“My Three Years on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board: a Brief Reflection”

Post Reply
passel
Posts: 201
Joined: Sat Sep 29, 2012 5:30 am

“My Three Years on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board: a Brief Reflection”

Post by passel » Tue Nov 07, 2017 10:44 pm

"I have made a heap of all that I have met"- Svetonious

User avatar
SunWuKong
Posts: 262
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia
Contact:

Re: “My Three Years on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board: a Brief Reflection”

Post by SunWuKong » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:12 am

and???

I've read that the real reason behind Japanese monks not being celibate or vegetarian, or shaved was due to the "Purple Robe" affair, in which they were officially busted out of rank by the Emperor. but I'm not the expert

https://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/2978
“Nothing holy, just vast empty space!”

User avatar
Lindama
Posts: 660
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:26 pm
Location: Forestville, CA usa

Re: “My Three Years on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board: a Brief Reflection”

Post by Lindama » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:15 am

dear heart, as I see it, there are not real reasons for anything.

don't miss the core of what James said:
And, most of all, I’m concerned about the possibilities of Zen for a fulfilled life. I see it as one of the true ways. It is powerful. It is lovely. And it is a most human enterprise. So, it is also dreadfully frustrating. And, always, it appears, always totters at the edge of collapse.
Read more at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind ... a7vjGCj.99
I knew James briefly and some of his teachers... a good practice whether zen or other, holds the possibility for a fulfilled life... priest or lay. it is both empowered and vulnerable in one breath.

linda
Not last night,
not this morning,
melon flowers bloomed.
~ Bassho

User avatar
Larryo
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:30 pm

Re: “My Three Years on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board: a Brief Reflection”

Post by Larryo » Fri Nov 10, 2017 5:27 pm

Lindama wrote:
Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:15 am
it is both empowered and vulnerable in one breath.
Like Life and Death itself. A Wonderful paradox!

User avatar
SunWuKong
Posts: 262
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia
Contact:

Re: “My Three Years on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board: a Brief Reflection”

Post by SunWuKong » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:09 am

I like James too, but he is also from my other tradition, UUA or Unitarian Universalist Association, but if you say cut him some slack I will respectfully obey your wishes. I'm probably jealous because i lack a gift of words.

:bow:
“Nothing holy, just vast empty space!”

User avatar
KeithA
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 11:02 pm

Re: “My Three Years on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board: a Brief Reflection”

Post by KeithA » Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:29 am

James is a wonderful soul. I met him a couple times and gave a delightful talk at a Sangha day some years ago. He wrote in one of his books the he moved on from Kwan Um because he didn't like the kimch! Poor guy, he has no idea what he missed out on! :lol:

The hand-wringing over somehow certifying teachers is an interesting topic.

User avatar
Wayfarer
Posts: 3734
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: “My Three Years on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board: a Brief Reflection”

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Nov 21, 2017 11:23 am

I read James' blog regularly. Really like it. And Dosho's also. Thinking of signing up on his online sangha.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki-roshi

Matylda
Posts: 597
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Re: “My Three Years on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board: a Brief Reflection”

Post by Matylda » Sat Jan 20, 2018 12:16 am

Probably I do not understand everything what was written on that blog.
But let me say from the perspective of situation in Japan.

Yes, most priests received so called dharma transmission or shiho in Japan. But it means no more then to be a priest. A priest who can help in the temple or run the temple. They can do services etc. and if they like also zazenkai. Zazen practice like in bigger western zen centers never happens. Very few temples in Japan offer it. Whether soto, rinzai or obaku. Does not matter in fact.

Western myth of zen by far exaggerated this dharma transmission. In Japan it is imperative to get the work in the temple including one to two years in the monastery. The length of time depends on previous education. One with degree from Komazawa Uni. may stay even 6 months in the sodo, and that is enough.

So who is a zan master in soto in Japan? First are priests with shiho and completed monastic training. Then they have to stay in the monastery for many years. Really long. In the mantime they have to get degree of shike, before getting jun-shike. Shike means teacher or master. One who can train monks on full scale. Jun-shike is supporting teacher, or kind of helper, or junior teacher, who does not hold full rights as shike.

Therefore from thousands of priests holding shiho, or dharma transmission, only few dozens are in fact considered soto teachers in this sense as it is viewed in the West. I do not wonder that article says how difficut it is to figue out who is who in the West, and that many people hold titles without deserving it.

As for the title 'roshi' in Japan... many older priests with shiho are called roshi. And it is due to social custom among soto priests and lay followers, or temple members. It does not carry meaning of zen master per se. Roshi in the West is a big thing, but misunderstandings may appear very easily.

Concerning shike, or zen masters of soto school in Japan. They are gethered in their own respective body called shikekai - or assembly of masters. There are not that many in fact, as I wrote before. Among them are very different people with different views and experience. They are not immune to criticism or so. Sometimes they were even quarelles or sort of fights among them. There were factions who followed strong view on the necessity of kensho, satori and koan practice, others opposed it strongly advocating only shikan taza. There were many more problems due to human fails as well. Very few among them were or are in favor of zazen, most of them keep safely to as little zazen as possible. This is the wrold of zen masteres in Japan, or shike of soto zen. And hold on, it is not all... in this very inner or close circles, they know who is who.. and on the top of it, among themselves without saying much they would consider only few to be real zen masters... knowing somehow about their geniune experience in zazen practice, since it is not any guarantee that shike is realized individual.

Whether wise or stupid, whether they advocate a lot of zazen or avoid it, all shike had to spend long time in the monastery before they became shike. And even after one becomes a shike one has to wait for many more years before getting the real position of master. But still has to stay in the monastery or be bound to the monastery since in the meantime mostly has to run his own temple, commuting between temple and the monastery. So between entering the monastery for the first time in the age 20, if one persistantly continuos monastic career then probably around 50 plus one may take the position. takes long isn't it? and even before future shike has to go through many monastic positions of lower ranks.

In the case of Western priests holding only shiho - the very very basic requirement for being a priest - and did ango in traditional sodo, from the point of view of Japanese soto zen are in fact only priests, nothing more and nothing less. Of course many times it was misunderstood. And people called easily themselves zen meisters... no comment on that.

The idea that one has to spend long time on sesshins, and I do not know what was meant by that, 10, 100 or 200 one week or seven days long sesshins, might be better idea for the western standards, which are not yet clear, not at all.

Married priests is another problem which I did not touch at all... In Japan and in the West the problem again looks very very different.

User avatar
SunWuKong
Posts: 262
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia
Contact:

Re: “My Three Years on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board: a Brief Reflection”

Post by SunWuKong » Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:19 pm

Thanks Matylda, that looks much like what I am hearing. Maybe some day a true master might emerge in the West that captures everyone attention. But to be honest, this is what’s been tried and tried, and maybe the humble path of tending to and building the temple is a greater good?
“Nothing holy, just vast empty space!”

Matylda
Posts: 597
Joined: Mon May 14, 2012 3:32 pm

Re: “My Three Years on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board: a Brief Reflection”

Post by Matylda » Wed Jan 24, 2018 6:43 pm

SunWuKong wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:19 pm
Thanks Matylda, that looks much like what I am hearing. Maybe some day a true master might emerge in the West that captures everyone attention. But to be honest, this is what’s been tried and tried, and maybe the humble path of tending to and building the temple is a greater good?
Temple is not bad.. but I think that te whole histry of dharma, no only zen or soto zen in particular shows that we need many decades, or maybe ceturies before someting significant will be born.
Anyway the power of practice within soto rather has declined in last 200 years, and the process seems to be steady, what means that it is more and more difficult to find really good teacher even in Japan. We have to remember that in the begining of the XX century many soto masters turned to rinzai for help. Harada Sogaku Watananbe Genshu, Keido Chisan, all famous zen masteres got inka from rinzai teachers or completed their training in rinzai.

Nowdays it is seldom that soto monks would look for some solution. Yes, temples need care and priests, but... it is not enough.

User avatar
KeithA
Posts: 137
Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 11:02 pm

Re: “My Three Years on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board: a Brief Reflection”

Post by KeithA » Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:09 pm

SunWuKong wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:19 pm
Thanks Matylda, that looks much like what I am hearing. Maybe some day a true master might emerge in the West that captures everyone attention. But to be honest, this is what’s been tried and tried, and maybe the humble path of tending to and building the temple is a greater good?
Meh, I would beware of the idea of a "true master", either in the East or West. The Dharma will be just fine, here in the West. :smile:

There was a time, and I am very ashamed to admit this, but I would only read books written by Asian authors. What a mistake! There are so many good teachers all over the world and I was confining my reading to one ethnic group. Ugh. Live and learn.

_/|\_

User avatar
SunWuKong
Posts: 262
Joined: Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:15 pm
Location: Alexandria, Virginia
Contact:

Re: “My Three Years on the Soto Zen Buddhist Association Board: a Brief Reflection”

Post by SunWuKong » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:51 am

KeithA wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 9:09 pm
SunWuKong wrote:
Wed Jan 24, 2018 4:19 pm
Thanks Matylda, that looks much like what I am hearing. Maybe some day a true master might emerge in the West that captures everyone attention. But to be honest, this is what’s been tried and tried, and maybe the humble path of tending to and building the temple is a greater good?
Meh, I would beware of the idea of a "true master", either in the East or West. The Dharma will be just fine, here in the West. :smile:

There was a time, and I am very ashamed to admit this, but I would only read books written by Asian authors. What a mistake! There are so many good teachers all over the world and I was confining my reading to one ethnic group. Ugh. Live and learn.

_/|\_
Keith that’s what makes you different than some others. They still like to parade and parlee
“Nothing holy, just vast empty space!”

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests