Good stuff, Kirt. And the Stevens book is strongly recommended as well.kirtu wrote:Have you read the interview on Crooked Cucumber that spoke about Dr, Ajari? He was a self-styled Buddhist semi-scholar (there is some debate about how scholarly he was in the dharma world of 50-70's Califronia) who had followers (or groupies) and did some kind of kaihogyo (basically hikes in the mountains while chanting mantra) and some fire puja. During a Kagyu teaching the lama anted him to leave apparently. However some Zen teachers, and maybe Suzuki Roshi, tollerated him.Jikan wrote:I think it means Tendai seems exotic, magical, special... and desirable to some for these reasons. Zen is easy to find by comparison.
Tendai is also obscure. There are not many English-speaking Tendai teachers. So it's easy to play make-believe and get away with it for a while.
Anyway, this might shed light on the history of US dharma development as it pertains to Tendai.
Interesting bit on Dr Ajari: he was part of the scene in San Francisco that also involved Sufi Sam Lewis and, on the edges, Tarthang Tulku and Jiyu-Kennett.
Two of Dr Ajari's longtime disciples later moved on and trained formally in Tendai. And one of those is now the abbot of California Tendai Monastery. His practice emphasizes kaihogyo in the traditional shugendo way, as well as the goma. This points to something important to consider about "pretendai":
Sometimes people get some exposure to this material, develop some faith in the teachings, and the "dog's tooth" effect sets in. They develop some merit, some insight, and then consequently make contact with authentic teachings and teachers. Good things ensue.
Interestingly, when I showed a DharmaWheel thread to a follower of one of the mail-order mikkyo schools, the reply was along those lines: yes, we get this kind of response, but what matters is the results of the practice. I'd rather people have a chance to direct those efforts into more fruitful practices than the Aloha Amigo! stuff I quoted before.
So far in this thread I've just named a problem, but I haven't described it yet (which is to say I haven't named names very much). I'm working on a brief history of this material, and I'll post it soon, but I'm hampered because I injured my eyes yesterday and it's not much fun working on a screen at the moment. more later.