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Thread: WHAT IS ZEN? - Chap 3 - Form and Ritual

  1. #1

    WHAT IS ZEN? - Chap 3 - Form and Ritual

    Hi Guys (so very informal to say),

    Norman is right that, especially here in the west, every place seems to do ceremonies there own way, some more formally and some almost none at all.

    Here at Treeleaf, I have been a minimalist with ceremonies, reducing many of the "bells and whistles" and keeping to very simple forms. Once a month, during our longer Zazenkai, we switch from English to some chanting in Sino-Japanese to honor tradition. I have eliminated from our ceremonies most magical and "abracadabra" elements (most Dharani) and kept the chants that tend to the more understandable when studied.

    Even so, I get complaints from folks that, according to some, we are too traditional, or not traditional enough, or too Japanese, or not Japanese enough. Some want us to eliminate the ceremonies completely, and some want more!

    I sometimes post an essay on the topic called "Turning Japanese," which I repost below.

    You can't please everyone but, then again, Zen is not about doing things just to please folks.

    Our subject this time is ceremonies and rituals. Let us know what you feel about them.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH


    ======================================

    TURNING JAPANESE

    This practice is not limited to any place or time ... we drop all thought of place and time. It certainly is not Indian, Chinese, Japanese, French or American. But, of course, we live in place and time, so as Buddhism traveled over the centuries from India to China, Japan, Korea and other places, it naturally became very Indian/Chinese/Japanese/Korean etc.

    But what of the cultural trappings?

    Must we bow, ring bells, chant (in Japanese, no less), wear traditional robes, have Buddha Statues, burn incense? ... All that stuff besides Zazen. Are they necessary to our Practice?


    No, not at all!


    We don't need anything other than Zazen, any of those trappings. In fact, they are no big deal, of no importance, when we drop all viewpoints in sitting Zazen.

    On the other hand, we have to do something, to greet each other somehow, read some words, dress some way. Why not do such things? As I often say, for example, we have to do something with our hands when practicing walking Zazen ... why not hold them in Shashu (I mean, better than sticking 'em in your pockets)? What is more, wearing certain special clothes and holding one's hands with a certain formality, placing a statue and burning incense can all work as points of focus to remind us of the specialness of this moment and Practice (no problem so long as we also learn the lesson that all the so-called "mundane" instants of life, great and small, are special moments, each a "sacred ceremony" in its way, from taking a bath to making a peanut butter sandwich for the kids).

    As well, there are parts of our practice which we do BECAUSE we resist (for example, when visiting a temple for Retreat, I usually put my heart fully into ceremonies and arcane rituals BECAUSE I resist and think some of it silly or old fashioned). Ask yourself where that kind of resistance is to be found (here's a clue, and it is right behind your own eyes).

    What is more, there is method to the madness, and many (not all) customs have centuries of time tested benefits ... embody subtle perspectives ... that support and nurture Zazen Practice at the core. Many parts of our Practice, though "exotic", are worth keeping, even if they strike someone as strange at first. Bowing, statues, rigid decorum in the Zen Hall and, yes, weird talks about Koans and arcane ceremonies all fit in that category. They may seem like unnecessary "Japanese" or "Esoteric" elements at first, until you understand the role they serve. I have given talks on all these things recently, for example ... the humility and wholeness of Bowing.

    Many aspects of tradition can be seen in new ways when the barriers of the mind are knocked down. Thus, for example, the Kesa, the Buddha's Robes ... though just cloth ... can be seen to cover and enfold the whole universe, laughter, cries of pain, old age, becoming and fading away ... life ...

    On the other hand again, it is okay to abandon or reject many practices. However, KNOW very well what you are rejecting before you reject it.

    Absorb what is useful and discard the rest. For example, I think Oryoki [formal meal ritual] is a great practice, and worth keeping.. Same for bowing.

    When tasted as such ... every action and gesture in this life is Sacred and Magical when experienced as such, from changing a baby diaper to cooking dinner to chanting the Heart Sutra. So, why not Chant as well as the rest?

    Some things I keep out of respect for TRADITION [the robes, the ways of doing some ceremonies]. It is important to keep ties to where we come from. Some things also have a special symbolic meaning if you look into them, so worth keeping [for example, a Rakusu]

    But other stuff, no need to keep: For example, I usually avoid to chant in Japanese or Chinese [except once in awhile, out of respect for tradition]. Tatami mats and Paper screens have nothing to do with Zen practice particularly [but I happen to live in an old Japanese building, so ... well, tatami and paper screens!} Some things I think are just dumb (except symbolically), like the Kyosaku stick. Incense is great, until it was recently shown to cause cancer. Many beliefs of Buddhism are rather superstitious things that were picked up here and there. I abandon many of those.

    The outer wrap of Zen Buddhism is changing greatly as it moves West. The greater emphasis on lay practice over monastics, the greater democracy in what was a feudal institution (arising in societies where the teacher's word was law ... oh, those were the days! ), giving the boot to a lot of magico-supersticio hocus-pocus bunkum, the equal place of women ... heck, the use of the internet to bring teachings that were once the preserve of an elite few into everyone's living room.Those are good and great changes to the outer wrapping (you can read about them in books like this one (author interview here: http://atheism.about.com/library/boo...olemanChat.htm). The coreless core, however, remains unchanged.

    Do not throw out the Baby Buddha with the bath water. Many completely "Japanese" practices which seem silly at first are worth keeping. ...

    ... other things, like some of the arcane incense, bell & drum filled rituals, take 'em or leave 'em.

    Gassho, J

    Last edited by Jundo; 07-29-2018 at 02:10 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  2. #2
    Thank you, Jundo. I appreciate what you say about the value of the practices as respect for the tradition we are given and I enjoy the forms we employ at Treeleaf events. It makes sense to me. In the third chapter of the book, I really liked the paragraph that suggested that bowing may be considered an antidote to idolatry.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat

  3. #3
    Thank you Jundo ... I feel it is nice to have a balance to be modern and also respect tradition. I for one enjoy some traditional practices, as they do help bring me back to this very moment. =)

    "If we don't know where we came from, how do we know where we are going?"

    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  4. #4
    I also appreciated the discussion of idol worship. For a long time I found even the thought of bowing and, especially bowing in the direction of a statue, anathema. I don’t feel that way now, though whenever I bow I still feel a little as if I am playacting.
    Gassho—
    Deborah

    SatToday

  5. #5
    Hi, I enjoyed this chapter and it did reflect Jundo's open/flexible approach.

    I'm one of those people who'd like to see further changes in a more open/innovative direction regarding ritual.
    I'm not against ritual at all and practice certain parts in my home liturgy - there are many aspects of tradition I
    respect and enjoy.

    But I do feel this chapter raises lots of important questions,

    like - do we have to repeat to respect?
    how much should we appropriate from tradition and change?
    to what degree should our journey with Zen and the way we express it be hermeneutical?
    If there is no inherent essence and the forms are not inherent rules could we not do more to
    make Zen appeal to a wider population.

    Just a few thoughts,

    Gassho

    Jinyo

    ST

  6. #6
    By coincidence, in connection with the fire which almost took Shugen's house, I mentioned today the Marvelously Beneficial Disaster Preventing Dharani
    (Shōsai Myōkichijō darani 消災妙吉祥陀羅尼), a traditional part of Soto Zen ritual that I do not include here at Treeleaf because ...

    We do not recite this chant here at Treeleaf, as I believe that it is a form of superstition and "abracadabra" magic spell. ... I am sure that someone can be calmed by it, and can find some personal meaning. In this Sangha, we practice with less reliance on such things and old superstitions.
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...l=1#post227058

    Of course, if one wants to step beyond the "abracadabra," one can find some meaning and worth there. However, I do not include it because the "abracadabra" seems to predominate.

    At the same time, we do offer "Metta" for those who are sick or otherwise facing hardship in life. Even here, I tend to offer a more "this world" meaning, and I do not encourage seeing some invisible supernatural force at work beyond this ...

    One can ask if there really is a power to this practice to work change. I will say yes. Our hateful thoughts, words and acts can have real impact on ourself and on the people around us, creating pain and problems for people. Such behavior adds some drops of poison and ugliness into the world. So, in equal fashion, our kind thoughts, words and acts can have real impact, direct and indirect, on ourself and those around us and impacted by our behavior. In this day and age of modern communications, actions and words far across the world can have effects, great and small, on all of us. One does not need to believe in some mysterious power to Metta in order to understand its positive effects. If I wish my friend or loved one ill or well, it will have great potential to touch them.
    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...Metta-PRACTICE
    This is were some say I am too modern and "this worldly" to reject the magic, some say I am not being modern enough.

    What do you think?

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  7. #7
    PS - I just saw this. If you doubt the power of "loving kindness" (Metta) to have an effect in the world, then look at the effect that anger and an inability to forgive can have. Not only to this doctor, but to all the patients who might have been helped by this doctor ...

    For two decades, Joseph James Pappas has held a grudge against the Houston cardiologist who performed the surgery that left his mother dead on the operating table, police say.

    Pappas, 62, planned Dr. Mark Hausknecht's killing over his mother's death, and last month followed him as he rode his bicycle to work at Houston Methodist Hospital, according to authorities.

    ... "It appears that this may be a 20-year-old grudge that this man held," Police Chief Art Acevedo said Wednesday. "There was a lot of planning that went into this. There was a lot of planning and sadly some skill."

    Police issued an arrest warrant for Pappas after they searched his home and did not find him. The suspect has multiple firearms and has made phone calls indicating he was considering suicide, Acevedo said.
    https://us.cnn.com/2018/08/02/us/mar...ect/index.html



    For me, our offering of "Metta" is just the mirror reflection of such negative emotions.
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-02-2018 at 10:44 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  8. #8
    I have a married friend who loves broccoli. Whenever my wife and I go to their house for dinner, no matter what his wife is making for the entrée, the vegetable is always broccoli. For years, I resented this imposition of what I considered to be his “broccoli fetish” on the meals we shared with them I had to work hard not to roll my eyes whenever steamed broccoli (always steamed, btw) was dumped on my plate. Finally, I came to my senses: the broccoli was my problem, and it was getting in the way of the fellowship that we were all sharing. This was his ritual, something he needed, so I made it something I needed as well. Rituals form the fabric of much of our lives: how we divide up the wet cat food into three even piles on three separate plates, how we wash our body parts in a particular order, how we brush our teeth. The Zen rituals that I perform—chanting, bowing—are not always done well, but I take care of them and take care with them, and in doing so, I find that I’m more aware of the other rituals in my life, and I take care of them and take care with them as well. No abracadabra, yet there is a little abracadabra when I put down the food for a bevy of hungry kitties.

    Gassho,

    Michael

    STLAH

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    PS - I just saw this. If you doubt the power of "loving kindness" (Metta) to have an effect in the world, then look at the effect that anger and an inability to forgive can have. Not only to this doctor, but to all the patients who might have been helped by this doctor ...

    For me, our offering of "Metta" is just the mirror reflection of such negative emotions.
    I too saw a lovely talk about forgiveness ... how tragedy brought two people together to make a positive change.



    Gassho
    Shingen

    Sat/LAH
    RINDO SHINGEN
    倫道 真現

  10. #10
    Thank you Jundo and thank you all for sharing so much.

    Having lived in Japan for many years, my perspectives on the Japanese traditions may well be formed by my experiences and what feels natural. I feel completely at home with Soto Zen rituals and methods, as they are very much in line with deeper cultural values and ideas I have embraced.

    When I first visited a Zen Centre outside of Japan, I was very much taken aback by how the members had mastered some highly valued Japanese customs, which Japanese people sometimes struggle with. The concepts around making everything run smoothly and being mindful of everyone in the group are examples.

    Interestingly, I’ve had discussions with people about how Zen has potentially been a key custodian of Japanese cultural values. We more or less found that the essence of rituals in Zen and the essence of Japanese social etiquette are possibly unable to be differentiated. But, that was just our view formed on our own experiences. We were wary to claim any authority on the topic, which others have possibly explored in great depth.

    I find ways of creating structure in my work and personal life which come from my practice. I find that implementing a structure, which is flexible and fluid enough to cater for everything that seems to come up, is a very robust and stable method of both professional and personal management.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #11

    WHAT IS ZEN? - Chap 3 - Form and Ritual

    Oh and I forgot to mention, that when I lived in Japan, my first direct experience with religious Buddhism was at the Shingon Mikkyo temple next door. I miss the fire ritual for goma.

    So I have a real soft spot for esoteric rituals and some of the more superstitious practices. At the same time, I have full respect for the value and relevance of different approaches.

    Sat today and lent a hand.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    I have no problem at all with ritual and forms, particularly those that we employ in Treeleaf and I really appreciated this chapter of the book. I've never quite seen the problem with bowing, it never occurred to me that it had anything to do with idolatory, for me it's always been about honouring Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and for generating within myself love and respect for our tradition, our teachers and the lineage. I love the chanting and rituals,they give me a sense of being part of something so much bigger than me, which stretches way back and will go forward in time without me.
    I liked this
    We make prostrations, which, while countercultural for us ( and maybe beneficial for just that reason, for overcoming cultural prejudice), is a good way to cultivate humility and devotion, positive qualities which are in short supply.
    ( I have a whole discussion in my head about why humility especially is in short supply in our culture, but I just can't seem to get it down in words )
    I also liked the argument for a standardised english language Heart Sutra, but at the same time, liked Fischer's comments about how the differences in the various versions gave him a new view of the Sutra. I'm not very good at memorising and agree it doesn't seem really necessary, but I remember a teacher saying years ago that when you know a Sutra or a chant by heart, you have it with you wherever you are, when ever you want or need it - I thought this was a lovely way to look at it - one of my personal vows for Ango this year will be to memorise as much of our liturgy as possible, starting with the Heart Sutra.
    Perhaps there's also a discussion to be had about the last part of the chapter in which Fischer posits that Zen 'has always taken, will always take and is now taking the shape of
    the bodies and cultures that it flows into' As a European I'm always slighty irked by how 'Western Zen' always seems to be talked of in terms of American Zen and in American culture, because where does that leave the Zen that is practised in Europe, Australia or Africa? Just a thought.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    satwithyoualltoday/lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  13. #13
    Hello,

    I see and feel our rituals as a very important way of teaching.

    There is the very intellectual part of reading and discussing stuff.
    There is the very non-intellectual, practical part of sitting Shikantaza.
    There are the rituals and forms, that I feel somewhere between the two.
    Personally, I think, I am sufficient intelligent for discussing, intellectualising stuff;
    but have a quite non-intellectual approach, so I need this more emotional/feel-able, symbolic way of teaching.
    Rituals and Form is teaching by symbols, feelings and such. Not words.
    I think, Case 77 (book of equanimity), we recently read, is about that.

    Please don’t understand the following as disrespectful, Jundo. I am here, because of a relaxed way of handling all this, and that is what I need to learn, too.
    I understand, that we keep some rituals and traditions because of respect for our ancient predecessors.
    Before coming to Zen, I was practicing for more than 20 years an old western tradition about enlightenment.
    There are discussions and talks and such, but mainly, teaching is done with rituals, ritual dialogues and excessive use of symbols. I enjoy especially, that this produces my own thoughts and words that are not based on words of others. It feels so much deeper and more ‚my own‘, when I work it out by myself that way.
    Imho, this works not in the way of just repeating what others did; it is more about actively exploring it.

    I understand that too much of this can be distracting, but I am missing guidance in this symbol interpreting aspect.
    It’s not only the obvious symbols, like a Kesa, but the many small things.
    - In ringing the bell, I feel the resonance in my flesh and all things around; A wonderful symbol, of how all things are one and connected to each other. I feel this when striking the bell.
    - lighting incense, I see how matter/form dissolves into nothing. Mixing with all the other things. emptiness is form. I can feel this.
    - floor prostrations, especially what you do with the hands, feels so much like giving up the self for a moment. the hand gesture of diving into all things, becoming one. Lifting the other things above the level of the self (head).
    - moving only clockwise, in my old western tradition, is understood as a symbol of the moving light, the sun, that appears moving that way. A reminder of the passing time and enlightenment. “Life and death are of supreme importance. Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost. Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken! Take heed, do not squander your life.“
    - special clothes underline that we’re all equal. the act of putting them on prepares for practice. Wearing them reminds of the importance of this moment.
    - singing the heart-sutra before sitting reminds me what it’s all about and pulls out the right mindset
    - the verse of atonement/four vows after sitting makes clear what I am and what the following day should be about


    Enough for now, I think you already got, what I am trying to say.
    From and rituals let me feel and understand in a non-intellectual way, what our practice is about.


    Thank you all.
    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  14. #14
    Member Seishin's Avatar
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    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Wonderfully insightful comments in this thread.

    For me I feel comfortable with the balance here at Treeleaf. To me there is sufficient tradition to maintain respect for our past - guess that's the traditional martial artist in me - along side the less formal approach, that I guess those outside may find disrespectful but hey no outside or inside. I feel Jundo's approach actually opens the Sangha door much wider and is therefore more attractive (?) to folks new to Zen. Those seeking guidance, especially when there is no Temple on the door step, might find the more rigid "traditional" style of ritual off putting. I certainly found this when searching for an online Sangha, which is one of the reason I ended up here and zen decided to stay.

    As to bowing and broccoli, no problem knees permitting. Now if I could only overcome my Okey Kokey phobia.

    Good read so far


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart



    Sat Today / lah

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Seishin View Post
    Now if I could only overcome my Okey Kokey phobia.
    Isn't that a wonderful practice, a symbol, about not taking oneself too serious, about not hovering around in a bright shining light?
    Struggling with that one, too ;-)

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    古庭 KoTei / Ralf

  16. #16
    I think Treeleaf offers a healthy balance when it comes to form and ritual. I think we respect Zen traditions while being flexible and open to new ideas.
    When I first started with Treeleaf, I felt awkward when bowing. I didn't really understand it. It wasn't until I sat through my first 2 day retreat that it's purpose and meaning truly sunk in. Norman Fisher described it perfectly at the end of the chapter 3 when he questions his own teacher on bowing. He notes that, "...you are not bowing to an external power....your bowing is conditioning you to respect what is deepest and truest within you - and in everything and everyone else."

    For me, I bow to show respect to all those who've come before and in gratitude for teachings, for all of you and for life in general.

    Gassho,
    Kelly/Jinmei
    Sattoday/lah

  17. #17
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
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    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Two things.

    1. As I've been lapsed on music related responses of late, deep bows for Jundo's Vapors link. A veritable blast from the past.

    2. When sitting Zazenkai one way, would it be disrespectful to sit in vest and shorts given the heatwave in Europe at the moment, black of course.
    3 Same for the FSR?

    I'm sure we've covered this before, as odd references to au naturale spring to mind.

    I normally sit in jogging bottoms and a T but delaying my morning sit, in order to walk my dog in the cool, means I am now sweltering in our east facing study.

    Maybe slightly off piste but possibly in line with this section of the book.

    Sent from my NEM-L51 using Tapatalk


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart



    Sat Today / lah

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Seishin View Post
    Two things.

    1. As I've been lapsed on music related responses of late, deep bows for Jundo's Vapors link. A veritable blast from the past.

    2. When sitting Zazenkai one way, would it be disrespectful to sit in vest and shorts given the heatwave in Europe at the moment, black of course.
    3 Same for the FSR?

    I'm sure we've covered this before, as odd references to au naturale spring to mind.

    I normally sit in jogging bottoms and a T but delaying my morning sit, in order to walk my dog in the cool, means I am now sweltering in our east facing study.

    Maybe slightly off piste but possibly in line with this section of the book.

    Sent from my NEM-L51 using Tapatalk
    It is okay to sit in shorts, especially in this heat. Nishijima Roshi even let us do so in our summer retreat, although he was always in full robes and Kesa.

    You refer to my invite to the nudist Zazen group. Bring your own towel.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  19. #19
    I've talked before about my transformation from being pretty anti-ritual to embracing it. One thing that I now see differently is that I see ritual as connecting me to others. As we perform the rituals together it brings us together and bonds in a way. And it does that across time as well. I am bowing right along with those that have bowed before. I am connected to them, and with them as we do the rituals together. I think it also demonstrates respect to past teachers and practitioners.

    This weekend I have come to think about ritual in a new way as well. I have been doing a clinic with a clinician that I really respect. Seeing him this weekend reminded me of the first clinic I did with him when, at the end of the session, he warned everyone about homeostasis. He said that people get all excited about what they learn in a clinic - but once they get home old habits get triggered by the environment and situations. That it is really common to slip into old habits if you don't take steps to guard your new learning.

    I thought about this chapter. I think one more benefit of ritual is that it is kind of armor against slipping away from practice. It kind of grounds the practice. It helps establish habits that keeps you headed down the path even when you might be faltering a bit. At least that is what I think today.

    Like many things I think the danger of ritual is that it becomes the focus. If it becomes the goal rather than a manifestation then it can be a trap that thwarts, rather than supports, practice.

    Gassho, Shinshi

    SaT-LaH
    What's so funny 'bout Peace, Love and Understanding.

  20. #20
    Coming from a very ritualistic spiritual tradition and being bored with it, I wrestled with it when I got into Buddhism. I think I've finally found my right measure of ritual (and it does have it's place as a way to focus one's mind). I stuggle with Oryoki, and find it stressful when I go to a dirt-space sesshin. However, I can see how it is useful as a practice in paying attention to now.

    I like the Bodhisattva vows we do at Treeleaf, but I feel the need to start with "I vow" at the beginning of the chant.

    SAT/LAH

    Kyousui - strong waters 強 水

  21. #21
    Zen ritual is important to me. It helps me focus before zazen (sat today) while adding religious significance to the practice. Then again, zazen with ritual is just sitting, and zazen without ritual is still just sitting. Ritual isn't necessary for me when doing momentary zazen while waiting in the grocery cashier line, for example.

    Ritual needs to have personal meaning for me in order to continue doing it. Otherwise it is just pantomime and/or bland recitation. Thus it is important to understand the origins of our rituals and what they mean so that I can find a way to relate to it. I don't just recite the vows, precepts, Heart Sutra, etc. with zazen, besides the focus and religious significance they give me, I also use them as a lens to examine or reflect on my daily life. To me, that is their purpose.

    Religious rituals and VERY important to people. A former student of mine is a pastor, and he told me that the most frequent conversation he has with his parishioners is complaints and comments on the service. Heaven forbid (pun intended) he ever change the service in any way, no matter how small, because that results in an explosion of complaint and commentary, but even regular services get regularly critiqued in regards to the sermon, Bible verses, hymns, etc. For him, the pastor, he wants to keep it fresh, but for his members consistency seems to be more important than the meaning of what it is they are doing. To paraphrase one of our sayings, it's all still church!
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by AlanLa View Post
    Zen ritual is important to me. It helps me focus before zazen (sat today) while adding religious significance to the practice. Then again, zazen with ritual is just sitting, and zazen without ritual is still just sitting. Ritual isn't necessary for me when doing momentary zazen while waiting in the grocery cashier line, for example.

    Ritual needs to have personal meaning for me in order to continue doing it. Otherwise it is just pantomime and/or bland recitation. Thus it is important to understand the origins of our rituals and what they mean so that I can find a way to relate to it. I don't just recite the vows, precepts, Heart Sutra, etc. with zazen, besides the focus and religious significance they give me, I also use them as a lens to examine or reflect on my daily life. To me, that is their purpose.

    Religious rituals and VERY important to people. A former student of mine is a pastor, and he told me that the most frequent conversation he has with his parishioners is complaints and comments on the service. Heaven forbid (pun intended) he ever change the service in any way, no matter how small, because that results in an explosion of complaint and commentary, but even regular services get regularly critiqued in regards to the sermon, Bible verses, hymns, etc. For him, the pastor, he wants to keep it fresh, but for his members consistency seems to be more important than the meaning of what it is they are doing. To paraphrase one of our sayings, it's all still church!
    Part of our ritual here, Al, is to put "sattoday" on our posts, so I ask that you do. We shall have sat Zazen before posting and chat.

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  23. #23
    It's in the first line, and I sat today, too.
    AL (Jigen) in:
    Faith/Trust
    Courage/Love
    Awareness/Action!

    I sat today

  24. #24
    I think ritual is ultimately unnecessary to live a spiritual life. However, I believe ritual can help bring together a group of like minded people because it gives some structure within which to practice. I find the simplest rituals like a bow, lighting incense, reciting a short chant, or the ringing of a bell to be the most beautiful.


    Sat2day

  25. #25

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by Jishin View Post
    IMG_1040.JPG



    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_


    (I don't know how you find all these great cartoons that I somehow missed over the years.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  27. #27
    By the way, I while we are pretty "minimalist" on ritual at Treeleaf Sangha, we still have them and they seem pretty popular (with most folks). There are a few Buddhist communities that have even less ceremony then we do, but they still have some (their own kind) if you look closely.

    As a matter of fact, I recent heard that even groups of atheists and non-religious humanists have found that their organizations need some ceremonies to mark something, build community and bestow lessons. Think about even civil society: school graduations, the Queen's speech or Presidential inaugural, blowing out the candles at the birthday party, cutting the ribbon on the new bridge or ship, group conventions and award ceremonies ... there are lots.

    Here is a short video from the humanists ...



    All Humanist-Buddhists (and Christian Buddhists, Jewish Buddhists, Atheist and Agnostic Buddhists) welcome around Treeleaf! Even Buddhist-Buddhists or not sure what they are Buddhists (or not). So long as they are people doing their best to be gentle people who sit Zazen (our Ritual of Non-Ritual Rituals)

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    Last edited by Jundo; 08-12-2018 at 04:56 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  28. #28
    How is it possible for some one to not have a religious belief?

    gassho, Shokai

    stlah
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Shokai View Post
    How is it possible for some one to not have a religious belief?

    gassho, Shokai

    stlah
    I don’t believe! I just believe in not believing.

    Gasho, Jishin, _/st\_

  30. #30
    Aha!! We found one....
    I just believe in not believing.
    A religious belief, Ta..Da..

    gassho,Shokai

    stlah
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

  31. #31
    Nishijima Roshi had a pretty good definition of "religion" that would include the traditional religions, but also atheists and agnostics, humanists and communists, or folks whose belief is that they have no belief ...

    [T]here are two elements central to a religion: The first is that there is some way of thinking or ideology believed true concerning the meaning and workings of the world and mankind’s place in it, and the other is that the actions of the individual are sought to be regulated in accordance with that way of thinking believed true. Namely, one aspect of the content possessed by something which constitutes a ‘religion’ is a faith in some ideology which is a world-view, and the other aspect is a discipline and regulation of the faithful’s actions to accord with the ideology thought proper in that faith. It is by this definition that I believe that all men and women, almost without exception, have a religion.

    ...
    From

    A Heart to Heart Chat on Buddhism with Old Master Gudo (Expanded Edition)
    by Gudo Nishijima (Author), Jundo Cohen (Translator)

    https://www.amazon.com/Heart-Chat-Bu...uido+nishijima

    In other words, you have some feeling or belief about your place or relationship to the universe (including a refusal to have an opinion), and you act upon it in life. That is your religion.

    Gassho, J

    SatTodayLAH
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  32. #32
    Thank you Jundo

    gassho, Shokai

    stlah
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    May we all grow together in our knowledge of the Dharma

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