Sunday, January 02, 2011

In Which I Am Criticized by the Master of Antaiji Temple


Markus in Finland recently sent me a link to this post in which Muho Roshi, the abbot of Antaiji temple in Japan criticizes me and then proceeds to praise himself for how much more of a bodhisattva he is than I am.

For those who don't know, Antaiji is famous mainly for being the temple that "Homeless" Kodo Sawaki and his student Kosho Uchiyama lived in. I've always been a little vague on this because Sawaki was known for being a master without a temple. Apparently he actually had a temple of his own, but he wasn't there most of the time because he traveled around the country leading retreats and teaching zazen as well as promoting the many books he wrote. Sawaki is my teacher Nishijima Roshi's biggest influence. Shunryu Suzki was also a big fan of Sawaki.

These days Antaiji is one of the few Japanese Zen temples that a foreign person can go and train in. Often when people ask me about training in a Japanese Zen temple, I refer them to Antaiji. A few people who have come to my Zen retreats and talks have taken the bait and gone out there.

All I know about Muho, other than what I just now gleaned from a quick skim of the Wikipedia entry on him, is that he's German. I'm not sure how he got to be the abbot of Antaiji. I've read a few of his pieces on-line and I always liked them. I believe it was Muho who first shed light on the hatchet job done on Kodo Sawaki by Brian Victoria in his book Zen At War. Muho pointed out a number of places where Victoria wildly mistranslated Sawaki to make him sound like he was a blood-thirsty promoter of the Japanese war effort in WWII. Sawaki was nothing of the sort and anyone who can read Japanese can read the pieces Victoria translated and easily see that Sawaki said nothing at all like what Victoria has him saying in his book.

Muho's criticism of me comes completely out of the blue as far as I can see. But judging by the piece Muho chose to write about, the man must be quite a follower of my writing. This is the kind of thing one could only find by conducting a pretty thorough search of stuff I've written. He chose to pick on something I wrote specifically to the group in Los Angeles that I used to sit with who had asked what it would take to get me to return there as a full time teacher for the group.

I thought about it for a very long time and came up with a list of conditions under which it would be feasible for me to do so. Apparently Muho thought the conditions I stipulated proved that I was not the kind, caring individual that he (Muho) is and he decided he'd better point that out.

The piece he criticized was not really intended for public consumption, although it was not in any way secret either. It was meant to point out to the folks who were asking me about this what I, as a guy who makes his living from writing books and lecturing, would need in order to lead a group in Los Angeles. I wanted the group to have realistic expectations as to what I could and could not do for them.

I have quite a bit of difficulty with what Americans call "setting boundaries." Very often when I am leading any kind of a group, certain people will take advantage of what a total push-over I am and monopolize my time. I decided that one way to remedy this and to be available to everyone fairly was to do what college professors do and have specific "office hours" during which I'd be available by appointment.

What I'm suggesting in the letter I wrote to the people in Los Angeles is an entirely new system very specifically tailored to my own personal life. It's completely different from what happens if one steps into an established temple with an established protocol and an established way of generating income. I'm not saying that's easy to do either. But most of the problems that my letter to the people in Los Angeles addresses are already solved if one has that kind of a temple.

Muho criticizes me for suggesting that I would not be available all the time for such a group in much the same way and for much the same reasons that Kodo Sawaki was not always available all the time for the regular attendees at Antaiji. I'm sorry, Muho, but if I were to make myself available 365 days a year at such a temple, I have no idea how I could earn my keep. And I'm pretty stubborn about earning my own keep.

FYI: Just in case the reaction to this piece becomes "Brad is planning to move back to Los Angeles and lead a group," I want to point out that I have no such plans at all. I am willing to discuss such a possibility if it becomes feasible. As of now, it is not feasible at all and there is no reason to believe it will become feasible any time soon.

ANYWAY, what bums me out most about Muho's piece is that it is so utterly disappointing. There are a small handful of people out there in the Zen world who take an attitude that goes something like, "You cannot be a real Zen teacher if you didn't become a Zen teacher the way I became a Zen teacher." This is completely missing the point of what it is to be a Zen teacher. Muho's sneering remarks about me make it clear that he holds that attitude.

It's pleasantly surprising to me that I encounter very little of this type of criticism. Most Zen teachers I know are very accepting of me, even though I didn't become a Zen teacher in what is now considered to be the standard way. I think most of them understand that what is commonly thought of as the "standard way" of becoming a Zen teacher is something that developed rather recently. Dogen never did zuise. Nor did Bodhidharma. Buddha himself never did either. Nor did any of these people suggest you had to. I'm unaware of Dogen ever recommending these steps either. The head monk ceremony and all of that stuff are, at best, from the late-medieval period. Many are very recent developments.

I'm hardly the only Zen teacher out there who has come by his Zen credentials in a non-standard way. Most of the teachers ordained by Kobun Chino Roshi were also ordained in non-standard ways, as were a lot of others. So I am not writing this just to defend myself.

Oddly enough, I can think of many situations in my association with Nishijima Roshi in which he placed me in much the same position as a ceremonially appointed "head student" and in which I did things that were sort of like zuise, though it was not at Eiheiji or Sojiji temples. Also my "training period" with him, though it was never called that, lasted about seven years, which would be pretty standard at a "real" temple. It involved, in an informal form, many of the same steps one would do ceremonially at a "real" temple.

Nishijima Roshi was not a fan of Soto-shu and its bureaucracy, organizational protocols, ceremonies and rituals. He didn't think it was necessary for a Zen teacher to be recognized by Soto-shu, even though he himself is. Dogen was never recognized by any such organization, nor were any of the great masters of the past. Organizations like Soto-shu arose much later and retroactively included the great masters of the past in their ranks. One wonders if Dogen would really have wanted to be seen as the founder of contemporary Soto-shu if he'd had any choice in the matter. I imagine he would not.

Having said that, I am aware that there need to be some kind of standards as to who is and is not a legitimate Zen teacher. Otherwise you get guys like "Zen Master Rama" claiming to be Zen teachers because they had a dream in which Buddha made them a Zen teacher or some such nonsense. But the basic standard is only that you have a legitimate lineage of a living Zen teacher who recognized your qualification to teach and who himself had a living Zen teacher, and so on for at least a few generations back. I have that. So does Muho. For that matter so, unfortunately, does Genpo Roshi. Which goes to show that this, in itself, doesn't mean everything. But it does mean something.

Still, I am very firm in my conviction that official recognition by the Soto-shu corporation of Japan is not a very good final criteria for what makes one a real Zen teacher. Muho seems to be concerned about the future of Western Zen. I sincerely hope he is not suggesting that recognition by the Soto-shu is the way to solve all of our problems.

270 comments:

1 – 200 of 270   Newer›   Newest»
Rick said...

I bet he studied the Suicide Girls articles closely. Very closely.

I had a dream about waffles once. I don't know that it makes me a master of anything, but it does make me hungry. I think I'll have a snack.

Anonymous said...

Brad said, "And I apologize to the world for not being as loving and kind as Muho is. Maybe if I work at it someday I will be."

Unnecessarily sarcastic in my opinion.

Brad Warner said...

It's actually not meant to be that sarcastic. I mean, obviously it is a little. But I do feel like I need to work on the whole being loving and kind deal. Though I have no idea how loving & kind Muho is, it's true.

Anonymous said...

Although it's from another tradition #14 provides some food for thought.

Seagal Rinpoche said...

In the last analysis it is our conception of death which decides our answers to all the questions life puts to us.

Anonymous Bob said...

Who cares what Mumu thinks.. He has his life and you have yours. I didn't think he was being quite as sneering as you took it though. He just seems to be one of those traditional dudes who like to pretend he's a medieval Japanese.
Like, if it isn't done the way it was done in way-back Japan, then it's not really real Zen..
But that boat has sailed for you anyway Brad. You do things you're own way which usually works out fine.

CAPTCHA : gotti : I kid you not

Happi said...
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Anonymous said...

Speaking of franchises, ever notice how some McDonald's look like a low-rent Zen temple?

Seriously.

Brad, just get a McDonald's franchise instead and subsidize the temple by selling Big Macs! There can be no doubt then!

Mysterion said...
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Anonymous Bob said...

Hmmm.. On re-reading the piece, it seemed to be a little more scathing than I first thought. I agree it was pointed at you.. and I'm pretty sure he thinks you're a wanker.

Mysterion said...
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Happi said...
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Happi said...
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mother eartg said...

Thanks to both Brad\roshi/Muho for your [natural] comments.

At once I feel yeas a defensiveness from both together but also a lack of caring what hits the target or not but the intention or aim seems to be consistent as equal archers lined up together side by side or across from each other? we do not know.

I personally would bottle up my defensiveness criticisms and negative thoughts hurt feelings and deal with them some way in a bad light days weeks or years from now. This is not good.

Three other things (as long as I am "labeling" and "picking and choosing") that this posts rings me to mind:

Will e.g.(bodhisattvic)

Principle e.g.(ango or "sessa-takuma")

Personality e.g. (public face)

I think it is good to separate these three and see the differences in our interactions with others. The mash them back together and forget it all.

Brad youve got courage i think keep it going thanks

roman said...

I am afraid that Muho makes differences where they are not. Difference between zazen at home and at a temple. Dealing with fellow monks and dealing with your non buddhist partner, etc. He overestimates practice in a temple and the career of a teacher as something that has some steps up the ladder. I think he misses what the essential thing of Buddhism is.

roman said...

Of course, practicing with a group of people led by an experienced and honest Zen teacher is absolutely necessary. And it is necessary to do it repeatedly. It is necessary to practice zazen every day. But most of all, it is necessary to have a real life and practice within a real life, as that is where the essence of Buddhism lies. Muho is practicing some kind of medieval Zen replica, which makes an artificial line between "an authentic practice of a monk" and real life of lay Buddhists. There is no such line.
Although Sawaki spent most of his life practicing zazen in all kinds of temples and with monks, essentially he didn't teach people to develop and practice "a monk career". He laughed at ranks of all kinds and stressed the ordinary experience of an ordinary person.

anon #108 said...

From time to time, I've referred to and quoted my teacher, Mike Luetchford. I call him my teacher because his understanding of Zen, as communicated to me by what he has said, done and written has played a great part in making Zen/Buddhism the refuge that, in my brief five and a half years of practice, it has become for me. And he's the only RL Zen teacher I've had. But I've only ever seen Mike occassionally; once a month for a few hours (most of which were spent in silence with my back to him); then not at all for a year while I dealt with the onset of tinnitus which kept me away from group sittings; and for the last two years hardly at all as his visits to London, and mine to the group have become less frequent.

Sometime during my and his first year of regular group attendance I recall remarking to Mike that in the old days Master and student would spend a great deal of time together, living in the same place - once a month surely wasn't enough. He said "I think you see too much of me already." Have I even got a teacher? There is someone who's taught me a lot.

anon #108 said...

Mike, and it seems Brad, don't believe you have to be a full-time, professional traditional Zennist/Buddhist to be a full time person who's life is better for practising zazen and seeing the truth of Buddhist philosophy. Muho and very many other zennies, I'll wager, probably think of this as Zen lite; a sign of Western laziness, weakness and cop-out; maybe not a bad thing, but certainly not the real thing. Lots of traditional temple practice may be a very good thing; certainly not a bad thing. But the fact is most people aren't going to do it. I don't believe their lives (if you must, their "Buddhist practice") are any less useful, or that those people are any less (or more) happy. Come to that, who's to say the understanding, the insights into the nature of reality of in-the-world of 30-minute-a-day-zennists are any less profound than those of the full-time clerics?

Horses for courses.

...I think much of what Muho's written on the Antaiji site is great stuff. Hi Roman!

anon #108 said...

Edit, for anyone counting -

"But I've only ever seen Mike occassionally; once a month for a few hours in the first two years after meeting him...

roman said...

Anon 108, hi, I am not sure who you are, though. Sure we know each other, anyway, yes, I agree with what you have written about the amount and quality of time we practice and spend with our teacher, of course, I have the same experience with Mike Luetchford like you, I mean seeing him a few times a year etc. Muho is probably a very honest, decent, intelligent guy but the rest is just like you said - he seems to underestimate the way we practice in Dogen sangha where the stress in on ordinary and repeated rather than time spent in temples practicing zazen for long, long hours and being "full time monks". Let alone trying to go up the ladder of zen hierarchy, which Mike likes to shatter in pieces.

proulx michel said...

A Zen Master is, by essence, a human being, and as such, prone to the occasional idiocy. I am, I think Brad is and I don't see why Muho should make an exception. I generally appreciate what Muho writes, and I respect the dedication of the man. His temple is pretty isolated and has no parishioners, which means no income from local "dana".
They have to grow their vegetables, they have mounds of snow during the winter which make the temple out of reach (Muho became abbot when the last abbot died in the snow on the road to the temple;)
That might suggest some irritation to the apparently "easy" way proponed by Brad. I think it is a mistake. But that has little importance.

anon #108 said...

Hey Roman! It's me - Malcolm! Your old room-mate! Doncha ya know me, fella?

roman said...

Malcolm! All right, something you mentioned confused me and sounded like you are another friend of mine.

anon #108 said...

Harry - Roman and I were only room-mates once...and just for three days...on a retreat. Nothing happened. Honest.

roman said...

As for difficulties and easiness, it is funny how we tend to imagine someone's life might be more difficult or easier than ours, but after all our life might be the most difficult of all lives ever, but only we can know, nobody else has a clue. So I really don't understand the concept of hard practice versus easy practice. Of course, there are moments in our lives that seem cool and fine and we feel relaxed and satisfied. I call these moments zazen.

Soulagent79 said...

If we got a dollar everytime one zen teacher accuses another of teaching buji-zen, we'd all be millionaires by now. It seems to be part of the business.

Anonymous said...

Well, really the need to support/hold up the power of a "tradition" is really the need to up-hold one's own power thereby.
But I must also say the article/essay is really quite bizarre
Muho must think only he is the real deal because he stayed in Japan at a temple in Japan.
This is an example of why Nishijima roshi kind of went off and created another group(Dogen Sanga), and White Plum Asanga ( a Soto group ) as well as other groups don't care about "recognition" by Japanese groups any more.
That's part of the transmission of the dharma, this guy( as others) want to keep the power flowing to/through them.
It's also interesting that I had never heard of this guy, so he must put down some one else to elevate himself, quite odd

Harry said...

Yeah, what a messed tangle of personal viewpoints and agendas Muho presents: Just as well I'm used to being disappointed by 'Zen Masters' over 'here' in Dogen Sangha. Is this his wonderful, monastic-ish/family life practice expressed in his everyday life? Maybe it goes to show that, whether in someone's garage in LA or in a classy Japanese temple, our assumptions and blind spots just remain our assumptions and blind spots.

If that's the 'soft and flexible mind' that Dogen brought back from China then I hope we're still not taking his word for it.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

Rev. Muho may have jumped to premature conclusions regarding the DSLA deal, but he makes an important point about practice:

"The anwser is that Zen practice is not something you just do on the zafu (sitting cushion), alone at your home or on the weekends in a dojo. And you certainly do not find it in books. Zen practice happens when you cook, eat or go to the toilet. For that you do not necessarily need to live in a monastery, but if you do, everything is naturally designed in a way to remind you that the 24 hours of the day are indeed practice. When you live alone at home, you have to tell yourself each time that you are indeed practicing. And more often than not, you might just be fooling yourself. If you live with a family or work with others, that is also practice, but if those that you live and work with do not share the perspective that the whole day is practice, it will be very difficult to uphold your practice during the 24 hours of the day. Sooner or later, you will just follow your idea "that everything is practice", but that idea itself is not practice. It is just an idea."

It's the same thing Brad has been saying, but I think the last part (emphasis mine) is worth repeating.

As most of us are not living in a monastic setting, it is good to keep this point in mind when we practice.

Zendudest said...

Having read what Muho said and your blog and having 'formally practiced' Zen for some 20 years it seems to me like much ado about nothing.

At the end of the day, all a 'teacher' can provide the 'student' is inspiration to engage the 'practice' whole-heartedly (on and off the cushion).

Anonymous said...

I have also thoroughly enjoyed Rev. Muho's writings. I think his discourses on Zen practice as being an adult hits the nail squarely on the head.

However, it's a bit weird to comment on someone else being a bodhisattva or not without being directly aware of the circumstances as the actions of a bodhisattva depend heavily on skillful means.

And circumstances are quite different out here in the wild west (east?).

But it's all good.

Brad Warner said...

Like I said, I've appreciated the few pieces I've read by Muho in the past. All these digs at me come as quite a surprise.

Maybe Michel is right. I'm sure life is tough at Antaiji. It ain't that easy in Brooklyn either. But it's a different kind of tough at Antaiji.

There are times I envy the way a life like Muho's solves a lot of the problems I have to face. But I'm sure it creates other problems that I don't have to deal with. I think it was Joko Beck who said that everybody has their own share of problems and, in the end, most of us seem to have a relatively equal amount.

But regarding Muho's article, I actually like most of it. The stuff at the end about me just seems to be tacked on for no apparent reason.

Anonymous said...

Well, that's what a good parent does, right? A good parent just caters to every whim of the child without regard to their own needs. That's what makes a healthy family. No boundaries at all. Right? RIGHT?

Anonymous said...

maybe you should visit antaiji for a few years, to sit down and shut up.

Geo said...

Brad, I like the strategy of comparing yourself to Kodo in this instance. Where did you read about Sawaki's book tours? That is really interesting but seems.. far-fetched.

john e mumbles said...

I have problems with boundaries. It reeks havoc on relationships, unless you find a person willing to roll with it (rare).

It stems from (or I rationalize it thus) a -humor me here- (for lack of better way to phrase it) "spiritual" sense in that I am a person without any borders, no outlines, no definitions that stick (for me). Of course there are some ("Human" ? What is Human anyway?" as Philip K. Dick postulated) that out of convenience or relativity, one must accept, but it is for the sake of the other person (if you "see" another person- I don't). Everything is totally free and happens- or doesn't happen at all, of its own accord. But I digress (ya think?), just that the whole lack of boundaries thing is something that I can relate to.

In Sufism, there is a time-honored tradition of receiving initiation from dead masters in dreams that links various silsillahs (chains of initiation). It comes from Uways al-Kirani, who never met the Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.), his contemporary, yet had shahadatane (transliteration of becoming Muslim) from him nonetheless, confirmed by the Prophet who said (something like) "I feel a cooling breeze from the west (ie; Kuwait, where Uways lived)." Many subsequent masters received initiation from Uways in dreams.

IMO it is somewhat similar to the terton tradition in Tibetan Buddhism, and the experience of the various bardos.

No relationship to Zen (?), unless you believe Bodhidharma was a fictitious personage...

Anonymous said...

See Brad, it's not only the trolls who think you're a complete fraud, that goes for your corporate scumbag teacher as well. When is Gudo going to make you a Roshi anyway? I think when that happens (and it most certainly will someday) I can finally feel vindicated for my loathing of you and your ridiculous brand of Zen. You should seriously think about selling tickets to the inka ceremony. Maybe you could reunite with your punk band for it. Seriously though, you and that other Dharma Punks guy need to fuck off for a while. If Zen Buddhism is ever going to flourish in America with real cultural support it's not going to happen by the likes of you two idiots.

And another thing, why do some people on this blog and others refer to you sometimes as a "Zen master"? Everyone who really knows Buddhism knows that there are no caucasian zen masters in this world, and there probably never will be. I'm sorry if that sounds racist but you white-ies have proven for decades that you are all talk and no dharma. Time to get a new occupation honkies.

Tathagata said...

It seems that Muho Roshi is writing about selflessness and maturity in spiritual growth. I agree with him. Not because I have that much maturity and selflessness but rather because I recoginize the need for it in myself.

While loving kindess can be cultivated through meditation it is only an adjunct to moment by moment practice of loving kindness. In the process of developing loving kindness all sorts of ego driven fears are likely to come to the forefront.

Seagal Rinpoche nailed this as all fears are essentially the fear of death. Once we are able to see this clearly and accept we can choose to let go of the fear. This is liberation.

Anonymous said...

^---LOL!!

White Zen
Punk Zen
Green people from mars Zen.

None compares to anonymous's "Real" Zen.

LOL, GOOF!

Anonymous said...

This Muho thing reminds me of a favorite Bruce Lee quote:

Unenlightened followers can turn truth into a tomb -

The founder of a style or method might have been exposed to some partial truth, but as time passed by, especially after the passing away of its founder, this partial truth became a law or, worse still, a prejudiced faith against the "different" sects. In order to pass along this knowledge from generation to generation, the various responses had to be organized and classified, and presented in a logical order. So what might have started off as some sort of personal insight of its founder is now solidified knowledge, a preserved cure-all for the mass conditioning. In so doing, the followers have made this knowledge not only a holy shrine, but a tomb in which the founder's wisdom is buried. Because of the nature of organization and preservation, the means would become so elaborated that tremendous attention must be given to them, and gradually the end is forgotten. The followers will then accept this "organized something" as the total reality. Of course, many more "different" approaches would spring up, probably as a reaction to "the others truth." Pretty soon these approaches too would become large organizations with each claiming to possess "truth" to the exclusion of all others.
_______________

The meaning of life is that it is to be lived, and it is not to be traded and conceptualized and squeezed into a pattern of systems.



Flow in the living moment. — We are always in a process of becoming and NOTHING is fixed. Have no rigid system in you, and you'll be flexible to change with the ever changing. OPEN yourself and flow, my friend. Flow in the TOTAL OPENNESS OF THE LIVING MOMENT. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond like an echo.



http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bruce_Lee

john e mumbles said...

BTW and FWIW I read the link in the Muho blog to the LA group and see absolutely nothing at all wrong with your requirements to become resident teacher and feel like they would benefit from such an arrangement.

It will totally fuck with your boundary thing, though.

...Just sayin'.

anon #108 said...

...the 24 hours of the day are indeed practice.

Says Muho: "That idea itself is not practice. It is just an idea."

Yes it is. So what is gained by calling everything "practice"? Nothing but an unnecessary layer of smug self-monitoring 'mindfulness'. I suggest.

If you haven't yet noticed that this is it, calling it "practice" won't help. Just do it. Then do the next thing.


- - Don't mind me. I've got a thing about calling everything "practice" like I've got a thing about calling everything a "koan". If it works for you...

**********************************************************************

Hey anon @ 9.12am! Very refreshing to hear the genuine dharma from someone who really knows Buddhism. Just a little nit-pick - you don't get "made a Roshi" by your teacher. You see, Roshi is a Japanese word that means....never mind.

(You're kidding, right? Pretty funny ;) ;))

Anonymous said...

Actually you do get made a Roshi by your teacher, you dumb fuck. Go back to being a leech on society. Idiot.

Mumon said...

It seems to me, similarly to what others have pointed out, is that Muho's point is 切磋琢磨 (せっさたくま) is important and, yes, one can infer that whatever your status as teacher, that 切磋琢磨 is missed if ango is not part of your practice.

Now of course you spent a bunch of time at a bunch of monasteries (to which I'd assume the retort would be that one might have to spend longer time at said places).

All of that said, 切磋琢磨 is important. Just ask my family.

Anonymous said...

108, The kid is angry because he's ignorant. Probably not wise to be sarcastic with him.

anon #108 said...

Actually you do get made a Roshi by your teacher, you dumb fuck. Go back to being a leech on society. Idiot.

Oh no you don't!

(Your turn :))

MT Klein said...

Hi Brad,

maybe it will be a good idea to talk to Muho directly and not to talk about him. I like your approach and I like Muho's (with all the snow and stuff), but in the end you and him are the same, so why not talk to yourself ;-)

Greetings

mtk

anon #108 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...

Your probably right, 10.22 am. I should know better.
But it's fun - and I'm lonely :(

captcha = monarse. Really That's what it says.

Anonymous said...

Zen and the Art of Religious Prejudice

Efforts to Reform a Tradition of Social Discrimination

Since the so-called Machida affair, the Sõtõ Zen school has become
embroiled in controversies over traditional institutional practices that foster
prejudicial attitudes and social discrimination. In response to public
denunciations by the Buraku Liberation League, the Sõtõ school founded
a Human Rights Division charged with eliminating discriminatory practices
and reforming Sõtõ’s public image. Evidence of discriminatory language,
necrologies, posthumous names, talismans, and ritual practices
within Sõtõ has been publicized and steps taken to eliminate them. This is
the larger context within which Sõtõ scholars, including advocates of
“Critical Buddhism” (which has attracted wide attention outside of
Japan) have sought to repudiate Buddhist teachings (such as “original
awakening”) that they identify as fostering social discrimination.

http://www.thezensite.com/MainPages/critical_zen.html

Anonymous said...

Muho must be Japanese for "crab in bucket"

RDeWald said...

Wow. Thanks to you and Muho for completely releasing me from any remaining shreds of ambition that may have been subconsciously lurking within me to be part of Soto-shu. I think I'd rather go work for Pat Robertson and the 700 club.

Brad, I am totally willing to say, even in the path of the slings and arrows of the readers of your blog, that I am deeply grateful for what you've taught me about zen practice, and Dogen, etc., even acknowledging that you never had any particular intention to do so.

Being a zen teacher is not something the teacher chooses, the student chooses. You are free to choose the life you want, and coming back here to blog to us amidst what you have to endure here is as much ango as anything Muho self-righteously complains of enduring in his whining post about you. Fact is, he's caught by his own jealousy.

We are all caught in our own self-centered dreams. This is the human condition. Be kind. So will I.

Anonymous said...

A Note On Dharma Transmission And The Institutions Of Zen

So, what really is actually going on? Most scholars agree the concept of "lineage" arises in early medieval China. It is part of a movement that on one hand acknowledges the Chinese culture's emphasis on proper relationships between parents and children, and between teachers and students. On the other hand, it makes claims of antiquity for what was in reality a new school. Through the story of lineage, this new school — which was the child of Indian Buddhism and Chinese culture, particularly Taoism — could point to its place as a wisdom tradition that was completely Chinese and faithfully Buddhist.

To acknowledge that Zen took its shape in China, miles and centuries apart from the actual Buddha, and that it is a human institution with all the flaws that term suggests, is not to say that there is no awakening, nor an authentic transmission. There is something in the stories of kensho and transmission that is precious and true and worth noticing and preserving and passing on.

http://www.thezensite.com/MainPages/critical_zen.html

Anonymous said...

"But it's fun - and I'm lonely :("

I get that 108. I'm prone to mockery myself. Trying not to subtly call someone a name is proving to be very difficult and it's only the 3rd.

Harry said...

Anon 11:06, you'd probably enjoy McRae's 'Seeing Through Zen'.

While it has some questionable reasoning, it makes what seems like a very good point in indicating, and demonstrating, that the whole 'lineage' thing has been created/imagined retrospectively at various times in history. In other words, a broader, messier, less homogeneous and more dispersed historical situation was rendered a coherent 'lineage' to appear to give legitimacy (and power, of course) to current players.

McRae also makes the (I think) good point that the lineage thing should not just be discounted as pseudo history because the whole process of its creation contains its own truths and worth in that it shows the needs and values of those involved in creating it. It would be easy to retrospectively project our own values onto those 'lineage-ists' in the past who simply may not have had the same worth on historical accuracy as we do in our time/culture: To do so might be to create our own retrospective myth of legitimacy (our very own legitimacy and superiority) I suppose.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

@Harry
did not know about the book, must check it out in the future:

John McRae is the Professor East Asian Buddhism at Indiana University and has published extensively on early Chan history.

Seeing through Zen is a critique of the contemporary understanding of Chinese Chan history which has come down to the West, largely uncritically, through a mythology (and that's probably the best word for it) created mainly by the religion itself over the last two thousand years to be swallowed (in many cases) lock, stock and barrel by Western teachers of Zen and their students. Over the last twenty or thirty years both Western and Eastern academics have begun a more critical evaluation of the history of Chan based largely on translations of primary writings of the school itself using a more nuanced understanding of historical development, sociology, economics, linguistics — indeed, a wide array of scholarly tools which enable a more holistic (and far more complex) understanding of the development of Chan.

McRae's book is part of an ongoing process of placing Zen in a clearer historical context which often clashes with the mythologies taught in today's Zen centres in both the East and the West. Zen Buddhism is all about removing the scales from our eyes and seeing clearly. This should include the history of the religion itself. All illusions must be seen through. Chan deserves a book such as this but this is only a beginning in the long process of taking Chan out of medieval China and Zen out of Japan and dragging it, often kicking and screaming, into this new millennium.

http://www.thezensite.com/ZenBookReviews/seeing_through_zen.htm

OsamaVanHalen said...

It almost seems to me that Muho is saying that HE is the REAL Western Zen Master because he has jumped through all of the Sotoshu hoops and all the other Europeans and Americans (including Brad) are just posers.

How many Japanese Zen monks or priests follow every step on Muho's Sotoshu Candy Land board and end up as temple bureaucrats and funeral directors with no exceptional insight? Is Muho concerned about them or is their relative obscurity less of a threat to REAL Zen as Muho defines it?

Anonymous Bob said...

Muho is saying that the type of Buddhism Brad practices is like jerking off to a small picture of Alessandra Ambrosio. The type of Buddhism he practices is like having children with Alessandra Ambrosio. This is really wonderful because what he is saying under all the Zen speak is that he is a man and Brad is a boy even though he is actually younger. That allusion really did grab Brad's attention. Maybe Muho was the penis poster from a few days ago. Do you think?

tattoozen said...

Anyone know the size of Muho's cock?

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

@tattoozen:

all circles are the same size.

merciless said...

Ran: "The former abbot Miyaura Shinyu (1948–2002) protected this quiet life of Zazen while putting the ideal of a self-sufficient monastery into practice, until his sudden death in the snow in February 2002. His disciple, the German monk Muho Noelke (b. 1968), continues as the present abbot." - Wiki

roman said...

I don"t think the whole problem is about who should be considered a true Buddhist teacher but what a true Buddhist teacher should do and teach. A true Buddhist teacher has to have experience practicing zazen, studying Buddhism and living a real life inspired by a true Buddhist teacher. But if a Buddhist teacher doesn't, through the way he practices zazen, explains Buddhism and lives his or her life, point in the direction of the naked truth that is even beyond Buddhism, then idealism (or in some cases materialism)can be some kind of parasite on the original teaching. Then ideas can replace the truth. In other words, they stick and don't give way to the truth. I am afraid that Muho is adding something to Buddhism that sticks or hangs in the air.

Anonymous said...

"Zen practice happens when you cook, eat or go to the toilet."

I hear this a lot. I will go along with Dogen on cooking and eating but concerning toilet time most people just want to do it, clean up and get out fast.

roman said...

I used to practice with a Californian teacher, whose name I'd rather skip, who seemed to encourage me to develop my character and heart and compassion by adding something to my original self, which was very frustrating and confusing for me. When I met Mike, all he did was cut off whatever was sticking out of me, whatever was not part of my real self. Mike (and Brad, too, as much as I know), try to show their students that the truth is right here and there is nothing special we should develop or attain, while some Buddhist teachers do the opposite - encourage their students to grow something, cultivate something, develop something and attain some kind of wonderful maturity and wisdom and insight. Sawaki, as far as I know, was very critical of this attitude. We do develop something or do mature in the process of Buddhist practice but that is not adding something, it is just focusing more and more on reality which is something that nobody can boast about. We cannot possess the truth personally, but we can let it be, by not adding anything to it.

Lauren said...

Brad or other....Okay, what am I missing? I followed the link and searched it and through previous chapters of the same "lotus in the fire" and found no reference to "Brad" or "Warner" or even indirect mentions of a Buddhist person dealing poorly with a Los Angeles group.

Are you sure this guy is ripping on you?!

Shonin said...

"I hear this a lot. I will go along with Dogen on cooking and eating but concerning toilet time most people just want to do it, clean up and get out fast. "

You think the Buddha Realm stops at the toilet door? Does Zen practice have to do with slow or fast?

anon #108 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shonin said...

Roman, knowing your real self, and learning to accept things just as they are IS cultivating insight and maturity. Chasing after ideals in my experience usually isn't.

anon #108 said...

Nicely put, if I may say so, Roman.

One question Muho and other monastics pose comes down to this:

How much zazen does a person need to do in order to...what?

**********************************************************************

Hi Lauren,

>Penultimate paragraph. If in doubt, click the link Muho gives at the end of that paragraph - "details here", it says. (Or use these links).

Shonin said...

"How much zazen does a person need to do in order to...what?"

Sounds like an invitation to spiritual materialism to me.

dharmapiglet said...

Brad,
Please could you expand in another blog on "setting boundaries" and how this works in (if at all) with Zen? I would really appreciate some comments from you (and others!) on this
Thank you

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

Richard Baker and the Myth of the Zen Roshi

A theme repeated in Downing's interviews is Suzuki's seemingly quirky idea of reforming Soto Zen in Japan by having his American students go there as living examples of reform. His American students accept this theme unquestioningly. Yet, after Tatsugami Roshi, one of the important training teachers from Eiheji, one of the two main Soto Zen training monasteries in Japan, conducted only one training period at Tassajara, Zen Center's monastery in California, Suzuki "arranged" for him not to return because his American students were so dissatisfied.

http://www.thezensite.com/MainPages/critical_zen.html

http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/CriticalZen/Richard_Baker_and_the_Myth.htm

Anonymous said...

Episode 45 :: Brad Warner :: Sex, Sin, and Zen
http://www.thesecularbuddhist.com/episode_045.php


Episode 24 :: Stephen Batchelor :: Secular Buddhism Arising
http://www.thesecularbuddhist.com/episode_024.php

Buddhism and Secular Humanism
http://thebuddhistblog.blogspot.com/2007/11/buddhism-and-secular-humanism.html

Anonymous said...

On Making a Raft
Speaker: Stephen Batchelor

http://www.upaya.org/dharma/page/23/

Part 1 of 14 – Session 1
Speakers: Martine Batchelor & Stephen Batchelor


http://www.stephenbatchelor.org/upaya14.html

http://www.upaya.org/dharma/tag/godless-religion-or-devout-atheism/page/2/

Anonymous said...

On Making a Raft
Speaker: Stephen Batchelor
Recorded: Wednesday Oct 21, 2009


Why would one make and use a raft to cross a river only to haul it uselessly around as a burden? This is often our unskillful practice, says Stephen Batchelor. We use spiritual practice to encounter life with freshness and openness, not clinging to any particular method, just as we do not carry around a raft after having crossed a river. Each moment is an opportunity to practice. If we truly embody the practice, we can act appropriately and spontaneously in every situation.


http://www.upaya.org/dharma/on-making-a-raft/



http://www.upaya.org/dharma/page/23/

Anonymous said...

Shonin said: "You think the Buddha Realm stops at the toilet door? Does Zen practice have to do with slow or fast?"

Shonin, Like a lot of things you say this seems like it might mean something?? but probably not.. So tell me, What is the Zen attitude you have when taking a shit? Do you like to linger?

Anonymous said...

Then again I don't think Shonin ever takes a shit.

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

Dear Brad,

When an individual such as yourself has the balls to put themselves out there and challenge draconian norms, typically unfounded criticism follows in that wake. I, for one, could not be more ecstatic and appreciative of the life that you have breathed into the pursuit of Zen as a lifestyle. After all, aren't we all ultimately striving towards balance and practical affirmation of our existence within the human experience?

So, in short, F'em. Incidentally, I would posit that this position IS Zen in nature; the recognition of reality and the fortitude to address it positively and in a healthy manner as possible. Sometimes, that means allowing barking dogs to exhaust themselves in their efforts. Being a practitioner of Zen does not compel one to be a doormat for undue abuse.

Thanks again for all you do and the bravery in which you approach it.

Jeremy

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

Anonymous@4:45pm said...

Shonin said: "You think the Buddha Realm stops at the toilet door? Does Zen practice have to do with slow or fast?"

Shonin, Like a lot of things you say this seems like it might mean something?? but probably not.. So tell me, What is the Zen attitude you have when taking a shit? Do you like to linger?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Weasel Tracks sez:
When you find yourself lingering, whole-heartedly linger.

from
THE Patented San Jose VIPASSANA SHIT MEDITATION

:

When entering the bathroom, notice what is happening. Do you need to
shit? Are you going in there to read the paper or for privacy? What are
your feelings? Just observe; do not make judgments. Notice how your
clothes fit. Does the belt feel tight? Just observe; do not make
judgments. As you undo your belt notice how it feels, notice the feeling
of your pants falling down your legs. As you sit, feel the toilet seat
rubbing against your ass. How does it feel? Is it cold or hot? Does
the seat cut your tush? Can you see your genitals or does your belly
cover them? Just observe; do not make judgments.

As you prepare to drop your load, observe what is going on with your
sphincter. Is it relaxing? Do you have to push hard or is it an easy
flow? When you push notice what muscles you use to push. Just observe;
do not make judgments.



BE WITH THE SHIT.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Credit to Stavros.
Original texts may be found at
alt.buddha.short.fat.guy

Anonymous said...

When you enter the nasty overflowing porta-potty, notice what is happening. How does it smell? Not so good? Do not make judgments. As you undo your belt notice how it feels, notice the feeling of your pants falling down your legs into a pool of piss. Do not make judgments. Man it's hot in here.. Breathe it in. Do not make judgments.

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

You think the Buddha Realm stops when we don't have a 'Zen attitude'? Does Zen practice have to do with lingering or not lingering?

Anonymous said...

I apologize to the world for not being as wise and kind as Shonin is. Maybe if I work at it someday I will be.

Shonin said...

So many conditions...

jeremy said...

To all,

Let's remind ourselves once again why we are here in the first place. Let the Mindfulness bell be rung within your hearts and minds.

We're better than the petty disputes expressed over the internet; come and sit.

You are all commendable for your passion; let that be transcendent in your practice.

Jer

Anonymous said...

Well, I think most of us are here out of sheer boredom. Does anyone here really think they'll learn anything here, or that this has anything to do with a phantom ideal called 'practice'?

Shonin said...

Congratulations, you have won the Cynical Nihilist prize. Your prize is...
worthless and completely pointless anyway

Anonymous said...

Why do you come here, Shonin?

roman said...

Shonin, there is a difference between cultivating something that you already have and working on your personality and character by trying to become a different person - or similar to the teacher who is admired for his wonderful mind. Some Buddhist teachers act and speak as if they have become so great, be it wise, quiet, compassionate, kind or whatever (in my own experience) and I don't think that is what Buddha meant and experienced.

Shonin said...

Well there is truth in what you say, but I do think that meaningful - even helpful - discussions happen on occasion. You also suggested that practice was a phantom ideal (although I may not have understood your meaning here).

Shonin said...

That was addressed to Anon above btw

tattoozen said...

Brad and Muho need to stop comparing cock sizes. This is getting ridiculous.

R said...

Sawaki Roshi said: “in the buddha-dharma the most important thing to avoid is defilement. Defilement is when a company president acts being proud of his position.”. (from a small book called Shikantaza, translation by S. Okumura)

Still sometimes one’s greatness is revealed in his action, and sometimes one does need distance, it is not always a matter of defilement.

Shonin said...

"Shonin, there is a difference between cultivating something that you already have and working on your personality and character by trying to become a different person - or similar to the teacher who is admired for his wonderful mind."

I agreed that idealism can be a problem.

" Some Buddhist teachers act and speak as if they have become so great, be it wise, quiet, compassionate, kind or whatever (in my own experience) and I don't think that is what Buddha meant and experienced."

How much of the Pali Canon have you read? The Gautama Buddha does indeed seem to have consistently taught such character development as a result of practice. Also, I agree with those who teach that 'experiencing emptiness/the absolute' and such things is an aspect of practice, the other aspect being character/ethical work and that the former without the latter might be a problem.

R said...

roman - you already have everything. I can not see developing skills or virtues as necessarily wrong. There may be room for both. According to each person’s inclinations. I don’t know the concrete cases you are talking about, but there certainly may be room for seeking self improvement in practically every field, I guess. Especially if the person is particularly inclined to. In such a case preventing it intentionally may be unnatural and due to an unrealistic intellectual attitude.

roman said...

Maybe it's too subtle a difference that I am trying to explain. But the effects it has had on me as a Buddhist student and person are enormous. In the past I felt I should make a progress as a Buddhist student and a person. (That's how my former Buddhist teachers inspired me or rather frustrated me). Ever since I met Mike I feel I should stop trying to make "Buddhist" progress and rather look after what is real in my life which is usually right in front of me. That's a huge relief and gives me much more energy and balance to actually do something for others and care less about myself and my feelings about myself.

Lauren said...

Anon108 thanks. I got caught up in the tedium and masturbation of the article and never made it to the thinly veiled Warner reference.

anon #108 said...

Roman wrote:

" Some Buddhist teachers act and speak as if they have become so great, be it wise, quiet, compassionate, kind or whatever (in my own experience) and I don't think that is what Buddha meant and experienced."

Aren't "as if" are the significant words there? I don't think Roman is suggesting that it's not a good thing to be wise, quiet compassionate etc, or that Buddha thought so (are you?) - but to act and speak as if you are wise (when you may not be)...not so good. Being wise and compassionate may have very little to do with looking and sounding "wise" and "compassionate".

anon #108 said...

...whatever "wise" and "compassionate" might mean.

YW Lauren :)

Harry said...

A favourite quote from Kyudo Nakagawa Roshi:

Q: Some people would like to improve themselves with spiritual practice, to get better...

Roshi: If the desire to become better disappears, then they will become better.


Regards,

Harry.

anon #108 said...

Hi Harry,

I was just gonna add something like ("Being wise and compassionate may have very little to do with looking and sounding "wise" and "compassionate")...or trying to be."

Thanks. Saved me the bother (?)

anon #108 said...

...Even though the desire to be better is a well-intentioned desire and may motivate us to do good things for ourselves and others, right now you can't be better than you are; you never can be "better"; you are always your best.

So it's just different perspectives, isn't it? The first is idealistic - an idea; a hope. The second is the real situation. We don't have to choose, just to understand. I think.

Harry said...

Hi 108,

Do you think this understanding will improve you?

;-)

H.

anon #108 said...

That's a "koan" isn't it, Harry?

:-)

Harry said...

If you like, 108.

It could be called an 'understanding' I suppose, or a recognition... but it invariably cannot happen within the confines of our habitual frames of reference (i.e. 'me, me, me' as opposed 'that, that, that' or 'I want to be this' etc etc).

KN Roshi's saying is nice because, like Dogen, he never really does the lazy-ass 'Zen' thing of just philosophically negating everything (such as 'improvement'), instead he helps direct us to grant real things their right place... which improves them.

Regards,

Harry.

Uku said...

Shonin wrote:

How much of the Pali Canon have you read? The Gautama Buddha does indeed seem to have consistently taught such character development as a result of practice

Does it matter what Buddha or whoever said? Buddha is dead if he ever existed. And besides there are no authentic Buddha's word at all. As you know, Buddha didn't wrote anything at all. Only his followers carried his teachings in the oral tradition about hundred years before those words were written down. Buddha's words? I don't think so. Probably interpretations of Buddha's teachings but not historical Buddha's teachings. And besides, scholars are not even sure when Buddha lived! So referring to Pali canon as historical Buddha's teachings is... well.

This day, this life. Your life, my life, our lives. Buddh is dead, accept it.

Shonin said...

Nice. Sounds like standard Zen wisdom to me.

Anyway I've met people who make no effort to improve themselves and are (apparently consequently) just as useless/unhappy etc as they were before. And people who do push themselves in various ways and consequently grow and mature in remarkable ways.

So, better by who's standard?

Shonin said...

Sorry that was a response to HArry's

"Q: Some people would like to improve themselves with spiritual practice, to get better...

Roshi: If the desire to become better disappears, then they will become better."

Word verification: "dicalize"

Shonin said...

Uku,

It wasn't me who brought up the 'teachings of Buddha' but since you ask, there is quite strong arguments indicating that The Pali Canon was not far off what Buddha taught. Just accept it.

Uku said...

Shonin,

what does it matter if Pali canon is close to Buddha's words? Why is Buddha so important to you? Why are the interpretations of Buddha's words so important to you?

Shonin said...

Uku, I was simply responding to this point from Roman

"...and I don't think that is what Buddha meant and experienced."

But yes, what Buddha experienced and taught does have some relevance to me, as does what Bodhidharma experienced and taught and Hui-Neng and Dogen and Rinzai and my teacher. I do think we can learn from others or at least there can be value in understanding others.

Anonymous said...

shonin said: "there is quite strong arguments indicating that The Pali Canon was not far off what Buddha taught. Just accept it."

Sounds like fundamentalism 101.. Lovely

god exists because the bible says he exists and the bible is right because the bible is the word of god

roman said...

It seems that we are far from the original post of Brad's about Muho's criticism of Brad's attitude toward a group of Zen students, but I think we are still discussing the original problem / what and why Muho criticised Brad at all. And the thing is What is Buddhism after all? I do think it is important to discover and understand and practice what Gautama discovered and understood and practiced. But we need a certain teacher who has the same experience as Buddha had. And our efforts to practice and experience the truth are important. But those efforts point to the present moment turth, not ideas about who is great, not to the far future, not to a dream but to reality here and now.

Some Random Cat said...

Sho'nuff wrote: Anyway I've met people who make no effort to improve themselves and are (apparently consequently) just as useless/unhappy etc as they were before.

1) Before what?
2) How do you know?

And people who do push themselves in various ways and consequently grow and mature in remarkable ways.

True, sometimes. But often effort is wasted, pushing is in the wrong direction, and sometimes it's not needed at all. Anorexia and OCD are two extreme examples.

Shonin said...

"Sounds like fundamentalism 101"

Nonsense. It is no different from discussing the teachings of Socrates as the likely teachings of a historical character called Socrates (given the evidence).

Shonin said...

1) Before what?

Before they made the effort

2) How do you know?

Observation, knowing people personally, anecdote. It's not scientific proof of course but then neither is the point I was responding to.

True, sometimes. But often effort is wasted, pushing is in the wrong direction, and sometimes it's not needed at all. Anorexia and OCD are two extreme examples.

Yes, exactly. What is important is the skillfulness or wisdom involved rather than the total absence of effort of any kind.

anon #108 said...

My understanding of the little bit of research I've read by academics who've studied these things is that there are good reasons to believe that much of the Pali canon is likely to be a reliable record of memorised verse-forms of the teachings of G.Buddha. But some of it is inconsistent too. Not much, though...so I have heard (I've read very little of the canon myself. There's loads).

Does it matter? It is nice/safe/reassuring to be able to have a faith, a belief that a particular religion, philosopher or school of philosophy has cracked it. Like many others, I feel a need to believe and to join up. But I'm also aware of the dangers of that kind of feeling: it can lead you to blind yourself to your own experience - it can make you crazy. Fortunately, Buddhism advises me not to be blind to my own experience, and not to be crazy.

So I drift somewhere between rejection and acceptance - doubt, I guess; scepticism. I think being a sceptical "Buddhist" is ok.

proulx michel said...

Shonin wrote:
Nonsense. It is no different from discussing the teachings of Socrates as the likely teachings of a historical character called Socrates (given the evidence).

Well, there is some evidence that, at least the way Socrates taught was such that almost all of his students (except the most reviled one who always sided with democracy) were up to their ears in a plot to overthrow democracy and impose their rule over the City. This, the Tyranny of the Thirty, involved killing all the opponents, including the entire population of Eleusis (by clubbing them to death) because they opposed themselves to Athens.

It seems then that the accusation made to Socrates of "corrupting the youth" had some bloody bases, in the end.

By the way, the one who always sided with democracy was that depraved guy, Alcibiades.

Harry said...

Shonin: "Anyway I've met people who make no effort to improve themselves and are (apparently consequently) just as useless/unhappy etc as they were before. And people who do push themselves in various ways and consequently grow and mature in remarkable ways.

So, better by who's standard?"


Yours, obviously.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

The Gandhāran Buddhist Texts are the oldest Buddhist manuscripts yet discovered

The texts are attributed to the Dharmaguptaka sect

The Dharmaguptaka are one of the early Buddhist schools. They are said to have originated from another sect, the Mahīśāsakas. The Dharmaguptakas had a prominent role in early Central Asian and Chinese Buddhism

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gandharan_Buddhist_texts

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharmaguptaka

The Dharmaguptaka Tripiṭaka is said to have contained two extra sections that were not included by some other schools.

the Dharmaguptaka school began to accept the Mahāyāna sūtras, but the Mañjuśrīmūlakalpa records that Kaniṣka (127-151 CE) of the Kuṣāṇa Empire presided over the establishment of Prajñāpāramitā doctrines in the northwest of India

The Dharmaguptaka vinaya, or monastic rules, are still followed today in Taiwan, China, Vietnam and Korea

In 1892 a copy of the Dhammapada written in the Gandhārī Prakrit was discovered near Khotan in Xinjiang, western China

Greco-Buddhism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Buddhism

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

Bodhidharma (may have been)a Buddhist monk who lived during the 5th/6th century and is traditionally credited as the transmitter of Zen (Chinese: Chán, Sanskrit: Dhyāna) to China.

Modern scholarship:
Bodhidharma's origins Though Dàoxuān wrote that Bodhidharma was "of South Indian Brahman stock," Broughton (1999:2) notes that Bodhidharma's royal pedigree implies that he was of the Kshatriya warrior caste. Mahajan (1972:705–707) argued that the Pallava dynasty was a Tamilian dynasty and Zvelebil (1987) proposed that Bodhidharma was born a prince of the Pallava dynasty in their capital of Kanchipuram.

Yáng Xuànzhī's eyewitness account identifies Bodhidharma as a Persian (波斯國胡人 bō-sī guó hú rén) from the Western Regions (西域 xī yù, usually referring to Central Asia), and Broughton (1999:54) notes that an Iranian Buddhist monk making his way to North China via the Silk Road is more likely than that of a South Indian master making his way by sea.[20] Broughton (1999:138) also states that the language Yang uses in his description of Bodhidharma is specifically associated with "Central Asia and particularly to peoples of Iranian extraction" and that of "an Iranian speaker who hailed from somewhere in Central Asia".
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhidharma

The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies
By Thomas McEvilley
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4553155406381622401&hl=en#

Greek Buddhism Pt. 1 thru 4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAURSqQ8-Yc

Burke Lecture: Buddhism in a Global Age of Technology
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cX2f6QHkU-I

Greco-Buddhism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Buddhism

Greco-Buddhist art
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Buddhist_Art

john e mumbles said...

108 at 8:30 AM:
"...so I have heard..."

Is often the phrase preceding many memorized "sayings" of yore that found their way into canons and other "holy" collections or books...

"Yore" such a traditionalist!

anon #108 said...

You noticed!
:-D

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

"so he must put down some one else to elevate himself, quite odd."

Are you talking about Muho or Brad?
The shoe fits both feet.

roman said...

Pali Canon, hmmm. OK, I think we tend to confuse interest in history with interest in the truth. I should think that a Buddhist should be interested in what Buddha actually found, not what he said or what others wrote about what he said. Say Buddha Gautama found a golden apple. Then are we interested what was written about the golden apple or where the golden apple is? Whatever was said or written about Buddha is irrelevant unless it points directly to the whereabouts of the apple. Thats' why even historically nonsensical stories about Buddha and his talks are valuable for a Buddhist, as they point to the apple, but useless for historians, as they are known to be fictitious. Now, what do you want, the apple or history? The apple is here. Just find somebody who will help you find it. If you believe Buddha found it, then find someone who will explain what precisely is what Buddha found.

roman said...

And needless to say, the one who will explain it precisely, will fail to explain it precisely, as it cannot be explained precisely. It has to be practiced. So he or she will explain as much as possible until he or she hits the limit where practice or actual experience has to follow.

Shonin said...

"It is nice/safe/reassuring to be able to have a faith, a belief that a particular religion, philosopher or school of philosophy has cracked it. Like many others, I feel a need to believe and to join up."

I think I'm being misunderstood here. Whether or not the Pali Canon is close to the teachings of a historical character called 'Siddharta Gautama' is a historical fact discovered through good scholarship, archaeology etc. It has nothing to do with faith. I didn't say that everything in the Pali Canon was true or even that everything the Buddha said was true.

Shonin said...

"Yours, obviously."

Why not just answer the question Mr Facetious?

Yes I am talking about my standards there - but also standards which are largely shared by most people I think.

anon #108 said...

"I think I'm being misunderstood here...I didn't say..."

Shonin - Nothing I wrote was intended to be a comment on some assumption of your position or what I thought you were "getting at". I just jotted down some thoughts about my own attitude to these things :)

anon #108 said...

I should think that a Buddhist should be interested in what Buddha actually found, not what he said or what others wrote about what he said.

True Roman- but most of us become aware of what the Buddha found through hearing of, or reading about what he said through what's been written about it, and so develops an interest in investigating those words further. But I absolutely agree with you that meeting someone who has made those words real in his/her own life is a more valuable encounter.

tattoozen said...

Cock size, gentlemen. Cock size.

Let's not get too far off-track, mm-kay?

Phalloplasty said...

Pot-kettle, cock?
Got something to say?
Speak, spunk.

john e mumbles said...

Mysterion at 9:30 AM...Its well known in Sufi circles that Bodhidharma was a Persian...Sufi*!


*(Sufism is not exclusive to any particular "tradition." It adheres to whatever religion appears in whatever region of the world it finds expression. For the last 1400 years or so thats been (mainly) Islam.)

Anonymous said...

Shonin said:

"I didn't say that everything in the Pali Canon was true or even that everything the Buddha said was true.

That is a bit different from..

"Just accept it."

HEY TATTOOZEN said...

I'm not going to do the penis thing anymore. Funny to me but not to you, which means I am stopping effective immediately.

Penisong said...

As one hen said to the other as the rooster broke into the hen house:

"You can't stop the cock."

Asschoo said...

As Jack Nicockson said to Tom Cockruise:

"You can't handle the penis!"

THOMAS AMUNDSEN said...

Being one of the only people who have practiced both with Brad and Muho, this is pretty interesting to me... Although I can see some truth in what Muho is saying, it seems completely unnecessary that he should disparage Brad publically like this.

I do remember that a few of the monks at Antaiji were quite anti-Nishijima/Warner. They criticized Nishijima for always talking about training with Sawaki, even though he never received shiho from him or actually practiced as a monk.

People in Dogen Sangha criticize monks because they don't think you need to be a monk to practice, and monks criticise Dogen Sangha for thinking that 2x30 minutes of zazen is true practice. I don't really know what to think yet... Other than it's likely ALWAYS the case that it's better to only worry about your practice, if only because people will think you're a dick when you belittle others' practice publically.

Onan the Barbarian said...

I would like to practice public masturbation, but I don't want people to belittle my dick.

Former tattoozen imp said...

"People in Dogen Sangha criticize monks because they don't think you need to be a monk to practice, and monks criticise Dogen Sangha for thinking that 2x30 minutes of zazen is true practice. I don't really know what to think yet... Other than it's likely ALWAYS the case that it's better to only worry about your practice, if only because people will think you're a dick when you belittle others' practice publically."

And Brad always likes to put out slight but damning stuff about Sanbo Kyodan and so forth, always creating self and other. On and on it goes, and on and on we all go.

Anonymous said...

Imp: Nice of you to leave Tattoozen out of it. It was rather mean of you to use him like that.

Seagal Rinpoche said...

We don’t have to run away from this world. We don’t have to feel harsh and deprived. We can contribute a lot to the world, and we can raise ourselves up in this world. We should feel so good. This world is the best world. If you drive into the mountains, you may see the mountain deer. They are so well groomed, although they don’t live on a farm. They have tremendous head and shoulders, and their horns are so beautiful. The birds who land on your porch are also well groomed, because they are not conditioned by ordinary conditionality. They are themselves. They are so good. Look at the sun. The sun is shining. Nobody polishes the sun. The sun just shines. Look at the moon, the sky, the world at its best.

john e mumbles said...

Ocean of Dharma Quotes of the Week

January 3, 2011

NOBODY POLISHES THE SUN

We don’t have to run away from this world. We don’t have to feel harsh and deprived. We can contribute a lot to the world, and we can raise ourselves up in this world. We should feel so good. This world is the best world. If you drive into the mountains, you may see the mountain deer. They are so well groomed, although they don’t live on a farm. They have tremendous head and shoulders, and their horns are so beautiful. The birds who land on your porch are also well groomed, because they are not conditioned by ordinary conditionality. They are themselves. They are so good. Look at the sun. The sun is shining. Nobody polishes the sun. The sun just shines. Look at the moon, the sky, the world at its best.

Adopted from "Helping Others," in GREAT EASTERN SUN: The Wisdom of Shambhala.

Of interest to subscribers: Ocean of Dharma Quotes of the Week is getting an extreme makeover! Same great content with a terrific new look, starting...very soon.

Ocean of Dharma now has 9,741 subscribers.
Please send comments to the list moderator, Carolyn Gimian, at carolyn@shambhala.com.

Teachings by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, taken from works published by Shambhala Publications, the Archive of his unpublished work in the Shambhala Archives, plus other published sources.
TO SUBSCRIBE, unsubscribe, see the quotes online or read the Ocean of Dharma blog, visit the website at http://oceanofdharma.com

Trungpa's Ghost said...

Seagull: I will haunt your dreams tonight.

bizarro seagal said...

Roses are red, and how do you do? Drink four of these and woo, woo, woo, woo!

Kundun said...

Mumbles,

Just because Trungpa took credit for coming up with the quote doesn't mean a thing. Seagal Rinpoche has lived many prior lives, as has Trungpa. I've heard it told that one of Trungpa's former lives was a acolyte of one of Seagal's and often quoted him in a way to make it appear that he, Trungpa, had come up with the pithy gem. I truly believe that's what happened here.

Anonymous said...

"There has been a recent, and ongoing, scandal in the U.S. Zen world, with a prominent teacher, Eido Shimano Roshi, being accused of sexual harassment of his students. Much of what has been written about the case seems to have been at best driven by emotion, and at worst hysterical, and much of it has also been driven by personal vendettas against this teacher."

Barry Graham 4-1-2011

anon #108 said...

Hi Thomas Amundsen,

"I do remember that a few of the monks at Antaiji were quite anti-Nishijima/Warner. They criticized Nishijima for always talking about training with Sawaki, even though he never received shiho from him or actually practiced as a monk."

I understand that you're just reporting what some monks at Antaiji thought of Nishijima, but I wonder if Gudo has ever claimed he 'trained' with Kodo? Perhaps he has, but means something different from formal training as understood by Soto-Shu?...I've no idea what the Japanese for 'training' is. I do recall Gudo writing in English that as a young man he studied with Kodo; that he attended many of his talks and sesshins; that Kodo had a great influence on Gudo and that Gudo 'greatly reveres' him as his (first) teacher (Rempo Niwa being the second).

The only other possibility is that Gudo deliberately lied (is that the suggestion?). I've never met Gudo, but from what I've heard from those that know him well, that seems unlikely. He certainly has made no secret of the fact that Kodo would not accept him formally as a student, ie not give him the precepts (some misunderstanding, Gudo has indicated, about what he was requesting).

Whatever, the kind of criticisms you report are indicative of the attitude Muho has demonstrated in his article; a very specific idea of what proper Zen/Buddhist 'training' is and what it isn't, and who has the right to claim it.

anon #108 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...

RIP

Gerry

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

schiz·o·phre·ni·a (def. 2)
2. A situation or condition that results from the coexistence of disparate or antagonistic qualities, identities, or activities

Anonymous said...

Muho's criticism of Brad strongly reminds me of Brad's criticism of Jundo. Isn't that ironic?

Bel said...

In my view, this specific paragraph in Muho's article has nothing to do with "accepting of you als a Zen Teacher", "your personal way versus standard (Soto Shu) way", "western" versus "medieval japanese" and so on.
Instead it points to the special relationship between Zen teacher and students and generally between dharma followers since Buddha Shakyamuni.
In Shobgenzo Zuimonki (II-3) Dogen stated

"There are three steps in the manifestation of virtue. Firstly, it becomes known that the person is practicing the Way. Next, people who aspire to the Way come to that person. And lastly, people learn the Way and practice with him in the same way. This is called the manifestation of the virtue of the Way."

For me, this "practice (together) in the same way" it a necessary condition and the foundation of the Dharma.
My first (very old) japanese teacher acted in this way, my present korean teacher doing so, and it seems to me, that this is also Muho's way. It is no part time job and because of that those are very rare - with or without any "recognition".
I understand that most people never had met such mans and on that score there is such a confusion about what a teacher is - as you can read also here.

_()_
Bel

Harry said...

Hi Bel,

Actually, Muho was taking a very poorly veiled swipe at Nishijima Roshi (with all the ANS/nervous system stuff and generally belittling his vast contribution), a particularly personal poorly veiled swipe at Brad (all the masturbation/married stuff and the 'why not be a perfect zen teacher like me' malarky), and was casting a very cold and stern eye over Dogen Sangha (I really don't know why he singled out Nishijima Roshi/Dogen Sangha for this attack, there are other groups who advocate even less zazen time and who are more removed from the monastic ideal).

... But your point about practicing with a teacher and Dogen's seeing it as essential is a good one. A few practical observations can be considered I think:

Obviously, Master Dogen lived in a monastery with his students. Most Zen practitioners in the world today do not live in a monastery with a Muho, a Dogen, or whoever. Dogen Sangha is unapologetically a lay organisation by contrast as far as I can see. Its lay teachers for lay students in the sense that no-one lives in a monastery. Some people may consider themselves monks (and there are arguments to support this I think) but nobody is pretending to be a Muho or anything).

I tend to think that it would be better if practitioners visited their teacher (or A teacher) regularly for guidance and instruction, but this isn't even always possible for some either.

Societies have changed, as has the context of zen practice/training. Society and culture are generally quite different to the old hierarchical/patriarchal power relationships that existed in Dogen's time. Some teachers are trying to redefine the role in light of this, and in light of the changes in the context of zen practice (i.e. it is increasingly becoming a preserve of lay practitioners, not monks in monasteries). Early on in his career at least Dogen recognised the potential of lay practice (Genjo-Koan was written for a lay student if I remember correctly).

I think we could take a lesson from Master Dogen's unprecedented and inspired use of the written word and employ all our resources to provide good supports to the laity whom, regardless of what some guy in a monastery somewhere seems to think about it, still want to practice zen it seems.

I don't see that Muho is being such a 'good counsellor' or a 'stout friend' to those people with his barely contained, and rather short sighted, vitriol.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

The Problem with Zen Boyfriends

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mariana-caplan-phd/zen-boyfriends_b_782571.html

anon #108 said...

Muho's criticism of Brad strongly reminds me of Brad's criticism of Jundo. Isn't that ironic?

I don't think so, no.

Criticism of internet sanghas in general is not the same thing as criticising Jundo personally...although some commenters have implied that anything Brad writes about netzen is a thinly-veiled snipe at Jundo. Daft. IMO.

I think the more obvious comparison is with Brad's criticisms of Dennis Genpo Merzel Roshi. But I don't see any irony. I mean, Brad's not objecting to criticism per se; he isn't suggesting that no one should be criticising anyone else - he's just answering specific criticisms of his appraoch to teaching Buddhism which, he feels, are unfair and uncalled for.

anon #108 said...

Hi Bel,

We all, to a greater or lesser extent, advise each other not to do it that way, but to do it our way and quote authorities to back us up. But what's true for you, or Muho, or Brad, Buddha or Dogen isn't true for everybody. Clearly.

Lauren said...

With low literacy and even lowest technology I wonder if "practicing with" was the only paradigm available to think of and write about for Dogen et. al.? It is only recently ( i.e. the last hundred or so years) that someone could be aware of a "masters" teachings and yet not have had an effective face to face with them or at least been within earshot of him or one of his informed (i.e. close) students.

Dogged may have said "practice together" because practising apart was not concievable.

anon #108 said...

(Edit -

"We all..."
Make that "Most of us...")

proulx michel said...

Anon #108 wrote:
The only other possibility is that Gudo deliberately lied (is that the suggestion?). I've never met Gudo, but from what I've heard from those that know him well, that seems unlikely. He certainly has made no secret of the fact that Kodo would not accept him formally as a student, ie not give him the precepts (some misunderstanding, Gudo has indicated, about what he was requesting).

In Paris, as I was acting as translator for Gudo, someone asked "Are you a disciple of Sawaki?" (of which Deshimaru had boasted).
Gudo answered flatly: "No! To say otherwise might be more prestigious, but it would not be the truth".

anon #108 said...

Thanks, pm.

Brad Warner said...

I never heard Nishijima claim to have trained with Kodo Sawaki. He said he attended many of his lectures and retreats and that Sawaki was his major inspiration to practice zazen and study Dogen.

There is certainly nothing at all wrong with monastic zen training in and of itself. But when people say or imply that it is necessary, I have to wonder, "necessary for what?"

anon #108 said...

...necessary for what?

Thanks Brad. I think that's THE question too.

Bel said...

Dear Harry,

my japanese teacher was retired, living in a small temple, but the door was always open for lays and monks, even he was ill. My korean teacher is living in Berlin in a small poor appartement, he is teaching calligraphy to pay his rent and foot, mostly to peoples that don't care in buddhism or Zen and in these lectures he even never talk about Zen. But if you have a need to see him, sitting Zazen together, drinking tea or just talk, there are no "office hours", no need for making an "appointment", just make a call.
This sort of guys gives her lives and its only on you to share the praxis. Actually, it has nothing to do with an formal monastic live or change of times. But if you would ask, how can they do so, in my view, they have the time, because they don't write books and blogs about Zen, hold seminars and lectures about Zen (and Sex and Dogen), travel around to promote books, and because of that, their time isn't dissipating by people, who are attracted to those things - you can see this as an "very poorly veiled swipe", but it is only an observation.

By the way, I'm also thinking, refering to Zazen, all this "ANS/nervous system stuff" is totally misleading.

_()_
Bel

roman said...

Blogger Brad Warner said...

I never heard Nishijima claim to have trained with Kodo Sawaki. He said he attended many of his lectures and retreats and that Sawaki was his major inspiration to practice zazen and study Dogen.

There is certainly nothing at all wrong with monastic zen training in and of itself. But when people say or imply that it is necessary, I have to wonder, "necessary for what?"


Exactly. That's why I criticised Muho in one of my previous posts for "not understanding the essence". Maybe that is too much but what is the essence if it has to be found within the curriculum of traditional Japanese monk training and not in everyday life?

I also see nothing wrong with the monastery monk training, but I believe it fits people who for some reason cannot fully focus on Buddhist practice and philosophy in their everyday non-monastic life. (Which was the original reason why monasteries for monks were established, as in those days it was basically impossible to regularly practice and meet the master while having a family and tons of duties of an ordinary medieval person).

anon #108 said...

Bel -

(While we're waiting for Harry)...

So Brad (at the moment, in his mid-40s) is a travelling writer and teacher of Zen/Buddhism. This is the way he chooses to earn a living; by writing, travelling and spreading the dharma as he goes. He's not the first and won't be the last Buddhist teacher who's done it this way. Are you saying there's something fundamentally wrong with it? Is there only one way in which it must be done? What do you think we should do with Brad?

Re the ANS thing. If you've properly investigated what Nishijima means by this (only one aspect of his understanding of Buddhism and zazen) but find it means nothing to you, then you are perfectly free to ignore it.


OK. Gonna sit now. By myself. In my living room. In my flat. In the middle of the noisy city. BIAB.

Harry said...

Hi Bel,

This is the 21st Century and many of us live in very dynamic societies and have diverse life styles. I think it is quite unreasonable to expect everyone to have the lifestyle of an archetypal, traditional zen master. In fact, if zen restricts itself to that, then it may just become as dead as a dodo (as it has at certain periods/places in its history) because it will be meaningless and inaccessible to real, modern people, and unresponsive to the real situation.


What you and I think of the ANS or anything else is really of little bearing to actually doing zazen, and Master Nishijima has always acknowledged this very directly. The ANS thing is a pet theory of his because, I think, he is interested in physiology and he feels that this theory explains the effect of zazen in a way that modern people can understand. For him I think it takes it out of the realm of mystery and conjecture, and religious quackery. It would be overstating the point to say that it was a particularly prevalent teaching among Nishijima's heirs as some of them do not seem to bother with it at all particularly, even if Nishijima deems it important.

Personally I consider it sort of besides the point myself.

Regards,

Harry.

Brad Warner said...

I should also point out that I respect Muho for dissing me. I do not think it's a bad thing when a teacher's attitude is, "My way is best." This shows conviction on the teacher's part. I wouldn't trust a teacher who did NOT have that attitude, at least to some degree.

I think Westerners are very sensitive to this attitude because we've seen what happens when our own religions say, "My way is best... and we should go out and kill all those who don't follow my way."

But I've never seen a Zen teacher who added that 2nd extra statement. Nishijima's attitude was "My way is best... and if you don't agree you are free to go somewhere else." That I could respect.

I wouldn't want to study with a teacher who was half-assed about this, who seemed to believe that every other way was just as good as his.

Bel said...

Dear Harry,
for me "giving my live" is the heart of the Dharma. I don't think, it depends on a century. If that is gone, "zen" is already dead as a dodo.

_()_
Bel

Bel said...

Dear Brad,
last year I met Muho in Germany and there were also some minutes to blabber privately on these topics. He really don´t think "My way is best".
Read the articles on his site from 2010.

_()_
Bel

Harry said...

Hi again Bel,

That may well be the case for you, but I tend to observe that people are different, and will have different capacities in this and all regards. All can contribute, no-one need be excluded.

Regards,

Harry.

Bel said...

You're right.

_()_
Bel

Anonymous said...

I know it is offtopic, but Brad, please make a comment on this article (maybe in another blog entry):

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mariana-caplan-phd/zen-boyfriends_b_782571.html

Some Random Cat said...

Kundun said...

Mumbles,
Just because Trungpa took credit for coming up with the quote doesn't mean a thing. Seagal Rinpoche has lived many prior lives, as has Trungpa. I've heard it told that one of Trungpa's former lives was a acolyte of one of Seagal's and often quoted him in a way to make it appear that he, Trungpa, had come up with the pithy gem. I truly believe that's what happened here.


Oh, how wonderful! We no longer have to worry about plagiarism. Now I can sail through the rest of college without doing any work of my own, taking credit for the work of others, because with the advanced perspective of a higher plane I've already done all this work in a past life. So we have no moral obligation to credit others when we use their words. Thank Buddha, and thank you, Kundun, for bringing this to my attention.

roman said...

My way is best - no problem with it the way Brad explains it. I wouldn't trust a teacher who wouldn't be sure if the way he or she practiced and explained Buddhism was true Buddhism. So I support Muho's confidence.

But what if he is wrong in his understanding Buddhism? I mean practicing and living Buddhism is more important than understanding. So I shut up already.

roman said...

Brad, I’d like to know your opinion of the importance of a Buddhist teacher’s understanding the philosophy of Buddhism. On one hand there may be a decent person, honest, practicing and helping students practice regularly, just doing it, on the other hand, such a person may be misleading them in the way he or she explains Buddhism. Even Dogen strictly criticised people who said wrong things about what Buddhism is. But I am not sure if Dogen would criticise someone like Muho, who is doing his best practicing zazen and helping others practice zazen.

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

For the record, I absolute hate typing on an iPad because of the nasty spell corrector. It turned my otherwise astoundingly insightful post into mish-mash.

I suppose I should investigate how to turn it off.

Anonymous said...

Muho raised some points, maybe more about him than about Brad

In reading ' the proposal' Brad sounded like some high school virgin who's idea of getting married to the suitor they don't (yet) know well enough to know if they love them means making an agreement, a contract, to live by--
I'll marry you if...I get days off, months away traveling, my separate entrance and I will meet with you by scheduled appointment when I'm in town...
Brad is honest about who and what he is capable of
providing and it is limited because Brad is limited.
And who isn't?
Teachers are extremely important in this practice
It is human to human and it matters
Teacher's cans and ables and can'ts and incapables figure in to the mix and the meld
I wouldn't call Brad a teacher--not yet--not to say that he doesn't 'teach' but his teaching is limited due to his current
immaturity (immaturity as a teacher that is) The range of teaching is limited--
I would call Brad a teachling or some such
There is no shame in it
Time he has spent at different zen centers is excellent for everyone
To blame Brad for his stage of teacher development is foolish: there is nothing he can do about, and nor can any
of us. This does not mean when you ask Brad a question you won't get a good answer. You will. Brad's development as a teacher doesn't effect his understanding dharma ( for lack of better word)
The proposed agreement/stipulations Brad profferd to his
LA group had no devotion in it.
Brad is a bit undomesticated, a wild zen child--look at his zen daddy.
Devotion and domestication come from mutual dependence
Brad is proud of his punk roots DYI and all
but DIY is a lie because it is only part of the story DIWO and DIWE are perhaps more accurate (do it with others; do
it with everything).
Brad has no assistant, no booking agent, no jisha
He attends to the many matters himself and is every bit caught up in miriad and constant interruptions as Muho might describe--Brad after all don't got no room service !
Watching Brad is like watching anything young and immature--charming, endearing, annoying.
How can you be mad at the puppy who chews your shoe?
And that is what Brad is: a big zen puppy (he chews shus too Soto among others).
This is not meant to diminish or be dismissive of Brad's place in the current zen world maybe Brad would prefer to see himself as a baby dinosaur rather than a puppy.
What will he grow up to be?
Same thing we all grow up to be
Let's all stick around and find out. 'K? 'K

Anonymous said...

my way is best... hahaha

how can any one know another's experience to make that comparison?

my way works... now that's someone I'll listen to, after looking at them for a while of course!

Anonymous said...

may it be pointed out there is no 'become' there is only becoming?

pr'haps it's unbecoming, but it is ing and not ome just the same.

may it also be pointed out that teachers also are not 'done' at some point, underdone or overdone at others but are constantly 'ripening' as it were' (others may point out examples of one who were/are ripe).

R said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
194 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
R said...

More I wanted to say, but the system wouldn’t let me. (I don’t believe in mumbles, I never did)

So - good night.

roman said...

Anonymous said something like Brad is a chicken teacher. How idealistic!

I think Dogen said if you meet a little girl who has realized the truth, bow to her, if you meet a fox who has realized the truth, bow to her. It has nothing to do with lifestyle, preferences, free time activites, it is just being yourself and not pretending you are somebody else.

Anonymous said...

I believe the above references Nishijima Roshi wanting to study with Sawaki and not being accepted as a student under him.


I think it is not uncommon, though maybe not an everyday event, that a person will admire a certain teacher and that particular teacher not 'feel it'
It happens that teachers turn students away because it just isn't a good match. It is nothing personal, and at the same time it is very personal.

Plenty of zen stories of students standing outside temple gates, cutting of an arm, etc just to prove they will not be dissuaded.

I don't know that I would want to take on a student who cut off his arm to study with me...

Just cause you weren't taken as an official student of a teacher doesn't mean you haven't been influenced by them and can credit them for influencing you

that is my impression of Nishijima and Sawaki--that he gives credit to Sawaki for influencing him

please, somone in the know correct me if I've gotten it wrong

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

I think I have found what I have been looking for - Dogen's opinion of the problem of practicing in a monastery or living an ordinary life like Brad does and who is and is not a teacher of Buddhism. Here's and excerpt from Raihai Tokuzui, a chapter from Shobogenzo, where Dogen explains hte meaning of monastic training and who is and is not a teacher of Buddhism:


As well, there are householders in Song China who practice who have not yet "left home" to become monks or nuns. They live in small hermitages together with their spouses. It must be admitted that some people are celibate but are still sick with confusion and struggle. So, however someone lives, if they truly practice, honour their teacher, and seek the Truth, they are no different from those who have left home. Although you might be a woman, although you might be an animal, it is still the same.

If you are an elder monk a hundred years old but still do not see the truth of the Buddha Way , you are not the equal of any man or woman who has attained the Way. Such old monks should not be offered three Great Bows of homage, although they should be shown the courtesy due to a host or an elder. But they should not be especially honoured.

Any one who practices and attains the Buddha Dharma and wakes up is the teacher and guide of the fourfold community, 27 and the compassionate parent of living beings, even if she is a seven-year-old girl. As an example, the dragon 28 maiden in the Lotus Discourse 29 became a Buddha. Honouring and respecting someone like her is the same as honouring all the Buddhas. This is the ancient standard of the Buddha Way . If you cannot understand this, you cannot receive the Transmission the Buddha Way and are to be pitied.

anon #108 said...

Thanks, Roman.

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