Cleary on Cultish Zen

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Astus
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Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby Astus » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:21 pm

"Foyan’s teachings on meditation, much like those of the ancient masters, are quite different from the obsessive compulsive attitudes inherited by Western Zen cultists from Japanese sectarians automatically following late feudal and neo-imperial models of Zen organization and discipline. Foyan’s teachings were evidently different from those of obsessive cultists of his own time too. Xutang (pronounced Syw-tahng), whose student Jomyo imported Zen to Japan in the thirteenth century, is on record as teaching, "It is essential not to become attached to the form of sitting; when you sit, you should do so in a suitably convenient manner. If you lack inner direction, you will uselessly weary your spirit.” Under the military authoritarian regimes that actually controlled most of the Zen establishments in feudal Japan, this original flexibility tended to give way to extreme disciplinarian rigidity."
(Instant Zen, p. 130)

"The irony in the obscurity of koans is that it derives mainly from linguistic and contextual gaps between sectarian Zen in Korea and Japan on the one hand and comprehensive classical Chinese Zen on the other. Offshoots of Korean and Japanese sects, not understanding the structure of the koans, have tended to make this aspect of Zen into a cult of secrecy, mystery, and/or simple mystification.
Imported to the West, this type of cult has given rise to the new coinage koanophobia, “fear of koans,” evidently on account of their exploitation for bafflement value. Added to the premise of koanic secrets of overwhelming importance held authoritatively by an autocratic potentate and an elite circle, in a cultural environment where self-esteem is considered a central value, the mystery-cult approach to koans has had the effect of intimidating and yet alluring those who are naive or inwardly uncommitted but nevertheless wish to think well of themselves."

(Kensho, p. xi)
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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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby DGA » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:58 pm

:popcorn:

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dzogchungpa
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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby dzogchungpa » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:15 pm

Finally, we return to our regularly scheduled righteous indignation and concern trolling!
:woohoo:
Through Dzogchen we can really understand what God is and we don’t have to worry if there is a God or not. God always exists as our real nature, the base, for everybody. - Chögyal Namkhai Norbu

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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby uan » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:36 pm


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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby Dan74 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:16 am

He did cite the sources.

Concern trolling is a great term, BTW, but I'd be interested to hear from some serious practitioners in response to these.

I sit with a Soto group at Uni where I work. I like the teacher a lot and very happy to be able to participate, but what I still don't get is the worship of zazen. I can see it partly as their attempt to escape the conceit of attainment and the mirage of an external aim, but it still doesn't quite gel.

So I would welcome any comments to either or both of the two points from actual practitioners.

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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:20 am

Through Dzogchen we can really understand what God is and we don’t have to worry if there is a God or not. God always exists as our real nature, the base, for everybody. - Chögyal Namkhai Norbu

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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:30 am


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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby shel » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:35 am

A zen teacher gave me a koan once. Something about hearing the temple bell ring before it rings, or something like that. He said I could take it or leave it, and to do it I would have to kind of perform it. He couldn't tell just by looking at me but I'm a rather shy person and often suffer a condition called 'performance anxiety'. Most embarrassing! so I opted out. That's the end of my story as an actual practitioner. :emb:

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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby Astus » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:39 am

The sources were given, they are both Thomas Cleary's books (as the title of the thread suggests) and their titles are also given with the page number. But if anyone wants more, like ISBN or date of publication I can also give that. Or, yes, you can search for it online.

How is it important?

The first quote is about zazen, in the book itself a note to Foyan's poem on sitting meditation. It is relevant to the idea that Zen is to be realised/accomplished/performed in proper sitting posture.

Three examples (not meant to be a critique of the individuals being quoted):

"You should be sitting straight up as if you were supporting the sky with your head. This is not just form or breathing. It expresses the key point of Buddhism. It is a perfect expression of your Buddha nature. If you want true understanding of Buddhism, you should practice this way. These forms are not a means of obtaining the right state of mind. To take this posture itself is the purpose of our practice." (S. Suzuki: Zen Mind, Beginners Mind; p. 26)

"Zazen is a physical practice. To sit in a chair and call it zazen is incorrect." ()

"During zazen, we have satori, we are Buddha, God. Without zazen, we have no such thing. So zazen is the holy posture, the highest. During zazen, the noblest holy mind manifests itself. What is holy in the world? Only the posture of zazen." ()

The second quote is about how koans are viewed incorrectly as irrational and something that only an enlightened being can comprehend.

Quotes about koans:

"a paradox to be meditated upon that is used to train Zen Buddhist monks to abandon ultimate dependence on reason and to force them into gaining sudden intuitive enlightenment" ()

"An important part of kong-an practice is the private exchange between teacher and student wherein the teacher checks the student’s grasp of the point of the kong-an. Kong-ans are probably best known for the unusual, seemingly non-rational quality of their language and dialogues, and are not meant to be studied, analyzed or approached conceptually. The kong-an is an experiential tool that helps us cut through our thinking so that we can just perceive and function clearly." ()
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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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby uan » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:00 am


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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby DGA » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:01 am


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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby kirtu » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:26 am



"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby uan » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:00 am


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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby Kim O'Hara » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:06 am


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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby Dan74 » Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:39 am


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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby Astus » Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:17 am

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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Wayfarer
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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby Wayfarer » Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:29 am

Last edited by Wayfarer on Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby oushi » Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:43 am

Straight posture while sitting prevents from falling asleep, that is why it is used. Some will argue that it helps with the flow of energy. Cool if it does, but it is nothing but sitting.
Say what you think about me

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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby greentara » Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:49 pm

"One of the best sayings I ever read was this one. A student has a breakthrough moment into satori and goes to the teacher in a great state of excitement, asking 'now that I have attained this insight how do I apply it?' To which the teacher replies 'with firm even strokes, allowing several hours to dry between coats'"
Yes allowing the 'glimpse' to ripen and become steady. Upon the smallest taste they want to sit on a pedestal, reachout and teach. Not allowing for quietness and isolation to 'percolate' to be apart, alone is the merest bedrock of what's needed.

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Re: Cleary on Cultish Zen

Postby kirtu » Fri Mar 01, 2013 1:04 pm



"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche


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