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aprapti
02-28-2021, 01:06 PM
The Greek philosopher Heraclitos said: you never can step in a river twice.. My variation today: you never can read the same book twice. I am reading Dainin Katagiri, Returning to silence. It has been many years, that i have red it. And it is a totally new book and i love it!

gassho2

aprapti

sat and will sit in 55 minutes in the SSR.

Franz
02-28-2021, 02:14 PM
A wise observation indeed! Too often the monkey mind wants me to but new books, but maybe the right choice is to re-read the ones I already own [emoji106][emoji120]
Thanks for sharing!
SatToday

Sent from my SM-G770F using Tapatalk

Tairin
02-28-2021, 03:08 PM
I like everything about this posting Aprapti. I have accumulated a few Zen related books ... most recently have been because of the Treeleaf book club. Each year for Ango I have settled into rereading something I have. I always come away with a new perspective. I try to not fall into the trap of conspicuous purchases of new Zen readings.


One of my favourite quotes but until today I didn’t know who to attribute it to.

No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.


gassho2
Tairin
Sat today and lah

My apologies for the extra sentences

Risho
02-28-2021, 08:20 PM
The Greek philosopher Heraclitos said: you never can step in a river twice.. My variation today: you never can read the same book twice. I am reading Dainin Katagiri, Returning to silence. It has been many years, that i have red it. And it is a totally new book and i love it!

gassho2

aprapti

sat and will sit in 55 minutes in the SSR.

ha! gassho1

gassho

risho
-stlah

Jundo
03-01-2021, 02:52 AM
I am going to say something a bit sacrilegious (not the first time this week :p ). I say this as someone who has lived in Japan for 30+ years, listening to Japanese speakers as well as learning and wrestling with the Japanese language myself:

Shunryu Suzuki, Dainin Katagiri, Kobun Chino and several other Japanese teachers were terrible communicators, and that is one reason that their writings are sometimes hard to follow.

(There, I said it ... get the torches!) :eek:

It is not that their words which we might find hard to follow are always somehow mysterious, inscrutable Koans only for the enlightened to understand. It is primarily that they were just terrible speakers, especially in English.

Actually, what I just said is not completely right: There is much truth to the fact that their chosen topics are usually hard to start with, and are Koans and a bit mysterious, because they are discussing the teachings of Zen about 'emptiness' and such which leap beyond usual ways of expression. That is true. (Here is an example today in another thread):
https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?18608-Asked-and-answered&p=281721&viewfull=1#post281721

BUT, couple that with the fact that English was their second language, and they struggled with it (Suzuki's book 'Zen Mind Beginner's Mind' is still messy even after his American students heavily edited his talks to polish his English) ...

... coupled with the fact that Japanese public speaking and essay writing, even in Japanese, will often seem fuzzy and meandering to many westerners (especially if by Japanese of older generations). Good public speaking or essay writing in English is expected to have a clear start, which leads to A to B to C, and ties up with a good conclusion. In contrast, Japanese essays or talks often start at A, jump to Q, forget where they are, do a couple of curly-cues, then conclude about a whole different topic! Maybe even Dogen in Shobogenzo was a little like this too. (Of course, I suppose that the definition of 'terrible' is culturally relative, so I should not judge.)

Add that to the fact that most of the talks by Suzuki, Katagiri and others were oral presentations, sometimes quickly jotted down or poorly recorded by bad sound equipment (Suzuki's talks were so).

Add to that the fact that, frankly, even among some of the Japanese teachers, I think that Kobun Chino Roshi was a little tetched (as my grandma used to say). He was just weird and said strange stuff. (I used to think that maybe he did a lot of drugs back in the 70s, but I have heard conflicting stories about that.)

Add to that the fact that not all teachers or Zen books are saying the same things at all! We students expect all these teachers to be saying identical things, and can't figure about why some seem to be saying diametrically opposed things (like listening to someone explain football, not realizing that they are talking about baseball) or just different approaches to things by teachers even in the same Lineage (like two chefs discussing their personal approach to making soup).

For all these reasons, many Zen books are hard to follow. Still, they are worth it.

We have a few threads to help a bit:

eight types of enlightenment
https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?6567-Special-reading-eight-types-of-enlightenment

once born twice born zen
https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?6514-Special-reading-once-born-twice-born-zen-%28part-not-1%29

and

https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthread.php?6539-Special-reading-once-born-twice-born-zen-%28part-not-2%29

So, not every inscrutable teaching is an inscrutable teaching. I sometimes recount this story:



Reminds me of when (true story) I first came to Japan and met my first Japanese "Zen Master" (my first teacher, Azuma Roshi of Sojiji). I promptly proceeded to ask him the big questions, one of which was "What is Time? What is the "NOW"?"

His answer: "Now 5:30"

Wow, I thought. HOW PROFOUND! He must mean "time is just what it is!" and it is "Now! Just this moment, 5:30!!"

Instead, I later found out that his English was not so good, and he just thought I was asking what time it was. [scared]


Lots of stuff like that in Katagiri's books I think. However, lots of gold too.

Gassho, J

SatToday

(Sorry to run long and meander) :rolleyes:

Risho
03-01-2021, 03:41 AM
hahahaha

Jundo Roshi, you have this superskill to bring this stuff down to earth; you are a veritable zen wikipedia gassho1

gassho

risho
-stlah

Jundo
03-01-2021, 03:45 AM
hahahaha

Jundo Roshi, you have this superskill to bring this stuff down to earth; you are a veritable zen wikipedia gassho1

gassho

risho
-stlah

Ah, perfect example. Go to the Japanese language Wikipedia, type in Zen (禅), and hit 'translate to English.' One gets a similar effect from the AI. The first couple of sentences are pretty good, and then we are off to the races:


Zen Buddhism is based on the ancestor of the Daruma priest (Bodi Dharma), who was born in South India and went to China, and has zazen (zazen) as the basic training form. However, zazen itself has long been an important virtue of the basic practice of Buddhism, and it was not until the end of the Tang dynasty in China that Buddhist groups centered on zazen began to be called "Zen sect." When it was established as a sect in this way, there was a growing demand for its origin, and Daruma was the first ancestor to go back. Therefore, the existence of direct works by historical Daruma dolls is not recognized. The Zen that is said to have been brought about by the traditional Daruma doll is different from the Zen in the Buddhist School, and is the Zen of Mahayana.

Chinese Zen developed from the Tang dynasty to the Song dynasty, and although its power was still alive in the former conquest dynasty, it declined in the Ming dynasty. Japan 's pure Zen Buddhism was transmitted to the Kamakura era is around the beginning of, Muromachi era to the shogunate under the aegis Japan Buddhism was developed as one of the. After the Meiji Restoration, Japanese Zen was introduced to the world by Daisetsu Suzuki .

In Japan, Buddhist denominations that mainly practice zazen are often collectively referred to as "Zen sect." On the other hand, in 2019, the Rinzai sect Obaku sect alliance council consisting of 14 Rinzai sect and Obaku sect, and the Soto sect sectarian agency wrote a description of the history textbook of junior high school as "Zen sect" without writing individual denomination names. I offered to change it.

In recent years, there are many temples that are focusing on rehabilitation education and employee education that incorporate Zen training methods.

... As a general rule, Zen Buddhism is based on non- standing characters. Infidelity means that there is no true Buddhist law on letters and words, meaning that the words of the Buddhist ancestors can change depending on the interpretation, and it is a caution against the flaws of language.

Therefore Zen without making a central scriptures In today outside Betsuden Shishi Sosho to the principle of emphasizes, ad hoc therefor a tacit understanding of expedient such as, various features It is a sect with.

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E7%A6%85

:)

Gassho, J

STLah

Inshin
03-01-2021, 09:20 AM
In "Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen"
by Shunryū Suzuki there's a chapter on how he almost died of drawning.
It supposed to explain some deep meaning, but he was also talking a lot about how all he could see underwater were legs of beautiful girls and how he couldn't grab them to save himself.
The whole chapter was rather hilarious jumbo mambo, but I really enjoyed that book.

Gassho
Sat

Ryumon
03-01-2021, 09:34 AM
It is not that their words which we might find hard to follow are always somehow mysterious, inscrutable Koans only for the enlightened to understand. It is primarily that they were just terrible speakers, especially in English.



And this is why a lot of these books are uneven. As much as I think Opening the Hand of Thought is one of the best books, there are sections that I just can't follow; same with ZM,BM.

But, as the OP said, I do benefit from rereading these books every couple of years. As the reader changes, so does the reader's understanding of complex ideas.

Gassho,

Ryūmon

sat

Shinshi
03-01-2021, 06:46 PM
It's funny, when I think back to hearing him speak I don't recall him being hard to understand (I started my Zen journey ad Minnesota Zen Center). I remember his English wasn't great but you could understand what he was trying to say. Maybe part of it was being there and being able to see his gestures and body language.

Gassho, Shinshi

SaT-LaH

Ryushi
03-02-2021, 05:06 AM
My introduction to zen was through “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind”. I couldn’t tell you much of what was in it today except how I was heavily struck by the fact the first chapter wasn’t a history of zen or a theoretical treatise on zen, but just practical description of zazen. It was utterly different from what I was expecting.

I suspect if I read it again, I would get something utterly new and different from Suzuki Roshi’s words. But there are so many other books I’ve yet to read even one time, let alone twice!

Now, if someone asks for a intro book, I typically recommend “How to Cook Your Life” or “Opening the Hand of Thought”

Gassho

Sat today

Ryumon
03-02-2021, 10:05 AM
My introduction to zen was through “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind”. I couldn’t tell you much of what was in it today except how I was heavily struck by the fact the first chapter wasn’t a history of zen or a theoretical treatise on zen, but just practical description of zazen. It was utterly different from what I was expecting.


Same here. I first read that about 40 years ago, and found it very unexpected. It wasn't what I expected at all.



I suspect if I read it again, I would get something utterly new and different from Suzuki Roshi’s words. But there are so many other books I’ve yet to read even one time, let alone twice!


I re-read it every few years. (In fact, I should re-read it again soon; it's been a while.) The teachings unfold differently each time, according to the way I've changed, and my understanding of zen.

Gassho,

Ryūmon

sat

Heiso
03-09-2021, 04:14 PM
Jundo, I'm so relieved to hear your sacrilege because I've been carrying a terrible secret through the last few years of zen practice: Zen Mind Beginner's Mind put me off practicing zen about 3 or 4 times. I could just never get on with it and while I appreciate it a bit more now, I wish someone had recommended Opening the Hand of Thought to me years ago.

There, I've said it and I fee much better.

Gassho,

Heiso

StLah

Risho
03-09-2021, 07:14 PM
Jundo, I'm so relieved to hear your sacrilege because I've been carrying a terrible secret through the last few years of zen practice: Zen Mind Beginner's Mind put me off practicing zen about 3 or 4 times. I could just never get on with it and while I appreciate it a bit more now, I wish someone had recommended Opening the Hand of Thought to me years ago.

There, I've said it and I fee much better.

Gassho,

Heiso

StLah

Ha! :D

Gassho

Risho
-stlah

StoBird
03-31-2021, 01:48 AM
Jundo, I'm so relieved to hear your sacrilege because I've been carrying a terrible secret through the last few years of zen practice: Zen Mind Beginner's Mind put me off practicing zen about 3 or 4 times. I could just never get on with it and while I appreciate it a bit more now, I wish someone had recommended Opening the Hand of Thought to me years ago.

There, I've said it and I fee much better.


Gassho,

Heiso

StLah

I started out by trying to listen to the Minnesota Zen Meditation Center’s archive of Dainin Katagiri and not only is the communication bad but the recordings are terrible. If I wasn’t actually there in the MZMC I probably would’ve quit practicing. And honestly even then, if It weren’t for the teachings of Jundo I probably would have quit too.

Gassho,
Tom

SatLah