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.