"Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

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Sara H
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"Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Sara H » Fri Jan 04, 2013 5:32 am

"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil Singer

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy

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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Astus » Fri Jan 04, 2013 10:49 am

It's natural selection. Species that are incapable of reproduction die out. In Buddhism the minimal requirement is transmitting the form. In Zen it should be the substance that is passed on, but when the teachers don't have it how could the students?
Myriad dharmas are only mind.
Mind is unobtainable.
What is there to seek?

If the Buddha-Nature is seen,
there will be no seeing of a nature in any thing.

Neither cultivation nor seated meditation —
this is the pure Chan of Tathagata.

With sudden enlightenment to Tathagata Chan,
the six paramitas and myriad means
are complete within that essence.



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Sara H
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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Sara H » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:19 am

I think that's a bit pessimistic of you.

The teachers certainly do have it. We talk about them on a daily basis on here. With reverence and respect.

Obviously they do.

What seems to me, is that there's a lack of an ability to reach out and connect with the younger generation.

Whether it's simple marketing, (a challenge that all of the Baby Boom generation has towards us) or simply a lack of basic understanding of how to speak to us, and relate, and interpersonal skills when it comes to talking to our generation.

The Baby Boom seems to think we are rude. I hear a lot when I am talking to them about how "are we ever to expect to get a job, with the lack of personal skills we have?" What they don't understand is that our personal skills are based on the internet, and reaching out and understanding each other and the world around us, in a much more "macro" way rather than a "micro" way such as the Baby Boom Generation was brought up with. Such as nationalism and such. Millennial are much more international people. We relate to people in other countries and such.

We also view knowledge as something that is easily attainable, not something esoteric and such, the way the Boomers did.

If a boomer wanted to learn something when they were young, they had to slog through a library, sorting out books that may be questionably accurate, or be apprenticed, or "brought in" or initiated to knowledge by either the university system, or fraternities, or through skill-based apprenticeship programs, that passed knowledge on based more on longevity and loyalty, and a proven ability to take sometimes abuse by the person passing the knowledge on.

Millennials, just go to Wikipedia. Or watch tutorials on youtube.

By the time we actually go to school or enter a professional training environment, we already are vastly more familiar with the subject matter than Boomers ever were when they were in the same age and place in life.

We view sharing knowledge as an important way to progress society, whereas Boomers tend to look at knowledge as a bargaining chip, that should be earned by placing one's 'dues' in an organization or person.

Millenials are much less susceptible to advertizing. We see advertizing as what is is, an attempt by a company to sell us something, and we know that there is essentially a 'spin' or manipulation that is taking place as part of the advertizing that is likely not the whole truth or complete honesty, or even a downright lie.
And thus, we tend to view ads with complete skepticism, until we have a chance to get on google and investigate those claims for ourselves, or unless we have already done so repeatedly for a company or type of product, and thus can accurately judge the merits of the claims of an ad.

Boomers, didn't have any such way to investigate such claims when they were young, and thus were bombarded with them in TV commercials, and newspaper, and magazine ads, that they might not have any way of knowing if such a claim was true.

Thus, Boomers never learned how to tell the difference between whether information is true, partly true, misleading, contains some truth, completely misleading, or completely false.

That's why Boomers often say to us things like "well how do you know it's true, if it's on the internet?" It's because they don't realize that some sources on the internet are either credible, or lead to other searches that are credible, and by comparing many sources, it is possible to get to the truth of the matter.

Because many things Boomers were led to believe, are actually false, such as simple political claims based on fear, and as millennial we know that, It's often difficult to explain to a Boomer that what they believe is simply not true.

I remember as a teen trying to explain the history of Marijuana prohibition to my parents, talking to them about how it's being made illegal had nothing to do with it's alleged toxicity or being harmful to humans, but rather was due to old fashioned business anti-competitive interests of pulp acid paper industry people conspiring with their senator friends to pass a bill to outlaw hemp, which was a much better product and thus threatened their enterprise.

For millennials the above information is common knowledge which is why 2/3'ds of people under 30 support marijuana legalization.
And why it recently passed in Colorado and Washington for recreational use.

For Boomers, such ideas are scary. And they don't want to admit that they have been misled all their lives and don't know what they are talking about, or accurately understand history.
Their pride gets in their way, and they like to think because they are older, they are wiser and more knowledgeable.

Which, for the first time in perhaps many generations, is not actually true. The younger generation actually does know better.

In Buddhism, Boomers tend to get over their pride, because they know that pride is ignorance.

They can respect young people an value our knowledge.

But that doesn't mean that they still know how to relate to us, or that they understand our ways.
They simply never experienced that, the way we do, that constant exposure to knowledge and other ways of thinking.

I don't think they quite know how to handle that or talk to us in a way that relates.

It's important, because a Dharma talk based on the value of compassion when seeing things such as the rape in India of the woman in Delhi, relates more to our generation, as we are exposed to these sorts of things.

But for a Boomer, it might not occur to them that something in another country would effect us so directly.

So they might have a talk on something else instead.

That's what I mean about not being able to relate.

It's not that the Dharma isn't effective, or as useful to our generation or as valuable.

It's learning how to say it in a way that relates to our suffering as a generation, and not as much to theirs.

There really is a generation gap here, and I think that is what prevents more young people to reaching out to Buddhism.
We want it to relate to us and what we deal with, and what we see, and are having to go through.
And perhaps an acknowledgement of the ignorance of our parents generation and their own shortcomings.

Often we've tried to tell the Boomer Generation things that were not only right, (and consistantly proven so when the consequences of actions later came to bear), but also were plain to see from our perspective, but we were ignored, because the older generation assumed that because we were younger they knew better, and that we didn't know what we were talking about, and certainly couldn't know more than them.

There's a lot here.

But I do think that a basic lack of ability to relate is the cause of the age imbalance.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil Singer

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy

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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby greentara » Sat Jan 05, 2013 7:59 am

sarah, "Millenials are much less susceptible to advertizing. We see advertizing as what is is, an attempt by a company to sell us something, and we know that there is essentially a 'spin' or manipulation that is taking place as part of the advertizing that is likely not the whole truth or complete honesty, or even a downright lie.
And thus, we tend to view ads with complete skepticism, until we have a chance to get on google and investigate those claims for ourselves, or unless we have already done so repeatedly for a company or type of product, and thus can accurately judge the merits of the claims of an ad"
Wow theres some sweeping statements here! What a self congratulatory tone you have.
Never has advertizing been more manipulative, Never has society been controlled by so few.
Businesses funded by a raft of very well paying corporate sponsors which flood a particularized and highly malleable target mass market with products. Products largely unfettered by government regulation, constraint, or objective appraisal. Big corporations push not only tangible products and goods, but services and therapy-of-the-day alleged “healing techniques” with little or no vetting beyond that of the market place.

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Sara H
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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Sara H » Sat Jan 05, 2013 8:15 am

"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil Singer

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy

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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Megha » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:20 pm

Well I seem to remember an old teaching story that Bodhidharma had just this problem when he came to China.

He had a fashion show, a raffle, and a big advertising campaign across China to promote Zen.

Oh no, wait, no he didn't. He sat opposite a wall for 10 years. And after all that time he had one disciple and he refused to teach him at first, until he cut off his own arm.

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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Sara H » Sun Jan 06, 2013 12:27 am

"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil Singer

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy

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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Megha » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:04 am


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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby greentara » Sun Jan 06, 2013 1:20 am

Megha, Loved your comment, straight to the point!
There's a beautiful old saying "when the flower blooms the bees come ininvited" but if the teaching is watered down, stage managed with lots of rhetoric thrown in....well what do you expect the results will be?

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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby DGA » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:19 am


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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Thus-gone » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:39 am


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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Jinzang » Sun Jan 06, 2013 2:49 am

"It's as plain as the nose on your face!"

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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Ukigumo » Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:05 am

Speaking as a "millennial" (born in the 1980s) I have to agree there is definitely a generation gap. It is a bit of a turn off for me to see a sangha composed almost entirely of older white people; and a lot of the "style" of these communities definitely seems like it comes from an earlier era (the 60s or 70s). The recent scandals in several prominent Western Zen institutions are probably not doing much to win over a newer, younger generation, either.

However, my first meditation teacher was a boomer and I was deeply inspired by some of the literature coming out of that period (Shunryu Suzuki-Roshi's Zen Mind Beginner's Mind), so I am also very grateful for those bommer practitioners who helped to ensure that Buddhism put down roots in the West.

That said, at the end of the day I am just more drawn to more traditional institutions, such as the Chan temples which serve immigrants and "cradle Buddhist" communities as well as convert Westerners. This has as much to do with my own personality and heritage as it does with the fact that I am a bit turned off by the generation gap and other issues in "Western Zen". I am much more inspired by the writings of people like Ven. Sheng-Yen or Dae Haeng Sunim than I am by somebody like Brad Warner.
All compound phenomena are like a dream;
a phantom, a drop of dew, a flash of lightning
That is how to meditate on them
That is how to observe them

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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Sara H » Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:34 am

Last edited by Sara H on Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:43 am, edited 2 times in total.
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil Singer

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy

Jinzang
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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Jinzang » Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:35 am

I haven't found the trick to make myself thirty years younger, or to change my race. So I guess I'll have to continue being one of those old, white Boomer Buddhists. I'd like to think I have something to say. Maybe I should write more on my blog, develop an audience of Internet savvy millenials, who don't the awful truth about me. (Will have to get rid of my picture.)

If you can find a center with qualified younger teachers, by all means go there. But staying away from a center because the people there aren't like you is self-defeating, right? You've been hanging out with people like you all your life and you're not enlightened yet. Maybe you ought to stretch yourself and hang out with people who aren't like you.
"It's as plain as the nose on your face!"

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Sara H
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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Sara H » Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:00 am

"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil Singer

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy

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Sara H
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Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Sara H » Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:08 am

That's the point. The Dharma does not belong to the Baby Boomers.

It belongs to the world.

You do have to return it, and give it back. (and figure out how to do that. As the current holders, it's your responsibility.)

It's like that scene from Avatar: "All energy is only borrowed. And one day you have to give it back."
That's actually the truth. There's quite a bit of wisdom in that line.

You do have to give it back.

It doesn't belong to you.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil Singer

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy

Jinzang
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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Jinzang » Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:19 am

I don't see it as a matter of communication. I see it as a matter of trust. Everything worth saying was said long ago, by people far wiser than me. But what's needed is the courage to take that one necessary step "from the top of the 100 foot pole." Finding the courage to do that takes trust. I have my thoughts on how to build that trust, but someone meeting me could very well decide not to grant it, and I can't really blame them for that.

I'm always looking for ways to communicate the message of Buddhism better and make everything simpler and clearer without any necessary scholasticism or mystification. For now you can read my or my partial translation of a . Which is hosted on github. How could anything possibly be more up to date than that?
"It's as plain as the nose on your face!"

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Sara H
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Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Sara H » Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:40 am

"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil Singer

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy

Jinzang
Posts: 431
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:11 am

Re: "Zen is Going to Hell and It’s the Boomers’ Fault!"

Postby Jinzang » Sun Jan 06, 2013 4:51 am

Somehow you have the misapprehension that Zen Buddhists are running the country and making the decisions you so rightfully abhor. And, no, I won't apologize for the policies of Clinton/Bush/Obama, though I will join you if you plan a protest.

Every Buddhist group I've ever known about has been skewed strongly to the left. Ecology? Recycling? Back to the Earth? It was the hippies, many who became the first generation of Western Buddhists, who popularized these ideas.
"It's as plain as the nose on your face!"


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