Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Zen women - Chapter 5, pages 77-82

  1. #1

    Zen women - Chapter 5, pages 77-82

    All,

    This week’s readying is fairly short, but the stories are so filled with questions and things to consider that there is definitely enough there to talk about.

    In reading about Myori Beophui Sunim, I was reading struck by the statement that she never gave a dharma talk. In Western Zen, I feel that giving dharma talks has become a cornerstone of being seen as a teacher or someone who has “mastered” zen. Do you think it is possible to express the Buddha way by how you life is lived alone? Or does a giving talks help students recognize the spark inside the teacher?

    Mugai Nyodai’s story is a sad but fantastic example of what has happened throughout history to ancestors who do not fit the mold the next person wants. While reading these sections I annotate my book, and literally I just wrote “wow” next to the entire first paragraph. How sad that someone only stumbled upon Mugai’s story because they walked down a hallway and noticed a picture. The story of how she was removed from history is a stark reminder of why we now chant the female ancestors during retreats and have added the differently abled ancestors as well.

    As usual feel free to comment on any of the above and/or add what impressions you came away with.

    If you are just joining the book club feel free to jump in where we are.

    Gassho,
    Shoka
    sattoday
    香道 笑花
    Kodo Shoka

    Please don't take anything I say as anything more than just a normal person's thoughts on the topic. I'm just stumbling through life trying to be helpful, but really don't know much.

  2. #2
    Hello,

    I think in western Zen, where we're often not living together, not sharing daily life in the same way as our ancestors did, emphasizing Dharma talks is a reasonable choice.
    Sharing the struggles of day to day life's practice, teaching by example, maybe sitting more often, imho shows the importance of Dharma talks in a different light, maybe as one equally important teaching tool among others.

    I came across Muso Soseki while learning about Japanese Gardens and admire some of his poems regarding those.
    Sadly, I now learned that he was the one, who tried to erase Mugai Nyodai's lineage while 'promoting' his own.

    Mugai.jpg
    Mugai Nyodai
    taken from: https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/mugai.html

    Myself, I wouldn't be able to overcome as many barriers, as these strong women did.
    Sad to read about today's examples of suppression.

    Gassho,
    Kotei sat/lah today.
    Last edited by Kotei; 02-04-2021 at 05:20 PM. Reason: added name under picture

    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.

  3. #3
    In Western Zen, I feel that giving dharma talks has become a cornerstone of being seen as a teacher or someone who has “mastered” zen. Do you think it is possible to express the Buddha way by how you life is lived alone? Or does a giving talks help students recognize the spark inside the teacher?
    Thank you, Shoka. I think that dharma talks are very important but by no means the only way that a monk or nun can express their understanding of the way. I am sure we have all encountered people in Zen who fully embody their practice in such a way that it is inspiring by the way they move and each and every action they make, even in sitting still. For me, these kind of people are really important in every Zen centre, temple and monastery, wordlessly showing the way in each moment of the day.

    We know from history that Zen ancestors, both male and female, have been removed from lineages in order to tell a story which is more convenient to someone later, whether to simplify the path of transmission or alter it in favour of one particular tradition or other.

    Removing the name of any worthy ancestor is sad, but I think that is particularly the case when the ancestor occupies a rare position in the lineage such as a female abbot who could give credence to, and inspire, later generations of female monastics.

    Mugai Nyodai is also known as Chiyono (whom I have sometimes confused with the haiku poet Chiyo-ni, also a bhikkhuni although living nearly half a millennium later!): https://www.dailyzen.com/journal/the...ent-of-chiyono

    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.

  4. #4
    Mugai Nyodai’s story is a sad but fantastic example of what has happened throughout history to ancestors who do not fit the mold the next person wants.
    I am certain that I am not the only one who resonates with this sad feeling of "being the wrong person" -- it's an awful feeling of rejection that is all too common for women. However, I feel that it has also given many of us hidden opportunities to forge our own paths. What else are we to do when we are not the "desired person" -- than to create our own way forward? Even if only left to the annals of history, we still end up leaving our legacy in some way.


    The story of how she was removed from history is a stark reminder of why we now chant the female ancestors during retreats and have added the differently abled ancestors as well.
    Part of what I appreciate and respect about Treeleaf -- what is forgotten, ignored, and overlooked by society and conventional Buddhism, is honored and normalized at Treeleaf.

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

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Meian View Post
    I am certain that I am not the only one who resonates with this sad feeling of "being the wrong person" -- it's an awful feeling of rejection that is all too common for women.
    This comment gave me one of the oldest flashbacks I think I’ve ever had. I must have been around five or six, and I wanted to help my Dad fix the car. He told me straight out that my brother could do that but not me because he was the boy. I will have to think about that some more now that I remember it, I wonder if that’s what made me so stubbornly determined to go to college! As you said, we find other avenues to be the “right person,” but sadly many times never to the person/people we wanted to be right for?

    Gassho
    Jakuden
    SatToday/LAH







    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
    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).

  6. #6
    I thought it was interesting in this chapter the way it talks about Xinggang and her successor, Yigong openly expressing vulnerability, sorrow, and tenderness - and while I'm wary of applying gender stereotypes, how this is seen as something out of the ordinary. Elsewhere I've seen discussions about how zen can seem lacking in a language of love and tenderness that maybe other religions are more comfortable with and I wonder if we lost something in not highlighting these teachings rather than the 'toughen up' that we often see and hear of.

    I really like the fact that Myori Beophui Sunim didn't give any dharma talks. She lived her practice and while Dogen might not approve, didn't feel the need to try and prove anything through talking or over philosophising her realisation. I'm getting Franciscan lived gospel vibes from her.

    Gassho,

    Heiso.

    StLah

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jakuden View Post
    This comment gave me one of the oldest flashbacks I think I’ve ever had. I must have been around five or six, and I wanted to help my Dad fix the car. He told me straight out that my brother could do that but not me because he was the boy. I will have to think about that some more now that I remember it, I wonder if that’s what made me so stubbornly determined to go to college! As you said, we find other avenues to be the “right person,” but sadly many times never to the person/people we wanted to be right for?
    I'm a little late catching up to your flashback, Jakuden.

    I experienced similar throughout my childhood and growing up. The message in my mother's family was that boys did the real hard men's work, and girls learned to be housewives and mothers (that's the polite version). My grandfather owned a machine shop (tool and dye) -- family business. My parents and I worked there to varying degrees. I was allowed to mark and bag parts. My mother did office work, my father worked in the shop on the machines, and handled some of the business. I wanted to learn the machine work because I liked the smell, the sounds, and the crunch of metal shavings on the floor (still do -- I love garages, machine oil, all things mechanical fascinate me), and I liked the environment of the machine shop. I found it and comforting and interesting. I still miss it very much.

    My grandfather (and thus, my father) said absolutely not -- I was a girl, no girls in the shop. I belonged in the office and at home. Only men could work on machines.

    Years later, my grandmother would ask me, "Why do you work?"

    My mind is restless and loves to roam, and I have a lot to give to this world. I always look for ways to share what I have to offer, to be helpful to others (but hopefully without pushing). "Because you're a girl" is unacceptable, but it's still used as a reason to bar women from participating in too many arenas -- not always openly. It is hard to push back against discrimination that we cannot see, but we can always look for other ways to work around it. I am learning (slowly) that our skills and abilities cannot help anyone if we don't make them available for others to consider.

    When I was pregnant with my first daughter -- I decided not to find out the gender. I was under a lot of pressure to find out, however -- people wanted to know "what color clothes" and what kinds of toys to get the baby. This really seemed to bother them. It's also precisely why I chose not to find out -- I didn't want to stereotype my child from birth, and my family was quite angry that I wasn't catering to the pink/blue motif. I told them to get gender-neutral colors, and gender-neutral toys -- what did they do before ultrasounds? Do that. I had made a conscious decision that I was not going to push my child towards particular gender roles or traditional activities. It is not easy in American society to do this, but we have stood against a lot of peer pressure in what we've refused to conform to so far.

    Thank you for sharing your memory, Jaukden -- this was a big part of my childhood also and still has quite an impact on my life (I'm still 'lectured' on my place in the family and reminded not to step out of line with ambitions). Knowing my "place" always seemed normal and "right" to me, until I wondered why it also always raises a shadow of despair and frustration within me -- might that not also be telling me something?

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

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •