Wednesday, December 14, 2011

What's So Wrong With Genpo Roshi?


Thanks for the overwhelmingly positive response to the previous post! I'm really glad that most people got what I was trying to say. But I'd like to address a few of the dissenting voices. Here are some comments from people who disliked that post:

• God this Genpo thing is getting really tired.

• I generally find your posts(and the one book I've read so far) to be interesting and enlightening. (But) I find your apparent attachment to the endless crusade against Genpo quite boring and uninspiring. I guess it just doesn't fit with me that a zen master could be so full of bile.

• Here's some intelligent discourse on the matter at hand if you're tired of Brads ego striven rants. http://sweepingzen.com/2011/11/26/a-meditation-on-scandals/


Genpo himself has said, "I’m not trying to justify my actions. I’m very remorseful. But this kind of judgmental mudslinging of Buddhist teachers is worse. It’s making Buddhism look pretty pathetic."

So why do I bother going after Genpo so often?

It's because I think it's vital for someone inside the Zen community to say something about what Genpo is doing. In spite of the open letter to Genpo from a group of concerned Buddhist teachers and in spite of the article by Adam Tebbe the poster quoted above thinks is "intelligent discourse on the matter at hand" nobody has really addressed what I feel to be the actual matter at hand.

I didn't see anyone speaking out about Big Mind® until after Genpo was involved in a major sex scandal. But, as I've said many times before, I think Genpo's sex life is pretty much a non-issue. It's not nice to cheat on your wife. But, then again, we don't even really know what was going on in Genpo's relationship with Mrs. Genpo.

The things Genpo was doing that bothered me were not what he was hiding. It was the things he was doing in the open. Let me break down this latest scam for you in terms of why I think it matters enough for me to comment upon.

For those who haven't seen it, the previous post was a parody of a webpage entitled Membership: Three Paths to Practice that can be found on the Roshi's Big Mind™ page. I hardly had to change a thing.

The page says:
"We are pleased to be able to introduce and explain the paths that are now open to you for continuing to study and work with Zen Master D. Genpo Merzel, which we preface with this note from Genpo Roshi himself."

The term Zen Master is a joke. There is no such thing as a Zen Master.

It may be a translation of the Japanese term 禅師 (zenji), which could indeed be translated as "Zen Master." But I have never heard this term used to refer anyone who is currently alive. It's considered much to respectful of a designation to be applied to anyone who might actually hear you use it. It would be highly embarrassing to be called "zenji."

To refer to anyone living as a Zen Master is simply ridiculous. To refer to yourself as a Zen Master is so ridiculous as to be bizarre. I have applied the term to myself occasionally just to demonstrate how incredibly absurd it is for anyone to call himself a Zen Master.

The term Big Mind® is stolen from Shunryu Suzuki's book Zen Mind Beginner's Mind. There it is used by Suzuki as a translation of 大心 (daishin), which could mean "big mind" or "big heart." The Roshi has trademarked this term, which is an incredibly obnoxious thing to do.

I used to deal with international trademarks for Tsuburaya Productions. So I know a bit about how that game works. You don't have to actually create or own a character, concept or name in order to trademark it. Furthermore, trademarks are assigned to specific categories of things. Thus if you trademark the name Big Mind® for use as a meditation system, you don't necessarily have the trademark on it for galoshes, dog food, edible underwear or patent medicine. Each category is a separate thing. And even if you own all these trademarks in the United States, that doesn't mean you own them in Indonesia, Rawanda, Finland or even Canada. Each territory is also separate. And each category in each territory will cost you at the very least $1000 to register.

What's more, because it's not tied to copyright, anyone who wants to trademark any particular character or phrase can do so with no questions asked. So if you found out that Disney had neglected to register the character Mickey Mouse in the category of videogram (DVDs and other types of home video) in, say, Botswanaland, you could register it yourself and wait for Disney to notice. Then you could name your price. I faced variations on this particular scenario a number of times.

So what Genpo has done is made Big Mind®, a standard concept in Zen Buddhism for a few hundred years, his own property.

I've noticed he has switched from putting a little "tm" next to Big Mind® and now displays a circled "r" (®). This means his registration has been accepted by the US government.

And now he has turned the relationship between Zen teacher and Zen student into a commercial proposition. He will sell you Enlightenment.

His webpage says:
"People who are here in this lifetime to commit themselves to accomplishing Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi may request to become a deshi and to work alongside Roshi in a personal manner. A deshi is one whose first priority in this life is to serve and study the Dharma and who sees their heart to heart connection with Roshi as a cornerstone in that pursuit."

The word deshi(弟子)is usually translated as "pupil." But in a Zen context a more appropriate English translation would be "disciple." It is not a term that is applied lightly.

The term "Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi" is a Sanskrit phrase that appears in the Heart Sutra. It means "complete unsurpassed perfect enlightenment." In many schools of Buddhism it is considered to be utterly impossible to achieve such a thing in a single lifetime. Again, this is not a term that's used lightly.

It is not, for example, the equivalent of kensho (見性 "seeing into one's true nature") or even satori (悟り "awakening" in the Buddhist sense). Anuttara samyak sambodhi is much, much bigger than that. It's what Buddha did and what Shariputra did. Even one takes the philosophical stance that we are all the equals of Buddha and Shariputra, simple etiquette demands that you not place yourself on that level. It's just... gross, y'know.

His website says:
"If you are one of the hundreds of people who became students of Roshi in the past and wish to continue, we ask of you to clearly affirm again your desire to continue as a student in the Big Heart Zen School. Please state your aspiration and the vision you see of your commitment or simply give a phone number and we will set up a call."

A few mouse clicks on the website will lead you to a PayPal-linked page where you can express the vision of your commitment in terms of US dollars.

Now, look. I don't mind Genpo or any other Zen teacher making some money. I charge for my talks. I charge for my books. I'm looking into ways to make more money with my blogging. I'll probably eventually sell some DVDs or other such stuff. I'm not above that. Next year I'll probably be offering multi-day seminars and there will be a price for attending those.

I think the prices Genpo often charges for his seminars is excessive. Here's one that runs $8,000, for example. But I'm not even that fussed about his prices.

What bugs me is that Genpo is charging not just for seminars and videos. He is now clearly and unambiguously charging money for enlightenment. This is like selling indulgences in heaven or promising 72 virgins (or raisins?) in Paradise to someone who blows himself up on a bus. It's the oldest trick in the religious scam book. You charge folks for something they can't even define, let alone see or feel. Genpo himself gets to determine what is and what isn't enlightenment.

He's also charging students for their relationship with him. If that doesn't sound like prostitution, I don't know what does.

For as long as I've been teaching Zen people have criticized my stylistic choices in presenting myself and my practice by saying I don't take Zen seriously. In fact I do take Zen very seriously. That's why I get so hot under the collar when I see it abused in this fashion.

There are a million scamsters out there plying their trade in a variety of religions. Some are way worse than Genpo Roshi. But they aren't presenting themselves as Zen Masters in the Soto tradition of Dogen Zenji.

There are Zen teachers out there putting their dicks in places they shouldn't put their dicks. But they aren't (as far as I know) representing this as Zen practice. And even if they do represent it as Zen practice in their private encounters, they aren't representing it as Zen practice to the general public.

But Genpo is representing something ugly and dangerous as Zen practice. And as long as he keeps doing it, I'll keep bitching about it. This is not mudslinging. This is serious.

66 comments:

Seagal Rinpoche said...

Know desires, their arising, their cessation. Release the mind from sensual desires, from desires ‘to be’ and from ignorant desires.

Broken Yogi said...

I have to agree here. I am not a Zen Buddhist, more an Advaitin, so I'm reminded of Poonja Swami's dictum that "anyone who charges money for satsang is a fraud." With "satsang" in this context being translated as "the relationship between teacher and student".

I can certainly understand charging money for a book, or for a specific, occasional event like a seminar (though I'm kind of borderline even on that count), but what Genpo seems to be charging for is the relationship itself, which is utterly heretical and rightly taboo among those who actually understand this sort of thing.

The relationship between student and teacher is supposed to be a sacred one that is untouched by worldly motives, and really is directed towards liberation and enlightenment, which by their very nature are free, in every sense of the word, including the financial sense. To transform these into a monetary business relationship of consumer and service provider is not only to debase the entire process of enlightenment, it actually brings it to a sudden end. Nothing good can possibly result from this.

Anonymous said...

God! More Genpo. Please either shit or get off the pot.
How about a petition to take Genpo down or better yet a petition to get Brad unstuck from his clinging to the Big Mind ™. https://www.change.org/

Anonymous said...

More Zen Sex stuff. https://www.change.org/petitions/zen-shop-ltd-birmingham-uk-accept-responsibility-and-spare-the-victims-any-more-pain-and-trauma

Fred said...

"What bugs me is that Genpo is charging not just for seminars and videos. He is now clearly and unambiguously charging money for enlightenment."

There are people who have been
sitting for 30 years who are far
from being enlightened. There are
extremely poor men in the
mountains of China who don't even
know they are enlightened.

There are people doing some type
of transaction with Genpo who have
exchanged one ego state for
another. Can you even say that a
man would sell this type of bull-
shit is acting like someone who is
enlightened? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

Detractors are really going to have to work to discredit Brad's efforts regarding Genpo Roshi. If, after reading this entry, you still want to question Brad, then knock yourself out. You're off-base and wasting time.

Anonymous said...

Detracting my ASS! Fuck off. How about Obama taking millions of dollars from Corzine a wall street fuckin theif who just took 1.2 billion dollars from american farmers and doesn't know where the fuck it is. GROW up assholes. There bigger fish to fry.

Marmaduke's gooey issue said...

Best teacher on the internet: Seagal Rinpoche

And he apparently doesn't charge one red cent.

Anonymous said...

"Detracting my ASS! Fuck off. How about Obama taking millions of dollars from Corzine a wall street fuckin theif who just took 1.2 billion dollars from american farmers and doesn't know where the fuck it is. GROW up assholes. There bigger fish to fry."

Then by all means go fry them. Fight the battles you feel are worth fighting and stop trying to conscript others to do your fighting for you.

PS - Your mama

Apuleius Platonicus said...

This whole post is very close to pitch perfect. Genpo debases the Dharma in the most craven way possible. I could care less who he fucked. His teaching is horseshit, as Brad Warner has so eloquently put it in the past. And that is an insult to horseshit.

Fred said...

"Zen Shop Ltd allowed Mr Baptista to continue to practice as a Spiritual Therapist & Masseur when they knew he had no formal qualifications or Insurance to do so."

Any sociopath off the street could
say that he's an enlightened
spiritual therapist.

What the hell is a Zen Shop Ltd?

Anonymous said...

Im frying your ass right now as we speak. How many deep bows to the brad throne tonight?

Anonymous said...

Occupy this.......

Anonymous said...

Anueous Platipus kissing ass again

Fred said...

Anon, everyone in corporate and
political America is corrupt. Tell
us something we don't already know.

Rick said...

My name is Ignio Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.

Lissa Reidel said...

What you say is important and it is another reason to honor the Buddhist teachers who give their teachings freely in return for the dana, or generosity, of those who come to them for the Dharma.

Khru said...

Thank God for this awesome comment thread. Reading it has caused me to have a massive and uncontrollable bowel movement.

Anonymous said...

Khru hath done shat himself.

Anonymous said...

Khru is not so funny anymore. Sad that he thinks he is. But sad for who? Who is this person who thinks khru is boring? What is the sound of Khru being enjoyed? If you meet Khru on the road, prepare to be bored.

Anonymous said...

"Anon, everyone in corporate and
political America is corrupt. Tell
us something we don't already know."

What the fuck are you doing about It?!!!!!!!!!! Sitting on your ass chasing Genpo because he raped you spiritually and monetarily . Get over it. Cry baby!

Occupy this wanker...

Jamie said...

Deep gasho Fudo-san.
Thanks for saying it.

Anonymous said...

Global Warming.



Big mind


http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_sky_really_is_falling_20110530/

Sai Kumar Reddy said...

I am glad that Brad Warner is attacking this fake Zen teacher. He is in very good company. Every one from Dogen to Hakuin had their rants against what they considered false teachings. I read all the works of Master Hakuin translated by Norman Waddell and he had no problem condemning all those teachers who he thought were not doing the right kind of practice or were not practicing hard enough or were looking for the easy way out.
Genpo is clearly a fraud and people like him bring a bad name to Zen. The sooner more people realize this the better.

Mark Foote said...

The real inexcusable heresy here is that if a method can be trademarked, there's no need for the teacher at all.

In this, the man with the papers in both the Soto and Rinzai traditions and I share an aspiration. Of course, he's paid the dues, and I've just relied on a lucky shot.

Anonymous said...

Brad
Thank you so much for taking the time to write this latest post.
I for one was among the 'c'mon now another Genpo rant again!... are you too lazy to come up with new material?...'
and now, I do get it
and I do agree the importance

For years I have puzzled over why his own lineage/affiliates have not raised their own concerns: especially the tm now R business of "Big Mind"

I guess sometimes folks do what they do 'just because they can'
But they 'can' because other people let 'em!

So thank you Brad for standing up--from what I can see the only up standing stand up zen teacher out there, and going it alone, too...

While I am glad to hear there was a letter written to Genpo of concerns by a group of zen teachers....I wonder why a group? Safety in numbers? An ethical view is 'more legitimate' if shared by others?
Morality is not judged by the numbers.

So
Brad,....
Thank you

Anonymous said...

On the other hand,
the guy does look cool on his bike...

just 'cause he can't be trusted
doesn't mean you couldn't enjoy a beer with him...

I've enjoyed lots of drinks with guys I learned later I couldn't trust!

Uku said...

Great, Brad!

Couple of years ago I heard that Genpo's Fuck Mind might land into Finland too. As far as I know, it never happened, thank God. When I first heard of these rumors, I went publicly dissing Genpo and his fucked up stuff in my Zen group but also everywhere else too. I've been doing it regularly and I'll continue doing it, because his business is just... dangerous.

I don't know about the States or other countries, but in Finland we have had a lot of mental disorders among Buddhists and "spiritual" seekers. Genpo's crap would be extremely dangerous in here. So, fuck off Genpo. Don't bring your bullshit in here.

Thanks Brad for keeping this issue in the headlines.

Anonymous said...

Half of you don't give a shit about Genpo and all you want to do is kiss BRads Ass. Because that's what you do in daily practice you kiss Ass. Guess what? No ones going to save your sorry Asses. Brads only pointing the finger to himself.

Fred said...

"What the fuck are you doing about It?!!!!!!!!!! Sitting on your ass chasing Genpo because he raped you spiritually and monetarily . Get over it. Cry baby!

Occupy this wanker..."

Buddy, you can't even change
yourself; how do you expect to
change the world?

At a simple level the world of
human transactions is corrupt.
Look inside and you will see its
true.

Anonymous said...

RS48 - Philosophical Counseling

Our guest Lou Marinoff joins us to discuss philosophical counseling, a recent trend to use philosophy as a type of talk therapy. Now, despite the provocative title of his best-selling book, “Plato, Not Prozac!: Applying Eternal Wisdom to Everyday Problems,” the idea is actually not to replace psychiatric medications with chats about the ancient Greeks. Rather, as he puts it in the introduction to the volume, you should take your medications if you really need them, but once your brain is back to a normal functionality you will likely still be faced with the same existential problems that plague most human beings. And that’s where philosophy might help.

Lou Marinoff is the Chair of the Department of Philosophy at The City College of New York and a founder of the American Philosophical Practitioners Association. His other books include

"The Middle Way: Finding Happiness in a World of Extremes" and "Therapy for the Sane."



http://www.rationallyspeakingpodcast.org/show/rs48-philosophical-counseling.html

Fred said...

The culture is corrupt. The
conditioned self is corrupt.
The communication between egos is
manipulative and corrupt.

When you see the totality of your
own self, there is the
beginning of freedom.

Anonymous said...

typo:

It's considered much to respectful of a designation...

much too respectful

Anonymous said...

Wake up FRed. As he points his middle finger to himself

deTerrence said...

Well thank you for the long response.

While I'm not myself a Big Minder, I've practiced Zen with others(in the White Plum Asangha) who have spent quite a deal of time with the man and your caricature of demonic indulgence as depicted on your previous post isn't exactly one I see emanating from their corrupted minds. They were in fact every bit the compassionate, penniless zen practitioners I've come to love.

Let's leave off all the the things you call superfluous to the central point, that Genpo is peddling Big Mind as Zen. (I don't really care about who Genpo diddles either.)

What draws me to Zen is that much more than any other Buddhist school, it's the school of Figure It Out For Yourself®. It's the heretical school. You yourself have cultivated an image of rebelliousness. So where does all this dogma arise from when confronted with someone who was put on the path by Dogen's teaching, yet wants to take it in a different direction? Wouldn't it to some extent be disrespectful of Genpo to remove all reference to the word Zen when it's the basis of his teaching?

And why(beyond the fact that this is the Internet) does your comment section read like a throng of robed monks with pitchforks and torches ready to march on Salt Lake City?

I don't subscribe to the thought that anger is useless. But from my perspective there does seem to be quite a bit of clinging to it going on here.

Charlie Cardoza said...

Keep at it, Brad. If a community doesn't police itself, someone else will.

Anonymous said...

BRad is cop now? Jesus fucking christ. Yea yea lets some one else do your policing .

Anonymous said...

Brad wishes he had the hutzpah to do what Genpo is doing. Why do you think he rails so hard against him. Temptation.

Genpo is a Embarassment said...

I am in the White Plum...

I give Brad here nothing but kudos!
The fact that Genpo had affairs is a all too human failing, but the things he is doing under the guise and trappings of "dharma" is disgraceful.

"Big Mind" is a money making sham.

I am glad he is no longer in the White Plum.

James Ford said it best:

Merzel Roshi seems to have a bit firmer control of his organization even in the midst of his own firestorm. While “disrobing” and resigning from the larger White Plum lineage community to which he had belonged, he seems to have appointed the vice-abbot for what appears to be only a nominally separated Kanzeon Zen Center. However he appears to have decided to continue using the Zen title roshi. The shove to push of his reformations seem to be summarizable in the statement “Roshi will not be teaching at the Zen Center for an indefinite period of time.” His strategy appears to be to separate himself from the principal organization to which he has any accountability, the White Plum, and to then lay low for a bit…

His credibility among the mainstream of Zen teachers has long been strained. I’ve felt uncomfortable with his accepting money from the Frederick Lenz Foundation, an organization that exists to purchase a revisionist view of the late and extremely notorious cult leader who operated under the self-proclaimed style “Zen Master Rama.” The truth is a number of Zen folk have accepted their money. And, it could be argued the only difference between accepting money from the Lenz Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation is time from when the scoundrel who started it died. However, I then found that Merzel has gone beyond taking dirty money to pretending that Lenz was some kind of Zen teacher. This is amazing and hard to excuse from someone who is supposed to be a Zen teacher.

I don’t know what to say about Big Mind (registered trademark) beyond saying if it is, as Merzel has claimed, another turning of the Wheel, a new revelation of the Buddhadharma, I will have to admit I’ve missed what the Dharma is all about. As have all other Zen teachers along the way before this great revelation. Which, to my deluded eye, is a silly adaptation of Voice Dialogue therapy, an interesting, if to me, not especially compelling psychological model, adding in, from where I stand, a dualistic projection of personality as if it were sunyata.

Bottom line to Genpo: Don’t let the door slap yr butt…


http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind/2011/02/sex-scandals-zen-teachers-and-the-western-zen-dharma.html

Anonymous said...

Even scientology is better than Brad Warner. I dont know what is his problem. But he seems to have one. People can do what they want. Does he really think he is more intellegent or integer than Genpo or his students? How deeply does he think that? This is an illusion. Warner "knows what zen is"? Brad no more ethan what Genpos students call him. A fundamentalist without any legitimation. Like George Bush. "I am the good& the evil is out there" This is what HE makes his bucks. No historical legitimation-not even real dharma transmission. Just a guy full of "opinions" wich are "right" Fortunately there will always be people who give a shit on them. He should go back to his 30 year old Jonny rotten records-they are like his dharma-fucking pamphleteer!!! Fuck you Brad. In all earnestness. You are a fucker.

Danny McDingle said...

hey anon above me.

Genpo your teacher?

Anonymous said...

I know it's a little anticlimactic to suggest this, but, step back from the movie a bit. Brad and Genpo
were born to play these roles, apparently. What is right or wrong? Part of the drama or the red EXIT sign?

ok back to the movie. sock monkey was a nice rehearsal Brad. Now is time to meet the man face to face! Show that this cause really matters to you and you're not just another internet ranter.

Danny McDingle said...

ok back to the movie. sock monkey was a nice rehearsal Brad. Now is time to meet the man face to face! Show that this cause really matters to you and you're not just another internet ranter.

Why?
What do you think would happen if they met up, and what good do you think would come of it?

Mumon said...

Thanks again, Brad. In fact, I think there are even more issues than that which you brought up.

Mumon said...

Including, but not limited to still having a CEO who's a student of Merzel's...kind of you know, a conflict.

Korey said...

Brad,

Should someone be weary of any Zen teacher who ackowledges Enlightenment?

Anonymous said...

Why did Brad turn down a debate with Genpo? FEAR

Jeff said...

Sounds like we've got some followers of Genpo posting here. And under the nice veil of anonymity too. How about having the spine to attach a name to your comments? Brad has.

Anonymous said...

Keep dreaming jeff . You wish there were Genpo followers here. Just holding brad to his bullshit and yours too. Brad can't let go or do anything constructive like a debate, a play, a movie, a dinner , building a fort, a petition, masturbating to a Genpo pic because he behaves like a baby and loves to whine. This is serious. If he was really your friend you stop treating him like a false profit. Get it profit? Ha ha aha yew yip hew .

Your Dad said...

Anon, your mom is a false profit!

Anonymous said...

That's true my mom is not very profitable.

Anonymous said...

Hmm? Unrealized moralist agains enlighten amoralist.

Non-Yogi Beard said...

@Anon 4:16

What you say about value perception is true but it's also mis-directed in this case. It may even be justifiable down in little-league Zen.

Unfortunately Dennis wants to claim to be in the big league - to be able to offer Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi and that changes the game. The people who CAN assist at this level do not charge for it or advertise it. They may not even be "in the business". Not only is it crass to do so but it's also counter-productive.

Not only do you have to find these people you also have to know what they look like. The Tea Seller could be your next teacher. Until you can see they may not even not help!!!

Those who are seeking such a thing will have already moved past Kensho and Satori and are not going to be influenced by trivial delusions such as "expensive=good". When you are talking about Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi you are talking about polishing diamonds, not making diamonds.

If you found a Yoga studio where someone could assist with this you would find that they would charge the usual $10 for a lesson and that is all. Nothing else would be on offer or needed.

For several years now the people I have sought out and have been willing to help have not charged me anything, offered me anything or promised me anything. Instead it's the case that in interacting with them (or just seeing them) I am able to work out what still remains to be done. There is no teaching, maybe even no transmission, just a sharing of love or something.

So in reality by promising such a thing for a fee Dennis is showing that he does not understand his target audience but also that he is himself not in a place where he could assist in such a thing. You see such a thing as Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi only seems important when you are quite new to Zen in the fuller sense. The closer you are to it the more you see and the less it matters. Even worse, the more you see how really it is also true that Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi is also itself not important, that in the end we are all human and it's our common humanity that matters. Nothing else.

Things are the way they are because each individual who is suitably realised also sees a lot of things and feels a lot of things that make certain behaviours natural and certain not. Charging big bucks for something you feel is worthless and know you cannot deliver just goes very deep against who you might be. When you see suffering the response is to help, not to run a credit check.

Any relationship in this realm cuts both ways. There is no student or teacher. Instead two people interact and change each other. Such things don't happen unless both want it to happen. That's the way it is.

When you make love do your partner do you think that it would be better if s/he charged more or gave it away for free. You might believe that paying more for a prostitute gets you a better prostitute but when it comes to love and romance everyone works on the basis that the best love is freely exchanged.

If Dennis is in the big league then he gets to play by the same rules as anyone else. He gets called out on his bullshit.

Tenuki Handcrafts said...

What?!? Big Swindle is a *scam*? Dammit! On the plus side, I can be one of your minions for free.

Chris Burnham said...

Folks! I gained much peace of mind when I realized that internet trolls are just out there and there's nothing I can do about it. Pain is inevitable, suffering is not. That's something I heard from a teacher at Tassajara, but they don't own the copyright so I think I'll get on that and then sit back and wait... then name my price. Then if you all want, I will sell you lessons in this technique.

(Intention: Humor)

r said...

I just read the post.

Some of it is really not serious. Some might be terrible.

- But I got Brad’s point, - even if I’m not sure he did himself, - Genpo is eventually to give “Zen” practice a very bad name, - or he severely might, - unless somebody shouts about it from within, - as Brad is trying to do.

r said...

- “The term Zen Master is a joke. There is no such thing as a Zen Master.

It may be a translation of the Japanese term 禅師 (zenji), which could indeed be translated as "Zen Master." But I have never heard this term used to refer anyone who is currently alive.
”.

The Term “Zenji” is used in the Soto sect for the abbots of Eihei-ji and Soji-ji. While being alive as well.

- One example Brad should be familiar with is Renpo Niwa, from whom Nishijima Roshi received his transmission.

- Besides, - even limiting being a “Zen Master” to only the abbots of these two temples, - as Muho does, - still seems very ridiculous to me. - Though I do accept his statement which follows just after: - “Calling yourself a Zen master just because you have shiho is a joke”.

Anyone who has attained, - through the way of “Zen”, - to that which the ancient Masters have attained - is a “Zen” Master.

I could hardly assume Genpo is.

Kye Sangha said...

I live in Boulder, home of the famed Buddhist university, and supposedly a mecca for spirituality. It's a sham. When you go a little deeper than the surface it's obviously about the money. Which I suppose is inevitable, being that ALL religions will eventually be exploited for money making endeavors, but still disappointing.
People learn I'm Buddhist and assume that Boulder is The Shit, when, in fact, I've found ...well, almost everywhere else I've lived to have a truer sense of real. Here it's all about money and how long and how severe a vegetarian you are and where you go for yoga. It's pretentious, to say the least.
I'm not against teachers leading good lives, or paying for classes, or yoga (or hot chicks in yoga clothes). But there is an elephant in the room, and that's the monetization that's making people *rich*, to teach a spiritual system that teaches moderation. If someone really wants that kind of money for their services, doesn't this kind of dis-qualify them as acceptable teachers?
Thanks for pointing out the elephant in the room.

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tomasino said...

...do we get paid royalties for commenting on this?

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Abby said...

There is a heck of a lot of mudslinging, name calling, and groaning on this website. I came here to hopefully learn something, sorely disappointed.