Zen Commitments

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NewBu
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Zen Commitments

Post by NewBu » Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:26 pm

What are the commitments associated with studying with a Zen teacher in the formal sense? I understand from reading about various lineages of Buddhism that sometime there are requirements to stay with the same teacher, never speak out against them etc....even of they have fallen from their own path.

What is this like for Zen students?

Thanks!

friendly
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Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2018 1:48 pm

Re: Zen Commitments

Post by friendly » Tue Sep 03, 2019 3:30 am

NewBu wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:26 pm
What are the commitments associated with studying with a Zen teacher in the formal sense? I understand from reading about various lineages of Buddhism that sometime there are requirements to stay with the same teacher, never speak out against them etc....even of they have fallen from their own path.

What is this like for Zen students?

Thanks!
Hello,

l know of no teacher or group in Soto Zen that require stay with same teacher and not visit other teacher. Maybe such groups exist, but rare in modern times. lt would be cultlike behavior to say never to speak out about teacher if they do some bad thing. So, l think no such groups exist in modern Zen. lf you find any such group, l will be surprised if it is legitimate teacher, and you should run away.

Different groups have different requirements to join, some more formal than others. But usually it means to just come and sit and join in the group, no formalities to just practice as lay people.

Matylda
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Re: Zen Commitments

Post by Matylda » Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:19 pm

NewBu wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:26 pm
What are the commitments associated with studying with a Zen teacher in the formal sense? I understand from reading about various lineages of Buddhism that sometime there are requirements to stay with the same teacher, never speak out against them etc....even of they have fallen from their own path.

What is this like for Zen students?

Thanks!
In really 'formal' sense, just stay with one teacher, do not visit others. idea of a teacher falling out of his own path is rather funny, since if disciple says so, then it means that he does not need a teacher at all. Such 'wise' individual is able to size the tacher up :D so it means that one is at least on the same level of understanding, experience etc... So for such one a teacher is not necessary.
teachers who do not oppose visting others unless disciple is enlightened are at least irresponsible. But today in soto probably it does not matter since its practice changed in a dramatic way since 19th cent. and position of teacher does not mean much any more.

NewBu
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Joined: Sun Sep 01, 2019 2:23 am

Re: Zen Commitments

Post by NewBu » Wed Sep 04, 2019 2:50 am

Wow! Thanks for the input. Two radically different answers.
Personally I feel like the student teacher dynamic needs to be reciprocal. If I am to devote myself to a lineage and teachings, the teachers need to be able to “walk the walk”. Just trying to make sure I dont get caught up in a cult, thats all.

friendly
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Re: Zen Commitments

Post by friendly » Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:13 am

Matylda wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:19 pm
NewBu wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:26 pm
What are the commitments associated with studying with a Zen teacher in the formal sense? I understand from reading about various lineages of Buddhism that sometime there are requirements to stay with the same teacher, never speak out against them etc....even of they have fallen from their own path.

What is this like for Zen students?

Thanks!
In really 'formal' sense, just stay with one teacher, do not visit others. idea of a teacher falling out of his own path is rather funny, since if disciple says so, then it means that he does not need a teacher at all. Such 'wise' individual is able to size the tacher up :D so it means that one is at least on the same level of understanding, experience etc... So for such one a teacher is not necessary.
teachers who do not oppose visting others unless disciple is enlightened are at least irresponsible. But today in soto probably it does not matter since its practice changed in a dramatic way since 19th cent. and position of teacher does not mean much any more.
As old Koan story show, in old day young monk travel teacher to teacher. Dogen travel teacher to teacher. So, what you describe is rigidity that came to Japanese Zen during Tokugawa period when people need loyal to one teacher. For example, when Obaku came, many Soto and Rinzai went to check out. The "one teacher" you describe is maybe historical aberration in Zen history.

Matylda
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Re: Zen Commitments

Post by Matylda » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:56 am

friendly wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:13 am
Matylda wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:19 pm
NewBu wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:26 pm
What are the commitments associated with studying with a Zen teacher in the formal sense? I understand from reading about various lineages of Buddhism that sometime there are requirements to stay with the same teacher, never speak out against them etc....even of they have fallen from their own path.

What is this like for Zen students?

Thanks!
In really 'formal' sense, just stay with one teacher, do not visit others. idea of a teacher falling out of his own path is rather funny, since if disciple says so, then it means that he does not need a teacher at all. Such 'wise' individual is able to size the tacher up :D so it means that one is at least on the same level of understanding, experience etc... So for such one a teacher is not necessary.
teachers who do not oppose visting others unless disciple is enlightened are at least irresponsible. But today in soto probably it does not matter since its practice changed in a dramatic way since 19th cent. and position of teacher does not mean much any more.
As old Koan story show, in old day young monk travel teacher to teacher. Dogen travel teacher to teacher. So, what you describe is rigidity that came to Japanese Zen during Tokugawa period when people need loyal to one teacher. For example, when Obaku came, many Soto and Rinzai went to check out. The "one teacher" you describe is maybe historical aberration in Zen history.
Love these wise examples people of today give to others.. Dogen, ancient masters, who else? Yes, modern zen world is filled with all sorts of Dogens etc.
Today in fact people nurish a lot of wrong views, hardly anyone is able to achive samadhi in zazen, and we modern people sink deeply in technologies, computers, smartphones etc. and exchange a lot of useless information all these bring us to deeper confusion and deeper arrogance. where are these dogens and great masters hidden today? if people practice zen according to their own distorted views unable to follow for years one wise person, untill at least some fruition will be real, then zen wil be flat and shallow thing as it is today. in Japan I have seen many youngsters who came from the West for a couple of years and they are writting today in their bio, that they stayed with such or such famous roshi, and they call themeselves roshis or whatever, they are teachers, etc. poor beings.. they did their zen shopping overseas or on domestic ground, nothing else. then they will advice others to do the same, no harm, and no pain.. indeed.

friendly
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Re: Zen Commitments

Post by friendly » Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:48 pm

Matylda wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:56 am
friendly wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:13 am
Matylda wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:19 pm


In really 'formal' sense, just stay with one teacher, do not visit others. idea of a teacher falling out of his own path is rather funny, since if disciple says so, then it means that he does not need a teacher at all. Such 'wise' individual is able to size the tacher up :D so it means that one is at least on the same level of understanding, experience etc... So for such one a teacher is not necessary.
teachers who do not oppose visting others unless disciple is enlightened are at least irresponsible. But today in soto probably it does not matter since its practice changed in a dramatic way since 19th cent. and position of teacher does not mean much any more.
As old Koan story show, in old day young monk travel teacher to teacher. Dogen travel teacher to teacher. So, what you describe is rigidity that came to Japanese Zen during Tokugawa period when people need loyal to one teacher. For example, when Obaku came, many Soto and Rinzai went to check out. The "one teacher" you describe is maybe historical aberration in Zen history.
Love these wise examples people of today give to others.. Dogen, ancient masters, who else? Yes, modern zen world is filled with all sorts of Dogens etc.
Today in fact people nurish a lot of wrong views, hardly anyone is able to achive samadhi in zazen, and we modern people sink deeply in technologies, computers, smartphones etc. and exchange a lot of useless information all these bring us to deeper confusion and deeper arrogance. where are these dogens and great masters hidden today? if people practice zen according to their own distorted views unable to follow for years one wise person, untill at least some fruition will be real, then zen wil be flat and shallow thing as it is today. in Japan I have seen many youngsters who came from the West for a couple of years and they are writting today in their bio, that they stayed with such or such famous roshi, and they call themeselves roshis or whatever, they are teachers, etc. poor beings.. they did their zen shopping overseas or on domestic ground, nothing else. then they will advice others to do the same, no harm, and no pain.. indeed.
j have seen much better in Japan out Japan, please not be so pessimist. Many good teacher, many people stay one place just waste time.

Matylda
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Re: Zen Commitments

Post by Matylda » Wed Sep 04, 2019 3:20 pm

friendly wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:48 pm
Matylda wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:56 am
friendly wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:13 am


As old Koan story show, in old day young monk travel teacher to teacher. Dogen travel teacher to teacher. So, what you describe is rigidity that came to Japanese Zen during Tokugawa period when people need loyal to one teacher. For example, when Obaku came, many Soto and Rinzai went to check out. The "one teacher" you describe is maybe historical aberration in Zen history.
Love these wise examples people of today give to others.. Dogen, ancient masters, who else? Yes, modern zen world is filled with all sorts of Dogens etc.
Today in fact people nurish a lot of wrong views, hardly anyone is able to achive samadhi in zazen, and we modern people sink deeply in technologies, computers, smartphones etc. and exchange a lot of useless information all these bring us to deeper confusion and deeper arrogance. where are these dogens and great masters hidden today? if people practice zen according to their own distorted views unable to follow for years one wise person, untill at least some fruition will be real, then zen wil be flat and shallow thing as it is today. in Japan I have seen many youngsters who came from the West for a couple of years and they are writting today in their bio, that they stayed with such or such famous roshi, and they call themeselves roshis or whatever, they are teachers, etc. poor beings.. they did their zen shopping overseas or on domestic ground, nothing else. then they will advice others to do the same, no harm, and no pain.. indeed.
j have seen much better in Japan out Japan, please not be so pessimist. Many good teacher, many people stay one place just waste time.
wasting time is a matter of motivation and genuine devotion to practice.. of course even with a good tacher one may waste time, it happened even during times of Buddha, vinaya is clear evidence... a lot of stories. But if one genuine teacher would produce one genuine disciple and heir it would be already a great thing. Due to weaker and weaker motivation of practitioners zen became weak..
at certain point even in old times it was clearly adviced to stay with one teacher unless some fruition was evident. including Dogen times, and in the course of centuries it became even more imperative. Now situation changed again and we have modern zen with a lot of empty talk...
as we may see people even have their past time comparing zen with other paths and so on showing their total lack of affinity ... fruitless pursuits.

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seeker242
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Re: Zen Commitments

Post by seeker242 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:54 pm

Matylda wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:19 pm
idea of a teacher falling out of his own path is rather funny, since if disciple says so, then it means that he does not need a teacher at all.
Not if you find that your teacher is doing something completely inappropriate like taking sexual advantage of women, etc, etc. Then, most everyone can see they have "fallen out of his own path"!
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

Matylda
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Re: Zen Commitments

Post by Matylda » Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:23 pm

seeker242 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:54 pm
Matylda wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:19 pm
idea of a teacher falling out of his own path is rather funny, since if disciple says so, then it means that he does not need a teacher at all.
Not if you find that your teacher is doing something completely inappropriate like taking sexual advantage of women, etc, etc. Then, most everyone can see they have "fallen out of his own path"!
this concern has nothing to do with zen in fact or with zen practice... if it is main focus for students then they will never approach anything, will be just more confused.

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KeithA
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Re: Zen Commitments

Post by KeithA » Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:13 pm

As long as the teacher maintains my trust, then I will be that persons student. I am not here for any “living Buddha” nonsense. :smile:

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Dan74
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Re: Zen Commitments

Post by Dan74 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:25 pm

I mostly agree with Matylda and think she makes very important and rarely heard points.

The one point I don't agree with is:
Keith wrote:Not if you find that your teacher is doing something completely inappropriate like taking sexual advantage of women, etc, etc. Then, most everyone can see they have "fallen out of his own path"!
Matylda wrote:this concern has nothing to do with zen in fact or with zen practice...
Zen Buddhism is Buddhism and ethics is an integral part of it, as far as I understand. Many old foxes who disregard the laws of karma hanging about the hills and we, as students, are better off looking elsewhere, IMO.

The path is subtle and fraught with pitfalls, so we need a deep commitment.

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seeker242
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Re: Zen Commitments

Post by seeker242 » Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:42 pm

Matylda wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 5:23 pm
seeker242 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:54 pm
Matylda wrote:
Tue Sep 03, 2019 8:19 pm
idea of a teacher falling out of his own path is rather funny, since if disciple says so, then it means that he does not need a teacher at all.
Not if you find that your teacher is doing something completely inappropriate like taking sexual advantage of women, etc, etc. Then, most everyone can see they have "fallen out of his own path"!
this concern has nothing to do with zen in fact or with zen practice...
Sure it does. If the person teaching you zen practice, behaves in a manner that is completely contradictory to that very practice, they are not a person that one should look to for advice regarding practice...
if it is main focus for students then they will never approach anything, will be just more confused.
It doesn't need to be one's "main focus" in order for it to be an issue. To say it's never an issue, well that just isn't so. In fact, to just ignore such behavior, like it never happened, is just plain unethical. Of course, very few teachers behave in such a manner. But history has shown that some do and it certainly has had an effect on people practicing with those bad behaving teachers.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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LastLegend
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Re: Zen Commitments

Post by LastLegend » Wed Sep 04, 2019 11:46 pm

Zen masters might have practiced all their life and have come to different levels of samadhis but does not mean they have passed the gate of samsara. We only are talking about masters there, but then again how can we know right?
Within that state of clarity, there is a knowing that remains unchanged stationary can be seen when looking at an object.

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KeithA
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Re: Zen Commitments

Post by KeithA » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:51 am

Dan74 wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 7:25 pm
I mostly agree with Matylda and think she makes very important and rarely heard points.

The one point I don't agree with is:
Keith wrote:Not if you find that your teacher is doing something completely inappropriate like taking sexual advantage of women, etc, etc. Then, most everyone can see they have "fallen out of his own path"!
Matylda wrote:this concern has nothing to do with zen in fact or with zen practice...
Zen Buddhism is Buddhism and ethics is an integral part of it, as far as I understand. Many old foxes who disregard the laws of karma hanging about the hills and we, as students, are better off looking elsewhere, IMO.

The path is subtle and fraught with pitfalls, so we need a deep commitment.
This was mis-quoted. No worries, but I didn't say that. Not that I disagree the sentiment, though.

NewBu
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Re: Zen Commitments

Post by NewBu » Thu Sep 05, 2019 1:59 am

Sorry for opening up the can of worms.
In short, perhapse this discussion is better served in the general Zen forum than the “Soto” sub which I posted to accidentally. In general I’m interested in learning meditation to clear away confusion, cut through illusion, not add to it. So i guess the question still remains? Are there specific committments? Does the view differe from school to school? Is there an equivalent of baptism? That kind of commitment, I already feel ready to take. To devote my energy and direction towards the teachings of the Buddha. But I hesitate to extend that commitment to a personality. That has to be earned....I think. Much like any other relationship?

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Dan74
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Re: Zen Commitments

Post by Dan74 » Thu Sep 05, 2019 5:00 am

Apologies, Keith. It was seeker242 who said that. I will take more care in the future.

friendly
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Re: Zen Commitments

Post by friendly » Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:30 am

One teacher many teacher in Japan out Japan just show mind limit by borders time nation one many. Sincere student and sincere teacher are of many kind. l know from many years in Japan, then overseas. Many ways, so very VERY better overseas than Japan. lf you have bad teacher and are loyal to one bad teacher, l cry for that student. Some people are Zen nationalist and my way only right way even today. Very sad thing. Many good ways many bad way to freedom, but many good ways not only one Matylda way.

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