much in agreement. Japanese Buddhist clergy mostly do not consider themselves "lay". When attending events on "the continent" in Asia, most (although very politely, of course!) 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. Yes, the Buddha spoke of four categories for the Sangha, and it is still upheld in much of Continental Asia. But 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).

    Gassho, J

  15. #15

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin
    My feeling is, who cares what label you have? Monk this, monk that. Are you living the Bodhisattva way? Then you are a monk. Or you are not a monk.

    Seems like "much ado about nothing!"

    :?
    Oh and by the way ... I feel this says it best.

    Gassho, J

  16. #16

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    ... this is probably for another thread, but in the Thurman interview he mentioned bringing together Catholicism
    and Buddhism because of the celibate nature of Catholic priests (have only listened to interview once - but think I heard
    this right).
    In a recent talk by Thich Nhat Hanh he mentions 'the kingdom of God' equating it with inner peace and our higher selves.
    I need to read again his book 'The Energy of Prayer' but there does seem to be a move towards inter-faith understanding within it.

    I don't have a problem with inter-faith at all - very necessary in a troubled world where fundamentalism undermines unity - but what drew
    me to Buddhism is its nontheistic nature so I can't quite visualize Thurman's intent?

    Sorry - this is definately for another thread - and a bit muddled.

  17. #17

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    For those of you who would like to watch the whole interview, I actually have it saved on YouTube as a playlist here.

  18. #18

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Forgive me for not listening to Thurman talk about stuff.

    In Theravadin Buddhism there is celibacy for a good reason, because it is not about "not picking samsara over Nirvana`.. it is definitely about picking Nirvana (Nibbana) over samsara and being no more born into this world. Lots of folk try and spin this in interesting ways, but if you have seriously practiced in the company of Theravadin monastics you`ll know that is what it is about... uprooting, greed, hatred and delusion and being done with it. Practice as taught by the monastics to the laity is different that than taught among monastics. ..and that is just that path, which is fine.

    It makes sense to be celibate for any reason one wants to be, and it makes sense to be celibate for a period of intensive practice, but generally I do not see the point in renouncing ordinary human intimacy if your practice is seeing Samsara and Nirvana as two sides of one coin, realizing that, and living that.

  19. #19

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Hi!
    I was going to say a few words on this but I've seen that Jundo just said it wonderfully so...
    Anyway, status of "non-married clergy" as always been quite a tricky situation to deal with, and each society and culture gave different rights, status, "definitions of the life" for these people, It exist in every place and time nothing specific to Buddhism.

    As, to say that "Japanese monks" just took the Bodhisattva vows and thus they didn't took all the 250 precepts... I know some people from Theravada tradition for whom this is very important, but honestly these are story of "I do better than you do"... We could also argue because Northern Buddhist wear Kimonos and Koromos and Buddha's first disciples didn't... what is the point?

    I remember the teacher who gave me ordination, Ming Zhen Shakya, told me that the first time that she received ordination with some Chinese monks in Nan-Hua, they all recited the all 250 precepts ... in Sanskrit! No one understood what the vows where exactly! And she said to herself, well it is simple: "in Rome do what Romans do, if others do it... I can too", and that is how she manage the situation.

    So, is it better to have taken a lot of vows without knowing them or just taking a few vows and penetrate them fully, making them shine in your life? :roll:

    Have a very nice day everyone!
    gassho,
    Jinyu

  20. #20

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Hi - I have just found the threads 'Bad Buddhist Vibes' and 'Help'.

    There is a lot of discussion there regarding the difficulty I'm having after listening to Thurman.

    Seems like this area of 'inter-faith' goes much wider than I'd understood - and my understanding of Buddhism is clearly
    very limited.

    In the 'Help' thread the only postings that I could really connect to were Hans - as he was seriously questioning the overlap between Christian doctrine
    and Buddhism.

    Need to think this through and start a new thread because I suddenly feel on shaky ground concerning my understanding of things.

  21. #21

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Quote Originally Posted by willow
    Hi - I have just found the threads 'Bad Buddhist Vibes' and 'Help'.

    There is a lot of discussion there regarding the difficulty I'm having after listening to Thurman.

    Seems like this area of 'inter-faith' goes much wider than I'd understood - and my understanding of Buddhism is clearly
    very limited.

    In the 'Help' thread the only postings that I could really connect to were Hans - as he was seriously questioning the overlap between Christian doctrine
    and Buddhism.

    Need to think this through and start a new thread because I suddenly feel on shaky ground concerning my understanding of things.
    Hi Willow.

    Aside from iffy comparisons between Buddhism and other traditions, and differences between traditions within Buddhism, universal basic Buddhism is very straightforward and does not require mental gymnastics or the grasping of difficult concepts. There looks to be some good material here (this site) on basic Buddhism, The Four Noble Truths, seeing Dukkha, the cause and nature of Dukkha, and through seeing and letting go, knowing cessation of Dukkha. This isn't just starter Buddhism, it is always in play. ..and If I may say, even with the kaleidoscope of different Buddhist traditions, and all the "advanced" dialectics of Madhyamaka and so forth, there is really nothing more than these simple basics in the end, ...and the tradition represented by this Sangha puts things in even more direct and simple terms. That's why I'm here, having had a belly full of Big Theory in Buddhism. Just sayin.

  22. #22

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    Forgive me for not listening to Thurman talk about stuff.

    In Theravadin Buddhism there is celibacy for a good reason, because it is not about "not picking samsara over Nirvana`.. it is definitely about picking Nirvana (Nibbana) over samsara and being no more born into this world. Lots of folk try and spin this in interesting ways, but if you have seriously practiced in the company of Theravadin monastics you`ll know that is what it is about... uprooting, greed, hatred and delusion and being done with it. Practice as taught by the monastics to the laity is different that than taught among monastics. ..and that is just that path, which is fine.

    It makes sense to be celibate for any reason one wants to be, and it makes sense to be celibate for a period of intensive practice, but generally I do not see the point in renouncing ordinary human intimacy if your practice is seeing Samsara and Nirvana as two sides of one coin, realizing that, and living that.
    Hi,

    By the way, my understanding of the original Pali term "Bikkhu" is that it refers to the Buddha's original vision of a community of mendicants, beggers, wandering on rounds to gather alms. It is not really a term that applies to the settled, institutional living, non-alms round going monks of places like China, Korea, Tibet and Japan.

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=dHWH ... &q&f=false

    There, for reasons of culture, the monks largely abandoned alms rounds in town in favor of receiving donations to the monastery, including land, serfs and sometimes (yes) slaves! (Granted, as in Europe and America of the past, "slavery" was not 'frowned upon as it is now! :?) Their economic base was agricultural fields ... sometimes worked by them, more often by others. In fact, look closely to the realities of social structure in India and China, Tibet and Japan and you literally had monasteries being supported on the backs of serfs and slaves growing rice on lands run by the monasteries, often owned by the monasteries with monks managing the serfs directly. Or financed by soliciting donations, or selling funeral and other ceremonies to lay people. "Begging in the streets" was probably rarely, if ever, the main source of financial resources for the Buddhist clergy. The social and economic context for Buddhist practice changed as it moved from southern to northern Asia, just as it is changing again in the move from east to west.

    http://nozeninthewest.wordpress.com/201 ... no-really/

    So, I wonder if most north Asian Buddhist clergy are right in calling themselves Bikkhu! :| It is even questionable whether the Buddha would have approved of monasteries as such, as opposed to the sometime short term gathering of monks for a few weeks during the rainy season as he practiced during his lifetime ... otherwise encouraging his students to wander the countryside.

    Anyway ... a name is a name, and where one lives and works is where one lives and works. What matters is the substance behind the name.

    By the way, Japanese Zen monks still do go out on begging rounds, but as a special sometime ritual ... not as a daily event ...

    viewtopic.php?p=63517#p63517

    Also, on another thread I posted a Sutra section I came across, in keeping with Kojip's observations ... it is a taste of how the Vinaya Precepts are sometimes treated in Mahayana literature ... a doctrinal basis for what has developed in Japan, with its married clergy and all ...

    By the way, just read an interesting passage of a Mahayana Sutra that applies here (called "The Definitive Vinaya", translated by Garma Chang). Read a bit from where it says "Now, Upali, you should know that the pure precepts observed by Bodhisattvas and those observed by Sravakas are different both in aim and practice" from the middle of page 268 here.

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=isX- ... &q&f=false

    It is a shame that page 270 is not available, as that is about how one might break Precepts and live among the passions if the point is to help sentient beings.

    [The Buddha said], "If, while practicing the Mahayana, a Bodhisattva continues to break precepts out of desire for kalpas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, his offence is still minor, If a Bodhisattva breaks precepts out of hatred, even just once, his offence is very serious. Why? Because a Bodhisattva who breaks precepts out of desire [still] holds sentient beings in his embrace, whereas a Bodhisattva who breaks precepts out of hatred forsakes sentient beings altogether. Upali, a Bodhisattva should not be afraid of the passions which can help him hold sentient beings in his embrace, but should fear the passions which can cause him to forsake sentient beings."

    Gassho, J

  23. #23
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Mexico
    Posts
    2,743

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Wonderful thread.

    I have a lot of problems with the words priest and monk because of all the different context there might be.

    While I understand those words are some sort of rank or certificates that someone is qualified to talk about the dharma, I have seen a lot of people misuse the title and abuse others.

    Also, I have met wonderful people who are compassionate, know and live by the dharma and even if the haven't ever set foot on a monastery or temple, they are extraordinary teachers.

    A name is just a name. I think what counts is wisdom and right intention.

  24. #24

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    A good place to drop this old post too ...

    And what about Master, Reverend, Osho, Roshi (and "Sensei" too)?

    In Japanese Soto, "Roshi" does not imply any particular rank or attainment beyond being a fully ordained priest who one wants to refer to with some respect due to age or the like (the Rinzai folks use the term in a more specific way ... see this article for more details).

    http://archive.thebuddhadharma.com/issu ... nter02.htm

    Soko Morinaga, a well respected Japanese Soto Zen teacher, once famously said, "A roshi is anyone who calls himself a roshi and can get other people to do the same."

    A "Sensei" in Japan is a general title that can be applied to anyone from a school teacher, to a lawyer or doctor, to a politician. It is NOT a common title in the Zen world in Japan to denote some particular rank or attainment, and its use in the West for Zen teachers is pretty much a complete Western invention. There is no sense in Japan or China that "Sensei" is a lower rank, or less attained than a "Roshi". From a Japanese language/cultural point of view, it is rather amusing that in the West teachers are making artificial ranks based on those terms.

    In the rules of the Soto-shu in Japan, an "Osho" is anyone who has received Dharma Transmission (plus has done all the proper paperwork, ceremonies, and paid the needed fees to Soto-shu). Again, the Rinzai folks define the term a little differently. The term "Osho" comes from the Indian "acharya", which is a guide or instructor in religious matters.

    In my view, "master" is someone with some "mastery" in an art or tradition to pass on and pass down ... from carpentry to medicine to martial arts to Zen Buddhary. It need not mean the "master" is perfect (one can be a "master carpenter", yet not every corner will always be smooth; a "master surgeon" cannot cure every patient, and even the most gifted may sometimes make a bad cut). However, one should be pretty darn skilled.

    "Reverend" is a nice general term to refer to clergy or a minister.

    In my case (I think Taigu feels the same way), just call me Jundo or or Rev. Jundo (or Rabbi) or Cap'n Jundo. Maybe, in a few years, you can start calling me Admiral Jundo. Call me Roshi or Sensei. My father from Brooklyn used to say, "Call me whatever, just don't call me late for dinner"

    A rose by any other name is still a rose. A lemon by another name is still a lemon.

    Gassho, Jundo (a name)

  25. #25

    Japanese Monk?

    Very useful! Thx Cap'n Jundo!

  26. #26

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    There is something about the "X is not a REAL Y" claim that gets my hackles up. Could be that whole mucking about with a string of quasi-legitimate ordinations of my own makes it seem a little more personal (but also much fun).

    Seems to me that application is much more important than appellation. If one sees, one sees. It doesn't matter all that much if you are a monk, priest, minister, Jedi knight, butcher, baker or candlestick maker. However, there is a degree of responsibility to take on a title and with it a solemn vow- so how one handles the role appears to be more important than exactly how one acquired the role.

    On a more personal note, I am rather glad Bob did not remain celibate.

  27. #27

    Japanese Monk?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    there is a degree of responsibility to take on a title and with it a solemn vow- so how one handles the role appears to be more important than exactly how one acquired the role.
    This I very much agree with. You have to mean it, make the vow. If you do, don't let anyone say you're not a monk. In your heart you are, and that's what matters.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  28. #28

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    there is a degree of responsibility to take on a title and with it a solemn vow- so how one handles the role appears to be more important than exactly how one acquired the role.
    This I very much agree with. You have to mean it, make the vow. If you do, don't let anyone say you're not a monk. In your heart you are, and that's what matters.
    Hey Pontus,

    +5

  29. #29

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    there is a degree of responsibility to take on a title and with it a solemn vow- so how one handles the role appears to be more important than exactly how one acquired the role.
    This I very much agree with. You have to mean it, make the vow. If you do, don't let anyone say you're not a monk. In your heart you are, and that's what matters.

    Gassho,
    Pontus
    But the other hand (there's frequently is one, and ever the 'one hand clap' too 8) ) ...

    ... one has the risk of all the folks who tie on a bed sheet, call themselves "Guru" or "Zen Master" and start spouting whatever Dharma-dribble comes into their mind (usually for a fee). Harmless at best, hurtful to the dribbled on students at worst. There are so many folks like that, in the Zen world (like that Barry fellow), Buddhism and other "Eastern practices" ... not much different from a conman who sticks on a white coat without having medical training and starts doing open heart surgery! :shock:

    There is a MIDDLE WAY on this (as there usually is) ...

    I once wrote this (part of a longer essay on Lineage) ...

    viewtopic.php?p=43252#p43252


    ...

    That does not mean, of course, that every product of a "recognized Lineage" will necessarily end up a shining diamond ... certainly not (there are a lot of questionable folks out there with a "robe and a piece of paper certifying their enlightenment"). However, one is more likely to end up with a well formed "teacher" when the "teacher's teacher" was a gifted teacher who knew how to pass on those teachings, and who had an eye for his students ... could sift out among them the special ones ... could be a good judge of character who could see which students manifested wisdom and compassion and which did not ... all to insure (just a little bit) that things would be left in good hands for the next generation.

    I believe there is great value in having some recognized and respected teacher or institution (in modern Dharma Transmission, it is usually a combination of multiple teachers and institutions) approve someone else as a teacher. It is the same reason that you don't want to turn over your heart surgery to anyone with a white coat, but would like to see that the doctor graduated from medical school. It does not mean that the Harvard Graduate doctor will not also screw up your heart transplant, but there is a little level of confidence there that the guy knows what he is doing more than turning your heart surgery over to the butcher in the super market.

    Many lineages may have cheapened Dharma Transmission, the more serious lineages tend to take its passing on seriously.

    Now, there are many licensed doctors with white coats and fancy degrees who are just butchers, and will do real harm. But there are far more butchers who are just butchers.

    I think that there are many, many experienced practitioners alive today who, although not certified by a teacher or even ordained, are wonderful full or part time teachers. But, far more common is the fellow who has had a little insight into "oneness" or "one beyond one", and can dish out a few Zenny fortune cookies (even some beautifully written and composed fortune cookies), conundrums and bits of cheap philosophy ... and thus thinks he should immediately be qualified as the One True Heir of Shakyamuni. ...

    Yes, people take someone more seriously when they see the robes, a shaved head, and that someone has had "Dharma Transmission", like when they see a white coat on a doctor or a shiny diploma on the wall. As I said, there are many bad doctors out there despite the clothing, and degree, and same with priests. But, I feel there is a better chance of getting good care if the fellow went to medical school or had formal Buddhist training.

    So, Dharma Transmission is a fiction and bullsh*t.

    The way it is handed out as easily as newspaper shopping coupons by some sects of Buddhism these days in Asia (I refer to the Japanese wing of my own Soto sect among others)** cheapens it. It is passed on from father to son so that the latter may inherit the family temple funeral business, and with about as much procedure and difficulty as getting a driver's license. It is bullsh*t. (**The western branch of Soto is actually doing a MUCH better job of taking Transmission seriously)

    And Dharma Transmission is a jewel, everything (while, of course, nothing at all).

    Let me close with this ...

    ...

    ...

    No, there is nothing to stop someone from hanging out their Zen shingle, wrapping him self in a white bed blanket, and just starting to teach. Nothing at all. And the person could be better than any fellow with a fancy robe. The -ONLY- test is whether the person speaks wisdom, and is a true aid to his/her students. That is the only real test, I think.. As a teacher myself, I expect that new students who do not know me will gain some confidence by the fact that I have "Dharma Transmission", was recognized by an older established teacher, that I practiced for 25 years, and belong to the SZBA, etc. However, that trust should last for no more than a few weeks or months.** After that, I hope a student judges me ONLY for what I say and do, and for whether the philosophy I advocate is having some positive effects on their life and Practice.PERIOD. If anyone feels that I, or any other teacher, is full of bull crap ... RUN, DON'T WALK, FOR THE EXITS (and get full refund of your admission fee).

    ** Note: The reason some trust is necessary at the start is because the teacher is usually having to tell the new student some pretty wild stuff about how their "common sense" view of life is kind of a dream, and many things that the student does not want to hear, finds illogical or unpleasant. So, you need the white coat until the medicine starts to work.
    Anyway, enough about that. I have work to do in the garden.

    Gassho, Jundo

  30. #30

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Hey Jundo,

    I can certainly understand the sentiment of being extremely cautious of folks who present themselves as teachers, but do the terms "monk", "priest", or "minister" automatically equate to "teacher"? Can a person be one without being the other?

  31. #31

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    Hey Jundo,

    I can certainly understand the sentiment of being extremely cautious of folks who present themselves as teachers, but do the terms "monk", "priest", or "minister" automatically equate to "teacher"? Can a person be one without being the other?
    It varies from school to school, lineage to lineage, teacher to teacher (like so many "traditions") ...

    ... but generally in the Soto School, one is considered an "Unsui", meaning “clouds and water”, for many years between the "Home leaving" Ordination ceremony and receiving Dharma Transmission as a Teacher. The best translation in English is “apprentice priest/monk” or "novice priest/monk" or “priest/monk trainee”. One is not considered a full priest, let alone authorized to teach.

    Actually, the system in Japan is much MUCH more complicated than that. Here is a chart and discussion of some of the many stages, ceremonies, fee payments (ummm .... "donations"), funny hats, and the like required by the "Soto-shu" in Japan ... a BIG church not unlike the Catholic Church with its own funny hats. Most Lineages in the West have not adopted the majority of these requirements (some have, or have taken other steps to comply with the Soto-shu procedures. Nishijima Roshi generally couldn't give a rat's behind for most of it). Of course, this chart is just about the Soto-shu ... and the Rinzai-shu in Japan has its own ways (varying from Rinzai-shu Lineage to Lineage), and don't even get me started on China which has its own very different stages, ceremonies and requirements!



    If you would like more details on the stages, ceremonies, fee payments, funny hats, and the like required by the "Soto-shu" in Japan ... Muho from Antai-ji did a very detailed series of essays recently ...

    http://antaiji.dogen-zen.de/eng/lotus10.shtml

    Most Western Lineages, like our own, are walking a Middle Way ... keeping the heart of the Traditions, leaving the rest.

    Gassho, Jundo

  32. #32

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Quote Originally Posted by Rev R
    Can a person be one without being the other?
    Oh, and in this life we say that the mountains and trees, sickness and health, fools and children and wisemen can all be our "teachers" if we have the eyes and ears to hear that teaching.

    Also, teachers teach students and students ever teach teachers.

    Gassho, J

  33. #33

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Thanks for the teaching regarding dharma transmission, I had missed that!
    And for the wonderful picture!

    I laughed out loud... There are probably thousands of people out there yearning for the next step, striving to take their practice to the next level, taking all of these ceremonies and japanese titles and their practice very seriously indeed. Life and death, liberation from dukkha, the core of existance. And here we have a silly little cartoon explaining it all, including the fees! :shock:
    Now THAT is skillful means! I love it. If you can't look through your delusions after seeing this picture, will you ever be able too..?

    And I fully agree that self-proclaimed gurus can be dangerous for a lot of people. Words are just words and have different meanings for different people, but what I understand to be a true monk is not a danger to anyone. A monk may be a beacon, an example for others, but I don't necessarily see being monk as being a guru. The danger comes from prosetylizing, self-aggrandizement, the three poisons, in my opinion. For me, being a monk is more of a personal vow to dedicate one's life to practice.

    Thanks for pointing to the middle way again and again!

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  34. #34

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Thanks for that Jundo. Still looks like a fancy mess to these eyes, but if that is the dance to be a teacher of Soto Zen, that is the dance one must do. Provided Soto Zen is the calling.


    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    And I fully agree that self-proclaimed gurus can be dangerous for a lot of people.
    Independent contractors get no love. But, you are right.

  35. #35

    Re: Japanese Monk?

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc
    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    If you consider yourself a monk, you are a monk.
    Really? So if I consider myself a super-hero with awesome powers, does that make me one?

    I tend to disagree. In fact, the use of the word "monk" does bother me, because I don't think it fits with the way such people act and interact with the world. Monk, in English, has very strong connotations of being apart from others. This is historically because of the way Catholic monks lived, but we can't shake those connotations. (I'm a firm believer in the power of semantics, notably the power of unconscious connotations of words.)

    The dictionary on my Mac defines it as:

    a member of a religious community of men typically living under vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.

    (Of course, the same entry also has this, which will please Jundo:

    Monk, Thelonious |m?NGk|
    (1917–82), US jazz pianist and composer; a founder of the bebop style in the early 1940s; full name Thelonious Sphere Monk. Notable compositions: “Round Midnight,”“Straight, No Chaser,” and “Well, You Needn't.”


    No, I agree that there should be a different word. I think "cleric" would be the most apt, and the thesaurus on my Mac gives a number of other possibilities for words that are similar to "priest":

    cleric, churchman, churchwoman, man/woman of the cloth, man/woman of God, ecclesiastic; priest, minister, pastor, preacher, chaplain, father, bishop, rector, parson, vicar, curate, deacon, deaconess; monk, nun, religious, friar, sister, brother; informal reverend, padre, sky pilot, Bible thumper; dated divine.

    Okay, we can perhaps leave out "Bible thumper," but I really like "sky pilot;" I never heard that before. :-)


    My oh my. Labels, labels everywhere and not a one to fit........ So, the power of semantics seems to strike me in the same way as the "power" of governments, it exists only so long as the governed validate it. Semantics only has power as long as the people who hear/speak/use language, less as a way to communicate and more as a way to discriminate between phenomenon, subscribe to it. Should we not move past labels? Should we not say that we are simple practicioners of the Way whether we are monks, priests, head priests, abbots, sky marshals, grand poohbahs or whatever?

Similar Threads

  1. Becoming a Monk
    By willjohndover in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 10-08-2010, 08:01 AM
  2. Japanese to English to Japanese translation help please
    By Undo in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 05-06-2008, 07:40 PM
  3. Toddler runs on monk sand design.
    By Murah in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 05-26-2007, 09:15 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •