Soto & Rinzai ecclesiastic hierarchy

Post Reply
User avatar
Aemilius
Posts: 1996
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:44 am

Soto & Rinzai ecclesiastic hierarchy

Post by Aemilius » Tue Dec 27, 2016 9:27 am

I found this article in the wiki about the zen ecclesiastical hierarchy/-ies, I find it really interesting.
I once listened to a recording of a talk in a U.S. Soto temple, in which a Soto equivalent of a Bishop (according to the intoduction in this recording) was visiting the Soto centres in the United States.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zen_ranks_and_hierarchy
svaha

TheNonduality
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Dec 04, 2016 1:24 am

Re: Soto & Rinzai ecclesiastic hierarchy

Post by TheNonduality » Fri Dec 30, 2016 12:37 am

From my experience: soto-shu (the official governing body of Soto Zen) is a notoriously complicated institution, the countless ranks is a symptom of this. That's why, for the most part, most American Soto Zen teachers and temples are no longer affiliated with Soto-shu. In my experience with Soto Zen in the US, the ranks have been boiled down to pre-shuso --> post shuso --> dharma transmission (which gives the power to fully teach and ordain) and the final rank is abbatial.

User avatar
Meido
Posts: 338
Joined: Mon Mar 21, 2011 2:50 am
Contact:

Re: Soto & Rinzai ecclesiastic hierarchy

Post by Meido » Fri Dec 30, 2016 6:56 am

On the Rinzai side, it is worth nothing that there has been little to no organizational oversight in the West. There are only a few sodo (training monasteries) here, and no temple hierarchies or hereditary guardianship of temples.

I do not see this as a bad thing. Organizational and lineage issues have often been conflated, but they are not the same thing at all.

In terms of ecclesiastic hierarchy what we've mostly seen here is simply novice (shami) ordination, followed by full ordination, and finally a very few inka shomei (designation as a lineage holder/shike, empowered to take disciples). In some cases the novice and full ordinations have been combined. Of course in terms of actual practice there has also been much less emphasis in the West on distinctions between ordained and lay, or male and female.

There has been some confusion over the English term "dharma transmission", which has commonly been used to refer to both Soto shiho and Rinzai inka shomei. These, too, are not originally the same thing.

~ Meido
Even though you have attained insight into the True Nature (kensho), there is yet the barrier of differentiation, and there is the One Path of Advanced Practice. If you have not yet even seen into the True Nature, what a lot there is yet to do! - Torei

The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji Rinzai Zen Monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺] - http://www.korinji.org
Madison, WI Rinzai Zen Community [機山龍源寺] - http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
The Rinzai Zen Community - http://www.rinzaizen.org

User avatar
Aemilius
Posts: 1996
Joined: Sat Mar 27, 2010 11:44 am

Re: Soto & Rinzai ecclesiastic hierarchy

Post by Aemilius » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:50 am

Wikipedia informs us:
"Eiheiji has sought, since medieval times, a source of income by soliciting monks to purchase honorary titles. Monks may progress through four hokai (Dharma ranks) with some time requirements of months or years between ranks. The final step in becoming a priest is zuise which means becoming ichiya-no-jushoku (abbot for one night) at both temples (Eiheiji and Soji-ji). Zuise entails paying each temple 50 000 yen (about $605 as of April 2012) for the ceremony. A monk receives an honorary meal and a bag of souvenirs at Eiheiji and then within one month, repeats the ceremony at Soji-ji. The monk is then considered an osho (priest and teacher)."

There is a picture of Genpo Merzel Roshi as zuise, abbot for a day: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eihei-ji
svaha

Post Reply