Thursday, July 22, 2010

It’s Not Just About Sex

Today a link to this article by James Ford appeared in my Facebook news feed. It’s a good article. I read it twice and want to make some comments about it. So read the James Ford article and come back here and we’ll chat.

So you’ve read the article now? Good! Remember I’m saying here at the beginning that I like the article a whole lot and I agree with most of it. I want to be very clear about that right from the outset before saying some things about it I think need to be said.

Much of the article concerns the recent hubbub about Eido Shimano Roshi and his alleged affairs with students. Someone posted one of the letters written by one of those students in the comments section of the previous article on this blog. It was posted three times, so I deleted the two extra postings, but left the first one.

Here’s the letter:

August 5, 1993

The Board of Trustees
Zen Studies Society
223 E. 67th
New York, N.Y. 10021

Dear Board of Trustees,

On September 3, 1992, I arrived alone at Dai Boatsu Zendo with much anticipation. This was to be my first experience at a Buddhist monastery and I naively did not know what to expect. I looked forward to zazen, Buddhist studies, Dokusan, and koan study with Eido Roshi. He had been highly recommended as a great teacher by my well respected peers and instructors in XXXXXXX.

From the very beginning, I felt Eido Roshi "noticing" me. He would often stop me in the hall or call me into his meeting room to give me a small gift, I assumed he was this way with everyone. However, my assumptions changed the first night o f Dokusan during Golden Wind sesshin when he pulled me toward him and kissed me on the mouth! He said, "The first time I saw you, something clicked into place for me. Perhaps something will happen between us in the future... hmmm?" This was the first time physical contact had occurred between us. This same behavior continued during 80% of subsequent Dokusans, but he progressed from hugging and kissing me to touching my breasts. At one point, he told me that he wanted to make love with me. I told him, "No." He looked directly in my eyes and said " don’t wait too long." I experienced his statement as a veiled threat that he would abandon me spiritually and emotionally if I did not comply with his wishes. So, due to my own weakness and fear, I did as he wanted. At the end of "Dokusan" he would make a date with me to visit him in his quarters that night where we would have sexual intercourse, He made it clear to me that no one was to see me entering his quarters as it would cause him "a lot of trouble."

During three different occasions I expressed my concern to him that I was deceiving my dear friends, XXXXXX and XXXXX, and my fiance, XXXXXX. I told him that I wanted to tell them because I did not feel right about keeping a deliberate secret of this magnitude. He said, "Lie." I was literally sick after he said this. I felt poisoned. On one hand, I did not want to cause trouble for him, and on the other hand, something was extremely wrong for me! This miserable affair lasted until I left the zendo on December 11. 1992.


That’s some pretty heinous stuff! But then again, I wasn’t there and this is not my Zen center. I feel like it’s not really my business to comment on the specifics in detail. So I won’t.

What strikes me about James Ford’s article responding to this material is when he says, “Here I see the lack of larger institutions that oversee teachers and communities is a major problem. Not just about sex, but it is a good placeholder for all the complex issues of human relationships.” Then he says, “At this point the only larger institutions to emerge that have ethical codes with teeth are the San Francisco Zen Center (SFZC) and the Kwan Um School of Zen, both institutions having experienced very rough times around sexual conduct of teachers pretty early on. It would be very good if we can find a pan-lineage organization with some teeth, as well.”

So James Ford seems to think the solution to the problem is that we should have a large Zen institution in the West (specifically the US) that has an ethical code with teeth. I hope I’m not misrepresenting his position. Any even if I am, I feel like there are many who believe this. If there weren’t, then SFZC and the Kwan Um School wouldn’t have those toothy ethical codes.

But I have to completely disagree. Because the Holy Roman Catholic Church is a gigantic institution with a very toothy ethical code and still sexual abuses of all kinds continue. Sure, when ethical abuses occur there are consequences. But only when the code is properly enforced by ethical people. And I’ve seen too many instances where that has broken down to believe that the simple existence of a big institution with an ethical code with teeth will always prevent abuses, or even prevent most abuses, or even prevent the worst abuses.

In the case of Zen, there is also something much more fundamental at stake, and that is the very existence of Zen itself. I don’t believe Zen can really be practiced at all unless its teachers are totally autonomous and not beholden to institutions.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I feel that Zen teachers are more like artists than like religious instructors. If you bind artists to institutions, you kill their ability to create art.

Let’s say we required all poets to be part of the International Poets Association because we felt too many poets were taking sexual advantage of their students. Maybe you think the losses wouldn’t be so great. A few less poems about heartache and deception, perhaps.

But institutions have to justify their existence somehow. They have to keep doing something. When legitimate problems fade away they tend to start making up new things and labeling them as problematic so that the institution has something to do. That’s when all poetry starts to have to follow the same rhyme pattern and be about what the institution considers uplifting subjects and so on and on and on and on…

I've talked here before about how the so-called "negative" aspects of punk rock saved my life. They let me know that there were other people out there who were as frustrated at society as I was. Without that "negativity" I might have continued believing I was alone. An institution that governed what kind of music could and couldn't be produced would certainly have banned that kind of music as having detrimental effects. And I would have committed suicide for sure. An institution that governed what was and was not acceptable Zen teaching -- and I'm certain any large institution eventually would start doing so -- would produce sterile lifeless Zen that did no one any good at all.

Also, institutions tend to reflect the lowest common denominator of what their members understand as acceptable behavior. They are bound to come up with the most conservative definition possible. People who don’t agree that democracy is best often speak of democracy as the “tyranny of the masses.” And this is what happens with Zen institutions. It becomes more about what the greatest number of members think they want than what’s actually necessary for Zen teaching to occur. This can never be decided democratically.

There's another aspect to this I also think needs stating. I ought to be careful saying anything negative about SFZC since I have been invited to speak at Tassajara in September. But I don’t think I’m saying anything members of SFZC haven’t said themselves when I make my observation that about 97% of the available time, effort and energy at SFZC seems to me to be directed at maintaining the social structure of the institution. This leaves very little time, effort and energy for the real meat of Zen practice. The fact that any kind of Zen manages to get through at all at that place is a minor miracle. And it does sometimes get through or I wouldn’t have recommended to numerous people to go study at SFZC. So maybe I ought to start believing in miracles.

When SFZC was going through all of its troubles in the 80s, several people told them, “It doesn’t need to be so big.” They could have solved their problems a different way. They could have dismantled the gigantic institution that had developed and instead broken up into smaller more autonomous units. As a matter of fact, both Kobun Chino Roshi and Katagiri Roshi did just that, they broke away from SFZC and created something far smaller. Mel Weitsman at Berkeley Zen Center is another example of this.

As Ford says in his own piece, “I don’t think I’m going into anything in great detail, it isn’t what blogs are made to do.” Such is the case with this piece, too. The very nature of blogging prevents being able to give this the depth it deserves.

But I really believe that large institutions are not the way to go with Zen. They may be able to preserve the superficial structures. But they will damage the real core of the practice itself.

*****

Another somewhat related matter is how one defines what is and is not acceptable. James Ford touches on this issue in his piece, but I'd like to say a little more.

When someone hears that So-and-So Roshi had sex with his student many immediately imagine a lurid scenario like the one described above regarding Eido Shimano Roshi. But it’s not always like that. In fact, I’d venture to say it’s almost never like that. I do not believe that teachers taking advantage of students the way Eido Roshi allegedly did is really a major problem in Zen as a whole.

Remember we are talking here about relationships between consenting adults. If we were talking about something other than consenting adults we wouldn’t need a Zen institution to take care of that. The law already deals with those kinds of things.

Sexual relationships between consenting adults are complex matters. They happen for a lot of reasons and develop under a lot of different and often highly unusual and surprising circumstances. Think about some of the ones you've been involved in yourself if you have any doubts.

Also there’s the issue of what constitutes a teacher/student relationship in Zen. To me, simply going to a few meditation classes does not make one a student of some Zen teacher the way, say, signing up for Mr. Sprankle’s 10th grade biology class makes you Mr. Sprankle’s student. The formal teacher/student relationship in Zen is something very different. It’s almost like a marriage. Which may be part of the problem. But I digress.

From the sound of it, Eido Shimano Roshi violated this formal teacher/student relationship. But again, I think his case is not the norm when it comes to instances of relationships that develop between teachers and students in Zen in general.

And then there’s the whole issue of the words “teacher” and “student,” which immediately makes one imagine an adult and a child whether one chooses to do so or not because of the deep unconscious associations these words have.

Like James Ford said, a blog is not the place to get into the depth these discussions deserve. But I thought it was important to put this out there anyhow, even if I can’t get into it the way it ought to be gotten into.

*****

In a completely unrelated aside, I recently came across this gem on the Internets that expresses very clearly what’s wrong with Big Mind™ and other stuff of that ilk:

It reminds me of the Indian guru back in the 60's, who, when a hippie was extolling the virtues of LSD and how it promised instant insight and a path to liberation, said to the hippie, "Show me a drug that can make someone a doctor or a lawyer or a university professor just by taking a little pill, and then I'll believe that someone can become an enlightened guru just by taking a little pill." To paraphrase: Show me a two-day workshop or a book that can turn someone into a doctor or lawyer and then I'll believe that someone can become a profoundly awakened being in minutes.

153 comments:

Brad Warner said...

ONE!!!

HA!

NO ONE CAN BEAT ME TO IT!!!!

Petteri Sulonen said...

If you have a big institution, you get all the power-games and the other shit related to it.

If you don't have a big institution, you get charismatic guru-types running wild and exploiting people for sex, fame, and/or money.

Pick your poison—Andrew Cohen or the Pope.

Petteri Sulonen said...

(Should have added: ...but nevertheless, some good people doing good work.)

Daigan Gaither said...

As someone who studies as part of SFZC I want to respond to your claim. Is it a Huge institution? Yes, does that restrict it from delving into the meat of the teachings? I don't think so, because you still have this one on one relationship, you are still experiencing the dharma warm hand to warm hand, warm heart to warm heart. Yes a lot of energy goes into keeping the social and political structures in place, but I think that the "organization" of Zen Center is different than the spiritual practice of Zen Center. Eh.. But I could be deluded. I may have drank the kool-aid. I know that for me, It is partly the structure and size of Zen Center that works for me. I am not sure I would find as deep a practice in a smaller pond.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean you are not going to accept Jundo's offer to join the Treeleaf board? LOL!

I have to agree with Brad on this one. In addition to all the possible problems he stated, it's possible a board could end up forcing a teacher to teach a student she did not wish to teach. Sometimes zen teachers will even ask a student to leave for their own good and insist they study with another teacher for awhile. What if the student objected and appealed to a board?

Early sanghas or zen temples often started by a bunch of students just deciding to gather around a teacher they admired. If a teacher was later judged to be a piece of crap, they would gradually just wander away and the teacher would lose his students. Really good teachers often gathered a big congregation due to reputation. A teacher should have final say as to how a student is taught or whether they can continue to be a student / member of that sangha. Then as now, students are adults who are free to leave and find another teacher if he turns out to be a dumbass.

Good post and article.

pinoybuddhist said...

@ Petteri Sulonen: "If you have a big institution, you get all the power-games and the other shit related to it.

If you don't have a big institution, you get charismatic guru-types running wild and exploiting people for sex, fame, and/or money.

Pick your poison—Andrew Cohen or the Pope."

Is it possible to have a middle ground between these two options?

Anonymous said...

So, Brad, given that you don't like and/or want big institutions with ethical teeth for Zen, how would you suggest the Zen community handles such issues as the one discussed in the blog posts? Is it really necessary for every sangha - or every teacher and their students - to go through the same hassle and suffer the same consequences every time? I think you are a big believer in the "people will vote with their feet" kind of thinking, but I doubt if that really happens so easily in a religious/Zen setting...

***

Another point, about the last bit of the blog. Perhaps a pill or a two-day workshop can't make you an enlightened master, but could it at least give you a glimpse of the experience?

Brad Warner said...

Daigan, thanks. I don't want it to sound like I hate SFZC. I think they do good work. And I've never experienced the one-to-one teacher/student thing there. I do sometimes feel public Dharma talks at SFZC seem slightly politically correct and inoffensive. But I've only attended maybe 5 of them.

What worries me is the implication that all Zen ought to be SFZC style Zen. Maybe this isn't what James Ford believes. But what he & others are saying a lot these days seems to me to be pointing in that direction.

If all Zen was like SFZC I would never have studied Zen at all. And I don't think I'm alone there.

Brad Warner said...

Anonymous at 11:07--

I feel like it might be that everyone has to go thru this on their own as if encountering something brand new. I think this is what happens even when so-called "safeguards" are in place.

Still, there's a lot of literature out there we can learn from.

As for the pills, I don't think LSD gives you a glimpse of enlightenment. I don't believe Big Mind™ does either.

To extend the analogy what would having a glimpse of being a doctor or lawyer be? Probably pretty dangerous for doctor/patient and laywer/client! Some things can't really be glimpsed.

Anonymous said...

Safeguards don't prevent misconduct, of course, just as laws don't prevent crimes. What they do, however, is ensure that when it happens it gets dealt with in a proper manner. This in turn of course requires that there are responsible people whose job it is to deal with it. In anarcy or disorganisation people will have to come up with appropriate laws and actions every time an unappropriate thing happens.

The whole pill/workshop analogy assumes that being enlightened is some sort of special state of mind, which of course it isn't (or so I'm told). Unfortunately there's lots of people out there who believe it is and so this kind of thinking goes on.

***

As an interesting sidestory, which I think is partially relevant to all stories of sexual misconduct, the local law enforcement agency recently estimated that as many as 20% (that's one in five!) reports of rape are fabricated, the usual reasons being making an excuse for a friend/relative/spouse for an affair.

We should probably keep that in mind when we read about these things. Some of them are true, some of them may not be. And it should be the authorities' responsibility to determine which, not the crowd with the stones.

Glen said...

wow! i know you can never really know if you were not there, and the zen teacher guys actions seem totally wrong in the letter...but does anyone else think that the lady should have just told him to fuck off? i just cant believe how submissive people can be!

It seems institutions the world over make us all submissive too.

Uku said...

Good post, Brad! I think Zen group doesn't need extra rules. The Precepts should be enough and common sense. I think the situations in the groups can be handled in a same way as the situations between individuals. The practice itself and loose context itself should be enough in Zen groups. Whenever there are boards and novice and senior priests etc., things are getting complicated. Of course I'm not a teacher but I'm "leading" our group and if it's going in a way where people are demanding boards and strict rules (besides common sense and the Precepts and the tradition of master Dogen), I'll leave our group immediately. The practice itself should carry, not extra crap with boards and stuff.

Anonymous said...

Glen, some people just are too timid by built or upbringing. That's another reason why we, as a society, need some mechanisms to defend those who cannot do it for themselves.

I think one thing a "zen institution" could have would be an official channel or way to report these incidents. Now the only thing seems to be to either confront the person yourself or write a letter exposing the whole thing to everyone. Not every person is so strong or has so good support that they are willing to do it, especially if it means going against the sangha you are a part of.

***

PS. The catchpa was "defer". Hmm, is the universe sending me a message?

Petteri Sulonen said...

@pinoybuddhist: Yeah, I think it is, and in fact I think most people live somewhere in that middle ground. Sometimes you go too far in one direction, sometimes in another. Sometimes an organization—such as it is—is able to reinvent itself and rediscover its purpose, sometimes not. I don't think there is *a* solution, but there are all kinds of expedient means that can be used in all kinds of combinations.

proulx michel said...

France has a large institution, coupled with the Sotoshu, called the AZI. It's leaders practice abuse of power and the practicioners are often turned into empathy-less robots.

For that reason, my belief is that an informal meeting of peers is probably the best solution.

You cannot discharge the practicioners from the responsibility they share when they get manhandled and yet remain there (see the reports about Cohen...)

Anonymous said...

To Uku:

Benevolent dictatorship may be the best form of government, but what keeps the dictator from becoming malevolent?

If everyone ever everywhere was both wise and well meaning we wouldn't need laws or rules. But, alas, we are human beings and thus we do. Even zennies.

Glen said...

I agree with Brad on the smaller groups thing.

I have nearly always found that in anything i do, the larger the group of people, the more crap goes on. weather its a sports team, a band, a work place.

No institution is ever going to stop people abusing other human beings. if somone is abusing you, call the police! even if YOU have a fogiving attitude towards this person, think of the damage he/she will do to others.

Uku said...

Anonymous:

If a leader is becoming Darth Vader or Asajj Ventress, people can leave him/her and find a new group.

Petteri Sulonen said...

@Uku: Yet often they don't. Cults are genuinely scary, with the hold they have on people. "But they can always just leave" is, effectively, blaming the victims for being abused. I don't think that's quite cool. Cults happen, even in Zen, and the abuse of religious power is among the worst kinds of abuses of power there is, right up there with child abuse.

(Just to make it clear, I really have no strong opinion about how American Zen should be organized, or not, beyond vague ideas about transparency being a good thing, and that maybe there could be some mechanisms to encourage it, so genuinely nasty stuff won't be left festering under a treacly coating of phony loving-kindness and fake compassion as has clearly happened in the case of Eido Shimano. I'm not at all sure that a High Council of Jedi Masters is the right way to go about it, though. I kinda like what Gniz is doing on his blog, actually, muckraking and all.)

Anonymous said...

about 97% of the available time, effort and energy at SFZC seems to me to be directed at maintaining the social structure of the institution. This leaves very little time, effort and energy for the real meat of Zen practice. The fact that any kind of Zen manages to get through at all at that place is a minor miracle. And it does sometimes get through or I wouldn’t have recommended to numerous people to go study at SFZC. So maybe I ought to start believing in miracles.

Brad I know that you are not a " Fan Of" (interesting choice of words) Daido Loori and ZMM but....
Here is a very large sangha and basically all they do is sit and sit and sit. Half day sits, week long sesshins once a month. They offer 3 to 5 hours a day of daily sits at the zendo.

Your comments are sort of like a material scientist or a fundamental preacher. Short sighted at times.

Not always so.......Suzuki Roshi

Anonymous said...

I feel that Zen teachers are more like artists than like religious instructors. If you bind artists to institutions, you kill their ability to create art.

Isn't a rock band a institution?

Again Brad short sighted and smells of dogma.

Rick said...

A code of ethics won't make people more ethical. You simply need more ethical people.

Uku said...

Petteri, I think we all have a responsibility to take care of if we see abusing etc. in the groups where we're practicing in. Sometimes it's wise to speak, sometimes it's wise to leave. I think the big problem is sometimes that practitioners are thinking their teacher to be so holy and enlightened that he/she is allowed to act stupidly and people won't say anything. "Oh, he/she is a great teacher, received Shiho and shit, so he/she must know what's he/she doing."

If DSI is turning into organization or hierarchical institution, I will leave it immediately. I think practice should not be attached in the group. It's dangerous if a practitioner is thinking that he/she can mainly practice in a group, he/she needs a group. Then there's happening all kinds of abuse issues. "Oh, I need this teacher and this sangha so badly that maybe it's ok if I'll suck his balls because he asked. After all, he is a great teacher with a purple robe and a fancy Buddhist name."

I think Zen groups are essential to the practitioners. It's much more convenient to practice under a guidance of a teacher/instructor but if they're becoming just a one form of attachment... I think respect and blindness are two separate things but often people seem to think that respect is being blind, not seeing what's actually going on. That's why I think ethical conduct should come from the practice itself, not from the boards of Zennies or some group's rules.

Petteri Sulonen said...

@Uku wrote: "That's why I think ethical conduct should come from the practice itself, not from the boards of Zennies or some group's rules."

You know, I think it does, if the practice is what it should be.

The problem is that sometimes it isn't, and people start getting funny ideas about themselves and their teachers/gurus/leaders/whatnot. Those can turn into self-reinforcing spirals, where those that speak up are excluded and those that toe the line are encouraged; if left unchecked, this can lead to an insular group that shuts out the world, and that's when the real nasty stuff starts. Organizations are a safeguard against that.

From where I'm at, it looks like DSI's punk band organizational model seems to get this job done so far, since AFAIK none of Gudo Nishijima's dharma heirs have started any really scary cult shit, the Jundo/Chodo/Brad drama notwithstanding. So, again, I'm not siding with the people who want to start licensing Zen teachers.

Point being, the punk band is also an organization. The rockers share some common vision that keep them banging away together; else they'd leave. They not uncommonly kick out people who don't share that common vision; that's happened with DSI as well, of course. 'Course that's not silver bullet either, else our graveyards wouldn't be full of rockers dead before their time.

But if you're saying that no safeguards whatsoever are needed, and Zen teachers should be completely free to do whatever the hell they like, and it's up to their students to speak up, walk away, or stick with them, then I disagree—it sounds just as idealistic as, say, anarcho-Trotskyism, only not quite as entertaining.

(Check out Ken MacLeod's Fall Revolution series, BTW. It rules.)

Anonymous said...

I can't believe that, after all these years and all the times that he's been called out on it, Eido Roshi is still doing this. I don't think Zen needs some large governing body. I think Eido Roshi's group needs to throw him out on his ass. Or if for some reason that isn't possible, they should leave and start their own group. It's better to have no teacher than have a teacher like that.

Professordave

Uku said...

Hi Petteri, like I wrote I think Zen group doesn't need extra rules. The Precepts should be enough and common sense. I think the situations in the groups can be handled in a same way as the situations between individuals. The practice itself and loose context itself should be enough in Zen groups. Whenever there are boards and novice and senior priests etc., things are getting complicated.

But there are many ways to deal with situations. This is my way.

One dude once asked why our group's name is "Dogen Sangha Finland", not something like "One Ball Zen Group"? Sometimes I have thought it would be nicer if it wouldn't be named as a DS group but still I think it should be DS because it represents the idea of Gudo Nishijima Roshi: a loose community following master Dogen's tradition and the teachings of Dogen's Shobogenzo, and our group is under a guidance of one Nishijima's Dharma heir. That's all. But if DS would turn someday into organized institution, I would leave DSF immediately. But leaving doesn't mean leaving without saying anything. I think we have a responsibility to say something if we feel like it and as a practitioners we should take care of that our practice is like it should be. If a teacher is acting like a jerk, there's no point to follow him. Strict rules and boards and stuff won't prevent abusing if our own practice is not okay. Can we take care of other's practices? No, we can't. That's why we should concentrate on our own practice and by doing that we can help others. And we can always tell to people how we felt about certain teacher. There's also no point at hiding issues. If a teacher is humping with a sheep and telling to people that he lives in celibacy, well... then he's lying and others should know about that.

Petteri Sulonen said...

@Uku: Sounds good to me. Thanks for clearing that up!

R said...

- I have not read the post yet, not to mention the comments (most of which I will probably not read later either, no offence) but I came across something I thought I should present:

(I have not read this either. I earlier read an article in Hebrew and I looked for English to post here. I don’t know if the one I've read is the same as one of these. It is the same paper. (“Haaretz”))

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/arab-man-who-posed-as-jew-to-seduce-woman-convicted-of-rape-1.302895

http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/he-impersonated-a-human-1.303359


We have a saying in Israel about not washing one's dirty laundry outside.

There is another one about sunlight being the best purifier.


So if the laundry proves to get molded unless it’s let out, one might try the sunlight.


I’d be happy if you let as many people as possible see this.


It also seems to be about what Brad is writing about. (I only found out there was a new post after I was going to post this)

It fits the title at least. No one can argue about that.

Dru. said...

From my own little corner of the world I'm a confused by all this. Brad compared zen to poetry; I think back to Alan Watts, who in a talk said that he was like a musician performing a piece, a musician is not trying to convert you to Mozart.

With that in mind I just don't understand what 'power' a 'zen teacher' would have over someone. Colleges have ethics codes about student/teacher relationships but that's because when you graduate that diploma needs to have some representative-proof that you actually know what you claim and that the school that gave it to you is legit; same with medicine.

This does not hold with zen, at least not my experience with zen. [Back to the music example] if you can play it doesn't matter if you have a degree (unless you are playing with people to whom that matters), there is no degree of great musicians you either are or arn't, there is no degree in gardening you either do or don't, and similarly there is no degree in zen.

Since there is no recourse (outside of academia) for how well you can zen, it's individual responsibility for how seriously you want to take a 'teacher' and unless their trying to scam you (emphasis on try, remember it's still you that allows yourself to be scammed [by wanting to believe what they tell you]) calling oneself a teacher/guru/pontiff/god doesn't(shouldn't) really matter; call thyself a rose, thou'll still stink.

Seagal Rinpoche said...

Everyone is kneaded out of the same dough, but not baked in the same oven.

gniz said...

Hey All,

I have an opinion on this, being that we've been discussing it a lot as well on my blog.

I don't fully agree with Brad's take on this thing. Look, everyone hates red tape and the stifling rules and regs that comes with big business. So I don't blame Brad or anyone else from being hesitant about accepting these kinds of suggestions.

However, I think that putting some cannon of ethics in place and having objective oversight is very good and does more harm than good in most cases.

Look, if you really need to teach zen like some wildman, fucking your students, abusing them, acting like a nut. Okay, then, maybe you are just an asshole and not some great zen artist.

I think the zen teacher as artist metaphor breaks down upon closer inspection because artists do not claim to have learned how to behave as decent, kind, wise people in this word.

Part of the grounding of Buddhism has always been the idea that if you sincerely undertake the practice, you do not run around treating other sentient beings like shit.

Artists have made no such claims.

Nobody expects artists to behave as enlightened beings. The promises and claims made by an artist are that they do very interesting work, make good paintings, sculptures, or music.

An artist's life is not an example to his students on how to live a well-fulfilled, full life.

When you start making claims that "I have figured out how to live in a way that is in harmony with the universe" or that kind of thing...then you need to make sure and back that up.

Going around and doing whatever the fuck you want, is not the solution here. Banging students, causing distress, hurting others, this can be stopped many times with the proper structure in place. I think there can still be room to break the mold, and sometimes fighting a little against a power structure can even help the teachings.

Just my opinion.

gniz said...

Dru said: "Colleges have ethics codes about student/teacher relationships but that's because when you graduate that diploma needs to have some representative-proof"

And what do you think those certificates of transmission are, if not diplomas? Yes, Buddhism (and Zen) DO in fact give out diplomas, and people want them and believe they do in fact prove something about what you have or have not learned through the course of your practice with that particular lineage.

Lone Ranger said...

Crooked flutes also play beautiful melodies.

Interesting bringing up Daido Loori

My understanding that it started as an Arts Center and became ZMM.

Also I believe Daido had a long relationship and transmitted to one of his students. I guess he learned well.

Anonymous said...

Colleges/universities may be a good (though limited) analogy in other ways as well. Most colleges are accredited by at least one (often several) associations. However, those accrediting bodies don't have a darn thing to say about what specific courses are offered at a particular school. They are there to affirm to potential students that "hey, we can get other similar institutions to recognize that we're not a bunch of flakes over here..." Seems to me that even a loose organization like the AZTA could serve a similar function, i.e., not to set doctrine across schools but rather to assure a student that yes, I've latched on to a zendo/tradition that not only appeals to me but is recognized by other like-minded groups and is headed by a teacher who is willing to commit to some common minimal standards of conduct.

Regina said...

I too thought about the teacher/student relationship for a while and find it more or less unbelievable how it can be mistreated in the way described here.
In Brush Mind by Kazuaki Tanahashi I found: "A good teacher takes you somewhere, an excellent one changes/transforms you right where you are".
As some of the japanese arts have been highly influenced by zen buddhism in the 16th to 18th century one can also have a look on these Way's/DO's and bring some of the points back to zen practice and behaviour. Sometimes I think that there are a lot of mystical ideas around what a Do represents.

In the following I'd like to share some passages from "Living the Japanese Arts & Ways":

"A student who pays for a college or evening class is, in a sense, a consumer. A "student" of a Do form in Japanese is called a deshi, a word that is perhaps closer in meaning to the old Western concept of an apprentice. Since the Way is not for sale, and a dojo isn't merly a buisiness, deshi don't actually take classes or pay tuition.
Students attend a class and expect to be taught. Deshi join a dojo to discover and embrace a Way. Joining a dojo is closer to being adopted into a family than attending a class. Students seek information. Deshi make a commitment to undergoing transformation and gaining understanding. Students memorize facts; deshi learn through practice. To learn is to grow, and to grow is to change. Are we seeking actual growth, and thus change, or are we more interested in intellectual stimulation and/or the redecoration of what we already are? For the deshi, this is a key consideration.
....
Although you might have little or no contact with your sensei (teacher) outside the dojo, your relationship with him or her is not an impersonal one, "just business." Because of the spiritual and life-altering nature of the Ways, sincere study under an equally serious sensei produces a unique and close alliance.
....
Skilled sensei of the Do point the way by passing on knowledge and creating an environment where students are able to arrive at a direct understanding through their own efforts and motivation."

Now my questions are, what does this teacher mentioned here in the blog teach his students with his kind of behaviour? Where do those teachers take their students to? What can be learned if a teacher capitalizes the student for his/her own passions?
Being a part of a sangha one tends to harmonize with it (like mentioned above: rather being adopted in a family) and makes it very difficult to balance the right and wrongs. So I can understand why those cases of abuse pop up only after years. And stange enough no one backs these people up.

Regina said...
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Regina said...

WOW, the system said the comment would have been to long and then it was published a hundred times....

AlanLa said...

Jundo,

How do you do it?

How do you keep so positive?

How do you put up with us here on the forum?

How do you manage to twist everything into a lesson in zen?

How do you do you maintain the energy to keep this sangha alive day after day after day...?

How do you keep coming up with things to talk about in your videos?

How do you make it all seem so easy?

How do you never seem to take a day off?

I think I had more questions along this line when I thought of this thread, but I suppose this will do. Maybe others have similar questions along these lines I have not posted.

My point is that you are a great role model I want to emulate, but I can never see myself being all the things I allude to in the list of questions above.

Taigu, on the other hand, is a little crankier, and I can relate to that a little better. (I meant that in the nicest possible way, Taigu. I get accused of being cranky all the time, even when I am not! But, I think that perception of crankiness might be because we each have our own set of difficult backgrounds).

Anyway, I know I don't have to be all those things I alluded to in the questions, that I don't have to be like you (or like Taigu, for that matter), so I ask to learn from you. How do you do it?

Apuleius Platonicus said...
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Apuleius Platonicus said...

When Bodhidharma arrived in China they had a large pan-lineage organization with teeth. The traditional story is that these fine folks knew exactly what to do with a trouble maker like Bodhidharma: they repeatedly attempted to poison him, only succeeding on the seventh try.

Then, according to tradition, Bodhidharma's successor, Huiko was arrested, put on trial, and executed.

Is it any wonder that Huiko's successor, Seng T'san, decided to live in a remote mountain cave? Is it any wonder that Daoxin (next in line) decided that he and his small band of students had to be economically self-sufficient, rather than relying on donations and government subsidies (like Buddhists had been doing in China up to then).

Things started looking up, though, in the next generation. Zen became accepted and even "cool". But when Hongren handed over Bodhidharma's robe and bowl to Huineng, this was done in secrecy in the middle of the night. And Hongren's advice to Huineng was: run for your life. Why? Because now Zen had it's own "organization with teeth", and when the Head Monk and his followers discovered, the next morning, that the Old Man had given transmission to a semi-literate peasant who worked in the kitchen, they vowed to hunt him down and kill him.

Bottom line: the idea of a pan-lineage organization with teeth bites. Otherwise I don not have any strong feelings about that subject.

Anonymous said...

First of all I can relate to your over-all distrust of institutions. I have not coped well with the insitution of marriage. All my adult life I have struggled as a philanderer while being married twice. Presently I've been caught again having had multiple relationships outside my marriage of 5 years. Divorce is a definite possiblity. Our conselor asked if I am a person who can commit to another or not, and I wonder, given all the pain and heartbreak I have caused if I have been fooling myself. Does your last book explore this, Brad? Are we just rebels without a cause? Help?

Namby Pambie said...

Anonymous AlanLa said...

Jundo,

How do you do it?

How do you keep so positive?

How do you put up with us here on the forum?

How do you manage to twist everything into a lesson in zen?


Sit-a-Long with Jundo: “Faux Happy Namby-Pamby’s”

http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?p=17721

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Dru. said...

Re to gniz:

I don't disagree that there are such things as certificates of transmission, but I argue the value of them*. As I said in my original post a certificate ONLY matters to people who put any value on them. Dogen, Gotama, Bodhidharma, Nishijima, Seung Sahn, some of these people have a piece of paper to 'prove' what they know, some don't, but it doesn't make WHAT they know any more or less valid.

Just because I have a degree in carpentry doesn't necessarily mean I'm the better person to build a house then someone without a degree who's built houses for many years.

A degree, a title, a word, are all just representations of what something IS; zazen is zazen if you call it 'zazen' or 'long-sit'. Calling it zazen might sell more books, but whatever you call it you still end up on your ass.

{I realize that my argument is rendered somewhat moot if you believe dharma-transmission is necessary, but I'm working from the assumption that it's not.}

---------------
* Not to take anything away from people who believe in or have taken the time to get any such thing. Your hard work and knowledge are what's important not the title or paper you get; and I tip my hat, with all due respect, to your efforts.

The Rinz said...
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Mysterion said...
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Stryc9 said...

@gniz:

"Okay, then, maybe you are just an asshole and not some great zen artist."

Maybe there is not that much of a difference between the two.

"I think the zen teacher as artist metaphor breaks down upon closer inspection because artists do not claim to have learned how to behave as decent, kind, wise people in this word [sic]."

"An artist's life is not an example to his students on how to live a well-fulfilled, full life."

"'I have figured out how to live in a way that is in harmony with the universe'"

Any Zen teacher that is making these claims to you is totally full of shit.

"Banging students, causing distress, hurting others, this can be stopped many times with the proper structure in place."

You are creating this false dichotomy here that either everyone will run around exploiting each other, or we will all be safe and happy in some kind of "proper structure". Just because something is "bad" doesn't mean that it can be eliminated or avoided in the future by making some rules and punishing people that violate it. Often times the side effects of making the rules (or even the structures that have to power to make rules) are far worse than the harm that is caused. Let me make an example. I think marijuana is "bad" in that sense that is blunts my perception of the world, and I even suggest to other people that they avoid smoking it. That being said, it still fervently think that it should be legalized. The harm caused by marijuana being illegal is far worse (murders, abuse, access to the drug by minors, people spending their lives in prison, etc etc etc).

When we start talking about these things it is vital to remember we are talking about inappropriate, but consenual, relationships between adults (I suspect that the letter copied above is by and far the minority). Anything not consenual, well, there are structures in place: sexual assault laws.

Also, I suspect that having "structures" in place does not help anyone anyway. Ethical people will respond ethically, structures or not. As a matter of fact, if there is a detailed "procedure" in place, I think that folks will be more likely to just assume that the "structure" has dealt with the problem rather than mentally, emotionally, and spiritually engaging the event and coming to their own peace about it, whatever that may be.

Anonymous said...

TREELEAF SANGHA has 568 members.

Does that qualify as a huge institution? Sounds like one to me.

ji bo's blog said...

1st voice: I believe in Government.
2nd voice: I believe in Buddha.
3rd voice: I believe in Algebra.
4th voice: I believe in God.
5th voice: I believe in Einstein.
6th voice: I believe in Nothing.
7th voice: I believe in Tao.

all voices walk in room,
talk at same time:
no listening;
just lips moving -
"bzzzzz,"
swarm of locusts.

next day -
voices tired;
go home,
argue with mirror,
take nap,
start over.

(ji bo, 2009)

Petteri Sulonen said...

@Mysterion: The whole Universe is delightfully sour!

Dan_Brodribb said...

I don't know if there are easy answers. Organized or not, people are going to be people.

For me, it's a reminder to train as best I can and to try and watch my own beliefs and behavior.

I don't have control over much else.

Thanks for the discussion.

Dan

Anonymous said...

"TREELEAF SANGHA has 568 members.
Does that qualify as a huge institution? Sounds like one to me."

Treeleaf isn't an institution, it's a website. 568 members is not a very large number of followers for a social website. The AVERAGE amount of friends anyone has on Facebook is 120. Throwing out the thousands of people who signed up for facebook and never use it gives you some idea about the numbers.

Anonymous said...

It sounds to me that most people think that a zen organization means something like Soto-Shu or the Catholic church (obviously Brad does). But would it be possible to keep the teachings/teacher and the day-by-day running wholly separate? You know, have an organization to handle the daily affairs of a sangha (like renting/owning a place of practice etc.) without having that organization have any say as to what or how the teacher teaches? Wouldn't this solve lot of the misgivings you guys have about having an organization with acolytes and bishops and all the other nonsense interfering with Zen?

Anonymous said...

Like many have stated already, just having a code of conduct doesn't prevent misconduct. One thing that does is to promote openness in dealing with these affairs, and one thing a hypothetical loose Buddhist Teachers Union certainly could have would be some sort of "thing" where you could report such incidents discreetly to be examined and taken up by a (hopefully) neutral 3rd party.

Much like the union representative in a work place. I know the concept may sound alient to you americans, but the idea is that there's a man who you can complain to if there are problems in the hierarchy of your job - like for example if your boss is bullying you and going up the chain of command doesn't work. Then it's this guys job to take the issue up with the union and with the employer, so it doesn't end up being just a personal fight between you and your boss but will hopefully get resolved in a civilized manner.

Anonymous said...

It's easy to have the "If you don't like it, walk away" attitude when you are running or part of a loose sangha with no zendo of their own. But imagine for a moment that over the years you have devoted much resources - both time and money - into building the sangha, eventually getting a very own place for practice. What happens then if the teacher starts behaving badly? Do you just up and leave, leaving all that effort and all the other practitioners behind? Or do you stand up and fight?

Wouldn't it be easier if there were certain guidelines that would keep the teacher(s) in order - or if not make it easier to point out the grounds for them to leave. I'm not talking about huge book of rules and boards of directors and all that other nonsense you people seem to be so fond of.

Simply a statement that the people in charge will vow to not abuse their students or the money of the zendo and if they do so, will voluntarily resign from their position should be enough. Then if these things do happen, you can take that vow up with them and tell them to get walking.

And in the light of past events, it might also be good to have a guideline that teachers should not make romantical moves towards their students during any official meeting such as dokusan. While I think it should be obvious, it obviously is not and having that too written down and common knowledge should let any newcomers know that something is wrong if that starts to happen.

Does that sound like too much of an organization to you?

Anonymous said...

Stryc9 said:
"Also, I suspect that having "structures" in place does not help anyone anyway."

And I suspect otherwise. If there is an agreed upon structure in place for how to deal with allegations of misconduct it is much easier for the ethical people to respond and take up action when they don't have to figure out the whole due process when the shit hits the fan, so to speak.

gniz said...

"Does that sound like too much of an organization to you?"

Not at all. I think you said it very eloquently.

Some people can afford to be quite blase about these scandals and ethical violations.

But when it happens to YOU, when you are the guy/gal getting shit on by your teacher because they have an axe to grind--or if you get sexually harassed...then it is different

And then, you just have to leave! No matter how many years invested, and effort. Even friendships.

Well it don't surprise me none that Brad feels that way, because as a teacher he naturally looks at what is easier for him.

But we have to think about everyone involved, and giving any particular teacher complete control is a bad idea.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, when somebody in a confused state comes to you for help, teacher and student will always exist. You will do more harm, perhaps fatal harm, to their self-esteem to drag them through the mud once more by corralling them to feel they must engage in the destructive behavior, sex trade, to solve their trouble. This creates the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness, which further sabotages the person's will to practice.

I have heard, "it's only natural" or "i never said i wouldn't" or "we don't have rules that say i can't" as a way to ditch their ethical responsibility.

Such acts are not the mark of a master.

Anonymous Bob said...

A good example of how Brad and Jundo (and me too..) are more similar than any of us would be comfortable believing..

Jundo reads something on *Reblogging Brad Warner* and feels it's a misrepresentation. And rather than letting it go he starts aurguing.. He gets pretty vile, and makes things much worse for himself.

Later Brad shows up, sensing that Jundo is exposed, can't resist taking a shot at him when he's down. He wrote at 11:44, "Will the real Gummo please stand up? I think he has." Hahaha! Cruel and funny! Terrific!

But he must have immediately thought better of it because he deleted it fast. Oh yeah, he's done this before.

Not many of us show much class, genuine or faux (or faw as Jundo says.) on these blogs. But hey, that's how we roll here..

CAPTCHA : rekvow : I kid you not

kevin said...

Dan_Brodribb said...

I don't know if there are easy answers. Organized or not, people are going to be people.

For me, it's a reminder to train as best I can and to try and watch my own beliefs and behavior.

I don't have control over much else.

Thanks for the discussion.

Dan

thanks for this comment, it gives me something to riff off of.
it is a sad fact that not everyone is ethical so situations like the one in this letter are always going to happen, and not just in a teacher/student relationship.

people are always going to go sexually "fishing." some more aggressively than others. the poor individuals most receptive to the bait are the ones who are going to get hooked.

setting up a structure for behavior other than the precepts shouldn't be necessary, that's why they're there. everyone knows there used to be more, but our tradition discarded the extras because that is what they were felt to be, extra.

maybe the fault lies with the teacher's teacher (who can't expect to be perfect, either). maybe they "gave" transmission when they shouldn't have. this is, while an extreme example, why transmission isn't thrown around indiscriminately.

i think in this specific example, the community was unhealthy. we should all see each other as teachers and newbies should look up to everyone above them for guidance. in the community i've joined, i talk to and take guidance from other students just as much if not more than the abiding teacher. if i had a question or concern about the teacher's behavior, i would first assume i was misunderstanding and would question a more experienced student more used to the teacher. (just as i would look to brad for help explaining nishijima's rather blunt answers)

i've always been told the first sign of an abusive relationship is when the abuser cuts off the abused's contact with the rest of the community and maybe this is what happened.

a sexual relationship between a teacher and a student is not itself unethical. it's the abuse of the teacher/student relationship that is.

while it took time for this incident to come to light, it did eventually and consequences resulted. while inefficient, is there anything more you could ask of ethical guidelines? people need to take responsibility for their own actions. just as the precepts mean different things at different times, solid ethical guidelines would be static so they would just provide a wall to find loopholes in.

as for the zen teacher as art teacher metaphor falling apart,

gniz said...

I think the zen teacher as artist metaphor breaks down upon closer inspection because artists do not claim to have learned how to behave as decent, kind, wise people in this word.

...that is the art being taught. and it should start by teaching by example.

peace

Anonymous said...

A good example of how Brad and Jundo (and me too..) are more similar than any of us would be comfortable believing..

Speak for thineself anonbobymous. I am comfortable believing that Jundo and Brad are simlar.

mtto said...

Hi Anonymous Bob,

You've been fooled by an impostor.

If you click on the "My Complete Profile" link on this blog, it takes you here, to the real Brad Warner profile

If you click on the link to the profile of the comment poster on the Reblogging Brad Warner site, it takes you here, to a similar but incomplete, and different page.

Sometimes it's good to know the real facts instead of just truthiness.

gniz said...

Kevin said:

"while it took time for this incident to come to light, it did eventually and consequences resulted. while inefficient, is there anything more you could ask of ethical guidelines?"

Actually, these sexually predatory incidents by Shimano started DECADES ago and were kept quiet by the sychophants and hangers-on that surround these gurus and teachers.

There was very little ethical oversight of Shimano, which is PART of the reason he victimized many people (not just sexually but emotionally) over years.

Of course everyone has to be responsible for themselves, but i for one think a zen "master"'s role is much closer to that of a therapist than anything else.

And although I won't automatically condemn a zen teacher for having a sexual relationship with a student, it gets into some very murky territory quite quickly.

I'm sure some patients could handle having sex with their therapists, too. Doesnt mean it should be encouraged or even allowed.

Anonymous Bob said...

Thanks mtto.. But how do you know fosho? It was only up for seconds before being taken down.

CAPTCHA : rking : I kid you not

mtto said...

Well Bob, I presented the evidence, judge for yourself. The "Brad Warner" name on the Reblogging blog is still there, next to This post has been removed by the author.

I asked this question on Gniz's blog and I'll ask it here to you: do you really think Brad made a fake profile to impersonate himself?

Jad Brundo Crossford said...

Too much idealism. If you think you can find the perfect master go right ahead and look. They're all just like you and me. All zen teachers will grab your boobs in dokusan if you don't hit them. Good luck finding a teacher that doesn't call people she's arguing with cumwad or cumstain. All zen teachers will sometimes accuse people they don't really know of homosexual relationships and having std's. Good luck finding a zen master that isn't an immature, unbalanced neurotic who can't take criticism. Ha ha ha! Might as well stick with the asshole you know, you know? Cause they're all assholes just like the one's you read about here. Don't believe any teacher that tells you he isn't a total dipshit and who doesn't secretly want to beat the piss out of you or call you a scumbag. He's just lying and is probably a scumbag. A zen master is just an asshole dipshit that knows she's an asshole dipshit. Oh, and practices zazen while being a dipshit. Enlightenment is for pussies.

mtto said...

HA!

Now the fake Brad has hidden their profile! Funny shit. Which still proves that it is a different profile than the real Brad Warner profile.

Fake Brad said...

Jundo sucks

john e mumbles said...

Sai Baba -the contemporary middle aged guru dude with the giant fro, not the dried up prune of a guy with beard and do-rag who the former claims to be reincarnated from- reputedly used to get male and/or female devotees alone, levitate his robe and then lift it offering them what he called a "good luck opportunity."

Someone once went to India where she was directed by Sai B to give me a vial of fluid he produced out of a Shiva stone (yikes!) in the hope that I could alchemically reproduce it for general devotee/world distribution.

This was strange, because I had no connection w/him at all, she singled me out of a group in Crestone, Colorado about 6 years ago and laid the vial and the tale on me. I had not met her before this, and she could have had no idea at all that I was a practicing, laboratory trained alchemist.

Fake Jundo said...

Will the fake Brad Warner please stop slamming the real Jundo? You're making fake Jundo Cohen angry. You won't like me when I'm angry.

R [@ 6:03 am] said...

In case anybody's interested here's three more:

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/07/22/israeli-palestinian-man-to-appeal-rape-by-deception-conviction/

http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/21/israeli-court-calls-lying-for-sex-rape/

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/07/21/2010-07-21_arab_sabbar_kashur_jailed_after_duping_jew_into_consensual_sex_in_east_jerusalem.html

One thing I don’t find in any of the articles is that there was also [serious!] discussion before the court of his “rehabilitation”. (in order for him perform community service instead of jail time, which the court did not accept)

Robert said...

All this reminded me of a quote from Anthony de Mello (a favourite of Joko's) - something like:
'We need to see that all people are wily, subtle, selfish, manipulative, grasping, etc, etc, and also blameless.'
Applies to Zen teachers as much as your nasty boss, I guess.

R said...

Though I wouldn't have posted the second one @ 6:03 am had I read it first.

Jinzang said...

NO ONE CAN BEAT ME TO IT!!!!

"You could kiss your own lips, and have all the fun to yourself,' it says, if you only knew the trick. It would be perfectly easy if they would just stay there till you got round to them. Why don't you manage it somehow ?"

J.A. Symonds, quoted in William James The Varieties of Religious Experience

captcha: hooters

Anonymous Bob said...

Danm.. Fake Brad? I don't think I will ever be able to read a troll's post again without wondering if it's Jundo.

CAPTCHA : heappes : I kid you not

Jinzang said...

Sai Baba ... reputedly used to get male and/or female devotees alone, levitate his robe and then lift it offering them what he called a "good luck opportunity."

Levitate Me

I was a practicing, laboratory trained alchemist.

We're definitely going to need an alchemical oversight board to restrain abusive alchemists.

w84it said...

The Teacher is not enlightened.

The Teacher knows no more about you or your practice than you you tell him/her. Therefore, they know nothing of you or your practice. They only know the limits of your honesty and authenticity and what your vivid imaginings have contrived as to what you thought actually happened as you sat on a cushion for an hour warding off sleep and boredom.

How many of you have dumped a load of bullshit in Dokusan or practice discussions? You know what I'm talking about. And if you have a good teacher...so do they.

You are a "student" and they are a "teacher", but you are the same two lost and delusion riddled souls wandering through this brief life.

A Zen teacher is like a master artisan. They can teach someone to paint. Some will only paint stick figures...some will paint a masterpiece. But you cannot say which one is englightened or "gets it." Not the teacher, and not the student.

I think the answer to sexual relations between teacher and student is simple. If you fall in love or lust with your teacher and you want to have sex with them...fine! Just get yourself another teacher. The dynamic of the relationship changes, and that person should become your lover or your significant other (boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband) and should no longer be your teacher. Seriously? Could you really sit in Dokusan or practice discussion with your boyfriend/girlfriend and actually have a clear and candid discussion about your practice? I'd be thinking, "why didn't you take out the trash last night? You know Thursday is trash day!"

You get my point...

For what it's worth, I too study at a SFZC based center. I've noticed the politics and all that. But I used to live in a religious community...so I just kinda laugh to myself and pay attention to my study. They're the ones who have to live with that BS...not me. Overall, it works well for the local Sangha and I am happy to study/sit there on occaision.

shusan said...

shit, I can't read all these. But someone above said "How do you manage to twist everything into a lesson in zen?" I thought that was really astute critique of a lot of insufferable blathering Zen bloggers - turns out it was a compliment! Yucko.

Anyway, I teach college, in an art school no less, and I also practice Zen. I've started a sangha on campus.

I teach, but they don't mandate what I teach. I have parameters, but within those I do what I see fit - which is respond to students in the moment. No different than Zen. Zen is a format to access something formless.

It needs structures. And it needs people on the fringes of those structures (Han Shan, say, or someone today like Kaz Tanahashi) and outside those structures altogether.

The whole artist analogy is both helpful, and not. Katagiri said until Zen is established as religion, it will not survive here. Zen will grow and shrink, thrive and starve. That is life. Tang China had 10,000 monk monasteries that make SFZC look like one of the smaller temples possible. A few hundred years later, a dozen monks might be a lot.

And the idea of art just being free-wheeling independence is incredibly naive. It is all ABOUT structures and relationships.

Seung Shan said he was "an organization style Zen master" ie he could be structures. he said his teacher was 'freedom style' - grew his hair, rejected posts, lived as a hermit.

We all have to find our callings. I hope there continue to be organization style people - that is a genius I don't think I have, or many of us. But in those structures we need guidelines.

It's getting worked out.

Jinzang said...

The Teacher knows no more about you or your practice than you you tell him/her.

The teacher knows something about you before you even open your mouth. Most communication is non-verbal, one reason why an Internet zendo make no sense.

w84it said...

@Jinzang

Really? Like what?

w84it said...

@Jinzang

...and I am asking respectfully :)

I agree abou the online Sangha thing...

but what could they know other than you are shy, or nervous or arrogant, etc.

i'm talking about the "real" us that we strive to know in practice...

it's not a putdown on the teacher by any means...it's more about cautioning a student against believing the teacher is the second comming of Buddha or knows all the answers, etc.

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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proulx michel said...

gniz said: Actually, these sexually predatory incidents by Shimano started DECADES ago and were kept quiet by the sychophants and hangers-on that surround these gurus and teachers.

Years ago, I was a member of the local chapter of the FFMC, a bikers association. Our federation was in the process of putting up an assurance company for the French bikers that would be affordable by most. Once, I was named a delegate for the whole Languedoc-Roussillon region sent to a National meeting.
During the time I was that delegate occured an incident where the glorious "Leader" of the movement did something which a lot of us felt to be rather unethical. I protested and was duly silenced by some close colleagues of that "Leader" on the basis that what I did was "threatening the movement".

I did not submit but was quite ostracised by the others. It lasted until the whole "gang of four" fell down when too many people had enough.

This just to state that what Gniz writes is quite typical. What is here at work is fear. Sycophants fear for their eventual promotion, hangers-on project themselves upon that "holy man" who so much gives them the impression that they too could achieve such a degree of holiness and so on.

But if a minimum level of organisation is necessary, be it only for mere survival, strong toothed organisations are in themselves no guarantee, because they quite tend to turn their teeth upon the whistle blowers.

But yet, (I will speak for what I see at work in France, because I know little else) it seems to me that the influence of "samurai zen" has been much too important until now and has generated an attitude of aloofness and non-commitment with the problems of others which has generated a so-called "zen attitude" which is just being stone-hearted.

No institutional rules will suffice for keeping "masters" from abusing their power. Just shame ought to be enough, as long as we stop putting shame on those who are victims. Sure, there will always be the calumniatory denouncers.

But if someone you know comes to you saying that she/he has been in such a situation, and you are loath to believe that you beloved master could have done such a thing, is it not possible to be helpful to that person, without necessarily taking sides? I think that if people started being less partial, things would be better.

R said...

I didn't like brad's last quote.

It's not meaningless but it's hardly a gem.

No one can attain an academic degree (fwiw*) by glimpsing at a peach blossom, by having a paper candle blown out, by hearing the sound of a mountain stream, or by hearing a cricket creaking. (the last example is of Master Hakuin)

A better example needs to be come up with.


(Also I didn’t get the impression that Genpo Roshi intends for his program to be presented as equal to the transmission. That would indeed be very foolish. I thought he thought it would cause people to practice. But perhaps I was wrong. [Tstl?])

____________________
* the first “w” here stands for “whatever”

Petteri S. said...

WOW! YOU WON THE TOP 50 BLOG AWARD!

****take a look at the following link****

http://theendlessfurther.com/?p=1263

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

The subject attending the monastery kinda reminds me of the Baptist ministers who viewed a porn movie 10 times in a row, in order to decide if the porn was evil or not.

"I love and treasure individuals as I meet them, I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to. " - George Carlin


word verification = relpater

PhilBob-SquareHead said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Petteri Sulonen said...

@5:05 am: LOLwhut?

Petteri S. said...

According to the website, “Top Buddhism Blog Awards are brought to you by Online Schools & Awarding the Web.” And who might they be? Neither website provide any real information about who they are. This alone tells me a story. Except that they also give out awards in such categories as Top Allergy Blog, Top Literary Studies Blog, and so on.

There is nothing on the web that provides any background information about either of these entities.

I Googled onlineschools.org and came up with their main site, which has links to contact various educational institutions, also pages like “15 Things You Should Know About Breasts”, “15 Things to Know About Steve Jobs” and “The Facts about Poop.” Okay, that makes me go Hmmm . . .

Next, Googling awardingtheweb.com, I found this at MISH’S Global Economic Trend Analysis, dated June 16, 2010: “Today I received an email from Awarding the Web congratulating me for making their best of web category. There was just one catch. I had to post their badge on my blog or they would give my spot away.”

Ano said...

Petteri, I wouldn't be surprised if @505 and @638 was Jundo.. He's telling us not to believe everything we read on the web. He looks to be in maximum spin control.

Ano said...

The more I think about it, it's clear to me that it isn't Jundo. Disregard my last message.

AlanLa said...

Sadly, and for the record, Jundo alerted me that my original comments on this thread showed up on Brad's blog. He was checking to see if I post here.

I have not posted anything to Brad's blog, except for this. I have almost zero interest in Brad and absolutely zero interest in this pathetic blog after viewing it a few times in the distant past. There's not much I can do if someone claims to be anonymous me and does a cut and paste job except say that it wasn't me. It troubles me that someone would do that, but I have to just let it go.

I have cast my lot with upbeat Jundo and cranky Taigu (and I mean all these italicized characterizations in the nicest possible way ) and am quite happy, even if I keep my distance periodically.

Ano said...

Ano @7:24 was A Jundo supporter or the man. Because it was a lie I'd guess it was Jundo.

REDdirt said...

From an ecological sense, a diverse community is a healthy community, better able to weather ups and downs of individual components of the community. Lots of smaller groups, widely scattered about, and loosely connected is the best evolutionary model. By requiring adaptation for survival the responsibility is on the individual community to relate be it to the greater group or each other.

The alternative is the increased opportunity of a shortened lifespan.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Reee said...

It seems to me that when abuses of power arise in institutions, large or small, it's because the participants are secretly into exchanging power. Like B-San says, there's lots of people looking for someone to take responsibility for them, and more than a few who are happy to do so.

A large powerful institution is likely to draw more of the same--unless it eschews power-based roles altogether. Same with small groups.

Petteri Sulonen said...

@Ano, hey, I guess that means I've arrived—if someone the "stature" of Mr. Cohen wants to use my name as one of his sock puppets. I did make that one uncomplimentary comment on him back at Zenn Beck's, so I suppose it's possible...

Go right ahead, Mr. Cohen, if it's you—I've been posting on the Interwebs under my own name since Usenet days, and it ain't the first time. You're still behaving like a three-year-old throwing a tantrum, not like any kind of Zen Master®, even one with Batshit Crazy Wisdom®.

john e mumbles said...

The alchemical enlightenment that Mysterion alluded to earlier (since deleted) was/is by no means the whole picture, only a snapshot of a philosophical scientific elite dreaming utopian dreams. They used a free-masonic model to create the appearance of a behind-the-scenes puppetmaster scenario ala The Wizard of Oz (see The Chymical Wedding of Christian Von Rosenkruetz). My book ROSICRUCIAN ESSAYS (Anamnesis Press, 1996, OP) details the "Arabic Parts of the Original Rosicrucian Documents" in a chapter of the same name, exposing the cobbled together mythology used by the enlightenment writers Mysterion mentioned earlier to push their agenda, which some argue was realized with the establishment of The United States of America.

At any rate, it is misleading to think/say/believe that "alchemy" is a purely spiritual affair that began during this period in history, see its chemical /experimental laboratory roots in antiquity in my other book AL-KIMIA THE MYSTICAL ISLAMIC ESSENCE OF THE SACRED ART OF ALCHEMY (Sophia Perennis, 2004 -still in print! Find it on Amazon!!), and in the excellent book by David Gordon White on the Siddha traditions in India THE ALCHEMICAL BODY (U. of Chicago Press, 1996 -may be OP).

AL KIMIA includes an appendix detailing an alchemical operation you can do at home in your kitchen with minimal supplies...A quote from that section: "the psychological and intuitive learning that takes place from the actual work involved should not be underestimated!"

Glen said...

'I don't know if there are easy answers. Organized or not, people are going to be people.

For me, it's a reminder to train as best I can and to try and watch my own beliefs and behavior.

I don't have control over much else.

Thanks for the discussion'

here here!

Mysterion said...

A college degree is a certification (inka) which denoted completion of a curricula.

So too, Zen has a rigorous curriculum of koan practice, Sutra study (in learning the 42 mantras spoken by the Buddha - and the fables that accompany each) and Zazen. Certification typically follows 12 to 14 years of monastic study unless you are fast-tracked by a condition of birth or wealth (both corruptions).

Bodhidharma is the legendary founder of Zen (Chuan) in China (~520 CE). Buddhism had arrived in China about 400 years earlier. Bodhidharma is usually depicted as a scowling, hooded, bearded figure.

He sequestered himself in a distant monastery where he sat facing a wall for nine years. A disciple sought him out but Bodhidharma refused to see him. The wanna-be disciple waited outside in the snow all night long. In the morning, he become Bodhidharma's heir, and thus began the Zen (Chuan) transmission in China. Or so the story goes.

The legend illustrates Zen's basic style and values. Zen is a pithy, stripped-down, uncompromising, meditation-based Buddhism that takes no interest in doctrinal refinements, voluminous scripture, or ritual, Zen is verified by personal experience and is passed on from master to disciple through years of hard training.

There are different systems of koan study. Most of them emphasize humor, spontaneity and openness. The koan method is an expression of human sensibility. source of all of this

koan

So anyone who believes Zen is just sitting is revealing ignorance. Zen has, from the beginning, studied the 42 Sutras, involved koans, and followed a rigorous curriculum - far lengthier and rigorous than an ordinary occidental baccalaureate.

Sorry, but that's the Way of Zen.

You can sit zazen for decades but at the end of the exercise, you have only clocked butt time.

Mysterion said...

correction

far lengthier and more rigorous

Stuart said...

"Show me a drug that can make someone a doctor or a lawyer or a university professor just by taking a little pill, and then I'll believe that someone can become an enlightened guru just by taking a little pill."

Being a doctor is a special skill that few people possess. It's a skill we're not born with; we add it on later. So of course years of training and effort are required if we're to arise from our non-doctor state to the heights of doctor-hood.

The quoted guru is presenting "enlightenment" the same way. It's something special, that only a few people possess, that's only reached through time and effort.

We ought to note that the Zen tradition often presents a view quite different from the quoted guru's. It's a view that practice is not about getting a new, special status (like a medical skill/degree). Rather, it's about perceiving the truth that has already appeared in this moment. It's looking into what we are, not trying to add some new skill or status to it.

From that viewpoint, it's nothing like becoming a doctor. It's more like sticking your hand into the shower, and experiencing for yourself whether the water is hot or cold.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

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

Mysterion,
That's interesting to me. What you've written about water seems very similar to statements from John Cage about sound, hearing and composing. I would imagine you're likely quite familiar with his work, and perhaps this video, but I'll include the link:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aYT1Pwp30M

Best,
Ray

Jinzang said...

@Jinzang Really? Like what?

Your attitude come through much more clearly in person than on the 'net. Your facial expression and body language tell a lot about your emotional state, including where you are in your meditation practice. This takes more than a brief introduction, "how 'dya do," because people put on a false face for that. But when you relax a bit, the real you comes out.

Jinzang said...

...and I am asking respectfully :)

I'm used to being insulted, so don't let it concern you. Been on the Internet since it was Arpanet.

Jinzang said...

No one can attain an academic degree (fwiw*) by glimpsing at a peach blossom, by having a paper candle blown out, by hearing the sound of a mountain stream, or by hearing a cricket creaking.

These are the occasions of attaining kensho, not its cause. I might think of the solution to a programming problem when driving home, but that's because I've been programming for a long time. The same thought wouldn't pop into the head of a non-programmer.

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

It's more like sticking your hand into the shower, and experiencing for yourself whether the water is hot or cold.

If only it were that easy. Fact is, it takes years of dedicated practice. Don't kid yourself that it doesn't. If you think not, well, there are all sorts of people who will tell you how to get "enlightened." Try them out and let us know how it goes.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john e mumbles said...

"Meditation is a lie. When we try to control the mind or hold on to an experience, we don't see the innate perfection of the present moment. Look out into the blue sky. Pure awareness is like space, boundless and open. It's always here. You don't have to make it up. All you have to do is rest in that."
-Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

Mysterion said...

ah... Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, then and now...

or not.

Life before Life.

Jinzang said...

All you have to do is rest in that.

Easier said than done. Spoken from experience, not just opinion.

Brad Warner said...

Is anyone out there a genius with iPods and want to help me fix mine?

screen shot of problem

Yes, I have ABBA on my iPod. Sue me.

Jinzang said...

So now we see the dark side of Jundo AND Brad.

Sorry, if the ipod ran unix or some variant, there's a bunch of tools you could run, starting with fsck. But since Apple in its wisdom installed a closed proprietary operating system on the ipod, there's no third party tools to fix it. Another argument in favor of open source.

But that doesn't help you. If you're lucky. it may just be a flaky electrical connection. This article will show you how to fix it. More likely, though, it's a hard disk head crash. In which case there's nothing to do but toss it.

Anonymous said...

Blogger jundo cohen said...

Dear Gniz,

It is truly a lovely post, I thank you for your description, which sounds like it came from the heart. Peace.

There is something that gets me very riled up and angry when I feel like an injustice is being done. Even if that injustice seems trivial...

And beyond that, I simply hate it when I feel like someone is pretending to be something they're not, in effect trying to fool people.


Oh, that is me too. It is the reason I go charging into situations I should not, like an idiot Don Quixote, when I believe someone is saying something 'important' that is untrue and fooling people, or when I feel folks need to sit down for a little "tea and Zazen" and like situations. In doing so, I often stir up a hornets' nest and push too hard, despite the good intentions. Don't doubt my motives, even if you question whether I should bother or feel that I go about it all the wrong way (I feel that I do too).

I used some very salty language and a tasteless story to make a point about -not- using salty language and about making up stories ... and because that is how people talk in this little corner of the Buddha-net. I was wrong to do what is 'done here'. I hit the "anonymous" button when I wanted to make a point without saying it directly, and because that is what I saw is 'done here'. I was wrong to do so. As someone who is supposed to be a 'Buddhist teacher', I should not be allowed to fall into the morass of using bad words, etc.

I apologize for that.

There are really evil people out there in "spirituality" land who are truly taking advantage of people, defrauding them out of money, sleeping with students using their influence over them. Go after those guys, Gniz, and do it in a high minded way. You perform a great service by doing so.

So (thankfully, I know for all concerned), that is all my bombastic self has to say on this matter. Peace. Gniz, if you are ever in Japan, you are always invited around here for a little "tea and Zazen".

Gassho, Jundo

Anonymous said...

It's funny. Gniz bought the Jundo "peace" bullshit, hook, line and sinker.

It was fine and dandy to call for a truce for the sake of ending that saga, but Jundo, control freak, made it into something different. And Gniz blindly took the bait.

Never, ever question how Jundo gets people to see him as something he's not. He tricked Gniz into some sort of assbuddy coalition with the tiniest of efforts.

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

The fact is, all the Zen teachers in the world could get together and denounce Eido, and tell him that he could no longer teach Zen, but he'd just keep on teaching and his loyal students would still keep coming to him. There actually isn't anything an institution can do to stop someone from teaching. Even the Catholic Church has this problem. Recently here in Phoenix, there was a priest by the name of Dale Fushek who was extremely charismatic and well liked, and who founded a national Catholic teen movement called Life Teen. Well, (surprise!) he was busted for fooling around with some teenage boys. The bishop defrocked him and forbade him from preaching and so forth, but what happened? He just started his own thing, because he had so many loyal followers. As long as there is a teacher and someone who shows up to be a student, there is nothing anyone can do.

Anonymous said...

And let's call a spade a spade...

Big Mind is 'brand recognition' and marketing. And these two things work.

It is the status symbol of spiritual seeking materialists.

It is the perceptual "BMW" of Buddhism for people with big money and small minds.

And, the certificates are suitable for display.

Anonymous said...

"He tricked Gniz into some sort of assbuddy coalition with the tiniest of efforts."

Brad did the same thing. Jundo probably learned from him how to put a stop to gniz's criticism.

gniz said...

""He tricked Gniz into some sort of assbuddy coalition with the tiniest of efforts."

Brad did the same thing. Jundo probably learned from him how to put a stop to gniz's criticism."

Do you guys really believe that I should just sit there and throw shit at people constantly, no matter how vile and sad the situation becomes?

I've criticized Brad's view in this very thread, just a few comments up. Go look, that's me saying that I disagree with him.

I butted heads with Jundo for days. What is there to prove? I don't hate Brad or Jundo. It's ridiculous to keep fighting and yelling just to prove that I won't be "fooled" or "bought and sold", as if Brad linking to my blog or Jundo saying a few nice words is enough to buy my agreement.

I am sure it's disappointing to know there may not be any fighting for you to gawk at for a little while--but be patient--these cycles tend to repeat themselves in due time.

Yoshitoshi said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"It's funny. Gniz bought the Jundo "peace" bullshit, hook, line and sinker."

No. It's better to face your 'opposition' inside the tent than have him/her circulating outside of your tent. Basic martial arts.

Anonymous said...

Dru: "With that in mind I just don't understand what 'power' a 'zen teacher' would have over someone..."

Wow. You've never noticed that some people are mangled, weak, dependent, and are relatively easy to manipulate or bully? (I figured everyone had seen that, at LEAST once.) Or that people like that at least sometimes go looking for a guru? And that's the kind of person that is an abusive teachers jackpot? We is living in way different worlds, you and I.

Brad -
Loved the post, I'm ALL on board; which means approximately nothing, but still... My only problem is with the "consenting adults" bit. I agree, anyone can be as "bad" as anyone else, but true vulnerability is another issue, isn't it?
Anyway, thanks for a great and clear-eyed piece.

- KD Jones

Sexsource said...

Too f–king good
I am sure he had a turn on that ass later on
סרטוני סקס.

Anonymous Bob said...

Fake Brad said: "Is anyone out there a genius with iPods and want to help me fix mine?"

Hahaha.. That was obviously the fake Brad. Did you see all that Abba? No way that was the bassist for 0DFX. Sorry about your ipod troll.

CAPTCHA : mincit : I kid you not

;) said...

It may be that this is the real Brad and the fake one was playing with 0DFx.

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

Now THIS helps put things into perspective... if you know what I mean.

Helping Brad collect bits for his new book...

chas

Anonymous said...

Jundo · less than 1 minute ago

Yes, it came out in a dumb way. I was making criticism, I thought, attempting to be sarcastic and ironic based on Brad Warner's infamous (and I think in very poor taste) "butt buddy" pejorative "cut down", used often on the blog where I was commenting on "wrong speech", and it went over like a lead balloon and was just in pretty poor taste in retrospect. Sometimes dumb things come out of somebody's mouth that are not meant that way.

Let me explain a bit ...

The people over there regularly call each other by the childish term "butt buddies", for one man who is a "yes man" to another.I think it insulting to homosexuals. Stupid me ... in order to show why we do not use "four letter words" here at Treeleaf, I made some posts using four letter words to be ironic. In order to show how someone can make up rumors and lies about another person, I made up a story based on the "butt buddy" theme. I intended to be sarcastic, and it went over like a lead ballon. Some people did not pick up on the intended sarcasm

However, homophobic ... I am not at all.

Gassho, Jundo

Mysterion said...

Swami Vivekananda

Commercialized???

Engineering & Technology

the (Deemed University)

more

the humor, the humor...

the effect...

Mysterion said...

I would also point directly to this LINK.

enough book material 4 2 day

Real R said...

Check out the next post on Monkey mind.

Blake said...

By the time I read this, there were 141 comments so I don't know if I'm repeating anyone. If so, so?

Here's KUSZ's ethical code: http://www.kwanumzen.com/misc/ethics_statement.html

I believe that this is just a reiteration of what Brad said but I'll go ahead and state it in my own words.

In order for an organization to have "bite," that organization must maintain control over its teachers. To maintain control, you have to have a licensing procedure so that something can be taken from you for "misbehaving." There are pros and cons to this setup. Brad points out quite eloquently that for "bite" equals "control" equals "inflexibility." Odds are, with such a structure, you can't just decide to start a small Zen group in your community without the blessings of that organization.

Now I have no direct experience or knowledge with how either the San Francisco Zen Center or the Kwan Um School of Zen handle their teaching practices. I am a member of KUSZ but am not on the teaching path (at least not yet). Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable starting a Zen group without the blessings of my teacher and/or the school but that's simply because at this point, I'd screw up a bunch of people's minds with my weird ideas.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
THOMAS AMUNDSEN said...

"When SFZC was going through all of its troubles in the 80s, several people told them, “It doesn’t need to be so big.”"

That's what she said...

Stuart said...

I wrote:
It's more like sticking your hand into the shower, and experiencing for yourself whether the water is hot or cold.

Jinzang said...
If only it were that easy. Fact is, it takes years of dedicated practice. Don't kid yourself that it doesn't.

This is absolutely untrue. The untruth of your claim here can be proven very very easily. Surely you know someone who has not done years of dedicated practice. Take one such person to the bathroom; turn on the shower; have them stick their hand in; then ask them if the water is hot or cold. You'll find that, without any need for years of practice, this ordinary person will be able to distinguish hot from cold.

So what in the world are you talking about? If you desire to get some special experience or superior understanding, then that may require years of effort... like going through medical school in order to become a doctor. But to simply perceive the Truth that has already appeared, right in front of you, in this moment... there's no need to wait for some future date.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

zenandbackagain said...

What interests me is the question that sexual misconduct (in general, not just regarding these cases) bear on so-called "enlightened" people. I mean, here are some very accomplished, highly respected teachers who have received Dharma transmission and all that stuff, and yet they (allegedly) are engaging in questionable conduct. So what does it mean to hold one of these titles? I know Brad questions this in his books, but here we are staring the situation in the eyes. It would seem to me that spiritual insight isn't always enough; it needs to be balanced with morality and wisdom.

--Andre

Mysterion said...

Awareness, in the Zen sense, is not awareness in the pedestrian sense.

Of course you can:

1) take 1,500 people off the street
2) stick their hand in a shower
3) ascertain that the majority perceive the water as being 'hot' or 'cold' (even if the water is tepid - neither hot nor cold)

and you have proven a natural consistency of perception (with some correlation to water temperature).

Indeed, I have done this demonstration (as a T Test of 17 students) many times. And, by careful control of the water temperature in the 70-80° range, demonstrated the invalidity of perception - to a consistency of 70%. It tends to be more closely related to room temperature and acclimation. THAT is basic field work for statistical analysis in psychology.

That is hardly the point. What we are discussing is a philosophical point. Perception is deception - otherwise stage magicians would be forever out of work. What Zazen attempts to diminish is that deceptive quality we all seem to develop as adolescents - owing to the misguided efforts of our parents, school teachers, and neighbors. (e.g. the pattern of Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, St. Christopher, Dragon-slayers, Unicorns, Leprechauns, &c.)

For example (my advice to Jinzang): never argue with a fool. A disinterested third party may fail to distinguish the difference.

capisce?

Panambi said...

This reminded me of Ikkyu. :)

Stuart said...

Mysterion said...
Awareness, in the Zen sense, is not awareness in the pedestrian sense.

Truth has already appeared, right in front of you. Look at the sky and see blue; look at a tree and see green; eat an orange and taste sweetness, etc etc.

Then, with your thinking, you can create whatever unnecessary complications that you like. You may make distinctions: "This is holy, that's unholy." Or: "This is 'Zen perception' and that's 'pedestrian perception'."

Cultivating such distinctions is called "Painting legs on a picture of a snake." Perceiving this moment is already complete. Making concepts like 'Zen perception' is adding something to just-now experience... for no reason.

Stuart
http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

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