Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Betrayal of the Spirit


I just finished reading Betrayal of the Spirit: My Life behind the Headlines of the Hare Krishna Movement by Nori J. Muster. This in spite of the fact that I have two Zen related books waiting patiently for me to review them. One's about Haukuin, the other is about the Heart Sutra. But, frankly, I'm more interested in what happened to the Hare Krishna movement.

In a nutshell, this book is the tale of Nori J. Muster who once went by the name Nandini and served as a key P.R. person for ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness) during its most turbulent years, the late 70s through the late 80s. This was the time from right after founder A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada's death through the murders and violence depicted in the book Monkey on a Stick, which covers the debacle of New Vrindaban, the "Hare Krishna Disneyland" (they really called it that) in West Virginia.

The Hare Krishna story in short is that a charismatic, dedicated and sincere monk named A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami (the Prabhupada part was added later) came to American with something like $2.75 in his pocket and started a worldwide movement based on the ancient teachings he had studied and practiced throughout most of his life. Then he died without clearly naming a successor. The members of his movement have been fighting about this ever since, although things have settled down a lot in the past twenty years.

I can't find the precise quote because I borrowed the book from the library and didn't want to mark it up (though I liked it so much I'll be buying my own copy). But Muster quotes someone who said that Srila Prabhupada had two kinds of authority. There was the institutional authority conferred upon him by his spiritual master. This made him a monk and a teacher. This type of authority could conceivably be conferred upon anyone who went through the necessary steps to receive it.

The other type of authority Srila Prabhupada had was much more nebulous. It was a personal sort of authority that came through his particular personality and the strength of his commitment to his practice combined with all sorts of accidents of fate such as his coming to America in 1965 just when young people there were searching for gurus.

Not long before he died, Prabhupada named eleven men as having the power to initiate new disciples. Each was responsible for a different territory. But he was a bit vague as to whether these men were gurus like him or not. This has been a point of contention ever since. Be that as it may, Prabhupada could only confer institutional authority upon his disciples. He couldn't give them his charisma or his commitment to practice. And he sure couldn't pass on to them the accidents of fate that made what he did possible.

A few of the men among that group of eleven were extremely charismatic but insane. A few others lacked such charisma but were very sincere and tried their best to follow what Praphupada had taught. A couple of those failed spectacularly in their efforts, thus sullying the movement even more. Just two of these eleven men remained in positions of authority within ISKCON at the time Muster wrote her book (1997).

This is all fascinating to me because I find myself in much the same position as those eleven guys. There is a lot less at stake in Dogen Sangha International (DSI). We have no monetary assets at all, no "Palace of Gold" in West Virginia, no one selling our literature or our delicious cookies at airports. Dogen Sangha International is not even registered as an entity with any government agency anywhere. Dogen Sangha Los Angeles is. And I believe Dogen Sangha Bristol in England may be. Dogen Sangha (minus the international) in Chiba, Japan may also be. It's possible others are legally registered in France, Germany and Israel. I'm not sure. But if they are, they are just local entities using that name. DSI has no worldwide meetings to decide policy, no board of governors, no nothing. It's just a name, really.

Nishijima Roshi conferred a certain degree of what we might call "institutional authority" upon a number of his students, me included. Like Srila Prabhupada, Nishijima could not confer his personal authority upon anyone. The word authority here is problematic. But I'm using it here because I can't come up with a better term.

Nishijima also named me as president of Dogen Sangha International. But he never spelled out exactly what that meant. It was extremely important to him, though. And because it was so important to him I said "yes" even though I'm no clearer on what it means to be president of something that doesn't exist than anyone else is. I have resisted any attempts to make Dogen Sangha International anything more definite than it is. (Dogen Sangha Los Angeles, is something entirely different and I'm working toward establishing that as a religious non-profit corporation in the State of California. DSLA will have no authority over any other Dogen Sangha branch.)

In my book Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate I wrote about what happened when that appointment was made. It was remarkably like what happened to the Hare Krishnas, but without anyone being beheaded by a mad disciple.

I've heard from dozens of people since that book came out telling me how things went precisely the same way in their aikido dojo when the master died, or in their church when the pastor passed on and so forth. It's an incredibly common scenario. It happened at the San Francisco Zen Center when Suzuki Roshi died and, to a lesser extent, at some of the temples Katagiri Roshi established after he died. Paul, Peter and James battled over whose interpretations of Christ's teachings were correct.

It happened after Buddha died too, according to Stephen Batchelor in his book Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. Batchelor believes that Maha Kashyapa, revered by many Buddhists (and pretty much all Zen Buddhists) as Gautama Buddha's rightful successor was more of a guy with political savvy who pulled the ranks together than someone who actually understood what Buddha was on about. In fact, Buddha is on record as telling his followers not to appoint a successor.

And this will happen again, many more times.

So why do guys like Gautama Buddha, Srila Prabhupada, Nishijima Roshi and so many others even attempt to set up these institutions? Are they so naive as to think that their institution alone won't go through what every single other one like it has gone through as far back as the beginnings of recorded human history?

Some of them may be that naive. But my guess is that most are not. Because institutions also manage to preserve these teachings even in spite of the power struggles and suchlike that always take place. We know what Buddha taught (or at least some approximation thereof) because of the institution that wily old politician Maha Kashyapa set up to preserve it. Had Buddha's followers actually taken his instructions not to appoint a successor to heart, we probably wouldn't know very much about Buddha today except as a minor philosopher in ancient India.

And there you have my dilemma regarding Dogen Sangha International, and why I am so wishy-washy as to what to do about it.

Answers on a postcard please.


****


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116 comments:

anon #108 said...

Erm...just a sec...

Moni said...

I think the main problem with Krishna folks is that in general they live so much outside the society and can not speak everyday people`s language.

They somehow differentiate themselves too much and may be that is why many people do not even get to know their message, cause they are so distant from everyday people.

Mr. Reee said...

Not being clear on "what it means to be president of something that doesn't exist" sounds like the most important qualification for holding such a position.

It's like life itself. Someone else put "me" in charge of "my life," but I haven't a clue exactly what it is I'm in charge of, or who exactly this 'me' is that's been bestowed all this authority...

Brad Warner said...

Moni, true dat!

But I've been to some Zen institutions that are almost as insulated. I was trying to make up a list of weird buzzwords used at one Zen Center I visited. I wish I'd saved it. These words served as ways to differentiate who was "in" and who was "out." They were peppered into everyday conversation so as to make listeners aware that the speaker who used them was "in."

One thing to do was to tell someone, "That's comparing mind" anytime they voiced a complaint, legitimate or not. Another was to call actions you didn't approve of "unskillful."

Fascinating.

Anonymous said...

perception of patriarchal transmission and "actual" patriarchal transmission= dishonesty

mekong46 said...

Excellent. That's a good one Sri Rama Warner. Keep them coming?

Anonymous said...

This is sacred too!

Khru said...

And I couldn't agree more.

john e mumbles said...

Great post. Expanding on this would make a good chapter or so in one of your next books, IMO.

Back in the day I knew David Kherdian, a poet who wrote a very good book on being inside a Gurdjieffian community in Oregon titled ON A SPACESHIP WITH BEELZEBUB.

Its easy to take things for granted, for ex. in the way we think of institutions as somehow solid and "real."

This too shall pass...

Chris D said...

In all your writing you very heavily emphasize the disorganization of Dogen Sangha, but you never say what it does do. If it's so unorganized and non-institutional, what is it? Dogen Sangha does have gatherings; do you just head out to the bar after a nice dinner at Olive Garden, or what?

Basically, why should it exist at all? It seems like that answer points you to how to direct it in the future.

tyson said...

"Nishijima also named me as president of Dogen Sangha International. But he never spelled out exactly what that meant. It was extremely important to him, though."

Why don't you ask him?

Anonymous said...

Once the mind has let go of phenomena of every sort, the mind appears supremely empty; but the one who admires the emptiness, who is awestruck by the emptiness, that one still survives. The self as reference point, which is the essence of all false knowing, remains integrated into the mind’s knowing essence. This self-perspective is the primary delusion. Its presence represents the difference between the subtle emptiness of the radiant mind and the transcendent emptiness of the pure mind, free of all forms of delusion. Self is the real impediment. As soon as it disintegrates and
disappears, no more impediments remain. Transcendent emptiness appears. As in the case of a person in an empty room, we can say that the mind is truly empty only when the self leaves for good. This transcendent emptiness is a total and permanent disengagement that requires no further effort to maintain.

~ Ajaan Mahā Boowa

Jinzang said...

Stephen Batchelor believes that Maha Kashyapa was more of a guy with political savvy who pulled the ranks together than someone who actually understood what Buddha was on about.

I haven't read the book and don't know if Brad is correctly representing it, but if he is, what Stephen Batchelor is saying is silly. There is no way you can judge Maha Kashyapa's level of realization by reading the Pali Suttas.

In any case it's a mistake to think that the student a teacher appoints as his successor is the most enlightened. Holding a group together requires a specific set of skills. Just as enlightenment doesn't make you a great guitar player, it doesn't make you a great administrator. It seems that some think that the final goal of Zen is to become a Zen Master. That if you don't, you've failed to make the grade. But for every successor who teaches, there are probably several others, equally enlightened, who don't for one reason or another. A teacher's legacy is like an iceberg. Much of what he has passed on goes unobserved.

Mysterion said...

DSI is a 'group' of people who are collectively interested in reflectively thinking about how the writings of Master Dogen can be interpreted beneficially in the context of current living.*

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

Master Dogen wrote in an archaic Japanese which is different in context and cognitive equivalencies to modern Japanese. Bridging the gap between the archaic Japanese of Dogen's day and modern Japanese may take decades. Furthermore, there are many words in Japanese that do not have close English equivalents. A liberal tolerance for errors and ambiguity is necessary. The same is true when studying any classical religious text from another culture.

*Just a thought.

Khru Jr. said...

BRAD,

PLEASE!!!!!

PLEASE!!

CUP YOUR HANDS AND FART INTO THEM. DESCRIBE THE SMELL.

SCRATCH YOUR BALLS AND SNIFF YOUR FINGERNAILS. DESCRIBE THE SMELL.

PLEASE DO THIS FOR ALL OF US.

Anonymous said...

land of the free

Rick said...

I'm the High Druid of the Westland Chapter of the 1759 Society.

Fred said...

"what it means to be president of something that doesn't exist"

What exists after the body-mind has
been dropped?

Look for the answer there.

Mark Foote said...

Interesting post, Mr. Warner. Interesting comments, usual suspects. Khru Jr., how did a dog learn to speak?

'Now at that time the venerable Maha Kassapa was journeying along the high road from Pava to Kusinara with a great company of the brethren, with about five hundred of the brethren. And the venerable Maha Kassapa left the high road, and sat himself down at the foot of a certain tree.

Just at that time a certain naked ascetic who had picked up a Mandarava flower in Kusinara was coming along the high road to Pava.

Now the venerable Maha Kassapa saw the naked ascetic coming at a distance; and when he had seen him he said to that naked ascetic:-- "Oh friend! surely thou knowest our Master?"

"Yea, friend! I know him. This day the Samana Gotama has been dead a week! That is how I obtained this Mandarava flower."

On that of those brethren who were not yet free from passions, some stretched out their arms and wept, and some fell headlong on the ground, and some reeled to and fro in anguish at the thought:-- "Too soon has the Exalted One died! Too soon has the Happy One passed away! Too soon has the Light gone out in the world!"

But those of the brethren who were free from the passions [the Arahants] bore their grief self-possessed and composed at the thought-- "Impermanent are all component things! How is it possible that [they should not be dissolved]?"'

(DN ii 162, Pali Text Society pg 183-184)

Kassapa & Co. proceeds to Kusinara, and after he and the brethren circumambulate the pyre, the pyre ignites spontaneously (whereas previously the townfolk were unable to ignite it by any means).

Do we want to guess how Kassapa came to be in possession of the bowl and robe, or why the Buddha didn't say anything when Kassapa beheld the flower (the report was that the Mandarva flowers were falling out of season after the Gautamid's death, so kind of by Gautama's hand?).

Chance and circumstance, in my opinion, has allowed me to discover the positive influence of the teaching so many years after the fact. Beginning with the order that memorized the books, from which I quoted above.

john e mumbles said...

Fred, Who is supposed to do this looking after body-mind has been dropped?

And btw, What's on second.

Anonymous said...

Ou-I Chih Hsu
http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/mindseal.pdf

My suggestion would be to do it. Everything changes, nothing is perfect...But someone has to create a template, a sales pitch...else nobody will come. In the process of destroying 'it', people discover 'it'..."It" is very strange l0l!

But how did we all get to this point now? The form of the Triple Jewel!
We don't need form...and yet we are kinda hopeless without it.

It's like we have to trash form to see if it is substantial. It's a process of 'Throwing it away' as to discover it. Kill the Buddha!

We can't escape form, we can only embrace it/desrtoy it as to discover it's true reality.

Sometimes I am amazed that people are still wrapped up in the form of "God"...and as much as I want to dismiss it, it wont leave our existance! By my theory it is substantial(Gawd!)Sometimes I think compassion, in it's formless/collective conciousness sense, is a god. I think, metaphysically speaking, it is an element of the fabric of everything...since it is a great element within us all(for bette or worse).

Rama Rama Ding Dong

jason

Anonymous said...

PS: I am only posting the Ou-I Chih Hsu link as to show an example of someone elses approach. It's the best I got to offer at the moment...jason

Anonymous said...

ZEN MASTER DOGEN'S VOW (Eihei Koso Hotsuganmon)


From this life throughout countless lives,
we vow with all beings to hear the true Dharma.
Hearing it, no doubt arises, nor is faith lacking.
Meeting and maintaining it, we renounce worldly affairs,
and together with all beings and the great earth
realize the Buddha Way.

Past negative actions accumulate and cause the arising
of many obstacles to the practice of the Way.
May all Buddhas and Ancestors who have realized the Way
extend their compassion and free us from these karmic effects,
allowing us to practice without hindrance.
May they share with us their boundless compassion,
and fill the universe with the virtue of their enlightened teaching.

Buddhas and Ancestors of old were as we.
In the future, we shall be Buddhas and Ancestors.
Revering Buddhas and Ancestors, we are one Buddha and one Ancestor.
Awakening Bodhi-mind, we are one Bodhi-mind.
As they extend their compassion freely to us,
we are able to realize Buddhahood and let go
of the realization.

The Chan Master Lung-ya said:

"Those unenlightened in past lives will now be enlightened.
In this life, take care of the body, the fruit of many lives.
Before Buddhas were enlightened, they were the same as we.
Enlightened people of today are exactly the same as the ancients."

This is the exact transmission of a verified Buddha,
so quietly explore the far-reaching effects of these causes and conditions.
Repenting in this way, one never fails to receive help,
deep and unending, from all Buddhas and Ancestors.
Revealing before Buddha one's lack of faith and failure to practice
dissolves the root of these unwholesome actions.
This is the pure and simple manifestation of true practice,
of the true mind and body of faith.

jason

Mysterion said...

I'm a little torn between the Nepal Tripitaka and the LankaSri Pali.

Whatever was preserved was embellished...

Scholars do not agree on authentic discourses v. attributed discourses. Linguistic analysis points to fewer than 48 preserved "sayings of Buddha."

Vinaya Pitaka, (early Buddhist monastic regulations)
Sutta Pitaka, (contains discourses of the Buddha and his disciples)
Abhidhamma Pitaka, (contains commentary)

So I guess everyone can sit around and guess what might have been the actual teachings of Buddha...

That's why I think it just boils down to the practice and theKalama Sutta and not much more than that.

Mark Foote said...

Repenting in this way, one never fails to receive help;

let me correct myself, Harry; repenting in this way one will never fail to receive help, provided one deserves it.

I'm just where I am, are you where you are, or Who?

Anonymous said...

Then absolutley. Don't do form a DSL if you think most of it is bunk. It is your choice.

In Gassho

jason

Uku said...

Hi Mark Foote,

I asked this before but I'm not sure if you ever saw it. I haven't checked it. But anyway, I'd like to ask it again:

you're writing Gautama, Gotama, Gautam very often as "Gautamid". Could you explain why? I haven't saw that style before and I'm interested of the etymology of it.

Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

Tribute to Christopher Hitchens

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iR0GyYaeI-k

Fred said...

"john e mumbles said...
Fred, Who is supposed to do this looking after body-mind has been dropped?

And btw, What's on second."

I don't know is on third, so it
can't be him.

Fred said...

Actually, it's perfect. The fiction
Brad Warner writes fiction about
the body-mind dropping fiction,
and he's president of a
fictitous order.

Fred said...

And An3drew is 7th patriarch of
whatever.

Anonymous said...

nice dream!

Anonymous said...

fred -> p.189 on...

http://www.dhammatalks.net/Books9/Bhikkhu_Silaratano_Mae-Chee-Kaew_Spiritual_Awakening.pdf

Anonymous said...

What Nishijima wanted isn't that confusing. He wanted his teaching, and the group that formed around his teaching, to continue after his death. He wanted his students to look to Brad the same way they looked to him. He felt what he had done was important and he wanted it to continue into the future. He wanted an organization. He wanted Brad to organize Dogen Sangha into Dogen Sangha International. Brad likes N so he said yes, but he doesn't like the idea, so he's never done it.

Anonymous said...

fiction?

what's real?

Anonymous said...

DSI = The 3P1R-shu

Brad Warner said...

Jinzang,

I'm sorry if that I wrote was unclear and appeared to imply that Batchelor questioned Maha Kashyapa's level of enlightenment.

He doesn't really question his enlightenment. But he speculates that Maha Kashaypa's historical position has far less to do with his enlightenment than with his political skills.

It is contradictory that Buddha told his followers not to appoint a successor in certain texts while others have him appointing Maha Kashyapa as his successor.

Anonymous said...

The texts are contradictory.

Brad Warner said...

What Nishijima wanted isn't that confusing. He wanted his teaching, and the group that formed around his teaching, to continue after his death. He wanted his students to look to Brad the same way they looked to him. He felt what he had done was important and he wanted it to continue into the future. He wanted an organization. He wanted Brad to organize Dogen Sangha into Dogen Sangha International. Brad likes N so he said yes, but he doesn't like the idea, so he's never done it.

The first part is true.

"He wanted an organization. He wanted Brad to organize Dogen Sangha into Dogen Sangha International," is the problematic part.

I had many private discussions with N about this point. He was never very definite about what precisely he wanted Dogen Sangha International to be. He essentially said that was up to me.

"Brad doesn't like the idea" implies that you know what "the idea" actually is. But if N didn't know what precisely "the idea" was, I doubt anyone else does either.

My developing idea is that the purpose of DSI is to preserve N's teaching. This would include the Shobogenzo translation, the Shinji Shobogenzo translation, To Meet the Real Dragon and the archived tapes of his lectures as well as some of his shorter written works. Whether or not the Nagarjuna translation should be included in this list is problematic. So I've left it off. Anyway, Monkfish Publications is dealing with that right now, so there's no urgent need to address it.

As for the rest, they are currently all taken care of. The Shobogenzo, Shinji Shobogenzo and Dragon books are all available as print-on-demand. The tape archives are being taken care of. Other pieces of writing are available on the Dogen Sangha website (http://www.dogensangha.org/).

Whether "the idea" also included annual meetings of all N's dharma heirs, a board of directors, a theme park, a made-for-TV movie, badges, cookie sales etc. N never said. He left that up to me. And I did specifically ask him these things (well maybe not the made-for-TV movie and cookies part).

Anonymous said...

theme park! yes!

I wanna ride ANS Rollercoaster!

Brad Warner said...

In all your writing you very heavily emphasize the disorganization of Dogen Sangha, but you never say what it does do. If it's so unorganized and non-institutional, what is it? Dogen Sangha does have gatherings; do you just head out to the bar after a nice dinner at Olive Garden, or what?

Basically, why should it exist at all? It seems like that answer points you to how to direct it in the future.


Dogen Sangha International as a whole has never had any gatherings. Well, maybe 30 years ago when there were like 7 members. Since it grew big, none. At this point it would be an expensive logistical nightmare to organize such a thing. I am certainly not up to the task, nor does it seem necessary.

The other local Dogen Sanghas meet wherever they meet.

Why should Dogen Sangha International exist at all is a question I ask myself a lot.

I've contemplated simply killing it off. Maybe I will. But not just yet.

Anonymous said...

What exactly is there to "kill off?"

Khru Jr. said...

BRAD,

PLEASE POST A PIC OF YOUR DICK OR AT LEAST SOME PUBIC HAIR. CLIP SOME PUBIC HAIR AND MAYBE PLACE IT ON A PHOTO OF YOU AND PHOTOGRAPH THAT.

THANKS.

Mumon said...

Brad-
One thing to do was to tell someone, "That's comparing mind" anytime they voiced a complaint, legitimate or not. Another was to call actions you didn't approve of "unskillful."

The irony clings like flypaper to those statements.

But seriously...what does that tell you about their realization?

Not that one should really complain...they may be much more developed than the folks at Shaolin-si...it wouldn't be near impossible to do that these days, trust me.

Not to mention me on one of my less auspicious days.

Anonymous said...

Who Killed Gautama?

"But what’s the point in killing an old man who is already dying? Batchelor points out that the best revenge the Buddha’s enemies could have taken on him was to kill not him but Ananda, his faithful attendant. Ananda was the only one left after the death of Sariputta and Moggallana to have memorised the entire teachings of the Buddha. “If you killed Ananda, you killed Buddhism,” points out Batchelor. “By insisting that he alone be served with the pork and the leftovers be buried, the Buddha prevented Ananda from eating it.” The Buddha “hastened his own death”, according to Batchelor, “in order that his teaching would survive”.

But the monk for whom the Buddha laid down his life ended up being upstaged by a relative outsider even before his cremation pyre was lit. Mahakassapa was a Brahmin from Magadha who became a monk towards the end of the Buddha’s life. He arrived with a large group of monks just before the pyre was lit, and insisted that the cremation not take place till he too had paid his last respects to the Buddha.

This episode marked the beginning of a power struggle, with the newcomer claiming to be the rightful successor of the Buddha, and taking over the community. “There are two sutras in the Pali Canon where Mahakassapa is very dismissive, almost abusive in his dealings with Ananda,” says Batchelor, “dismissing him as a mere ‘boy’”. Ananda responds to this by pointing to his head, and saying: “Are these not grey hair?”

On the face of it, the future of Buddhism after the Buddha’s death looked very bleak: at the cremation itself, when various kingdoms and republics applied for a share of his relics, the Kosalans conspicuously didn’t want any of him. And with a stern, elderly Brahmin at the head, sidelining Ananda, it looked set to become just another Indian religion controlled by priests. But that’s what’s so extraordinary about the Buddha, says Batchelor. “Here’s a person dealing with all these ambitious relatives and kings, and yet in the midst of his struggles establishes his dharma sufficiently well so that we are talking about it now, 2,500 years later.”"

http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?264458

Anonymous said...

The Life of the Buddha As Pieced Together from the Pali Canon

"After Buddha was cremated and his relics distributed, the monks agreed to Mahakassapa’s proposal to hold a council in Rajagaha the next rainy season to recount, confirm, and codify what Buddha had taught. Mahakassapa was to choose those elders who could attend. He chose only arhats, those who had attained liberation, and these numbered 499. At first, Mahakasspa did not include Ananda on the grounds that he had not yet attained arhatship. Mahakassapa excluded him despite Ananda having the best memory of Buddha’s discourses. In addition, Ananda was a strong supporter and vocal advocate of Buddha’s wish for his order not to have a singular leader. Perhaps another factor involved in Mahakassapa’s dislike of Ananda was the fact that Ananda was the one who had convinced the Buddha to ordain women. This would have offended Mahakassapa’s conservative brahmin background. In the end, however, the monastic elders protested Ananda’s exclusion and Mahakassapa gave in and allowed Ananda to attend. According to the Theravada account, Ananda attained arhatship the night before the council."

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/approaching_buddhism/teachers/lineage_masters/life_buddha_pali_canon.html

Anonymous said...

Well at least we know what "relic" Khru Jr. will want from Brad's funeral pyre.

Anonymous said...

Could not agree more jinzang

Mysterion said...

Brad Sed:

"Dogen Sangha International as a whole has never had any gatherings."

Well let's have a couple.

One at SFZC

A second at Stanford.

If you throw a party and nobody shows, it's not a party.

But, if I show up, I'm nobody...

so if I show, the party is over... Over... OVER


or not.

Khru Jr. said...

BRAD,

IF YOU AGREE TO USE THE FUNDS TO GET YOUR ASSHOLE BLEACHED, I WILL SUBMIT A VERY, VERY SUBSTANTIAL DONATION.

Brad said...

My name is Brad and I'm a Buddhist.

I was ordained in the Soto School of Zen Buddhism, the sect brought to Japan by a dude named Dogen in the 13th century. My teacher is Gudo Wafu Nishijima. He originally studied under Kodo Sawaki, a radical teacher who set out to overturn pretty much all of what had become established as Buddhism in Japan in the early 20th century. I began studying Zen in the early 1980s in Ohio under Tim McCarthy whose teacher was Kobun Chino who was brought to America by Shunryu Suzuki, author of Zen Mind Beginner's Mind. In those days, I was the bassist for ODFx (or Zero Defex), a hardcore punk band who none other than MDC cited as one of their fave groups. After ODFx bit the dust, I signed to Midnight Records and made five albums under the band name Dimentia 13. In 1994, I fulfilled a lifelong dream and got a job in Tokyo, Japan with the company founded by the special effects man behind the classic Godzilla films. I still work there.

I also wrote a book called Hardcore Zen: Punk Rock, Monster Movies and the Truth About Reality published by Wisdom Publications. It's an OK book. Some people like it. Maybe you will or maybe not.

Whatever.

Stephanie (not that one) said...

Chet QUITS TREELEAF AGAIN!

Anonymous said...

"Chet QUITS TREELEAF AGAIN!"

Oi this guy...
The worst sort of know it all, the proclaimer of the so-called "difficult truth". Little more than walking into a room full of people and pointing to everyone in turn and telling each their faults - then expecting a discussion.

Knows just enough to make him utterly unteachable.

He'll be back.
Don't you worry... He'll get bored from lack of controversy.

Anonymous said...

MEOW...

Anonymous said...

Treeleaf is an island unto itself.

Separate, distinct, distant.

It has nothing to do with Brad or DSI.

detach.

Gerald said...

Jundo is an almost perfect imitation of a Zen teacher. He is like saccharine to Zen's sugar.

Andrew said...

I think I said once that Jundo reminds me of Ned Flanders from the Simpsons, nore to do with his modes of speech perhaps than anything else. But I know quite a bit about the guy,and I have met him. And for what it's worth, my advice is to steer clear of this bloke. He has nothing to teach about Buddhism, other than what it isn't, and his motivation is purely self-promotion and aggrandisement. Stay away.

Soft Troll said...

This ghost hopes things don't splurge into more mob-gobbing and other-baiting.

He must have felt that he had lost the old warm world, paid a high price for living too long with a single dream. He must have looked up at an unfamiliar sky through frightening leaves and shivered as he found what a grotesque thing a rose is and how raw the sunlight was upon the scarcely created grass. A new world, material without being real, where poor ghosts, breathing dreams like air, drifted fortuitously about...like that ashen, fantastic figure gliding toward him through the amorphous trees.

Gerald said...

Soft Troll, What is it that you fear? That people will behave like people do. Say something they shouldn't about someone. Hurt someone's feelings.. How is that even possible?

Jundo puts himself out there as an example. He thinks nothing of bulldozing someone over an off the cuff comment. That guy bothers me more than Brad's devils do. Genpo preys on the strong but Jundo preys on the weak. Chet cut a little bit too close to the bone for him.

Anonymous said...

"Treeleaf is an island unto itself.

Separate, distinct, distant."

Nice one, troll.

Mysterion said...

Blogger Andrew said...
"...his motivation is purely self-promotion and aggrandisement. Stay away."

Good advice.

@9:52 PM, Anonymous said...

Treeleaf is an island unto itself.

Separate, distinct, distant.

It has nothing to do with Brad or DSI.

Detach.

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

I capitalized the "D" in detach.

Khru Jr. said...

Brad,

I have seen it reported that the Hui-neng, the Sixth Zen Patriarch, had an ENORMOUS penis.

Does this interest you? What does it mean for you in a day-to-day sense, since we know you're extremely under-endowed. You've had the chance to prove yourself and your manhood many times on this blog and you've declined. One can only conclude that it's because you have a micropenis.

Anonymous said...

here, HERE

Soft Troll said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skip Bayless (Fake) said...

That Jundo site seems to encourage a bunch of stupid posts. They all congratulate each other almost every time one of them posts something that MIGHT interest a 16 year old stoned kid. Maybe.

Anonymous said...

posted by GUDO NISHIJIMA | 6:12 PM | June 2, 2010

Information

Dear Mr. James Cohen,

You do not belong Dogen Sangha at all. Therefore you should not say anything about Dogen Sangha completely.*

Gudo Wafu Nishijima

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

*emphasis added

Mysterion said...

I feel that too little cannot be said about Jundo and Treeleaf within the comments section of Brad's bl;og.

Therefore, let us each resolve to mindfully avoid either utterance - in word or print - for each of the days that represent the future.

CAPCHA=herald pancake


I kid you not!

Anonymous for my own safety said...

The only times that I have looked at the Treeleaf website were when someone has posted a link here related to some controversy, usually regarding Brad. When I read most of the comments over there during those admittedly limited and infrequent visits I literally get feelings of queasiness and crawling skin, a visceral sensation that something is very, very wrong with some of those people and their ideas. Even Khru Jr. doesn't disturb me at all compared to some of the Treeleafers, although it wouldn't surprise me if Khru Jr. was actually a troll alter ego for one of them.

Khru Jr. said...

BRAD,

WHICH ZEN PATRIARCH DOES YOUR PENIS FEEL MOST COMPATIBLE WITH?

Soft Troll said...

To Gerald (with ofs added)

I fear those moments of insensate circularity my days are flung out on. That I lacked conviction and was full of it. March went too quickly. My finances are called Peter and too presently continuous to return diminishments beyond the wishful sophistry of it's too long sentence. The idea of courage, perhaps, unlike Key West. Although, I did say something about someone over the phone today and copped for it within minutes. Hell, I can't scud along irony for much longer.

So. I'm working on these things, amongst the rest, that no doubt have fed into that small, yet genuine desire to not return to this site to read more Jundo-bashing. Heavens!

I think it comes down to boredom, lagged with a wince, which did it.

I wish, dear co-visitor, for a finger of fun, a span of salt, and a twist of lemon. Please.

arkcx said...

Apparently St Francis of Assisi also had issues with succession:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/04/01/andrew-sullivan-christianity-in-crisis.html

Anonymous said...

I feel that too little cannot be said

Do you mean to say that:

I feel that too little *can* be said'...
or
I *fear* that too little cannot be said ...

?

Not Reblogging Shit said...

Monday, July 19, 2010




Jundo Boots Another Treeleafer for Speaking Up



Everyone around these parts is aware of Jundo Cohen (leader of Treeleaf Sangha, sometimes feuding dharma brother of B. Warner). Jundo has frequently come on Hardcore Zen in the comments section and whined about how ill-treated he's been by Gudo and Brad and others, even to the point of posting a bizarre deposition about a fight that took place in Japan some time ago.

Recently, I took a gander over at the Treeleaf site and found this thread.

I believe it's a very telling thread in as far as bringing to light the basic way in which Jundo appears to operate. Behind closed doors, Jundo seems to be a very different guy than what he lets on in public. When called out on this seeming "difference" in his private and public persona, he gets indignant.

The main thrust of the thread, if you don't have the time to read all hundred plus posts, is that one of the students (Chet) at Treeleaf has become unruly to the point where Jundo told him to basically stop engaging on the forum. Later on, it comes out that what really got Jundo hot under the collar was when Chet accused him of never having experienced Kensho.

The final nail in the coffin comes right at the end of the thread, when Chet brings up B. Warner and indicates that maybe Brad and others were telling the truth about Jundo's antics.

Chet appears to then be banned from the forum.

Not Reblogging Nothing said...

But what stands out to me is Jundo's passive aggressiveness and the consistency of this issue as it comes up again and again. Jundo even posts a private email to Chet where he sounds particularly nasty (probably fearful that Chet would reveal it first). Jundo then seems to intentionally try to mislead people about what the nature of their correspondence really was.

Long ago, Jundo had called on Gudo to empanel a board of directors, stating that it was important for any Zen group to have such a panel, to make sure that Dogen Sangha did not become problematic in how it handled disputes. Jundo claimed in a discussion that he and I had, that he would at some point do the same for Treeleaf (making excuses as to why it wasn't currently necessary in his case).

And yet Jundo never really has done what he called on Brad and Gudo to do. Jundo never set up any oversight for his own community. And Treeleaf is not nearly as open as Brad's community, being fairly heavily moderated.

What does this tell us, in the end, about the nature of Jundo and Brad's dispute? I think the answers become more clear all the time.

Reblogging Jundo said...

That guy had warnings, suggestions, wagged fingers and friendly counsel for about two years.

I still hope he comes back someday.

You may claim a "selection bias", but I still do not know what can be more fair than an open, uncensored forum open to all the members and anyone else in which the person who is the subject can say whatever he wants, post whatever he wants in defense, disclose any of the email he wrote me privately, call any friends to speak in his behalf. What the heck is more open then that?

But, anyway, we'll can that board going too, as an extra check on the process.

Now, if you want to talk about something unfair on the internet, how about all the innuendo you posted about me and Treeleaf tonight that nobody can correct but you? You tell me about "open and honest, fair and balanced", but your a little bit running the Buddhist Foxnews here, and the Zen Glen Beck. :-)

Gassho, J

Gassho, Jundo

Anonymous said...

Gniz, like many critics, you have fingers to point, but offer no real solutions. We are already taking steps to establish an ethical ombudsman committee at Treeleaf to add one more bit of oversight to our way of doing things ... but I am already anticipating that you will always be the critic, finding fault yet with few solutions.

By the way ... life itself is rarely dry, inflexible, one size fits all.

I have said many times that I regret the tone I took with Brad, not much of what I said to him about his essay on getting a squeezer in a S&M bar.

If you wanted to hear some real cussin', you should have been around when I stepped on my son's toy this morning and nearly broke my neck.

Now, speaking of honesty ... I am going to honestly say that you are now the "Zen Glenn Beck" in my book. You mix some valid criticisms and reasonable points with innuendo, half facts, unsubstantiated allegations, smoke and an agenda to push. Unfortunately, soon, one cannot tell where truth ends and the agenda and "muckraking, scandal fabricating gossip columnist" begins. It's obvious to anyone reading what you wrote in your post and since. Glenn ... Gniz, you have done some very good work in criticizing Ken Wilber and some other folks who deserved to be called on the carpet, but now your credibility is seriously in question.

Gassho, Jundo

Turd Ass said...

I didn’t really want to get into the allegations Jundo Cohen has been raising in the comments section. But I feel it now may be necessary.

First, the short version: After the alleged “assault” that Jundo claimed occurred in Tokyo at a meeting of Dogen Sangha, I read all of Mr. Cohen's claims. I then spoke personally face-to-face with Peter Rocca, the Dogen Sangha teacher Jundo alleges assaulted him. I have known Peter a long time and I trust him to tell me the truth (Peter’s version of events appears in the email below). Furthermore, I spoke with two other people who were present when the so-called “assault” occurred and their versions of events concurred with Peter’s.

If I had had any reason to believe that Peter Rocca actually assaulted Mr. Cohen, I would have taken appropriate action as the head of Dogen Sangha International. However, I could find no compelling reason to believe he had.

Anonymous said...

Thank you to Brad for allowing me to post here. It is nice of him, despite his concerns.

I just wished to address a couple of points raised.

"Jundo HAS NOT identified any witness who agrees with his view of event"

Mr. Hirom Sit confirmed my general story to Nishijima Roshi during a telephone call in my presence while at da' Roshi's apartment (especially the point that I was polite, interesting and soft spoken the entire time). Mr. Sit, whose photo I put in my affidavit, a friend of Peter, and an all around nice man who is everyone's friend. I will seek to obtain his written statement. If he just says that I was polite the entire time I was there, and didn't try to be rude or disruptive, I will be happy ... even let this go (because that was the fact). I never took a swing at Pete.

I did not seek legal actions at the time as I was working for reconciliation, and to let it slide, until these nefarious stories about what happened began to re-emerge recently.

As Brad mentioned, it was suggested by someone else that I go to that meeting, and I wrote to Gerhard and Peter days before that I was coming ... nobody wrote back (as I remember) that I should not come to the Saturday meeting. I have those emails. I really thought I could talk to Peter and Gerhard there and work things out, and it would not become what it became.

Let me say that I now regret revealing Peter's name. Please understand that I experienced three days around here of trying to be civil, but being called everything from a thief, rapist, the unibomber ... you name it, but liar is the worst.

Thank you for allowing me to post, Brad. I will use the privilege sparingly.

Gassho, Jundo

Mark Foote said...

This is not the account of the Pali Canon, fyi:

"He arrived with a large group of monks just before the pyre was lit, and insisted that the cremation not take place till he too had paid his last respects to the Buddha."

Here's the Pali Text Society's translation from "Maha Parinibbana Sutra":

"Now just at that time four chieftains of the Mallas had bathed their heads and clad themselves in new garments with the intention of setting on fire the funeral pyre of the Exalted One. But, behold, they were unable to set it alight!

... And when the homage of the venerable Maha Kassapa and of those five hundred brethren (the company of monks with Maha Kassapa) was ended, the funeral pyre of the Exalted One caught fire of itself."

(D. ii 163, pg 185-186)

Let me repeat: Maha Kassapa saw a flower, it was not in the hand of the Buddha but in the hand of a naked ascetic, the flower having bloomed and fallen out of season after the death of the Gautamid. Maha Kassapa likely received the robe and bowl because he was the first senior monk at the funeral pyre of the Gautamid, not because he was priviledged with some silent mystical transmission. The order of monks split after the Gautamid's death, not because Mahayana was the great vehicle to Hinayana's small vehicle, but because the future Mahayanists believed it was possible for an Arahant to have a wet-dream while the future Hinayanists did not.

The incident with the mushrooms in the pig which only Gautama ate; the farmer was not attempting to kill Gautama. He simply didn't know. That's the way it reads as far as I'm concerned. Gautama's cousin did try to kill him, and he did so because he thought Gautama was too lenient. Devadatta wanted the monks to be vegetarian, and to have only three robes, while the Gautamid said they should eat whatever they were given provided meat wasn't killed especially for them, and apparently the Gautamid was not as concerned about the robes.

The use of "Gautamid" to refer to Gautama the Buddha, Gautama was his last name, so it would be like calling me "the Foote"- he was "the" member of the Gautama family, so the Gautamid. That's my understanding.

Reblogging Rob said...

I believe that Jundo is a false teacher and twists and spins history like, well, a lawyer. And I think it's important for someone to say so whenever he "pops in here for a minute". Read his announcement. It's spun so hard it makes me dizzy. Read his idea about having a Head Helper run DSI instead of a President. It strikes me as pathetic -- if he can't run DSI, than no one can! Who do you think claimed to have "received a secret teaching" from Nishijima?

Perhaps someone thinking about listening to his BS might read this and look into it further. I came to my conclusion from reading Jundo's online writing on DSB and TL, from Nishijima's responses to him, and from stuff I've heard in private. The last is why I use quotes from Nishijima to demonstrate my points. I recommend anyone interested do a site-search on DSB for Jundo OR Cohen and look for Nishijima responding to him. Notice that every time Jundo says something about Buddhism Nishijima smacks him down. Is there one example of Nishijima praising his Buddhist understanding? There might be, but I haven't run across it. But read it yourself, in context, and make your own decision.

It seems obvious to me that Jundo's teacher thinks he's full of shit, and that he asked him to leave his sangha. If you still think listening to Jundo is a good idea, more power to you. And if you need a heart surgeon in Los Angeles, try mine. He doesn't know a heart from a pancreas; no hospital will have him and he works out of his van; he's killed most of his previous patients; and I think he got his degree online and off-shore -- but he does own his own scrubs and he looks like a surgeon.

Rob

Tooth said...

gniz said...
Hey Rob,

You make some good points about Jundo but saying that he was going to lie about a "secret teaching" is kind of heavy-duty and should be backed up with something...

Anonymous said...

Oh, why did you say the name of He Who Must Not Be Named? Don't you know that summons Him here?

Chet was banned? said...

We have only had to ban four people in the four years of daily practice and discussions at Treeleaf forum. One because of health concerns (I required a doctors note from someone), and three because they were fighting with other members, and we were receiving complaints from other members. After several friendly warnings, the problem persisted, especially when some folks seemed to like to participate and drink at the same time. Not a good combination. Nothing was hidden.

No comment on who those folks were! :-)

I think 4 cases in 4 years is a very good record, especially for internet forums.

Gassho, Jundo

Tyrion Lannister said...

Harry said...
Hey, Jundo,

'Angry Buddhist', sure, whatever you say, Serenity Boy. Don't you remember the last time you had to make a public apology to me on my blog? (which you clearly went back on in sending me more of your trash)...

Jundo wrote in March 2009:
Jordan is right that I have been too aggressive in this discussion, I have been aggitated and it has been bothering me more than I knew, and I was taking it out on you without realizing it. The fact is that Brad's book, Nishijima Roshi's behavior (including racial and strange comments directed at me that I know he does not intend in his old age and which are not him really), and several years of other DS issues which you are too familiar with ... well, all came to a head. I did not realize that it would knock me sideways so much.

Anyway, I should not be using such a harsh, aggressive and "grumpy old man" tone with people. I am very sorry if I did that. I would hope that we can could the discussion sometime in a more mature way, although I understand that you no longer wish to receive any mails from me. I think that I have only sent a couple, but I will send no more.

This is ALL available on the internet said...

Mike Cross said...

I say this not only for Sekishin but for all people who are interested in the teaching of Master Nishijima on Fukan-Zazen-Gi.

Master Dogen taught us to sit in the lotus posture (1) with body, (2) with mind, (3) dropping off body and mind.

In the teaching of Master Nishijima (1) is explicit, (2) has been transmitted non-verbally, from mind to mind by mind, and (3) is explained as balance of the autonomic nervous system -- which is, in my view, the Master’s big mistake; because discussion of the autonomic nervous system belongs not to (3) but to (1).

There are several Dharma-heirs who, relying on Nishijima Roshi’s teaching, have understood the above teaching of Master Dogen partially -- for example, Jeremy Pearson, Denis Le Grand, the monk Taijun, Gabriele Linnebach, et cetera. But because the understanding of these genuine students is only partial they do not have strong confidence to speak out against the charlatan James Cohen.

.....

Jundo James Cohen, you are a kind of animal that has attached itself to Nishijima Roshi for the purpose of getting your own fame and profit. You slander Zazen. You insult the Buddha-Dharma. You have not yet understood Nishijima Roshi’s fundamental teaching at all. Nevertheless, you have no attitude to wish to deepen your understanding of Fukan-Zazen-Gi, because the meager and wrong understanding which you have got already seems to have been sufficient already for you to get the kind of things you want -- e.g. an impressive-looking Zen photo of you and Nishijima Roshi together, your own book to which you hold the sole copyright, a certificate of Dharma-transmission, et cetera, et cetera. Being a stupid oaf, you do not realize that, without true understanding of Fukan-Zazen-Gi, those things are all utterly as nothing.

Anonymous said...

That Mike Cross fellow seems to go above and beyond with his dislike of Jundo.

IMO

Anonymous because honesty compels said...

It's funny how a post about "betrayal of the spirit" turned into a dialog about Jundo and Treeleaf.

Anonymous said...

"Cross" is a synonym for "angry".
Just sayin'.

Mark Foote said...

Interesting stuff, these posts about Jundo, Treeleaf, Dogen Sangha, Dogen Sangha International, Gudo Nishijima, and Brad. Jundo wonders about the significance of the precepts in Gudo's vision of Dogen Sangha International, and claims to see a difference between his point of view and Brad's. I would presume that's what's going on?

In the same Maha-Paranibbana sutta, the Gautamid says:

"Be ye a refuge onto yourselves.

... And how, Ananda, is (one) to be a lamp unto (themselves)...

Herein, O mendicants, (one) continues, as to the body, so to look upon the body that (they) remain strenuous, self-possessed, and mindful, having overcome both the hankering and the dejection common in the world. [And in the same way] as to feelings... moods... ideas, (one) continues so to look upon each that (they) remain strenuous, self-possessed, and mindful, having overcome both the hankering and the dejection common in the world."

(D. ii 100, pg 108)

Close to his death, the Gautamid excuses his order from observing all of the precepts, except three. What the three were, is not recorded, and no one could say for sure what they were, so the order to this day continues to observe them all (can't find the chapter and verse at the moment, but I'm sure it's there).

Buzzy said...

Mike Cross called Jundo "a stupid oaf?"

At least he (Mike) pulled his punches.

At least Jundo has a thick, Levitican Cult, skin.

Mysterion said...

By writing "I feel that too little cannot be said...", I was expressing the sentiment that the slightest mention is already too much (spoken or written).

Anonymous said...

ahh, thank you, I never did understand that phrase. It looks like a lot got said. Perhaps you could ask for more instead?

Oh please keep writing about Jundo!

Soft Roll said...

"Chet" hijacks two blogs in a week. next up: American Airlines.

I say let Treeleaf (what an insipid name for anything, really) eat its own.

Curiously, all of this is on topic. Wish sometime other Nishijima sprouts would speak up other than the previously described oaf with his self-serving rebuttals, though.

Goes to show how closely he and his blog pals monitor this blog. They're probably responsible for most of the anonymous trash talk.

And Mark, that explanation for "the Gautamid" is strange. Referring to you by your family name should we say "the Footed?" Pretty funny how you keep trying to steer the conversation back to the topic that interests you.

Fie on all this.

Anonymous said...

It *is* interesting when people steer topics to those that interest them. Why do you think that happens?

Anonymous said...

Now I am thinking that I must establish Dogen Sangha Universal from the 1st of May this year. Since I have exited Dogen Sangha International, I was expected by many people to establish Dogen Sangha Universal, which now can joined by everyone in the world. At the same time I have redoubled my efforts to establish and keep Treeleaf Sangha, throughout the world, relying upon the efforts of many people, who have listened to my Buddhist podcasts, read my advice, learned from my teaching and received Dharma Transmission from me over the internet.

Anonymous said...

Hey anybody want to get together for a bowl of Count Chocula? Do they still make that? How about Boo-Berry? Cocoa Pebbles?

Khru Jr. said...

Hey Brad:

Post a cock pic.

Thinking about this a bit, why don't you get a cockring and tattoo?

Anonymous said...

K Jr.

When I read words I see the pictures in the mind.

Please stop, or put it in a box at least.

Thankyou

anonymous anonymous said...

Khru Jr. is really mysterion.

Anonymous said...

LOL, every time Mysterion posts Khru Jr. is right behind him.

Coincidence? No fucking way.

Dude's obsessed with Brad in every way possible.

Anonymous said...

Dear Roshi,

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow (Friday) at 1pm.

Roshi, I would like to make a formal motion and proposal for your approval regarding your recent announcement regarding Dogen Sangha International.

The title of the position that Brad will take will be changed from "Leader" to "Head Helper".

The reason is that, in a modern democratic organization, we are a union or federation of your Dharma Heirs, brothers and sisters, who must help each other. This is in keeping with the Precepts and the cooperative nature of a Sangha. It is not appropriate (and several members, including myself, do not wish to belong to) any organization that has a "Leader" after you. So, the title "Leader" is fitting, perhaps, to a feudal, Japanese organization, but is not appropriate to the modern, Western Sangha you wish to leave. The duties of the "Head Helper" would not be to "lead" the organization, but to work for out mutual cooperation and to be, not a leader or commander, but the first to offer aid to all others as a brother among brothers.

Furthermore, the "Head Helper" would commit to always act with the dignity of the Sangha, you and his brothers and sisters in mind in his or her conduct.

As a second motion, I would also propose that there be a term limit of 5 years on "Head Helper", at which time other members of the Sangha can be proposed to be "Head Helper" elected by majority vote.

Please consider these idea appropriate for modern democratic societies of the 21st century.

Please indicate your approval by changing your message on your Dogen Sangha blog accordingly.

Gassho, Jundo

John Winger said...

I'm gonna volunteer my leadership to this platoon. An army without leaders is like a foot without a big toe. And Sergeant Hulka isn't always gonna be there to be that big toe for us. I think that we owe a big round of applause to our newest, bestest buddy, and big toe... Sergeant Hulka.

Anonymous said...

Would any of you like me to describe my member and its characteristics? I'd be happy to!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like Jundo could use a "head helper".
Take that whichever way you want.

Anonymous said...

grass roots said...
jundo jim,
I have never met you in person, but from your emails I wonder: Are you the kind of priest who licks a master's arse to get his own fame and profit?

6:49 PM, December 24, 2005

Khru Jr. said...

Let me tell you about my smell and texture!

Anonymous said...

Hello Roshi,

New Year’s Greetings to You. Every Moment is New and New and New.

Thank you for ‘GudoBlog.’ It is very interesting to me, as you explain many subjects not mentioned in your other writings in English. You are very patient to just keep writing-and-writing.

I believe that our Zen practice is to keep living-and-living, despite distractions and disturbances. In fact, life –is– endless distractions and disturbances, and the only question is how we handle them.

My wife and I are planning where we will establish our permanent Zendo. As my wife is a student of Zen and Ai-ki-do, we will also have an Ai-ki-do dojo and a Zendo. I am looking to purchase a farm, somewhere with water (I like rivers, waterfalls, oceans, rain, creeks, dripping sinks, leaky pipes).

Right now, we are looking at many locations. Some are in the United States (North Carolina, northern Florida, New Mexico, California, Georgia. I think, however, we may go to New Zealand, for any place is a good place! (What do you think about that?)

It will not be large. I am hoping for a Zendo that can have 50 people sitting. Maybe there will be rooms for a few people to stay and practice for longer periods.

My wife and I are adopting a second baby, from China. Also, we hope to spend several months this year (2006) in France. I am hoping that I can meet and sit with my DogenSangha brothers in Europe.

Roshi, I am writing this e-mail from San Francisco. One of my best friends died. I was asked to perform the funeral. I explained to my sick friend, before he died, that I do not personally believe in funerals, because our Zen practice is about life, moment-by-moment. I explained that a teacher, Nishijima, usually refuses to do funerals, because our practice is about life, moment-by-moment. However, my friend’s family said that they wanted me to do some ceremony as they knew me best and trusted me, and it was the request of my friend who died. He was very young in calendar years, only 50 years old.

About 100 people came, from many religions – Catholic, other Christians, Jewish, Agnostic, Atheist, Whatever, Nothing Whatever. My hope was to have compassion to comfort my friend’s family, and to speak to all those people. However, I also wished to stay true to my beliefs about life-and-death. I did not wish to say anything during the ceremony other than my understanding of the Teachings.

The ceremony was simple … No incense, no chanting, no song and dance. Actually, my friend was a lover of Jazz music, so we played some Jazz.

We had a moment of silence in which we could all celebrate his life … tears and smiles, sorrow and contentment combined.

The ceremony then ended with the closing: “Go in peace.”

Gassho, Jundo

Anonymous said...

These comments are a soft hell for me. I've got to go. Wading in shallow water can unpredictably lead to a drop off. This is posted for my penance, may I study it daily and follow it faithfully:

RIGHT SPEECH

The definition

"And what is right speech? Abstaining from lying, from divisive speech, from abusive speech, & from idle chatter: This is called right speech."

SN 45.8

Five keys to right speech

"Monks, a statement endowed with five factors is well-spoken, not ill-spoken. It is blameless & unfaulted by knowledgeable people. Which five?

"It is spoken at the right time. It is spoken in truth. It is spoken affectionately. It is spoken beneficially. It is spoken with a mind of good-will."

AN 5.198

The criteria for deciding what is worth saying

[1] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[2] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[3] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.

[4] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[5] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[6] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."

MN 58

Harry said...

Jaysus,

What a trip down memory lane all that was... I'll probably get blamed for all that!

I'm glad to say I haven't heard from His Jundoness since the martial arts showdown with Dogen Sangha's answer to Chuck Norris, which suits me just fine. I continue to wish him and his well however, and wonder how muchraking will improve matters (I'd be lying if I said it didn't have some zentertainment value tho).

Nice piece about the ambling non-beast that is Dogen Sangha, Brad.

A thing that may (or may not!) interest you is the postmodern approach to organisation and organisations:

The postmodern organization may be defined as that comprising a networked set of diverse, self-managed, self-controlled teams with poly-centers [many centers] of coordination that fold and unfold according to the requirements of the tasks. Likewise, these teams are organized in flat design, employees are highly empowered and involved in the job, information is fluid and continuous improvement is emphasized throughout (after Boje and Dennehy, 2000).

http://www.horsesenseatwork.com/psl/pages/postmoderndefined.html

Mightn't be wholly applicable to DS, but there's a load of stuff written on this (some of it very interesting, and some of it more dense than it's worth, it should be noted).

Regards,

Harry.

Harry said...

BTW, 'Flat' or 'horizontal' in postmodern organisational terms doesn't mean having a nap, or sleeping with students. It means 'flat' or more equal organisation as opposed to the 'vertical' power structures of traditional institutions such as Church hierarchies etc which pyramid up to a head honcho (usually a white dude).

Regards,

H.

Mark Foote said...

@soft roll, that would be "Footeid", thank you.

As to what interests me, to which I will now return: I'm interested that Gautama advocated for mindfulness or "remembrance" associated with four fields as the way to be a lamp onto oneself (no mention of precepts here, Jundo, though I know it appears elsewhere). He stated that his own practice before and after enlightenment was such remembrance, in conjunction with inhalation or exhalation. The critical piece of his practice, the comprehension of the long inhalation as long, the short inhalation as short, the long exhalation as long, and the short exhalation as short is seldom mentioned when meditation is taught in Buddhist or quasi-Buddhist temples. Dogen's teacher said that because the breath came from "no place" to the tan-tien, it was neither long nor short.

Now I would like to propose that the Gautamid's practice can be taught, although the experience requires both the appropriate circumstance and a personal necessity (hello, cross-legged posture?). Tiantong (Rujing, Dogen's teacher) pointed to the thing that enters into the location of consciousness even before a person is aware of it, "no where" affecting the somewhere of our consciousness and the experience of our breath. My own experience teaches me that Dogen's "pivot of zazen" is the ease and absorption that attend the inclusion of the mind as the sixth sense in the experience of the "where" of consciousness, and that this is related to the Gautamid's "remembrance" of the body.

To experience the long and short of inhalation and exhalation, I relinquish activity to the point of falling down and realize a hypnogogic detachment with regard to the place of occurrence of consciousness, in spite of the presence of postural behaviour associated with falling down triggered by the amygdala from childhood memories. I have described this as the practice of waking up and falling asleep (it's easiest to find lying down falling asleep). If I judge a breath long or short in inhalation or exhalation, the practice of waking up and falling asleep is over, and yet the length of the breath in or out can be comprehended without being grasped.

That's the nature of "mindfulness" and practice in general, it depends on "waking up and falling asleep" and is fundamentally ungraspable, and that's the reason why Brad had a problem with the words ascribed to Thich Nhat Hanh about mindfulness and a sunrise.

As to what Brad can do to repay his debt to his teacher, that too is fundamentally ungraspable; lineage successors, survival and propagation of teachings, and establishment of institutions cannot be grasped in the repayment of his debt.

Stuart Resnick said...

My own account (from mid-80s) of spending several days at the "spiritual Disneyland" led by one of the Hare Krishna successor gurus:

http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/cookie.htm

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Anonymous said...

Roshi Suzuki was realized.
as is Master Hsing Yun;
as was Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad.
99.999% of 'masters' are NOT realized.
simple
not cheap

Doug said...

Hello,

Shariputra and Maudgalyayana were probably among his two most enlightened disciples. A few of the sutras in the Pali Canon are given by Shariputra not Shakyamuni for example. But alas, he died before the Buddha.

But like you said, he may not necessairly been the most appropriate administrator. I guess we will never know.

Stuart Resnick said...

Anony said: "Roshi Suzuki was realized.
as is Master Hsing Yun; as was Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad."

You could also say that Babe Ruth was realized. As is Lady Gaga; as is Vladimir Putin.

Hell, if you're just going to make an assertion without backing it up with any evidence, or any well-reasoned argument... you can say damn near anything.

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