Tuesday, February 24, 2009

ALL DAY ZAZEN FEB. 28, 2009 AT HILL ST. CENTER IN SANTA MONICA and MORE VIDEOS

Back by popular demand, we will have an all-day zazen on Saturday Feb. 28, 2009 at the Hill St. Center in Santa Monica (details on your left). The schedule will go like this:

10:00-10:40 Zazen
10:40-11:00 Chanting
11:00-11:30 Zazen
11:30-11:40 Kinhin
11:40-12:10 Zazen
12:10-1:10 Lunch (BRING YOUR OWN!)
1:10-1:40 Zazen
1:40-1:50 Kinhin (walking zazen)
1:50-2:20 Zazen
2:20-2:50 Samu (clean up)
2:50-3:30 Discussion

OK? I'm keeping the first 2 things like we usually do so that anyone who wants to come just for that can do so and then leave if they like. Folks are welcome to come to any segment of this. But if you come in the middle, nobody's gonna show you what to do, so you better know before hand. Instructions by the lovely Liza Rose of SuicideGirls are linked over there to your left.

Remember THERE IS NO ORYOKI LUNCH. You must BRING YOUR OWN LUNCH! We can all eat together, maybe even say the meal chant. But NO ORYOKI!

***

I put up a few more Nishijima videos the other day. I'll just put up links this time so that everything runs a little smoother here on the blog. These items are slightly more controversial than the last ones. I was actually baiting him during the talks and trying to get him to say controversial stuff. This is about as much controversy as I got.

Someone asked me why I didn't just put all 3 hours of raw video up. Oy! It took like an hour a piece just to encode each of these short videos in the format you need for YouTube. Maybe someday...


Gudo Nishijima Roshi: The Balance Between Love and Hate

Here Gudo Nishijima Roshi talks about the balance of love and hate in Buddhist practice.

Of course, the word "hate" here does not mean the kind of hate that causes murder, genocide and so on. It refers to the workings of the autonomic nervous system. When hate is unbalanced and overwhelms love we all know there are terrible consequences. Yet when love is unbalanced and overwhelms hate the consequences are equally negative.

I've always found his use of the word "love" and "hate" to describe these subtle states very interesting and useful.

Click here to view

Gudo Nishijima Roshi: Japanese Buddhism in World War II
Gudo Nishijima Roshi gives his opinion about Japanese Buddhism and its support of the war effort during World War II. He agrees with Brian Victoria, author of "Zen at War," that many Japanese Buddhists supported Japan's nationalism during the war and he calls this unfortunate. But he strongly denies Victoria's assertion that his teacher Kodo Sawaki was among them. The exaggerations that Nishijima Roshi refers to in the video are given in great detail on this web page (click to view).

To me, the most telling of these exaggerations is when Victoria quotes Sawaki as saying, "We gorged ourselves on killing" when Sawaki served in the Japanese Army during the Russo-Japanese war. The Japanese phrase in the source material translated as "gorged" was "hara ippai." In my eleven years in Japan I never once heard anyone use the phrase "hara ippai" (literally: full stomach) in a positive context unless perhaps when speaking of actual eating. When used metaphorically it means "fed up." The quote should have been rendered "We got fed up with killing." Furthermore, the quote isn't even actually from Sawaki at all but by a later biographer who put his own words into Sawaki's mouth. Victoria evidently knew this when he used it but did not qualify the quote.

Other quotations that Victoria used to demonstrate Sawaki's supposed war-mongering are equally dubiously translated or from similarly discredited sources. Conversely, one can find many other quotations by Sawaki from outside Victoria's book in which he clearly denounces war. Victoria's is definitely an important book and says stuff that clearly needed to be said. He just went a bit too far to make his point.

Click here to view

Gudo Nishijima Roshi: Chanting in Buddhism

Gudo Nishijima Roshi talks about the place of sutra chanting in Buddhism and has a few choice words to say about the Soto sect. One should note that in spite of what he says here, Nishijima Roshi also led weekly chanting of the Heart Sutra and other Buddhist texts at his Zen dojo in Chiba, Japan for many years. So his words shouldn't be taken as denouncing chanting entirely. Still, the main focus of his teaching is always the practice of Zazen.

Click here to view

Gudo Nishijima Roshi: How to Wear the O-kesa
Gudo Nishijima Roshi demonstrates the way to put on the o-kesa (or kashaya), the traditional Buddhist robe. Notice he is wearing a kimono under the o-kesa and a Western style dress shirt below that. These are the clothes he just happened to have on when I taped this. Though Nishijima Roshi often wears full Buddhist robes, he believes that the o-kesa is the only truly Buddhist garment. So he often wears it over Western clothes.

His method for tying it is basically Soto style. But there are variations. Some do not hide the cords used to tie it up. Some fold it in a slightly different way.

Sorry for the video drop-outs at the beginning. It clears up pretty quickly.

Click here to view

42 comments:

Moses said...

Do you have any tape of him discussing the Jewish conspiracy?

Anonymous said...

thanks.

@moses: sit down. shut up.

Moses said...

thanks.

@moses: sit down. shut up.

That did not answer my question

Jinzang said...

The Buddhist definition of love is the unselfish wish that someone be happy. And the definition of hate is the wish that they be unhappy. That's how I've learned it from my teachers. I haven't read Karl Menninger, so I don't know how he used these terms.

If one uses the definitions given here, love is an entirely positive thing. IAnd so-called self-hatred, supposedly a problem in the West, doesn't exist by the above definition, because no one wishes that they be unhappy.

Jinzang said...

That did not answer my question

You really didn't expect an answer to your question, did you?

Moses said...

Yes, I am seriously bothered by the idea that he might think that.

Anonymous said...

Jinzang just said:

"The Buddhist definition of love..."

That's what he actually wrote! I read it again to make sure. That, for me, rather ruined whatever point he may have gone on to make.

When in need of definitions of english words I'm very content with a dictionary of the English language.

But I'm a hateful bastard.

Anonymous said...

Moses -

I too am bothered that Nishijima might believe in the Jewish conspiracy, or that "The Jews" control the world's finances and power structures.

Bothered, but not surprised.

Sadly, a number of people who should know better do believe it.

Of course, it may not invalidate what they have to say about other stuff.

Jinzang said...

When in need of definitions of english words I'm very content with a dictionary of the English language.

The English word love is rather broad and used a number of different senses. You can love your wife and also love your morning cup of coffee. When the term love is used in a traditional Buddhist text, it's being used in a very specific way, as I defined it. This sense of the term is not alien to the Western concept of love. It's the love of a friend for a friend, wishing the best for him or her.

My point being, unless everyone understands how a term is being used, only confusion results. Gudo Nishijima is obviously using the term love in an entirely different sense and it would be silly to argue he's right or wrong without understanding it.

Jinzang said...

Yes, I am seriously bothered by the idea that he might think that.

You might try looking for the mind that is bothered and upset. That would seem the Zen thing to do.

Harry said...

Is it the difference between the love a man might have for a sheep and the 'love' he might have for a fine cigar?

Let's have a big fight about love now... that'll sort us all out.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

Quite, Hanrei,

But I'd already written this, so I'm gonna press play anyway - MAASHUP!

Jinzang went on to say:

"When the term love is used in a traditional Buddhist text, it's being used in a very specific way, as I defined it".

Well, I disagree with your premise, as well as your definition.

The sutras are pretty traditional: There are many synonyms in pali/sanskrit which might be translated as "love".

Here are some from a sanskrit dictionary:

preman = affection; kindness
abhilasha = desire; craving
raaga = passion
kaama = desire; sexual love.

I think you'd agree that the predominant characteristic is desire.

I suggest what you're talking about is the relatively modern Christian concept of "selfless" love. A fine thing, no doubt(?). But not exclusively, primarily, or even at all "buddhist".

Anyway, our time might be more profitably spent checking out this Menninger guy if we're hoping to understand what Gudo's going on about than arguing about "love".

Anonymous said...

That is bloody funny, though, Harry.


anon @ 6.47

Mysterion said...

"TOKYO – A Chinese bestseller, entitled The Currency War, describes how Jews are planning to rule the world by manipulating the international financial system. The book is reportedly read in the highest government circles. If so, this does not bode well for the international financial system, which relies on well-informed Chinese to help it recover from the current crisis..."

This is, of course, speculation on top of myth. This manipulation of money theory goes back to Byzantium and the attempts by Rome to hang onto the power they long ago lost. (e.g. Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple).

What is actually hidden in this myth is the fact that Roman coins had less silver in them than the Greek equivalents (e.g. the Mark Anthony Denarii.

The only Jewish conspiracy in Asia is the one percolating in the unsettled minds of the profoundly insecure. Such unsettled minds know no race, tribe, nor geographical borders.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Benny said...

Go down Moses. Can a person be both Jewish and Buddhist?

Anonymous said...

yes and they are called Jew-Bu or Bu-Jews I forget which

proulx michel said...

Anyway, our time might be more profitably spent checking out this Menninger guy if we're hoping to understand what Gudo's going on about than arguing about "love".

Robert M Pirsig also mentions him in "Lila: an enquiry into values", which I strongly recommend as providing valuable complements to Nishijima's theory.

proulx michel said...

As for the problem of being both a Buddhist and a Jew, it lies, in my opinion, on the false premise that being Jewish is an ethnic. I live in a country where both Sephardim and Ashkenazim Jews live, and it is quite obvious that they are quite different, physically speaking. They do share some points of mentality, and, sometimes, of religion (!...) but I'd suggest anyone interested to read Shlomo Sands "When and How the Jewish People Was Invented?".

It is about time to be finished with these demential racist theses which we inherited from the 19th Century.

Harry said...

At least Jews just have their foreskins lobbed off; increasingly it seems that Buddhists are having their humour glands removed.

"Bewdish"?

"Jewddha"?

"Jew Jitsu"?

"the deli lama"...? I mean, I think the facts speak for themselves re the conspiracy.

Regards,

H.

Rich said...

Brad, adding the question/answer pieces and Gudo videos has been a positive enhancement to this blog.

Anonymous said...

With apologies to Harry for the total absence of humour -

Proulx Michel said:

"It is about time to be finished with these demential racist theses which we inherited from the 19th Century".

The terms 'race' or 'ethnicity' may no longer be scientifically accurate (or fashionable) to describe perceived differences between large groups of people (they'll do for the time being). But it is, imo, undeniable that there are large groups of people who share physical and mental/behavioural characteristics which distinguish them from others.


I'm no scientist, but my guess is that these characteristics derive from shared hereditary and cultural factors.

To observe this is not, I suggest, "racist".

I fear that your objections ("demential"!?) stem from the unhelpful liberal view that just because we share more (genes) than previously assumed, we are 'all the same', and that 'racial' definitions are meaningless.


My experience is that although such definitions can lead to misleading or dangerous stereotyping they are certainly not meaningless. To assert otherwise is to be in denial.

In some ways we're 'all different', in other ways we are all members of groups.

lemgo said...

as far as being both jewish and buddhist, I have heard of the term jewboo, but isn't that a description of two diverging philosophies or religions? one faith based the other not? is buddhism ever faith based? I mean you never hear of christboos or musboos. maybe the term means former jew, now buddhist?

Harry said...

Another 'musboo' is actually what you slurpily and greedily ask for while you still have the previous Mars Bar- largely unchewed- in your mouth.

Regards,

H.

Anonymous said...

Lemgo -

I believe "jewbu/oo" refers to someone born jewish*, whether they ever practised the religion or not, who now consider themselves buddhist.

*jewish, meaning, in my book, someone born a jew. By the jewish definition, someone with a jewish mother.

Plenty of folks are considered, and consider themselves to be, jewish who've never believed in or practised the religion and hence have no jewish "faith".

Not quite so funny, Harry. Nice, though.

nondual said...

I just checked and Brad's book is on Kindle!

w00t!

Anonymous said...

Re Karl Menninger, proulx michel wrote:

"Robert M Pirsig also mentions him in "Lila: an enquiry into values", which I strongly recommend as providing valuable complements to Nishijima's theory".

Thanks pm.

jamal said...

Michel said: "I live in a country where both Sephardim and Ashkenazim Jews live, and it is quite obvious that they are quite different, physically speaking. They do share some points of mentality."

I think I'm going to haf to call you on that last part Michel, less you wanna get more specific with your euphemisms.

Jared said...

"Sadly, a number of people who should know better do believe it."

Just check out the movie Zeitgeist - the whole thing is a raging conspiracy with the entire middle section dedicated to proving how American bankers (who all coincidentally happen to be Jewish) control and manipulate the US system.

Anonymous said...

Many bankers and figures of wealth are Jewish. USA is a major supported and provider of arms for Israel - a jewish country established by force in arabic territory. Do I see a pattern here or is it just me?

Flor de Nopal Sangha said...

"It is about time to be finished with these demential racist theses which we inherited from the 19th Century."

Agreed!

1. It's unfortunate if there are any Buddhist or buddhist or whomever attached to "racialism", more of an ideological concept than a factual scientific one.

2. "Race" does not exist. Our ancestors that came from Africa shared similar physical "looks." With human migration and evolution, we differed to our current diversity. Current scientific studies have shown that if similar patters were reproduced, those who we call "White" will shift to "Black" and vice versa.

3. Culture is far more elastic and always changing.

Anonymous said...

anon @ 8.10 -

What pattern do you see?

That "The Jews" have secret meetings in which they conspire to take over and control the world?

Or that some jews have risen to positions of prominence in business, science and the arts through brains and hard work?

Israel, whatever you think of the policies of its current government is a free market, liberal "western" style democracy. Perhaps that's why it's supported by the west, generally.

Is it just you?

Sadly, no.

And to flor de nopal:

Don't be silly. What are you scared of acknowledging? Recognising that humans fall into geographically, culturally, physically recognisable groups that share characteristics doesn't make one a racist.

Anonymous said...

I said:

"...Or that some jews have risen to positions of prominence in business, science and the arts through brains and hard work?"

Of course, being human, some jews may have risen to prominence in business using a little sharp practice, too. Just like the other businessmen.

Jewish artists and scientists, however are completely beyond reproach. :-)

proulx michel said...

jamal said...

Michel said: "I live in a country where both Sephardim and Ashkenazim Jews live, and it is quite obvious that they are quite different, physically speaking. They do share some points of mentality."

I think I'm going to haf to call you on that last part Michel, less you wanna get more specific with your euphemisms.


No euphemisms here. Most Ashkenazim just look like East Europeans, and most Sephardim just look like Maghrebi Arabs. They share cultural aspects, for their being Jews, indeed.

Another Nymous wrote:

Recognising that humans fall into geographically, culturally, physically recognisable groups that share characteristics doesn't make one a racist.

Indeed not. Racism is positing that a given person will be such and such according to his/her looks.

For instance, during the Vichy Regime, people were sent to extermination camps not on the ground of being Jewish, but essentially on the ground of having one or more relatives who were. THAT's racism.

If you meet a black Frenchman, especially if from some southern city like Toulouse, racism is negating his being French on account of the colour of his skin. But, and especially if the man plays rugby, you'll just have another southwestern French, with all the cultural characteristics of that, bad or good, albeit of dark colouration.

Racism would be (and is, alas, at times) to consider a Frenchman of North African physical looks as being automatically an Arab (he/she could be of Spanish descent), and discriminating on that basis.

Flor de Nopal Sangha said...

"Don't be silly. What are you scared of acknowledging? Recognising that humans fall into geographically, culturally, physically recognisable groups that share characteristics doesn't make one a racist."

Scared? You confusing superficial things, things that are fluid with some type of unchanging inate "race." Racialism is an idealogy used to enforce a social strata.

Are you afraid of impermanence?

Anonymous said...

Flor de Nopal said:

"You confusing superficial things, things that are fluid with some type of unchanging inate "race." Racialism is an idealogy used to enforce a social strata.

Are you afraid of impermanence?"


I said nothing about "unchanging innate race". I'm just asking a question:

Here and now, do humans fall into geographically, culturally, physically recognisable groups that share characteristics? Never mind about "fluid...impermanence". I'm talking about here and now, in this world.


I see that they do. And sometimes, in some contexts, acknowledging that fact aids sensible discourse.

Jinzang said...

The sutras are pretty traditional: There are many synonyms in pali/sanskrit which might be translated as "love".

Here are some from a sanskrit dictionary:

preman = affection; kindness
abhilasha = desire; craving
raaga = passion
kaama = desire; sexual love.

I think you'd agree that the predominant characteristic is desire.


The term usually translated as love and the term I was talking about is maitri. You can't understand Buddhist terminology by paging through Monier Williams.

Anonymous said...

Ok Jinz.


Where else you gonna go for the meaning of "traditional" sanskrit/pali words cept to a sanskrit/pali dictionary?

(My earlier list was from Apte's English - sanskrit dictionary. But this is from MW):

Maitri...Friendship; goodwill


My point is that your peculiarly "buddhist" definition of the english word "love" has no basis. Etymologically or philosophically.

If there is some definitive source of defined buddhist concepts, please tell me where to find it.

leoboiko said...

> Israel, whatever you think of the policies of its current government is a free market, liberal "western" style democracy. Perhaps that's why it's supported by the west, generally.

Man, not wanting to fuel the conspiracy-believers, but if THAT is what a free-market liberal democracy is, I sure hope none of my neighbors become one!

Anonymous said...

I guess this is what you're talking about, Jinz:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metta#cite_note-PED-2

Well, remembering where we started, it seems that Nishijima IS saying that too much of this sort of thing isn't good for you, or others. Which will be heresy to many who regard themselves as Buddhists.

This is from the "Science and Buddhism" chapter of "To Meet The Real Dragon":

"Dr Menninger preferred to characerize the two forces in human life as love and hate.He described hate as the aggressive instinct: the active, volitional, intellectual side of our nature. Love, on the other hand, was passive and sensual. It was the protective and perceptive instinct in human beings. According to Dr Menninger, the task of life was to find a balance between these two forces."

There you go.

floating_abu said...

Jinzang said:

The Buddhist definition of love is the unselfish wish that someone be happy. And the definition of hate is the wish that they be unhappy. That's how I've learned it from my teachers. I haven't read Karl Menninger, so I don't know how he used these terms.


Without definitions, non-separation is the blossoming of true love. _/|\_

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