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Thread: (Non)Split Thread: Teachers & Students in the Modern, Western Sangha

  1. #1

    Question (Non)Split Thread: Teachers & Students in the Modern, Western Sangha

    JUNDO NOTE: I (UN)SPLIT THIS DISCUSSION FROM THIS THREAD: https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...ent-Shikantaza

    But you are wrong, and I showed you such quotes.
    You make assertions, but you don't offer much evidence or facts or supporting texts on your side beside your bare assertions. Put up or shut up ... and sit!
    I believe the above two triggered the fight and honestly were unnecessary. Jundo did a great job in providing the links. I often wonder how intelligent, scholarly and passionate he must be to spend such energy on digging up stuff for a forum post. He did well there but later on the above two posts caused the problem. I find that Jundo naturally likes to argue and sometimes (seems like) wants to have the last word which can be upsetting for some folks who don't know him well. I wondered in my initial days on the forum how can zen teachers be like this. May be zen doesn't change some aspects of the nature of a person

    I am not following AJ actively. I see he's opening a lot of threads and getting into intellectual discussions which may not help his practice. There is no need to either engage him or push him away

    Gassho,
    Sam
    ST

    OTHER JUNDO NOTE: I ADDED MY LITTLE SMILE EMOJI TO THE ABOVE QUOTE AS IT WAS IN THE ORIGINAL COMMENT
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-14-2020 at 01:54 AM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by shikantazen View Post
    I believe the above two triggered the fight and honestly were unnecessary. Jundo did a great job in providing the links. I often wonder how intelligent, scholarly and passionate he must be to spend such energy on digging up stuff for a forum post. He did well there but later on the above two posts caused the problem. I find that Jundo naturally likes to argue and sometimes (seems like) wants to have the last word which can be upsetting for some folks who don't know him well. I wondered in my initial days on the forum how can zen teachers be like this. May be zen doesn't change some aspects of the nature of a person

    I am not following AJ actively. I see he's opening a lot of threads and getting into intellectual discussions which may not help his practice. There is no need to either engage him or push him away

    Gassho,
    Sam
    ST
    I think the basic hierarchy of ANY zen sangha/temple/monastery is something we know. There is special emphasis put in Zen on the master - disciples relationship. There is a REASON for it.. Saying Jundo wants to have the last word is weird considering he should have the last word. I am curious whether anyone would simply walk into any temple in Japan for example and start accusing the abbot of being conceited, arrogant, a trouble maker etc...

    Sorry about the extra lines.

    SatToday
    Jake

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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by jakeb View Post
    I think the basic hierarchy of ANY zen sangha/temple/monastery is something we know. There is special emphasis put in Zen on the master - disciples relationship. There is a REASON for it.. Saying Jundo wants to have the last word is weird considering he should have the last word. I am curious whether anyone would simply walk into any temple in Japan for example and start accusing the abbot of being conceited, arrogant, a trouble maker etc...

    Sorry about the extra lines.

    SatToday
    I hesitated to say this, but I'm going to in two sentences. As a college teacher, especially in my composition classes, I ve found that the greatest impediment to a student's success is his/her inability to admit that what he/she thinks is the correct way to write an essay, or even a sentence, simply is not up to academic and professional standards. The difficulty for them is accepting that what has worked--and even received praise--prior to college will simply not allow them to engage in the kind of varied and sophisticated discourse that will become commonly for the next four years. In the end, students always THINK they know what they're going to learn, but when it comes to actually learning, the "good" student in any situation learns to learn the unexpected and unthought-of, while the "poor" student finds 10000 ways that the teacher is "wrong." (Sorry for the extra sentence.) And sometimes, the only and best instruction you can give to a student is "shut up." (Sorry for the extra sentence.)

    Gassho,

    Hobun

    STLAH

    Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Ania View Post
    In the last two days I started to understand the meaning of Sangha as a practice. Very valuable lessons since yesterday from all of you.

    Gassho
    Sat
    Exactly! There are some things about Zen practice that are a little clearer when visiting a brick-and-mortar Zen monastery. One thing I did not anticipate when I first attended one that is very difficult to convey here (although Treeleaf comes pretty close!) is what I think is a Japanese learning style, which is quite different from the West. Basically, very few "rules" are laid out for you either verbally or in writing, other than the schedule and some chants. Everything else you figure out from watching what everyone else does! It is unsettling and provokes no small anxiety for those of us used to the Western way. At any given time their might be doctors, students, recovering addicts, former prison inmates, folks from all "classes" and walks of life wandering around, sharing the same kitchen, dormitories, cushions in the Zendo, watching each other quietly and courteously following much the same routines which have been followed for hundreds of years in Zen Monasteries.

    We can debate about this ad nauseaum, and whether it excludes some or is particularly difficult for others, but boy when you see it in action you really understand why it works to tame the ego. Most people have ended up at a monastery because they realized somewhere along the way that chasing comfort, safety and control was not working for them. But in order to learn what does work, they need to put the mental chatter aside and be very quiet and attentive at all times, because lessons are constantly unfolding around them, and they can't see or learn them when they are thinking about what the ego feels it must say about it next.

    Many apologies in going over 3 sentences while advocating silent learning

    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).

  5. #5
    I think the basic hierarchy of ANY zen sangha/temple/monastery is something we know. There is special emphasis put in Zen on the master - disciples relationship. There is a REASON for it.. Saying Jundo wants to have the last word is weird considering he should have the last word. I am curious whether anyone would simply walk into any temple in Japan for example and start accusing the abbot of being conceited, arrogant, a trouble maker etc...
    I think this is a really important point, Jake, and places like Reddit's r/zen do not help with this as when people come to Treeleaf they base their conduct on how to behave on what is acceptable or normal on a forum, rather than in a Zendo.

    I am wondering if we have a post on expected conduct in the forum Zendo and, if not, I suspect we might do soon!

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    Exactly! There are some things about Zen practice that are a little clearer when visiting a brick-and-mortar Zen monastery. One thing I did not anticipate when I first attended one that is very difficult to convey here (although Treeleaf comes pretty close!) is what I think is a Japanese learning style, which is quite different from the West. Basically, very few "rules" are laid out for you either verbally or in writing, other than the schedule and some chants. Everything else you figure out from watching what everyone else does! It is unsettling and provokes no small anxiety for those of us used to the Western way. At any given time their might be doctors, students, recovering addicts, former prison inmates, folks from all "classes" and walks of life wandering around, sharing the same kitchen, dormitories, cushions in the Zendo, watching each other quietly and courteously following much the same routines which have been followed for hundreds of years in Zen Monasteries.

    We can debate about this ad nauseaum, and whether it excludes some or is particularly difficult for others, but boy when you see it in action you really understand why it works to tame the ego. Most people have ended up at a monastery because they realized somewhere along the way that chasing comfort, safety and control was not working for them. But in order to learn what does work, they need to put the mental chatter aside and be very quiet and attentive at all times, because lessons are constantly unfolding around them, and they can't see or learn them when they are thinking about what the ego feels it must say about it next.

    Many apologies in going over 3 sentences while advocating silent learning

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday
    These are words I can connect with and feel.
    Gassho
    Onka
    ST
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    I think this is a really important point, Jake, and places like Reddit's r/zen do not help with this as when people come to Treeleaf they base their conduct on how to behave on what is acceptable or normal on a forum, rather than in a Zendo.

    I am wondering if we have a post on expected conduct in the forum Zendo and, if not, I suspect we might do soon!

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    I think it might be a necessary thing.

    SatToday
    Jake

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  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    I think this is a really important point, Jake, and places like Reddit's r/zen do not help with this as when people come to Treeleaf they base their conduct on how to behave on what is acceptable or normal on a forum, rather than in a Zendo.

    I am wondering if we have a post on expected conduct in the forum Zendo and, if not, I suspect we might do soon!

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    I think a document on conduct such as not questioning priests would be helpful too. I wonder too whether emojis are helpful in seeing this as a zendo or just another Zen forum. Personally I find the use of emojis by priests to be an impediment to taking them seriously.
    Gassho
    Onka
    Sat
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Onka View Post
    I think a document on conduct such as not questioning priests would be helpful too. I wonder too whether emojis are helpful in seeing this as a zendo or just another Zen forum. Personally I find the use of emojis by priests to be an impediment to taking them seriously.
    Gassho
    Onka
    Sat
    In digital vocabulary emojis help convey the tone and intentions of words, compensating for the lack of visual queues. They are truly helpful in making conversations more real and humane. I don’t believe anyone’s mentioned “not questioning the priest” as a proposed rule.

    SatToday lah
    Jake

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  10. #10
    I've been 'sitting' with this thread most of today - it's brought up lots of thoughts/feelings/reactions which I've been watching like waves - tide coming in - tide going out.
    I deleted two posts because I felt I was commenting in haste.

    Over the years I've learnt a lot about my reactions/ my 'ego' if we must use that word (have to use something) - from my simply being here and observing - and more importantly often resisting - the impulse to 'have my say'. I'm really struck by what Jakuden writes - a very clear expression of the process we're all called to work our way through ( thank you Jakuden.

    It is humbling and sometimes difficult to have to follow rules or adhere to a certain etiquette when in general we live in an atmosphere of very little restraint but isn't that the
    point of being a member of a Zendo?

    One last sentence (sorry for going over) - the amount of trouble Jundo took to answer the original question illustrates what a phenomenal resource we have here regarding teaching/guidance - something to treasure surely - no matter if occasionally we're in disagreement with this or that?

    Gassho

    Jinyo

    Sat today

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Jinyo View Post
    the amount of trouble Jundo took to answer the original question illustrates what a phenomenal resource we have here regarding teaching/guidance - something to treasure surely - no matter if occasionally we're in disagreement with this or that?
    Totally agree with this.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jinyo View Post

    It is humbling and sometimes difficult to have to follow rules or adhere to a certain etiquette when in general we live in an atmosphere of very little restraint but isn't that the
    point of being a member of a Zendo?

    Gassho

    Jinyo

    Sat today
    Exactly this Jinyo, your experience today has mirrored mine.
    Thank you Jakuden for bringing up silent learning, an important teaching.
    We shouldn't really need a document on etiquette on how to behave in this Zendo, but I think maybe it's time, so that at least newcomers understand clearly that this is a Zendo, not a Facebook group, not Twitter, and that the way we conduct ourselves here is guided by our teacher, our priests - who in this thread have shown exactly why they are in those positions - and the Precepts.

    Gassho
    Meitou
    sattoday lah
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Jinyo View Post

    One last sentence (sorry for going over) - the amount of trouble Jundo took to answer the original question illustrates what a phenomenal resource we have here regarding teaching/guidance - something to treasure surely - no matter if occasionally we're in disagreement with this or that?
    Yes, and because of this, there are objections from Sangha members when they feel a post is disrespectful to Jundo, although there is no "rule" against questioning a teacher. Jundo handles it with good grace, but if a member is frequently questioning the customs of the Sangha and/or the teacher, they are not doing their own practice any justice. I am unaware of any other Sangha where there is such unlimited access to a transmitted teacher and would hope that would be kept in mind by all when posting, rather than us having to define this respect with a "rule."

    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).

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    Yes, and because of this, there are objections from Sangha members when they feel a post is disrespectful to Jundo, although there is no "rule" against questioning a teacher. Jundo handles it with good grace, but if a member is frequently questioning the customs of the Sangha and/or the teacher, they are not doing their own practice any justice. I am unaware of any other Sangha where there is such unlimited access to a transmitted teacher and would hope that would be kept in mind by all when posting, rather than us having to define this respect with a "rule."

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday



    Doshin
    St

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    Exactly! There are some things about Zen practice that are a little clearer when visiting a brick-and-mortar Zen monastery. One thing I did not anticipate when I first attended one that is very difficult to convey here (although Treeleaf comes pretty close!) is what I think is a Japanese learning style, which is quite different from the West. Basically, very few "rules" are laid out for you either verbally or in writing, other than the schedule and some chants. Everything else you figure out from watching what everyone else does! It is unsettling and provokes no small anxiety for those of us used to the Western way. At any given time their might be doctors, students, recovering addicts, former prison inmates, folks from all "classes" and walks of life wandering around, sharing the same kitchen, dormitories, cushions in the Zendo, watching each other quietly and courteously following much the same routines which have been followed for hundreds of years in Zen Monasteries.

    We can debate about this ad nauseaum, and whether it excludes some or is particularly difficult for others, but boy when you see it in action you really understand why it works to tame the ego. Most people have ended up at a monastery because they realized somewhere along the way that chasing comfort, safety and control was not working for them. But in order to learn what does work, they need to put the mental chatter aside and be very quiet and attentive at all times, because lessons are constantly unfolding around them, and they can't see or learn them when they are thinking about what the ego feels it must say about it next.

    Many apologies in going over 3 sentences while advocating silent learning

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday
    This definitely gives me some stuff to sit with...


    Evan,
    Sat today, lah
    Just going through life one day at a time!

  16. #16
    For smiles, I just deleted a post I spent almost an hour writing, editing, perfecting and then pondering.It felt good and right with what I said. It was very cathartic, but I deleted it since Jakuden, Kokuu, Meitou and Jinyo already said it, albeit differently, but the same in essence. Thank you

    The point of all my words was that this is not Face Book, I take Refuge in the Sangha, and I bow to our teacher.


    Be Safe and Stay Well.

    Doshin
    St

    PS.Darn I just realized I went over my three so apologies
    Last edited by Doshin; 09-14-2020 at 03:28 AM.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Doshin View Post
    The point of all my words was that this is not Face Book, I take Refuge in the Sangha, and I bow to our teacher.
    Right on! Sometimes it’s easy for me to get lackadaisical on this; very good points everyone!

    gassho

    risho
    -stlah

  18. #18
    Hi Guys,

    I sometimes ask my Japanese medical doctors and dentists what's the big difference between their Japanese and western patients. The answer is typically:

    (1) the westerners ask a lot more questions and want explanations, while the Japanese generally do not and just do what the doctor says,
    (2) the westerners often come with things they found on the internet, telling the doctor what the diagnosis is and what he should prescribe, and argue when the doctor disagrees, while the Japanese generally do not,
    (3) the westerners complain and get in a huff quickly even in the face of good and sound treatments, while the Japanese generally do not, and last but not least,
    (4) the Japanese generally take a bit of physical discomfort without complaint, while westerners scream at the mere sight of a needle!

    I think it is also all generally true about what I witness in Japanese and western (particularly American, but other western cultures too?) Zen Sangha.

    And it is a good thing ... in moderation ... to have questioning, challenging, explanation, new information. It makes the doctor better too. We try to keep that balance around here, and I think that the Japanese way can be rather deadening and closed minded in extreme, while the western way can turn into "everybody for themself, patients running the hospital" chaos at the other extreme. So, Middle Way!

    In the old days, the Abbot of the Zen Monastery was literally "Buddha incarnate," chairman of the board, the last word, slapping and insulting when called for as in many of the old stories (Ah, those were the days! ... I kid, I kid), and while it is possible to get the "leader" to listen in Japan, it must be done delicately (thus those wonderful ultra humble Japanese grammar forms such as, "Honorable Roshi, I am so sorry to mention this, and it is so rude, please don't mind me and it is a lovely teaching but ... thank you for everything you do ... but I think you have a mustard stain on your cheek ... just maybe, pardon my clumsy rudeness." )

    Basically, there is no perfect Karate teacher, or cooking or Spanish language teacher, and any teacher should always be willing to learn ... but the students should not come into the Karate Dojo or school and take over the class either. Middle way. Frankly, if somebody does not like the style of Karate, soup making or conjugating vowels here ... try the school or Dojo down the street. As part of my job description, I try to discuss, answer questions, debate a bit (until it becomes too much), explain. I have to be the main or last word on most things here, but people are heard, questions are addressed, hopefully reasons are explained and ... ultimately ... people only need to stay if they benefit.

    By the way, on the two comments that Sam posted ...

    But you are wrong, and I showed you such quotes.
    You make assertions, but you don't offer much evidence or facts or supporting texts on your side beside your bare assertions. Put up or shut up ... and sit!
    ... the first one does show that I am so imperfect. It was in response to my misreading Andrew's comment ("It also seems odd that records illustrating moments of awakening don't usually connect those moments with Zazen... hence the request for solid quotations and it looks at first glance like so far there are a few.") which I read as "... so far there are few" rather than "... so far there are a few." I read it as more of an outright rejection of the examples I had posted. I was wrong to say "But you are wrong ... "

    But the other quote .... Put up or shut up ... and sit! ... Hell no, basic Zen 101 when discussion gets to a certain point ... as dear Brad says: SIT DOWN and SHUT UP!

    (Sorry for not shutting up and running a bit long)

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah

    PS - Oh, I don't think we need more rules. Our basic rule is the following, we have small requests like the "Three Sacred Lines" thing too to keep comments short and sweet, and also small things like leaving overt politics and "dirty words" at the door. That's enough. We do pretty good around here most of the time I think.

    The only 'rule' on the Forum, besides "Just Sitting" Zazen each day, is to be kind to each other and mutually maintain “gentle speech” in all communication, even when voices disagree on hot issues. Perhaps more than anything, this allows a warm, welcoming atmosphere for new and old, where people can open up without fear.
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-14-2020 at 05:29 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  19. #19
    Extremely willing to move forward from my perspective. I'm acutely aware of my flaws, Practice or otherwise and all I ask for is gentle teaching publicly or privately. When I feel like I'm being policed walls go up and the less than attractive Anna appears. All assistance to metaphorically kill the less than attractive Anna is welcome. This is the first hierarchical relationship I've entered that I care about maintaining. Those that have taken the time to get to know me understand the Practice significance of this.
    Deep bows
    Onka
    Sat today

    I acknowledge going over 3 sentences. I felt it was important to do so in this instance.
    Last edited by Onka; 09-14-2020 at 04:39 AM. Reason: Forgot apology
    Life's too serious to be taken seriously.

  20. #20
    Thank you Jundo for explaining in detail (though you don't need to). It felt like you both were fighting / arguing (calling him he is wrong and then immediately the shut up statement). May be we could avoid that finger pointing and cornering? I don't know, I am a bit conflict averse and conflict aversion may not be always right approach. As long as what you said is not in the heat of the moment and you meant what you said then it is fine.

    Gassho,
    Sam
    ST

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by shikantazen View Post
    May be we could avoid that finger pointing and cornering? I don't know, I am a bit conflict averse and conflict aversion may not be always right approach. As long as what you said is not in the heat of the moment and you meant what you said then it is fine.
    Well, no ... or maybe ... because sometimes one needs to be gentle and sometimes a bit more firm.

    And that being said, Sam, SHUT UP and GO SIT!

    (or, better, with your knees ... lie down. )

    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  22. #22
    I agree - we really don't need any more rules and we do do pretty good most of the time. A little conflict from time to time may also be beneficial as it doesn't hurt to have our feathers ruffled, remind ourselves of what matters and re-align.

    Gassho,

    Jinyo

    Sat today

  23. #23
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    No additional rules required, as folks have said this is a Sangha and not Facebook. You should conduct yourself as if you were in a bricks and mortar Sangha. We practice right thoughts, right words, right deeds, nothing to add.

    sat / lah


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Seishin View Post
    No additional rules required, as folks have said this is a Sangha and not Facebook. You should conduct yourself as if you were in a bricks and mortar Sangha. We practice right thoughts, right words, right deeds, nothing to add.

    sat / lah
    Agreed and well said.


    Tairin
    Sat today and lah

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Seishin View Post
    No additional rules required, as folks have said this is a Sangha and not Facebook. You should conduct yourself as if you were in a bricks and mortar Sangha. We practice right thoughts, right words, right deeds, nothing to add.

    sat / lah
    Yes, you're right we shouldn't need this. As you say, we already have all the guidance needed, right there in our practice, as well as the (very few) requirements asked of us. Let's hope people can respect this.
    Gassho
    Meitou
    Sattoday
    命 Mei - life
    島 Tou - island

  26. #26
    Member Seishin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    La Croix-Avranchin, Basse Normandie, France
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hi Guys,

    I sometimes ask my Japanese medical doctors and dentists what's the big difference between their Japanese and western patients. The answer is typically:

    (1) the westerners ask a lot more questions and want explanations, while the Japanese generally do not and just do what the doctor says,
    (2) the westerners often come with things they found on the internet, telling the doctor what the diagnosis is and what he should prescribe, and argue when the doctor disagrees, while the Japanese generally do not,
    (3) the westerners complain and get in a huff quickly even in the face of good and sound treatments, while the Japanese generally do not, and last but not least,
    (4) the Japanese generally take a bit of physical discomfort without complaint, while westerners scream at the mere sight of a needle!
    Oh Jundo this did make me laugh. You cite the view of Japanese physicians and western patients but this is exactly the same conversation/observation our French doctor makes about her UK patients. My wife asks less questions these days but when she has, her doctor always asks why "do you English ask so many questions, I am the doctor not you". Maybe my lessons in suchness are beginning to pay off and my wife just goes with the flow but her Doctor still rants about her other "English" ie UK patients that tell her what is wrong, tell her what meds they need and then enter full Spanish Inquisition if they do not get the answer they want. Maybe its a US UK thing ???




    Sat (in the comfy chair ala 2:50)


    Seishin

    Sei - Meticulous
    Shin - Heart

  27. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    Yes, and because of this, there are objections from Sangha members when they feel a post is disrespectful to Jundo, although there is no "rule" against questioning a teacher. Jundo handles it with good grace, but if a member is frequently questioning the customs of the Sangha and/or the teacher, they are not doing their own practice any justice. I am unaware of any other Sangha where there is such unlimited access to a transmitted teacher and would hope that would be kept in mind by all when posting, rather than us having to define this respect with a "rule."

    Gassho,
    Jakuden
    SatToday


    Gassho
    Nengei
    Sat today. LAH.

  28. #28
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Quote Originally Posted by Onka View Post
    Extremely willing to move forward from my perspective. I'm acutely aware of my flaws, Practice or otherwise and all I ask for is gentle teaching publicly or privately. When I feel like I'm being policed walls go up and the less than attractive Anna appears. All assistance to metaphorically kill the less than attractive Anna is welcome. This is the first hierarchical relationship I've entered that I care about maintaining. Those that have taken the time to get to know me understand the Practice significance of this.
    Deep bows
    Onka
    Sat today

    I acknowledge going over 3 sentences. I felt it was important to do so in this instance.
    Hi Onka,

    I don't know if it helps I don't look at the Sangha as a hierarchy with Jundo at the top (sorry Jundo) and me at the bottom but more like a group of people who are learning to be a certain way which may entail something different for each of us. So Jundo and our Unsui are more experienced practitioners. So I look to them for direction in the same way I might ask the misses with the fishing rod if she knows where the good fishing spots are.

    Thoughts?

    Note: Just a tad too long. My appologies.

    Gassho
    Hoseki
    sattoday/lah

  29. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoseki View Post
    Hi Onka,

    I don't know if it helps I don't look at the Sangha as a hierarchy with Jundo at the top (sorry Jundo) and me at the bottom but more like a group of people who are learning to be a certain way which may entail something different for each of us. So Jundo and our Unsui are more experienced practitioners. So I look to them for direction in the same way I might ask the misses with the fishing rod if she knows where the good fishing spots are.

    Thoughts?

    Note: Just a tad too long. My appologies.

    Gassho
    Hoseki
    sattoday/lah
    I don't see why it can't be both, yes Jundo is the head of treeleaf, but he's also no different than anyone else, not two, something like that. Just like we can drop all notions of right/wrong during zazen, and then still get up and have notions of right and wrong. We can trust in Jundo and the rest of the priests/unsui as leaders, but then still ask questions.

    And as Jundo mentioned about the patients/doctors. Middle way, this has come to be my stance about almost everything, generally a healthy balance is needed. It's good for patients to ask questions of the doctor and further their own understanding. The doctor also needs to be willing to listen to the patient as well (how can a doctor make a diagnosis if they don't here the patient out), at the same time the patient also needs to understand the doctor is the expert.

    It's no good if patients go demanding a specific prescription, that's ego, but on the flip side I have a friend with Stage 4 terminal cancer, in the past when he had went to the doctor they just insisted it was because he was overweight and they didn't take his concerns seriously, perhaps if the doctors has listened better they could have caught his cancer sooner.

    Balance in everything... I can't stress how important that is, there needs to be a healthy balance...

    Apologies for rambling but I just really needed to get this point across...


    Evan,
    Sat today, lah
    Just going through life one day at a time!

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Hoseki View Post
    Hi Onka,

    I don't know if it helps I don't look at the Sangha as a hierarchy with Jundo at the top (sorry Jundo) and me at the bottom but more like a group of people who are learning to be a certain way which may entail something different for each of us. So Jundo and our Unsui are more experienced practitioners. So I look to them for direction in the same way I might ask the misses with the fishing rod if she knows where the good fishing spots are.

    Thoughts?

    Note: Just a tad too long. My appologies.

    Gassho
    Hoseki
    sattoday/lah
    I think that's a good way of looking at things and one that Jundo has stressed from time to time. At the end of the day we are all on a journey and though there may be common sign posts and stopping off places I think our personal experiences may differ - despite a commonality.

    I experience Tree Leaf as a place of communal knowledge/sharing and a wonderful resource but the whole impetus of Zen (and possibly Buddhism in general) is that we must learn to trust in our own path and put 'the raft' down at some point. I'm not sure it helps - or is wise - to assume that others are somehow further along the path due to a belief in hierarchy. To my mind the priesthood is about service - which is admirable and I do feel gratitude for the commitment that involves - but in terms of sharing/learning or simply being touched (at times in quite a profound way) that often comes from a perspective a 'beginner' has shared ( we are all fundamentally beginners anyway- yes?).

    There is instruction to be given and help to be given with it and then there is personal experience and a lived life. Jundo patiently repeats the instruction - for so many years now because that is his role freely given - and books to be read - hundreds of them if we're so inclined - but the really hard/interesting part of the journey is how do we fare with all of this in our everyday lives ? I think that's the part that keeps me coming back here - not for expertise or knowledge (helpful though that may be) - but the sheer human aspect of trying to lead a better life - be a better/ or at least more insightful person in my dealings with others.

    Sorry this is a bit of a long ramble but it set me wondering what the basis/ and structure of our community is about and hierarchical didn't quite seem to fit.

    Thank you Onka for stimulating the question.

    Gassho

    Jinyo

    Sat Today

  31. #31
    Member Hoseki's Avatar
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    St. John's Newfoundland, Canada.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jinyo View Post
    I think that's a good way of looking at things and one that Jundo has stressed from time to time. At the end of the day we are all on a journey and though there may be common sign posts and stopping off places I think our personal experiences may differ - despite a commonality.

    I experience Tree Leaf as a place of communal knowledge/sharing and a wonderful resource but the whole impetus of Zen (and possibly Buddhism in general) is that we must learn to trust in our own path and put 'the raft' down at some point. I'm not sure it helps - or is wise - to assume that others are somehow further along the path due to a belief in hierarchy. To my mind the priesthood is about service - which is admirable and I do feel gratitude for the commitment that involves - but in terms of sharing/learning or simply being touched (at times in quite a profound way) that often comes from a perspective a 'beginner' has shared ( we are all fundamentally beginners anyway- yes?).

    There is instruction to be given and help to be given with it and then there is personal experience and a lived life. Jundo patiently repeats the instruction - for so many years now because that is his role freely given - and books to be read - hundreds of them if we're so inclined - but the really hard/interesting part of the journey is how do we fare with all of this in our everyday lives ? I think that's the part that keeps me coming back here - not for expertise or knowledge (helpful though that may be) - but the sheer human aspect of trying to lead a better life - be a better/ or at least more insightful person in my dealings with others.

    Sorry this is a bit of a long ramble but it set me wondering what the basis/ and structure of our community is about and hierarchical didn't quite seem to fit.

    Thank you Onka for stimulating the question.

    Gassho

    Jinyo

    Sat Today
    Gassho
    Hoseki
    Sattoday

  32. #32
    This reminds me of the Zen koan: the person of no rank. In our day to day, we are all involved in hierarchies - sometimes much to our chagrin. I agree that sometimes they are abused; however, in a good hierarchy, it's based on competence and care.

    I manage a team of people at work; you'd think that it's all about the team doing the work while I sit back and sip on margaritas, but it's the opposite, and that's how I see it here. Traditionally, you think of a business organization structure as a pyramid with the leader on the top and workers on the bottom. That is naive, and unhealthy. It is actually the opposite; the leader is on the bottom supporting their team. The most important role of a leader is taking care of their people. Their ego must be subdued - you take all the blame and you give away all the credit. It's a family and you don't kick people when they are down, you try to be optimistic and lift people up so they can be their best selves. It's being a Tenzo, a caretaker. You do the crap that no one else wants to do sometimes to keep things going.

    In any case, I see that as the role of the priests here. They do all the stuff to keep this place running. At the same time we are practicing together and they are not above or below.

    But because they are willing to do the things that keep this place going, the administrative stuff, all of it, ango, book clubs, posting massive amounts of teaching, doing the research behind Dogen, etc. It's about taking care of the dharma, preserving the dharma for the next generation.

    So I see that is why they are at the top of the topless (ok that didn't come out right) hierarchy from one perspective. At the other time, they are on the bottom, supporting and serving and at another, they are at our side - friends on the way.

    There is a saying: "Never above, never below, always beside". You know the good leaders -they are the ones who want to work with you, really care about you. It's the same here.

    Gassho

    Risho
    -apologies for going over. I normally sit later in the day and will be doing so but don't want to put "sat" as it would be disingenuous

  33. #33
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    This reminds me of the Zen koan: the person of no rank. In our day to day, we are all involved in hierarchies - sometimes much to our chagrin. I agree that sometimes they are abused; however, in a good hierarchy, it's based on competence and care.

    I manage a team of people at work; you'd think that it's all about the team doing the work while I sit back and sip on margaritas, but it's the opposite, and that's how I see it here. Traditionally, you think of a business organization structure as a pyramid with the leader on the top and workers on the bottom. That is naive, and unhealthy. It is actually the opposite; the leader is on the bottom supporting their team. The most important role of a leader is taking care of their people. Their ego must be subdued - you take all the blame and you give away all the credit. It's a family and you don't kick people when they are down, you try to be optimistic and lift people up so they can be their best selves. It's being a Tenzo, a caretaker. You do the crap that no one else wants to do sometimes to keep things going.

    Gassho

    Risho
    -apologies for going over. I normally sit later in the day and will be doing so but don't want to put "sat" as it would be disingenuous
    That's definitely how it SHOULD be, unfortunately though in many case that's not what the reality ends up being. Especially with these big international corporations. The senior leadership are often very disconnected from the workers.


    Evan,
    Sat today, lah
    Last edited by gaurdianaq; 09-16-2020 at 02:00 PM.
    Just going through life one day at a time!

  34. #34
    Hi all

    Whereas I don't see Treeleaf as necessarily being a hierarchy, I think that there is a general principle to be upheld as part of Zen training of respecting the teacher, allowing them to set the rules and see they are followed, and allowing them to have the last word, even on the odd occasion when they may not be right!

    This is not so much because Jundo is superior to us, but rather that it is part of letting go the need to be right and have control at all times. As Jundo often says, the Japanese have a cultural tendency to defer to authority, whereas many in the west have been brought up to challenge it. Neither of these things is bad but it is probably true that Japanese people might benefit from asserting themselves a little more and westerners from a little more humility. This is not a military boot camp, and the rules are not exactly onerous, so I feel it is good practice to follow them and to give respect to Jundo for his role both as teacher and founder.

    I do not believe it is necessary to see Jundo as your teacher as a member of Treeleaf (it took me quite some time to see him that way) but many probably do and in that case there is definitely a greater degree of respect due, again as part of the training process rather than because Jundo himself requires it.

    As far as the unsui and priests go, I don't personally think we are on a different level to anyone else. Some members have been here longer than us, and some are more experienced in practice and knowledge. I guess our role is more functional in terms of helping with organisation and planning, giving basic advice and making sure the sangha runs smoothly by occasionally pointing out the rules.

    Anyway, apologies for too many words.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    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.

  35. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Risho View Post
    This reminds me of the Zen koan: the person of no rank. In our day to day, we are all involved in hierarchies - sometimes much to our chagrin. I agree that sometimes they are abused; however, in a good hierarchy, it's based on competence and care.
    My role here is neither top nor bottom nor in between, but simply to help point the way for folks to know the shining flowing wholeness sometimes known as "enlightenment" ... the "person of no rank" coming in and out of one's face, free of all separate characteristics in a world of separate characteristics. (See discussion here):

    https://www.treeleaf.org/forums/show...-Enlightenment

    Often I fail miserably, sometimes it works out ... and while the students must do their own heavy lifting, sit their own sitting and find the way for themselves with any teacher just pointing off in the right way (like Master Linji/Rinzai, a hard old general who took no gruff, and came up with that "person of no rank" thing) ...

    Book of Serenity Koan #38: Linji's True Person

    Case
    Linji addressed the assembly, saying, "There is a true person of no rank. He is always leaving and entering the gates of your face. You beginners who have not witnessed him: Look! Look!"
    Thereupon a monk asked, "How about this true person of no rank?"
    Linji got down from the seat and grabbed him.
    The monk hesitated, and Linji pushed him away, saying, "This true person of no rank; what a shit-stick he is!"
    ... the buck stops here.

    Gassho, J

    STLah

    PS - I will be sitting for Evan's friend with cancer.
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-16-2020 at 05:26 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by Kokuu View Post
    Hi all

    Whereas I don't see Treeleaf as necessarily being a hierarchy, I think that there is a general principle to be upheld as part of Zen training of respecting the teacher, allowing them to set the rules and see they are followed, and allowing them to have the last word, even on the odd occasion when they may not be right!

    This is not so much because Jundo is superior to us, but rather that it is part of letting go the need to be right and have control at all times. As Jundo often says, the Japanese have a cultural tendency to defer to authority, whereas many in the west have been brought up to challenge it. Neither of these things is bad but it is probably true that Japanese people might benefit from asserting themselves a little more and westerners from a little more humility. This is not a military boot camp, and the rules are not exactly onerous, so I feel it is good practice to follow them and to give respect to Jundo for his role both as teacher and founder.

    I do not believe it is necessary to see Jundo as your teacher as a member of Treeleaf (it took me quite some time to see him that way) but many probably do and in that case there is definitely a greater degree of respect due, again as part of the training process rather than because Jundo himself requires it.

    As far as the unsui and priests go, I don't personally think we are on a different level to anyone else. Some members have been here longer than us, and some are more experienced in practice and knowledge. I guess our role is more functional in terms of helping with organisation and planning, giving basic advice and making sure the sangha runs smoothly by occasionally pointing out the rules.

    Anyway, apologies for too many words.

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-



    With respect to my Teacher and great appreciation to the unsuis and other priests.

    Doshin
    St

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