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Thread: For my students

  1. #1
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    For my students

    Hi everybody,

    My deepest wish is to transmit the teachings and empower people. Some of you will become teachers one day, may be, some won't. Remember that my deepest wish is to set you free .

    Because some people asked, here it is. I cannot speak for my Dharma relative and brother in Treeleaf, Jundo, but I would like to list the directions I would like to point out, what I do require from people who are willing to study with me:

    First and foremost a complete and utter dedication to sitting.
    To give your life to the okesa, sewing it, wearing it, giving it, sharing it. And to learn to even relinquish any attachment to it seeing in every corner of this boundless universe the corner of a single-yet-multiple kesa.
    To study texts and sutras but also to walk the walk.
    To get back on track if you loose your way.
    To surrender to Kannon as she-he-it comes, in whatever form. And laugh and cry with life as it is.
    To give your body-mind to the unknown, to "I don't know"
    To manifest again and again ZETSUGAKU MUI NO SHINJIN as expressed by Dogen in the Fukanzazengi: "a true person beyond study and the intention to achieve".
    To be ready not to be attached to my teaching or form and follow not me as Taigu but what I myself follow: so study and practice with other teachers are seen as important.
    This one pearl-universe, this single jewel has many sides. Understand that what we point out is yours already from the very start.
    To sit at least one retreat within a community or sitting group a year.
    To not play the teacher or be willing to teach and preach too early. Years of ripening are necessary, the more eager you are to teach, the less you will be given possibility to teach :twisted: .

    That's about it ...If you are willing to formally become my student, this is what you have to expect and do. Yoou may get in touch if you would like to discuss this possibilty.

    gassho


    Taigu

  2. #2

    Re: For my students

    That about goes for me too.

    Deep Bows, T.

    Jundo

  3. #3

    Re: For my students

    Sadhu! Deep bows to you both!

    Gassho,

    Mike

  4. #4
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Re: For my students

    Gassho.
    Myozan.

  5. #5

    Re: For my students

    Dear Taigu and Jundo - I would like to clarify one point from what is a commendable list.

    Is the list intended for those students who have a 'calling' to become priests/eventual teachers?
    What of those of us who for various reasons do not fall into this category but are never- the - less comitted
    students of the Way?

    I can only refer to my own situation - it is a physical impossibility for me to attend a community retreat or sustain
    long periods of sitting. This makes me sad but I try not to make it frustrating - I have to accept the limits placed upon
    me with equanimity. Buddhism is helping me to do that.

    Also my age is against me - at nearly 6o I am never going to clock up the years/experience required to be a teacher. It
    gives me joy to see a number of much younger members taking this path here - they will have the time to bring their
    path to fruition and maturity.

    So - what I am asking - more to Taigu - because I think I can pre-empt Jundo's answer, is does my not being able to commit to this
    one (no doubt very important pre-requisit) mean that I can not be your student?

    I am very commited to this sangha - and to study - and to my (limited) sitting - and to putting the precepts into practice.

    So does this pass muster?

    Gassho

    Willow

  6. #6
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: For my students

    Dear Willow,

    It does pass of course. One cannot expect the same level of commitment from everybody. The direction, the deep wish is important, being a lay person you can sew and wear the okesa and yes retreats are difficult for understandable reasons ( these lines were written for peple taking jukai and beyond).

    I might add that vey few people will meet all the criteria :wink: but they should have this ideal and work on it

    Much love and gratitude for your practice


    Gassho


    Taigu

  7. #7
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    For my students

    This is a very beautiful post and discussion. Thank you Taigu and Thank you Willow. I learn from you both.

    Taigu, a question: I am interested in the evolution of the practice (in the United States at least in certain Soto lineages) that the Okesa is to be worn only by ordained priests. I have read Dogen's Shobogenzo fascicle "The Power of the Robe" and as far as I can understand it is quite clear that sewing and wearing the Okesa is a practice available to all who seriously embark on the path - it is embracing the body and teachings of the Buddha. Dogen is very clear that the Okesa should be embraced by laypersons. What is the evolution of the Okesa being reserved for Priests? I personally have a hard time with the assumption that only certain people can embrace the Okesa... its power is immense and very humbling. As the trite expression goes however, "with power comes responsibility..."

    It is entirely possible that my interpretation is mistaken.

    Gassho
    Yugen

  8. #8
    Senior Member Marek's Avatar
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    Re: For my students

    _/_

  9. #9

    Re: For my students

    Quote Originally Posted by willow

    I am very commited to this sangha - and to study - and to my (limited) sitting - and to putting the precepts into practice.

    So does this pass muster?

    Gassho

    Willow
    If I may add ... just keep on being Willow, as you have been. Not everyone need show commitment in the same way, and you are showing great commitment in your Willow way as such an important and vital person in this little community of Dharma friends.

    In the Buddha orchestra, some folks play the violin, some the harp, some the oboe ... all make beautiful, harmonious music.

    Gassho, J

  10. #10

    Re: For my students

    My dear esteemed Taigu and Jundo, of course, even if not formal students, we are all students of yours. I have learned of water birds, pie-eating, and blenders to name a few. And, I think that by informal example, we also all teach and pass on what we have learned. Thanks much. Gassho, Grace.

  11. #11

    Re: For my students

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo
    In the Buddha orchestra, some folks play the violin, some the harp, some the oboe ... all make beautiful, harmonious music.
    Jundo ... beautifully put!

    Gassho,
    Michael

  12. #12

    Re: For my students

    Thank you for the post Taigu

  13. #13

    Re: For my students

    Thank you for your openness and clarity Taigu. Also so very well put too Jundo, I think I play the spoons and hambone in the symphony, but that is a wonderful way to put things.

    deep bows

    Shohei

  14. #14

    Re: For my students

    Thank you both.

    _/_

    -a

  15. #15
    Senior Member Ekai's Avatar
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    Re: For my students

    Thanks Taigu and Jundo. I appreciate Taigu's comments and I will reflect on these. I do wish I could post more, sit more retreats, attend the 4-hour Zazenkai regularly. Sometimes I feel that I don't participate enough but I do my best with the time I have.

    Willow—I agree with Jundo that you are an important and vital person to our Sangha. Thank you for your presence. In fact, everyone here contributes in their own unique way that serves us all.

    Gassho,
    Ekai

  16. #16

    Re: For my students

    Thank you Taigu and Jundo for your insightful and supportive guidance.

    Gassho,
    Michael

  17. #17
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Re: For my students

    This is a wonderful post, Taigu. Very good and humbling instructions. I copied them and added them to my Treeleaf book. I still don't really know how to go about a retreat, but I will certainly remember that my teachers (Taigu, I know that I am not a formal student of yours, but I can't help learning from you anyway.)find it to be a vital aspect of practice. Now that my summer schedule is clear, I have planned to sit with a local White Plum group once a week. I am nervous about it, but I think it will be fine.

    Sit in all moments
    Give all to the okesa
    Give the okesa
    Walk the sutras
    Return over and over
    Always with Kannon
    "I don't know"
    Beyond wanting to be
    Learning the teachers' ways
    Not following the teachers
    This Net of Indra is all Buddha's Body
    Connect with those that share it
    Keep your mouth shut

  18. #18

    Re: For my students

    I intend to participate in the next Jukai ceremony, and by doing so formally accept this line of Buddha Dharma as my practice stream (gotta have a stream). I'm not sure taking Jukai means formally becoming a student... perhaps you are speaking of students who ordain? In any case I am formally choosing to enter and support this Sangha. Where it goes I don't know.. but Soto Zen .. coming to a real meeting with Dogen.. and the way of doing /non-doing, as presented by Taigu and Jundo. It is right in the bones.

    ...as far as what is expected of students.. This one stands out... not play the teacher There can be a fine line between sharing a view and opinion, and talking about practice... and presuming to teach. It is something to be mindful of.. along with a frank acknowledgement of the maturing there is to do.

    Thank you

    Gassho, kojip

  19. #19
    Friend of Treeleaf Daido's Avatar
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    Re: For my students

    Thank you

    Daido

  20. #20
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: For my students

    Yugen,

    The 0kesa is not a priest thing. This idea and practice in America come from people trying to copy the Japanese ways. Seeing and wearing the kesa is for everyone, Sawaki Kodo s students were also lay women and men who led sewing groups and transmitted his teachings about the robe.

    In Treeleaf we follow this direction and don t see the Okesa as a kind of uniform but as the true robe of just sitting.

    Gassho and thank you for your dedication and...sewing


    Taigu

  21. #21

    Re: For my students

    Thank you Taigu and Jundo for your clear response and encouragement.

    Also, Yugen, Ekai - and Amelia for the poem - and everyone who cares for this sangha
    and takes the time to share.

    Gassho

    Willow

  22. #22

    Re: For my students

    Thank you Taigu for clear understanding about Okesa and its meaning.

    Gassho,
    Michael

  23. #23
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Re: For my students

    Hi all,

    I think the definition of teacher/student has evolved here at Treeleaf over time and I know I was confused about it for some time because I felt like the definition was always changing. I took right to Jundo's teachings, before I knew there was such a thing as jukai or shukke tokudo. So, I thought of him as my teacher right away and I think many of us did back then. After the first jukai, it became more clear, at least to me, that one would take jukai, in large part to recognize being a buddhist, but also to choose a path to follow in Soto zen with the particular flavor of Jundo's teachings. Soon after the first jukai Taigu joined as a full teacher and that left some confused as to who was our teacher (as opposed to teachers), but I think this is when people began to reach out to Jundo & Taigu to experience the different flavors of their teachings. Jundo speaks to some more than Taigu and vice versa. I found myself gravitating towards Jundo and that is how I headed down the path.

    But I still refer to Taigu as my teacher (and Taigu please tell me if you would rather I didn't!) and think of all of you as my teachers. As I said in my comments after the shukke tokudo ceremony, "I want to thank my teachers Jundo and Taigu as well as everyone I meet every day." So, what constitutes a teacher is a matter of perspective I think and that's merely mine. But ultimately if I were to be asked I would say that I am a student of Jundo Cohen. Which do you think of? One? Both? Neither? We all walk the path here, but there are different trails up the mountain and we never truly know where we are going to wind up.

    If you have questions, ask them...I could have spent many fewer night feeling unsure about my "status" if I'd just talked to Jundo. But it's all part of the process...having "faith" is a loaded word, so I will use trust instead. Walk the path and your path will find you.

    Gassho,
    Dosho

  24. #24
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: For my students

    Wisely spoken Dosho...Jundo, Brad , Chodo , I... different reflections, one bright pearl.

  25. #25

    Re: For my students

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho

    If you have questions, ask them...I could have spent many fewer night feeling unsure about my "status" if I'd just talked to Jundo. But it's all part of the process...having "faith" is a loaded word, so I will use trust instead. Walk the path and your path will find you.
    No reassurance could ever settle my need for secure status, in anything.. If I start to think that way.. insecurity and the need for reassurance is endless... it just keeps going. Better not to give it much thought. You guys are here.. I'm here..
    I'll just keep showing up... and practicing...


    Gassho, kojip.

  26. #26

    Re: For my students

    I consider myself a student of Taigu ...

    ... (and of Dosho, WIllow, Kojip, etc. etc. too) ...

  27. #27
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: For my students

    Of course, it is what Dokan and I shared as we met last time, what I taught in the vid the real teacher : everyone and all are reflections of the bright pearl, sides of the jewel.
    At the same time some have an official responsbility that others don t.
    It is quite simple really. Our path implies the dance between teacher and student when the guys do take turns.

    Gassho


    Taigu

  28. #28

    Re: For my students

    thX taigu

    gassho
    gilles

  29. #29
    Senior Member Daijo's Avatar
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    Re: For my students

    Thank you Taigu, and Jundo, and everyone/thing else in this beautiful oneness.

  30. #30
    Senior Member KellyRok's Avatar
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    Re: For my students

    _/_

    Formally or informally, I'm glad to be here learning from all of you.

    Gassho,
    Kelly/Jinmei

  31. #31
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Re: For my students

    Thank you, Taigu.

    Very useful list. It makes the way clear.

  32. #32
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Re: For my students

    Thank you Taigu.
    Thank you Jundo.
    Thank you all.

    Gassho,
    Chris

  33. #33

    Re: For my students

    Good for all, formal student or not!

    Thank you to both Taigu and Jundo for your tireless dedication.

    _/_

  34. #34

    Re: For my students

    Fantastic Taigu. Big commitment. It captures very well the spirit and the practice of Treeleaf.

    So difficult, and so easy

    Gassho

  35. #35
    disastermouse
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    Though I fall down; deep appreciation, Taigu.

    Gassho

    Chet

  36. #36
    Thanks a lot Jundo and Taigu Senseis for nourish our practice with this extremly clear list...
    I will print it, and put it available to see it every day... and of course do it.

    Gassho
    Senryu
    Please forgive any mistake in my writing. Like in Zen, in English I am only a beginner.

  37. #37
    Thank you Taigu. i especially liked the fact you said most won't meet this criteria but it is something to strive to.
    i consider myself a buddhist. but to be honest i have probably lost track of that definition. i can not say what i am but myself.
    i sit daily (i miss a sitting very rarely) but thats pretty much all i do. i try to live my life according to my best understanding of the way but with time i have lost the intellectual pursuit and found only life. i live my life but nothing more i dont think of it as anything but what it is. as Jundo says drop all resistance to life and just live ( Jundo forgive me if my paraphrasing lost the original meaning).
    i might not be a formal student or an informal or anything else. but i do consider you and Jundo my teachers and treeleaf my home. for that i thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    Gassho, Dojin.
    I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
    - the Buddha

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