The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

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jundocohen
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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by jundocohen » Mon Sep 28, 2020 6:40 am

In a recent thread in the "Soto Zen" section of Dharma Wheel, supporting comments by non-Soto practitioners were allowed, and several rebuttal posts by western Soto Zen practitioners and clergy were deleted:
Soto and inka shomei - Bokusan zenji case
https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=107&t=33809
Matylda: Many claim that inka shomei is given in rinzai tradition as a confirmation of satori or dharma transmission. In soto zen there is no inka shomei and it is something strange, since shikan taza or dropping of body and mind is just perfectly enough. Fact – today there is no inka shomei in soto, but it used to be.

The seal of confirmation or inka shomei in Japanese, was also given in soto regardless of so called shiho or dharma transmission. Who gave inka shomei in soto zen? It was always a teacher under whose guidance and strict supervision a disciple attained satori or daigo – great satori. Actually it was daigo which triggered writting the poem of inka shomei, since mostly inka was in the form of a poem. ...

...

... But we have to remember that shiho was given only to enlightened students during Dogen times and later, not like today when anyone gets shiho. Experience is not at the stake anymore.
Inka is not anymore the case in soto, and inka was very private thing, just a master confirmed satori of a student. Today there is no satori in soto, so there is no inka as well, what is natural but very sad.
Rinzai Priest Meido Moore:
Matylda wrote: But we have to remember that shiho was given only to enlightened students, not like today when anyone gets shiho.
This fact has caused great confusion in the West: Soto priests receiving shiho as kind of a standard certification that anyone can get, and Rinzai priests receiving inka which is extremely rare, but both are sometimes called in English "dharma transmission" (even though those words do not translate inka shomei.)

The end result has been that there are many supposed Soto Zen "teachers" in the West: that is, anyone who has received shiho. But they would not be considered people qualified to take disciples, i presume, by Soto-shu in Japan. It is a big problem. A Westerner can even go to Japan, practice for a few years under a teacher and receive shiho, and then in the West people will say he/she is now a Zen teacher because "dharma transmission" was received. It is as if shiho made one qualified to be shike.

In the West some independent orgs have set up shiho to be something different, like an actual teacher certification, and it is awarded only after many years of practice more like Rinzai inka. So that is a newer development. But even then I cannot see that it is tied to any fruition of practice and clear experience of awakening affirmed by one's master: it is more tied to years of practice, knowledge of ceremonial and other forms, the ability or personality to speak well and lead others, etc.

Rinzai Zen in the West has had many problems too of course. But it's a real shame about Soto Zen here. I have met a number of Soto Zen "teachers" who could not even teach zazen in some basically correct way, giving advice to their students that was actually harmful. One can often see no experience of samadhi, no physical transformation or realization manifest in the body of the practitioner, and no instructions other than "just sit, whatever you experience is fundamentally enlightenment." It is a conceptual, intellectual Zen. As you say, at death the exam will come, and conceptual Zen won't help one at all.
Matylda: yes it is true.. and it is great misfortune for soto zen.
Lillian [Soto practitioner and teacher, comments later deleted and Lillian banned]:
Meido wrote: ↑Wed Jun 03, 2020 6:25 pm

The end result has been that there are many supposed Soto Zen "teachers" in the West: that is, anyone who has received shiho. But they would not be considered people qualified to take disciples, i presume, by Soto-shu in Japan. It is a big problem. A Westerner can even go to Japan, practice for a few years under a teacher and receive shiho, and then in the West people will say he/she is now a Zen teacher because "dharma transmission" was received. It is as if shiho made one qualified to be shike.
Oh, I think this is a big misunderstanding of what is happening with Soto Zen in America, and maybe in Japan too (I don't know). In America, I think that we have moved to a "proof is in the doing" attitude, something like a black belt in the martial arts. To receive some certification is one thing, and shows some degree of training, understanding and insight as recognized by a teacher who is herself or himself recognized. However, no certification, ceremony or piece of paper means much without the proof of how that person lives, functions as a priest and serves sentient beings afterwards. Even in history, many many people received transmission but did not live up to it.

As well, the crucible of training and certification in western Zen has moved to the wider dokusan room of life. Teachers look to see the total picture of how their student is realizing the "genjokoan" of life before choosing to award shiho. It is not a matter of some set of koans in the traditional way, but how all the koans of life are met. That is the real "fruition of practice" that is never-ending.

At least, that is the attitude of many of the modern Soto teachers I know in the west. Japan is certainly another ball of wax.
Rinzai Priest Meido Moore:
Lillian wrote: ↑Thu Jun 04, 2020 5:31 am
As well, the crucible of training and certification in western Zen has moved to the wider dokusan room of life. Teachers look to see the total picture of how their student is realizing the "genjokoan" of life before choosing to award shiho.
It is fine to talk that way. Of course the crux of Zen practice is encompassing all the activities of one's life within seamless samadhi-realization. But without awakening as the basis of that it is just an intellectual, psychological approach, and not Zen at all.

The refinement and integration of awakening is accompanied by identifiable signs in body, breath, eyes, and functioning. It is easily seen when these are absent. If someone has no idea what I am talking about here, then we have to say also that they lack the experiential understanding. Zen people of any sect or lineage talking in a nice-sounding manner about "the koans of life" but lacking obvious penetration themselves - and lacking also the clarity and humility to know this - is just an embarrassing spectacle; we may say they are doing a kind of Buddhist practice, but it is not yet Zen. Unfortunately there are many Western teachers like this.
Lillian wrote: ↑Thu Jun 04, 2020 5:31 am
It is not a matter of some set of koans in the traditional way,
This betrays a misunderstanding of the "traditional way." Koan shitsunai are not fixed "sets." That is another topic however.
Further rebuttals to Rev. Moore by Lillian were deleted.
Last edited by jundocohen on Mon Sep 28, 2020 7:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by jundocohen » Mon Sep 28, 2020 6:58 am

In another recent thread in the Soto Zen section, a Rinzai priest and other non-Soto practitioners were allowed to describe as mistaken standard Soto Zen interpretations of Soto Zen practice and doctrine, and rebuttals by a Soto Zen teacher were deleted.
justmeagain: Hi, its been a while.

I have developed a fear, an non-descript anxiety when practising Shikantaza.

Why?

Because I feel like I can slip into it a little too easy of late. I sit and I am there....with nowhere else to go and its worrying. I have developed a mistrust of what others might perceive as a success and progression. How can I remove this odd obstacle.

Thanks
kusulu: How long has this been going on? If it goes more than a few times maybe it is "something" but if it just goes away it's probably "nothing" In Soto, I'm not sure that there is an iron-clad rule against feeling "success" or "progression" - Dogen stresses that zazen itself is "enlightenment" but surely that's a wrong translation. I'd like to see a more literal translation of that.
Rinzai Priest Meido Moore: It is a wrong translation.

This may serve:
http://wonderwheels.blogspot.com/2015/1 ... s.html?m=1
Anders: I'm afraid Greg may have jumped the gun on this one. Professior Hee-Jin Kim discusses his choice of "enlightenment" as his preference in Dogen on Meditation and Thinking: A Reflection on His View of Zen...
Rinzai Priest Meido Moore: I should say that i'm not going primarily by Gregory here...just using his article as a reference. Primarily I'm going by the words of my native Japanese Zen teacher, who agrees that "practice is enlightenment" is an inaccurate and needlessly confusing translation.

I have no problem with "practice and its confirmation are one thing" (shusho ichinyo), since to my mind shikantaza is not in fact usefully viewed primarily as a meditation "method" (even though we commonly discuss it as such), but rather as embodied fruition. In other words, it is a confirmation of what Zen practice after awakening entails, and takes as its basis.
Astus:
Zafutales wrote: ↑Mon Feb 10, 2020 2:54 pm
Hongzhi and Dogen = .....just sit no analysis required, anything other than this is chasing your own shadow
Tsongkhapa and Nargajuna = ....a stone can just sit and not think....we must use our conceptual minds to great use
Just sitting is a matter of not grasping at thoughts, and that itself is based on the understanding that clinging to concepts is the basis of samsara.
Analysis is used to assist one letting go of thoughts and thus free one from clinging to concepts.
They are not so different, merely various approaches to match the needs of various beings.
Johnny Dangerous: You can't get free of illusion through effort and striving, this is as true in Zen as in Dzogchen ...
Myoan: With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

Reciting the nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally give rise to the Three Minds and the Four Modes of Practice. -- Master Hōnen
Top
Kusulu: The problem for me is the technical and prior consented-to meaning of "enlightenment". Its a borrow word from western philosophy and overlays a logical system that Buddhism does not conform to. Technically speaking, we aren't interested in "enlightenment", but in bringing samadhi off the zazen/zafu and out into the zazen of all fields of activity. Samadhi is not just quiet mind still body, it is the radiant mind fully alive an awakened, and understood, and lived. Dogen is coming from a place that deconstructs time and space, speaking from his experience of zazen. It's not meant to comfort us in any sense, nor is it easy. I agree, it needs unpacking for the average (below average, in my history) person to utilize.
Posts and rebuttals by actual Soto practitioners were deleted.

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by Turtle Clan » Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:35 pm

Where is the bigotry? Back when you first started this thread here I was also reading the thread you refer to on DharmaWheel and I didn’t see any bigotry at all, just people talking. Nothing you have since posted, here, indicates what you claim. Who are the Soto people who have been deleted or banned (and how do you know this)? Lillian, for example, remains listed among the members of the forum though she has apparently not posted since late August.

Any online forum has its share of arrogant know it alls who may even be among the owners and moderators. So far you haven’t been convincing in showing that this is the case at DharmaWheel nor how and why some there may be out to systematically constrain discussion relevant to Soto Zen.

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by jundocohen » Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:55 pm

Turtle Clan wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:35 pm
Where is the bigotry? Back when you first started this thread here I was also reading the thread you refer to on DharmaWheel and I didn’t see any bigotry at all, just people talking. Nothing you have since posted, here, indicates what you claim. Who are the Soto people who have been deleted or banned (and how do you know this)? Lillian, for example, remains listed among the members of the forum though she has apparently not posted since late August.

Any online forum has its share of arrogant know it alls who may even be among the owners and moderators. So far you haven’t been convincing in showing that this is the case at DharmaWheel nor how and why some there may be out to systematically constrain discussion relevant to Soto Zen.
Lillian is no longer allowed to post, and many of her posts were deleted. The conversations on Soto Zen in the "Soto Zen" forum are dominated by mostly non-Soto indivuduals (one woman associated with Bukkokuji in Japan, which is actually a Rinzai temple in its practices although nominally Soto: https://sendaba.hatenablog.com/entry/2020/02/14/000000) who are regularly critical of Soto Zen in general, western Soto teachers in particular. As I stated, posts and rebuttals by actual Soto practitioners were deleted, explaining why you do not see them.

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by p22 » Wed Sep 30, 2020 11:29 am

Jundo, perhaps going forward screenshots of the discussion would provide proof that what others did contribute were deleted-

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by jundocohen » Thu Oct 01, 2020 6:03 am

p22 wrote:
Wed Sep 30, 2020 11:29 am
Jundo, perhaps going forward screenshots of the discussion would provide proof that what others did contribute were deleted-
Sorry, there are no screenshots. It is only what I was told by the people involved, so you will have to trust me on that. I did receive copies of some of the deleted posts for my opinion on the content, and maybe I can post some examples if I ask the people involved.

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by Turtle Clan » Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:04 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:55 pm
Lillian is no longer allowed to post, and many of her posts were deleted. The conversations on Soto Zen in the "Soto Zen" forum are dominated by mostly non-Soto indivuduals (one woman associated with Bukkokuji in Japan, which is actually a Rinzai temple in its practices although nominally Soto: https://sendaba.hatenablog.com/entry/2020/02/14/000000) who are regularly critical of Soto Zen in general, western Soto teachers in particular. As I stated, posts and rebuttals by actual Soto practitioners were deleted, explaining why you do not see them.
I viewed the video and have been familiar with Muho Noelke for several years. I don’t see the relevance of this link to the topic of the thread. Matylda, the woman you refer to above, is often expressing her dismay at the state of Soto Zen in her country. How is that bigotry?

Regardless, I can’t see this thread going anywhere useful as there is not enough information to support or challenge your claim.

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by jundocohen » Sat Oct 03, 2020 8:51 am

Turtle Clan wrote:
Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:04 pm
jundocohen wrote:
Mon Sep 28, 2020 8:55 pm
Lillian is no longer allowed to post, and many of her posts were deleted. The conversations on Soto Zen in the "Soto Zen" forum are dominated by mostly non-Soto indivuduals (one woman associated with Bukkokuji in Japan, which is actually a Rinzai temple in its practices although nominally Soto: https://sendaba.hatenablog.com/entry/2020/02/14/000000) who are regularly critical of Soto Zen in general, western Soto teachers in particular. As I stated, posts and rebuttals by actual Soto practitioners were deleted, explaining why you do not see them.
I viewed the video and have been familiar with Muho Noelke for several years. I don’t see the relevance of this link to the topic of the thread. Matylda, the woman you refer to above, is often expressing her dismay at the state of Soto Zen in her country. How is that bigotry?

Regardless, I can’t see this thread going anywhere useful as there is not enough information to support or challenge your claim.
Ooops. The Muho post was a mistaken link. Sorry about that.

If you don't like or believe the claim, Turtle, then I would suggest that you ignore the thread.

Gassho, J

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by Crystal » Sat Oct 03, 2020 1:12 pm

Its probably a good idea to move on and let it go now, because the last post in the DW topic appears to have been about 3 weeks ago.

Stay safe and well everyone!

All the very best to Jundo & anyone else who's looking in.

Crystal. _/\_

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by desertwoodworker » Mon Oct 05, 2020 12:03 am

Nah, I don't get it. Mr. Soto was my violin teacher, and he was good. I was not (I claim it was congenital).

The Cello fit and fits me better.

Funny!, I still have a/the violin, but I can only "play" it by propping it up like a cello, and bowing it like a cello! It sounds not too good in my lap... . :lol:

Mr. Soto was NOT Japanese, but Eastern European of some extraction, I think. This was ages ago. Blessings to the old man... .

--Joe
jundocohen wrote:
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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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by desertwoodworker » Mon Oct 05, 2020 12:05 am

I think "Soto Zen" is probably going to "last-out".

As is "Rinzai".

All's right with the Whirled... .

Keep the baby, Faith! :o

--Joe

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by avisitor » Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:55 am

Good point.
Soto, Rinzai, it will out last all of us.

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by WoodsyLadyM » Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:12 pm

desertwoodworker wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 12:03 am
Mr. Soto was NOT Japanese, but Eastern European of some extraction, I think. This was ages ago. Blessings to the old man... .

--Joe
Soto is a Spanish surname.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soto_(surname)

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by Turtle Clan » Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:38 pm

avisitor wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:55 am
Good point.
Soto, Rinzai, it will out last all of us.
Why would it?
Anicca ... impermanence.
Some argue that they are now only shadows of what they once were.

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by jundocohen » Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:59 pm

Some would argue (I tend to this) that the "Golden Age" and "good old days" are mostly romantic myths and legends, fictions like King Arthur, Moses, Shangri-la and the purity of the American "Founding Fathers," while in many many ways, Zen and Buddhism are doing better than they have ever done.

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by Crystal » Fri Oct 09, 2020 7:11 am

jundocohen wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:59 pm
Some would argue (I tend to this) that the "Golden Age" and "good old days" are mostly romantic myths and legends, fictions like King Arthur, Moses, Shangri-la and the purity of the American "Founding Fathers,"
I tend to mostly agree with that too, Jundo - but won't give any examples in case I offend someone!

Have a good day Zen Space members.

_/|\_

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by avisitor » Sat Oct 10, 2020 1:39 am

Turtle Clan wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:38 pm
avisitor wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 2:55 am
Good point.
Soto, Rinzai, it will out last all of us.
Why would it?
Anicca ... impermanence.
Some argue that they are now only shadows of what they once were.
Why would it not?
The view point of impermanence is fine
But, please remember that ideas can last longer than a single life span
And Buddhism has lasted longer than anyone previously living or any person presently alive today
Anyone can argue for whatever they believe.
Does not make it true nor does it make it untrue.
Peace be with you.

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Re: The Bigotry against Soto Zen at DharmaWheel

Post by desertwoodworker » Tue Oct 13, 2020 1:58 am

Yes, indeed-y. Mr. Soto was my first teacher of Violin.

I since went to 'cello, 'cause I have fat fingers. I'm happy about the way this has gone.

---Joe
WoodsyLadyM wrote:
Tue Oct 06, 2020 3:12 pm
desertwoodworker wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 12:03 am
Mr. Soto was NOT Japanese, but Eastern European of some extraction, I think. This was ages ago. Blessings to the old man... .

--Joe
Soto is a Spanish surname.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soto_(surname)

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