A Small Mischaracterization ..

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boda
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Re: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by boda » Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:51 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:13 pm
boda wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:08 pm
desert_woodworker wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:46 pm
boda wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 8:11 pm
It’s a seductive idea. Maybe so seductive that it has as much potential to undermine our practice as it does to inspire it.
The only thing-a-ma-bobber to undermine our practice is not to practice: Don't give in to it. ;-)

--Joe
No, people could be mislead or there could be psychological issues, etc.
Sure, people can always be misled. And, psychological issues may always "issue". Are you really saying anything new?

Anyone with a teacher -- and a practice -- is relatively immune to such b.s.

Hail!

--Joe
I was going to ask Meido if the group he refers to has a teacher, and if I thought it mattered I would have.

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Re: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by desert_woodworker » Thu Jul 12, 2018 10:00 pm

boda wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 9:51 pm
I was going to ask Meido if the group he refers to has a teacher, and if I thought it mattered I would have.
Do tell; do do. And, do do well.

--Joe

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Re: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by clyde » Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:49 pm

https://www.lionsroar.com/no-teacher-of-zen/

This essay, No Teacher of Zen, is written by one of my favorite living Soto Zen teachers, Zoketsu Norman Fisher. Please read it in it’s entirety as he has much to offer about Zen, Zen teachers and students, the practice and transformation. (I was going to add one or two pithy phrases and/or sentences, but there are too many to choose; so, you will have to read the essay.)

But within the context of this thread, here is a respected Soto Zen teacher,
Meditation is fairly new in Western culture, and naturally we have overemphasized it, romanticizing the mystical experiences intensive meditation can produce. Such experiences are just a matter of course. They are among the least important things for a teacher to have experienced, but any Zen teacher will have experienced many such things. Sit there long enough and everything is bound to occur. But it isn’t the experiences that matter as much as the folding of them into a whole life and a whole view. [emphasis added]
It’s not difficult to see how “the least important things” may be misunderstood as diminishing the role of awakening - if you miss the emphasized point.



p.s: If after reading the essay, you don’t understand why he’s one of my favorite living Zen teachers . . . I don’t know what to say.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by Caodemarte » Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:58 am

clyde wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:49 pm


But within the context of this thread, here is a respected Soto Zen teacher,
Meditation is fairly new in Western culture, and naturally we have overemphasized it, romanticizing the mystical experiences intensive meditation can produce. Such experiences are just a matter of course. They are among the least important things for a teacher to have experienced, but any Zen teacher will have experienced many such things. Sit there long enough and everything is bound to occur. But it isn’t the experiences that matter as much as the folding of them into a whole life and a whole view. [emphasis added]
It’s not difficult to see how “the least important things” may be misunderstood as diminishing the role of awakening - if you miss the emphasized point...
I remember a talk by a Rinzai teacher who said that we can take an awakening and turn it into a tidy experience that we look back on, just another prop for the story.

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Re: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by Meido » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:18 am

Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:58 am
I remember a talk by a Rinzai teacher who said that we can take an awakening and turn it into a tidy experience that we look back on, just another prop for the story.
Yes, certainly true...and I think in fact likely, absent a post-kensho path of clarification and embodiment taking that awakening as its basis.

From that perspective, one may feel that awakening is where the path narrows to a knife edge...
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: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by jundocohen » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:24 pm

Meido wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 5:07 pm

Yes: the group I encountered at least, whose members explained to me they were taught that what occurs during practice is utterly unimportant because "everything is already Buddha"; that practice itself need not be done, and no instruction is given about how to practice, for the same reason; that awakening and realization are myths for children and do not exist; and that the full fruition of the path is simply understanding the idea that everything is Buddha.

This group happens to belong to a larger Soto Zen organization...hence I described them as "some Soto folks." The only mischaracterization here is the recasting of my report of those views as a broad statement about Soto Zen as a whole.
Hello Rev. Meido,

It might be helpful it you did clarify there that you only spoke to one small group of people in one Sangha, apparently members and not teachers there, and that there is even the possibility that you did not understand the subtlety of the points they were making on Soto "non-attaining" doctrines. It sounds that it is possible that this is the situation you are describing. Maybe you can approach it from a reader's point of view who did not know your intent.

Maybe others (not only me) would tend to misunderstand your pronouncements in the other place to be more widely directed at "Soto folks," especially when coupled with your robes and the lack of anyone to clarify there? So, if I were you, I would do the right thing and perhaps clarify the limitations on your statement there. Just a friendly suggestion.

I do not know of any Soto teachers whatsoever, especially those associated with a major Zen organization, who would make the kind of characterization of Soto doctrines and practice you describe. It is possible that students would, which is why they are students. What teacher would possibly be found to say that "what occurs during practice is utterly unimportant" because "everything is already Buddha?" What teacher would give "no instruction" in how to practice? I am not saying that such a person does not exist, but please do not pronounce to others that it would be anything but an extreme anomaly in the Zen world. Readers who may be thinking about trying Soto Zen would be very put off and discouraged by such a description, feeling that it might be more widespread, and I know that would not be your intent.

Thank you for keeping an open mind on the reasons for my concern.

I will write more about these common misunderstandings by non-Soto folks about Soto interpretations of "no satori" and the like. This is a very good example, I feel.

And also, thank you for honoring my request and the courtesy of using my name and the ordinary title for clergy when you write, as I do to you. It is much appreciated. Thank you. I learn very much from you always, as I did from reading your new book.

Gassho, Jundo
Last edited by jundocohen on Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by boda » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:32 pm

jundocohen wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:24 pm
What teacher would possibly be found to say that "what occurs during practice is utterly unimportant" because "everything is already Buddha?"
Actually, it doesn’t sound unlike something you might say, in your “liberal” and “modern” koany way. This isn’t a criticism and I’m not suggesting that you’re part of the group Meido is talking about. Just say’n.

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Re: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by KeithA » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:45 pm

Meido wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:18 am
Caodemarte wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:58 am
I remember a talk by a Rinzai teacher who said that we can take an awakening and turn it into a tidy experience that we look back on, just another prop for the story.
Yes, certainly true...and I think in fact likely, absent a post-kensho path of clarification and embodiment taking that awakening as its basis.

From that perspective, one may feel that awakening is where the path narrows to a knife edge...
I had this exact experience. It can be very difficult without a clear path and support system to digest kensho.

_|\_
You make, you get.

New Haven Zen Center

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Re: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by fuki » Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:52 pm

boda wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:32 pm
jundocohen wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:24 pm
What teacher would possibly be found to say that "what occurs during practice is utterly unimportant" because "everything is already Buddha?"
Actually, it doesn’t sound unlike something you might say, in your “liberal” and “modern” koany way. This isn’t a criticism and I’m not suggesting that you’re part of the group Meido is talking about. Just say’n.
Ofcourse "everything is already Buddha" but without a "conscious breakthrough" such words are merely concepts instead of an expression (or a poor translation) of an awakening experience. People have all sorts of ideas, and there are no true ideas. An intellectual interpretation upon perception of any scripture or master like Dogen or whoever the errors lies not in the scripture but in the readers interpretation/perception of it. Like this all knowledge=ignorance, applying knowledge is for the ignorant ofcourse, like a thorn to remove a thorn, but thinking "everything is Buddha" is ofcourse another thorn. I don't see the additional collective value of saying "just say'n." here Bodhi.

just say'n :hatsoff:
meldpunt seksueel misbruik in boeddhistische gemeenschappen.
https://meldpuntbg.nl/

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Re: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by boda » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:48 pm

fuki wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:52 pm
I don't see the additional collective value of saying "just say'n." here Bodhi.
The intention behind it is essentially cautionary, that overplaying the practice is enlightenment concept could impact practice negatively, to spell it out.

Perceived value may vary, I suppose. :103:

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Re: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by fuki » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:55 pm

boda wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:48 pm
fuki wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:52 pm
I don't see the additional collective value of saying "just say'n." here Bodhi.
The intention behind it is essentially cautionary, that overplaying the practice is enlightenment concept could impact practice negatively, to spell it out.

Perceived value may vary, I suppose. :103:
Thanks bodhi, but any concept obstructs 'true practise' so specifically this one is cautioned? You wouldn't have mentioned it without reading Meido's story yet still (I feel) project it unto Jundo, and since Jundo has never expressed misunderstandings regarding Soto/Dogen's teachings and has carefully always included the caution in all his "shikantaza etc" posts I don't see the relation with Jundo here, convenient perhaps?

For instance I often say "I have no mind for practise" you've never cautioned me about it, I was too easy with using "illusion" in the past and cao has skillfully made me attentive using it on fora, but Jundo never overplayed anything, he always includes the caution and makes posts longer then for him are necessary, but he does it to caution others not to fall into extreme views (or a view itself), you can see it in all his posts.
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boda
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Re: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by boda » Fri Jul 13, 2018 6:10 pm

fuki wrote:
Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:55 pm
Thanks bodhi, but any concept obstructs 'true practise' so specifically this one is cautioned?
I don't believe 'any concept' obstructs practice.
You wouldn't have mentioned it without reading Meido's story yet still (I feel) project it unto Jundo, and since Jundo has never expressed misunderstandings regarding Soto/Dogen's teachings and has carefully always included the caution in all his "shikantaza etc" posts I don't see the relation with Jundo here, convenient perhaps?
I wouldn't consider the group that Meido mentions "convenient," more like unfortunate.
For instance I often say "I have no mind for practise" you've never cautioned me about it,
I never noticed. In any case, do have any students that we might be concerned about?
I was too easy with using "illusion" in the past and cao has skillfully made me attentive using it on fora,
Weird, but interesting.

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Re: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by Caodemarte » Sun Jul 15, 2018 2:17 pm

A number of the more wildly off topic posts deleted. Please do not post or reply to off topic posts. Embedding off topic posts in side discussions harms the existing thread. Please start a new topic rather than destroy an existing discussion.

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Re: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by Dan74 » Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:54 pm

clyde wrote:
Thu Jul 12, 2018 11:49 pm
https://www.lionsroar.com/no-teacher-of-zen/

This essay, No Teacher of Zen, is written by one of my favorite living Soto Zen teachers, Zoketsu Norman Fisher. Please read it in it’s entirety as he has much to offer about Zen, Zen teachers and students, the practice and transformation. (I was going to add one or two pithy phrases and/or sentences, but there are too many to choose; so, you will have to read the essay.)

But within the context of this thread, here is a respected Soto Zen teacher,
Meditation is fairly new in Western culture, and naturally we have overemphasized it, romanticizing the mystical experiences intensive meditation can produce. Such experiences are just a matter of course. They are among the least important things for a teacher to have experienced, but any Zen teacher will have experienced many such things. Sit there long enough and everything is bound to occur. But it isn’t the experiences that matter as much as the folding of them into a whole life and a whole view. [emphasis added]
It’s not difficult to see how “the least important things” may be misunderstood as diminishing the role of awakening - if you miss the emphasized point.



p.s: If after reading the essay, you don’t understand why he’s one of my favorite living Zen teachers . . . I don’t know what to say.
Thank you for the essay, clyde. I enjoyed it and it does to me present a wide warm and intensely human view. I am tempted to say that Norman is likely a nourishing and kind man, much like a Carl Rogers' ideal therapist, mature and genuine, giving him/herself completely to the interaction and with a deep respect/faith in the practice/psyche as well as an unconditional positive regard for the student/client. Indeed, such people are rare and have a wonderful healing quality about them. And maybe in our times and for most of us, wounded as we are, this is exactly what's needed. But I find myself wondering if something could be missing from this. Of course an essay is just an essay and there is no doubt much more to Norman Fisher than his words in this short piece. And yet, there is a radical wisdom to Zen that goes beyond humanism, is there not? I didn't see it there. A wonderful kind person with a healing presence I can intuit, but no teacher of Zen...?

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Re: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by clyde » Sun Jul 15, 2018 7:03 pm

Dan; I think your assessment is on target, even your mild criticism. I think this goes to why there are several ‘flavors’ of Zen (Ch’an, Rinzai, Soto, etc.) to reflect the personalities of the teachers and the needs of the students.

But I can assure you, he’s a teacher of Zen and has senior students, some now teachers, to prove it.
“Enlightenment means to see what harm you are involved in and to renounce it.” David Brazier, The New Buddhism

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Re: A Small Mischaracterization ..

Post by jundocohen » Tue Jul 17, 2018 12:27 am

By the way, Zoketsu Norman Fischer has a pretty good series on Layman P'ang out recently that is very rich. I actually am not such a fan of the P'ang koans, which I consider to be a bit of the pure "one upmanship" type (although in this case, typically between peers, each both host and guest, without winner and loser) that lack the richness of the Book of Serenity or Blue Cliff Koans. That's just my feeling. However, Norman really squeezes the juice out of the Koans. It is a wonderful collection too, just because a lay person takes the center.

http://everydayzen.org/index.php/search ... &submit=Go

Gassho, J
Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha, an online practice place for folks who cannot commute to a Zen Center due to health, living in remote areas, work or family needs. The focus is Shikantaza 'Just Sitting' Zazen http://www.treeleaf.org

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