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Thread: The Real Deal?

  1. #1

    The Real Deal?

    I thought I would start a new thread on this within the Zazen discussion because it felt more appropriate. I hope it's Ok to begin with a quote from Pontus
    that made me think.

    'In an internet Sangha, unless we spend a lot of time in Dokusan, talking about our private life and practice with the teacher, it is hard for him to know for sure how real of a deal we are. That is the drawback with an internet Sangha. It's an experiment, a process, breaking new ground. '

    It has never occured to me to approach Taigu or Jundo for a individual talk because I understand that this time (which must be restricted considering the commitments that Jundo and Taigu have outside of Treeleaf) is for very sensitive matters/emergencies. I agree with Pontus that this makes it difficult
    for a teacher to judge a members commitment but I also experience another side to this.

    I turned Taigu's comment around and asked myself does Treeleaf deliver the 'real deal' for me. Not meeting a person in the flesh is definately a drawback. Treeleaf has quite a lot of members - a quick turnover in posts/subjects. At times it's hard to feel an authentic connection because it's like throwing an idea/thought/question out into an empty room. It's lovely when someone responds - but sometimes there is no response. This is also understandable - it isn't possible to reply to every post - or necessary or appropriate to always expect some reply. But sometimes I'm left with the feeling 'was that a dumb or uninteresting thing to say?' In face to face conversation it's easier to judge all of this.

    Occasionally Jundo or Taigu will add an encouraging response (or constructive criticism!) and that is always welcome - because then it feels real - like 'yes, I do have a teacher' - but I'm in awe at the number of posts they have to read through - and obviously they can't give out individual responses all the time.

    So really - though I'm deeply appreciative of this sangha - there is also a sense of loss and wanting it (quite unrealistically) to be more. But I do show up as much as I can - and my practice has deepened considerably as a result. And I do appreciate the input of sangha members.

    At the end of the day we have to be our own judge of all this - I hope some sincerity shows through - but I'm taking more than I'm giving - and I'd like to think that the taking from here shows up as 'giving' elsewhere.

    Gassho

    Willow

  2. #2

    Re: The Real Deal?

    Hi,

    I was going to wait to see what other folks had to say, but I want to seed the conversation with a few perspectives.

    I just heard a talk by David Chadwick, one of the original students at San Francisco Zen Center in the 60's, who said it was actually quite hard to meet privately with Shunryu Suzuki, and folks were lucky to get Dokusan with him once a year!

    How much "face time" can one have with teachers and fellow students at a Zen Center one drives to once or twice a week ... or even each day, if most of the time is spent sitting, not socializing, and a typical "docusan" may happen now and then, and for a few short minutes at most (it is not like a weekly hours long session of psychotherapy)? How much actual personal treatment from teachers does a monk get at one of the very large monasteries in China or Japan?

    In Soto Zen, most of the "work" is by the student with her own "me, myself and I" .... and the best that other "Dharma Friends" including Teachers and fellow Sangha folks can offer are some helpful tips, sharing and "fat chewing." Ultimately, if one wants encouragement and to know "how am I doing" ... nobody outside you can truly be the final word on that. Only you can know how you are ... and how Zen practice is working in one's life to bring Wisdom, Compassion and such. In fact, the teacher may approve of a student's understanding when the teacher sees that the student is now at home with the student! :shock:

    There may be a touch of the "What's Next" syndrome here I spoke about in this week's sit-a-long.

    viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4745

    ... how can I respond to such a question when the very heart of this Path is learning to live and be this life radically FREE OF THE NEED FOR 'WHAT'S NEXT', LIBERATED OF 'SOMETHING MORE THAT NEED BE DONE', FULFILLED OF 'ANYTHING MISSING'!
    And a small "by the way" ... Taigu and I do have "office hours" for dokusan meetings by Skype and such. We do prefer to keep matters open here in the Forum where everyone can join in the process, but we do like to meet and get to know folks privately too.

    viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2826

    Anyway, maybe I should just let others give their views and be quiet.

    Gassho, J

  3. #3
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Willow,

    Thank you for articulating what I have also been turning over in my own mind but have not been quite able to say as eloquently as that.

    I often have that feeling of, "That was a dumb post, why did I say it that way?" Or I write something I think is relevant and important and it goes overlooked...that is no one's fault, it's not possible to comb through every post and I have missed a lot of posts from other people for that reason.

    I also feel a lot of discomfort about the fact that I, and all of us, are more complex than what we can convey through forums and so what I post can be (and has been) taken out of context. That really bothers me even in real life. And of course, my selfish mind doesn't like to remind me that that is what's happening when someone posts something I find disagreeable; I can take others out of context just as easily.

    I have only had time for dokusan with Taigu once, and Jundo is probably thinking I'm avoiding him; again, not as clear a matter as that in this experimental context. I have participated in a number of Fugen's KFCs, which probably makes it look like I prioritise his views over those of Taigu and Jundo which is not the case -- it's much more of a matter of availability and yes, I am sorry to say it, convenience. It's just kind of "what happens". Then I am tempted to blame myself for not being more active, appropriately active...what? I'm not sure what I am missing. I always have this odd feeling I'm doing something wrong or I'm not in the right "place" at the right time.

    Everyone's experience in the forums is quite different, even when we are reading and responding to some of the same posts. Therefore everyone's perception of the culture here can be quite different.

    Being in a time zone where the live shikantaza is difficult for me, I admit I am disinclined to do the recorded one after; that seems silly but it's how I feel.

    It gives me a passive feeling, like I'm waiting for everything to sort itself out because I'm not really sure how to make things "better". I'll keep thinking about that and want to hear others' thoughts too. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about this.

    Gassho
    Julia

  4. #4
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Willow wrote;
    At times it's hard to feel an authentic connection
    Julia wrote;
    It gives me a passive feeling, like I'm waiting for everything to sort itself out
    Jundo wrote;
    nobody outside you can truly be the final word on that. Only you can know how you are ...
    Shokai wrote;
    Or, who you are, for that matter :roll:
    Is what one says or writes dependent on the responses received ? The most valuable thing I've learned from Jundo is to "just sit"; he wrote it on the back of my Rakusu. One can go on and on trying to intellectualize the answers but they flow better if you just sit. I feel the greatest benefit from Treeleaf is the interaction (in the sitting room) on Google+ which hopefully will be re-integrated/ embeded back into this website. If it is the social aspect that you crave, the PM feature works for well. You can expand into email or you can also use Skype. The Discussion Forum doesn't need to be the final limit. All in all, this virtual world is quite flexible.

  5. #5

    Re: The Real Deal?

    As a newcomer, I've wondered the same things. However, I try to view each video that Taigu or Jundo posts as a direct meeting, and though of course it is not this, one's perception about such things matters. While Jundo and Taigu can't possibly make it to every conversation (though I have been impressed by the number of conversations they enter), it is the videos, to me, that really make this Sangha something special.

    To be completely honest, when I first joined here, I was, well, not intimidated, but sort of like: Man, where do I even begin? I've gotten some nice private messages welcoming me and some nice invention to beginner talks, and yet, at the same time, I still felt: how does one enter this conversation? Just begin, I decided.

    In any case, another, not problem, but factor for me is, I need time away from the internet. From the computer in general. Part of my job depends on me being on a computer often and so I often slip away just to be away. The computer, in my experience, can be very draining, and this is a personal drawback of Treeleaf. Nonetheless, I've been extremely impressed by the amount that both Taigu and Jundo are active here, and I've often wondered if this internet style of communication actually puts one in contact with the teachers more (in that we all get to view their responses, etc (and I think an argument could be made that, yes, we, the members of treeleaf anyway, might get or see more communication from the teachers here)).

  6. #6
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Please understand that I only speak from my own experiences and perspective, but here is what I can offer from them.

    My family has been very involved with a lovely place called Bodhi Monastery in the rolling hills of New Jersey for about 2 years now. When I say involved, I mean it's at times a second home. We do everything from weekly services, to setting up the dormitories for retreats and everything in between (like weeding the courtyard). I have found myself on a chartered fishing vessel in the middle of the rocking Atlantic Ocean chanting "Namu Phen Shi' Shi Jia Muo Ni Fo" as we sprinkled the ashes of Venerable Master Jen Chun into the sea. We sit in meditation with other lay practitioners, study various books under the Abbot Venerable Quacheng's guidance, and even help prepare meals. It's lovely. But in all honesty, I don't feel anywhere near as connected there as I do here. For one, I'm not a monk, and there's a cultural barrier there as the Chinese traditionally see lay practitioners very differently than we tend to be in the West. There is no personal relationship with a teacher, and basically we receive what is offered.

    I also have some experience with a practicing Sangha in the White Plum lineage. I can tell you, there is some dharma discourse, mainly based on koan study, lots of shikantaza, lot's of kinhin, but nowhere near the vast wealth of knowledge and teachings that I have found here. From my personal experience I believe we get much more "personal time" here would ever be available in a "traditional" setting.

    As with any student/teacher relationship or any congregation, you get out of it what you put in.

    Gassho,

    Chuck

  7. #7

    Re: The Real Deal?

    I'm so glad you posted that question Willow! Imagine if you'd have asked that in Dokusan, and you didn't share with the rest of us? As Jundo said, he likes to keep things open. I agree with this. I personally haven't taken Dokusan because Taigu and Jundo are so responsive and giving as it is, they answer and provide input regularly.

    I also agree that no matter who the teacher is, the practice is reliant on one's self. I mean even if there is no independent self, the interdependent oneself still has to hold up their end of the bargain , ie. they are responsible for one's practice. The teacher is not a crutch. They should not take responsibility or authority for any of us. As Capt. Picard told Q, "I'm not your father confessor".

    I'm in an agreeable mood today. lol But I also agree that this may be a grasping, what's next sort of question. When I first came here, I really wanted to prove my zen worthiness by posting or whatever. But now it's more like a "still waters run deep sort of thing." Practice, contribute to posts, etc, participate in Jukai. Not too much, not too little. Just try to be myself. Easy does it. I think consistency in practice is the most important. I think seeking validation is sort of human nature, but I also believe zen releases us from that bondage. If one's practice is reliant on anyone or anything elses approval it is not genuine.

    Anyway my 2 cents

    Gassho,

    Risho

  8. #8
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    This is interesting. Sometimes I think I share Willow's concerns, of wanting this to be more, or wondering if it even should be more. I grew up in overcrowded public schools and sort of learned to do a lot of work myself and not lean heavily on teachers' direct help, approval, or whatever. That's not a good or bad thing, but these days I often second-guess whether that's the "right" way or if I should have been different all this time. :roll:

    I suspect alan.r is right in that we probably DO have more communication with our teachers--and each other--than most sangha. And there's so much information here that it can be overwhelming. I've read that having too much information, too many choices, too many conversations going on can be stressful to people. Maybe it's so.

    I don't have much to add, but ultimately it's just about sitting on the cushion, whether you do it alone, with a roomful of people, or a camera on your monitor. That kind of accountability is the real deal.

    Gassho

    Jen

  9. #9
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    There may be a touch of the "What's Next" syndrome here I spoke about in this week's sit-a-long.

    viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4745
    ...I am guilty as charged! And grateful for the perspective offered by the responses here. It's another thing about this forum...after putting out posts full of my mind-theatre, and seeing responses more thoughtful than what I posted, there's this feeling of *oops*, having it exposed for all to see... ops:

    But then again that's no different than in real life, which is why I have social anxieties. Different post (or no post at all, it's way bigger than I can grasp right now).

    Quote Originally Posted by Shokai
    Is what one says or writes dependent on the responses received ?
    I have been making it that way, haven't I? Good point.

    Chuck: Your perspective certainly does increase my appreciation of Treeleaf, thank you for that insight.

    Quote Originally Posted by Risho
    I also agree that no matter who the teacher is, the practice is reliant on one's self. I mean even if there is no independent self, the interdependent oneself still has to hold up their end of the bargain , ie. they are responsible for one's practice. The teacher is not a crutch. They should not take responsibility or authority for any of us. As Capt. Picard told Q, "I'm not your father confessor".
    That's a cultural thing that many suppose they are immune to but we're actually not upon examination...another wakeup call for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nenka
    I don't have much to add, but ultimately it's just about sitting on the cushion, whether you do it alone, with a roomful of people, or a camera on your monitor. That kind of accountability is the real deal.
    I am starting to get it now. Perhaps it would be good to make this a sticky thread? Deep gassho.

    Julia

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    WOW, Jen, Cyril,Chuck, Alan, Julia, Willow, (and of course Jundo :shock: ); I'd call the response to this thread a Grand Slam.
    Anyone interested to go a step further?

    Click Here http://bit.ly/A6nL4l and select "newer"

  11. #11

    Re: The Real Deal?

    Thanks for the responses - there's an interesting mix of perspectives here.

    But I'd say - all in all - we're in agreement that this sangha is a really good place to be

    Gassho

    Willow

  12. #12

    Re: The Real Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by willow
    I turned Taigu's comment around and asked myself does Treeleaf deliver the 'real deal' for me. Not meeting a person in the flesh is definately a drawback. Treeleaf has quite a lot of members - a quick turnover in posts/subjects. At times it's hard to feel an authentic connection because it's like throwing an idea/thought/question out into an empty room. It's lovely when someone responds - but sometimes there is no response. This is also understandable - it isn't possible to reply to every post - or necessary or appropriate to always expect some reply. But sometimes I'm left with the feeling 'was that a dumb or uninteresting thing to say?' In face to face conversation it's easier to judge all of this.


    Willow
    I can identify with what you say above. My primary interaction with treeleaf is in the forum and without feedback you don't really know if your comments are helpful. So maybe the expression of yourself has to be enough without any expectation of response. But its natural in life to expect some response when communicating.

    Quote Originally Posted by willow
    So really - though I'm deeply appreciative of this sangha - there is also a sense of loss and wanting it (quite unrealistically) to be more. But I do show up as much as I can - and my practice has deepened considerably as a result. And I do appreciate the input of sangha members.
    What you are seeing in this sangha is the actual thinking and feeling of people who practice zazen or are interested in practicing. Also you get direct input, teaching and direction from experienced teachers. If this place helps in maintaining and growing your practice then it is functioning correctly. I would hope that if I say something really dumb or offensive someone will tell me about it otherwise I'll assume its either helpful or nuetral

  13. #13
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Willow,

    In my experience, Treeleaf has been the home I have always looked for. People here are oh so real and I even have wonderful pen pals from here!

    When I got here I was very curious on seeing how things worked around here, but the more I participated and connected with people, the more I understood that on the other side of the screen are real people with complex lives that come here to learn and grow.

    My life has changed up to the point that a lot of my talk here at home is about what's going on with my dharma brothers at Treeleaf.

    Last year's Ango was a challenging and FANTASTIC experience. I did lots of sitting and studying, I got to connect with Bryan my partner, and I got several talks with Jundo. Sometimes I wish I could be on the same room, but I'm still grateful for the technology we have now.

    If for all that Treeleaf wasn't real enough, I got the back piece for my rakusu with Jundo's and Mina's calligraphy on it. Just to see an envelope coming from Japan with my name on it made me happy and glad I discovered the sangha.

    All in all, Treeleaf is an out of the box sangha but one that sure makes you feel at home.

  14. #14

    Re: The Real Deal?

    I do have to say that sometimes the tone in which we write on an internet forum vs how we speak can be limiting. I mean when I read my stuff I always seem to come off as some perfect something or other (or like I'm a damned robot), but I'm a human and very imperfect, even if my posts convey someone who really is a master of everything... probably my arrogance coming out in my writing. lol But I seek validation all the time.

    Gassho,

    Risho

    P.S I just wanted to point that out, because I don't mean to be condescending; I hope my posts don't sound like that. If they do, please call me out on it.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Marek's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Thank you Willow, Jundo and all Treeleafers.

    As a new guy here (well, two months here is not long so I call myself ,,new one") I have no doubt that this is REAL Sangha.

    Like most of people on Treeleaf I was at first skeptic a little about this too. But I am not now.

    I find Jundo's and Taigu's teachings insightful ( I hope I will muster up the courage for Dokusan one day ops like as threads of members here. And what is also important for me is that opportunity to sit with a bunch of really, really great people on G+ (and I hope that zendo on G+ will be growing :wink: ).

    I found Treeleaf (or Treeleaf found me...?) in perfect moment in my live when I was determined to make zazen a natural part of my daily live. And it happens!! That is why wrote in my first post that this is like a return to home (I'm with you Kyonin in this).

    On the other hand I have to say that I find Treeleaf hard for those who just start ,,an andventure" with Zen. I ' ve got this feeling (and maybe someone will disagree with me) that everybody need guidance how to sit in zazen direct, eye to eye comtact from teacher or his student in..hmm..,,real"...zendo, and also taste sitting with a ,,fleshy" sniffing, snoring, etc zeniest :wink:

    _/_

  16. #16

    Re: The Real Deal?

    One way to help yourself get the "real deal" is to interact with sangha mates inside and outside of this forum. With groups on Facebook, Google Plus, Skype and Twitter, you can get a more well-rounded view of the sangha regulars. I encourage everyone to seek these out and participate as much as they like.

    Also, as these other formats are less formal, faster paced, and offer less time to write out a "perfect" response, they can be excellent tools in getting over the Zen "honeymoon" and settling down into the work of the Zen "marriage."

    Lots of times I say dumb stuff. Practice, practice.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    My two cents on this. First, of course that being a virtual Sangha ( or not :wink: ) it makes some things different, but, after the same initial doubts that some users posted before, now I come to this conclusions.

    First....If a go to an actual Zendo, even daily, and talk to my teacher every day (yes, if anybody could do that :roll: )....can he could actually "see" the results of my practice trough my own eyes?...could he know something about me better than me? I donīt think so....he may be ahead in the path to enlightment, but the place where I stand, the things that I have to not-do.....nobody knows better than me, even if I don't now what to not-do next :shock: . Finally, this is a path that every each one of us must walk by their own feet. And the work and words of our teachers here are really helpful on that, for every one of us.

    Obviously,in the private talks with the teachers I can touch more delicate or sensitive topics....but, actually, maybe we are not as different as any one else, and because of that I can see the forum as the oportunity of peeking in another's Dokusan :wink: ...sort of a collective one, which I thinks enriches our collective Practice, and because of that I thank each of the members of the Sangha, because of sharing their comments and questions, because their doubts are my doubts, and their knowledge becomes mine....well, not always but that is entirely my fault ops:

    About the recorded Zazenkais....I have been actually doing some of them live, when I have the chance, some of them recorded..... It felt a little silly to me the first times, but then I realized that taking the time to do something that helps my own growth and Practice (even if it is at midnight when you finally have the chance to), it doesn't matter if it is recorded or live......if only "live shows" where real and good...people won't see TV or Movies, even if there were actually good shows. :shock: Besides, I really appreciate the effort of our teachers and fellows here to actually be there, in real time or not....that is something great, as every Zazenkai is different, and because every time someone sits, a little bit of me does the same, even if a I'm sleeping or watching dumb TV shows.

    Finally, being that I do not speak English (as will be noted in the way I write ops: ), and having it to be in black and white, gives me the opportunity to think a bit before speaking, which is always good, and the fact that our "speech" gets recorded, allows us to return again and again, with new eyes and (hopefully) better understanding.

    I do not have much time into this Sangha yet, I do not have personal relationships with nobody here yet, but It will only be a matter of time and Practice to make it feel even more "real"....so, thanks every and each one of you treeleafers

  18. #18

    Re: The Real Deal?

    Hello Willow!

    Quote Originally Posted by willow
    I hope it's Ok to begin with a quote from Pontus that made me think.
    Damn. ops: Sorry about that! :lol: :wink:

    Quote Originally Posted by willow
    I turned Taigu's comment around and asked myself does Treeleaf deliver the 'real deal' for me. Not meeting a person in the flesh is definately a drawback. Treeleaf has quite a lot of members - a quick turnover in posts/subjects. At times it's hard to feel an authentic connection because it's like throwing an idea/thought/question out into an empty room. It's lovely when someone responds - but sometimes there is no response. This is also understandable - it isn't possible to reply to every post - or necessary or appropriate to always expect some reply. But sometimes I'm left with the feeling 'was that a dumb or uninteresting thing to say?' In face to face conversation it's easier to judge all of this.
    Yes, sometimes it feels like you throw something into an empty room. I think we have all felt that. But even though you don't always get a reply, people are still reading what you write. And even when nobody seems to notice a post, maybe you needed to say it, for yourself. And sometimes for me, it's just the ego that wants someone to notice, wants some gratification. In that way, it's great practice! :wink:

    Many people in the Zen world seem to be of the opinion that an internet Sangha is a joke and that you need to meet with a teacher regularly in the flesh and blood to be practicing real Zen buddhism. Since I'm 200 km from the nearest flesh and blood Zen teacher, I faced the choice of either practicing without a teacher or join Treeleaf. In the beginning, I admit I had my doubts. To be completely honest, it seemed like a second choice alternative, but better than nothing... ops: :roll:

    But since I joined, it feels as if this Sangha, its members and its teachers have gone from strength to strength. Maybe it has. Or maybe what has changed the most is me, or rather my views, ideas and perceptions. Maybe through sitting, listening and interacting, through being as honest to myself and others as possible, through dropping some of the judging, expecting and running after what's next, this Sangha was truly realized, made real, the true Sangha seen as for the first time.

    Only two months ago, in the thread you quoted, I said I wasn't the real deal because I hadn't yet committed completely to this Sangha.
    I hereby commit completely to this Sangha!
    I hereby declare myself to be the real deal!
    I hereby declare Treeleaf to be the real deal!


    You are all wonderful, you truly are. When someone needs support, the Sangha is always there and supportive. When someone needs a teacher, one is always available. As many of you have already said, we are spoiled with teacher presence in this place! I still consider Treeleaf to be an experiment, but one that seems to be working very well indeed! I'm proud to be a small part of it! I wouldn't go as far as to say that Treeleaf is the fourth turning of the wheel, but it sure helps keep that wheel in motion! :lol:

    Quote Originally Posted by willow
    At the end of the day we have to be our own judge of all this - I hope some sincerity shows through - but I'm taking more than I'm giving - and I'd like to think that the taking from here shows up as 'giving' elsewhere.
    No Willow, you are giving a lot, here too. Thanks for that, and for practicing.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  19. #19

    Re: The Real Deal?

    Hi Pontus!

    forgive me for quoting you again ops: but necessary :wink:

    'Only two months ago, in the thread you quoted, I said I wasn't the real deal because I hadn't yet committed completely to this Sangha.
    I hereby commit completely to this Sangha!
    I hereby declare myself to be the real deal!
    I hereby declare Treeleaf to be the real deal! '

    glad you got those words down before me - because I was coming back to say that you are the real deal - it was your warm and friendly input that made me feel at home and more able to post here when I first started.

    So thanks Pontus - and all other Treeleafers who give their time to being here and helping newcomers to feel at home.

    Gassho

    Willow

  20. #20

    Re: The Real Deal?

    In my experience, this really isn't much different from a 'traditional' sangha. The confusion we all experience when we first come to Treeleaf is the same that we feel when we visit a zen center for the first time. Who do I talk to? Who don't I talk to? Where do I go? What do I do? What did I get myself into? But we learn, we grow, we settle into the routine of the sangha, and soon we know our way around. Eventually we get to know the people, at least to some degree. But, in my opinion, this is where our sangha begins to veer away from other sanghas. I kid you not, I have spent more time, in major zen centers, sitting around listening to gossip and trying to stay out of the local politics than I ever did meditating. In years of attending centers I never had dokusan, very little formal training, just learning by osmosis, with the occasional helpful, more likely critical, comment.

    There is far more interaction with teachers here, than any other place that I have ever been. There is far more information being presented, and instruction being offered, than I have ever seen. Most importantly, people here are genuinely supportive, and are far more helpful, than any place that I have ever seen.

    I think that we are different from most other sanghas out there. But it is a difference to be embraced, a difference that helps, not hinders.

  21. #21
    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Hey Willow,

    In addition to all the opportunities listed (google plus, pm etc) I would encourage you to attend the Tea Party hosted by Fugen and Shohei. I had some of the same feelings and it really helped me get started.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Before Treeleaf I practiced mainly on my own for a few years which was fine. I have been with Treeleaf for just over a year and during this time I learned so much more than if I had kept practicing alone. I am humbled everyday by the wisdom and knowledge I read in everyone's posts. The dedication Treeleafers have for their Buddhist practice with their support and compassion for sentient beings has been a great inspiration. Here we are located all around the world living in different cultures, but together on this Buddhist path experiencing it in our own unique and personal way. It truly is a remarkable and beautiful thing. I never felt such a strong connection with other people in different countries or other parts of my own country until I came here. I am very grateful to be a part of this Sangha and to be guided by such honest and wise teachers. So for me at least, it's the real deal.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  23. #23

    Re: The Real Deal?

    Ian, Mike, Ekai,

    thankyou for your thoughts.

    I hope members continue to add to this thread. What is written here is really a tribute to Jundo and Taigu's effort and a rebuttal to
    some of the criticisms I've seen on other forums as to the notion of an online sangha being workable.

    This thread has blown away any fantasy I had of a geographically close Zendo being somehow more 'real' - and the irony is I couldn't go anyway
    as I'm bed-bound/ill a lot of the time! :roll:

    So - I have every reason to be grateful for Treeleaf.

    Gassho

    Willow

  24. #24
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    In my experience, this really isn't much different from a 'traditional' sangha. The confusion we all experience when we first come to Treeleaf is the same that we feel when we visit a zen center for the first time. Who do I talk to? Who don't I talk to? Where do I go? What do I do? What did I get myself into? But we learn, we grow, we settle into the routine of the sangha, and soon we know our way around. Eventually we get to know the people, at least to some degree. But, in my opinion, this is where our sangha begins to veer away from other sanghas. I kid you not, I have spent more time, in major zen centers, sitting around listening to gossip and trying to stay out of the local politics than I ever did meditating. In years of attending centers I never had dokusan, very little formal training, just learning by osmosis, with the occasional helpful, more likely critical, comment.

    There is far more interaction with teachers here, than any other place that I have ever been. There is far more information being presented, and instruction being offered, than I have ever seen. Most importantly, people here are genuinely supportive, and are far more helpful, than any place that I have ever seen.
    Very good to hear
    You know, some of you see Treeleaf just to express criticism, as people asking for this and that, questionning this and that, making a fuss about this and that...When you don't f.... pay a penny for the time ( Pardon my French :mrgreen: :P :wink: :!: ), the energy that guys around here put into this. The elders, the lay people, the priests...

    There is so much here, available to everybody everywhere. And it takes a few people to show GRATITUDE.

    thank you.

    gassho


    T.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Taigu,

    Of all people you should know that is not not French.

    Seriously though, I fully and completely appreciate treeleaf. I have not been here long, but it is so valuable. deep thanks to all who have worked so hard to create and maintain this sangha. Thank you for being.

  26. #26

    Re: The Real Deal?

    Taigu wrote

    'You know, some of you see Treeleaf just to express criticism, as people asking for this and that, questionning this and that, making a fuss about this and that...When you don't f.... pay a penny for the time '

    The gratitude members feel is clear from this thread. The phrase 'some of you' is casting a pretty wide net. You might say if the cap fits wear it - right now I don't know if I'm wearing the cap or not :?:

    My understanding is that Treeleaf will not accept donations. I would be quite happy to pay a membership fee - for people's time/effort. It feels like a double bind to me. Why criticize for the lack of an act of 'thanking' that we're not allowed to make

    Gassho

    Willow

  27. #27
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    There is so much here, available to everybody everywhere. And it takes a few people to show GRATITUDE.

    thank you.

    gassho


    T.
    How would you like us to express our gratitude? Are you looking for something specific?

    Ron

  28. #28

    The Real Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Very good to hear
    You know, some of you see Treeleaf just to express criticism, as people asking for this and that, questionning this and that, making a fuss about this and that...When you don't f.... pay a penny for the time ( Pardon my French :mrgreen: :P :wink: :!: ), the energy that guys around here put into this. The elders, the lay people, the priests...

    There is so much here, available to everybody everywhere. And it takes a few people to show GRATITUDE.
    Dear Taigu,
    Would you mind clarifying/rephrasing this post? Because I don't understand what you mean. You mean people don't show gratitude?

    Thank you,
    Pontus

  29. #29

    Re: The Real Deal?

    Grateful to everyone and everything
    You can't dream something like this
    It takes practice.

  30. #30

    Re: The Real Deal?

    Jundo is the Good Cop, Taigu is the Bad Cop! 8)

    We also sit No Good/No Bad Cop.

  31. #31
    Senior Member Shonin's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Taigu, is an online man hug appropriate grattitude?

    _/_

  32. #32
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Hi everybody,

    I red my latest post again and I must say that the way I phrased it was very clumsy, to say the least.

    I apologize to you, my mistake.

    And I would like to say that in the light of what I experienced the last few months, the thing I really want to say is that what is needed is gratitude but not in the form of hugs, dropping amen post to our vids, but just in the form of diligent practice. Jundo was telling me how surprised and also a bit upset he was to see so few people sitting with him on line.Gratitude? For instance if we give you a pointer, a teaching of some sort, you are invited to put it to practice before opening your mouth and not throw praises and criticisms before the reality check.

    Now, if you want to spend your time catching me at being faulty, clumsy and counting my mistakes, you are going to be very busy , because I am not perfect :roll: :wink: .

    I strongly think that our real job is to tidy up our room and look solely at our own self.

    And I you don't like bad cops, ask yourself the question: who in me doesn 't like it? You may be very surprised with the answer you get.

    Take great care


    gassho



    T.

  33. #33

    Re: The Real Deal?

    None of us are perfect. I often express myself very clumsily... ops: Very good practice! :lol:

    Anyway, thanks for the clarification Taigu!

    As for practice, I am the only real judge of my own practice. But I need a teacher and I need a Sangha. I always listen to and try to understand what you and Jundo say, even when it challenges my views. I would love to sit with you more, but... Here I was going to list all my excuses, but they do not matter. OK, only one! If I started sitting Zazenkai with you 1am in the night, my wife would throw me out! :shock: :wink:

    I will try to sit with you more regularly on G+ though, when things slow down a little! ops:
    Can't promise I won't continue to praise posts or videos that really speak to me, even before putting them to practice! :twisted:
    Most times that praise comes natually, spontaneously, from the heart. Nothing wrong with that in my opinion.

    Big hug, :mrgreen:
    Pontus

  34. #34

    Re: The Real Deal?

    Taigu wrote

    Jundo was telling me how surprised and also a bit upset he was to see so few people sitting with him on line.Gratitude? For instance if we give you a pointer, a teaching of some sort, you are invited to put it to practice before opening your mouth and not throw praises and criticisms before the reality check.

    Is the sense that members don't visit/sit with netcasts at later time? Perhaps we should always leave a message if we've visited?

    I really don't want to go on about my illness - there are concretre reasons why skype is problematic for me (can't even manage for more than a couple of minutes with my sister in Australia or my grandchildren). The keyboard has to be my medium of communication - in the main.

    I do watch your videos Taigu - your presence is very still and this works for me. Jundo - you are a big personality (I like it fine but I have to confess I 'enjoyed'
    the heart dancing sutra with my eyes half-closed :shock: This is just me - with my annoying physical difficulties - no big deal. But 'gratitude' is not always possible to put into practice as I'd like.

    Anyway - I feel we should close on this subject now.

    I guess Sangha's are like families. A bit of this a bit of that and this :evil: and sometimes just :|

    all part of life's rich tapestry

    Gassho

    Willow

  35. #35
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Willow wrote;
    Anyway - I feel we should close on this subject now.
    "Couldn't Hurt!" :lol:

  36. #36

    Re: The Real Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by willow
    Anyway - I feel we should close on this subject now.

    I guess Sangha's are like families. A bit of this a bit of that and this :evil: and sometimes just :|

    all part of life's rich tapestry
    I believe most families would benefit from more direct and honest communication, so threads like this are important.
    By being clear and open there is less need to carry things with us. Better to allow each other to express our feelings in an open and honest way, so that afterwards they can be put down.

    Quote Originally Posted by Some old Zen dude
    Two traveling monks reached a river where they met a young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed.

    As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. "Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!"

    "Brother," the second monk replied, "I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her."
    Gassho,
    /Pontus

  37. #37
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    The Real Deal?

    _/|_

    Ron


    Shugen

  38. #38

    Re: The Real Deal?

    I know we're closing this thread, but just a last thing (and from a newb at that). I can completely understand some irritation from Jundo or Taigu with people only wanting to talk zen, talk shikantaza, talk, talk, talk, when what this is about is shutting up and sitting down. If there were only a couple people sitting, and I was a teacher here, I'd also maybe feel: Man, am I not getting through?

    When I sit in my home, I sit. And it's never about me, but it also is kind of, simply because I'm isolated. But here, it's definitely not about me or you or you or you. Here, if anywhere, it's about Us, the big Us. Right?

    So, we have to consider that Us-ness, be that Us-ness.

    Or somesuch.

  39. #39

    Re: The Real Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    If I started sitting Zazenkai with you 1am in the night, my wife would throw me out! :shock: :wink:
    Hey Pontus,

    Our weekly Zazenkai sittings are available 24 hours, on demand, any place and any time at the click of a button (besides being timeless and all places, of course!) ... They are not bound by time zones, so there is no reason one must sit at 1am ... Here they are:

    viewforum.php?f=11

    I believe that folks should sit them because sitting is at the heart and soul (if we believed in a soul 8) ) of this Practice ... AND TO EVIDENCE AND SUPPORT COMMUNITY UNITY! It is much like parents say to their children, "We must gather now for a family meal, all together, no matter how busy we all are," Just for someone to make the silly effort to participate ... even from a distance ... with the recorded ceremony and sitting together ... AND TO LEAVE A MESSAGE AFTER SAYING, "THANK YOU, I WAS THERE WITH YOU" ... builds this small family and encourages others.

    Imagine a Zen Sangha meeting in a building where most folks would show up for the Zen discussions ... then leave to go home before the sitting started! It would be ridiculous.

    Therefore, I am now considering and discussing imposing a rule soon: Our members who have been around here for more than a year must sit at least one community Zazenkai every month (unless they have a very good excuse and reason not to) ... and post a message to the community that they have so sat ... or their access to this forum/registration and participation in the Sangha will be suspended (after a polite reminder or two). This rule is now under discussion between Taigu and me, but I want to go for it.

    Frankly, sitting Zazen and joining in our little Heart Sutra Ceremony at Zazenkai ... TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY, not just in our own little rooms ... even if symbolically and at a distance ... is too central to Practice. In a brick and mortar Sangha, if you only showed up for the cookies and chit chat ... and did not come to sittings ... I think they would ask you not to do so too.

    Gassho, Jundo

  40. #40
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    I have no problem whatsoever with rules when they serve a purpose. This rule I think is a great one. I wonder though, why are you considering limiting it to more senior members? From my perspective, as a newbie, it would be good for us as well. It would clarify exactly what was expected and give a good starting point for tree leaf practice. It might also clear up that dreadful "what next" question.

    I mean, I plan to participate and leave my comments anyway, especially if there is going to be dancing :lol: But if you did make it mandatory for membership, I don't think it would turn any one off. And if it did, maybe this isn't for them at this time.

  41. #41

    The Real Deal?

    Thank you Jundo, I see what you mean.

    In gratitude for your and Taigu's efforts I will make an effort to overcome my aversion to sitting the recorded version of Zazenkai. This may hopefully also be good for my practice. I will also make an effort to find the necessary time to do so. Right now it does feel like putting another expectation, another stress factor, on top of everything else, but once a month is not exactly asking the impossible. With a little more planning and dedication it should be perfectly doable.

    Gassho,
    Pontus

  42. #42
    Treeleaf Unsui rculver's Avatar
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    The Real Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    If I started sitting Zazenkai with you 1am in the night, my wife would throw me out! :shock: :wink:
    Hey Pontus,

    Our weekly Zazenkai sittings are available 24 hours, on demand, any place and any time at the click of a button (besides being timeless and all places, of course!) ... They are not bound by time zones, so there is no reason one must sit at 1am ... Here they are:

    viewforum.php?f=11

    I believe that folks should sit them because sitting is at the heart and soul (if we believed in a soul 8) ) of this Practice ... AND TO EVIDENCE AND SUPPORT COMMUNITY UNITY! It is much like parents say to their children, "We must gather now for a family meal, all together, no matter how busy we all are," Just for someone to make the silly effort to participate ... even from a distance ... with the recorded ceremony and sitting together ... AND TO LEAVE A MESSAGE AFTER SAYING, "THANK YOU, I WAS THERE WITH YOU" ... builds this small family and encourages others.

    Imagine a Zen Sangha meeting in a building where most folks would show up for the Zen discussions ... then leave to go home before the sitting started! It would be ridiculous.

    Therefore, I am now considering and discussing imposing a rule soon: Our members who have been around here for more than a year must sit at least one community Zazenkai every month (unless they have a very good excuse and reason not to) ... and post a message to the community that they have so sat ... or their access to this forum/registration and participation in the Sangha will be suspended (after a polite reminder or two). This rule is now under discussion between Taigu and me, but I want to go for it.

    Frankly, sitting Zazen and joining in our little Heart Sutra Ceremony at Zazenkai ... TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY, not just in our own little rooms ... even if symbolically and at a distance ... is too central to Practice. In a brick and mortar Sangha, if you only showed up for the cookies and chit chat ... and did not come to sittings ... I think they would ask you not to do so too.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Ok.

    Ron


    Shugen

  43. #43
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by rculver
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Quote Originally Posted by Omoi Otoshi
    If I started sitting Zazenkai with you 1am in the night, my wife would throw me out! :shock: :wink:
    Hey Pontus,

    Our weekly Zazenkai sittings are available 24 hours, on demand, any place and any time at the click of a button (besides being timeless and all places, of course!) ... They are not bound by time zones, so there is no reason one must sit at 1am ... Here they are:

    viewforum.php?f=11

    I believe that folks should sit them because sitting is at the heart and soul (if we believed in a soul 8) ) of this Practice ... AND TO EVIDENCE AND SUPPORT COMMUNITY UNITY! It is much like parents say to their children, "We must gather now for a family meal, all together, no matter how busy we all are," Just for someone to make the silly effort to participate ... even from a distance ... with the recorded ceremony and sitting together ... AND TO LEAVE A MESSAGE AFTER SAYING, "THANK YOU, I WAS THERE WITH YOU" ... builds this small family and encourages others.

    Imagine a Zen Sangha meeting in a building where most folks would show up for the Zen discussions ... then leave to go home before the sitting started! It would be ridiculous.

    Therefore, I am now considering and discussing imposing a rule soon: Our members who have been around here for more than a year must sit at least one community Zazenkai every month (unless they have a very good excuse and reason not to) ... and post a message to the community that they have so sat ... or their access to this forum/registration and participation in the Sangha will be suspended (after a polite reminder or two). This rule is now under discussion between Taigu and me, but I want to go for it.

    Frankly, sitting Zazen and joining in our little Heart Sutra Ceremony at Zazenkai ... TOGETHER AS A COMMUNITY, not just in our own little rooms ... even if symbolically and at a distance ... is too central to Practice. In a brick and mortar Sangha, if you only showed up for the cookies and chit chat ... and did not come to sittings ... I think they would ask you not to do so too.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Ok.

    Ron


    Shugen
    Double OK.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  44. #44

    Re: The Real Deal?

    Hi there - Jundo this is why I asked

    'Is it the sense that members don't visit/sit with netcasts at later time? Perhaps we should always leave a message if we've visited?'

    Quite understand that you want people to actually 'sit' - not just fleetingly visit. There seem to be a lot of views/visits recorded in the numbers - but as you've noted not many comments to indicate members have actually sat.

    I would think newbies might need a few months to settle down to this - if someone's never meditated before it may take time to get used to longer periods?

    Once a month seems a very reasonable commitment to ask - especially as it can be at any time (but personally I will need to break it down into segments - with breathing spaces - as I won't sustain for the full time). Presumably that is something individuals can negotiate with you if necessary?

    Gassho

    Willow

  45. #45

    Re: The Real Deal?

    As a newbie, I'd fully support a system by which we demonstate our committment to time on the cushion!

  46. #46
    Senior Member Nenka's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    While I have no problem with the idea of being required to sit with the zazenkai, I do have a technical problem. I've been struggling to make the recorded Justin TV sits work for me for some time now, but within the last month it has just plain become impossible, and I've noticed others struggling to make it work as well. I just gave up. For the past few weeks I've just been doing the 90-minute sit on my own with a timer.

    I know there's some revamping going on here at Treeleaf which is probably techie priority and I don't know how much interest there would be in switching to yet another free (or even pay) broadcasting service for the zazenkai, but if anyone else is thinking about it, my vote is so YES.

    Gassho,

    Jen

  47. #47
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nenka
    While I have no problem with the idea of being required to sit with the zazenkai, I do have a technical problem. I've been struggling to make the recorded Justin TV sits work for me for some time now, but within the last month it has just plain become impossible, and I've noticed others struggling to make it work as well. I just gave up. For the past few weeks I've just been doing the 90-minute sit on my own with a timer.

    I know there's some revamping going on here at Treeleaf which is probably techie priority and I don't know how much interest there would be in switching to yet another free (or even pay) broadcasting service for the zazenkai, but if anyone else is thinking about it, my vote is so YES.

    Gassho,

    Jen
    I would like to a version where the Zazenkai can viewed on an iPad or other tablets. JustinTV doesn't work on my iPad since it uses Flash. With the growing number of tablet users, this might be a good idea to investigate. I am willing to take the time to look if there's interest.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  48. #48

    Re: The Real Deal?

    Yes, flash-less would be amazing!

    /Pontus

  49. #49
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Hi All,

    A little late to the party but let me share my opinions....

    Treeleaf is the real deal 8)

    Everything in life(treeleaf included) is what you make of it :x

    Never ending thank you to our guiding teachers for ALL their work! I thank you daily by sitting :wink: _/_

    Many great posts here for which I thank each and every one of you

    Rev Jundo's suggestion is more than fair :idea:

    Perhaps a YouTube version of recorded Zazenkai for further accessibility for sangha members :?:

    Just Sit :!:

    Hope I didn't forget anything :shock:

  50. #50
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Re: The Real Deal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nenka
    I do have a technical problem.
    Technical? Problem?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nenka
    I've been struggling to make the recorded Justin TV sits work for me for some time now, but within the last month it has just plain become impossible, and I've noticed others struggling to make it work as well.
    What about something like this:

    [youtube] [/youtube]

    All I did was download the flv file from Justin.tv and then uploaded it to YouTube.

    In this way, the live sitters still get the personal interaction of Justin.tv and those who sit after can still get the ease of use with YouTube.

    Would be wonderful one day to get G+ but there are two major issues today, no recording of the video & only 10 persons. I haven't seen anything in the development area of G+ that shows this will change anytime soon...but would be nice.

    Gassho,

    Dokan

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