Hello All,

Treeleaf is a Zen Sangha, a "Zen Center" like any other ... please do not let the "online", outer form fool 'ya. It is a place dedicated to Soto Zen Buddhist teaching and practice, with a particular teacher, in the manner of Dogen Zenji.

In that way, it is much like a Karate Dojo, where a certain style of Karate is taught and practiced as guided by that place's head teacher. When learning that style of Karate in that place, with that place's Karate teacher, one does not try to practice Ai-ki-do there (or even any other style of Karate). So, what is taught and practiced at Treeleaf Zendo is what is expected to be learned and practiced in this particular place. (To avoid all Japanese cultural references, I like to think of myself as the "Head Coach" as much as the "teacher" ... but it would be the same if this were "Treeleaf Tennis School" or basketball team practice, any school really. When at that tennis school, please hold your racket like the teacher says.)

So, I suppose that if someone is here and does not want to learn what the teacher teaches, or doesn't think of me as the teacher, and is not willing to put that fully into practice when practicing in this particular place ... well, you may be in the wrong place! :roll:

The good news is that there are plenty of places, teachers and teachings in this world, so please feel free to keep on searching. Someone may even be teaching something a lot better than the "non-searching" that is taught here. There are also plenty of online social sites where one can shoot the breeze, and even web sites where (supposedly) open discussion can occur on "Buddhism in general". All those are available.

The other good news is that I never demand that folks practice --only-- what I teach, and people are always free to learn from many teachers and in many traditions to their hearts content (that has been true all through the history of Buddhism and Zen, in fact ... at least since the Buddha died.). I recommend to folks what I think is best, but people will do what they wish anyway. I only ask that, when in this place, we practice just what is taught here, and nothing inconsistent with the teachings and practices taught here. I require that we don't mix and match inconsistent traditions here, and I can't have any of that (I had a fellow write me recently to ask if he could mix, and practice, his Soto Practice with various forms of Tibetan meditation while at Treeleaf. I told him "no". I said I was happy to talk about it ... but not to practice it, and he had to be willing to hear me be very very critical of some things.)

In this Sangha, we all support each other. More experienced folks help to guide newcomers, although we are all beginners at heart. Everyone learns from everyone else, and the teacher is the student of the newest face in the door. But a ship needs a captain (I am really mixing metaphors today). If, when in this place, you do not think of me as your teacher, and if do not you try to put into practice what I guide ... then maybe you should try a different place ... find another ship. We don't chase folks into this place, or chase after folks when they leave. It's a free universe! If you do not care for the teachings here, try the teacher down the street! In fact, if you are ever in a place and think the teacher is full of baloney, RUN, don't walk, for the nearesr door.

This is not a social club, although I love it that folks can be social and make friends. Our focus is the practice of Zen Buddhism in the manner of Dogen Zenji. This Forum is meant, not as a coffee shop or bowling alley, but as a Zen Practice place through words. If you guys want to socialize, we do have a Facebook page ...

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Treeleaf- ... 4694940304

Try over there. But it is my intent that this Forum be very different in atmosphere from most places in the world ... here, we think non-thinking, talk non-talking.

If you don't know what "think non-thinking, talk non-talking" means, then you are in the right place. I will try to teach you.

Gassho, Jundo

PS- Bill said it very well, I think ...

It seems that some of the reaction to Jundo's post is a bit off balance. All I read in his post was the same thing that other Zen teachers in the past have said. I'm paraphrasing, but things like, "Choose your words carefully, weighing cost and benefit of them." "Whenever you have the urge to speak, act on those urges only one time out of ten." And so on. I cannot remember hearing or reading where a Zen teacher has suggested that we speak more or that we must express ourselves more. Otherwise, we risk taking our thoughts too seriously by believing that they are all worthy of sharing. So, economy with words appears to be a theme in Zen in my experience.
I don't want to live under some kind of censorship, but that's not what I see here.

S. Suzuki: "Most people who visit a Zen Center find it a strange place. "They do not talk so much. They do not even laugh. What are they doing?" Those who are accustomed to big noises may not notice, but we can communicate without talking so much." Not Always So, p. 11.