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Thread: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

  1. #1
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    NOTE FROM JUNDO: I HOPE YOU DON'T MIND THAT I SPLIT AND MOVED THIS TO ITS OWN DISCUSSION, AS IT IS AN IMPORTANT QUESTION and I DON'T WANT IT TO BE LOST IN THE OTHER TOPIC THREAD ...

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho
    I said it on the Tea Party and I'll say it here: If my only "street cred" as a potential priest is that I am a student of Jundo Cohen, that's good enough for me. I can hope minds will be swayed, other teachers will be welcoming, but I've done what I can do and will do what I can. I can't control what other people do. I have never been around such an accepting and welcoming group of people and it is a treasure.
    I feel the same. The day before yesterday I got into a small debate about Jundo's credibility. The person argued that Jundo simply dismissed other peoples beliefs as "baloney" and that since he has had recent issues with ZFI, his teaching ability is to be highly suspect. I don't stand by this at all, and it bothers me that we are sometimes seen as an illegitimate little brainwashed club. We are practicing Buddhists and we are more than just little avatars to each other, much less to Jundo and Taigu, who give more than the appropriate amount of time to us and our sangha.

  2. #2

    Re: Ordination Tribulation

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    . I don't stand by this at all, and it bothers me that we are sometimes seen as an illegitimate little brainwashed club. We are practicing Buddhists and we are more than just little avatars to each other, much less to Jundo and Taigu, who give more than the appropriate amount of time to us and our sangha.
    After being behind the board for while over at ZFI a year or so back.. I can say that no one ever suggested something fishy about treeleaf. There are different views (some strong) about this style of Zen.. but nothing about treeleaf being brainwashy or clubby. I think most people think the concept is interesting and worthy, but there are different opinions about what makes for a proper practice environment. Given the wild interpersonal rancour that has been dragged out online over the Zen Studies Society, and given that Buddhist venues frequently devolved into "who is the most Enlightened?" tedium.. this place is sober and grounded.... and polite.. imagine that.
    There are no teachings here that wander off the Buddhist farm either. There is a solid grounding in Sutta and Sutra. It might freak some people out that when a teacher says something... maybe brilliant, maybe not... it appears to be accepted like a unique pearl of wisdom by post after grateful post. That might have a "drink the cool-aid" look to people who have never attended a Dharma talk anywhere... because that is how Dharma talks are received everywhere.

  3. #3

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    Hi Guys,

    I felt this important enough to move it to its own topic, as I did not want the discussion to get lost in the other thread.

    I do believe that perhaps (and while emphasizing again and again that such is the view of but one man, and I never claim to be the final word on such things ... that one person's superstition may be another person's sacred belief and tradition) that Buddhism over the centuries may have become filled with various kinds of possible hocus pocus, baseless invented myths and superstitious beliefs and practices ... and that one can effectively practice Buddhism even without literal belief in such things. Among such beliefs I might include an overly mechanical view of Rebirth and Buddhist Hells, the place of women and all lay folks in Buddhism (perhaps the product of class based and traditional societies), the belief in the magical power of various incantations and spells (except perhaps on an inner psychological level), and the treatment of various Buddhist/Zen stories and legends of ancestors as historical events and accurate biographies when they may be more idealized religious parables or hagiographical** legends ... all while recognizing that one's man's baloney may be another's sacred feast, to each her own. Yes, in the many many things I have used in describing such beliefs, I may have sometimes said the ideas are full of "baloney" among many other words such as "superstition" or "hocus-pocus" or "made up stories".

    ** A hagiography is a biography, usually of a saint or saintly person, and usually written to idealize their life or justify their sainthood. In other words, a hagiography is usually a positive presentation of a life, rather than an objective or critical biography. When using a hagiography as a research source, the purpose and style must be taken into consideration, as the writer probably omitted negative information and exaggerated or even created positive information about the subject of the hagiography. Lives of the saints are typically hagiographies.
    However, I would never say that someone's personal beliefs or right to believe them is "baloney" ... although I believe that such stories and sexist divisions and magical practices are, perhaps, something that may be called full of "baloney". It is a fine line, a bit like (to use an example) believing perhaps that the "War in Iraq and search for 'WMD' was baseless baloney" although never calling the right of any person to honestly support the war, feeling it right as a patriotic citizen, to be just "baloney".

    Is the word too strong? Was I criticizing the believer and their right to believe, as opposed to the idea itself? Please decide for yourselves. Here is a selection of essays and comments where the term has been used ...

    One powerful aspect of Zen Practice is that all of the above can be true even if some choose to abandon much of the smoky incense, fancy dances and funny hats ... true even as we realize that many of the stories and koans are fabricated skits and set-ups with little historical basis ... true even if we do not believe literally in magical Kannon with 1000 hands and eyes. The profound Truth of this Way is not dependent on particular Indian, Chinese, Korean or Japanese ways, can be just as well lived with or without bells, drums and whistles. The 1000 hands and eyes of Kannon can be seen as our 100000000 human hands and eyes when acting with Compassion in tending to those in need, not dependent on whether Kannon is kan-nonsence.

    In other words, this practice is just as you describe even as we come to learn that many of our beliefs, stories, koans, histories, lineages, Sutras and Suttas are no less fictional than Peter Pan. The Mahayana Sutras replaced the often silly stories of the Pali Suttas with a bunch of other often even sillier stories ... yet the powerful truths in each stand undiminished ... and the power of the Zen Way is that historical truth or fiction does not matter in the least. A fictional Kannon is just as compassionate and real as the one of legend. (Heck, even Peter Pan speaks to the real child in all of us!)

    So much of Buddhist identity (modern understanding has come to see) is baloney. Buddha is often bull crackers, Bodhisattva tales mostly bogus. Nonetheless, Buddhist truths are as real as real can be, and Buddhas and Bodhisattvas too (true in every drop of wisdom and compassion in the human heart)! Funny how that works, and the power of this practice is that it can easily hold such truth or falsity without loss of its vitality.

    That is "Zen & the Pali Suttas" ... and the Sutras too.

    Gassho, J

    http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... 01#p105201
    SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: I Don't Believe in Buddha!!

    It may be shocking for a Buddhist priest to say so, as shocking as hearing a Catholic priest say he "doesn't believe in Jesus". But it's true nonetheless. I am a Buddhist priest who thinks "Buddha" is largely bunk and baloney.

    At least, I think there's a lot of "bull" to how Buddha is typically portrayed. I think many of the utterly fantastic Mahayana Sutra stories of Buddhas are ridiculous ... hyper-exaggerated ... just unbelievable! (meaning that they cannot be literally believed any more than children's fairy tales). The imagery is incredibly beautiful ... but the tale just incredible nonsense, purely the product of human imagination. I think the image of a "Perfect Buddha" ... either in this world or some Buddha Land ... as a flawless being beyond all human weakness, conflict and ignorance ... is a fable, a religious myth. I think most of the old miracle filled stories are well meaning fictions, sometimes holy lies, and the golden statues and paintings of Buddhas are but depictions of exaggerated dreams.

    Oh, I believe that there was a man who lived whom we now call "the Buddha", but I think what happened over the centuries' is his victimhood to a process of hagiography. A Buddha or Ancestor dies (same for Jesus, saints and holy men in other religions) and ... century by century ... those in the religion (looking from afar at what the attainments actually were on the part of their "religious icon" and with need to depict the top value of the religion) go over the top, start to imagine, fantasize and exaggerate the wonderful nature of the teacher and teaching into something super-human. A flesh and blood teacher who was merely "Great, Profound and Wonderful" must unfortunately becomes someone "Magical, Miraculous and Mythical" ... all to the point of Malarky. The worshipful dip the man in gold, remove all human qualities and gradually turn their hero into a statue, a super-hero. As a result, [b]"Buddha" is no more real than "Beowulf" or "Batman".
    ... although people often miss the point of that essay:

    However ... my doubts about make believe "Buddhas" are not important to my Buddhist practice in the least.

    As well, although I do not believe in imaginary Buddhas ... I believe in Buddhas.

    Better said, I know Buddha for a fact!

    ...

    Thus, Buddhas are but fables and lies, Buddhas are human aspirations, Buddhas are True Teachings, Buddhas are Whole and Complete beyond "full" or "lack", Buddhas live and breathe in the world when we live and breath like Buddhas.


    The Buddhist Path is Real



    Liberation is Real



    Buddha is Real


    viewtopic.php?p=52364#p52364
    or

    Quote Originally Posted by Gregory Wonderwheel
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo Cohen
    The Schlutter book contains a couple of interesting observations ... First, that the eventual adoption by the Caodong lineage of Silent Illumination, though new in style to Caodong, was actually something of a revival of forms of meditation dating back far far earlier ... perhaps the main style of Zazen in all the Chan lineages before Dahui invented Kanhua Zazen (p. 172-3)

    Gassho, Jundo
    I have to leave for work in half an hour, so I don't have time to respond, but Schlutter's conclusions are a bunch of hooey and are directly and expressly intended to denigrate koan introspection and to elevate silent illumination as the "real" zen meditation. Schlutter does not rise above simplistic rationalization for his point of view.
    This whole topic of Rujing's admonition shows that the so-called difference between koan introspection and silent illumination is a fraud.
    _/|_
    Gregory

    Hi Greg,

    I would be interested in your basis for saying that, because the book is a very detailed and unromantic work that has the reputation of being a pretty even handed scholar's treatment of the subject, rather dry. Moreover, it does not seem to raise or lower one way of practice or the other in any way (it rather says that all the Zen sects are a bit "full of baloney" in the claims of accuracy in their story of lineage, ancestors and origins). As the above quotes show, both Silent Illumination Practice (without reference even to Dogen's later expression of that theme) and Kanna Practice were rather innovative and a product of the Song. Perhaps Silent Illumination bears a closer resemblance to earlier forms of Zazen.

    Are you saying that Dahui was not an innovator in the way described by Schlutter?

    Other scholars tend to back up the conclusions. For example, mentioned earlier was historian Griffith Foulk in his "The Form and Function of Koan Literature" (pages 24-25 here) ...

    Prior to the development of contemplating phrases in Sung China, certainly, there is no evidence whatsoever that the practices of holding up, commenting on, and collecting old cases were ever associated with the practice of seated mediation, or indeed with any sort of "meditation" in the sense of a disciplined effort to alter one's state of mind. And even in the period following Ta-hui's innovations, the discourse records of Ch'an masters continue to portray old cases almost exclusively as objects of literary appreciation and written commentary ... They make no mention of seated meditation in connection with the raising of old cases, nor do they suggest that the disciples who raised particular cases for a master to comment on were constantly "working" on them in any kind of sustained meditative effort. Sung meditation manuals ... have much to say about the proper posture and mental attitude to be assumed in seated meditation, but are utterly silent on the topic of contemplating phrases ...

    In medieval Japanese Zen monasteries associated with the Soto lineage, koan were widely used in the contexts of public sermons and private meetings between masters and disciples, but koan commentary was not linked with seated meditation in the manner of the "Zen of contemplating phrases"


    http://books.google.com/books?id=rybA2b ... 22&f=false

    I do not know any historian (as opposed to priest or practitioner speaking from a religious opinion) who says otherwise.

    Gassho, Jundo

    http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... 597#p80597
    I would never call a person's personal religious beliefs or right to believe in them "baloney".

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #4
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    After being behind the board for while over at ZFI a year or so back.. I can say that no one ever suggested something fishy about treeleaf.
    To be clear, I wasn't on ZFI when this discussion occurred. I was on a forum called New Buddhist, where I have sometimes seen curious remarks about what we do here. When I used the words, "brainwashed club" I was referring to the content of the argument I was involved with there. I would put up a link, but that part of the discussion was removed due to being off topic, and rightly so.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    It might freak some people out that when a teacher says something... maybe brilliant, maybe not... it appears to be accepted like a unique pearl of wisdom by post after grateful post. That might have a "drink the cool-aid" look to people who have never attended a Dharma talk anywhere... because that is how Dharma talks are received everywhere.
    I have seen people questioning what you are referring to, like, "Why is everyone so gushy over there?" On those threads here, I take it as people acknowledging that they heard the talk or read the post. What better way to do so than to say, "Thanks"?


    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    Yes, in the many many things I have used in describing such beliefs, I may have sometimes said the ideas are full of "baloney" among many other words such as "superstition" or "hocus-pocus" or "made up stories".

    ...

    However, I would never say that someone's personal beliefs or right to believe them is "baloney" ... although I believe that such stories and sexist divisions and magical practices are, perhaps, something that may be called full of "baloney". It is a fine line, a bit like (to use an example) believing that the "War in Iraq and search for 'WMD' was baseless baloney" although never calling the right of any person to honestly support the war because they felt it right as a patriotic citizen as "baloney".

    ...

    Is the word too strong? Was I criticizing the believer and their right to believe, as opposed to the idea itself? Please decide for yourselves.
    You have a particular faith to teach-- that is your priority. If you think something is made up or unnecessary, that is your opinion, but even still I've never heard you outwardly insult someone for what they believe-- you just disagree. No need to placate every single person out there! The only way to do that would be to lie, which would be the thing that would discredit you. We all get so tangled up in speech trying to be so politically correct all the time, and even while trying to be politically correct, we still insult somebody!

  5. #5

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    It might freak some people out that when a teacher says something... maybe brilliant, maybe not... it appears to be accepted like a unique pearl of wisdom by post after grateful post. That might have a "drink the cool-aid" look to people who have never attended a Dharma talk anywhere... because that is how Dharma talks are received everywhere.
    I have seen people questioning what you are referring to, like, "Why is everyone so gushy over there?" On those threads here, I take it as people acknowledging that they heard the talk or read the post. What better way to do so than to say, "Thanks"?
    Unlike these other fora Treeleaf is a sangha. NB is a mishmash of traditions with no teacher present except for a Theravadin monk posting the Pali canon bit by bit. ZFI has teachers coming from different Zen traditions that are often not on the same page. These sites, like Buddhist fora in general, also have a chronic problem.. anyone who thinks he/she has achieved great unsurpassed enlightenment can log-on and bug people. A typical Buddhist forum becomes a platform for these self-ordained teachers. This kind of thing may be why there is doubt about the cred of online sangha activity.. online Buddhism has a poor track record. Treeleaf is using this medium in a new way.. it has great potential.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    Jundo wrote:
    Yes, in the many many things I have used in describing such beliefs, I may have sometimes said the ideas are full of "baloney" among many other words such as "superstition" or "hocus-pocus" or "made up stories".
    Don't forget this one (which is one of my personal favorites)....."Bunkum!" :lol:

    Gassho,
    Hoyu

  7. #7
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    I try to avoid the "Buddhist forums". Whenever I've stumbled onto them they've proven to be like most other internet forums, just people shouting over one another about who's opinion is the best. And that is just.....baloney.

  8. #8

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    Hi,

    Let me add that ZFI has some lovely folks, but there are also some problems.

    After the Fukushima accident (just 100 miles north of my house, which is not too far when it comes to nuclear meltdown) I ran into problems with some of the ZFI administrators who were (and are still) posting often very extreme, one-sided and exaggerated (some just baseless, more than one even "wacky") reports founded on rumors, questionable scientific sources and writers with an overt anti-nuclear political agenda that seem to be far exaggerating the otherwise very, very serious situation here in Japan. I would usually point out the most extreme cases, and link to more respected sources. There are so many crazies and wingnuts (left and right) filling the blogosphere with quack science, panic and supposition, political agendas, pre-packaged conclusions, and the like ... misquoting and twisting the facts ... that I feel it my obligation to point that out (since I have to live in the middle of all this). Here are some examples ...

    http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... 751#p97751

    http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... 816#p97816

    I also annoyed this same administrator when I questioned the evidence she presented for U.F.O.'s and alien invasion ...

    http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... 78#p104378

    ... and for reincarnated children ...

    http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... 300#p50300

    I consider myself an "open minded skeptic" on UFOs, physical evidence for rebirth and the like ... but also critical of puff, snake oil and pseudo-science. That did not set me off very well with the main administrator.

    Likewise, any discussion of the old chestnut of "Shikantaza and Koan Zazen" is a minefield there, no matter how one bends over backwards to say that they are both beautiful practices.

    FInally, a series I wrote critical of some (just some) aspects of monastic practice bothered a moderator there who is a Soto priest and was a good friend (Nonin), who did not like very much what I had to say on that and related issues. For example, I wrote an essay posing the questions ...

    Have monasteries, throughout their history, been (not just necessarily exclusive in order to maintain levels of training, but) -too exclusive- in their availability to those who may wish to enter and undertake the Dharma? Although monasteries also have a function of training the next generation of gifted Teachers ... have they, in fact, excluded many more individuals who would be gifted Teachers but could not enter the monasteries for social, political or economic reasons? Rather than admitting those who should be there, have they tended to admit those with the political and social connections, and (even today) economic means to be there? Have they tended to admit, not just the many great talents and serious "seekers", but also a disproportionate number of folks who are there for the wrong reasons or should not be there?
    You can read the whole, long thread here ...

    http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... 458#p99458

    In anything I wrote, however, I was never disparaging of people ... and never said "my way or the highway" ... even though I could be very critical of ideas while honest in offering an opinion. But after awhile of all my questioning and honest writing, they cut off my privileges to post there. The one thing I could do before leaving was to change my avatar to this ...



    Gassho, J

  9. #9

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    Hi Jundo. ....as you know I was a mod for a period at ZFI. I stepped aside because I could not go along with the moderating process. There were as many views as people there... and it wasn't smooth. Most issues that came up were around unbalanced people who showed up and trolled the board.. There was no general preoccupation or ill will that I could detect against you. Certainly Nonin was never negative toward you...and he always spoke freely. The heat around your posts was on the board, not behind it.

    Believe it or not, I think it was not so much your views, as the unconventional way they were stated that rankled sensibilities more than anything.. It rankled mine at first, as you know... but then I got to know you. If I only knew you by your posts on ZFI.. and not the teacher I have come to know... I wouldn't know you at all. it would be a very different perception. I have seen (it is just a simple google search) things that have been said about you elsewhere on the internet..on some blogs, things that really disturbed me... and made me really question what kind of crazy scene American Zen is. I'm not sure what this post adds,except to say what you have here is good... and should be supported. I think the views around ordination are a combination of politics and honest concern. It isn't just clique,... it is sincerely held views, and it will take time for change to happen.... but I think it will.


    Gassho, kojip

  10. #10

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    It might freak some people out that when a teacher says something... maybe brilliant, maybe not... it appears to be accepted like a unique pearl of wisdom by post after grateful post. That might have a "drink the cool-aid" look to people who have never attended a Dharma talk anywhere... because that is how Dharma talks are received everywhere.
    I have seen people questioning what you are referring to, like, "Why is everyone so gushy over there?" On those threads here, I take it as people acknowledging that they heard the talk or read the post. What better way to do so than to say, "Thanks"?
    Unlike these other fora Treeleaf is a sangha. NB is a mishmash of traditions with no teacher present except for a Theravadin monk posting the Pali canon bit by bit. ZFI has teachers coming from different Zen traditions that are often not on the same page. These sites, like Buddhist fora in general, also have a chronic problem.. anyone who thinks he/she has achieved great unsurpassed enlightenment can log-on and bug people. A typical Buddhist forum becomes a platform for these self-ordained teachers. This kind of thing may be why there is doubt about the cred of online sangha activity.. online Buddhism has a poor track record. Treeleaf is using this medium in a new way.. it has great potential.
    Yes that is a very important point and distinction. Treeleaf is NOT a "buddhist forum"... it is a Soto Zen sangha!

  11. #11

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    Hi Jundo. ....as you know I was a mod for a period at ZFI. I stepped aside because I could not go along with the moderating process. There were as many views as people there... and it wasn't smooth. Most issues that came up were around unbalanced people who showed up and trolled the board.. There was no general preoccupation or ill will that I could detect against you. Certainly Nonin was never negative toward you...and he always spoke freely. The heat around your posts was on the board, not behind it.

    Believe it or not, I think it was not so much your views, as the unconventional way they were stated that rankled sensibilities more than anything.. It rankled mine at first, as you know... but then I got to know you. If I only knew you by your posts on ZFI.. and not the teacher I have come to know... I wouldn't know you at all. it would be a very different perception. I have seen (it is just a simple google search) things that have been said about you elsewhere on the internet..on some blogs, things that really disturbed me... and made me really question what kind of crazy scene American Zen is. I'm not sure what this post adds,except to say what you have here is good... and should be supported. I think the views around ordination are a combination of politics and honest concern. It isn't just clique,... it is sincerely held views, and it will take time for change to happen.... but I think it will.


    Gassho, kojip
    Hi Kojip,

    Oh, they are all very very good and well intended people at ZFI, and they are doing wonderful work there for preserving the Dharma. I do not mean to say otherwise. Some of the issues about my views on monasteries (as only one Buddhist Path, and not always the best Path for all folks) and such may have arisen after your time? I am not sure.

    My views on superstition, historical legend and "hocus-pocus" magic & incantation in Buddhism, and my being open-mindedly skeptical of a mechanical view of Rebirth (though agnostic, and thus less skeptical than even "Buddhist Atheist" Stephen Batchelor), do catch much heat in corners of the Buddhist world where very literal and "the Buddha (is said to have) said it, so I believe it" views prevail. I do couch such suggestions in all kinds of hesitant language, such as saying "one man's "possibly made-up legend" is another man's real event and Sacred Truth" and "Rebirth could be, and I am not the last word, but it is just not important to my Practice" and "I support the religious right of anyone to believe what they wish, and find meaning where they find meaning" ...

    ... but I still draw many comments like this from some folks:

    Jundo,

    I'm not even going to comment the sheer amount of things that disqualify you as a Buddhist, in my personal opinion, let alone as a Buddhist teacher. But that's my take, and you surely disagree....


    To all,

    A fantastic meal with a drop of poison will kills you guys, not mattering how yummy it seems. Keep that in mind.
    Poison in disguise is still poison. Some of Jundo's teachings and opinions are very controversial, even if very eloquent and well presented in this day and age. They are seen by many as gross corruptions of the Buddhist teachings. So, caveat emptor.

    http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.ph ... 763#p93795
    That is fine. I just believe that different flavors of Buddhism can be presented, and that it need not be accompanied by possible fables, miraculous fantasies and super-heroes with magic powers to rival a character from a Hollywood movie! Those things might be so, and they certainly speak to many people ... but they need not speak to all Buddhists, thank you, who can walk this Path without the idealized and hagiographical stories.

    I am presently working on a book that will bring many of these essays together. Its working title is ...

    I DON'T BELIEVE IN BUDDHA!
    (That's why I believe in Buddha)
    A Guide for the Buddhist Skeptic

    by Rev. Jundo Cohen
    The front cover may be a photo of me smashing a Buddha statue with a hammer. The back cover may be a photo of me bowing toward a Buddha statue.

    Gassho, J

  12. #12
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    Funny how a bunch of religion nostalgics would gladly welcome and revere the provokative teachings of our ancestors ( once dead, you always get extra credit and mileage) and dismiss the same teaching in the living voice of a white bearded barbarian living in Japan.

    Gassho

    Taigu

  13. #13

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    ....I'm still reading that long post - trying to pick out the salient points.

    There just seems to be so much heat around what constitutes a person being deemed fit to teach, etc, etc. and canditure for
    novice priest training, accountability, etc

    To be honest Jundo I'm relieved to know that you haven't spent long periods of time living in a monestry - I'm not convinced of the necessity for it - not sure it's even a good thing. I think the opposing arguments underpinning this bone of contention need a lot of space (and unfortunately words!) because it's about how individuals view 'enlightenment' and the path(s) leading to it.

    It's a lot to take in and is a reflection of the kind of accountability that is being explored in training organisations across the board.

    It's interesting to see how many differing perpsectives there are - and it's good that this stuff is debated because anything that deals with the human psyche (and buddism does) needs clarification, codes of ethics, etc.

    I'm sure it will all come good in the fullness of time.


    Gassho

    Willow

  14. #14

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    Jundo, I didn't know you were so controversial in the 'Buddhist world'. Don't have time to follow all this nonsense. Good luck with your book.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Hoyu's Avatar
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    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    Jundo wrote:
    I am presently working on a book that will bring many of these essays together. Its working title is ...

    I DON'T BELIEVE IN BUDDHA!
    (That's why I believe in Buddha)
    A Guide for the Buddhist Skeptic

    by Rev. Jundo Cohen



    The front cover may be a photo of me smashing a Buddha statue with a hammer. The back cover may be a photo of me bowing toward a Buddha statue.
    Sounds awesome! Looking forward to it its release!!

    Gassho,
    Hoyu

  16. #16

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    I really like your skeptic approach Jundo, I smile and bow every time I read the Kalama sutra on not believing in something just because an authority says it so, but because it goes well with reason and our experience, and I'd say that this is Treeleaf approach too. So... I'm looking forward for that book!

    Big gassho

  17. #17

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rich
    Jundo, I didn't know you were so controversial in the 'Buddhist world'. Don't have time to follow all this nonsense. Good luck with your book.
    This is the Wisest approach, Rich.

    Gassho, J

  18. #18

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    There are a number of issues raised.. Hagiography, legend... myth. Incantation. The "psychic" or Subtle. Ontological absolutes of all kinds.. idealist and positivist etc.

    view is view is view... around some things I have clear view. For instance the difference between historical legend making, and the mundane lives of actual people. ..Around other subjects, like the more subtle aspects and dynamics of body mind and world.. in all honesty.. for me the jury can only be out.

    As far as killing the Buddha goes.. I guess that is Zazen, and I look forward to reading your book as well, Jundo.

    ....At the same time here is this wonderful teaching you gave.. pointing to the coinless coin....



    Ah, two sides of the no sided coin ... samsara is nirvana, nirvana precisely samsara.

    That's why this is Practice-Realization ... just like painting. You are an artist. Did you learn to paint in a day? Have you actually gotten better at it over the years even though each painting is one by one?

    So, here is how I live this in life.

    In Zazen, one experiences (A) a realm with no thought of this or that, something to add or take away, me and you ... free of conflict, flowing, whole.

    And then there is (B) day to day messy life, places to go and people to see, always something in need of doing or fixing or which I wish were otherwise than what is, me bumping into you, frictions great and small, a million sometimes beautiful and sometimes horribly ugly pieces ... flowers and weeds, peace and war.

    The state of wholeness (A) is lovely ... but a mistake to think that only such is freedom from Dukkha. In turn (B) is Dukkha, but it is a mistake to think it is or need only be experienced so.

    So, for the experienced Zen practitioner, it is possible to learn to "flip a switch" to move mentally and physically, at will at various moments in life, between (A) and (B). Shikantaza Zazen is the vehicle that teaches us this skill. When (B) gets too hectic, ugly, fearful or any time ... switch to (A). We learn this trick.

    However, in Shikantaza, one also learns another view and taste (C) ... (or better said in 'Zen Speak', Not-A-Not-B ) ... where (A) is shining right through and through (B) like the white, open, whole canvas that holds all that is painted upon it. As (A) shines in silent illumination, (B) becomes translucent ... there is a Peace of One Piece which holds all the million broken pieces of life. So, more and more one might experience, for example, a "messy life" simultaneously lit by a certain Purity which comes from dropping all thought of clean, dirty, pure or impure ... places to go and people to see, simultaneously with the experience of no place in need of going and constant total arrival ... working to make things better, stop the war and cure the diseases, even while tasting that things are just as they are with nothing to add or take away ... you and me and frictions, simultaneously free of you and me and frictions ... a Beauty and Wholeness that somehow sweeps up and holds both the beautiful and ugly ... a One Piece Peace that is peace and war and all the broken pieces ... ALL AT ONCE, AS ONE.

    The canvas is there, but needs the painting to manifest life. The painting of beauty and ugliness is there, always the canvas holding all together. How to come and experience this more and more? Zazen ... Painting life, Practice.

    Isn't that more amazing than the most fabulous invention?! Where is this groundless ground? What is "this"? I don't know! All I know is, as you say...
    How to come and experience this more and more? Zazen


    Gassho, kojip

  19. #19

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    Hey Guys,

    You know, lest someone fails to understand the point ...

    When I write somethings like "I DON'T BELIEVE IN BUDDHA, that's why I believe in Buddha", in my heart it is the same as this old foreign trouble maker with a bigger nose and a whiter beard than little me ... You may have heard the story ...

    Bodhidharma was invited to visit the Emperor Wu of Liang, who was a great patron of Buddhism. The Emperor had built many monasteries, and he asked Bodhidharma what merit his generosity had earned. "No merit," said Bodhidharma. Startled, the Emperor asked Bodhidharma the supreme truth of the Dharma. "Vast emptiness; nothing holy," replied Bodhidharma. Finally, the Emperor asked, "Who are you?" "I know not," said Bodhidharma.
    Also this old son of a gun ...

    At one time, Danxia Tianran (739-824 AD) stayed at Wisdom Woods Temple. During some extremely cold weather, he took a wooden statue of Buddha and burned it in the fire to get warm. The Temple Director got extremely upset with Tainran and yelled, 'Why are you burning my wooden Buddha?' Tianran pulled some burning embers from the fire and said, 'I'm burning the buddha to get the sacred relics from it.' The Temple Director said, 'How can a wooden buddha have sacred relics?' Tianran said, 'Well, if it doesn't have sacred relics, let's burn a couple more of them.'

    But do not doubt that Danxia also bowed down to Buddha statues!

    Gassho, J

  20. #20
    disastermouse
    Guest

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu
    Funny how a bunch of religion nostalgics would gladly welcome and revere the provokative teachings of our ancestors ( once dead, you always get extra credit and mileage) and dismiss the same teaching in the living voice of a white bearded barbarian living in Japan.

    Gassho

    Taigu
    Ha! Ha!

    Gassho

    Chet

  21. #21

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    I think the most polite thing I can add here (and on the Tribulation topic) is: HUMBUG!

  22. #22

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia
    Quote Originally Posted by Kojip
    It might freak some people out that when a teacher says something... maybe brilliant, maybe not... it appears to be accepted like a unique pearl of wisdom by post after grateful post. That might have a "drink the cool-aid" look to people who have never attended a Dharma talk anywhere... because that is how Dharma talks are received everywhere.
    I have seen people questioning what you are referring to, like, "Why is everyone so gushy over there?" On those threads here, I take it as people acknowledging that they heard the talk or read the post. What better way to do so than to say, "Thanks"?
    Unlike these other fora Treeleaf is a sangha. NB is a mishmash of traditions with no teacher present except for a Theravadin monk posting the Pali canon bit by bit. ZFI has teachers coming from different Zen traditions that are often not on the same page. These sites, like Buddhist fora in general, also have a chronic problem.. anyone who thinks he/she has achieved great unsurpassed enlightenment can log-on and bug people. A typical Buddhist forum becomes a platform for these self-ordained teachers. This kind of thing may be why there is doubt about the cred of online sangha activity.. online Buddhism has a poor track record. Treeleaf is using this medium in a new way.. it has great potential.
    Yes that is a very important point and distinction. Treeleaf is NOT a "buddhist forum"... it is a Soto Zen sangha![/quote]


    _/_ Gassho

  23. #23

    Re: Baloney! (... and ZFI)

    I think a critical point has been made in some of these posts. Treeleaf has a forum that we bat things around in however the core of Treeleaf is the sangha and the teaching of Taigu and Jundo.

    When I started practicing with Treeleaf several years ago, it was some time before I seriously looked at the forum. What drew me was the teaching of Jundo who at that time had a simple posting in Tricycle magazine asking folks to join him in his commitment to sit daily. I soon found wonderful teaching went along with this invitation. Later as Treeleaf “grew” Jundo was joined by Taigu. One of the most significant periods with Treeleaf was preparing for Jukai and the sewing of my first rakusu under Taigu's guidance.

    What has developed is a simple practice, my altar is a wide adobe window sill where sits an old Christmas cactus that changes with the seasons and always the shadows of movement in the trees outside. The statue of Buddha, the mala beads, the prayer wheel my mother brought from Tibet years ago, all sit on a shelf, valued but not necessary to any practice.

    What has kept me here is the teaching and knowing Jundo is just a few key strokes away when the S….hits the fan as it often does in my life. That and all of you folks that while separated by great distances still are together in sharing our practice day to day.

    Big difference from the open Buddhist forums found across the internet.

    Peace

    Jim

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