Friday, June 26, 2009

DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY (NOT!)

That interview about dating I just did (see post below) is on line now. click here to see it!

As most of you have heard by now, the music world lost one its great legends, a performer who changed the direction of pop music forever and influenced a generation in terms of style and sound. I'm speaking, of course, about Sky Sunlight Saxon, legendary front man and bassist for The Seeds.

Although best known for their biggest song, Pushin' Too Hard, The Seeds were more than one-hit wonders. Sky Saxon continued to pilot various line-ups of The Seeds right up until his death on Thursday. Though they never became as famous as the people they influenced, The Seeds' sound is clearly apparent in a host of more popular performers including Iggy Pop, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, The White Stripes, Nirvana and many others.

I was the proud owner of some of Sky's later albums on which he expanded The Seeds original pounding garage punk into brutally beautiful slabs of twisted madness, often lasting an entire LP side and consisting of just two chords that pummeled the listener into psychedelic psubmission.

In other news Farrah Fawcett Majors passed away yesterday. When I was in junior high I had her poster. You could see nipples! And I think one of the Jackson Five died too. They used to have a cartoon show. Or maybe it was one of The Osmond Brothers. I always got them confused.

Ironically, the morning of the day all this news broke I attended the cremation ceremony for a close friend of one of the people who comes to the Saturday morning Zazen classes at Hill Street Center (info to your left, I'll see you there tomorrow!). Buddhist cremation ceremonies generally consist of some chanting, followed by covering the body with flowers, followed by some more chanting and the offering of incense. It's a nice ceremony. Short and sweet.

The person in question happened to be a priest in another Zen organization in town. I was not there, but I was told that one of the other priests in his organization took the opportunity of his passing away to deliver a lecture about how a newly departed person searches for his or her next mother for 49 days before reincarnating. I could be mistaken about the contents of this particular lecture. But this is not at all an uncommon topic of talks following the death of a monk or Buddhist practitioner.

I get kind of annoyed when people use death as an opportunity to air all their superstitions, especially when those people airing the superstitions do so cloaked in the guise of religious authority. I know that it's done partly as a way to ease the pain of those in mourning. But I don't see why we need grand speculations on topics that nobody could possibly know anything about in order to comfort those in mourning.

The Universe is vast and mysterious. We know that neither matter nor energy is ever created or destroyed. The Heart Sutra says it this way, "No one is born or dies." Those who pass away remain with us as long as we remember them. And more than that, their life never really departs from this very place because there is nowhere else to go. Beyond this, everything else is pure speculation.

I'm not convinced that it's ultimately useful to escape into the world of fantasy after someone we know or love dies. I can understand the desire to turn away from the pain of reality. It often seems too much to cope with. I know my mom's death in 2007 sure did -- and still does sometimes. But we can never truly escape from that which is real. We can cover our eyes. But even then we're confronted with the reality of our own covered eyes.

Too often, though, the occasion of death is taken as an excuse to indulge in fantasy. We don't simply take a break from the pain of loss to remain quiet and absorb its lessons. We fly away into the false beauty of our imaginations. Not that imagination is a bad thing. But it isn't good to get lost in it.

We think that reality might be more than we can handle. But I'm not certain that's ever true. Much of the pain of grief is often fueled by imagination too. We imagine life without our loved one and speculate about how we won't be able to cope. But such speculation is as fanciful as imagining our loved one with wings and a halo walking streets paved with gold way up high in the clouds. I don't think we cure our pain by any kind of speculation.

We cure our pain by feeling it as it is, not adding to it and not trying to make it stop. The pain of loss is just what it is. We feel it and then we move on.

61 comments:

alan said...

This essay is a nice mixture of Zen philosophy and being a bit of a dick.

Just doing the Brad thing, I guess.

Jules said...

I was thinking about death a lot yesterday. My dog severely injured a young possum and left it in the laundry room for my wife to find. I put it out of its misery.

Andrew said...

"We cure our pain by feeling it as it is, not adding to it and not trying to make it stop. The pain of loss is just what it is. We feel it and then we move on."

What if trying to make it stop is what we naturally do? Wouldn't trying to reverse a natural reaction add that same fuel to the fire that you speak of? Why not accept the reality of our reactions?

krum41 said...

thank you!
all in all
it was very well said
much appreciated

Rick said...

I think it's really weird that celebrities always die in threes:
David Carradine, Bea Arthur, Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson.

Mumon said...

Ironically, the morning of the day all this news broke I attended the cremation ceremony for a close friend of one of the people who comes to the Saturday morning Zazen classes at Hill Street Center (info to your left, I'll see you there tomorrow!). Buddhist cremation ceremonies generally consist of some chanting, followed by covering the body with flowers, followed by some more chanting and the offering of incense. It's a nice ceremony. Short and sweet.

The person in question happened to be a priest in another Zen organization in town. I was not there, but I was told that one of the other priests in his organization took the opportunity of his passing away to deliver a lecture about how a newly departed person searches for his or her next mother for 49 days before reincarnating. I could be mistaken about the contents of this particular lecture. But this is not at all an uncommon topic of talks following the death of a monk or Buddhist practitioner.


Yeah.

And the other issue is it's not necessary to make such pronouncements, and clouds the issues regarding what is the best way to help someone.

It might not be by pontificating on reincarnation.

Mumon said...

I'm not convinced that it's ultimately useful to escape into the world of fantasy after someone we know or love dies.

Yeah. Grief is good; I heartily agree.

We cure our pain by feeling it as it is, not adding to it and not trying to make it stop. The pain of loss is just what it is. We feel it and then we move on.

We can grow beyond it too, and we can become more compassionate beings as a result of the profound losses we feel.

pkb said...

thank you!
all in all
it was very well said
much appreciated

Echoing what krum41 said. Very good piece. Brad, I realize you never, almost, sometimes read these comments but...Within the same year your mom died and your wife left you, my own mom died and my oldest daughter became a crank addict. My daughter managed to pull out of it all after a year or so but my mom is still dead.

Justin said...

What if trying to make it stop is what we naturally do? Wouldn't trying to reverse a natural reaction add that same fuel to the fire that you speak of? Why not accept the reality of our reactions?

We do need to accept the reality of our reactions - that is, see them, non-judgmentally rather than reacting further to them, trying to control mind with mind. You can decide that 'trying to make it stop' is 'natural' if you like, but it's a maladaptive response.

Justin said...

I think this would be a good reading for a funeral:

Firewood becomes ash, and it does not become firewood again. Yet, do not suppose that the ash is after and the firewood before. You should understand that firewood abides in the phenomenal expression of firewood, which fully includes before and after and is independent of before and after. Ash abides in the phenomenal expression of ash, which fully includes before and after. Just as firewood does not become firewood again after it is ash, you do not return to birth after death.
This being so, it is an established way in buddha-dharma to deny that birth turns into death. Accordingly, birth is understood as no-birth. It is an unshakable teaching in the Buddha's discourse that death does not turn into birth. Accordingly, death is understood as no-death.
Birth is an expression complete this moment. Death is an expression complete this moment. They are like winter and spring. You do not call winter the beginning of spring, nor summer the end of spring.

Anonymous said...

Wish I could've seen Sky live.
Death is only bad for those left behind.

BTW, The Strange Boys are playing at
The Smell and The Echo
this Monday and Tuesday, respectively.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Amazing how things change...

In the seventies, young boys had
Farrah's nipple poster, and today
they have the Internet.
Lucky bastards.

Anonymous said...

Brad said...
"We know that neither matter nor energy is ever created or destroyed."

Energy

Momentum

Conservation

Matt said...

nice piece brad. Every once in awhile you knock one out of the park :)

Anonymous said...

You get annoyed a lot for a "Zen master".

Anonymous said...

@Andrew

"What if trying to make it stop is what we naturally do? Wouldn't trying to reverse a natural reaction add that same fuel to the fire that you speak of? Why not accept the reality of our reactions?"

Accept your pain. Do not hold onto it, do not try to avoid it. Let it happen. It will lesson over time and that is ok. I believe you are confusing what is "natural" for what is "common". In the natural state, one accepts and lives with what is (not nihilism or complacency but zazen) In the common state (modernly confused folks, generally) pain is avoided and left to linger and grow and bleed into other aspects of that person's life. To be healthy, do not try to stop what is natural. You may build a dam, but it will burst eventually(or make a flood or what have you).

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

Hakkotsu no Gobunshø

Now, if we look realistically at the nature of human life, we see it as fleeting. Birth, life and death pass by in the twinkling of an eye.

Although our bodies are radiant with health in the morning sun, by evening twilight they are reduced to white ashes.

Our relatives assemble, but they are powerless to change our situation. Even the rites and rituals of grief change nothing. We prepare the body for cremation and all that remains is white ashes.

Rennyo (1414-1499)
"Rennyo the Restorer"

Jinzang said...

I get kind of annoyed when people use death as an opportunity to air all their superstitions, especially when those people airing the superstitions do so cloaked in the guise of religious authority.

So a Buddhist priest gives a talk based on teachings in Buddhist scripture at a Buddhist funeral. I find this unexceptional and don't see why it annoys you.

I believe in reincarnation, based on personal experience. But it's nothing I could prove or you could disprove, so let's go easy on abusive terms like "superstition."

happy heretic said...

Blogger Rick said...
"I think it's really weird that celebrities always die in threes: David Carradine, Bea Arthur, Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson."

LOL, 5 = 3

The founding fathers of the USA had the same sort of problem with 1 = 3 and 3 = 1. The first president was a deist. The second president was a Unitarian. The third president was an atheist.

The Christian Trinity is: (1 father god) + (1 son god) + (1 spirit god) = (3 gods). Sometimes there is a Mary Goddess to intervene (or a sacred body part) and a Pope, Cardinal, Archbishop, Bishop, and Father to also intervene. Unitarian monotheists are not trinitarian monotheists. They also figure that they can speak for themselves and cut out the middlemen (and women).

Rich said...

Brad said:
"Too often, though, the occasion of death is taken as an excuse to indulge in fantasy. We don't simply take a break from the pain of loss to remain quiet and absorb its lessons. We fly away into the false beauty of our imaginations. Not that imagination is a bad thing. But it isn't good to get lost in it."

This flying away into our imaginations and dreams is a habit that needs to be seen for what it is. I liked this essay.

Jinzang said:
"I believe in reincarnation, based on personal experience. But it's nothing I could prove or you could disprove, so let's go easy on abusive terms like "superstition."

If you believe that the emptiness is you, then you might believe in rebirth. I don't believe in the rebirth of me. birth and death in terms of universal consciousness is meaningless. the best we can do is not even think about it.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bob.bois said...

We all have someone we love (or don't) who dies (or doesn't). Please stop yelling in my head

Anonymous said...

Brad,
Why allow comments on your blog? 99% are assholes. Make them blog for themselves.

proulx michel said...

Jinzang said:

I believe in reincarnation, based on personal experience. But it's nothing I could prove or you could disprove, so let's go easy on abusive terms like "superstition."

The teachings never talk about reincarnation. They talk about rebirth, and that is a world of a difference. A good friend of mine who is a specialist of Tibetan, states that the world the Tibetan use and that is so often erroneously translated as "reincarnation" does not mean that at all. Something like "transfer" would be more near it.

Semantically, reincarnation means that there is specifically a fixed and unchanging entity ("soul") that migrates from one "meat" (carnis) to another. The word thus entails a total and absolute separation of body and mind. Believe in rebirth if you will, but don't say you believe in reincarnation: reincarnation is stuff of non-buddhists and the like.

Jakey Madball said...

Great post. Coming from a Catholic family I've always been uncomfortable with the way that the funeral seems more about God & how great He is, rather than the person who's died.

floating_abu said...

I did read the Marie Claire article that was referenced in the interview: http://www.marieclaire.com/world-reports/news/latest/religion-faith-therapy-2

Anonymous said...

To Mysterion:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T69TOuqaqXI

You are welcome.

Anonymous said...

Jinzang, I find it annoying that you find it necessary to say you believe in reincarnation "based on some personal experience", but do not say what that experience was or even what you think reincarnation is.

But not very annoying. :)

Dean Fearce said...

I had a peach, the most beautiful peach, and it came from the tree in my front yard. The peach was so beautiful that I set in a bowl and expressed my devotion to it daily.
This morning I awoke to thank the Universe for my beautiful peach, and found it shriveling, full of rot and crawling with bugs, so I threw it out.

I should have eaten that peach.

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

A good friend of mine who is a specialist of Tibetan, states that the world the Tibetan use and that is so often erroneously translated as "reincarnation" does not mean that at all. Something like "transfer" would be more near it.

Some people make the same distinction between rebirth and reincarnation that you do in order to draw a distinction between Buddhist and other views. In my opinion, there's no such difference in the meaning of the words reincarnation and rebirth. One has a Latin root and the other does not, that's the only difference. So I use the two words interchangeably. Of course, I believe in no-self and impermanence and that the only continuity between lives is that of causes and conditions and not substance.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Jinzang, Mysterion, ......you think too much.

Fugen said...

"I don't think we cure our pain by any kind of speculation.

We cure our pain by feeling it as it is, not adding to it and not trying to make it stop. The pain of loss is just what it is. We feel it and then we move on."

_/\_

Mtfbwy
Fugen

Jinzang said...

you think too much

I don't know. The more I practice, the more these fine intellectual distinctions seem worthwhile.

Rick said...

Now THAT's funny.

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

Thank you Brad
Thank you for coming to the hospital the night the ventilator was removed.
Thank you for attending the cremation service 10 days later.

Your words 'nothing ceases to be' at the hospital
were like you'd straightened out the rug which had been pulled out from under me.

Roller coaster.
Everything around me beautiful, lovely, and scalding.
Today I am emptied of tears.
I walked to the ocean with a friend I hadn't seen in months.
Later, one of my son's friends stopped by and talked about his parents' separation/divorce.

I just want to live, while I am still alive to do so.

I appreciate what you said in this blog and found it helpful.

As for reincarnation I certainly don't know. There is a strange vestigial memory of my own, but I absolutely have no way of confirming/proving it.

I for one do not believe that by the 49th day my departed friend will have chosen his next mother for a rebirth; or that in 9 months past that I could be buying baby clothes for him.

I do think it is a good idea to have a service 49 days after someone dies so that there is plenty of time for those who loved and cared about him/her to plan to be there--people who live far away can book a flight at a reasonable price etc.

My plants need to be watered tomorrow before I go to work--must remember

Anonymous said...

causes and conditions

Anonymous said...

Bush

in

Blackface

Never mind, go back to sleep,
keep on suckin Mammy's titty...

happy nightmares

BTW, Gene Simmons owes his millions
to none other than Al Jolson.

And if we live under threat of torture,
we are all slaves.

Eric Omega said...

This is a wonderful post and I thnk you for it.

Philly SteveInLA said...

So, I'm gonna do something I never do and post before reading the other comments. I apologize if someone else has already said what I'm gonna.

Anyway, while I do basically agree with what Brad is saying, I think what he's not taking into account is that Buddhism and Zen are not the same. Zen is our practice, Buddhism is a religion. Zen is a matter of truth and Buddhism is a matter of belief.
It's true that most practitioners of Zen are Buddhists, but that is not always the case. I have met Jewish and Christian Zen practitioners, and Zen practitioners who won't buy into any "religion", but can see the truth in the practice of Zen.
I feel that we can do both. We can console ourselves with a system of belief that seems to make sense to us in some way, while at the same time looking at the truth of our emotions and what they are.
And also, any religion or belief system is just a way of using symbols to make sense of things we can't understand. It's arbitrary, but it gives us a sort of frame to hang our experience on. By having the 49 days of the bardo, we give the living practitioner a time and a system to understand our own grief by looking at it through the lens of the imagined experience of the deceased.
In my school, our main practice for the dead is Ji Jang Bosal(Jizo Bodhisattva) chanting. We open with a short dharani and then repeatedly chant the name of the bodhisattva for anywhere from five minutes to half an hour than two more short dharanis. This supposedly helps the boddhisattva find the dead person and guide them to a high rebirth.
A resident here died suddenly a while back and I thought I had dealt with the death. During this chanting one day, during a retreat no less, while leading the chant, I broke down in tears.
It was in that moment that I realized why we do this. Sometimes we need to see in the other our own experience.
Is any of it true? No. It's a completely arbitrary system. But when looked at from the right angle, it can open a serious window into ourselves and our real life experience. It can point us to the truth.
I still think the essential point of Brad's article is true, I just don't see any problem with a Buddhist teacher giving a teaching on Buddhist belief during a Buddhist ceremony.
Also, I can't speak for any school other than my own, but for us, part of the form of any ceremony for the dead is to talk about the forty nine days and the chanting.
During the Dharma Talk they speak about the deeper meaning of the chanting and the deeper truth of "no life, death", but as a Buddhist school they still mention the symbolic system they have always used.
Also, it's harsh to say, I know, but practitioners of lesser ability often need lesser methods. Not everyone is capable of handling the truth this life around.

Anyway, that's my two cents.
_()_

PhillySteveInLA said...

And I really like Justin's second comment!

Anonymous said...

It's one thing to like or not like any particular type of music. It's a completely other thing to diss the importance of someone's artistic gifts to the world they way you have dissed Michael Jackson here. If only anyone in punk ever affected so many people in the world the way Michael Jackson did then punk would truly be something worth noticing. But hey, it is what it is.

Jinzang said...

Zen is a matter of truth and Buddhism is a matter of belief.

And other schools of Buddhism are ... ?

PhillySteveInLA said...

"And other schools of Buddhism are ... ?"

Not Zen.

Zen comes from ch'an which comes from dhyana, which more or less means meditation.

As I said, Zen and Buddhism are not the same. One deals with belief, the other with direct pointing to the truth. Beyond the sutras, etc., etc.
It's quite easy to have Zen without Buddhism, but hard(though possible) to have Buddhism without Zen, or more specifically zazen(though in reality the terms are practically interchangeable) as that is what led the Buddha to his awakening. Zazen under the Bodhi tree and then..."Aaah! The Morning star!"

PhillySteveInLA said...

I feel I should say this though, as i said before, any belief system is a symbolic system for understanding that which we have a hard wrapping our minds around.
That is why a religion of Buddhism developed. People chose the best symbolic representations of the truth for the culture and disposition of the people being taught. So the symbols represent the truth, but there is an underlying truth that is not dependent on symbols.
A while back, the Tibetan Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche visited our Zen center and explained it like this- when you begin your practice and your mind is still clinging, you use maybe only 20% zazen type meditation(he didn't use that word, but I forget what he called it) and 80% percent visualization/conceptualization type meditation because this is all a lesser practitioner(his words) can handle.
As you get more sure footed and you begin to see the fallacies behind the concepts, you begin to reverse the trend in your meditation until you only do about 5% conceptual meditation and 95% non-conceptual.

Whether I agree with this entirely is another conversation, but I found it a very helpful way to look at things, as I have come through shamanic and Tibetan Nyingma practices before coming to Zen.

PhillySteveInLA said...

I feel I should say this though, as I said before, any belief system is a symbolic system for understanding that which we have a hard wrapping our minds around.
That is why a religion of Buddhism developed. People chose the best symbolic representations of the truth for the culture and disposition of the people being taught. So the symbols represent the truth, but there is an underlying truth that is not dependent on symbols.
A while back, the Tibetan Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche visited our Zen center and explained it like this- when you begin your practice and your mind is still clinging, you use maybe only 20% zazen type meditation(he didn't use that word, but I forget what he called it) and 80% percent visualization/conceptualization type meditation because this is all a lesser practitioner(his words) can handle.
As you get more sure footed and you begin to see the fallacies behind the concepts, you begin to reverse the trend in your meditation until you only do about 5% conceptual meditation and 95% non-conceptual.

Whether I agree with this entirely is another conversation, but I found it a very helpful way to look at things, as I have come through shamanic and Tibetan Nyingma practices before coming to Zen.

PhillySteveInLA said...

I feel I should say this though, as I said before, any belief system is a symbolic system for understanding that which we have a hard wrapping our minds around.
That is why a religion of Buddhism developed. People chose the best symbolic representations of the truth for the culture and disposition of the people being taught. So the symbols represent the truth, but there is an underlying truth that is not dependent on symbols.
A while back, the Tibetan Dzogchen Khenpo Choga Rinpoche visited our Zen center and explained it like this- when you begin your practice and your mind is still clinging, you use maybe only 20% zazen type meditation(he didn't use that word, but I forget what he called it) and 80% percent visualization/conceptualization type meditation because this is all a lesser practitioner(his words) can handle.
As you get more sure footed and you begin to see the fallacies behind the concepts, you begin to reverse the trend in your meditation until you only do about 5% conceptual meditation and 95% non-conceptual.

Whether I agree with this entirely is another conversation, but I found it a very helpful way to look at things, as I have come through shamanic and Tibetan Nyingma practices before coming to Zen.

PhillySteveInLA said...

...and I'd like to apologize for posting the same thing thrice...Not really sure what happened there...

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

The Buddha never taught Buddhism.

Most, if not all, of the scriptures are not the words of the Buddha. They are the words of his followers.
That does not diminish their usefulness or validity. Just trying to put things in perspective.

Sure, Buddhists all have the same goal and the core is woven through all the branches.
However, Zen was founded as a reform movement to move away from the religious and superstitious beliefs and frooferaw that attached themselves to Buddhism. The intent was to strip it closer to it's bone of practice.
By doing that, it separated itself from the religion of Buddhism and became a school of practice....
And then, of course built up it's own beliefs and frooferaw eerily similar to the old, but I digress.

I mean honestly, when you look at it in terms of practice/belief ratios, Zen actually bares a much closer resemblance to Theravada Buddhism than to any other Mahayana branch. To me, that speaks volumes.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
proulx michel said...

My observation is that all those who have endeavoured to detach Zen from Buddhism had an agenda, one which I don't like.
Yasutani, for instance, who was a prominent exponent of that tendency (he gave Dharma Transmission to a priest, a minister, a rabbi and an imam) was not exactly what I would term a stauch defender of democracy...
Deshimaru, who more or less spoke on the same terms, neither was very strong upon the contestation of authority...

It remains a good question to ask, whether Buddhism be or not a religion, because even the word religion is one fraught with misunderstandings.

Those who, today, give it the etymology of "tying up" (lat. religare) follow a Christian writer, Tertullian, who himself had an agenda...
The real etymology as given by both Cicero and modern linguists is "religere" that is "re-read", which would mean that even masonism would be, by those terms, a religion.

So let's leave it at that. What PhillySteveInLA writes is, in my opinion, unfounded.

PhillySteveInLA said...

Masonism is very much a religion. It's a form of Gnostic Christianity.

But anyway, that's beside the point.
I think what we have here is a problem of semantics. Perhaps I am using the word religion in the wrong way, so let's replace it with belief system.
And me, I personally do buy into the Buddhist belief system. I have been on both sides of the 'is Zen really Buddhism?' debate in the past, and see no conflict in that.
Zen Buddhism, which I practice, and which teachings I try to absorb was handed down to us by the Buddha. It is what the Buddha did and what the Buddha taught. It also has a lineage of patriarchs who have formulated on these teachings, and until you attain that point yourself, then it is a matter of belief, no matter how rational that belief is. Any lineage that traces it's root from the Buddha IS Buddhism. That makes the Zen school of Buddhism a belief system, or religion or whatever you want to call it, as well as Buddhism.
However, when you take zen not as a school of Buddhism, but rather as simply the act of sitting meditation, which is at the root of the school, you have something different. You have one practice that is open to all. The simple art of sitting. It is what the Buddha did, but he wasn't the first or the last to discover it on his own.
In the end, that stillness stands on it's own for anyone who cares to see it.
But yes, if you assume the posture of the Buddha because it is what the what the Buddha taught, if you accept the Buddha as your teacher and guide and wholeheartedly practice the zazen of the Buddha, then Zen is Buddhism.
But if you sit silently, expecting nothing, listening for God, then eventually this stillness, too, is bliss.
_()_

Anonymous said...

So what you're saying is it's the difference between Zen and zen?

Jinzang said...

It's a system of beliefs
That makes you look down
At the whole human race
From a comfortable cloud
And you'll never come down

And you won't come around
Yeah and you'll never come down

(Moev)

telecasterroy said...

Zen Buddhism is a religion. It has priests, robes, rituals, ceremonies. There is a central organization monitoring all the temples/centers. Priests marry, people, conduct funerals, act as chaplains, etc. It's a religion.
Sure, one could practice "zazen" and not get caught up in the religious aspects of Zen Buddhism. But the religious trappings are fully available at every Zen Center/Temple I've ever been to in the US.

Anirudh Kumar Satsangi said...

Rebirth is ‘YES’. I know about my previous birth. My most Revered Guru of my previous life His Holiness Maharaj Sahab, 3rd Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith had revealed this secret to me during trance like state.
HE told me, “Tum Sarkar Sahab Ho” (You are Sarkar Sahab). Sarkar Sahab was one of the most beloved disciple of His Holiness Maharj Sahab.

Since I don’t have any direct realization of it so I can not claim the extent of its correctness. But it seems to be correct. During my previous birth I wanted to sing the song of ‘Infinite’ but I could not do so then since I had to leave the mortal frame at a very early age. But through the unbounded Grace and Mercy of my most Revered Guru that desire of my past birth is being fulfilled now.