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Thread: SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: Why Zen Folks FAIL!! (I) - A New Video & Podcast Series

  1. #1

    SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: Why Zen Folks FAIL!! (I) - A New Video & Podcast Series

    Zen folks fail because we're IGNORANT, DELUDED sentient beings, of course! But more specifically, because of several common mistakes and misguided assumptions among many Zen students new and old (and by so-called Zen Teachers too).

    This is the first of a NEW VIDEO/AUDIO PODCAST SERIES and, over the coming weeks, I will look at many of the reasons that Zen students, Teachers, Zen groups and Buddhism in general are EPICALLY FAILING in the West (and why they are also doing quite well in so many ways, thank you!) My observations come from my 35 years of this Practice, watching countless students come and (mostly) go from the many Zen groups I have visited and come to know in Japan, America and Europe. Even many of those who stay seem frequently to have some strange ideas and bad habits.

    I will pull no punches in this series of talks. I may step on a few toes. We Zen folks may be our own worst enemies.

    Today, we will look at how many students over the years have had terribly idealized images and expectations about Zen, Zen "Masters", "Enlightenment", their life after even years of Practice, about Buddhism ... even about Buddhas! They have OVERSOLD themselves about Zen. Maybe it was oversold to them.

    But also, many folks (often in reaction when the picture turns out to be more complex), head in the opposite direction, becoming overly skeptical and critical of Zen, Zen Teachers, Communities and all the rest. These folks are making an equally serious error, and have their heads up their Zafus! They have UNDERSOLD the promise of this Way.

    What all such folks miss is the real Treasure, the Liberation, the Promise which jumps right beyond and right through both "OVER" and "UNDER" ... as this sometimes beautiful, sometimes so ugly world of Samsara proves to be the Pure Land all along. The hype and all the hoopla turn out to be true! Maybe students do not believe in Zen enough! This Path delivers all that was promised, just what the doctor ordered, but not always how, what and where folks might expect.

    We might sometimes fail, yet there is no way to fail and no place to fall.

    THE DOWNLOADABLE AUDIO PODCAST VERSION IS HERE:

    http://treeleaf.podbean.com/e/may-20...ks-fail-part-i





    (By the way, a shoutout to David Chadwick, long time Practitioner and author of the best, funniest book on Westerners practicing in Japan, THANK YOU AND OK, AN AMERICAN ZEN FAILURE IN JAPAN, who invented the logo above for some t-shirts and such here)
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-12-2018 at 11:45 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Hope the podcast for this gets posted soon, we all need to hear these things.

    -James
    Gassho
    Sat Today

  3. #3
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
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    Sekishi
    #sattoday
    #failedtodaytoo
    sekishi
    石志

    As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  4. #4
    This is wonderful Jundo, very exciting. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  5. #5
    Thank you Jundo.

    Gassho, Kyotai
    Sat today
    I am a student at Treeleaf. Please take what I say with a grain of salt. Gassho

  6. #6
    This is wonderful and much needed Jundo. Looking forward to this.

    Deep bows
    Yugen


    sat2day

  7. #7
    Thank you Jundo!

    Will sit with this.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  8. #8

    SIT-A-LONG with Jundo: Why Zen Folks FAIL!! (I) - A New Video & Podcast Series

    Thank you, Jundo. I love podcasts and look forward to listening to this series.

    Gassho, Jim

    #sattoday

  9. #9
    muchisimas gracias senor jundo

    _/\_

  10. #10
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
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    Hi all, the audio version is now linked above, or should auto-magically appear in your podcatcher if you are subscribed.

    Gassho,
    Sekishi
    #sattoday
    sekishi
    石志

    As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  11. #11
    Thank you, Jundo, very interesting topic. I am looking forward to your future talks in this series.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  12. #12
    Member Geika's Avatar
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    Thank you, Jundo. Will be listening.

    Gassho, sat today
    迎 Geika

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Sekishi View Post
    Hi all, the audio version is now linked above, or should auto-magically appear in your podcatcher if you are subscribed.

    Gassho,
    Sekishi
    #sattoday
    Thanks Sekishi, it has downloaded to my podcast list! =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    #sattoday
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  14. #14
    Treeleaf Unsui Shugen's Avatar
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    Gassho,

    Shugen

    #sattoday


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    As a priest in training, please take everything I say with a pinch of salt

    Meido Shugen
    明道 修眼

  15. #15
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
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    First off, let me say again, thank you Jundo for this talk (and the promise of more to come). I think it is a wonderful opportunity to have an ongoing discussion about what the real "promise" of Buddhist practice is, and how we engage with practice for "the long haul". Particularly in the Soto school, where the carrots of nirvana, enlightenment, and kensho go into the soup instead of being dangled in front of us as goals to strive for. There are aspects of this talk that are very timely and applicable for my own practice.

    I wonder if we could talk here a little about the idea of "failure" in practice. I am experiencing real aversion (in both the Buddhist and non-Buddhist senses of the word) to the term and idea of "failure" (or even "epic fail" from the talk). I think I understand the overall message; the Buddha's teachings on the greed, anger, and delusion of sentient beings points to how we all "fail" due to unskillful actions and perceptions - we "fail" to see our true nature.

    However, going into the talk with a description of sitting in the Buddha hall with a dozen people, or thirty people, knowing that many more have sat for a while but have either left the Sangha, or left practice all together, are we to consider that a failure as well? I sometimes encounter the idea that there is "no bad Zazen". Is there "bad practice"? Can we "fail" at practice? I'm curious what others think about sitting for a few weeks, or months, or years, and then quitting (either continuing as solitary practitioners, or perusing a different path entirely). Is this "failure"?

    Am I just hopelessly obtuse?

    Gassho,
    Sekishi
    #sattoday
    sekishi
    石志

    As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  16. #16
    Thank you

    Gassho,

    Risho
    -sattoday

  17. #17
    Treeleaf Engineer Seimyo's Avatar
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    Much to sit with. Thank you Jundo.

    Gassho
    Seimyo

    #sattoday

    明 Seimyō (Christhatischris)

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Sekishi View Post
    I wonder if we could talk here a little about the idea of "failure" in practice. I am experiencing real aversion (in both the Buddhist and non-Buddhist senses of the word) to the term and idea of "failure" (or even "epic fail" from the talk). I think I understand the overall message; the Buddha's teachings on the greed, anger, and delusion of sentient beings points to how we all "fail" due to unskillful actions and perceptions - we "fail" to see our true nature.

    However, going into the talk with a description of sitting in the Buddha hall with a dozen people, or thirty people, knowing that many more have sat for a while but have either left the Sangha, or left practice all together, are we to consider that a failure as well? I sometimes encounter the idea that there is "no bad Zazen". Is there "bad practice"? Can we "fail" at practice? I'm curious what others think about sitting for a few weeks, or months, or years, and then quitting (either continuing as solitary practitioners, or perusing a different path entirely). Is this "failure"?
    Hi Sekishi,

    First, there is no place to "fail" ... even when we fail. It is rather as I say, there is no "bad Zazen", even the bad Zazen (that "good Zazen" is sitting beyond all judgements of "good and bad" and any other place to be or thing to do in that moment, while "bad Zazen" is sitting asking "Am I doing this right, and is it a waste of time?") It is rather as I say that, ultimately, there is no "place to fall off Buddha mountain", and yet some paths lead into the mud, in circles and others right off a cliff!!

    I also believe that even many of the folks who leave the Practice ... whether after a minute, a month or a year ... will be influenced in their life, touched by it in some way. One may leave, but it doesn't quite leave one's heart. Nor do I believe that there is one path suited to all folks, or the "Zen" is "one size fits all". To each their own.

    However, over the years, I have come to see that that there are some strange ideas about Zen Practice, "Enlightenment", methods and the goals of all this madness. They tend to get in the way, and often keep people going in circles, falling off the Zafu if not off the cliff.

    It may not be true in this Sangha (where the message is a bit different, and we are all "bozos on the bus" ... although some are more experienced "bozos" guiding the other bozos ), but all long time Zen folks should read some of the essays by Stuart Lachs about attitudes toward the "Roshi". Note that Stuart way, WAY WAY overstates his case, paints with a broad brush and throws the Baby Buddha out with the bathwater (and that attitudes have improved in some ways with time), but these attitudes really exist to various degrees in many, many Sangha and for many practitioners even now.

    Richard Baker, in perhaps the best selling Zen book in the English language, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind describes the term roshi in the following manner,

    A roshi is a person who has actualized that perfect freedom which is the potentiality for all human beings. He exists freely in the fullness of his whole being. The flow of his consciousness is not the fixed repetitive patterns of our usual self-centered consciousness, but rather arises spontaneously and naturally from the actual circumstances of the present. The results of this in terms of the quality of his life are extraordinary-buoyancy, vigor, straightforwardness, simplicity, humility, security, joyousness, uncanny perspicacity and unfathomable compassion. His whole being testifies to what it means to live in the reality of the present. Without anything said or done, just the impact of meeting a personality so developed can be enough to change another's whole way of life. But in the end it is not the extraordinariness of the teacher that perplexes, intrigues, and deepens the student, it is the teacher's utter ordinariness.
    It should be noted that this was written as the introduction to the words and teachings of Mr. Baker's teacher, Suzuki- roshi. This introduction was meant to describe a real person, and by extension, as is clearly stated, all people with the title roshi. It is not an idealized reference to a heavenly being or some distant or mythological religious figure.

    Zen Master Seung Sahn, who is the most famous Korean Zen Master in the West, in Dropping Ashes on the Buddha , one of his better selling books, related the following exchange of letters that indicates his view of the Zen Master. In a letter to the Master, someone asked, "If a Zen Master is capable of doing miracles, why doesn't he do them?... Why doesn't Soen Sunim do as Jesus did- make the blind see, or touch a crazy person and make him sane? Wouldn't even such a showy miracle as walking on water make people believe in Zen so that they would begin to practice..." The Master (that is, Seung Sahn) replied, "Many people want miracles, and if they witness miracles they become attached to them. But miracles are only a technique. They are not the true way. If a Zen Master used miracles often, people would become very attached to this technique of his, and they wouldn't learn the true way..."

    ...

    The well known Chinese Ch'an teacher, Master Sheng-yen also said of the Zen Master, "it should be remembered that the mind of the master is ever pure... and even if the master tells lies, steals, and chases women..., he is still to be considered a true master as long as he scolds his disciples for their transgressions."

    http://terebess.hu/english/lachs.html
    One merely has to go around the internet to find how common such attitudes are in Buddhism in general, even today.

    To see how such idealized images have thrived in some Zen and other Buddhist communities, one would also be well advised to look through "OBC Connect", a forum dedicated to recollections of long term members and alumni of Kennett Roshi's Order of Buddhist Contemplatives (an organization with many wonderful qualities, but also some particular views too) ...

    i talked and counseled well over 1,000 people who had been in various religious / spiritual /cultic organizations, what became overwhelming apparent was that the shadows of the gurus were running rampant and causing all sorts of suffering in the lives of their devotees and students. And Shasta was a prime example of this strange and convoluted drama.

    In all cases, the main narrative in these organizations and communities was that the roshi / rinpoche / guru / perfect master had no self, no ego, no persona, no personal desires or wants, no shadow and that everything the master did was an expression of the divine, of the Buddha Nature, of selfless perfection, of God.

    ...

    ... Over the next postings, I am going to talk directly about Kennett's personality, her unresolved issues, her history, ego, self, and how her personality affected her students and her legacy -- all the aspects of her life that were not supposed to exit anymore -- after she became an official Zen "master." She had a kensho, she received transmission, she was certified by a Zen abbot -- and from that moment on, the story goes, she had no self, no personality, no shadow, no negative aspects. Well, maybe she was still a tiny bit "human," maybe she had a few eccentricities or slight flaws, but for all practical purposes, she was a living Buddha and not really human.

    So, in this topic, I am going to address the my reflections on her personality / shadow / human nature as I experienced it, not the fantasy, not the myth. I am going to talk honestly about what I saw and what I experienced in living closely with Kennett for those seven years.

    http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/t15...s-and-shasta-s
    Gassho, J (Bozo driving this Bus)

    PS - There is a Precept cautioning against criticizing the Buddhist Practice of others. I honor that, but also believe that it does not prevent constructive and "non-angry" criticism of endemic problems and excesses. The Buddha himself, Dogen and most of the other ancient masters had some opinions about what was right and wrong with the state of practice in their day!
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-23-2015 at 03:31 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  19. #19
    "The Buddha himself, Dogen and most of the other ancient masters had some opinions about what was right and wrong . . . ." JC

    Hello,

    It's all practice. Have fun.

    "People with opinions just go around bothering each other." Shakyamuni Buddha




    Gassho
    Myosha sat today
    Last edited by Myosha; 05-23-2015 at 04:06 PM.
    "Recognize suffering, remove suffering." - Shakyamuni Buddha when asked, "Uhm . . .what?"

  20. #20
    Just want to comment on this guff from the above quote within a quote..uh... within a quote.

    The well known Chinese Ch'an teacher, Master Sheng-yen also said of the Zen Master, "it should be remembered that the mind of the master is ever pure... and even if the master tells lies, steals, and chases women...,
    Well who's mind aint? The proof of the pudding is how he lives. One thing Jundo has said that had a strong impact on me (can't locate the thread sorry) was not to expect perfection from a teacher but to watch how she/he recovers from his/her human mistakes. That's beautiful. Just sayin. Thank you for the video.

    Gassho
    Daizan

    sat today

  21. #21
    I'm really looking forward to these talks. I've been thinking a lot about teachers and zen and relationships between practitioners in a sangha. Was talking about this with my son and he gifted me with this poem by Camus - pretty much says it all:

    Don't walk behind me; I may not lead.
    Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow.
    Just walk beside me and be my friend.

    Sometimes people leave Sanghas or practice because the teacher was not what they had conjured up in their minds. I have found the most valuable teachers to be those who wear their humanity, wrinkles and all.

    Deep bows
    Yugen


    sat2day

  22. #22
    Yugen, thanks to your son for that beautiful quote, and thank you for sharing this perspective.

    Chasing the source, I've found two versions (just for fun):

    Ne marche pas devant moi, je ne suivrai peut-être pas.
    Ne marche pas derrière moi, je ne te guiderai peut-être pas.
    Marche juste à côté de moi et sois mon ami.
    »
    Citation d'Albert Camus, Les Justes

    Don’t walk in front me, I may not follow,
    don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.
    Just walk beside me and be my friend and
    together we will walk in the ways of Hashem.

    (from a school camp song book)

    Gassho,
    Danny
    #sattoday

  23. #23
    Hi guys,

    I sat with this for a couple of days because Jundo's talk hit right where it needed for my little experience here in my country.

    You see, we have been dominated by the Catholic church for more than 5 centuries and this has molded people's minds into believing that any guy that talks spiritual and who wears funny clothes is an enlightened being. It's a common thing for me to hear stories or personal accounts about how a guy creates a cult and starts living off of people's dreams and money.

    It's sad really, because folks put themselves in danger and in a weak position when they suspend critical mind and start believing in a perfect "master".

    This year I started a sitting group. It all was going fine and suddenly people stopped coming to sit. And I think that's because they didn't find what they were looking for: great spirituality, rituals, colors, festivals, magical thought and a priest whom might pose as an enlightened being.

    And then there's the money thing. First, people simply don't trust someone who never charges a dime. And secondly, when people don't pay for stuff, they get lazy and won't attend because they don't create a material link with what's being given. Crazy.

    I guess that's how it's going to be because zen is hard for Mexicans. Super hard actually, because we put effort into seeing life with both eyes.

    Again, thanks for this teaching.

    Gassho,

    Kyonin
    #SatToday
    Hondō Kyōnin
    奔道 協忍

  24. #24
    Thanks Jundo, and all. I needed that.

    Gassho
    Meishin
    Sat today

  25. #25
    here's another bozo being greatful for this teaching

    Gassho, sat today

  26. #26
    Member Getchi's Avatar
    Join Date
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    Between Sea and Sky, Australia.
    Im reminded of a line; "If the lotus arises from the mud, is not the mud good too?"

    Thankyou Jundo, I deeply appreciate your honesty, humour and clarity on the two-eyes-one-vision approach to accepting this crazy, scary beautiful world. We are after all, just humans helping humans.

    "People dont trust people who dont charge a dime" - So true Kyonin, ive been involved with several community groups that have failed because of this. They never realised the true cost was effort and appreciation for themself and others, sad but keep going!

    Eagerly awaiting the next podcast!

    Gassho.

    #SatToDay
    Last edited by Getchi; 05-25-2015 at 02:04 PM. Reason: Forgot to English.
    Nothing to do? Why not Sit?

  27. #27
    Thanks Jundo, I needed something like this, I guess.

    I will listen to it carefully and sit with it.


    Gassho,
    Daiyo

    SatToday
    Gassho,Walter

  28. #28
    The link to the video is dead. Any ideas?

    "The URL you requested has been blocked. URL = www.youtube.com/embed/hiqIQ-vT5-k?wmode=opaque"
    Gassho,Walter

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Daiyo View Post
    The link to the video is dead. Any ideas?

    "The URL you requested has been blocked. URL = www.youtube.com/embed/hiqIQ-vT5-k?wmode=opaque"
    Should be working fine, and seems to be working here. Anyone else having a problem?

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  30. #30
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daiyo View Post
    The link to the video is dead. Any ideas?

    "The URL you requested has been blocked. URL = www.youtube.com/embed/hiqIQ-vT5-k?wmode=opaque"
    Hi Daiyo,

    It is still working for me. The language used in the error message sounds like it might be something blocking it on your end (e.g. a corporate firewall at work that doesn't allow youtube, or embedded video, etc.).

    Gassho,
    Sekishi
    #sattoday
    sekishi
    石志

    As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  31. #31
    Thanks Sekishi, what is strange is that in the morning I could see it.

    I'll try again at home


    gassho,
    Daiyo

    SatToday

    Quote Originally Posted by Sekishi View Post
    Hi Daiyo,

    It is still working for me. The language used in the error message sounds like it might be something blocking it on your end (e.g. a corporate firewall at work that doesn't allow youtube, or embedded video, etc.).

    Gassho,
    Sekishi
    #sattoday
    Gassho,Walter

  32. #32
    Corporate fire walls ... a major cause of Zen failures!
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  33. #33
    Thank you, Jundo.

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

  34. #34
    Hi,

    sorry, but I am impressed, how easy Judo´s words are eaten (not as a criticism). I wounder, if there is realy no miracle-thing or -capability? Is the real world of science so strong, that we cannot belief in miracles?
    I was practicing Shaolin and I saw a few masters who did very strange things.
    Isn´t that just the Problem of "you are not allowed to wish satori, enlightenment, etc." becourse it hinders you? Is the one eye not different to the second eye?
    Why is it bad to belief, that miracles happen as an effect? When I do a lot of therapy with Clients I get an idea of how this or that Person is structured. No Magic. Just a question of practice.

    And how can I say, that without zazen my life would be so or so. I do not have the possibility to compare. How could I say, that zazen lets you just see the light of komyozo. When I could see this light (which isn´t a real light maybe) that is for me a miracle. Not every person in my environment sees that light. I would also develop an ethical life if I would think about the speaches of Jesus for one hour a day. So, somehow I am a little confused about the "You just will be a little bit less attached to ....." Or what do you mean, when you speak about the third eye, Jundo. Is that just a metaphor? What for? Somehow I miss the link.

    Gassho,
    Ernst

    PS: Please, take it as a statement with a positive intention. I read it and it sounds a little strong, that is not my intention.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernstguitar View Post
    Hi,

    sorry, but I am impressed, how easy Judo´s words are eaten (not as a criticism). I wounder, if there is realy no miracle-thing or -capability? Is the real world of science so strong, that we cannot belief in miracles?
    I was practicing Shaolin and I saw a few masters who did very strange things.
    Isn´t that just the Problem of "you are not allowed to wish satori, enlightenment, etc." becourse it hinders you? Is the one eye not different to the second eye?
    Why is it bad to belief, that miracles happen as an effect? When I do a lot of therapy with Clients I get an idea of how this or that Person is structured. No Magic. Just a question of practice.

    And how can I say, that without zazen my life would be so or so. I do not have the possibility to compare. How could I say, that zazen lets you just see the light of komyozo. When I could see this light (which isn´t a real light maybe) that is for me a miracle. Not every person in my environment sees that light. I would also develop an ethical life if I would think about the speaches of Jesus for one hour a day. So, somehow I am a little confused about the "You just will be a little bit less attached to ....." Or what do you mean, when you speak about the third eye, Jundo. Is that just a metaphor? What for? Somehow I miss the link.

    Gassho,
    Ernst

    PS: Please, take it as a statement with a positive intention. I read it and it sounds a little strong, that is not my intention.
    Yes there is! Many years ago, I was touched by zen and the feeling that this was my path has evervrealy left. How and why that happens? I don't know, it's a miracle. After many years of focusing on other things, having the idea that there were more important things to take care of, I concluded that this is still for me the one and only path. Returning after so many years feels still like a miracle. Returning every morning to my zafu, what happens during my meditation, being aware of every day life, all miracles that outweigh any supernatural ability or experience. For me, I see many miracles.

    SAT2day
    Kind regards

    Erik

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Ernstguitar View Post
    ... I wounder, if there is realy no miracle-thing or -capability? Is the real world of science so strong, that we cannot belief in miracles?
    I was practicing Shaolin and I saw a few masters who did very strange things.
    Isn´t that just the Problem of "you are not allowed to wish satori, enlightenment, etc." becourse it hinders you? Is the one eye not different to the second eye?
    Why is it bad to belief, that miracles happen as an effect?
    Hi Ernst,

    Oh, so many miracles! Being alive, breathing, making toast, feeling the rain on one's tongue ... all miracles! When we truly perceive this so-called "ordinary" world for what it is, it is simply a miracle to exist from start to finish. Zazen allows us to experience this wonder and amazing fact of being alive.

    But if you ask me about swamis who claim they can levitate and monks of old who attempted to bring rain in a drought by chanting ... I will say, skeptically, that "maybe so", but I rather doubt the reality absent evidence. Anyway, it is not central to Practice. (I also saw some great feats by Kung Fu monks when I lived in China, but nothing that defied the restrictions of physics and reasonable explanation). I do not believe that science is the final explanation for all things, and there are as yet unimagined and undiscovered wonders in this world. However, most claims of miracles and the supernatural turn out to be rumor. self-deception and ignorance.

    I do believe that Zazen allows us to encounter the "miraculous" illumination of seeing this life in a new light. It is wonderful, so special ... yet nothing special.

    Please listen to the next talks in this series, and it may clarify some points.

    I once wrote this ...

    Master Dogen told this story in Shobogenzo-Jinzu (Spiritual Powers) ...

    The layman Pang Yun was an extraordinary person of the ancestral seat ... [H]e met and encountered many masters of the school possessed of the way. Once he said, "The spiritual powers and the wondrous functions: bearing water and carrying firewood." We should investigate well the rationale [of this saying].

    ... Even if we do not know that bearing water is the spiritual powers, that the spiritual powers are bearing water is irreversible. ... This being the case, while [miracles such as] the emitting of water [in great rivers from the body] in the small vehicle may be a spiritual power, we should study the fact that the bearing of water is a great spiritual power. Bearing water and carrying firewood have never been discarded, nor have people neglected them. That they have, therefore, from ancient times to the present, been handed down from this [person] to that, without ever reverting for a moment, is the spiritual powers and wondrous functions. This is the great spiritual powers; they cannot be the same as "the little stuff."
    The true "Magic & Miracle" of Zen is to feel the breeze on one's cheek, to scratch the nose, hold a tiny baby, go to work, taste the sweet and bitter, smile or shed a tear, make toast. That true "Miracle & Magic" is to drop all thought of division and separation and know the Wholly Holy Whole flowing everywhere. Not two.

    Actually, Zen Masters have wrestled for centuries on trying to explain to their students why they seemed to lack the psychic and magical powers described quite literally in many old stories. The typical response: that the most ordinary is the most magical when seen with a Buddha Eye.

    (a wonderful scholars article on how Dogen and other earlier Masters approached the powers is "Disarming the Superpowers" in a recent Steve Heine book on Dogen, unfortunately ... despite all my powers to make the partial immediately whole ... only available in pieces online, such as from page 195 here: http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=Y...ers%22&f=false )
    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    Last edited by Jundo; 05-27-2015 at 04:31 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  37. #37
    Thought provoking and modesty-inducing. Sometimes what you get is not what you expected. Sometimes what you expected was not what you needed to get. Thank you Jundo for this.

    Gassho,
    Dillon

  38. #38
    Hmmmmm

    First Jundo let me just say thank you for doing these great talks; I find your human-ness refreshing, and that among many spiritual teachers is miracle enough.

    I really felt compelled to address Ernst' comments, but also in a way that further illustrates, hopefully what Jundo is getting at here. Ersnt, I am a 20 year veteran of practicing Traditional Oriental Medicine, and I also am a Black Belt in Choy Lee Fut Kung Fu which has some of it's roots in Shaolin practices. I have spent my entire adult professional life in the alternative medical community and let me tell you I know exactly what you are talking about Ernst when you say you have seen some "miraculous" stuff. Unlike, Jundo based on my life experiences and what I still consider to be objective thinking I do tend to believe that some people can exhibit some fairly amazing powers, whether you talk about healing, martial arts, psychic abilities etc., my opinion varies here that these things DO exist. This issue of that view not being supported here was almost part of MY reason for an epic Zen failure.

    The thing is, as Jundo was saying sometimes our tendency in the West is we tend to gravitate to some of these miraculous stories of some living gurus or old dead guys doing amazing things and we think "ok they have found a spiritual level that I want a part of" or this is evidence of their spiritual superiority. Frankly I think this comes partly from much of the traditional Christian background in the West, or frankly too many movies. But.....

    BUT THAT ISN'T ZEN, BUDDHISM or ENLIGHTENMENT

    This practice has nothing to do with developing superpowers, and having superpowers doesn't necessarily have to do with anything about being an enlightened being. If you could fly you could still be a completely deluded being, and the goal or purpose of this practice has nothing to do with acquiring knowledge of any of that stuff, it has to do with acquiring the state of being that brings us to see through both our eyes to a reality free form ignorance and delusion and suffering. If you can fly and are still unhappy because your girlfriend broke up with you, you are not there.

    So, I think many people are lacking a basic understanding of what Buddhism is about and when there is no "magic" they get discouraged and look elsewhere but they are unable to see the treasure in front of them because they are looking for the wrong thing. I would highly, highly recommend this book for newcomers-
    Buddhism is Not What You Think, Steve Hagen.

    Many of the esoteric practices that might be seen as "miraculous" by people are derived from Taoist or other energetic practices in Asia involving the use of chi or prana. Certainly amazing and personally an interest of mine, but not the goal or purpose of Zen. I once knew a lady who was an incredibly gifted psychic who was a very miserable and mean spirited person.

    Incidentally much of what goes on at Shaolin these days has been criticized as turning monks into "performance monks". According to the book American Shaolin, they don't even sit much. It has been reduced to a tourist trap for visitors interested in martial arts, and the current head abbot of the Shaolin Temple is embroiled in scandal due to his profiteering and involvements with prostitutes.

    I regret not being more eloquent here, but I think this gets my point across well enough

    Gassho
    Ishin
    Sat Today- and didn't levitate once.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Ishin View Post
    ...I really felt compelled to address Ernst' comments, but also in a way that further illustrates, hopefully what Jundo is getting at here. Ersnt, I am a 20 year veteran of practicing Traditional Oriental Medicine, and I also am a Black Belt in Choy Lee Fut Kung Fu which has some of it's roots in Shaolin practices. I have spent my entire adult professional life in the alternative medical community and let me tell you I know exactly what you are talking about Ernst when you say you have seen some "miraculous" stuff. Unlike, Jundo based on my life experiences and what I still consider to be objective thinking I do tend to believe that some people can exhibit some fairly amazing powers, whether you talk about healing, martial arts, psychic abilities etc., my opinion varies here that these things DO exist. This issue of that view not being supported here was almost part of MY reason for an epic Zen failure.
    Hi Ishin,

    this part of your comment caught my eye, and I just want to tell you that your “different” view is absolutely supported here, if the individual support of Sangha members counts. I am here, and I value scientific and objective thinking, and I also support you and your own experience 100%. For the record, I have had a few such experiences. But even if I hadn’t had any such experiences, I know that as time marches on, some current scientific truths will turn out to be laughably grounded in misperception and ignorance, and some things that seem miraculous or undefinable will find scientific explanations.

    As you say, very eloquently and clearly, this is an entirely separate thing from Zen.

    As Buddhists, we are encouraged to look deeply into our own experience to find the truth. I’d be sad if issues like this made anyone feel they didn’t belong here. What is required here at Treeleaf is not a certain set of beliefs, but an active Soto Zen practice. That's my understanding anyway.

    Gassho
    Lisa
    sat today
    Last edited by Byokan; 09-13-2015 at 02:23 AM.

  40. #40
    Regardless of if I agree with what the person is saying or not, I always appreciate an honest, heartfelt post, Ishin. In fact, whether one agrees or not is irrelevant. So thank you for sharing, and for what you said here.

    Gassho,
    Joyo
    sat today

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Ishin View Post
    Hmmmmm

    First Jundo let me just say thank you for doing these great talks; I find your human-ness refreshing, and that among many spiritual teachers is miracle enough.

    I really felt compelled to address Ernst' comments, but also in a way that further illustrates, hopefully what Jundo is getting at here. Ersnt, I am a 20 year veteran of practicing Traditional Oriental Medicine, and I also am a Black Belt in Choy Lee Fut Kung Fu which has some of it's roots in Shaolin practices. I have spent my entire adult professional life in the alternative medical community and let me tell you I know exactly what you are talking about Ernst when you say you have seen some "miraculous" stuff. Unlike, Jundo based on my life experiences and what I still consider to be objective thinking I do tend to believe that some people can exhibit some fairly amazing powers, whether you talk about healing, martial arts, psychic abilities etc., my opinion varies here that these things DO exist. This issue of that view not being supported here was almost part of MY reason for an epic Zen failure.

    The thing is, as Jundo was saying sometimes our tendency in the West is we tend to gravitate to some of these miraculous stories of some living gurus or old dead guys doing amazing things and we think "ok they have found a spiritual level that I want a part of" or this is evidence of their spiritual superiority. Frankly I think this comes partly from much of the traditional Christian background in the West, or frankly too many movies. But.....

    BUT THAT ISN'T ZEN, BUDDHISM or ENLIGHTENMENT

    This practice has nothing to do with developing superpowers, and having superpowers doesn't necessarily have to do with anything about being an enlightened being. If you could fly you could still be a completely deluded being, and the goal or purpose of this practice has nothing to do with acquiring knowledge of any of that stuff, it has to do with acquiring the state of being that brings us to see through both our eyes to a reality free form ignorance and delusion and suffering. If you can fly and are still unhappy because your girlfriend broke up with you, you are not there.

    So, I think many people are lacking a basic understanding of what Buddhism is about and when there is no "magic" they get discouraged and look elsewhere but they are unable to see the treasure in front of them because they are looking for the wrong thing. I would highly, highly recommend this book for newcomers-
    Buddhism is Not What You Think, Steve Hagen.

    Many of the esoteric practices that might be seen as "miraculous" by people are derived from Taoist or other energetic practices in Asia involving the use of chi or prana. Certainly amazing and personally an interest of mine, but not the goal or purpose of Zen. I once knew a lady who was an incredibly gifted psychic who was a very miserable and mean spirited person.

    Incidentally much of what goes on at Shaolin these days has been criticized as turning monks into "performance monks". According to the book American Shaolin, they don't even sit much. It has been reduced to a tourist trap for visitors interested in martial arts, and the current head abbot of the Shaolin Temple is embroiled in scandal due to his profiteering and involvements with prostitutes.

    I regret not being more eloquent here, but I think this gets my point across well enough

    Gassho
    Ishin
    Sat Today- and didn't levitate once.
    Hi Ishin,

    Oh, I completely support all that is written here. I am skeptical about some wilder claims, but not closed to the subject.

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.


    I am just doubtful of some of the more extreme claims made sometimes, and anyway just as you say, it is not central to Practice.

    If there is levitation, telekinesis, distance healing and/or ESP ... chop wood and fetch water, just sit.

    If there is no levitation, telekinesis, distance healing nor ESP ... chop wood and fetch water, just sit.

    In any case, we sit as what is. whether with or without. Further, the real miracle, magic and wonder to the wise who can see is the chopping of wood and the fetching of water. Just sit.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday

    PS - My interview at the Skeptical Buddhist on these topics should be up any day now. Stay tuned.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  42. #42
    Treeleaf Unsui / Engineer Sekishi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Virginia, USA
    Powers of levitation, telekinesis, distance healing, ESP (and pretty much any other super powers you'd like to throw in) would not negate the first noble truth.

    A superhero of any stripe would still suffer from Dukkha thanks to sickness, old age, and death (and if not their own, then that of their friends and loved ones).

    So come heaven or hell, superpowers or mundane, practice is practice.

    Which I guess is what Jundo and others are saying. ^_^

    Gassho,
    Sekishi
    sekishi
    石志

    As a novice priest-in-training, this is simply an expression of my opinion. Please take it with a grain of salt.

  43. #43
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Ishin,

    Oh, I completely support all that is written here. I am skeptical about some wilder claims, but not closed to the subject.

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
    Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.


    I am just doubtful of some of the more extreme claims made sometimes, and anyway just as you say, it is not central to Practice.

    If there is levitation, telekinesis, distance healing and/or ESP ... chop wood and fetch water, just sit.

    If there is no levitation, telekinesis, distance healing nor ESP ... chop wood and fetch water, just sit.

    In any case, we sit as what is. whether with or without. Further, the real miracle, magic and wonder to the wise who can see is the chopping of wood and the fetching of water. Just sit.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday

    PS - My interview at the Skeptical Buddhist on these topics should be up any day now. Stay tuned.
    Thank you

    I am certainly not saying that the world isn't also full of con artists and fakes. If you watch some of the martial art videos of supposed masters throwing students around it kind of becomes akin to speaking in tongues and writhing on the floor.

    My personal view is that many people chase after religion in an effort to stroke their ego, and when they encounter something that says the goal is to let go of the self and there is no ego really anyway, that undermines their true agenda consciously or not. For many it really is about attaining some sense of superiority. I am still not convinced that some of the more well known Buddhist icons out there don't fall into this category as well.

    I wish I could find the video of Gudo Wafu Roshii where the young woman asks him about all the "amazing energy that emits from him." His response is great, and the question itself I think reveals much about misunderstandings in the West about what a Zen Master is and why many Westerners seek them out in the first place.

    Gassho
    Ishin
    Sat Today- and still didn't levitate

  44. #44
    Thank you, Jundo, and everyone in this discussion.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    SatToday

  45. #45
    Thank you for this Jundo, due to personal experience with the unpredictability of life (there has been whole lot a Dukkha going on) which I could not control I was desperate not for something that would eliminate it all (as over time it became clear no deliverance was coming), but for something to help me deal with it all. Soto Zen appealed to me as it had few promises of expectations from outside but seemed to be more focused on what we do on the inside to "keep the ship afloat" so to speak despite storms, waves, calm, and such. I would welcome a supernatural miracle anytime one wanders into my life, but I am learning to be content with the miracles of toast, bird song, continuing life, air to breath (which is not that common in the universe in actuality) as you referenced earlier in the thread. I come from a religion that tries to be all things to all people and requires a ton of time on a weekly basis, all with the promise of deliverance and happiness. It actually caused great harm to me with my mental issues and not being able to let go of some things and find expectations constantly failing. Things are a lot more peaceful inside my head with less expectations and more appreciating the moment for what it is. I really have no expectations that Soto Zen will solve any of my issues, It may not even help me accept them some days, in fact, it hasn't done anything for me other than teach me to understand things better and with understanding often comes peace of sorts, which itself is a miracle. I don't need to be healed of all my problems and have the people around me suddenly understand me or have their often violent health issues (for which I am a caregiver as a parent) go away, if I can learn to observe, understand, and to drop expectations and be content with rendering service where able, and understanding I am only human and a small peace of this universe after all when I am not, then that is enough.

    Anyway, thanks for reminding me of that today(even though this is months old ).

    Gassho,
    Paul
    Sat Today

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by treebeard View Post
    Thank you for this Jundo, due to personal experience with the unpredictability of life (there has been whole lot a Dukkha going on) which I could not control I was desperate not for something that would eliminate it all (as over time it became clear no deliverance was coming), but for something to help me deal with it all. Soto Zen appealed to me as it had few promises of expectations from outside but seemed to be more focused on what we do on the inside to "keep the ship afloat" so to speak despite storms, waves, calm, and such. I would welcome a supernatural miracle anytime one wanders into my life, but I am learning to be content with the miracles of toast, bird song, continuing life, air to breath (which is not that common in the universe in actuality) as you referenced earlier in the thread. I come from a religion that tries to be all things to all people and requires a ton of time on a weekly basis, all with the promise of deliverance and happiness. It actually caused great harm to me with my mental issues and not being able to let go of some things and find expectations constantly failing. Things are a lot more peaceful inside my head with less expectations and more appreciating the moment for what it is. I really have no expectations that Soto Zen will solve any of my issues, It may not even help me accept them some days, in fact, it hasn't done anything for me other than teach me to understand things better and with understanding often comes peace of sorts, which itself is a miracle. I don't need to be healed of all my problems and have the people around me suddenly understand me or have their often violent health issues (for which I am a caregiver as a parent) go away, if I can learn to observe, understand, and to drop expectations and be content with rendering service where able, and understanding I am only human and a small peace of this universe after all when I am not, then that is enough.

    Anyway, thanks for reminding me of that today(even though this is months old ).

    Gassho,
    Paul
    Sat Today
    Thank you. This was a morning in which I could use your reminder too. Thank you for your Teaching.

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  47. #47
    Quote Originally Posted by treebeard View Post
    I don't need to be healed of all my problems and have the people around me suddenly understand me or have their often violent health issues (for which I am a caregiver as a parent) go away, if I can learn to observe, understand, and to drop expectations and be content with rendering service where able, and understanding I am only human and a small peace of this universe after all when I am not, then that is enough.
    Thank you Paul ... this too resinated with me today. =)

    Gassho
    Shingen

    s@today
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by treebeard View Post
    if I can learn to observe, understand, and to drop expectations and be content with rendering service where able, and understanding I am only human and a small peace of this universe after all when I am not, then that is enough.
    Wrestling with insomnia here tonight feeling disorganized and inadequate as business decisions, upcoming work challenges, staff issues, household problems and grumpy turbulent teenagers swirl around in my head. I thank you for this reminder too!

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday
    清 道 寂田
    SEIDO JAKUDEN
    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).

  49. #49
    Thank you very much Jundo.

    When I started practicing zazen I thought the world would change magically. It's like someone sold me the idea or how I bought it. But fortunately I learned that it was not so, and these teachings reinforced this idea.

    Gassho, David

    Sattoday
    David Cravidão Lopes Pereira

  50. #50
    Quote Originally Posted by davidclp View Post
    Thank you very much Jundo.

    When I started practicing zazen I thought the world would change magically. It's like someone sold me the idea or how I bought it. But fortunately I learned that it was not so, and these teachings reinforced this idea.

    Gassho, David

    Sattoday
    And I hope that realizing how wondrous and magical is this so-called "ordinary world" truly changed everything!

    Gassho, J

    SatToday
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

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