Inka Shomei

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Inka Shomei

Post by Nothing » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:20 pm

Meido wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:43 pm
Of course, one can and should question what such teacher certification really means. In fact, inka shomei - though it is required in Rinzai Zen to be a teacher empowered to train students, that is, to be the shike (Zen master, Roshi) of a monastery and to conduct sanzen - has never been seen to mean that one is finished, a "master" with nothing left to do, etc. It really just means that going forward one is empowered to self-guide, and (assuming one has permission to do so, which is not automatic with inka) may lead others to the extent one is able.

Actually, in the Rinzai model of practice, it is after inka that one enters the truly difficult stage. It requires tremendous effort and continued exhaustive training over many years. But if someone fails to do this - perhaps by getting caught up in a role or other concerns, or by not addressing one's own shadow sides, addictions, etc. - it is certainly possible to fail in one's personal training. Some people with inka will not, in the end, be able to leap across this chasm of advanced practice (they could still help others depending on the conditions, but at the very least their own practice cannot be said to be complete).
In relation to the above answer by Meido which he posted in the thread about the death of Eido Shimano viewtopic.php?f=28&t=190
I have few questions regarding the inka shomei. Although I quote Meido everyone is more than welcome to reply :)

Does everyone who finish the koan curriculum gets inka shomei?

And if one automatically does not have permission to self-guide with inka then what is the requirement for one to self-guide?

Does the truly difficult stage after inka corresponds with the long maturation that Torei is talking about?

When the training can be said to be complete?



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Re: Inka Shomei

Post by Meido » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:54 pm

Nothing wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:20 pm
Does everyone who finish the koan curriculum gets inka shomei?
No. Also, the course of koan practice (which is not fixed) is only a part Rinzai Zen training... but since there's a certain fascination with it, it gets the most attention.
Nothing wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:20 pm
And if one automatically does not have permission to self-guide with inka then what is the requirement for one to self-guide?
Inka does mean that one has permission to self-guide (which is not to say that one could not still receive guidance from a teacher or teachers). It does not automatically mean that one has permission to teach others.

Basically, persons who are fully qualified teachers, and holders of a branch of the Rinzai lineage which they received from their own teachers, all have inka; this would include people qualified to take disciples and serve as the masters (shike) of a monastery. But not everyone who receives inka takes up teaching activity. It depends on each person's aspiration, ability, etc.

There are also people who do not have inka but who have permission to teach to some degree; they do not carry the burden of being lineage holders, and would not lead training at a monastery, but certainly could be respected as realized teachers.

One does not self guide at all unless directed to do so by one's teacher. This is pretty standard in all Zen, not just Rinzai practice.
Nothing wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:20 pm
Does the truly difficult stage after inka corresponds with the long maturation that Torei is talking about?
Yes. There are many examples of this in the lives of former masters as well, for example Daito and Kanzan. Basically, it is the post-kensho practice of refinement and embodiment, dissolving habit energy (jikke), etc.
Nothing wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:20 pm
When the training can be said to be complete?
Always, and never.

Or, if you like: when one has fulfilled the 4 vows.

~ Meido
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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Re: Inka Shomei

Post by fuki » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:09 pm

Meido, do you know if anyone ever refused inka?

Also is inka a "surprise" or does the one who gets it kind of already knows it will be given in the future due to the relation with the teacher.

Perhaps a bit too simply put but flue is preventing me to write something more detailed at the moment especially since the matter is alien to me.
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Re: Inka Shomei

Post by Meido » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:30 pm

fuki wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:09 pm
Meido, do you know if anyone ever refused inka?
Certainly.
fuki wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:09 pm
Also is inka a "surprise" or does the one who gets it kind of already knows it will be given in the future due to the relation with the teacher.
There are no rules in this regard.

Certainly one carrying inka feels a responsibility to train and name at least one qualified successor if possible, and the students feel a responsibility to do their best to inherit their teacher's lineage and carry it forward into the future; rightly motivated, they aspire to do these things in order to requite their debt, preserve the teaching, and help people. Since these aspirations are highly stressed, certainly there is some expectation (and hope) on both sides.

But if, how, and when it actually happens depends on the situation. Obviously it is not always possible, and lineages can end.

~ Meido

P.S. Hope you feel better quickly...
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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Re: Inka Shomei

Post by Nothing » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:57 pm

Meido wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:54 pm
Nothing wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:20 pm
Does everyone who finish the koan curriculum gets inka shomei?
No. Also, the course of koan practice (which is not fixed) is only a part Rinzai Zen training... but since there's a certain fascination with it, it gets the most attention.
I thought that too, but I asked because the information on wikipedia if I understand correctly says this:

"A qualified Zen master bestows inka only upon "those select few"[46] who have successfully completed the entire Rinzai koan curriculum,[47][48][46] and "are eligible to serve as sōdō roshi,[46] that is, master of a training hall, in distinction from a common temple:

[D]isciples today are expected to spend a dozen or more years with a master to complete a full course of training in koan commentary. Only when a master is satisfied that a disciple can comment appropriately on a wide range of old cases will he recognize the latter as a dharma heir and give him formal "proof of transmission" (J. inka shomei). Thus, in reality, a lot more than satori is required for one to be recognized as a master (J. shike, roshi) in the Rinzai school of Zen at present. The accepted proof of satori is a set of literary and rhetorical skills that takes many years to acquire"
Meido wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:54 pm
Nothing wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:20 pm
And if one automatically does not have permission to self-guide with inka then what is the requirement for one to self-guide?
Inka does mean that one has permission to self-guide (which is not to say that one could not still receive guidance from a teacher or teachers). It does not automatically mean that one has permission to teach others.

Basically, persons who are fully qualified teachers, and holders of a branch of the Rinzai lineage which they received from their own teachers, all have inka; this would include people qualified to take disciples and serve as the masters (shike) of a monastery. But not everyone who receives inka takes up teaching activity. It depends on each person's aspiration, ability, etc.

There are also people who do not have inka but who have permission to teach to some degree; they do not carry the burden of being lineage holders, and would not lead training at a monastery, but certainly could be respected as realized teachers.

One does not self guide at all unless directed to do so by one's teacher. This is pretty standard in all Zen, not just Rinzai practice.
Apologies, I misconstruct the question, I thought to ask about teaching others, not about self guide, but you answered both, thank you.
Meido wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:54 pm
Nothing wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:20 pm
When the training can be said to be complete?
Always, and never.

Or, if you like: when one has fulfilled the 4 vows.

~ Meido
I expected this :D

Thank you for the answers Meido

--Victor

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Re: Inka Shomei

Post by Caodemarte » Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:59 pm

From the perspective of a student (well, my perspective) there are people who have all their certificates in order that are not people one should study with and, in fact, one should probably avoid contact with them. Some American lines give these out with seeming abandon. Certificates are just paper from this perspective. However, if a respected teacher will not say that Person X can be independent and/or can teach, that is one giant red flag. If someone falsely claims to have transmission, inka, permission to teach, or anything else it is a giant red flag and the sound of explosions.

On a side note Sheng-yen writes somewhere that if one really wants to be a teacher, one should not be a teacher. One should teach only if asked by one’s teachers to do so. It is like the old saw that anyone who wants to be President should be banned from office by law. If they want power, are egotistical, or lack the judgment to understand the burden then they lack the necessary maturity. Sadly, we are stuck with the current system.
:114:

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Re: Inka Shomei

Post by Nothing » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:19 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:59 pm
On a side note Sheng-yen writes somewhere that if one really wants to be a teacher, one should not be a teacher. One should teach only if asked by one’s teachers to do so. It is like the old saw that anyone who wants to be President should be banned from office by law. If they want power, are egotistical, or lack the judgment to understand the burden then they lack the necessary maturity. Sadly, we are stuck with the current system.
:557:
I agree with your point about the current system, but what about those who has both the ability and aspiration as Meido pointed above, should not they be teachers no matter if they have inka or not or maybe you are talking only about those who from the beginning of their practice want to teach badly :)



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Re: Inka Shomei

Post by fuki » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:25 pm

Meido wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:30 pm
they aspire to do these things in order to requite their debt, preserve the teaching, and help people. Since these aspirations are highly stressed, certainly there is some expectation (and hope) on both sides.

But if, how, and when it actually happens depends on the situation. Obviously it is not always possible, and lineages can end.

~ Meido
Thank you Meido,
A person I met about a decade ago who studied under some of the most famous teachers in America I was so blessed to meet for it changed my life and my perspective completely, he "left" Buddhism and does not take any students. Whenever I notice a period when my "practise is week" and I lack motivation I only have to think of this and the fire is back (to wake up and help all being) I do miss something tangible or what represents his teachings in a lineage or a remembrance but alas. I dont know what could have become of me without him as there was a period I was highly influenced by conditions, so it could have been heaven or hell so to speak. I really miss that I cant be loyal to something tangible or symbolic, I was attached to him for years but he killed that too. Sorry for the personal tale but I get the sense of debt, I can't repay it, its inexpressible what he did for me.
P.S. Hope you feel better quickly...
[SPOILER]
thank you, it seems the whole town has it, my mom some friends and neigbors have it much worse, I at least can go out and get groceries for everyone. rest of the time consists of practising and reading a lot, so I guess the flue is just another blessing :)
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Re: Inka Shomei

Post by fuki » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:34 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:59 pm
If someone falsely claims to have transmission, inka, permission to teach, or anything else it is a giant red flag and the sound of explosions.
There's a commercial freak show in this country called zen.nl the teacher has lied about getting inka from a master in Japan, years ago this came in the open. I even translated a long radio interview and investigation in English about this and posted it on zfi. The legit teachers here cant do anything about it and they also dont seem to care much, they just shrug their shoulders.

Issue is they are advertising "zen" like the plague and ppl who know nothing about Buddhism are wasting their money on this organisation, it's very sad. They're not in my hometown yet, if they ever try I'm ready to do anything in my power to stop them or at least stop misleading ppl, I have no probs if they advocate new-ageism or self-help whatever they want to call it, but not in its current form.

https://www.zen.nl/over-zen-nl/vision-engels/
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Re: Inka Shomei

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:26 am

Nothing wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:19 pm
Caodemarte wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:59 pm
On a side note Sheng-yen writes somewhere that if one really wants to be a teacher, one should not be a teacher. One should teach only if asked by one’s teachers to do so. It is like the old saw that anyone who wants to be President should be banned from office by law. If they want power, are egotistical, or lack the judgment to understand the burden then they lack the necessary maturity. Sadly, we are stuck with the current system.
...
I agree with your point about the current system, but what about those who has both the ability and aspiration as Meido pointed above, should not they be teachers no matter if they have inka or not or maybe you are talking only about those who from the beginning of their practice want to teach badly :)...
Rocks and trees are teachers (see St. Francis) so being a teacher does not depend on “official” recognition by others. In the US, at least, any human can claim to be a religious teacher and attract students. It is up to them and their students or followers. I am just saying that I would be very, very wary if the teacher’s teacher was not willing to publicly say the person was qualified or ready to teach others. I would be intensely suspicious if someone lied to me by fraudulently claiming permission. If someone had all theses pieces of paper, I would still look carefully to see if that particular person would be beneficial for me to study with. It is up to each person.

If someone really, really wants to be a religious teacher the question is why they want this. Do they want to benefit all beings? In that case, would they happily be a garbage collector? Or do they just want robes, status, ego gratification, respect or imagined adulation? It is the same kind of question we should ask about anyone who wants or has a position of influence. Is it for them or for us? Do they see us as people or as resources to be exploited?

P.S. I was referring to the politcal system in the US in my earlier post, in case I confused anyone.

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Re: Inka Shomei

Post by Meido » Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:41 am

Nothing wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:57 pm
[D]isciples today are expected to spend a dozen or more years with a master to complete a full course of training in koan commentary. Only when a master is satisfied that a disciple can comment appropriately on a wide range of old cases will he recognize the latter as a dharma heir and give him formal "proof of transmission" (J. inka shomei). Thus, in reality, a lot more than satori is required for one to be recognized as a master (J. shike, roshi) in the Rinzai school of Zen at present. The accepted proof of satori is a set of literary and rhetorical skills that takes many years to acquire"
Victor, this description of koan practice strikes me as having been written by someone who hasn't done it. Describing koan practice primarily in terms of gaining "a set of literary and rhetorical skills" is one of the scholarly misrepresentations sometimes seen. If you haven't already, check out the introduction to Victor Sogen Hori's Zen Sand...it well describes the purpose and categories of koan practice in Rinzai Zen. You can find it online as a pdf.

It's important to understand that koan practice is not an end unto itself. It's one practice method, of course, and an important one that has been refined to a high degree. But it also functions as a structure or skeleton for one's practice, pointing to many other things...for example the 5 ranks koans within the curriculum are a crucial departure point leading the student to the essential three year secret practice of hokkyo zanmai.

That being said, it's true that completing the formal koan study is important and a requirement for inka, since only by doing so can one see the internal structure and function of that practice method from the top down, so to speak, enabling one to use it for others. In that sense, yes, ideally something more than awakening and deepening of realization is required to be formally recognized as a teacher: one must gain knowledge of various means to help others.
Caodemarte wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 9:59 pm
If someone falsely claims to have transmission, inka, permission to teach, or anything else it is a giant red flag and the sound of explosions.
Yes, and as you reminded it is good advice to take the time to carefully and patiently examine any teacher one might wish to follow, regardless of what papers or titles they carry.

There is also some confusion in the West around the words "dharma transmission," since they can refer to different things in the different traditions.
Nothing wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:19 pm
I agree with your point about the current system, but what about those who has both the ability and aspiration as Meido pointed above, should not they be teachers no matter if they have inka or not...
Of course these systems are not perfect, but the main point is that one should not decide for oneself that one is qualified/able to teach others.

And again, there are options. Someone without inka can still be given permission to teach to some degree. Someone with inka can be given permission to teach to some degree, but not to name successors, thus relieving them of a significant burden (usually the case with lay successors, as they will not be in a position to train residential/monastic disciples). When it comes to inka, there are not more than maybe 150 Rinzai lineage holders I'm guessing...but there are many Rinzai priests and laypersons who can teach zazen, guide beginners in fundamental practices, etc.

So to be sure, at least in the West, i would say that someone with experience and aspiration is very likely to be given plenty to do, regardless of what papers are eventually given.
fuki wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:25 pm
Sorry for the personal tale but I get the sense of debt, I can't repay it, its inexpressible what he did for me.
Not at all, and I thought you did a good job of expressing the inexpressible.

About the debt we owe teachers and parents, realizing just how impossible such a thing is to requite is itself the moment, I think, that one becomes able to start doing so.
Caodemarte wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:26 am
If someone really, really wants to be a religious teacher the question is why they want this.
In Zen, at least, I think it also generally true that people desiring to become teachers have no idea what they're wishing for.

~ Meido
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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Re: Inka Shomei

Post by Nothing » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:29 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:26 am

Rocks and trees are teachers (see St. Francis) so being a teacher does not depend on “official” recognition by others. In the US, at least, any human can claim to be a religious teacher and attract students. It is up to them and their students or followers. I am just saying that I would be very, very wary if the teacher’s teacher was not willing to publicly say the person was qualified or ready to teach others. I would be intensely suspicious if someone lied to me by fraudulently claiming permission. If someone had all theses pieces of paper, I would still look carefully to see if that particular person would be beneficial for me to study with. It is up to each person.

If someone really, really wants to be a religious teacher the question is why they want this. Do they want to benefit all beings? In that case, would they happily be a garbage collector? Or do they just want robes, status, ego gratification, respect or imagined adulation? It is the same kind of question we should ask about anyone who wants or has a position of influence. Is it for them or for us? Do they see us as people or as resources to be exploited?

P.S. I was referring to the political system in the US in my earlier post, in case I confused anyone.
Thank you for the reply Caodemarte.

Well said, agree with you and thanks for clarifying. :namaste:

And just to be clear, I do not think at all that one should teach without permission of his/her teacher, no matter of one's aspiration or ability as long the teacher first does not think that one is able to teach.

-Viktor

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Re: Inka Shomei

Post by Nothing » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:05 am

Meido wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:41 am
Victor, this description of koan practice strikes me as having been written by someone who hasn't done it. Describing koan practice primarily in terms of gaining "a set of literary and rhetorical skills" is one of the scholarly misrepresentations sometimes seen. If you haven't already, check out the introduction to Victor Sogen Hori's Zen Sand...it well describes the purpose and categories of koan practice in Rinzai Zen. You can find it online as a pdf.
Yes, I agree Meido. It made me smile when I read "a set of literary and rhetorical skills" and others do not believe that not everything that is on Wikipedia is true :) That is why I prefer books written by actual practitioners who might be scholars or not.
Thank you for the book recommendation, will check out.
Meido wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:41 am
It's important to understand that koan practice is not an end unto itself. It's one practice method, of course, and an important one that has been refined to a high degree. But it also functions as a structure or skeleton for one's practice, pointing to many other things...for example the 5 ranks koans within the curriculum are a crucial departure point leading the student to the essential three year secret practice of hokkyo zanmai.
I guess you refer to the phase that is by someone called "nurturing the embryo" in way that practitioner's realization or awakening becomes part of oneself or one's own.
Meido wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:41 am
Of course these systems are not perfect, but the main point is that one should not decide for oneself that one is qualified/able to teach others.

And again, there are options. Someone without inka can still be given permission to teach to some degree. Someone with inka can be given permission to teach to some degree, but not to name successors, thus relieving them of a significant burden (usually the case with lay successors, as they will not be in a position to train residential/monastic disciples). When it comes to inka, there are not more than maybe 150 Rinzai lineage holders I'm guessing...but there are many Rinzai priests and laypersons who can teach zazen, guide beginners in fundamental practices, etc.

So to be sure, at least in the West, i would say that someone with experience and aspiration is very likely to be given plenty to do, regardless of what papers are eventually given.
Of course and I do not think at all that one should decide for oneself to teach without permission from the teacher cause we have seen in the west that even those who had permission to teach abused their position in many occasions.

And again thank you Meido for you detailed and clear answers

:namaste: Victor

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Re: Inka Shomei

Post by Meido » Tue Feb 27, 2018 3:54 am

[Mod note: posts regarding psychotherapy and other possible therapeutic complements to Zen practice moved to here: viewtopic.php?f=26&t=203]
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

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