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Thread: Zen Women Chapter 7, Pages 130 - 135

  1. #1

    Zen Women Chapter 7, Pages 130 - 135

    Hi All,

    This week we’re learning about some of the Korean nuns, Wangdoin, Yoyeon, and Manseong, who all studied with male teachers.

    It’s sad to read that so many of the Korean records have been lost due to war, politics, and even Zen vs Zen maneuvering. Cut to the present day… I wonder, have things improved?

    I loved reading about the orientation of Manseong. The way it was done was not just a clever end-run around the rules, but a thoughtful and valid way to honorably satisfy the requirements of the day. To me it seems both funny and touching somehow that it was more acceptable to ordain with a dead person than with the living master right there. What wisdom the teacher showed to know that it was really one and the same. Again, cut to the present day… in the modern Zen world, seems like someone is always calling someone else’s jukai, ordination, or practice invalid for one reason or another. Question: how can we know if our practice is valid if someone of "authority" suggests that it isn’t?

    Manseong’s practice and teaching was so confident, direct and practical. Fun to read about, and another wonderful example to follow!

    How about you, did anything in this weeks reading ring your bell, for better or for worse?

    Take your time and savor these teachings. With this short section it’s a good week to catch up. Let me know if we need to slow down, take a break, or go faster! And as always, please do share your thoughts on this book, it’s a safe space here and we’d love to hear what you’re thinking.

    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
    This chapter had it all, not only women trying to find ways to ordain and practice but also religion (possibly the religion we practice!) being used as a tool of empire and oppression.

    I really liked how Man'gong used his dead mother to ordain Manseong. In one sense it's a cunning workaround but in another a very practical application of what we practice in zen. Manseong's teaching style sounds equal parts awesome and terrifying.

    And just to mention, I had to double check the dates for Hyesim to confirm he was so open minded in the 12th/13th century.

    Regarding your question on legitimacy, I think we see people questioning each others ordinations, conversions, etc in every religion so there's no reason to think zen would be any different. Sadly.


    Gassho,

    Heiso

    StLah

    Sent from my RMX2001 using Tapatalk

  3. #3
    Shamanism and spirit mediums talking with the dead is a very strong tradition in Korean culture though less so in Japan. My 'Japanese' in laws are in fact Korean descended from Granny and Grandpa who came over during the war. At Grannies' Buddhist funeral, my husband's cousin took the role of shaman and was the medium by which the family communicated with her. I think the work around of using the funeral tablet of a deceased empowered nun when there was no living one available is less of a work around in Korea than it might appear in the west. The idea of the 'soul' residing in the funeral tablet is very strong despite it being illogical in Buddhist terms. My late mother in law's tablet is in our altar and she is offered food, incense, drinks (esp. tea) and flowers. She is also kept up to date with developments in the family by word and letter. In turn, she is viewed as a guardian spirit of the home. So, both my late mother in law and the late nun might be dead but aren't quite gone, yet. However, I suspect that the nun's request to be thrown in the sea and never spoken of a again was her attempt to prevent her being assigned that posthumous role, pointing out the fundamental emptiness (I'm tempted to say comforting silliness) of those post mortem beliefs.

    Stewart
    Sat

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