The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

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jundocohen
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The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by jundocohen » Thu Sep 10, 2020 6:08 am

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I would like to use this space to chronicle the bigotry and misinformation regarding the teachings and practice of Soto Zen Buddhism which are a regular feature at DharmaWheel.Net under its owner Dr. David Snyder.

Why here? No reason, except that the sometime person heading to or from there may pass through here.

What I will chronicle reaches back years, and typically involves a newcomer or someone who is seeking information or advice about Soto Zen Buddhism who posts in the Zen or Soto Zen sections at DharmaWheel. Very soon, non-Soto Zen practitioners, including administrators and moderators of the site, will pour into the thread to tell the inquirer their opinions about Soto Zen (usually either inaccurate or negative), or to direct them toward other forms of Buddhism. The opinions of Soto Zen practitioners and clergy are regularly drowned out or deleted, and Soto Zen clergy are regularly excluded from participation at DharmaWheel (I am aware of two recent cases), often under the pretext that their views are too "liberal" in the eyes of the more conservative factions which wield control of moderation there. The only voice representing Soto Zen regularly tolerated there is that of one person who, although a Soto Zen practitioner in Japan, represents a small and unorthodox corner of Soto Zen in Japan, and regularly casts aspersions on other Soto Zen teachers and her concept of "modern" teachings, especially in the west.

An example is now ongoing in a thread entitled, "This simply doesn't make any sense..... "
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?p=551549#p551549

The thread was begun by someone confused and struggling with an aspect of their practice and understanding of Soto Zen:
So whats the difference between me (unenlightened) and my friend (also unenlightened) other than I can tell myself that I really am enlightened but just don't know it (delusional?) and you are also enlightened but you don't know or remember it (tediously convenient). I am really trying to understand this. But I can't, despite many years of trying to reconcile what seems (and I apologise in advance) nonsense.....literally, no sense.

... Its frustrating to hear the following:

"...you are already enlightened but just ignorant to the fact. There is nowhere to go and nothing to do but equally Zazen needs to be done in order for you to experience the fact that you are enlightened..." This is riddled with contradictions and fundamentally flawed and the latter part of the statement no different that any other tradition.

I really am not trying to be provocative, but I am finding the lack of a coherent and rationale explanation to this without ambiguity hugely frustrating, to the extent that I am on the verge of abandoning this practice altogether.
Of course, it would be best to have a Soto Zen teacher available to offer clarification and assistance in remedying these misunderstandings. Instead, what we have are the following:
[Dan74] I would avoid tying myself in knots. If the teaching doesn't resonate with you, why do you keep hacking at it? Makes more sense to practice what works for you.

... They say there are 84000 dharma doors. No point to keep banging your head against one of them, while other ones open more easily for you. In another lifetime, perhaps.
[Astus] Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata. [Mazu]
[Schrödinger’s Yidam] Enlightenment is retroactive. Once achieved you can look back and see it was there the entire time. Until then it is present, but inaccessible.... I’m particularly fond of the analogy where there’s a treasure hidden underneath a poor man’s house. First he must be told it is there, and next how and where to dig for it. But it already his.

There are a number of such analogies in the Uttaratantra, like the sun behind the clouds, and a Buddha statue wrapped in rags. You should check them out.
[PadmaVonSamba] In Tibetan (Vajrayana) Buddhism the way to realize Tathâgata-Gharba is to visualize it within yourself as various deities. ... I think a zen master (which I am not) would ask you, “So, you can see the mind’s original true nature? Tell me, where is it?”

I think a Lama (which I am not) would ask you to look at the mind which is experiencing the frustration, and look at the frustration itself to see if it has any substance to it.

A priest in the Pure Land tradition (which I am not) might tell you to abandon all your ‘foolish’ efforts, as these are all ego-based and thus useless, and to instead just recite the name of Amitabha Buddha, whose infinite light is the nature of your true original mind.
[Genjo Conan] The "arouse the great ball of doubt" line gets used most often by Rinzai practitioners, but I think it extends equally to Soto practice -- it's just that our entire practice is the great ball of doubt; is the koan. ... So I think we have two options. One, we can write it off as nonsense and find another practice. I personally think Zen practice is beautiful, but we don't have inquisitors; no one's going to get mad if you say "this is stupid, Thai Forest is the way," or whatever. Option two is to balance your doubt with some faith in the practice and in the lineage, and to arose great determination to answer the koan.

...

The unambiguous rationale is to resolve the ambiguity for yourself. If you had perfect clarity about practice you'd be an actualized Buddha right now. Remember the Three Essentials: Great doubt, great faith, great determination.
[ItsRaining] Most of your concerns would be resolved if you read the Awakening of Faith and Sutra of Perfect Awakening. Studying Zen can be difficult without a background in the Mahayana.
[Johnny Dangerous, Global Moderator] ... Not Zen (although he had some Zen influence), and perhaps controversial, but Trungpa used to say that meditation is experiencing "the ape ego" as it is, which accords with the above explanation.
These all may be marvelous answers, especially in other traditions, but most have little to do with Soto Zen practice, and are quite misleading and harmful to the inquirer wishing to understand his or her Soto Zen practice.

However, it is typical of the way the game is played at DharmaWheel,

More stories to follow.

Larry
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by Larry » Thu Sep 10, 2020 7:50 am

Just want to say thanks for the understanding of pure Soto that you have given me, in bits & pieces, over the years.

:bow2:

p22
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by p22 » Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:08 am

Jundo, it's a form of censorship -- which is dependent upon the censor-person/people's causes and conditions-

Similar has occurred in the not so distant past, on other forums- And likely since the beginning of time! In different circles, beneath the stars, in caves .. where ever two different views converge ..

I'm not dismissing your activity, I'd be interested in reading your chronicle/s-

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jundocohen
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by jundocohen » Thu Sep 10, 2020 12:28 pm

You words are appreciated very much. There are times to speak up, even if in a small way.

Gassho, Jundo

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fuki
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by fuki » Thu Sep 10, 2020 5:12 pm

The OP there is just going through a phase, like most sentient thingies/practisioners ppl are stuck in a loophole of their own narrative and post stuff online pretending to seek advice but are really just struggling with their psychological contractions and the teachings (soto/watever) become a prop. It's just tea talk or pub gossip as far as I can see. much ado about nuttin'.
el-agua-fuera-de-la-espalda-de-un-pato-cpfaew.jpg
el-agua-fuera-de-la-espalda-de-un-pato-cpfaew.jpg (164.71 KiB) Viewed 461 times
But for what it's worth Jundo, to somehow constructively criticise (soto) zen one must first have the authority ;)

p22
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by p22 » Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:42 am

Jundo, just a question: What would be your response to the copied comment you provided that suggested there are a bazillion doors and sort of alludes to switching to a door that is easier to open?

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jundocohen
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by jundocohen » Sat Sep 12, 2020 12:25 am

p22 wrote:
Fri Sep 11, 2020 2:42 am
Jundo, just a question: What would be your response to the copied comment you provided that suggested there are a bazillion doors and sort of alludes to switching to a door that is easier to open?
Perhaps someone should guide him to speak to his own Soto Zen teacher, or to some Soto Zen teacher to help straighten the problem, and perhaps there should be Soto Zen teachers in the group who are allowed to help offer advice without people from other traditions rushing in to straighten all the Soto folks out.

Generally, the website does not allow folks from outside traditions to charge into the Nichiren or Tibetan sections in the other direction to straighten them out and tell them where they are going wrong (not that anyone from outside should "straighten" another tradition out in their own discussion areas), which shows the double standards and bigotry at the site.

Gassho, J

avisitor
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by avisitor » Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:09 am

Often the censorship at these forums are at the hands of the owners wanting to put forth their beliefs.
And speaking out usually gets one banned or deleted.
Since it is their forum, you must allow for such things.
However, it is my belief that such censorship denies the truth of the world
And so these forums do not reflect the truth

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jundocohen
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by jundocohen » Fri Sep 18, 2020 4:24 am

avisitor wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:09 am
Often the censorship at these forums are at the hands of the owners wanting to put forth their beliefs.
And speaking out usually gets one banned or deleted.
Since it is their forum, you must allow for such things.
However, it is my belief that such censorship denies the truth of the world
And so these forums do not reflect the truth
Then perhaps they should not have a section of their forum purporting to allow fair discussion by Soto Zen practitioners about Soto Zen, rather than a "false front" to allow bashing of Soto Zen.

It would be much the same if a Christian group had a Forum for discussion of all religions, but in their "Buddhism" section denied Buddhist participation, using the space as merely a cover for Christians to preach the insidious dangers of Buddhism to anyone coming there seeking fair information about Buddhism.

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desertwoodworker
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by desertwoodworker » Sat Sep 19, 2020 2:42 am

My violin teacher was Mr. Soto.

But I switched to 'Cello, 'cause my hands are too big for violin. I have woodworker's hands, not musician's.

Granted, I noted that Isaac Stern has huge hands, too!, but he began on the instrument at age 4. I started at age 48. None too soon!

The 'cello fits this fellow's hands and body better, hands down. Feels good!

--Joe

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jundocohen
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by jundocohen » Sat Sep 19, 2020 3:46 am

desertwoodworker wrote:
Sat Sep 19, 2020 2:42 am
My violin teacher was Mr. Soto.

But I switched to 'Cello, 'cause my hands are too big for violin. I have woodworker's hands, not musician's.

Granted, I noted that Isaac Stern has huge hands, too!, but he began on the instrument at age 4. I started at age 48. None too soon!

The 'cello fits this fellow's hands and body better, hands down. Feels good!

--Joe
And if a bunch of violinists constantly criticized the cello as just a violin on steroids, there may be some parallel ... especially if cellists were being shut out of the conversation.

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Crystal
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by Crystal » Sat Sep 19, 2020 3:42 pm

Someone seems to have mentioned a Zen teacher in the topic at DW.....and I seem to be having a recurring problem logging in and posting here.

avisitor
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by avisitor » Sat Sep 19, 2020 7:10 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Fri Sep 18, 2020 4:24 am
avisitor wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 3:09 am
Often the censorship at these forums are at the hands of the owners wanting to put forth their beliefs.
And speaking out usually gets one banned or deleted.
Since it is their forum, you must allow for such things.
However, it is my belief that such censorship denies the truth of the world
And so these forums do not reflect the truth
Then perhaps they should not have a section of their forum purporting to allow fair discussion by Soto Zen practitioners about Soto Zen, rather than a "false front" to allow bashing of Soto Zen.

It would be much the same if a Christian group had a Forum for discussion of all religions, but in their "Buddhism" section denied Buddhist participation, using the space as merely a cover for Christians to preach the insidious dangers of Buddhism to anyone coming there seeking fair information about Buddhism.
It is okay to wish for better
However, I doubt if anything will change over there by posting your words here.

p22
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by p22 » Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:29 pm

Avi, that may be true- Posting here may not change anything there- But by discussing it openly people at the very least can read what's been written at the other site and then decide for themselves if bias is occurring-

It most definitely occurred on this site- 😊

People will use all sorts of psychological maneuvers, rooted in bias, to censor others-

I hope your father is coming along and that you've had the opportunity to visit in person with him- Good to see you-

avisitor
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by avisitor » Sun Sep 20, 2020 8:32 pm

p22 wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:29 pm
Avi, that may be true- Posting here may not change anything there- But by discussing it openly people at the very least can read what's been written at the other site and then decide for themselves if bias is occurring-

It most definitely occurred on this site- 😊
Agreed. :106:
p22 wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:29 pm
People will use all sorts of psychological maneuvers, rooted in bias, to censor others-
:116:
p22 wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2020 12:29 pm
I hope your father is coming along and that you've had the opportunity to visit in person with him- Good to see you-
Finally coming out of rehab therapy next Tuesday.
He isn't able to live by himself.
My younger brother has graciously decided to take him into his home.
I know what it means to my father to be going "home" from the rehab.
This Covid-19 has prevented me from seeing my father.
Maybe later when I can convince my wife it is safe to travel??

It is nice to see you're still here.
Different views make this place more interesting.

p22
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by p22 » Sun Sep 20, 2020 10:43 pm

Well I hope you are able to visit as soon as safe to- 😊

Although he's unable to live alone I'm glad to learn he's well enough to be released from rehab in your brothers care-

I must admit I haven't traveled much further than about an hour from home since?? And always alone- Except for one occasion when my youngest broke down and I had to go get him .. 😊

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jundocohen
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by jundocohen » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:16 am

For what it helps, and it sure can't hurt, I will be sitting Zazen and offering Metta for dad.

Gassho, Jundo

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Crystal
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by Crystal » Mon Sep 21, 2020 5:34 am

Also sending metta to avisitor's dad, may he be safe & well.

:namaste:

avisitor
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by avisitor » Tue Sep 22, 2020 12:55 am

jundocohen wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:16 am
For what it helps, and it sure can't hurt, I will be sitting Zazen and offering Metta for dad.

Gassho, Jundo
Thank you.

Crystal wrote:
Mon Sep 21, 2020 5:34 am
Also sending metta to avisitor's dad, may he be safe & well.

:namaste:
Thank you.

I appreciate all the love.

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