Thursday, June 02, 2011

GALVESTON, HOUSTON, DOGEN and BUDDHIST CLERGY


I've just returned from three days of gallavanting in Galveston, Texas. There was lots of sun, lots of surf, lots of camping equipment. My sister and her husband bought themselves an RV and parked down there at an RV park.

Before that I was at the Houston Zen Center with the incredible Gaelyn Godwin. I gave two talks in one day, something I usually try to avoid. The first talk, at around 10 am was about Dogen's statement that:

"Although realization is not like any of the thoughts preceding it, this is not because such thoughts were actually bad and could not be realization. Past thoughts in themselves were already realization. But since you were seeking elsewhere, you thought and said that thoughts cannot be realization. However, it is worth noticing that what you think one way or another is not a help for realization. Then you are cautious not to be small-minded. If realization came forth by the power of your prior thoughts, it would not be trustworthy. Realization does not depend on thoughts, but comes forth far beyond them. Realization is helped only by the power of realization itself. Know that then there is no delusion and there is no realization."

This comes from Kaz Tanahashi's translation. The rest of this passage can be found here. That is, if I didn't mess up the link. Nishijima Roshi's translation is a bit better. But I don't have a link for that, unfortunately.

I recorded the talk and maybe one of these days it'll end up in a podcast. Is anyone listening to these? I think John Graves is doing a tremendous job with them.

The second talk was about my growing feeling that perhaps we really don't need Buddhist clergy anymore -- if we ever did in the first place. The talk was partly based on an article called Church Without Clergy. This article examines the problem of clergy from the Protestant Christian perspective. But most of what the author says could be applied to Buddhism as well.

A lot has been written in books like Scott Edelstein's Sex and the Spiritual Teacher: Why It Happens, When It's a Problem, and What We All Can Do and even my own latest book Sex, Sin, and Zen: A Buddhist Exploration of Sex from Celibacy to Polyamory and Everything in Between about the problem of power differential when so-called "spiritual teachers" have sex with so-called "students." I got into a conversation recently with my first Zen teacher about this. And during the conversation the idea emerged (I can't recall from which of us, probably from him) that perhaps the problem is not how to deal with this power differential, but that there is any power differential at all involved. It does not need to be that way. This is a problem that goes far beyond any considerations of student/teacher sex and into the entire structure of Buddhist clergy.

It's a big topic and I've been trying hard to write an article about it. So far I have failed miserably. So you won't be reading that one today. But I think it's a very important subject.

I recorded that talk too. And maybe one of these days it will also end up in a podcast.

I also got to spend some time with my friend Christine Buckley. She writes a blog called Seeking Shama that is very good and wonderful and great. I keep forgetting to plug it here. Sorry Christine!

We ate ice cream and looked at bad art.

66 comments:

crookedteef said...

haha

Chet said...

I subscribe and listen to the podcast. So, there's at least one. Feel good about it.

Mysterion said...

We ate ice cream and looked at bad art.

art is arte in the eye of the beholder...

perspective.

cheers

Joel Schooling said...

The Nishijima shobogenzo can be downloaded free and I think legally (the pdfs are protected) here: https://www.bdkamerica.org/default.aspx?MPID=81

Brad, if this isn't a legal thing, please remove this link and notify the publishers.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

We should be careful to distinguish between "teachers" and "clergy". People who think there is nothing to learn, or, worse, that they already know it all, are a menace to themselves and others.

Having a teacher is an essential gate to pass through in any spiritual tradition. Anyone who is not willing to willing to take on the role of "student" should be barred, for everyone's sake. This is like a red flashing warning light that says, simply: "EGO EGO EGO".

We don't allow people to just teach themselves how to drive, or at the very least we insist that everyone take and pass certain tests before being given a drivers license. The mind is far more dangerous, and difficult to operate, than any motor vehicle. We all need teachers. Lots of them. The more, the better.

Mettai Cherry said...

Professional "Zen Teachers" are in fact "Clergy" and problems. The entire Sangha should be both student and teacher at the same time. Whenever one person is lifted to the rank of being in charge of everyone elses' egos problems are sure to arise. Especially if money, sex or power are involved.

Mysterion said...

What will Rabbi Vaters do for werk?

Arbeit macht das Leben süß

I thought the article ~sans Clergy~ was excellent.

Spiritual matters are not the same as driving a car. A car is generally accepted as real - it can damage pedestrians and fore hydrants - like a pit bull.

Spiritual matters are more like reading Zipes without a librarian.

Who needs a "Sky Pilot" - especially if they are not interested in flying???

If clergy were MORE like librarians and just fetched and shelved books, then they would be somewhat less harmful to small children (e.g. altar boys).

As granny used to say:
"If their pants were as tight as their collars..."

guru Schopenhauer said...

STFU, mysti-dreck.

Go back to the synagogue, and take your drama with you, and Guroo Warnerstein as well. :]

he said ...for a nominal service charge... you can reach nirvanna too-night.

Anonymous said...

I listen hc-zen podcasts, keep 'em coming!

Mike Dolan Fliss said...

Hey, cool, didn't know you were podcasting.

My two cents on power. While you can eliminate the institutional roles, I don't that in and of itself gets rid of the power people see as they see things through stories. Maybe gives one fewer excuse to put someone in a role, but in my experience people can see you as a role/idea up or down (thinking you're a teacher, that you're a student), whatever. Still, looking forward to seeing what you end up saying about that.

karnak said...

I'm a podcast fan too! :)

Anonymous said...

(Insert troll comment here.)

I'm feeling lazy today.

Mysterion said...

we should advocate the complete elimination of foreign aid to ANY warring state. Write your congressman and senator today. This really should not be put on the back burner.

Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.

Neither side can claim to be right, correct, backed-by-god(s), or anything of the sort where war and killing (salient beings) is concerned.

Buddhists have known this for 2,100 years. Some primitive sacrificial cults - and those who practice cannibalism - may take another few thousand years to figure it out. Or not.

It's time to "Stop kicking the can down the road" and clean up this bit of garbage.

Act locally to improve globally.

Pretaville said...

Is "cannibalism" is your cheap little Freudian reading of the Mass, Mysti trash? You really are confused. That's called ..a symbol, or metaphor (for starters)--and from pre-christian, pagan roots actually

Buddhists are hardly the peace-religion. Perhaps not quite as guilty as the..sons of Abraham (ie, jews, muslims, christians) but they have a great deal of blood on their hands --japanese, singhalese, burma, india etc. Even Chrissy Hitchens understands that

JP II dissed BushCo. Don't recall any hindoo or boodhist leaders doing the same

Harry said...

I wonder. If we dissolved all these Big Bad Institutions would people just find other ways of relinquishing responsibility for themselves?

You don't need a Big Bad Institution, or a religion, to do that of course. People disempower and relinquish their responsibility all the time in other ways, don't we?

Part of doing that is looking for someone else to blame. Sometimes someone else is largely to blame. Often not, and often that's just a distraction from the matter at hand.

Regards,

Harry.

Le'Andra said...

Oh, oh!
Okay, so, I have a completely unrelated question to your post (that I did read!):
If we have a question, and we'd like to email you said question, how do we do this?
...I don't use blogger enough to know how to find such things.
..or, uh, are we... allowed too?
(btw, I just finished Sex, Sin, and Zen. Awesome job, yo.)

Anonymous said...

http://homepage.mac.com/doubtboy/contact.html

Anonymous said...

That contact page is way old, but his email address is there.

Le'Andra said...

Aw, yay, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Lineage Delusions: Eido Shimano Roshi, Dharma Transmission, and American Zen

http://sweepingzen.com/2011/02/08/lineage-delusions-eido-shimano-roshi-dharma-transmission-and-american-zen/


Episode 63 :: Erik Storlie :: Lineage Delusions

http://www.thesecularbuddhist.com/episode_063.php




http://www.thesecularbuddhist.com/episode_index.php

Brad Warner said...

Anon 6:01

The Lineage Delusions article is good. But the author's assumptions about the meaning of Dharma Transmission are entirely wrong. Which is OK because they are also entirely common and very widespread. So saying what he says about that widespread assumption is, I think, good.

Still, he's wrong.

Cyril Coombs said...

I really like your podcast. Please keep em coming

Lone Wolf said...

I was just listening to a couple of those podcasts last night. Sex and Buddhism Part 1 and The Tranquil Man...(Thanks John Graves!) I wondering if the discussion in the former podcast about inequality in relationships relates to the subject of this post? I definitely like the idea of no power differential involved in Buddhism. It’s interesting how Buddha taught equanimity, but how there are such hierarchies of power within Buddhism. Such power hierarchies have created some difficulties for me. That is why I’m always going back and forth about working with a teacher or not. On one hand, I have a somewhat intuitive feeling that I should be working with a teacher. On the other hand, I’m not a fan of the hierarchy and trust is not my strength. I’d just like someone with experice to bounce ideas back and forth with to gain deeper understanding and encourgement.

Btw, I think I was the douchebag bugging Brad on Facebook Chat about spiritual teachers. Oops! (He speaks about it on the podcast.)

Speaking of bugging Brad, does he answer emails anymore? I’ve sent him a few questions and nothing. I’m guessing he is either too busy to respond, overlooks them, or thinks I’m a douchebag and my questions are stupid.

In the words of THE DUDE, “Bummer, man!”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24Vlt-lpVOY

Anonymous said...

"The Lineage Delusions article is good. But the author's assumptions about the meaning of Dharma Transmission are entirely wrong."

Hi Brad. I would like it if you could set us all straight about the reality of Dharma transmission. It's good to point out that Storlie got it wrong and all but why not take an extra couple of minutes and explain why. I figure frigging myterion is going to weigh in with his two cents and you probably won't even bother to. Fuck me.

Lone Wolf said...

I also have that problem with forgeting since I've been sitting. Hey, that ryhmes!

Anonymous said...

Yes, do away with clergy and ban all forms of titles, by all means. They simply support a power structure which leads to corruption, abuse, and overly inflated egos. Let those be respected who earn that respect due to their actions, not due to their titles.

Delbertino said...

Brad I am glad to see that your thoughts on the nature of the student-teacher relationship are moving beyond sex. I think power is the key issue.
I am a teacher, as in of kids, and I work really hard to try and diminish the element of power in the relationships I have with kids. To me if I assume all the power, or majority of power, what room is there for the kids to express themselves?

The only thing is when you take away any idea of power, or someone who is in charge or at least responsible in some way for the group, that people with more dominant personalities can take over anyway. There are always people who like to put themselves forward and people who don't. Maybe its necessary to have someone to balance that out? Maybe not....

As I was reading your post I thought about Suzuki's idea of Zen mind, Beginner's Mind and wondered if you become a teacher and attach to that identity do you then lose sight of youeself as a student? If being a zen teacher maybe a goal that people have and once you've achieved that you're done?

I like the idea of an autonomous group of individuals who are all students together, sharing in their experiences and learning from each other. I'm just not sure how possible that is given some people just love to hear their own voice and yearn to be in charge.

Soft Troll said...

The Nishijima & Cross version (online Pdf) of the extract quoted by Brad.

To have thought, prior
to realization, that it will be like this or like that, was not useful for realization. That it was different from how we had supposed it to be, in all our miscellaneous prior thoughts, does not mean that our thinking, being very bad, had no power in it. Even the thinking of that time was realization itself, but because we were then directing it the wrong way round, we thought and said that it was powerless. Whenever we feel that [we are] useless, there is something that we should know; namely, that we have been afraid of becoming small. If realization appears through the force of thoughts prior to realization,
it might be an unreliable realization. Because it does not rely upon [realization], and it has come far transcending the time prior to realization, realization
is assisted solely by the force of realization itself. Delusion, remember, is something that does not exist. Realization, remember, is something that does not exist.


(SHŌBŌGENZŌ
THE TRUE DHARMA-EYE TREASURY
VOLUME IV, Trans. Gudo Wafu Nishijima and Chodo Cross. From Chapter 91: Buddhas Alone,
Together with Buddhas (Yui-butsu-yo-butsu)

Soft Troll said...

For comparison:

...you will see that, prior to your awakening, whatever you thought it would be like is neither here nor there when actually experiencing an awakening. And even though it will be different from all the
various ways that you may have previously thought, this does not mean that those views are fundamentally wrong and have played no part in your awakening. Even your past views comprised an awakening of sorts. However, because your thinking has been topsy-turvy, you may think that such views have been useless, and you may speak of them as being so. Whenever you think that your views are useless, there is something that you need to recognize: namely, that you are afraid that an
awakening will be overpowering. If your previous ideas about enlightenment could bring forth a true awakening, then you may feel that your realization is unreliable. Since genuine enlightenment does not depend on some special capability and goes
far beyond the time prior to your realization, your awakening is assisted simply by the innate power of realization. Keep in mind that delusion is something that has
no physical existence, and keep in mind that enlightenment is also something that
has no physical existence!


(Trans. Hubert Nearman, online Pdf.)

alongside the Tanahashi version again:

Although realization is not like any of the thoughts preceding it, this is not because such thoughts were actually bad and could not be realization. Past thoughts in themselves were already realization. But since you were seeking elsewhere, you thought and said that thoughts cannot be realization. However, it is worth noticing that what you think one way or another is not a help for realization. Then you are cautious not to be small-minded. If realization came forth by the power of your prior thoughts, it would not be trustworthy. Realization does not depend on thoughts, but comes forth far beyond them. Realization is helped only by the power of realization itself. Know that then there is no delusion and there is no realization.

anon #108 said...

Thanks, ST.
Nice podcast, Brad.

Bizarro Seagal said...

A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that's unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push.

Brian KissingBear said...

I subscribe to your podcast & YT channel.

Anonymous said...

Someone needs to explore the real of buddhism for authority and power relations. I tend to think the practice isn't really consistent with subordination to power figures of any kind, incl. teachers and gurus and leaders.

Anonymous said...

"that perhaps the problem is not how to deal with this power differential, but that there is any power differential at all involved. It does not need to be that way."

Brad. I think this is where you are completely astray. There is always subtle power differential between student and teacher. That's how human mind works, please drop the anarchist ideological bullshit and accept the basic psychological facts of human psyche.

Authority is always problematic and dangerous, but its also useful and beneficial.

Normal person with healthy self image can take and give authority role as situation demands. Person who can't project authority to others has problems with his own personal growth and should not take authority roles.

If the power difference is healthy, it's the student that gives authority to the teacher. Not absolute authority, nor noncritical obedience, but still some authority (mostly unconscious). Good teacher just stays as he is and student sees the teacher trough the authority he as projected to the teacher. Teacher is just someone mirrors the student. In reality this never works perfectly, but that is part of working with authority in healthy way. Idealization drops away.

Pygostyle said...

Q: What would Pope John Paul II be doing if he was alive today?








A: Clawing at the inside of his coffin.

Awakened Yeti said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Awakened Yeti said...

buddhism isnt the only place with hierarchies..

mcdonalds has them too

golden hierarchies

Mysterion said...

cannibalism - e.g. communion - was borrowed (like the Vatican itself) from Mithras.

And Mithras was borrowed from Hymn 59 Book 3 of the Rig Vida.

But everybody already knew that so I'm wasting data space.

There is nothing to see here, move on...

Anonymous said...

You should read Drucker and other management gurus who use equality as a tool to manage people.

Anonymous said...

Episode 67 :: Scott Edelstein :: Sex and the Spiritual Teacher

http://www.thesecularbuddhist.com/episode_067.php



http://www.thesecularbuddhist.com/episode_index.php


______________
Spiritual Teachers’ Transgressions–and What We Can Do About Them


by Scott Edelstein

The following article appeared on the website sweepingzen.com and is copyright © 2010 by Sweeping Zen. It is adapted from Scott’s book Sex and the Spiritual Teacher: Why It Happens, When It’s a Problem, and What We All Can Do, to be published in March 2011 by Wisdom Publications.

http://sexandthespiritualteacher.com/interviews-etc/spiritual-teachers-transgressions/


http://sweepingzen.com/2010/09/30/spiritual-teachers%E2%80%99-transgressions-%E2%80%94and-what-we-can-do-about-them/

Anonymous Bob said...

'What's his name' said: "I also have that problem with forgetting since I've been sitting."

Is this one of the unspoken side-effects after years of sitting zazen? Shunryu Suzuki started sitting as a child and famously couldn't remember anything..

How important is memory when you are trying to stay in the moment? Not very I'd guess, but in day to day living it's important enough.

Does zazen really affect memory function?

CAPTCHA : unrolit : I kid you not

chairman wao said...

to blast booodha icons, or not to blast

that be a question

Pretaville said...

Mysti, the metaphor of the catholic Mass (whether one believes in it or not) is obviously beyond you, jewboy.

for that matter, communion like rituals predated "mithras"--tho perhaps some hindu influence-- also Egyptian, ala osiris and the spring flood of the nile.

Then Mysti does know how to search wikis. Mysti's wiki-zen-co, now designed for professional and busy konsumers.

You don't know f**k about JP II either. But he was hated by ...neo-cons (ie most guppies into "zen")

Brad Warner said...

Lone Wolf, I'm sorry I haven't answered your emails. I'm not even sure which ones you're referring to.

I get anywhere from 2-5 emails per day from people who I do not know, who have read my books. I tend to answer the ones that seem urgent and leave the rest for "later."

There was a time when I would allot a few hours each week to answer these random emails. But it always stretched into a full day because I don't like giving half-assed answers.

The other prob is that with certain people, once you answer one email they assume they're your buddy and send dozens more. Of course not everyone does this. Actually most do not. But I can never tell which ones are going to be like that.

Another problem I have is that names on emails mean almost nothing to me. I've met you, Lone Wolf, but even now I'm wracking my brain to come up with your real name and I can't.

So imagine yourself getting 5 emails today, one of which is from Bob Jones who you think you may have met once but you're not sure. One is from someone who is about to kill herself unless you tell her the Secret Answer To Everything. Two are saying they think your books are swell. One is seventeen paragraphs long with no punctuation or spacing. And one is from Bob Jones.

Plus you have four emails from places who've invited you to speak. These contain complicated logistical questions involving travel in foreign countries. You have all the usual spam. And there's one from an ex-girlfriend is chastising you for doing something you thought was pretty fun at the time and assumed she did too because she giggled the whole way through it.*

What do you do?

Seriously. Tell me. Cuz it might help.


*I'm talking about going on a rollercoaster you perverts!

Anonymous said...

What's with the Soto conspiracy to debunk Dharma Transmission? Is it because there are no real masters in the Soto sect, and therefore they have nothing to measure themselves by? Would they prefer Dharma Transmission by committee (which is already happening in some Soto schools right now in Suzuki Roshi's lineage). Or would they rather just make Zen more scholastic, with credits, certificates, and teaching licenses so that any joe-schmo who does the academic dance can make himself a Zen teacher? I think that is what the Soto people want. They want to turn Zen teaching into a watered down form of psychiatry where no one actually realizes or manifests anything. When you put all of this together, you can begin to see the end of Zen in America. Well,It was fun while it lasted.

Mysterion said...

In Zen, none have anything to "measure themselves" against in the moral (treatment of 'self) or ethical (treatment of 'others') sense.

It is the "R" word. You take responsibility for the consequences of your actions.

However, google Mo Tsu and "the will of heaven" and you will see that there are absolutes that, for some (in ancient times) appeared to have functioned - symbolically.

Fuxi and Newa also had similar absolutes.

Mysterion said...

And RCC-bot:

I carry the R1a allele" and not the J1 or J2. No Cohens in my woodpiles.

Russians, yep. Jews (Hebrews?), whoever they are/were/may be - nope.

Xtianity is Armenian in origin and I am an HMOT Armenia. ;-)

Mysterion said...

Oh... (Jew Boy)

I get it.

My mother's mother's mother's mother WAS an affinity group Jew. That makes me 1/2 Octoroon Asher/Benjamin/Dan/Ephraim/Gad/Issachar/Judah/Manasseh/Naphtali//Reuben/Simeon/Zebulon. But then in Idaho, horny guys went after a woman - any women (before they went after the altar boys).

My dad's parents were BOTH RCC, like Joe Ratz and Hitler:

"I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so" -- Adolf Hitler

anonymous anonymous said...

As much as I hate mysterion.. I really don't like to hear him referred to as jewboy. It's sort of funny i suppose but what is to be gained by using his own tactics against him. I hate him for what he says and not for who he is.. I don't know who he is. It's a loving hatred.

Brad Warner said...

I don't know if there's a conspiracy to debunk dharma transmission. But some are doing it.

As for the Suzuki lineage, as far as I'm aware they're not doing transmission by committee. They choose abbots by committee. But that's not quite the same thing. Though abbots do have to be transmitted teachers.

Lone Wolf said...

Thank you for explaining the email situation Brad. I sympathize with you (I know I wouldn't want to answer all those emails).

I sent you a message with info about applying for Grad School and asked a couple of questions. It's probably not that important, but I'll resend in case you want to read it (the title "Grad School/Questions") I also sent another one about you possibly coming down to South Ohio to do a 1 or 3 Day-Sit, but I just graduated... and I'm broke... so I don't see that happening anytime soon (or at least til I find a job and build of some cash flow).

I won't email you in the future unless I can definitely sit up a gig or have an urgent question about practice or if it pertains to your or Nishijima's teachings.

Anonymous said...

Mysterion is not a "Jewboy".

He is a secret Muslim.

The proof is on his long form birth certificate.

john e mumbles said...

Oh oh oh oh oh

Up every evening 'bout half eight or nine
I give my complete attention
to a very good friend of mine
He's quadraphonic, he's a,
he's got more channels
So hologramic,
oh my T V C one five
I brought my baby home, she
She sat around forlorn
She saw my T V C one five, baby's gone, she
She crawled right in, oh my
She crawled right in my
So hologramic,
oh my T V C one five
Oh, so demonic,
oh my T V C one five

Maybe if I pray every, each night I sit there pleading
"Send back my dream test baby,
She's my main feature"
My T V C one five, he, he just
Stares back unblinking
So hologramic,
oh my T V C one five
One of these nights I may just
Jump down that rainbow way, be with my baby, then
We'll spend some time together
So hologramic, oh my T V C one five
My baby's in there someplace
Love's rating in the sky
So hologramic,
oh my T V C one five

[CHORUS]
Transition
Transmission
Transition
Transmission

Oh my T V C one five, oh oh, T V C one five
Oh my T V C one five, oh oh, T V C one five
Oh my T V C one five, oh oh, T V C one five
Oh my T V C one five, oh oh, T V C one five

Maybe if I pray every, each night I sit there pleading
"Send back my dream test baby,
She's my main feature"
My T V C one five, he, he just
Stares back unblinking
So hologramic,
oh my T V C one five
One of these nights I may just
Jump down that rainbow way, be with my baby, then
We'll spend some time together
So hologramic, oh my T V C one five
My baby's in there someplace
Love's rating in the sky
So hologramic,
oh my T V C one five

Oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh
Oh oh oh oh oh

[CHORUS]
Transition
Transmission
Transition
Transmission

Oh my T V C one five, oh oh, T V C one five
Oh my T V C one five, oh oh, T V C one five
Oh my T V C one five, oh oh, T V C one five
Oh my T V C one five, oh oh, T V C one five
Oh my T V C one five, oh oh, T V C one five
Oh my T V C one five, oh oh, T V C one five
Oh my T V C one five, oh oh, T V C one five
Oh my T V C one five, oh oh, T V C one five
Oh my T V C one five, oh oh, T V C one five
Oh my T V C one five, oh oh, T V C one five
Oh my T V C one five, oh oh, T V C one five
-Bowie

Anonymous said...

A Note on Dharma Transmission and the Institutions of Zen by James Ford Roshi

http://sweepingzen.com/2010/12/11/a-note-on-dharma-transmission-and-the-institutions-of-zen-by-james-ford-roshi/

"And this isn’t the only problem to reconcile when we look at Zen transmission. A close examination of the traditional lineage charts, such as the one which follows this essay, raises many questions. First, the entire Indian transmission makes no historical sense. It lists the most prominent Indian Buddhist sages more or less chronologically, but then throws together teachers of various and sometimes contending schools, people who have no obvious connection other than being Buddhist and Indian, as if they were in a line leading back to the Buddha and forward to the Zen schools when in fact they are not.

Even the beginnings of the Chinese line are at least questionable. The charts don’t become “historical” within any reasonable usage of that term until the seventh century, with Daman Hongren, the “fifth ancestor” of the Chinese line. And anyone who reads further into the literature of Zen knows there are numerous “breaks” in many of the lines from after that point. Anyone who has observed the formation of Zen institutions in the west or in the east can cite people who appear to have received Dharma transmission for reasons other than their awakened state. In fact in some of the Japanese-derived Soto lineages awakening is not even considered a necessary prerequisite for receiving Dharma transmission.

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."


James Myoun Ford (b. July 17, 1948), aka James Ishmael Ford, is a Soto Zen teacher and cofounder of the Boundless Way Zen school, with colleagues David Dayan Rynick and Melissa Myozen Blacker. An ordained Unitarian Universalist minister and published author, Ford trained with Houn Jiyu Kennett roshi and received Dharma transmission in the Soto Zen tradition from her in 1971. He also pursued a more than twenty year study of koans with John Tarrant roshi (Harada-Yasutani), now of the Pacific Zen Institute. Upon completion of his formal training with Tarrant roshi, Ford received inka shomei

http://sweepingzen.com/2009/12/23/james-ishmael-ford-bio/

Guidance Counselor said...

http://www.collegehumor.com/video/6361570/honest-grad-school-ad

Mysterion said...

When the Catholic church claims 'apostolic succession', what she is saying is that her bishops and especially her Pope have received their office and the 'charism' or gift to fulfill that office through a sacramental laying on of hands called 'Holy Orders'. This office and charism - the fable goes - has been handed down in a direct and traceable line from the Apostles, bishop after bishop and Pope after Pope.

It assumes a magical power in the ritual; the ritual itself confers the charism and the office.

Most discount this entirely as hogwash.

Historically, the first 12 or so (18?) "popes" are highly questionable inventions. Remember, the Hileria was performed in 436 CE and the toleration of the religion was not the adoption of the religion.

The so-called bishop of Rome was not even a party to the Nicene Council in 325 CE.

It's all magic - just magic.

Where's my hat?

Where's my rabbit?

Is it Easter, yet?

CAPCHA=pityttar

john e mumbles said...

Maybe it's Magick.

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

Awakened Yeti said...

its not magic...

its just MONEY

Steven Grant said...

I finally started my own Zen blog so I could write long assed comments about your Zen blog. http://www.holdingalotustoarock.com/2011/06/does-form-of-clergy-add-value-in.html

Mysterion said...

I dunno 'bout Crowley...

but Ozzie's take is kewl...

p.s. I know less than 1% of the Thelema workings...

But in Austin? REALLY?

BPD = Berkeley Police Dept.

snew

Uncle Grady

No other comments...

But wtf, it's just another regular religion so who cares? Only believers.

See y'all Oct 21st. Bring candles.

john e mumbles said...

Todd Pratum (of Pratum Books R.I.P. in Berkeley, etc., he's now distributing through Fields) said the same thing to me once years ago, that is, that he didn't know much about Thelema; in fact he gave me a long lecture about the "evils" of Crowleyanity not knowing that I could give a rat's ass. He turned around and started handling the books after he looked into it and found the research solid enough for such ethereal stuff...Yeah, its a religion but at least the OTO make no bones about the content of the sacrements! I dabbled back in the day when R.A.W., Dr. Hyatt, and Lon M. D. and "nick" were alive (well, Lon's still at it, and "nick" makes the ocassional appearance when summoned!).

Retroman said...

OK, so now we can all talk about 'realization' and 'awakening'? I thought those were a no-no in soto. So, there is realization / awakening but not kensho or satori? Oh wait, those ARE the japanese words that mean realization / awakening. Or is it just soto dogma that you can't have any sort of emotional upheaval accompanying these realizations? If you get all teary or laugh then you're just experiencing some trippy, rinzai 'satori' and not realization. PLEEEEAAAZE!
I've read Dogen since Brad was in diapers and I never got the impression he denigrated satori. So much dogmatic bullshit spewing. I agree with everything Dogen wrote in those passages and I did koan work for years. Brad should stop trying to paint rinzai zen and satori as some aberation or false teaching.

Pretaville said...

Hitler was catholic, so all catholics are Hitler!

Then, Mao was an atheist, so all atheists are Mao!

Hirohito was zennist (or close), so all zennists are Hirohito!

Mysti-logick.


That wasn't meant to be especially anti-semitic (I would not deny the Holocaust--or say the 3-4 polish catholics who were killed by the nazis--most of them lutheran--some catholic officers-- and more than a few "mischling") but Mysti's comments generally demonstrate a unflexible, irrational nature which does seem "jewboyish".

Pretaville said...

that is, approx. 3 million polish catholics who were killed by the nazis.

And Mysti is mistaken re apostolic succession, whether RCC, or mainstream christian churches (ie episcopalian). It's not "merely ritual"-- but had to do with the priest/cleric's education and the appointment by bishops, etc. The RCC did not really have an organized form until about the time of Nicene creed, or Constantine anyway-- (those who think catholic-christian rulers had failings should read about Nero, Genghis Khan, Ottoman pashas, chinese emperors, etc).

Hindu-buddhist tradition has something like apostolic tradition as well (transmission of the dharma ? ). Mysti can't just appoint himself Guru--well, maybe Comment Guru.

Anonymous said...

If you look at the history of Buddhism, ordination has always played a role. Like from the begging of Buddha's teaching, right?

Buddha didn't do these things for mystical or esoteric reasons. He created what were perceived to be helpful patterns and guides with his fellow sangha members in order to HELP people, to wake up.
It's real easy to look at 2500 years of Dharmic practice and tradition, glom on to the statements within that tradition critiquing that tradition, and just say "we don't need any of that."

"Some of these human beings called teachers and priests and monks are *gasp* human beings and have acted unskillfully! Some of the rituals and ceremonies don't make sense to me or in this culture. Fuck it! Toss it ALL out!"

If this had happened in each country it entered, we wouldn't have Dharma at all. Is Dharma magic, insuring freedom from our messy humanity? Duh.

Brad, your teacher was unconventional, as was his teacher before him. Sawaki was a reformer. Did he say get rid of the robe? Or ordination? No. Do we need a priesthood like the one you are rightfully skeptical of in Japan? No. And very few Zennists in America would disagree. We don't need fanning sutra "readings" and all the fanciful (actually often pseudo shinto/anim-ist) protection hoo-ha, etc of the Buddhist culture in Japan, or anywhere else.

What we do need is to be freakin respectful and curious about the tradition and what constitutes it, and see what is there that is useful. I personally agree with a couple millenia of individuals who form the bulwark of Dharmic development that Dharma is often best and most eloquently expressed in ritual and in forms, more so even than words, and that having individuals who commit themselves to practice and study and sharing that with others is essential. The way that commitment is sometimes made is through ordination. I think the Western sangha will always have a need and a place for an ordained sangha, and part of what we as human beings do and need is some modicum of authentic ritual. People are free to find what level of that works for them, always asking 'what is the real meaning of this?'

But how arrogant to just say we don't need any sort of ordained community of any kind. It's like we're back to those tired "beat zen, square zen, or zen?" arguments of the '50s. Brad, you are just Beatnik in a Sex Pistols t-shirt (and both are terribly tired).

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