Caodemarte wrote: ↑
Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:07 am
During my brief active life on DW (I now passively view it to pick up useful references that sometimes pop up) there were a couple of posters who actually announced that they would “drop in” on a Zen (not just Soto Zen) discussion to blow it up. Two self-described “Tibetan Buddhists” were so ill informed that they started ridiculing basic Mahayana thought under the impression that they were attacking specifically Zen sect doctrines. I understand that a lot of this was caused by the very personal feuds of the internet bullies you find online. I also understand that other sects, some inside TB, are also sometimes singled out for these attacks. Nevertheless the whole atmosphere quickly becomes too toxic whenever one publicly strays from the weird, archaic, conservative TB views of more active, especially the self-proclaimed “most valuable member.” I suspect the Dalai Lama would be quickly banned. According to a announcement as I left other people were also leaving the forum because of the poisonous atmosphere.
I don’t know in what spirit one DW poster recently said he might drop in on this forum to get a “punch up,” in his words, going, but that is the problem. Many, if not most posters, use the forum to “win” pointless arguments.
If you want to argue about the Dharma, DW is your place. If you want to participative in a civil discussion to learn from others, it is not the best place.
Yes, thank you for this. I believe that describes the situation accurately. I also believe that the problem infects other areas of their Forum with "minority" beliefs beyond Soto Zen, but I only wished to speak from the area I come from.
Meido wrote: ↑
Thu Feb 01, 2018 9:00 pm
Jundo, for the sake of discussion (if you'd like to develop this) could you please post links to the threads at DW you mention...
Well, as you ask, the following are just a few recent examples quickly pulled up, not a detailed survey of the archives (although the pattern repeats with great frequency) ...
Someone new to Soto Zen specifically asks, in the Soto forum, about "how Dogen equates sitting with Enlightenment" in Soto.
Most (all?) of the responders are not themselves Soto Zen practitioners, but do not clearly disclose that fact. and make statements such as:
"'Just sitting' is simply to discontinue the continuing mind in a way that does not employ the conceptual faults of understanding or direction or coming from one state of delusion and going to another of awakening, even as 'continuance', 'understanding', 'direction', 'coming' and 'going' are experienced as arising when just sitting
"I hate to sound cliche here, but the answer is not an answer that comes from the thinking mind, it's experienced, not analyzed, once the analysis of how why, etc. begins, that is no longer the experience, that is an attempt to catalogue it. Not always a bad thing at all, but you have to realize that abstractions of it are just that - and all the discursive mind can ever work with is abstractions. Analysis is a useful tool, but even in Lojong teachings " even the remedy is liberated"...
(Johnny Dangerous, Global Moderator)
One answer is the ground consciousness, and the karmic seeds that it contains. These seeds, or memories, are the conditions for future existence. Occassionally these memories come to mind, and if we are deluded about their nature, then we act on them, and this creates more seeds (of existence, suffering). So what to do about it? The problem is we don't see the ground consciousness, rather we work with the sense of identity and the other six consciousnesses.
These may be very wise and insightful statements from wherever they are coming from, but I do not see the connection to Soto Teachings, let alone how "Dogen equates sitting with Enlightenment."
... and then there is Astus, who is very smart but is not (I believe) actually a Soto Zen Practitioner, but often plays the role of "in-house Soto/Dogen expert" in these threads, and thereupon often makes some very off-key statements about Soto Practice. For example, he first responds to the inquiry by quoting something called "The Middling Stages of Enlightenment" by Acharya Kamalashila:
"In this way, by entering into the suchness of the selflessness of persons and phenomena, you are free from concepts and analysis, because there is nothing to be thoroughly examined and observed. You are free from expression and with single-pointed mental engagement you automatically enter into meditation without exertion. Thus, you very clearly meditate on suchness and abide in it. While abiding in that meditation, the continuity of the mind should not be distracted. ... If and when the mind spontaneously engages in meditation on suchness, free of sinking and mental agitation, it should be left naturally and your efforts should be relaxed."
... perhaps a beautiful Teaching, but what does this have to do with Soto ways and Master Dogen? Is Astus a Soto Teacher, by the way? He seems to hold himself out as one and somehow an expert, and speaks to questioners with authority often dominating Soto threads, despite often offering very questionable interpretations.
In a thread I mentioned, called "Zazen and Liberation" in the Soto section, and how Shikantaza related to Silent Illumination meditation, someone asked, "Can someone help me understand how ‘Silent Illumination’ (Shikantaza) can help bring about an end to suffering?" (This is where there were also responses such as that "Unfortunately, much of modern Soto has become disconnected from the necessity of kensho, except where a Rinzai lineage has been incorporated
" (Fu Ri Shin)). Astus jumps in with the very wrong statement "There are some differences between Mozhao and Shikantaza, mostly that the latter has a special emphasis on posture. But they both teach the same old practice of no-thought and no-mind as you can find it in the Platform Sutra.
" That is the difference? Emphasis on POSTURE
? He also describes both as "to see directly that the six sensory phenomena are absolutely unstable" which (while perhaps a fine teaching somewhere) is not related to Shikantaza at all.
And those are just a couple of recent threads.
Threads with "bashing" of modern or western Soto doctrine are also plentiful. "Matylda," for all I respect her, is very weighted in her statements toward her understanding, from her Teachers in Japan, and often ignorant (admittedly) of Soto in the West, or quick to put it down. For example, this comment on Norman Fischer's explanation of Shikantaza ...
This is rather non of shikan taza thing.. neither real explanation of zazen.. moreover even if one uses some oehter systems and teachers to expalin zazen it does not mean that is is real zazen instruction... I geuss there is very little of known in the West zazen instructions.. so people are forcesd to use intellectually some other available instructions unrelated to zazen..
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f ... rn#p384515
These are just a few quick examples I pulled.
bodhi wrote: ↑
Thu Feb 01, 2018 4:31 pm
Can you name a teacher or other individual, besides yourself of course, who could adequately represent the “liberal” Soto Zen framework of which you speak? Because otherwise all you seem to be saying is that DW is lacking because you don’t contribute there enough.
Hello Bodhi. I don't contribute there "enough" because several "modern" views ran afoul of administrators, and I am not allowed to post. (Without getting into the whole thing again), my "agnosticism" and skepticism on literal models of rebirth was the key problem. Most Soto Teachers in the West, I believe, might be considered "liberal" in the same way. James Ford, former Director of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association in America and author of the history of Zen Lineages in the West called "Zen Master Who?" (https://www.amazon.com/Zen-Master-Who-P ... 0861715098
) writes the following based on his experience, and also various informal surveys and discussions I have witnessed among SZBA members:
There are Buddhists, including Zen Buddhists, including Soto and Rinzai Buddhists who believe if one does not accept the doctrine of rebirth as axiomatic one cannot claim to be a Buddhist.
I would say, however, the majority of Zen practitioners and teachers in the West are agnostic on this subject, leaning one way or the other. I, for instance, am agnostic on the subject, but lean toward nonbelief…
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind ... V6l3U0g.99
Recent surveys among Western AND Japanese Zen clergy show that the majority do not currently holding extremely literal views of rebirth. Here is one about Japanese Zen clergy, there are others (page 119) ...
https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=CyV ... ts&f=false
That would be a problem for the administrators there.
Global Moderator "Johnny Dangerous" sets us Soto folks straight (in the Soto Zen forum) when he writes ...
It's been my impression that in the US at least (and a bit of personal experience here) that there are many people attracted to Soto Zen that have a somewhat disdainful attitude towards what they see as the 'religious' end of Buddhism, and incorrectly take a couple of the positions of Zen to mean something they might not mean historically.
II admit i'm not totally in the know of the doctrinal positions of Soto Zen, but i've read stuff here and there, and have some experience of Zen practice, to me..it reads like what it is, which is a school of Mahayana Buddhism. Many forms of Buddhism (in fact arguably most of the Mahayana) takes takes a similar approach that we are already Buddha, that the pure land is obtainable here and now etc. However, it seems some Modern Soto folks have taken this kind of thing to mean that anything outside this interpretation is incorrect, and that it being "here and now" means that's the only mode things exist in, that it's only here and now. That is very different from what i've read of Zen, where Bodhisattvas are revered etc., and the general worldview is still Mahayana Buddhism.
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f ... rn#p215216
People should be respectful of others' beliefs and right to belief as they will. Nobody who is a sincere Buddhist Practitioner should be told that they are "slandering Buddhism" or "not Buddhist," especially by people outside their Tradition, let alone administrators.
If I had dug further in the archives, there would be plentiful additional examples.