“The Rinzai Zen Way”

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KeithA
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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by KeithA » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:36 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Sat Jun 02, 2018 6:22 pm
It is good to remind ourselves, as Meido does in the book, that when we refer to Abrahamic religions we are referring to the beliefs of some members of these faiths. More precisely, we are referring to our understanding of the apparent beliefs of some members of those religions. Very often I read that such and such a religion believes or teaches something that I know is not shared or is even widely condemned as a heresy. Look at the Pope’s recent ridicule of the “God as a magician with a white beard living in the sky” idea. Of course, the same is often true when I read about Buddhism.
I can relate. Once I was asked to speak to a Christian group about Buddhism. I am very ignorant about Abrahamic traditions is general, not having a religious upbringing.

It was a wonderful surprise to read about the more liberal side of Christian groups. Learning about Merton was especially interesting to me, for obvious reasons, given his ties to Zen.

So, yes, it's worth putting away the broad brush and realizing that there is much variation out there.

_/|\_
You make, you get.

New Haven Zen Center

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Meido
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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by Meido » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:48 am

Not sure if you guys have seen this, but you may enjoy it as much as I did:

https://www.amazon.com/Gethsemani-Encou ... 0826411657

"In July 1996, an historic five-day meeting of Buddhist and Christian monks and nuns occurred at the Abbey of Gethsemani, the retreat of Thomas Merton.

The book offers 25 presentations on aspects of spirituality by leading Buddhist and Christian practitioners, including the Dalai Lama. The subjects range from ultimate reality and spirituality to prayer and meditation, and community and spiritual guidance, along with highlights of the actual dialogue itself."

It's been some years since I read it, but one interesting thing I seem to recall that was discovered during the dialogue: what the Christian monastics referred to as "contemplation" was most similar to what Buddhists call "meditation." But what the Christians called "meditation" was what Buddhists would consider "contemplation" of something.

Good to know should one bump into a Carmelite...

~ 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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clyde
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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by clyde » Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:10 am

I’m still reading my way through. I read Chapter 5, The Power of Vows, and had to sit with it for more than a few days.

Given the title of the chapter, I was surprised that it began on an examination of suffering:
All living beings suffer and inflict suffering upon each other endlessly.
Which leads to this:
But deeper still, when we acknowledge the degree to which we participate in this web, both inflicting and experiencing pain, then a more profound feeling may arise. Seeing the many beings together with us being born, suffering, and dying ceaselessly, we may actually feel the first stirrings of compassion.
Which leads to the Bodhisattva Vows.

This appears to be the path of the Buddha and Bodhisattva’s: to examine suffering, feel deep compassion, and vow to save all sentient beings.

clyde


p.s: As it says in my signature below:
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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KeithA
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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by KeithA » Fri Jun 22, 2018 12:40 pm

II was reading the very same chapter last night. I found it very inspiring. :)
You make, you get.

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boda
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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by boda » Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:39 pm

clyde wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:10 am
p.s: As it says in my signature below:
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism
Is this what you actually believe?

To me this sounds like a catchphrase that may appear to enhance the profundity of your ‘do no harm’ ethic.

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clyde
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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by clyde » Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:10 pm

Yes, it’s a definition of enlightenment (not the one and only definition).

Yes, it’s pithy, but “do no harm” needs no added profundity.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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clyde
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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by clyde » Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:16 pm

Chapter 6, Delusion and Confidence, starts:
NOW THAT WE HAVE CONCEIVED a profound intention to help others as well as ourselves, we must honestly acknowledge that we often live our lives in a manner that is not in accord with that aspiration.
While I can’t affirm that I’ve “conceived a profound intention to help others”, I can acknowledge that I often live in a manner that is not in accord with that aspiration. I am lazy and self-absorbed.

But, for all that self-absorption:
Only infrequently, in fact, are we completely present for our own lives at all. More often we are merely visitors to our lives even as we live them, “dropping in” only occasionally to pay attention to what is happening.
That seems sadly true. But then,
. . . . there is no need to be discouraged if we do not feel equal to the challenge or to heroically aspiring to benefit all beings.
It seems that our attraction to Zen shows an affinity to Zen and that is enough to enter the path.
We are all human beings who have encountered the buddha-dharma. It is thus clear that each of us already belongs to the most profound, noble lineage possible: that of beings who— though confused and deluded— nevertheless have the capacity to realize the wondrous mind of awakening and who have a deep karmic connection with the teachings leading to liberation.
WOW!


p.s: My commenting on Meido’s book is a self-centered exercise. His book is worthy of reflection and writing helps me. I don’t need to share it here, but I hope this is OK.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

Caodemarte
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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Jun 24, 2018 1:20 am

clyde wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:16 pm
...My commenting on Meido’s book is a self-centered exercise. His book is worthy of reflection and writing helps me. I don’t need to share it here, but I hope this is OK.
I am thankful for your sharing and believe it helps others (like me). Gassho.

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Larry
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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by Larry » Sun Jun 24, 2018 10:21 am

clyde wrote:
Sat Jun 23, 2018 11:16 pm
We are all human beings who have encountered the buddha-dharma. It is thus clear that each of us already belongs to the most profound, noble lineage possible
I've probably got this out of context, but does this imply that Buddhism is, in some way, superior to other religions? Or has every human being automatically encountered the buddha-dharma?

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clyde
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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by clyde » Sun Jun 24, 2018 6:31 pm

You’re question reminded me of this:
Eskimo: "If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?”
Priest: "No, not if you did not know.”
Eskimo: "Then why did you tell me?”
― Annie Dillard
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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bokki
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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by bokki » Sun Jun 24, 2018 9:19 pm

Eskimo: "If I did not know about God and sin, would I go to hell?”
Priest: "No, not if you did not know.”
Eskimo: "Then why did you tell me?”
― Annie Dillard

clyde.
what a joke.
dat
is
1
serious
joke
sir.
!
well said, well done!
Another log on the fire,
10,000 frogs singing in the rain,
burst into flames.
- Linda Anderson

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fuki
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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by fuki » Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:20 pm

boda wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 5:39 pm
clyde wrote:
Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:10 am
p.s: As it says in my signature below:
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism
Is this what you actually believe?

To me this sounds like a catchphrase that may appear to enhance the profundity of your ‘do no harm’ ethic.
More a matter of experience then "belief", I agree with that statement, "doing no harm" is not simple ethics or a code of conduct it is the awareness of seeing on the most subtle level our self-delusions and the harm we inflict on others and renouncing them, "renouncing" isn't (perse) a volitional act of will where the individual decides to do/undo anything on a personal conviction of morality, but a transformation of one's entire being which cannot be grasped or located/categorized, these are definitely undarkening moments. I've seen examples in non-religious persons who due to a sudden transformation gave up decades of harmful behaviour, like alcoholism for instance. I've personally witnessed ppl dropping on their knees crying and after that being no more capable to continue the previous unnatural behaviour, some ppl might refer to this experience as "God" since (conditioned relative/dualistic)minds still have the habit of attributing "it" to something. Nevertheless these are undarkening moments which have nothing to do with the "person" the intellect or volitional activity. "Doing no harm" goes much deeper as we might think what it means based on an intellectual or moral compass of interpretations upon perception. The harm we're involved in and seeing it is definitely related to our everyday practise, such transformations and deeper appreciation/"perception" of interconectiveness with all beings/things is simply that what is natural and unnatural behaviour is out of the question. Though it might resurface ofcourse hence the continuous motivation for practise, otherwise known as "life"
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

IZIhttp://www.zeninstitute.org/en/iziae/main.html

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clyde
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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by clyde » Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:38 pm

fuki wrote:
Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:20 pm
it is the awareness of seeing on the most subtle level our self-delusions and the harm we inflict on others and renouncing them, "renouncing" isn't (perse) a volitional act of will where the individual decides to do/undo anything on a personal conviction of morality, but a transformation of one's entire being which cannot be grasped or located/categorized, these are definitely undarkening moments.
Fuki; Thank you for your clear explanation.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by lindama » Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:06 pm

occurs to me at the beginning, the middle and the end of this thread....

enlightenment leaves no trace

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clyde
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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by clyde » Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:26 am

Chapter 7, Accomplishing Zen through the Body, raised a number of questions.

The chapter starts with this quote from Omori Sogen,
Zen without the accompanying physical realization is empty discussion.
Meido notes that it’s not sufficient to “intellectually grasp” the teachings. I get that, but the formulation seems to suggest that there is a physical realization and an intellectual realization, and concretizes the body-mind duality, no?

And this,
. . . we tend to view the mind as a skull-contained, brain-created phenomenon that begins with formation of the body and is extinguished utterly upon its death . . .
is a view, but isn’t the only view of the mind. I have a view that the mind is codependent and coextensive with the body, neither inferior nor superior, and both forming, changing, extinguishing and dissolving in parallel - all part of interbeing. Nothing lost, yes?

And then this,
To sum up this crucial point then: the Zen approach is one that uses the body and senses to further the aims of practice.
This leaves out mind!?


In the section, Kiai (Energy),
Nothing short of complete, unwavering commitment and courage will suffice when it comes to the actual work of dissolving our own ancient, deeply embedded ignorance.
Yikes! I will need grace and/or mercy, or I will muddle my way.


In the Section, The Visible Fruition of Zen Practice,
From all of this, what should be very clear is that the purpose of our training is ultimately to bring all activities of body, speech, and mind into accord with awakening.
Yes, as Suzuki Roshi said,
There are, strictly speaking, no enlightened people, there is only enlightened activity.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by desert_woodworker » Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:02 am

Hi, Clyde,

Just some responses:
clyde wrote:
Fri Jun 29, 2018 2:26 am
Meido notes that it’s not sufficient to “intellectually grasp” the teachings. I get that, but the formulation seems to suggest that there is a physical realization and an intellectual realization, and concretizes the body-mind duality, no?
No. I'd say No. If there is an "intellectual" grasping that someone might assent to, is this a concretizing of a mind-body duality?

If anything can be concretized, it is body, and body's changes and realizations. Mind or intellect cannot be concretized, and I think no one is out to concretize "it".

But changes in body are publicly observable. Not so, for the most part, for intellect. But intellect is not to the point, anyway, when it comes to realization, awakening, and remaining awake after awakening. Intellect can be invoked and enlisted for help in formulating skillful means for helping others, but it is not available to help in awakening because it is not active, then, and most probably could not have helped even if it were available. Awakening is just sudden awakening out of samadhi, many times.

So much attention has been put on "mind" in Western approaches to Zen Buddhism, but I'd say that in practice, more than 90-percent is physical. It may take a hundred years for that to be appreciated and effectively applied, but it need not, because there are teachers who know this, and know how to make it real and active in student practitioners.

If your luck is good, so is the teacher, in this way. ;)

--Joe

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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by clyde » Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:30 am

Joe; I get your point about “concretizing”. I chose that term to avoid using the term “reify”, but either works at pointing at 'making something from nothing' ;)

I agree that too much attention is often placed on “mind”. My point was intended to be balanced and beyond that to dissolve the apparent body-mind duality.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by desert_woodworker » Sun Jul 01, 2018 6:43 pm

Clyde,

Thanks for taking this under your wing.

Hmm, I think "reifying" is making something concretely real, or accentuating its possible or actual reality; or making it into something as if real, NOT quite making it "from 'nothing' ". But, I do see a similarity in that latter alternative.
clyde wrote:My point was intended to be balanced and beyond that to dissolve the apparent body-mind duality.
Clyde, I don't think that's valuable. It's too over-done. Done too much! Usually ignorantly (not nec. by you, this time here), and done just out of some religious-cultural or politically-correct habit; an uninformed compulsion. "Let" a person who awakens "dissolve" that evident duality for oneself. In the meantime, let everyone use every skillful means and artful subterfuge in order to awaken or to build a practice.

For example, someone in a Yoga class may be very interested and even concerned about "Body": Don't snatch that away from her/him! Someone in my Teacher's sangha may be very pleased with the helpfulness of the self-massage that we communally do after each and every sit: let their bodies and Practice enjoy and benefit from it!

Dualities don't disappear by putting-down dualities. They disappear only when they disappear. It's an outcome of correct practice, not speech.

When awakening comes, let's hear what the awaken-ee has to say about "Body", "Mind", and dualities or antinomies. If anything. Let's not front-load them by saying up-front (and from a limited perspective) that there's no reality to it/them.

Done scolding; sorry. I'm scolding my old self, in fact. ;) Too late.

--Joe
clyde wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:30 am
Joe; I get your point about “concretizing”. I chose that term to avoid using the term “reify”, but either works at pointing at 'making something from nothing' ;)

I agree that too much attention is often placed on “mind”. My point was intended to be balanced and beyond that to dissolve the apparent body-mind duality.

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Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by clyde » Mon Jul 02, 2018 2:20 am

I understand “reifying” to mean considering something that isn’t real (an appearance) as real. I think that’s the point of anatta, that all things (dharmas) are empty of self/essence. Hence ‘making something from nothing’.

Hmm . . . I’m not sure I agree that noting a balanced approach to mind-body is over-done. My observation is that practitioners of all sorts, myself included, tend to reify the mind (and/or intellect or consciousness or soul). I believe that was one of Meido’s points in this chapter and underscores his observed need for physical practices.

And while I agree in principle that speech doesn’t make dualities disappear (another definition of enlightenment?), there are Zen stories where a student hears a teaching or a word and awakens.

But my intent was to share my thoughts and questions about what I read. Your post got me thinking about what I read and heard when I started this journey, what I understood then (or thought I understood), and what I understand (or don’t) now. And that got me thinking of Guo Gu,
“It’s all good.”

p.s: I must be dense. Was I scolded?
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

ol' spikey

Re: “The Rinzai Zen Way”

Post by ol' spikey » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:03 am

Being told your comment was "overdone" and "not valuable"? If not scolded, then maybe just woodworked and deserted?
I don't see what is not reasonable or even insightful in your presentations here.

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