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Thread: On rituals

  1. #51
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Cannot agree more Hans, but please, don t call this Zen Buddhism, because it is not. Call it Zen or call it Buddhism.

    Thank you

    Gassho


    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  2. #52
    Hello Taigu,

    you are perfectly right....these days with everyone calling everything by any name I get confused myself. I am sick and tired of -isms and need none in my selfish practise. Sitting in God (now there's a controversial term) is good enough.

    Gassho,

    Hans Chudo Mongen
    Chudo Mongen, Ordained Novice Priest-in-Training

  3. #53
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Unlike My bro Jundo I like Dharani, homeopathy and think that magical thinking and dreams have a big role in our life, but again that's just my f...... old me.
    The fact is we both agree on the very essence of just sitting.

    So I don t mind and don t care.

    Gassho


    Taigu
    Last edited by Taigu; 08-06-2012 at 10:24 AM.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  4. #54
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Sitting in God sounds good to me!

    Gassho

    T.
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  5. #55
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    I am the kind of guy that always goes about questioning everything. I question folklore, traditions and family ways more than I should. But his gives me the chance to challenge things and understand them. I tend to never do things without seeing the point to them.

    Last Ango was a life changing experience for me because I finally came to accept rituals as part of my life.

    The ritual I found I was more resilient to perform was the meal gatha. I simply couldn't do it without picturing me like a Christian praying to food. It was very hard for me to do it and I even felt ashamed saying it in front of my girlfriend (we live together).

    But for the first time, I set my questioning side apart and just did it. In a few days my mind changed and started to really understand the gatha. I wasn't praying. I was feeling grateful and acknowledging all the hard work and labor from all the people and creatures that helped to bring food to my table. I was opening my mind to understand the needs of other people that are not as fortunate as me for having something to eat, not only here but in all the planets of the universe!

    In my opinion, rituals are very useful when not doing them as esoteric activities. Rituals are extremely helpful to set your mind ready for understanding things, to keep traditions and to simply make you understand you need to be humble.

    Besides all that, you don't need a fancy robe to perform a ritual. We actually perform rituals every day of our lives even if you don't realize it.

    Here's my morning ritual: I wake up, make coffee, do a little yoga, read or write, sit zazen for 35 minutes, go out for a run, get back home, cook and eat breakfast, get ready for work.

    I have been doing this for a couple of years now.

    In work I have other routines and rituals as well.

    So if we perform rituals everyday and every moment of our lives, why be so resilient towards Zen rituals?

    Just a thought.

    Gassho, Kyonin
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  6. #56
    Thank you Kyonin, exactly my thoughts (but not exactly the same ritual :
    Here's my morning ritual: I wake up, make coffee, do a little yoga, read or write, sit zazen for 35 minutes, go out for a run, get back home, cook and eat breakfast, get ready for work.
    Gassho,
    Andy

  7. #57
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    IMHO, a habit is not a ritual.

  8. #58
    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc View Post
    IMHO, a habit is not a ritual.
    I think it's a fine line between the two, for example:
    By doing yoga in the morning I prepare myself for the day ahead - it gives me strength to meet the day head on. By the time I'm done with yoga and my breakfast I'm already in the mood to face whatever is ahead of me today.
    By reciting heart sutra before zazen it sets me in the mood for zazen. As soon as I recite the first lines of it - I'm already in zazen.
    Gassho,
    Andy

  9. #59
    Member BobSpour's Avatar
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    I agree. The Heart Sutra said a lot to me the first time I read it back in 1972
    i was working in the shipyards on the Tyne at the time
    it was life changing!
    Deep Gassho
    _/\_
    bob

  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by willow View Post
    Hans - I am finding this really interesting/enlightening.

    The more I communicate with Zen the more I feel it is a religion - or certainly as elements of being such.

    I hadn't come across Dharani - but in what can be a cold and crazy world perhaps we all need the odd magic
    spell at times.

    I don't think it matters what the ritual is if it rings with the heart - it doesn't matter what words we mouth if the sound connects with the universe in a positive manner.

    This matter of religious belief/spiritual belief - versus philosophy/psychology - I don't think we can take a mental axe to it and chop it down the middle (creating yet another dualism).
    Even if we just sit - forgoing all else - we are rooted in what has gone before - what we have taken in and accepted/understood - what we have rejected - what we feel we no longer need.

    Gassho

    Willow
    The Great Dharani is just sounds, an expression of our being. most enjoyable. Takes away all thinking. Willow expresses my feelings best on this because I don't know what zen practice is in terms of religion/psychology and I don't care about that.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  11. #61
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Hi Bob,

    Seems you sound like a veteran here.
    Ditch the Heart sutra, will you?
    Ditch the biography and the chronology,
    Meanwhile
    ditch yourself, your ideas and views,
    and ditch the ditching

    Otherwise you are just an old fool on the hill
    playing a flute with too many holes
    and gazing at a too eloquent moon!

    Welcome anyway good old bloke
    unless you really want to be baby-like


    gassho

    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  12. #62
    Member BobSpour's Avatar
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    hey Taigu

    My biography starts today...and everyday!
    Picking up the Heart Sutra as new every day...
    They called me Han Shan in the Shipyards...every day

    Thanks and No-Thanks Taigu
    Love your videos...very inspirational/perspirational

    Deep gassho
    bob

    P.S. you cannot get it by taking thought
    you cannot seek it by not taking thought

  13. #63
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    so we are both babies then!

    take care


    gassho


    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  14. #64
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Smoking or just running, they are habits.

    Doing a routine to get your mind ready for the day or task, that's ritual.

    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc View Post
    IMHO, a habit is not a ritual.
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  15. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    At the end of the day, Zen is a relgious practise based on the MYSTERY of what this is. If we feel the need to really cut everything into pieces that are easy to digest and are pleasing to our early 21st century secular minds, we are sacrificing more to our own preferences than we should. THIS is bigger than us. As long as we don't rely on anything outside of what is, I do not see any problem. Taking itno account that the everyday Zen reality in Japan is far more based on ritual than on Zazen, it is hard for me to understand that even the DIET-liturgy of western Zen is causing so many people head- and heartaches.
    At some point one has to ask oneself why one wants to engage in religious practise at all, when so many traditional elements have to be left behind before one can finally commit to a certain practise.
    We live amid the mystery of life ... yet that is not an excuse to dabble in ignorance. Yes, religious traditions have thrilled the masses with superstition, magic tricks, miracle stories, holy lies ... but there are more subtle thrills and a bright illumination to be found in clearing away the smoke and mirrors and just seeing the miracle of this universe, free of all the childish tales and cargo cults. The mystery remains, and is better seen head on, when freed of made up "ugga bugga". One may be moved by the Dharani chant, others by speaking in tongues, soothsaying, snake handling, spirit channeling. It is all the same.

    It may be that some have their hearts captured by the mystical magic ... but some of us, in our hearts, wish to stop. I wish to stop, and to offer the glory of these Buddhist Teachings free of the carnival side show the pleased the audience for centuries. Perhaps ...


    THIS is bigger than us.


    ... but it is us too, and like the fable writers of ages past who created these religions out of whole cloth, we can offer new creeds that will free these beautiful teachings of the fictions, fables, fallacies and fraud. What results will not appeal to everyone ... perhaps only to some ... because people need their religious pacifiers, saintly heros and prophets and pie in the sky. However, it will appeal to those receptive to the message ... and give rise to a deep passion among its adherents who would literally cross deserts and whole planets (was that not some Mars landing today! ) to spread the word. I want to help make such a Buddhism washed clean of Holy Hogwash.

    I think it may be time to strip my Practice of the sacred bullshit ... the statues, the robes, the incense, the made up histories. What remains then? Something that does not require any of that. Of course, if someone can find something that speaks to them in any of that KEEP 'EM! Good for them! Same for the snake handling or spirit possession. Why not, and to each their own medicine!

    Is Zen Buddhism (what else to call it?) a religion, a philosophy? Nishijima Roshi had a good perspective, and a definition which blurs the lines: A "religion" or "philosophy" is a "way of thinking or ideology believed true concerning the meaning and workings of the world and mankind’s place in it, and a way of living that seeks to be in harmony with that way." That's a good enough definition for me.

    If someone wants to chant a Dharani because it makes their heart feel good ... then more power to them! Same for dancing to appease the mountain god, waiting for the UFO aliens who built the pyramids, sacrificing a goat. Whatever trips someone's religion trigger, more power to them. Count me out.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-07-2012 at 04:49 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #66
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc View Post
    Maybe because I really don't see Zen as a religious practice?

    Why is "the mystery of what is" a religious practice? It is a philosophical practice, and much of Zen is a psychological practice, but what makes it religious? Isn't it the rituals that make it such? My Mac's dictionary points out that religion is "a particular system of faith and worship." While there is faith in Zen - the faith that zazen serves a purpose - the Zen we practice here doesn't really have worship.

    See, this is the root of my discomfort with these rituals. I don't see Zen as a religion, and the rituals that can tilt it in that direction bother that part of me that feels this way.
    Kirk,

    You seem to know what zen is and what it isn't...I sometimes think I have an idea, but there is so much to learn and unlearn. That's why I practice and until you let go of this resistance I don't think you will ever truly embrace it. I humbly suggest that, for at least a year, jump in (sorrry if this metaphor is becoming tired) with your whole heart and embrace that which you resist. At the end of that year if you still have all these certainties and opinions filling your head, then I guess it isn't for you. Stop thinking about walking the path and start walking the path. Only this...THAT'S it.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Last edited by Dosho; 08-06-2012 at 03:07 PM.
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
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    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  17. #67
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    I did exactly what you're suggesting more than 20 years ago. For a couple of years, I fully embraced the Tibetan tradition. And I realized then that all the rituals in that tradition were not for me, it was a tradition with far too many layers of rituals.

    What Brought me to Zen is that there is much more simplicity. I may be wrong in the attitude I expressed in this thread, but I am not new to this.

  18. #68
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Kirk,

    That was then, this is now...if you aren't willing to give it a go, what else can be said?

    Gassho,
    Dosho

    P.S. And yes, you are new to this...we all are...every day. Once we think we've "been there, done that" we're going to be stuck there.
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  19. #69
    I feel that some of us have to give Kirk's Way of Practice a try too.

    Put down the religious trappings and fairy tales, and Just Sit.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #70
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Agreed, but shouldn't we do what we resist in this practice? Just as someone who takes the religious and "fairy tale" aspects too seriously, should we not encourage someone who is resistant to them to embrace those very things that make them uncomfortable?

    That said, I will say nothing else on the matter and hope Kirk finds the path that works for him. You are quite right to point out that we should accept his way too

    Gassho,
    Dosho

    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I feel that some of us have to give Kirk's Way of Practice a try too.

    Put down the religious trappings and fairy tales, and Just Sit.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Dosho; 08-06-2012 at 04:29 PM.
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  21. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho View Post
    Agreed, but shouldn't we do what we resist in this practice? Just as someone who takes the religious and "fairy tale" aspects too seriously, should we not encourage someone who is resistant to them to embrace those very things that make them uncomfortable?

    That said, I will say nothing else on the matter and hope Kirk finds the path that works for him. You are quite right to point out that we should accept his way too

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Hi Dosho,

    I think that many good ways are possible, and we should all keep an open mind to the strengths and beauty of other ways. Many ways up the mountainless mountain (many bad ways too, some that lead off the cliff). We should sit in ways we resist sometimes, but also sit in our own way too if that feels right and balanced from knowing oneself.

    I light the incense, candles, put on the robes, bow toward the altar, and sit the old fashioned way once or twice a week. I do this out of respect for our Traditions, and because there is much richness to be found there (as described throughout this thread). Most of the time, I sit as Kirk describes ... without the religious trappings and robes (apart from a Rakusu), without the myth & legend, and Just Sit. I could take or leave many of the Traditions.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-06-2012 at 04:56 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #72
    Senior Member kirkmc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post

    Doing a routine to get your mind ready for the day or task, that's ritual.
    I have to disagree here, and quite strongly. You are suggesting that anything you do on a regular basis is a ritual. I don't see it that way. I think a ritual is something that has symbolism. If you drink a cup of coffee to drink a cup of coffee — what to wake up — that's drinking a cup of coffee. If, however, you drink a cup of coffee thinking that it is the blood of the Buddha, that would be a ritual.

  23. #73
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    We live amid the mystery of life ... yet that is not an excuse to dabble in ignorance. Yes, religious traditions have thrilled the masses with superstition, magic tricks, miracle stories, holy lies ... but there are more subtle thrills and a bright illumination to be found in clearing away the smoke and mirrors and seeing the miracle of this universe free of all the childish tales and cargo cultiness. The mystery remains, and is better seen head on, when freed of made up "ugga bugga". One may may be moved by the Dharani chant, others by speaking in tongues, soothsaying, snake handling, spirit channeling. It is all the same.

    It may be that some have their hearts captured by the mystical magic ... but some of us, in our hearts, wish to stop. I wish to stop, and to offer the glory of these Buddhist Teachings free of the carnival magic shows the pleased the audience for centuries. Perhaps ...


    THIS is bigger than us.


    ... but it is us too, and like the fable writers of ages past who created these religions out of whole cloth, we can offer new creeds that will free these beautiful teachings of the fictions, fables, fallacies and fraud. What results will not appeal to everyone ... perhaps only to some ... because people need their religious pacifiers, religious heros and prophets and pie in the sky. However, it will appeal to those receptive to the message ... and give rise to a deep passion among its adherents who would literally cross deserts and whole planets (was that not some Mars landing today! ) to spread the word. I want to help make such a Buddhism washed clean of Holy Hogwash.

    I think it may be time to strip my Practice of the sacred bullshit ... the statues, the robes, the incense, the made up histories. What remains then? Something that does not require any of that. Of course, if someone can find something that speaks to them in any of that KEEP 'EM! Good for them! Same for the snake handling or spirit possession. Why not, and to each their own medicine!

    Is Zen Buddhism (what else to call it?) a religion, a philosophy? Nishijima Roshi had a good perspective, and a definition which blurs the lines: A "religion" or "philosophy" is a "way of thinking or ideology believed true concerning the meaning and workings of the world and mankindís place in it, and a way of living that seeks to be in harmony with that way." That's a good enough definition for me.

    If someone wants to chant a Dharani because it makes their heart feel good ... then more power to them! Same for dancing to appease the mountain god, waiting for the UFO aliens who built the pyramids, sacrificing a goat. Whatever trips someone's religion trigger, more power to them. Count me out.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Posting on this topic seems to be my new "ritual". mwahahahah

    Yes... Jundo this is how I feel! I also agree with Taigu. Of course, in my less experienced way I was throwing the baby out with the bathwater, which is exactly why I'm not a Zen teacher thank goodness. I just read the history of Dogen's life at the end of Realizing Genjokoan, and it seems like he had the same opinion of Zen in his day. I don't have the book with me right now, so I can't find the passage... grrr But Dogen, too, was not about the BS (note: I'm talking about superstitions like chanting specific names to invoke insight, etc, not the Rakusu which I do not think is bs at all).

    I think honoring the traditions is one thing, but when we give them more weight than what they are then I think it moves out of what Buddhism is. As human beings, we do have a tendency to add onto things. It's sort of what we do. But to me, this practice is about stripping away things; I guess it's also a very rich practice of discovering new things that were there all along. However, I completely agree with Taigu and you that we must be careful on what to strip away. After all, I'm just a beginner, and I look to you both for guidance in this practice. Otherwise, as Kyrillos noted, why in the hell are we practicing at Treeleaf? At my point in practice, it's easy to say "oh I don't like that. I won't do it". Just a couple days ago I noted how it didn't mean anything to me to chant the Heart Sutra in Japanese; I don't speak Japanese. However your (Jundo's) point about just throwing ourselves into it (regardless of the language) is a very valid one. And again, it's nice to honor the roots of this practice.

    Going back to the Rakusu, although I don't attribute magic to my Rakusu, I think that the sewing is an important practice. And Taigu's instructions on it just pierce through to the heart and show why it is important to our way. Again, I don't have my journal with me, so I can't find the quote from Taigu, but when we sew the Rakusu, we give ourselves to it entirely dropping all thoughts of gain or loss, am I doing it right or not?, oh I'm so proud of myself, etc. It's like a working Shikantaza. This is important, and I think it really separates any of us who may not be ready to take the precepts. It takes effort, time and patience. We must lose ourselves in it. It is, in effect, a barrier to entry to our sangha here. At the same time, the Rakusu doesn't grant special powers, and it's really not even my Rakusu. So the practice of the Rakusu I feel is a really good one. But again, that is my personal opinion, and others may not take to it. Also, I know I'm contradicting myself; earlier I said I wasn't too crazy about the Rakusu, but I should really qualify what I meant. I said that from a different point of view. What I meant to say was that I wear it during weekly Zazenkai, but I don't attribute any specialness to it. From one point it is special because it's my Treeleaf "swag", and it shows my bond to this lineage. It's very special in that regard, and I take care of it, put it in a high place, etc. But from another perspective, it is not special. It is very ordinary, and it is not an item of superstition.

    I don't feel Zen is a religion per se. It is a philosophy of action and doing. It is a philosophy of experience and getting rid of that which is not real. Greed, Anger, Ignorance... illusory, bullshit, they should be dropped. On the other hand, it could be argued both ways that this is a religion. I could see that as well.

    The Buddha said to test things out for ourself and if they are true, adopt them. If not, don't. This means we can't just ditch things until we've tried them for ourselves. I think this is a great topic because it forces us to understand where our practice is. What is our practice? Why our we practicing? Why am I practicing? This question of rituals seems like it's the same question that Dogen had about why practice is necessary if we already have Buddha nature, or the classic question about why Bodhidharma came from the West? What do the 4 noble truths mean to us? How does Shikantaza play a role in our practice? How do the precepts support our practice? Do they? Do they support your practice? I mean the questions are endless; it sort of makes practice fun, and each of us needs to answer these questions for ourselves. Although, this is practice is not for me, it's my personal practice, and no one else can do it for me.

    What is essential to practice? I feel the most important thing, despite which rituals we do or do not, is that we do not lose sight of the importance of practice. Earlier I mentioned that although some rituals seem "weird", I do change The Bodhisattva vows and The Verse of Atonement after sitting. That might not resonate with some, but it does with me. So I like to investigate why is that meaningful for me? Sometimes I stop sitting because things happen. Sometimes I use sitting as a means to an end, to feel better. But that is my ego trying to use practice. That is me forgetting the Bodhisattva vows and the precepts that I've taken. So that is why I say the verse of atonement. That is personally why the verse of atonement is important to me, and why I will continue saying it. It's me taking responsibility for my selfishness, for losing sight of saving all sentient beings, and letting greed, anger and ignorance take over.

    The work is never done. Our reasons for practice must be constantly questioned and we must constantly practice.

    This is such a rich topic. I can just keep posting and posting on this. I have a feeling my thoughts of practice will change as my practice matures.

    I genuinely thank all of you for your posts. My gratitude for our practice here has deepened just as a result of thinking about the rituals here and why I do them.

    Gassho,

    Risho
    Last edited by Risho; 08-06-2012 at 05:35 PM.

  24. #74
    Treeleaf Unsui/Engineer Kyonin's Avatar
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    Thank you for this, Dosho.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin

    Quote Originally Posted by Dosho View Post
    Kirk,

    You seem to know what zen is and what it isn't...I sometimes think I have an idea, but there is so much to learn and unlearn. That's why I practice and until you let go of this resistance I don't think you will ever truly embrace it. I humbly suggest that, for at least a year, jump in (sorrry if this metaphor is becoming tired) with your whole heart and embrace that which you resist. At the end of that year if you still have all these certainties and opinions filling your head, then I guess it isn't for you. Stop thinking about walking the path and start walking the path. Only this...THAT'S it.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Shuso and Ango leader for September 2014.

    Please remember I am only a priest in training. I could be wrong in everything I say. Slap me if needed.

    The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one. Mr. Spock

  25. #75
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyonin View Post
    I am the kind of guy that always goes about questioning everything. I question folklore, traditions and family ways more than I should. But his gives me the chance to challenge things and understand them. I tend to never do things without seeing the point to them.

    Last Ango was a life changing experience for me because I finally came to accept rituals as part of my life.
    This reaffirms my desire to participate.

    The ritual I found I was more resilient to perform was the meal gatha. I simply couldn't do it without picturing me like a Christian praying to food. It was very hard for me to do it and I even felt ashamed saying it in front of my girlfriend (we live together).

    This is where I'm at now. I still feel weird/awkward when saying a meal gatha. The rest of the rituals are mine, done in private, but the meal gatha is for all to see. This weekend the wife and I went to a restaurant and when I put my hands together to start my gatha she giggled and said that I looked like the Christians I made fun of so much in the past (I was a very outspoken atheist). What goes around comes around I guess...

    Also, because I didn't pray before eating for most of my life, I also frequently forget to say the meal gatha until I'm almost done. Hopefully my brain will figure it out soon.

    <edited for clarity>
    Last edited by Nengyo; 08-06-2012 at 09:21 PM.
    Try not to be a jerk-- one of the Buddhas

  26. #76
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kirkmc View Post
    I have to disagree here, and quite strongly. You are suggesting that anything you do on a regular basis is a ritual. I don't see it that way. I think a ritual is something that has symbolism. If you drink a cup of coffee to drink a cup of coffee — what to wake up — that's drinking a cup of coffee. If, however, you drink a cup of coffee thinking that it is the blood of the Buddha, that would be a ritual.
    I would typically agree kirk, but isn't the point of this game in zen buddhism to make all of life a ritual, in essence to make everything holy? To a christian drinking a cup of coffee would not be a ritual, because in Christianity drinking coffee is not associated with any particular special meaning. But in zen weighing flax, picking up dog turds, and bowing to Buddha all seem to be equally significant. Mindfulness of my daily coffee makes it a ritual in and of itself.

    I could be all wrong

    metta,
    the new guy
    Try not to be a jerk-- one of the Buddhas

  27. #77
    Quote Originally Posted by catfish View Post
    I would typically agree kirk, but isn't the point of this game in zen buddhism to make all of life a ritual, in essence to make everything holy? To a christian drinking a cup of coffee would not be a ritual, because in Christianity drinking coffee is not associated with any particular special meaning. But in zen weighing flax, picking up dog turds, and bowing to Buddha all seem to be equally significant. Mindfulness of my daily coffee makes it a ritual in and of itself.

    I could be all wrong

    metta,
    the new guy
    I never thought of my morning coffee as a ritual but I guess it is. I bring it outside and sit in a chair that is under the overhang against the house. I do this year round, rain or shine, cold or hot. Hearing the birds, insects, planes and cars; seeing the trees and sky; is a great way to wake up.
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  28. #78
    Hmm... well this thread has certainly gotten long and confusing!

    To get back to the root, Kirk can you be more specific as to exactly which rituals/practices bother you, and which do not? Sorry if you had already done so--I'm trying to catch up on this monster thread.
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  29. #79
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Unlike my fellow priests in Europe, I don t care about copying Japanese style and procedures and keep things to the strict minimum. Hannya Shingyo, a couple of short chants, daishin dharani and Bob s your uncle.
    Unlike old blokes like Keizan or Dogen, I am not living in a world where the fabric of reality is permanently woven with dreams, visions, and the likes. Nevertheless, I have experienced so many times stuff that has a magical edge to it, I am convinced of the power of sounds. Being a bad poet, a failed writer and musician, I cannot deny this reality too. But I am not attached to it. I don t practice to massage my heart and make myself feel good. I practice for others not gor my own f.... Up head.I would appreciate some people here to sometimes step out of their comfort zone and squarrish world and listen, listen, listen. Very much like Jundo, I can see all the esoteric and magical stuff as a clever device to control people s minds. Institutionalised rituals sometimes turn into empty ballet and money making opportunities. That does not disqualify the truth expressed in the robe, the mandala and the chant. Greedy and corrupted clergy has its way, we have ours. Faithful to Sawaki Kodo s teachings, I revere, protect and spread teaching of the robe, shave my head and sit. These three realities are one and cannot be devided. In shorts or kolomo, in front if a statue or a bin, same reality manifested at once. It is not just a wrapping and a trapping. It is the way of patch robed human beings.

    Gassho

    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  30. #80
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    Posting on this topic seems to be my new "ritual". mwahahahah

    Yes... Jundo this is how I feel! I also agree with Taigu. Of course, in my less experienced way I was throwing the baby out with the bathwater, which is exactly why I'm not a Zen teacher thank goodness. I just read the history of Dogen's life at the end of Realizing Genjokoan, and it seems like he had the same opinion of Zen in his day. I don't have the book with me right now, so I can't find the passage... grrr But Dogen, too, was not about the BS (note: I'm talking about superstitions like chanting specific names to invoke insight, etc, not the Rakusu which I do not think is bs at all).

    I think honoring the traditions is one thing, but when we give them more weight than what they are then I think it moves out of what Buddhism is. As human beings, we do have a tendency to add onto things. It's sort of what we do. But to me, this practice is about stripping away things; I guess it's also a very rich practice of discovering new things that were there all along. However, I completely agree with Taigu and you that we must be careful on what to strip away. After all, I'm just a beginner, and I look to you both for guidance in this practice. Otherwise, as Kyrillos noted, why in the hell are we practicing at Treeleaf? At my point in practice, it's easy to say "oh I don't like that. I won't do it". Just a couple days ago I noted how it didn't mean anything to me to chant the Heart Sutra in Japanese; I don't speak Japanese. However your (Jundo's) point about just throwing ourselves into it (regardless of the language) is a very valid one. And again, it's nice to honor the roots of this practice.

    Going back to the Rakusu, although I don't attribute magic to my Rakusu, I think that the sewing is an important practice. And Taigu's instructions on it just pierce through to the heart and show why it is important to our way.
    Hi Risho,

    I feel that your post shows great Wisdom and Balance ... a willingness to "try new things" and give them sufficient time to sink in (that may take years to fully sink in for some practices, by the way), an ability to get around one's inner resistance to a practice, a power to find meaning in a practice that one might not originally have seen, an ability to find old meanings and lessons equally in old packages and new ...

    ... and a willingness to step away from some practices which ... however traditional and orthodox ... do not resonate in one's heart after all that.

    The one thing I might say is that Dogen was a pretty traditional guy, and the image of Dogen as a modernist and mold breaker is not really the case. He literally "wrote the book" on most of the old Zen Rituals we are discussing here, and did everything from holding ceremonies to appease the local mountain gods where he built his monastery to having visions come to him in dreams ... to about everything that Buddhist folks were up to in the 13th Century. Of course, Dogen did offer us some very original and mold breaking interpretations and expressions of these old traditions, but his monastery was pretty traditional however one looks at it. Here is a short summary of Dogen historian Griffith Fouk's recent article on "Dogen's Take On ... Conventional Buddhist Practices" ...

    This chapter is based on a close reading of passages in the Shōbōgenzō and elsewhere on sutra reading, which is one of the practices that Dōgen says is unnecessary in the oft-quoted passage attributed to his mentor Rujing, cited in Bendōwa (also found in Hōkyōki and “Gyōji”): “You can only succeed by just sitting, without a need to make use of burning incense, prostration, recitation of buddha names, repentance ceremonies, reading scriptures, or ritual incantations.” Based on the ritual practices that he followed, it is shown that Dōgen did not mean to reject literally any of those standard Buddhist training methods. Why, then, does he disparage them? The answer is actually simple and clear, and is well illustrated in “Kankin”: one should engage in all practices, ideally without attachment to them, but even with attachment if one has not figured out yet what nonattachment really is. Nonattachment for Dōgen is insight into the emptiness of dharmas, which in plain English means the ultimately false (albeit useful) nature of all conceptual categories, starting with the category of “thing.” From that point of view, all practices (including zazen or sitting meditation) are rejected because, after all, there is no such thing as “practice”—it is just a conventional category—and yet all practices are also accepted and endorsed.

    (You can read a couple of pages of the article on page if you search the phrase "borrowing of elements" at http://www.amazon.com/Dogen-Textual-.../dp/0199754470 )
    But Dogen was Dogen, we are who we are. Just because Dogen practiced a certain way he felt appropriate to life in a 13th Century Monastery in the lonely mountains of ancient Japan, that does not mean that we need practice the same way ... and it does not mean that we cannot find many of the same lessons ... living in 21st Century American or European cities and suburbs. (It does not mean that we need reject all the "old ways" either just because they are old).

    Quote Originally Posted by catfish View Post
    I still feel weird/awkward when saying a meal gatha. The rest of the rituals are mine, done in private, but the meal gatha is for all to see. This weekend the wife and I went to a restaurant and when I put my hands together to start my gatha she giggled and said that I looked like the Christians I made fun of so much in the past (I was a very outspoken atheist).
    Well, one can put one's hands together in Gassho in a restaurant, and make this a time for family bonding. Or, one can say it unnoticed and quietly within (if at a business lunch, for example) and not wishing to make a public demonstration. The words, by the way, are meant to have meaning ... gratitude for where the food came from, the farmers and all others everywhere who brought it to us, its keeping us alive ... It is also an aspiration that all the hungry people be fed.

    This food comes from the efforts
    of all sentient beings past and present,
    and is medicine for nourishment of our Practice.
    We offer this meal of many virtues and tastes
    to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha,
    and to all life in every realm of existence.
    May all sentient beings in the universe
    be sufficiently nourished.


    It has the magic of simple gratitude and the deep interconnection of the universe. No "hocus-pocus". It was abbreviated by me based on the longer "Formal Meal Verses" (Gyohatsu Nenju 行鉢念誦) recited during Oryoki in a Soto Zen Monastery:

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...ll=1#post61770

    Quote Originally Posted by catfish View Post
    To a christian drinking a cup of coffee would not be a ritual, because in Christianity drinking coffee is not associated with any particular special meaning. But in zen weighing flax, picking up dog turds, and bowing to Buddha all seem to be equally significant. Mindfulness of my daily coffee makes it a ritual in and of itself.
    Yes! Any of life can be a ritual when we see the sacred in that action, all time and space in that passing moment, no matter how seemingly "ordinary". Yes, when known as such, "picking up a dog turd" is Buddha picking up Buddha with a Buddha-scoop. To a Buddha's nose, each turd smells just as lovely as the most expensive incense stick.


    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-10-2012 at 01:42 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  31. #81
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    Unlike my fellow priests in Europe, I don t care about copying Japanese style and procedures and keep things to the strict minimum. Hannya Shingyo, a couple of short chants, daishin dharani and Bob s your uncle.
    Unlike old blokes like Keizan or Dogen, I am not living in a world where the fabric of reality is permanently woven with dreams, visions, and the likes. Nevertheless, I have experienced so many times stuff that has a magical edge to it, I am convinced of the power of sounds. Being a bad poet, a failed writer and musician, I cannot deny this reality too. But I am not attached to it. I don t practice to massage my heart and make myself feel good. I practice for others not gor my own f.... Up head.I would appreciate some people here to sometimes step out of their comfort zone and squarrish world and listen, listen, listen. Very much like Jundo, I can see all the esoteric and magical stuff as a clever device to control people s minds. Institutionalised rituals sometimes turn into empty ballet and money making opportunities. That does not disqualify the truth expressed in the robe, the mandala and the chant. Greedy and corrupted clergy has its way, we have ours. Faithful to Sawaki Kodo s teachings, I revere, protect and spread teaching of the robe, shave my head and sit. These three realities are one and cannot be devided. In shorts or kolomo, in front if a statue or a bin, same reality manifested at once. It is not just a wrapping and a trapping. It is the way of patch robed human beings.

    Gassho

    Taigu
    Yes, Taigu, thank you. The wonderful thing about this Sangha is that we may offer a few flavors of practice to different folks with different needs ... some wishing to chant Dharani, some not. We also encourage folks to drop the resistance and attachment and dive into other ways from time to time ... even what we usually do not feel drawn to. (It is for that reason that I recently advised Kirk, who resists bowing and sewing ... that he needs to bow and sew for our Ango and Jukai this year). All the flavors contain the same sweetness ultimately.

    I am also convinced of the power of sounds ... as music, as a wordless Beethoven symphony (Da Da Da Dum), as a poem, as the cry of my baby daughter's "goo goo ga ga" ... so why not the sound of a seemingly "abracadabra to prevent fires and floods" chant like the Dharani's "GYA GYA KI GYA" even if it is seemingly saying nothing more than "DA DA DA DUM, GOO GOO GA GA, GYA GYA KI GYA".

    I am also convinced of the power of dreams ... as my inner voice, the mind running free, as a vision of something in the imagination ... even if I do not see dreams as (likely) secret messages from the spirit world or portents and signs of future events.

    To each their own ... whether bowing to a Buddha Statue, or chanting a Dharani, or making coffee or picking up Dog Turds ... no different to the mind who can pierce the moment. As different as night and day to the mind that thinks of "mundane" and "holy". Let's do them all sometimes, and see them all as "Munda-Holy!"

    I found such beauty in your description of your reasons (and non-reasons) for chanting the Dharani ... not that you need anyone's sense of beauty in that but your own, my friend. However, I did find that it speaks to my heart too ... that the sound can simply ring in one's heart with the meaning "there are no calamities ever, no calamity from the first ... nonetheless, lets do our best to prevent calamities, and may no sentient being suffer one!" If it can be taken to be saying that, then I could get into the baby-sound of "GYA GYA KI GYA" too. After all, "Ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on bro, La la la how the life goes on". It will be my Practice to chant it again with you, by your side, at our Rohatsu Retreat this December. It is doubtful that I will be found to chant it on other days.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-07-2012 at 03:42 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  32. #82
    Quote Originally Posted by Rich View Post
    I never thought of my morning coffee as a ritual but I guess it is. I bring it outside and sit in a chair that is under the overhang against the house. I do this year round, rain or shine, cold or hot. Hearing the birds, insects, planes and cars; seeing the trees and sky; is a great way to wake up.
    A lovely image of 'just being' - and you probably never thought of it as 'ritual' because it just is.

    We spoil so much with words/thinking - to effortfully keep thinking 'mindfullness' - to consciously ask is this a ritual - is it a habit - is it a structure - just keeps cutting up and dividing.

    Thank you for sharing your morning coffee Richard - and please don't think on it as it's beautiful as is.

    Gassho

    Willow

  33. #83
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    ... We also encourage folks to drop the resistance and attachment and dive into other ways from time to time ... even what we usually do not feel drawn to.
    I feel this is very important. Sometimes we can get great understanding by stepping outside the box (our comfort zone). If in doing so we like it, great ... if we don't like it, that too is also great.

    Gassho
    Michael
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  34. #84
    Hello Kirk and hello to all the others,

    a very interesting thread!
    At first I couldn't understand your problems with the rituals, because I like them very much. Perhaps I like rituals so much, because I loved to go to church as a child and I helped there with the rituals, too. I always feel like I'm part of something greater than me... I feel greater.. and it is more easy for me to give up the judgements and the self-control.

    But on the other hand I know exactly what it feels like to have problems with rituals: When I first encountered Zen I sat with a very small group: Almost all elderly men and most of them with health problems. At the end of the sitting someone had to go around, knee down and give everybody a cake and tea and then we ate and drank in silence. A very nice ritual and after two times I thought: I'm the youngest and fittest, I should help. But after a few times I really got problems with it: to knee down in front of everybody and to give a cake and tea. I thought, that I can't do this anymore, that I never want to go there again (I also couldn't sleep in some nights because of this, it was very strange). And because of this aversion I stayed and gave the tea and the cake every week for over a year. I just wanted to know, what the problem was. And after a year the problem vanished: It was just kneeing down and giving the cake and the tea, nothing more. I felt much more free after this experience...

    Gassho
    Bianca
    Last edited by Marla567; 08-07-2012 at 02:57 PM.
    Gassho,
    Bianca

  35. #85
    Thank you Bianca ... that is a wonderful story and a great example of how just doing it helps us drop our conditions, thoughts, ideas, wants, etc about the ritual.

    Gassho
    Michael
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  36. #86
    Friends of Treeleaf Dokan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marla567 View Post
    And after a year the problem vanished: It was just kneeing down and giving the cake and the tea, nothing more.
    Wonderful example of closing the gap...thank you.

    Gassho,

    Dokan
    We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.
    ~AnaÔs Nin

  37. #87
    Someone wrote to ask if I was being inconsistent in some of my statements here ... expressing quite opposite advice.

    On the one hand, I have said that we can "Just Sit" as our one Practice, and encounter washing dishes, cleaning up after the dog, taking care of the baby, making coffee as our "munda-sacred rituals". No need for incense, Buddha statues, robes, Japanese chants and all the rest.

    On the other hand, I sometimes write how most of these Practices ... incense, statues, robes, chants ... can come to speak to one's heart, have meaning, embody the Buddhist Teachings, carry great lessons, honor Tradition. So, I have come to Practice them, and I recommend these Practices to others. (Well, not "mumbo-jumbo abracadabra Dharani" perhaps, but all the rest speak to me ... and even the Dharani speak to some folks even if not me).

    So, which is it? These Traditional Practice are necessary or not? They should be Practiced or not?

    My response? YES! All of the above!

    They are not necessary, and some days I do without all but Zazen. Other times, I light incense, bow before the altar, chant in Japanese because they are rich and wonderful Practices ... each Zazen in its widest meaning ... and honor our roots and Traditions too.

    Likewise, if someone is too attached to pomp and ceremony, or some "exotic and mysterious" faux-Asian Zenness, or to magic and myth and superstition ... I point out that the wrappings are not necessary, often a bunch of hocum and exaggeration, and we can do without all that. Just Sit.

    If someone resists the ceremony and ritual and Traditional practices, I tell them to drop the resistance and give em a try, go deep into each ... find the richness in every gesture, chant and bow and listen to traditional stories and sew a Rakusu.

    So, a perfectly consistent inconsistency!

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-08-2012 at 06:23 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  38. #88
    "Thank you for sharing your morning coffee Richard - and please don't think on it as it's beautiful as is.

    Gassho

    Willow"

    OK, thanks.



    "And because of this aversion I stayed and gave the tea and the cake every week for over a year. I just wanted to know, what the problem was. And after a year the problem vanished: It was just kneeing down and giving the cake and the tea, nothing more. I felt much more free after this experience...

    Gassho
    Bianca"

    So perserverance does pay off -)




    "So, a perfectly consistent inconsistency!

    Gassho, J"

    Always wondered what that was -)
    _/_
    Rich
    MUHYO
    無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

  39. #89
    This topic beats with the vitality of Treeleaf. It's an honor to read.

    A brief story from another sangha. A few weeks ago, the keys to one of the store rooms went missing, and thus the liturgy books were locked away. The group that was left had bells and drums and incense but no guidance for the session nor the printed sutras and chants. So we all took a deep breath and winged it, doing our level best to follow through with our rituals and chants guided by our faulty memories and shaky guts. We did a pretty damned good job, too!

    Afterward, several of us were chatting about how our sense of the rituals changed, that concentrating with such focus on the actions made us treat them with remarkable care and gratitude. This was particularly true for the chanting, I think: as one member pointed out, we were, in fact, chanting in manner that was thousands of years old, repeating from memory (instead of reading from print), and thus connecting our practice in a very real way to that of those ancestors we talk about now and then.

    The whole experience has left me with a greater appreciation for the ways in which this genjokoan, this practice of everyday life, is ennobled by rituals, and vice versa. Surely didn't see that coming.....
    Chris Seishi Amirault
    (ZenPedestrian)

  40. #90
    Quote Originally Posted by Hans View Post
    At the end of the day, Zen is a relgious practise based on the MYSTERY of what this is.
    Oh.. no mystery for me please. Mystery is a reaching in the dark. No reaching, no mystery. ..like the doughnut enso BTW.

    Gassho, kojip.
    大山

  41. #91
    Senior Member murasaki's Avatar
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    Unlike my fellow priests in Europe, I don t care about copying Japanese style and procedures and keep things to the strict minimum. Hannya Shingyo, a couple of short chants, daishin dharani and Bob s your uncle.
    Unlike old blokes like Keizan or Dogen, I am not living in a world where the fabric of reality is permanently woven with dreams, visions, and the likes. Nevertheless, I have experienced so many times stuff that has a magical edge to it, I am convinced of the power of sounds. Being a bad poet, a failed writer and musician, I cannot deny this reality too. But I am not attached to it. I don t practice to massage my heart and make myself feel good. I practice for others not gor my own f.... Up head.I would appreciate some people here to sometimes step out of their comfort zone and squarrish world and listen, listen, listen. Very much like Jundo, I can see all the esoteric and magical stuff as a clever device to control people s minds. Institutionalised rituals sometimes turn into empty ballet and money making opportunities. That does not disqualify the truth expressed in the robe, the mandala and the chant. Greedy and corrupted clergy has its way, we have ours. Faithful to Sawaki Kodo s teachings, I revere, protect and spread teaching of the robe, shave my head and sit. These three realities are one and cannot be devided. In shorts or kolomo, in front if a statue or a bin, same reality manifested at once. It is not just a wrapping and a trapping. It is the way of patch robed human beings.

    Gassho

    Taigu
    I very much agree with Taigu's statements here, and I can't really phrase it better than that.
    I do feel an affinity with traditions and keep them as much as one can *within reason* (and as much as one can without yet having a rakusu or a robe )

    Why not see life as ordinary cotton fabric with some tiny threads of something beyond rational understanding -- "magic" is a weak word for it but I don't know what else to say. Yes, if you wove the whole fabric with that stuff, it would be pretty damn gaudy and useless.

    I chant the Japanese (and sometimes dharani but I don't cling to it), and it resonates with me. And then life sort of goes on.

    Gassho
    Julia
    "The Girl Dragon Demon", the random Buddhist name generator calls me....you have been warned.

    Feed your good wolf.

  42. #92
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by catfish View Post
    The rest of the rituals are mine, done in private, but the meal gatha is for all to see.
    I don't see why this has to be so. I usually say the meal gatha quietly to myself. Making those close to me uncomfortable by my actions when there are alternatives doesn't seem good to me.
    迎 Geika

  43. #93
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amelia View Post
    I don't see why this has to be so. I usually say the meal gatha quietly to myself. Making those close to me uncomfortable by my actions when there are alternatives doesn't seem good to me.
    If my gatha was going to make other people uncomfortable, then for sure I would just say a quick, unobtrusive gatha to myself. However, when the only person who is uncomfortable is me, then I normally try to figure out why and push through. My wife doesn't care if I say a gatha, and no one in my town takes a second look at someone praying before eating. I'm pretty sure the source of my awkwardness (and the reason my wife poked fun at me) was my own previous harsh condemnation of Christians as I passed through my highly cynical, militant atheist phase of life.

    I now try to take my awkwardness in all things religious as a lesson in not judging others.
    Try not to be a jerk-- one of the Buddhas

  44. #94
    A heartfelt expression of gratitude and thanksgiving is always a beautiful thing to me; particularly (in my opinion) when it's ex tempore.
    Someone I know always makes a great show of formally reciting an interminably verbose meal gatha; straining to remember all the words by rote; he doesn't appear to attend at all to their meaning. Somehow, it never improves the taste of the meal.
    May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid
    and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power
    and may people think of befriending one another.

  45. #95
    Here is something to lighten things up, posted a couple of places today ... Zen and the Zen of Zen ... (some mildly adult content )

    Last edited by Jundo; 08-10-2012 at 09:25 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  46. #96
    Member BobSpour's Avatar
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    Nice one jundo
    its becoming something of a ritual checking this thread every day. V. Interesting

    _/\_
    bob

  47. #97
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Here is something to lighten things up, posted a couple of places today ... Zen and the Zen of Zen ... (some mildly adult content )

    Thank you Jundo ... this was great!

    Gassho
    Michael
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  48. #98
    An interesting discourse on tradition v. convention, which explains my thoughts on ritual more eloquently than I:

    “In actual fact, conventions are the death of real tradition as they are of all real life. They are parasites which attach themselves to the living organism of tradition and devour all its reality, turning it into a hollow formality.

    Tradition is living and active, but convention is passive and dead. Tradition does not form us automatically: we have to work to understand it. Convention is accepted passively, as a matter of routine. Therefore, convention easily becomes an evasion of reality. It offers us only pretended ways of solving the problems of living - a system of gestures and formalities. Tradition really teaches us to live and shows us how to take full responsibility for our own lives. Thus tradition is often flatly opposed to what is ordinary, to what is mere routine. But convention, which is a mere repetition of familiar routines, follows the line of least resistance. One goes through an act, without trying to understand the meaning of it all, merely because everyone else does the same. Tradition, which is always old, is at the same time ever new because it is always reviving - born again in each new generation, to be lived and applied in a new and particular way. Convention is simply the ossification of social customs. The activities of conventional people are merely excuses for NOT acting in a more integrally human way. Tradition nourishes the life of the spirit; convention merely disguises its interior decay.”
    Thomas Merton; No Man Is an Island
    Last edited by Piobair; 08-16-2012 at 10:44 PM.
    May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid
    and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power
    and may people think of befriending one another.

  49. #99
    A good, balanced bit on this topic at Kuzan Peter Schireson's blog: http://kuzanzen.org/2012/08/working-with-zen-forms/
    Gassho,
    Kaishin

  50. #100
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    A good, balanced bit on this topic at Kuzan Peter Schireson's blog: http://kuzanzen.org/2012/08/working-with-zen-forms/
    Thanks for the share Kaishin.

    Gassho
    Michael
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

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