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Thread: Zen Women : Chapter 3, pages 35 - 43

  1. #1

    Zen Women : Chapter 3, pages 35 - 43

    Hello All,

    Moving forward into Chapter 3, Schireson discusses the cultural expectations and practical obstacles that especially affected women who wanted to study and practice Zen. These challenges brought forth creative adaptations to make their training and practice possible. “Women’s practice” evolved beyond the monastic, to include active participation while engaged in relationships, family care, and community, also addressing financial and mobility restraints. Sounds familiar, right? This is our practice here at Treeleaf. Our practice in the West is very much inspired by these women practitioners.

    Were you surprised to find out that women were the first to be ordained in Japan? I was! I just assumed that men had led the way. Has this book, or your practice, revealed to you any assumptions that you may have held about women in zen?

    Zen practice in the west is not as segregated as it is in other places. Do you think separate training for men and women would be beneficial, or not? How might it differ? What are the benefits and drawbacks of all genders practicing together?

    As a society, our understanding of gender is evolving. How do you imagine modern concepts of gender will manifest in Zen sanghas in the future?

    In the west we have many female-identifying people stepping into both ordained and lay teaching roles. Do you think this might change the way that Zen is taught and practiced?

    Any other thoughts about this chapter? Please share!

    Gassho
    Byōkan
    sat + lah
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

  2. #2
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    "Were you surprised to find out that women were the first to be ordained in Japan? I was! I just assumed that men had led the way. Has this book, or your practice, revealed to you any assumptions that you may have held about women in zen?"

    TBH I wasn't surprised that female identifying folk were the first to ne ordained in Japan. Make no mistake I'm no Japanese or any other history scholar but I'd assumed that Shinto would've been the religion of choice for those wielding power and those who maintained it. I'd assumed that Zen, like Taoism were more folksy and practiced outside of the centres of power.
    As for revealing assumptions about female identifying folk in Zen, the book has shone a spotlight on areas within Zen that were blind spots and are still blind spots. I think we female identifying folk along with our allies need to make sure we don't take our boot off of the neck of patriarchal systems of power and how they subtly and too often passive aggressively "guide" our practice in the direction of maintaining systems of oppression.

    "Zen practice in the west is not as segregated as it is in other places. Do you think separate training for men and women would be beneficial, or not? How might it differ? What are the benefits and drawbacks of all genders practicing together?"

    Firstly, I have found that "Zen in the West" equals Zen in the US. Yes this is obviously population bias and geography at play but I wonder what Western Zen would look like if it was predominately Australian, French, Spanish or Brazilian? Everything introduced to a country takes on a flavour of that country as happened when Bodhidharma arrived with Buddhism in China and when it arrived from China via Korea to Japan.
    As an outsider I view Western Zen in the US as pretty conservative in respects of trying to mimic their interpretation of Japanese Zen. It feels in some ways like historical reenactment. In saying that there is a progressive element within Western Zen that keeps me engaged.
    I do think that female identifying folk would benefit from elements of segregation. Personally I've found passive aggressive behaviour and sexism to be too much to ignore, not to mention "mansplaining". These are often blind spots from the male identifying folk but they're enough to turn female identifying folk away not only from Zen but from seeking ordination. It would be wonderful to Practice at least some of the time with only female identifying people as I feel that we'd open up more and share our thoughts on the Dharma without worrying about being mansplained or dismissed. I don't think separation of genders would be good all of the time because male identifying folk already practice from a position of power, both within Zen and in broader society. It doesn't take much for "boys club" mentality to take hold within any spaces be they Zen or elsewhere. We need strong female identifying folk to counter this culture.
    That there is very little input from male identifying folk within this Sangha to this book club selection suggests to me a dismissive attitude which is both not surprising but also disappointing.

    "As a society, our understanding of gender is evolving. How do you imagine modern concepts of gender will manifest in Zen sanghas in the future?"

    Language. Language has power so that's where most change and resistance will come from.

    "In the west we have many female-identifying people stepping into both ordained and lay teaching roles. Do you think this might change the way that Zen is taught and practiced?"

    Absolutely! In saying that there's an undercurrent of understanding that the boat should not be rocked. I am personally of the opinion that tipping the boat over can have a positive impact while still retaining respect to history and teachings. After all, wasn't the historical Buddha a rebel for his time just as Jesus was to his?

    Gassho
    Onka
    Sat
    穏 On (Calm)
    火 Ka (Fires)
    aka Anna Kissed.
    Pronouns She/Her They/Them.
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Onka View Post
    That there is very little input from male identifying folk within this Sangha to this book club selection suggests to me a dismissive attitude which is both not surprising but also disappointing.
    I am reading this book with you all. When I finished reading and thinking about the part, there are usually already posts in the thread and I've had nothing substantial to add. I am a bit on the quiet, shy side, too.
    Often, out here in the world, I see male identifying folk dominating discussions, taking much larger time-slices, than appropriate.
    So, I kept silent. Reading. Thinking. It makes me a bit sad, that you're viewing my behaviour as dismissive and disappointing.

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.

    義道 冴庭 / Gidou Kotei.
    Being a novice priest doesn't mean that my writing about the Dharma is more substantial than yours. Actually, it might well be the other way round.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Onka View Post
    ... I think we female identifying folk along with our allies need to make sure we don't take our boot off of the neck of patriarchal systems of power and how they subtly and too often passive aggressively "guide" our practice in the direction of maintaining systems of oppression...
    Hi Onka

    Well, I certainly don't intend to put my boot on anyone's neck! But I take your point, and it's an interesting one. I do think we all need to consider our roles in maintaining or enabling injustice and inequality, considering both our privileges and our responsibilities to stand up, speak out, and act for the benefit of all. It's starting to happen; at least I see glimmers of hope! As Buddhists we have the Precepts to guide us in taking responsibility for ourselves and for the world. The Bodhisattva Way is not just woo woo zenny grooviness. When practiced sincerely it is utterly transformative, and I believe that applies to society as well as individuals.

    How do you imagine modern concepts of gender will manifest in Zen sanghas in the future?"
    Language. Language has power so that's where most change and resistance will come from.
    Yes, I agree, it really is the beginning of understanding, which leads to change.

    That there is very little input from male identifying folk within this Sangha to this book club selection suggests to me a dismissive attitude which is both not surprising but also disappointing.
    Actually, looking back at prior threads, it seems to be about evenly split. Oh but wait! How do we know who is male-identifying? Are we assuming, based on their appearance or style of writing? Hmm. At any rate, I propose the possibility that anyone who's hanging back is not necessarily dismissive, but probably erring on the side of silence from an attitude of respect, or just wanting to listen for a while rather than speaking. I welcome all lurkers, while hoping that people will feel safe here to speak and be heard.

    Thanks for your passion and insight!

    Gassho
    Byōkan
    Last edited by Byokan; 08-20-2020 at 10:18 AM.
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Kotei View Post
    I am reading this book with you all. When I finished reading and thinking about the part, there are usually already posts in the thread and I've had nothing substantial to add. I am a bit on the quiet, shy side, too.
    Often, out here in the world, I see male identifying folk dominating discussions, taking much larger time-slices, than appropriate.
    So, I kept silent. Reading. Thinking. It makes me a bit sad, that you're viewing my behaviour as dismissive and disappointing.

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    Thanks for reading and thinking, Kotei! I appreciate your wholehearted engagement, whether loud or quiet.

    Gassho
    Byōkan
    sat + lah
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Kotei View Post
    I am reading this book with you all. When I finished reading and thinking about the part, there are usually already posts in the thread and I've had nothing substantial to add. I am a bit on the quiet, shy side, too.
    Often, out here in the world, I see male identifying folk dominating discussions, taking much larger time-slices, than appropriate.
    So, I kept silent. Reading. Thinking. It makes me a bit sad, that you're viewing my behaviour as dismissive and disappointing.

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    Kotei, I can relate to what you're saying and I sympathise. I'm not contributing to the discussion either because even I feel slightly intimidated by the tone of posts and the direction the discussions are starting to take, so I can imagine some of our Dharma brothers may feel the same. Assumptions and generalisations are not a good foundation for discussion at any time, and especially not in a Zendo where there are opportunities to practice even in the way we speak.
    Please let's be gentle with each other.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Meitou View Post
    Kotei, I can relate to what you're saying and I sympathise. I'm not contributing to the discussion either because even I feel slightly intimidated by the tone of posts and the direction the discussions are starting to take, so I can imagine some of our Dharma brothers may feel the same. Assumptions and generalisations are not a good foundation for discussion at any time, and especially not in a Zendo where there are opportunities to practice even in the way we speak.
    Please let's be gentle with each other.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday lah
    Thank you for this, Meitou.

    You are right.

    There is so much that is interesting in this book, and it doesn't all come down to just "boys against girls". Sure, it can be a touchy subject. But let's all agree to protect and take care of each other. I hope you, and everyone, will feel free to take the discussion in any direction that interests you. Whatever catches your eye or your heart as you're reading, whatever inspires you or sparks some insight, please share! Everyone's perspective is valuable and welcome.

    Gassho
    Byōkan
    sat + lah
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

  8. #8
    That there is very little input from male identifying folk within this Sangha to this book club selection suggests to me a dismissive attitude which is both not surprising but also disappointing.
    Hi Onka

    I have not read this section yet but commented on the first part of the discussion.

    As Kotei says, men are often seen to be dominating discussions, especially about matters that are not centrally about them such as women's health and feminism, so I would not be surprised if letting women and minority genders largely have the floor here was something other members are respectful of. I know I am definitely staying quieter than I might otherwise be for this reason.

    Assuming the motivation behind any behaviour is risky and, as Byōkan says, while this text doubtless addresses issues of gender oppression (and hopefully within that the intersection with relation to ethnicity, sexuality, gender identity, disability etc) it would would seem good not to assume dismissiveness on behalf of parts of the sangha.

    We clearly want to use this discussion to understand and push for greater inclusivity in all ways (as this sangha can hopefully be seen to do in relation to disability) which is doubtless a major part of the book's reason for existing, but there is also a balance to be sought in not solidifying identities and making assumptions based on them.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    ... it would seem good not to assume dismissiveness on behalf of parts of the sangha.

    We clearly want to use this discussion to understand and push for greater inclusivity in all ways (as this sangha can hopefully be seen to do in relation to disability) which is doubtless a major part of the book's reason for existing, but there is also a balance to be sought in not solidifying identities and making assumptions based on them.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday/lah
    Well said, Bro.

    It's really good to acknowledge the inherent tensions around these matters and discuss them openly, instead of tippy-toeing around it. We can learn a lot from examining our comfort level with posting or not posting. Let's not judge the reactions of others, but realize that our reaction to their perceived reaction is something to practice with! It's all part of the issue. There's a fine balance to be navigated if we truly want to learn from each other. It's ok to make mistakes, to say too much or too little, to stumble over our own beliefs and attachments. It's a risk we take willingly in order to share and grow. Everyone has something unique to offer.

    If we are to make any assumptions, let's assume that we don't know anyone's motivation, and kindly default to the assumption that our Sangha comrades have good motivations. Let's remember and honor Shoka's first post from the beginning:

    Since the topics of discrimination and inclusion are very hot button items right now, we want to remind everyone that this is a book club. Please keep the conversation focused on the book and examples that are relevant to this topic. Also please remember to use right speech, and attempt to assume that what people say is meant with good intentions. Let’s all come to the table with an open mind, ready to share and learn from one another.
    Gassho
    Byōkan
    sat + lah
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

  10. #10
    I have been following the thread to learn. I am not reading the book because I have a pile of books to read and previously only participated once or twice in all these years. But I am reading your posts to learn. I am listening.

    Do I get Karma points for attending a three week (via Zoom) Spring Practice at Upaya where the focus was women in Zen? I think all those talks were recorded if anyone wants to hear them.

    Doshin
    St

    Doshin
    St

  11. #11
    Discussion is like digging a hole in the ocean.

    Have been applying the Four Practices to interaction with others, with moderate success. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_S...Four_Practices

    I appreciate everyone here. _()_

    gassho
    shonin sat today and also lah
    Visiting unsui, take with salt. 直⼼心是道場

  12. #12
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    Me do better next time. Me not like upset others. Me like book.
    Gassho Onka
    Sat before chat
    Last edited by Onka; 08-20-2020 at 09:39 PM. Reason: Me not defend myself
    穏 On (Calm)
    火 Ka (Fires)
    aka Anna Kissed.
    Pronouns She/Her They/Them.
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doshin View Post
    I have been following the thread to learn. I am not reading the book because I have a pile of books to read and previously only participated once or twice in all these years. But I am reading your posts to learn. I am listening.

    Do I get Karma points for attending a three week (via Zoom) Spring Practice at Upaya where the focus was women in Zen? I think all those talks were recorded if anyone wants to hear them.

    Doshin
    St

    Doshin
    St
    Gassho
    Onka
    st
    穏 On (Calm)
    火 Ka (Fires)
    aka Anna Kissed.
    Pronouns She/Her They/Them.
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shōnin Risa Bear View Post
    Discussion is like digging a hole in the ocean.

    Have been applying the Four Practices to interaction with others, with moderate success. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_S...Four_Practices

    I appreciate everyone here. _()_

    gassho
    shonin sat today and also lah
    Thank you Shonin
    You continue to teach me without trying.
    Gassho
    Onka
    ST
    穏 On (Calm)
    火 Ka (Fires)
    aka Anna Kissed.
    Pronouns She/Her They/Them.
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shōnin Risa Bear View Post
    Discussion is like digging a hole in the ocean.

    Have been applying the Four Practices to interaction with others, with moderate success. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_S...Four_Practices

    I appreciate everyone here. _()_

    gassho
    shonin sat today and also lah
    Shonin is always such a force to be reckoned with. I'm so grateful to her for her calm, abiding presence in this Sangha.

    I have been a bit quiet in this discussion as of late only because I'm falling behind in the reading. I plan to make up for that this weekend. I'm looking forward to continuing here as I'm learning so much already.

    Gassho,
    Rob

    -st-



    Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk
    聖簡 Seikan (Sacred Simplicity)

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kotei View Post
    I am reading this book with you all. When I finished reading and thinking about the part, there are usually already posts in the thread and I've had nothing substantial to add. I am a bit on the quiet, shy side, too.
    Often, out here in the world, I see male identifying folk dominating discussions, taking much larger time-slices, than appropriate.
    So, I kept silent. Reading. Thinking. It makes me a bit sad, that you're viewing my behaviour as dismissive and disappointing.

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    Apologies Kotei
    I'll be completely honest and say that I read your comment as an attack on me. Clearly this wasn't the case just as my generalisation wasn't directed at you.
    Hopefully the following comes across as a self reflection rather than a defensive statement but this topic which is as much about language as it is inclusiveness is very personal to me. It is literally a matter of life and death for those of us who don't fit the gender binary and I don't make that statement lightly. Our right to exist is under threat everytime we leave the house. This is why I think my word choices can come across as aggressive. I've attempted to use language that is inclusive in an attempt to highlight areas where we all, including myself can do and be better. I'm sorry if anything I say is being perceived as alienating because to know me is to know that I go above and beyond to protect and advocate for others, sometimes at physical risk to myself.
    I know I can do better with my language choice especially when speaking passionately and will try harder.
    Gassho
    Onka
    St
    穏 On (Calm)
    火 Ka (Fires)
    aka Anna Kissed.
    Pronouns She/Her They/Them.
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  17. #17
    I was also surprised that in Japan there were ordained women before there were ordained men. I think it is important for men identified and women identified to practice together precisely because these issues are in our lives, and if they aren't faced in practice, they are less likely to be faced at all. If the "Eight Special Rules" for women were in effect in our sangha, then it would be important to be separated, though. Those are just my thoughts, though.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    On (Warm)
    Kai (Sea)

  18. #18
    I've also been following along with the reading. I've had a very busy couple of weeks though so haven't had much time to post my thoughts, just as I haven't been posting elsewhere on the forum either.

    Gassho

    Heiso
    StLah

    Sent from my E5823 using Tapatalk

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Doshin View Post
    I have been following the thread to learn. I am not reading the book because I have a pile of books to read and previously only participated once or twice in all these years. But I am reading your posts to learn. I am listening.

    Do I get Karma points for attending a three week (via Zoom) Spring Practice at Upaya where the focus was women in Zen? I think all those talks were recorded if anyone wants to hear them.

    Doshin
    St

    Doshin
    St
    Listening is good!

    Thanks for the tip about the Upaya talks, Doshin. I took a look; they are free (but a donation is always welcomed) on the Upaya website.

    Gassho
    Byōkan
    sat + lah
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Shōnin Risa Bear View Post
    Discussion is like digging a hole in the ocean.

    Have been applying the Four Practices to interaction with others, with moderate success. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_S...Four_Practices

    I appreciate everyone here. _()_

    gassho
    shonin sat today and also lah


    Gassho
    Byōkan
    sat + lah
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by Onkai View Post
    I was also surprised that in Japan there were ordained women before there were ordained men. I think it is important for men identified and women identified to practice together precisely because these issues are in our lives, and if they aren't faced in practice, they are less likely to be faced at all. If the "Eight Special Rules" for women were in effect in our sangha, then it would be important to be separated, though. Those are just my thoughts, though.

    Gassho,
    Onkai
    Sat/lah
    Hi Onkai,

    yes, very good point. Practicing "out in the world" together brings these issues forward in a way that can't be ignored, an opportunity for everyone to benefit. Then too I agree with Onka that practicing separately sometimes can be wonderfully freeing and nourishing. Each in its own time, I suppose.

    Ugh, the "Eight Special Rules". Happy that we've left those behind!

    Gassho
    Byōkan
    sat + lah
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

  22. #22
    I am 74 years old. I am reading along with the rest of you, but the discussion and the book only remind me of the long history of patriarchal dominance and how, even though some progress has been made we have so, so far to go. In my long life the deep grinding pain I have felt as a dismissed/abused/disrespected woman has not left me. It brings tears to my eyes writing this.

    And reading the book only reminds me of how bad it has been and for how long. And it makes me wonder if it will ever end. So I sit on the sidelines and listen quietly in sadness.
    I can't say I have much hope either.

    BOWS

    Anne

    ~lahst~

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    I am 74 years old. I am reading along with the rest of you, but the discussion and the book only remind me of the long history of patriarchal dominance and how, even though some progress has been made we have so, so far to go. In my long life the deep grinding pain I have felt as a dismissed/abused/disrespected woman has not left me. It brings tears to my eyes writing this.

    And reading the book only reminds me of how bad it has been and for how long. And it makes me wonder if it will ever end. So I sit on the sidelines and listen quietly in sadness.
    I can't say I have much hope either.

    BOWS

    Anne

    ~lahst~
    Gassho
    Onka
    st
    穏 On (Calm)
    火 Ka (Fires)
    aka Anna Kissed.
    Pronouns She/Her They/Them.
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.
    No Gods No Masters.

  24. #24
    I am seeing this thread for the first time today, and will obtain the text and catch up to participate. Raised in family of strong women, including a past president of NOW, I have a keen awareness of inequity that is rampant in our male-dominated culture. As a man, I struggle to free myself by recognizing my own perpetuation of these things.

    Gassho,
    然芸 Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.

  25. #25
    Anne



    Doshin
    St

  26. #26
    There are a select few 'male identifying' that I have not had difficulty with, even with extended contact.

    However, for me this is an issue of awareness, and it is difficult to explain a reality of living awareness to someone whose reality is nothing like our own. What usually happens is that I get "mansplained" (yes, I said it) about our own existence and how surely it must be our fault that certain things are happening -- whether our perception, someone's reaction, or we're just not doing "enough of", "the wrong thing", or we're being silly, moody, mean, etc., etc., ...... most female-identifying have heard it all before -- how our existence and experiences are explained away -- or dismissed/ignored entirely.

    And yet ..... there are some male-identifying who, somehow, get it. They know, understand, or somehow perceive what is going on.

    For that, we are deeply grateful, and cherish our brothers, mentors, friends. They help make our experiences and realities 'accessible' -- understandable -- in a way that we can't. So, I feel some hope that change is possible, for those who are open and willing to listen and expand their awareness.

    gassho, meian st lh
    迷安 - Mei An - Wandering At Rest

  27. #27
    Just to be clear. There are many very fine, enlightened men. I know a number of them. I am married to one.
    But the overall challenge of dramatic change seems daunting. Too many brutes.

    bows
    Anne
    ~lahst~

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by Cooperix View Post
    I am 74 years old. I am reading along with the rest of you, but the discussion and the book only remind me of the long history of patriarchal dominance and how, even though some progress has been made we have so, so far to go. In my long life the deep grinding pain I have felt as a dismissed/abused/disrespected woman has not left me. It brings tears to my eyes writing this.

    And reading the book only reminds me of how bad it has been and for how long. And it makes me wonder if it will ever end. So I sit on the sidelines and listen quietly in sadness.
    I can't say I have much hope either.

    BOWS
    Anne
    ~lahst~

    Just to be clear. There are many very fine, enlightened men. I know a number of them. I am married to one.
    But the overall challenge of dramatic change seems daunting. Too many brutes.
    Hi Anne,

    Deep bows to you for sharing this.

    Deep bows and metta for your suffering, and for the suffering of all who are oppressed. And yes, metta for the oppressors too.

    When you speak of the life-long deep grinding pain, my heart stirs, because you speak for so many. This too has been my experience. And this is so important, because putting it into words is the first step toward change. We must look clearly, bear witness, speak truthfully, listen deeply, and acknowledge.

    Even in the midst of pain, anger, frustration, cynicism, and sadness, I do have hope. I know that change is possible and it is our shared experience, our true nature of interbeing, that makes it possible. I believe wholeheartedly that the inevitable consequence of fully opening one's eyes and heart to the truth is... compassion. And this will make dramatic change not only possible, but necessary, unavoidable. It's going to take a while. But I really believe this journey has begun.

    I'm finding much inspiration in this book and in our shared experience with it.

    Gassho
    Byōkan
    sat + lah
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Meian View Post
    There are a select few 'male identifying' that I have not had difficulty with, even with extended contact.

    However, for me this is an issue of awareness, and it is difficult to explain a reality of living awareness to someone whose reality is nothing like our own. What usually happens is that I get "mansplained" (yes, I said it) about our own existence and how surely it must be our fault that certain things are happening -- whether our perception, someone's reaction, or we're just not doing "enough of", "the wrong thing", or we're being silly, moody, mean, etc., etc., ...... most female-identifying have heard it all before -- how our existence and experiences are explained away -- or dismissed/ignored entirely.

    And yet ..... there are some male-identifying who, somehow, get it. They know, understand, or somehow perceive what is going on.

    For that, we are deeply grateful, and cherish our brothers, mentors, friends. They help make our experiences and realities 'accessible' -- understandable -- in a way that we can't. So, I feel some hope that change is possible, for those who are open and willing to listen and expand their awareness.

    gassho, meian st lh
    Hi Meian,

    Yes! Openness, awareness is key.

    And (*ding!* goes the bell)... this is exactly what we practice and cultivate every time we sit shikantaza.

    Gassho
    Byōkan
    sat + lah
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Byokan View Post
    Hi Anne,

    Deep bows to you for sharing this.

    Deep bows and metta for your suffering, and for the suffering of all who are oppressed. And yes, metta for the oppressors too.

    When you speak of the life-long deep grinding pain, my heart stirs, because you speak for so many. This too has been my experience. And this is so important, because putting it into words is the first step toward change. We must look clearly, bear witness, speak truthfully, listen deeply, and acknowledge.

    Even in the midst of pain, anger, frustration, cynicism, and sadness, I do have hope. I know that change is possible and it is our shared experience, our true nature of interbeing, that makes it possible. I believe wholeheartedly that the inevitable consequence of fully opening one's eyes and heart to the truth is... compassion. And this will make dramatic change not only possible, but necessary, unavoidable. It's going to take a while. But I really believe this journey has begun.

    I'm finding much inspiration in this book and in our shared experience with it.

    Gassho
    Byōkan
    sat + lah
    Byokan,

    I am glad there are optimists in the world. Because an optimist will not give up. And that's exactly what is needed to elicit change. Maybe it's genetic, or the result of being raised by a fearful, pessimistic mother but I have a sad and dark lookout.
    Or maybe it's just the experiences in my life.
    Thank you for your comments and your optimism!

    Gassho
    Anne
    ~st~

  31. #31
    I am here and I am reading and following the threads. I want to understand and be an ally, though it seems my thinking is often wrong. If there's too much passion I tend to dominate, and if there's not enough it feels uncaring and dismissive. Surely there's some sort of "middle way" out there eh?? My life experiences can lend very little to a lot of these topics, but I would like to help where I can, and understand what I can. Thank you all for your discussion and I continue to follow along and learn.

    Gassho,

    Joshua
    SatToday

    Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk

  32. #32
    I was indeed surprised to learn that women were the first ordained Zen practitioners in Japan. I very much want to know much more about them and how this came to be. I find that there’s so much I don’t know about these women, about these teaching stories and history that it makes it difficult to for me to fully appreciate them.

    I feel deeply inspired by all those who faced great barriers to practice, including those male-identifying ancestors who faced hardships and poverty, but especially those “outsiders” who faced huge cultural, educational and physical barriers to practice, like our female identifying ancestors. I often recall the wonderful talk by Rev Kenshin Catherine Cascade about Mahapajapati and barriers/dharma gates.

    I feel we are fortunate that teachers bringing Zen out of Japan didn’t bring the whole monastic package over with a hard separation of monks and nuns. While we had/have plenty of gender discrimination to deal with here, we never questioned whether female identifying folks should practice (did we? I hope not). Despite the hurdles, that female voices tend to be ‘heard’ less, that there has been predatory behavior, etc, practicing side by side has allowed female identifying teachers and sangha leaders to be seen and accepted as teachers and leaders, not just as teachers and leaders of “women’s Zen.” Sorry, for using so many words..I often have trouble expressing exactly what I wish to say. For some time I practiced with a yoga tradition practice that did bring those gender roles over—woman and men sat on separate sides to the room, only women participated in certain rituals. It always felt wrong and weird. That said, I do think it’s beneficial for female identifying folks to practice together apart from time to time to counteract that cultural tendency to not speak up or put oneself forward in mixed company.
    Gassho,
    Krista
    st

  33. #33
    A little further on, Schireson reflects on the many lost voices of women practitioners. Just to note that since this book was published in 2009, many of those voices have been rediscovered and included in The Hidden Lamp compilation, https://www.amazon.com/dp/0861716590...H56V7WD9XJXCF8
    A review of The Hidden Lamp and other resources concerning Zen women can be found on this website https://www.zenwomen.com/, again a little dated but with some useful links.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  34. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Meitou View Post
    A little further on, Schireson reflects on the many lost voices of women practitioners. Just to note that since this book was published in 2009, many of those voices have been rediscovered and included in The Hidden Lamp compilation, https://www.amazon.com/dp/0861716590...H56V7WD9XJXCF8
    A review of The Hidden Lamp and other resources concerning Zen women can be found on this website https://www.zenwomen.com/, again a little dated but with some useful links.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday
    Thank you Meitou!

    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).

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Meitou View Post
    A little further on, Schireson reflects on the many lost voices of women practitioners. Just to note that since this book was published in 2009, many of those voices have been rediscovered and included in The Hidden Lamp compilation, https://www.amazon.com/dp/0861716590...H56V7WD9XJXCF8
    A review of The Hidden Lamp and other resources concerning Zen women can be found on this website https://www.zenwomen.com/, again a little dated but with some useful links.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday
    Wonderful! Thank you!
    Gassho,
    Krista
    st

  36. #36
    Apologies all, I started late, so on Ch2 catch up! This book is v poignant, important reading.

    With you soon...

    Gassho, Chris satLAH

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisKiwi View Post
    Apologies all, I started late, so on Ch2 catch up! This book is v poignant, important reading.

    With you soon...

    Gassho, Chris satLAH
    Thanks for reading, Chris!

    Gassho
    Byōkan
    sat + lah
    Please take my words with a big grain of salt. I know nothing. Wisdom is only found in our whole-hearted practice together.

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