Burn Buddha Burn

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Supramundane
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Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Supramundane » Tue May 15, 2018 2:17 am

A temple was burning Buddha’s wooden statue, upon seeing this a priest came out and felt very and asked him angrily why are you burning Buddha? The Monk started to look for something with a stick in a fire, a priest was puzzled and asked the Monk that what are you looking for in the fire? The Monk said, I am looking for Buddha’s bones in the ash: you just said I had burnt him.

The priest said, it was a wooden statue: how can you find bones in a fire, are you crazy? The Monk said exactly, I am only burning wood not Buddha, ok.

Good, you understood it now pass the other statue sitting right there because the night is long, and I am still cold.

Enlightenment can free one from the run of the mill dogma and unnecessary rituals, or in other words, his karma ran over the other's dogma.

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Queequeg » Tue May 15, 2018 4:29 am

Iconoclasm is not a mark of liberation. Sometimes, it's just being a dick.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by amanitamusc » Tue May 15, 2018 4:38 am

Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 4:29 am
Iconoclasm is not a mark of liberation. Sometimes, it's just being a dick.
:rolling: :rolling: Thanks M I needed a laugh with all this hell talk on here lately,
reminds me of some of those extreme christian whack jobs.

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Supramundane » Tue May 15, 2018 8:33 am

Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 4:29 am
Iconoclasm is not a mark of liberation. Sometimes, it's just being a dick.
I wonder how many Zen masters are fed up getting slapped in the face when they present koans to novices, etc.

The way to fight dogma has to be constantly made fresh and new.

When you flip over the tables of the money changers the first time it is seen as brilliant, but later on it is simply vandalism.

how to keep the spirit alive, i wonder. Some temples are so highly monetized that it is a bit distressing. I just went to a temple/mall in Singapore where the two are so seamlessly mixed that you wonder if they have gone too far.

In my mind, the burning Buddha story is just as pertinent today as ever.

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Queequeg
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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Queequeg » Tue May 15, 2018 4:20 pm

Supramundane wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 8:33 am
Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 4:29 am
Iconoclasm is not a mark of liberation. Sometimes, it's just being a dick.
I wonder how many Zen masters are fed up getting slapped in the face when they present koans to novices, etc.

The way to fight dogma has to be constantly made fresh and new.

When you flip over the tables of the money changers the first time it is seen as brilliant, but later on it is simply vandalism.

how to keep the spirit alive, i wonder. Some temples are so highly monetized that it is a bit distressing. I just went to a temple/mall in Singapore where the two are so seamlessly mixed that you wonder if they have gone too far.

In my mind, the burning Buddha story is just as pertinent today as ever.
That's a good question.

So, the Seattle Seahawks American football team just unloaded two of their respected veteran players. There are a number of reasons why the team might have wanted to part ways with the players - too expensive, downside of their career. One of the more amusing opinions is that the two players had heard all of the coach's motivational devices and were just jaded and cynical about it, and their cynicism was influencing younger players who were then becoming immune to the coach's devices. They probably weren't just motivational speeches, but mind games that have the effect of getting guys to play above their ability but at the cost of mental health. After you've been through it, you probably don't want to hear it again, and you might even be pissed, like these two older players were. Apparently they left with bad blood against the coach.

My client who is a personal trainer and health consultant tells me about the mind games he plays with his clients. He gets his clients into the best shape of their lives. He does it with a combination of effective exercise regimens, diet recommendations, by applying good old methods he learned from traditional healers in his native Haiti, some of which are genuine, and some of which are good old snake oil salesmen pitches. He delivers, but in the process he makes the clients dependent on him. "If I just heal them for good, I have no clients!"

I have a suspicion that part of the secrecy around some teachings is that they need to be a surprise when they're taught to have the desired effects. 10 pounds of flax, or a slap across the face, as you remark, doesn't have the same effect if you know that's the script.

But, that's a little bit different an issue than popular Buddhist centers that seamlessly mix spirit and commerce.

When the Buddha instructed the Sangha to divide his srarira into eight portions for the eight clans to enshrine in stupas, the Buddha set the way for popular veneration and the attendant commercialism. From the records, we can glean that there were those who looked with disdain on the stupa worship. Just as a host of servants, merchants and conmen congregate around any tourist attraction, they gathered around the Buddha's stupas and that was the start of popular Buddhism. Its crass, but, I think it yields good, on balance. That field of merit yields the young men and women from good families who become the monks and nuns of the sangha, and their alms feed the Sangha. Where is the sangha without them? Who will hand down the Buddhadharma? And how many people are enabled to hear the name of the Triple Gem, that they would not have heard elsewhere, because of these places?

IMHO, the dharma stays fresh because people undertake the training and see the Truth for themselves. You don't need gimmicks. The Truth is irrepressible. There are some with little dust in the eyes...
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Meido
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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Meido » Tue May 15, 2018 6:46 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 4:20 pm
I have a suspicion that part of the secrecy around some teachings is that they need to be a surprise when they're taught to have the desired effects. 10 pounds of flax, or a slap across the face, as you remark, doesn't have the same effect if you know that's the script.
Not sure I get your point here, but to call these things scripted is really to misunderstand not only their point vis a vis direct pointing in Zen (which is not dependent upon secrecy at all), but also the manner in which koan cases are used (wato and koan kufu) in order to experience the same state as, say, Tozan when he famously made the flax comment (only 3 pounds).
Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 4:20 pm
You don't need gimmicks.
Agreed. And Chan/Zen are not actually iconoclastic or radical in the manner that the Beats and others liked (like) to imagine. Except inasmuch as having an experiential knowledge of the essential point of all Buddhism - and taking that as the basis of subsequent practice - is something radical. These kinds of stories need to be looked at in light of that path's intent and approach, however.

I believe it was Sheng-yen who commented that although people always talk about things like Nansen cutting a cat in two, or a student being brought to awakening by having a door slammed on his leg, breaking it, and so on - in all Zen history only one teacher cut a cat, or broke someone's leg. As far as I know, in all Zen history only one teacher is remembered for burning an old Buddha statue from an abandoned temple (and, because he was freezing...not mentioned in the recap above). To take these extraordinary occurrences out of the context of the path that they inform, and further as evidence of some kind of gimmicky iconoclasm offending against the Buddha's intent and efforts to promulgate devotion to the Triple Gem, is also a misunderstanding.

~ Meido
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one’s true nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly [according to this understanding], in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - 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

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Queequeg » Tue May 15, 2018 7:31 pm

Meido wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 6:46 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 4:20 pm
I have a suspicion that part of the secrecy around some teachings is that they need to be a surprise when they're taught to have the desired effects. 10 pounds of flax, or a slap across the face, as you remark, doesn't have the same effect if you know that's the script.
Not sure I get your point here, but to call these things scripted is really to misunderstand not only their point vis a vis direct pointing in Zen (which is not dependent upon secrecy at all), but also the manner in which koan cases are used (wato and koan kufu) in order to experience the same state as, say, Tozan when he famously made the flax comment (only 3 pounds).
Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 4:20 pm
You don't need gimmicks.
Agreed. And Chan/Zen are not actually iconoclastic or radical in the manner that the Beats and others liked (like) to imagine. Except inasmuch as having an experiential knowledge of the essential point of all Buddhism - and taking that as the basis of subsequent practice - is something radical. These kinds of stories need to be looked at in light of that path's intent and approach, however.

I believe it was Sheng-yen who commented that although people always talk about things like Nansen cutting a cat in two, or a student being brought to awakening by having a door slammed on his leg, breaking it, and so on - in all Zen history only one teacher cut a cat, or broke someone's leg. As far as I know, in all Zen history only one teacher is remembered for burning an old Buddha statue from an abandoned temple (and, because he was freezing...not mentioned in the recap above). To take these extraordinary occurrences out of the context of the path that they inform, and further as evidence of some kind of gimmicky iconoclasm offending against the Buddha's intent and efforts to promulgate devotion to the Triple Gem, is also a misunderstanding.

~ Meido
Meido,

I wasn't directing my comments at any particular tradition, but, now that you point it out, I guess some of my comments were addressed to the kind of lazy iconoclasm for iconoclasm sake that you attribute to the Beats.

QQ
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Meido » Tue May 15, 2018 8:10 pm

Thanks, QQ. I don't disagree (though RE the Beats still acknowledging a debt to them for various things, including having put the word "Zen" in front of some Western noses for the first time).

The issue of current iconoclasm in Zen is interesting also. I would say that iconoclasm has a use within the context of having mastered and become intimately familiar with the forms one wishes to smash. But today there is a kind of lazy iconoclasm in some Zen circles: a rush to abandon traditional forms without having first mastered them or having been taught what the forms transmit under the surface. This is done in the name of "adapting Zen to Western/modern culture." As I have commented before here, to my mind most instances of this don't reveal any meaningful adaptation at all: just the knowledge deficits - and personal comforts/aversions - of the iconoclast.

~ Meido
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one’s true nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly [according to this understanding], in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - 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

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Queequeg » Tue May 15, 2018 8:39 pm

This is an interesting turn for the discussion.

Not sure if I'm getting an accurate picture from your description, but what you're describing as the Western adaptation of Zen sounds like a sort of spiritual appropriation, a spiritual foundation for the Court Jester role that is established in the West...?

I don't know if you're familiar with the artist Ito Jakuchu, but there is a series of paintings he did on commission for a temple depicting the Buddha's parinirvana with vegetables, with a daikon radish as the Buddha. On seeing some of the pieces, I commented to my wife that it was remarkable that someone in the 18th c. could have such an irreverent sense of humor. She corrected me and explained that it was actually a devout tribute to his parents who made a living selling vegetables in the market.

I can see how these Zen stories, divorced from their East Asian context in which the relationship between teachers and students is so serious, could be misunderstood as mere spontaneous unconventionality. This is unfortunate, I think.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Meido » Tue May 15, 2018 9:15 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 8:39 pm
I can see how these Zen stories, divorced from their East Asian context in which the relationship between teachers and students is so serious, could be misunderstood as mere spontaneous unconventionality. This is unfortunate, I think.
Outside such a legitimate relationship, I'm guessing misunderstandings are common in both East and West. It's not to my mind so much a lack of East Asian context that is problematic, in other words, but an unavoidable lack of depth and perspective when one lacks the orally transmitted things that actually form the core of what Zen practice is.

There are some Zen lines in the West that I would say lack, or have lost, these things...and have begun to institutionalize that loss, even praising it. I expect there are some in Japan as well. Certainly we know that in China the work of the last half century or more has been one of reviving Chan practice lines. So it goes.

The Western phenomenon I mention seems basically a case of what our Dzogchen Community friends might describe as (forgive this inaccurate paraphrasing): the teachings have no limitations, but people are very good at placing their own limitations onto the teachings. Thus, a kind of dharma practice in the West that makes often unspoken assumptions regarding the nature of awakening being something psychological and philosophical rather than psycho-physical, that downplays the bodily nature of practice and negates transmitted signs of physical fruition, that conflates the teacher-student relationship with a therapeutic one and equates the dissolving of karmic traces with psychological healing, etc. The sometimes idiosyncratic (or outright problematic) nature of some of the Japanese Zen pioneers here may be partly blamed for this. It is also unfortunate that tranmission to the West seems mostly a single-generation endeavor: we do not have many Chinese and Japanese masters continuing to resettle here (no Mongols to flee, alas).

Which is not to say all is lost in the West at all. And I think of Japan, where the most vibrant - and only surviving - Rinzai line is the one transmitted by Daio, who went to China, returned, and immediately after produced Japanese heirs of such incredible ability as Daito and Kanzan. So quality can trump all, and lineages lacking vitality tend to die.

Apologies for the :soapbox: , don't mean to drive things too far off topic.

~ Meido
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one’s true nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly [according to this understanding], in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - 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

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Queequeg » Tue May 15, 2018 9:32 pm

Meido wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:15 pm
Outside such a legitimate relationship, I'm guessing misunderstandings are common in both East and West. It's not to my mind so much a lack of East Asian context that is problematic, in other words, but an unavoidable lack of depth and perspective when one lacks the orally transmitted things that actually form the core of what Zen practice is.

There are some Zen lines in the West that I would say lack, or have lost, these things...and have begun to institutionalize that loss, even praising it. I expect there are some in Japan as well. Certainly we know that in China the work of the last half century or more has been one of reviving Chan practice lines. So it goes.
I'm basically ignorant of the issues you're touching on, so, please pardon if I'm clumsily barging through...

It never occurred to me that this might be a problem in Japan simply because people are so uninterested in Buddhism in general that I guess I have an assumption that the only people involved are serious practitioners at this point...
The Western phenomenon I mention seems basically a case of what our Dzogchen Community friends might describe as (forgive this inaccurate paraphrasing): the teachings have no limitations, but people are very good at placing their own limitations onto the teachings. Thus, a kind of dharma practice in the West that makes often unspoken assumptions regarding the nature of awakening being something psychological and philosophical rather than psycho-physical, that downplays the bodily nature of practice and negates transmitted signs of physical fruition, that conflates the teacher-student relationship with a therapeutic one and equates the dissolving of karmic traces with psychological healing, etc.
Appropriation of the trappings to dress up indigenous Western traditions in something exotic?

I should shut up now before I get cynical...
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Meido » Tue May 15, 2018 9:51 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:32 pm
I'm basically ignorant of the issues you're touching on, so, please pardon if I'm clumsily barging through...
Nah, I'm the one who did it. You were speaking generally, but I couldn't resist given the Zen story in the OP.
Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:32 pm
It never occurred to me that this might be a problem in Japan simply because people are so uninterested in Buddhism in general that I guess I have an assumption that the only people involved are serious practitioners at this point...
I'm hearing repeatedly that there's something of a renewed interest among younger folks. It's encouraging. My point was just that popular misunderstandings exists everywhere.
Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:32 pm
Appropriation of the trappings to dress up indigenous Western traditions in something exotic?
Maybe. I've wondered if it isn't a kind of Orientalism, that simultaneously elevates the unfamiliar while lecturing it about how things could be done better. Also kind of a have one's cake and eat it too approach: iconoclasm is more easily directed at anything but one's own deeply held inner idols.

One of my teachers compared Buddhadharma in the West to transplanting a tree, reminding that of course the soil around the roots and the new soil will eventually meld...but that hurrying this process by knocking the old soil off completely just kills the tree. I know others have often used this kind of common illustration. But I think it apt.

~ Meido
It is relatively easy to accomplish the important matter of insight into one’s true nature, but uncommonly difficult to function freely and clearly [according to this understanding], in motion and in rest, in good and in adverse circumstances. Please make strenuous and vigorous efforts towards this end, otherwise all the teachings of Buddhas and patriarchs become mere empty words. - 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

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Fortyeightvows » Tue May 15, 2018 11:11 pm

Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 4:20 pm
I have a suspicion that part of the secrecy around some teachings is that they need to be a surprise when they're taught to have the desired effects. 10 pounds of flax, or a slap across the face, as you remark, doesn't have the same effect if you know that's the script.
I have heard that from a shingon priest.
Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:32 pm
It never occurred to me that this might be a problem in Japan simply because people are so uninterested in Buddhism in general that I guess I have an assumption that the only people involved are serious practitioners at this point...
This assumption seems mostly correct
Meido wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:51 pm
iconoclasm is more easily directed at anything but one's own deeply held inner idols
WOW! This is so insightful and so well said.
Amazing.

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Queequeg » Tue May 15, 2018 11:39 pm

Meido wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:51 pm
Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 9:32 pm
Appropriation of the trappings to dress up indigenous Western traditions in something exotic?
Maybe. I've wondered if it isn't a kind of Orientalism, that simultaneously elevates the unfamiliar while lecturing it about how things could be done better.
I use words like "appropriation" but it lacks the indignation that usually accompanies it these days. Being a middle aged happa I dealt with my cross-cultural identity crisis a long time ago. These days, I'm pretty equanimeous about people adopting signs from Japanese culture. I appreciate someone appreciating something relatively esoteric to their cultural context. I see sometimes its a grasping at individuality that is only incidentally Japanese, but, I know how that goes... I used to wear Metallica shirts and studded belts and leather jackets to fit in at the Heavy Metal Parking Lot, too. At least if the trappings relate to Dharma - well hey, that's kind of wonderful! Fake it 'til you make it, man! You can't mess with the Buddha's words without them changing you. Sometimes, enlightenment just sneaks up on you... One day, you're cosplaying through a tea ceremony and *BAM* it hits you...

:rolling:
One of my teachers compared Buddhadharma in the West to transplanting a tree, reminding that of course the soil around the roots and the new soil will eventually meld...but that hurrying this process by knocking the old soil off completely just kills the tree. I know others have often used this kind of common illustration. But I think it apt.
I like that. That's a nice simile.
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma.
-Ayacana Sutta

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Coëmgenu » Tue May 15, 2018 11:56 pm

Burn Buddha Burn
Dukkha inferno
नस्वातो नापिपरतो नद्वाभ्यां नाप्यहेतुतः उत्पन्ना जातु विद्यन्ते भावाः क्वचन केचन
There absolutely are no things, nowhere and none, that arise anew, neither out of themselves, nor out of non-self, nor out of both, nor at random.
सर्वं तथ्यं न वा तथ्यं तथ्यं चातथ्यम् एव च नैवातथ्यं नैव तथ्यम् एतद् बुद्धानुशासनम्
All is so, or all is not so, both so and not so, neither so nor not so. This is the Buddha's teaching.

一切實非實亦實亦非實
非實非非實是名諸佛法

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Supramundane » Thu May 17, 2018 2:25 am

Coëmgenu wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 11:56 pm
Burn Buddha Burn
Dukkha inferno
i was referencing a 70s song in the title... not sure if anyone got it.
older guy here.

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Supramundane » Thu May 17, 2018 2:35 am

Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 4:20 pm
Supramundane wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 8:33 am
Queequeg wrote:
Tue May 15, 2018 4:29 am
Iconoclasm is not a mark of liberation. Sometimes, it's just being a dick.
I wonder how many Zen masters are fed up getting slapped in the face when they present koans to novices, etc.

The way to fight dogma has to be constantly made fresh and new.

When you flip over the tables of the money changers the first time it is seen as brilliant, but later on it is simply vandalism.

how to keep the spirit alive, i wonder. Some temples are so highly monetized that it is a bit distressing. I just went to a temple/mall in Singapore where the two are so seamlessly mixed that you wonder if they have gone too far.

In my mind, the burning Buddha story is just as pertinent today as ever.
That's a good question.

So, the Seattle Seahawks American football team just unloaded two of their respected veteran players. There are a number of reasons why the team might have wanted to part ways with the players - too expensive, downside of their career. One of the more amusing opinions is that the two players had heard all of the coach's motivational devices and were just jaded and cynical about it, and their cynicism was influencing younger players who were then becoming immune to the coach's devices. They probably weren't just motivational speeches, but mind games that have the effect of getting guys to play above their ability but at the cost of mental health. After you've been through it, you probably don't want to hear it again, and you might even be pissed, like these two older players were. Apparently they left with bad blood against the coach.

My client who is a personal trainer and health consultant tells me about the mind games he plays with his clients. He gets his clients into the best shape of their lives. He does it with a combination of effective exercise regimens, diet recommendations, by applying good old methods he learned from traditional healers in his native Haiti, some of which are genuine, and some of which are good old snake oil salesmen pitches. He delivers, but in the process he makes the clients dependent on him. "If I just heal them for good, I have no clients!"

I have a suspicion that part of the secrecy around some teachings is that they need to be a surprise when they're taught to have the desired effects. 10 pounds of flax, or a slap across the face, as you remark, doesn't have the same effect if you know that's the script.

But, that's a little bit different an issue than popular Buddhist centers that seamlessly mix spirit and commerce.

When the Buddha instructed the Sangha to divide his srarira into eight portions for the eight clans to enshrine in stupas, the Buddha set the way for popular veneration and the attendant commercialism. From the records, we can glean that there were those who looked with disdain on the stupa worship. Just as a host of servants, merchants and conmen congregate around any tourist attraction, they gathered around the Buddha's stupas and that was the start of popular Buddhism. Its crass, but, I think it yields good, on balance. That field of merit yields the young men and women from good families who become the monks and nuns of the sangha, and their alms feed the Sangha. Where is the sangha without them? Who will hand down the Buddhadharma? And how many people are enabled to hear the name of the Triple Gem, that they would not have heard elsewhere, because of these places?

IMHO, the dharma stays fresh because people undertake the training and see the Truth for themselves. You don't need gimmicks. The Truth is irrepressible. There are some with little dust in the eyes...
yes QQ ---- skillful means, skillful means.

i take your point: apparently there are books floating around such as "100 Koans Answered". If monks are actually using cheat sheets to answer koans etc perhaps it is time to make new ones. At the same time, cutting a cat in two is throwing the buddha out with the bathwater, if you get my drift: perhaps new koans are needed or even a new method for this new generation, koan memes or something.

I'm reminded of the example of cinema where every so often a new fresh director comes onto the scene who re-invents the cinematic experience. the techniques are different but the end-result is always the same: he makes you feel a heightened sense of 'reality' even in the un-reality of the film. Those of you who watched Terrence Malik's Thin Red Line or films of the New Wave know what i mean; but after a while, that Blair Witch shaky cam thrill wears off and the gimmick goes stale, and new 'skillful means' need to be found.

Perhaps it is time to re-invent the 'iconoclastic experience'.

VR anyone?

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Wayfarer » Thu May 17, 2018 2:53 am

I think the '101 Zen Stories' that are reproduced on various websites are mainly reproductions of those in the well-known book, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, by Paul Reps, who was an early student of Zen in America.

Anyway, one of those stories is rather similar to the one in this OP.
The Zen master Mu-nan had only one successor. His name was Shoju. After Shoju had completed his study of Zen, Mu-nan called him into his room. “I am getting old,” he said, “and as far as I know, Shoju, you are the only one who will carry on this teaching. Here is a book. It has been passed down from master to master for seven generations. I also have added many points according to my understanding. The book is very valuable, and I am giving it to you to represent your successorship.”

“If the book is such an important thing, you had better keep it,” Shoju replied. “I received your Zen without writing and am satisfied with it as it is.”

“I know that,” said Mu-nan. “Even so, this work has been carried from master to master for seven generations, so you may keep it as a symbol of having received the teaching. Here.”

The two happened to be talking before a brazier. The instant Shoju felt the book in his hands he thrust it into the flaming coals. He had no lust for possessions.

Mu-nan, who never had been angry before, yelled: “What are you doing!”

Shoju shouted back: “What are you saying!”
(from here).

I don't know the provenance of this story, beyond what appears in the Reps book, or whether it is genuine. But I noticed that when I posted it here a few years back, and another time on the philosophy forum, the reception was almost universally negative. It was generally along the lines of not showing respect to the tradition, or the teacher, or a treasured possession. Almost everyone who commented thought that Shoju had done something atrocious and deserving of reprimand. Whereas I read it as quite in keeping with the iconoclasm of Zen.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Supramundane » Thu May 17, 2018 3:23 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Thu May 17, 2018 2:53 am
I think the '101 Zen Stories' that are reproduced on various websites are mainly reproductions of those in the well-known book, Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, by Paul Reps, who was an early student of Zen in America.

Anyway, one of those stories is rather similar to the one in this OP.
The Zen master Mu-nan had only one successor. His name was Shoju. After Shoju had completed his study of Zen, Mu-nan called him into his room. “I am getting old,” he said, “and as far as I know, Shoju, you are the only one who will carry on this teaching. Here is a book. It has been passed down from master to master for seven generations. I also have added many points according to my understanding. The book is very valuable, and I am giving it to you to represent your successorship.”

“If the book is such an important thing, you had better keep it,” Shoju replied. “I received your Zen without writing and am satisfied with it as it is.”

“I know that,” said Mu-nan. “Even so, this work has been carried from master to master for seven generations, so you may keep it as a symbol of having received the teaching. Here.”

The two happened to be talking before a brazier. The instant Shoju felt the book in his hands he thrust it into the flaming coals. He had no lust for possessions.

Mu-nan, who never had been angry before, yelled: “What are you doing!”

Shoju shouted back: “What are you saying!”
(from here).

I don't know the provenance of this story, beyond what appears in the Reps book, or whether it is genuine. But I noticed that when I posted it here a few years back, and another time on the philosophy forum, the reception was almost universally negative. It was generally along the lines of not showing respect to the tradition, or the teacher, or a treasured possession. Almost everyone who commented thought that Shoju had done something atrocious and deserving of reprimand. Whereas I read it as quite in keeping with the iconoclasm of Zen.
wow yeah

that is some hard-core Zen.

i understand the mixed reactions.

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Re: Burn Buddha Burn

Post by Supramundane » Thu May 17, 2018 6:10 am

Upon reflection, this story is quite striking, WF. in fact, i would venture the opinion that it never happened but is simply to illustrate a salient point about Zen. in fact, the cornerstone of Zen is that no texts, sutras or teachings are needed to reach enlightenment: all knowledge that we require can be obtained by the individual in an individual quest. Nothing more than our own mind is required. That is why there are no Zen canon or Zen catechism; Zen is a non-semantic transmission of the Dharma using a method: Zazen.

Consequently, if I were a monk and my master gave me a yellowed text and told me that these are the authoritative words of the masters, i too would burn it immediately, thinking that this was some sort of Koan or even a test!

it would be tantamount to the Pope giving a bishop a roulette strategy he had devised. How should he react? Rush out to LV and test it?

Obviously those pages were for burning.

and the story not true but simply to illustrate what is in fact a quite obvious point about the nature of Zen.

thanks, WF, i shall archive this post.

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