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Thread: Eight Ways GUDO WAFU NISHIJIMA Will Help Change ZEN BUDDHISM

  1. #1

    Eight Ways GUDO WAFU NISHIJIMA Will Help Change ZEN BUDDHISM

    An essay penned by me in honor of my Teacher (and Taigu's Teacher's Teacher), who died this past month. It is about his way of practicing Zen and how he saw Buddhism changing as it came West and into modern times ...

    You can check it out here:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20160324...-zen-buddhism/

    Eight Ways GUDO WAFU NISHIJIMA Will Help Change ZEN BUDDHISM

    In a series of essays in the coming weeks, I hope to expand on each of these points. I will not assert that all are original ideas to Nishijima alone. There are many other folks these days who share such views to varying degrees. Nonetheless, what was unique about Nishijima Roshi was how thoroughly and energetically he called for a new vision of Zen Buddhism. Suchness transcends time, place and change, while Buddhist Truth is not dependent on outer wrappings. Yet, Buddhist traditions and practices must constantly change as they encounter new times, places and cultures. I believe that these eight changes which Nishijima symbolizes will have lasting effects on the future of Zen in the West; and Treeleaf Sangha, where I am one teacher, is dedicated and committed to their furtherance.

    1 – STEPPING THROUGH THE TRADITIONAL FOURFOLD CATEGORIES OF PRIEST & LAY, MALE & FEMALE:

    2 – FINDING OUR PLACE OF PRACTICE AND TRAINING “OUT IN THE WORLD”:

    3 – SAVING ZEN PRACTICE FROM THE ‘FUNERAL CULTURE’ DOMINANT IN JAPAN & THE CREEPING INSTITUTIONAL “CHURCHNESS” APPEARING IN THE WEST:

    4 – OFFERING A HOME TO ZEN FOLKS WHO ARE REFUGEES FROM INSTITUTIONALISM, SECT POLITICS AND SCANDAL IN CERTAIN PARTS OF THE ZEN WORLD:

    5 – A RESPECT FOR TRADITION, YET AN EMPHASIS ON FINDING BRAND NEW EXPRESSIONS SUITABLE FOR MODERN TIMES AND WESTERN CULTURE:

    6 – AN INTERPRETATION OF ZAZEN AS THE FULFILMENT OF REALITY ITSELF:

    7 – LOOKING FOR COMMON GROUND AND THE COMPATIBILITY OF BUDDHIST TEACHINGS, ZEN AND ZAZEN WITH WESTERN PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE:

    8 – AVOIDING SUPERSTITION, FANTASY, MIRACLES & MAGICAL INCANTATION IN BUDDHISM:
    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 06-20-2021 at 02:23 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2

  3. #3
    Well I'll be... Definitely looking forward to this series.

    Gassho,

    Kirk


    (Posted from my iPhone; please excuse any typos or brevity.)
    流文

    I know nothing.

  4. #4
    This seems like a very fitting tribute to Nishijima Roshi, Jundo, and a great reminder to those of us following his tradition of the things he stood for and the fact that good teachings and teachers are not so easy to find, even in the home of Zen.

    I very much look forward to you expanding on each of those eight points.


    Andy

  5. #5
    I look forward to exploring these with all.

    Clark

  6. #6
    Joyo
    Guest
    Thank you,Jundo. I will definitely be reading this.

    Gassho,
    Joyo

  7. #7
    Thank you Jundo ... I too look forward exploring these reasons/teachings. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

  8. #8
    Hello,

    As the ineffable: simple and breathtaking.

    Thank you.


    Gassho,
    Myosha
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  9. #9
    Even without the articles, this serves as a handy reminder-list of why this very lineage of Buddhism speaks to me so dearly. A great thanks to Jundo and Taigu for continuing his teachings here at treeleaf.

    Gassho,

    Dave.

  10. #10
    This should prove to be interesting. Will keep up with this. C:

    Gassho
    Javier


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #11


    Gassho,
    Juki
    "First you have to give up." Tyler Durden

  12. #12
    Nice! Thank you

    Gassho,

    Risho

  13. #13
    Really looking forward to this - thank you, Jundo!

    Gassho,

    Daitetsu
    no thing needs to be added

  14. #14
    I just read that again, and really nicely done. I'm looking forward to the future essays.

    All I have to say is that "I WANT TO BE A DENTIST!"

    Gassho,

    Risho

  15. #15
    Wonderful! I too am looking forward to hearing more. Thank you Jundo!


    Kelly/Jinmei

  16. #16
    Many thanks for this, Jundo.
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  17. #17
    Having read this article, I have a much deeper appreciation for Nishijima Roshi, our zendo, and its history. Deep bows, Matt J

  18. #18
    Great to get more background on Nishijima Roshi and our sangha, and looking forward to your future writings, Jundo!

    Gassho

    Vincent
    Ongen (音源) - Sound Source

  19. #19
    Hi all,
    I loved the article about Nishijima Roshi and am anxious to read more. The vitriol of some of the commentators after the article link is extremely annoying. It seems to me that some people just can't stand to have their fragile, antiquated dogma shaken by modern reformers. Without Treeleaf, I would never have been able to practice zazen or participate in a sangha. To me, this virtual sangha is just like home. Sorry, I had to vent. I get so angry when people who are obviously ultra-conservative comment on things they feel are "too radical" and are therefore invalid. My two cents is they should sit more, comment less.

    There. Feel better now .

    Gassho,
    Scott
    Forever is so very temporary...

  20. #20
    Hi Scott,

    Thank you. I have been planning to write more but SweepingZen, where we have a blog, has almost shut down recently. Maybe I will write something soon and just post them here.

    I know that those who wish to make a change may sometimes be resisted or called heretical by folks who wish to keep to the old ways. But I believe that there is room for old and for new, suited to different sentient beings. Many good paths for different feet, but one Buddha Mountain.

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  21. #21
    I enjoyed reading this essay and hope you post more. I knew a little about Nishijima from Brad Warner's books—I enjoyed learning more.

    Gassho,
    Rod

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    This seems like a very fitting tribute to Nishijima Roshi, Jundo, and a great reminder to those of us following his tradition of the things he stood for and the fact that good teachings and teachers are not so easy to find, even in the home of Zen.

    I very much look forward to you expanding on each of those eight points.


    Andy

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Timchenko_Oleg View Post
    I just fixed the link in this old post so that the original Obituary for Nishijima Roshi can be read ...

    https://web.archive.org/web/20160324...-zen-buddhism/

    He was my dear Teacher.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I just fixed the link in this old post so that the original Obituary for Nishijima Roshi can be read ...

    https://web.archive.org/web/20160324...-zen-buddhism/

    He was my dear Teacher.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    I just read the essay! Treeleaf absolutely embodies all those 8 thing you mention and whole lot more. Thank you, Jundo!

    SatToday
    Bion
    美音

    -------------------------
    Join me on Insight Timer
    Help me feed those in need by joining my Share The Meal team HERE

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I just fixed the link in this old post so that the original Obituary for Nishijima Roshi can be read ...

    https://web.archive.org/web/20160324...-zen-buddhism/

    He was my dear Teacher.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah


    Отправлено с моего SM-J710F через Tapatalk

  26. #26


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah
    泰林 - Tai Rin - Peaceful Woods

  27. #27
    Glad this resurfaced. It was posted just months before I joined but I just now saw it.mA good read and put a light on things for me.

    Thank you.

    Doshin
    St

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaishin View Post
    Many thanks for this, Jundo.
    Thanks again, Jundo And many thanks for the post bump, Timchenko! I have no recollection of this essay--great find.

    -satToday
    Thanks,
    Kaishin (開心, Open Heart)
    Please take this layman's words with a grain of salt.

  29. #29
    Jundo you have done our grandfather Nishijima such a great honor by opening Zen up to so many of us who would not have otherwise been able to truly live it. When I look at my family and my work team, I realize how profoundly Nishijima has affected their lives (for the better) through Treeleaf and me also, so just imagine all the outward ripples from this Sangha!
    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    She/her.
    I am a novice priest. Any resemblance my posts may have to actual teachings about the Dharma, living or dead, is purely coincidental (and just my attempt to be helpful).

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    Jundo you have done our grandfather Nishijima such a great honor by opening Zen up to so many of us who would not have otherwise been able to truly live it. When I look at my family and my work team, I realize how profoundly Nishijima has affected their lives (for the better) through Treeleaf and me also, so just imagine all the outward ripples from this Sangha!
    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    That’s a great perspective. It is certainly my hope that my family and friends benefit from TreeLeaf through me.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah

  31. #31
    Thank you Nishijima Roshi , and Jundo

    What a legacy and inspiration!

    Gassho, Yokai sat/lah

  32. #32
    Gassho

    I appreciate the ideas and efforts outlined in this article. Since rejoining my personal sitting practice a few months ago, I have felt a desire building in me to bring my understanding of Zen and the practices I learn here at Treeleaf and in my other studies into the dusty mental rooms of Christianity I have neglected for many years. Although I do not practice or believe in the tenets of modern American mainstream Christianity, I often wonder if, by reaching back to the beginning (and before) of the birth of that religion, one could pick up certain pieces and include them in a personal mosaic of spirituality. This is by no means an original idea of course, but what is mine is the path I am walking of searching for that possible compatibility. I did not rush out to the book store searching for someone else's recipe for Buddhist Christianity. I'm more on the path of looking up and researching the ingredients themselves, and finding the commonailities that work for me. I do not endeavor to become a Zen master of renown, but only a zen student of this body, as I live it and use it to help others in whatever capacity presents itself. That, to me, is Tao doing it's thing. Jundo's article is reassuring and helpful in keeping my efforts true, thank you!


    Kodo Tobiishi sat today
    Sometimes a Heron flies overhead, and Piranha eats the wave.

  33. #33
    Thanks for this great essay! For somebody who didn't come much into contact with Nishijima Roshi and his teaching so far, it's very instructive.

    Gassho,
    Stephan

    SatToday

    Sent from my Nokia 6.1 using Tapatalk

  34. #34
    Miss his blog, I'm going to dig, "To Meet the Real Dragon" off the bookshelve and re-read this month.

    I always appreciated his real world living take on Buddhism and that influence is alive and well at Treeleaf.

  35. #35
    Nishijima provided a home to such folks, each very devoted to this Zen path in his or her own sincere way. Our Treeleaf Sangha, and Nishijima’s other students, will continue to serve as a haven for other “misfit toys” in the future.
    This is beautiful, just beautiful... The main thing that kept me from practicing for a long time was that very "misfit toy" feeling. I was culturally unfamiliar with Buddhism, there was no one around me practicing, and seeking a different quest from my surroundings, family, and friends alienated me. And I was worried that this sense of alienation would deepen if my interest in Buddhism turned from theory to practice. So I was letting these worries stop me in order to maintain harmony with my environment.

    When I was looking for a community where I could practice, I had many options. You know, the pandemic has created dozens of online Zendo. However, in many of these, there was no opportunity to establish a community relationship where I could relieve the feeling of being a misfit toy. That's why I'm here now. I thank Nishijima Roshi for all he has done, but especially for this one. And of course, thank you Jundo & everyone here for continuing this mission of Nishijima.

    It has been more than three sentences but these things were what I have in my heart to say.

    Gassho,
    Doğukan.
    Sat.

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregor View Post
    Miss his blog, I'm going to dig, "To Meet the Real Dragon" off the bookshelve and re-read this month.

    I always appreciated his real world living take on Buddhism and that influence is alive and well at Treeleaf.
    Except I still feel that dear Nishijima Roshi went a bit overboard and "whole hog" with his ideas of breaking Dogen (and the Four Noble Truths, MMK) down to a line by line association with "materialism, idealism, action and reality." A brilliant, helpful insight, very perceptive and true, but he tended to run too far with it and apply it in a bit of a forced way (he basically reinterpreted the Four Noble Truths to fit his idea, for example, and each line of Dogen had to fit into one of the four categories. It is a stretch.) Likewise with his idea of Zazen as balance of the autonomic nervous system, which is a idea confirmed by researchers years ago, but he really ran with that ball very far.

    Nishijima Roshi was someone who sat Zazen, knew the peace and balance of Zazen, and then sought creatives ways to express that. I miss him.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 11-23-2021 at 01:36 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Except I still feel that dear Nishijima Roshi went a bit overboard and "whole hog" with his ideas of breaking Dogen (and the Four Noble Truths, MMK) down to a line by line association with "materialism, idealism, action and reality." A brilliant, helpful insight, very perceptive and true, but he tended to run too far with it and apply it in a bit of a forced way (he basically reinterpreted the Four Noble Truths to fit his idea, for example, and each line of Dogen had to fit into one of the four categories. It is a stretch.) Likewise with his idea of Zazen as balance of the autonomic nervous system, which is a idea confirmed by researchers years ago, but he really ran with that ball very far.

    Nishijima Roshi was someone who sat Zazen, knew the peace and balance of Zazen, and then sought creatives ways to express that. I miss him.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    Hey Jundo, I don't disagree his breakdown was a little further than I personally would take things. But, it was a good check for me as someone who probably took things too metaphysical at the time. Anyway Treeleaf and your teachings have always struck me as a good middle ground.


    Gassho,

    Greg
    ST

  38. #38
    Point 8 brings me closer to a Christian heritage, where I might find escape in magic. I think and feel away from superstition. I know myself more in faith with freshness.
    Gassho
    sat/lah
    He she who says to themselves, "joy."/winged life never destroys./She he who kisses joy/lives in eternity's sunrise.

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