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Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:42 am
by Huifeng
Well, I don't know the state of Zen in Europe when Conze wrote, for a start. But, at the time he wrote, there was very little information in European languages about Chan. There was some amount about Japanese Zen. Some of that, such as Suzuki, also appeared to be informed about Chan. But, as the last few decades have shown, the early and mid 20th century use of a Japanese Zen perspective to understand Chan was largely mistaken. Not being able to go to the Chinese, Conze had to rely on this. Not just him, but still the vast majority of western perceptions of Chan are still from such sources. Even a fair amount of academic studies still seem to be looking at Chan only in as much as it is a precursor to Zen. Though, things are improving somewhat of late.

~~ Huifeng

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:51 pm
by dzogchungpa
@Huifeng
Fair enough. Are you familiar with the current state of Zen in America or Europe, and if so, may I ask what you make of it?

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:12 pm
by Ramon1920
Buddhism, not just Zen, harbors a lot of American yuppies looking to fulfill their karate kid fantasies. Shameless people then promote themselves to all sorts of positions and then play master to all these young grasshoppers.

:shrug: What can we do except avoid these people and wait for the fad to end?

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:28 pm
by shel
Speaking to the current state of American Zen, another relevant post today by Nonin Chowaney, a Soto Zen Buddhist Priest who chairs the Membership Committee of the American Zen Teachers Association and serves on the Priest Training Committee of the Soto Zen Teachers Association.
Nonin Chowaney wrote:I have a cup of coffee every morning after breakfast. I occasionally have another cup in the afternoon, but not often. I drink alcohol in limited amounts three or four times a week, maybe a beer with dinner in a restaurant or a little bourbon in the evening before bedtime.
Link: http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... =32&t=9289

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:41 am
by Huifeng
dzogchungpa wrote:@Huifeng
Fair enough. Are you familiar with the current state of Zen in America or Europe, and if so, may I ask what you make of it?
Not really, having only spent maybe a few months total in America or Europe in my entire life...
Have heard a fair bit from friends and other sources, but that of course is largely second hand.

~~ Huifeng

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:46 am
by DGA
shel wrote:Speaking to the current state of American Zen, another relevant post today by Nonin Chowaney, a Soto Zen Buddhist Priest who chairs the Membership Committee of the American Zen Teachers Association and serves on the Priest Training Committee of the Soto Zen Teachers Association.
Nonin Chowaney wrote:I have a cup of coffee every morning after breakfast. I occasionally have another cup in the afternoon, but not often. I drink alcohol in limited amounts three or four times a week, maybe a beer with dinner in a restaurant or a little bourbon in the evening before bedtime.
Link: http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... =32&t=9289
Heavens! <clutches pearls, faints>

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:08 pm
by Simon E.
shel wrote:Speaking to the current state of American Zen, another relevant post today by Nonin Chowaney, a Soto Zen Buddhist Priest who chairs the Membership Committee of the American Zen Teachers Association and serves on the Priest Training Committee of the Soto Zen Teachers Association.
Nonin Chowaney wrote:I have a cup of coffee every morning after breakfast. I occasionally have another cup in the afternoon, but not often. I drink alcohol in limited amounts three or four times a week, maybe a beer with dinner in a restaurant or a little bourbon in the evening before bedtime.
Link: http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... =32&t=9289
And you draw what conclusion about the current state of American Zen from this snippet ?

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:18 pm
by shel
Simon E. wrote:
shel wrote:Speaking to the current state of American Zen, another relevant post today by Nonin Chowaney, a Soto Zen Buddhist Priest who chairs the Membership Committee of the American Zen Teachers Association and serves on the Priest Training Committee of the Soto Zen Teachers Association.
Nonin Chowaney wrote:I have a cup of coffee every morning after breakfast. I occasionally have another cup in the afternoon, but not often. I drink alcohol in limited amounts three or four times a week, maybe a beer with dinner in a restaurant or a little bourbon in the evening before bedtime.
Link: http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... =32&t=9289
And you draw what conclusion about the current state of American Zen from this snippet ?
Never wear pearls with bluejeans.

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:04 pm
by dzogchungpa
Huifeng wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:@Huifeng
Fair enough. Are you familiar with the current state of Zen in America or Europe, and if so, may I ask what you make of it?
Not really, having only spent maybe a few months total in America or Europe in my entire life...
Have heard a fair bit from friends and other sources, but that of course is largely second hand.

~~ Huifeng
Fair enough. I live in America, but it's been a long time, probably at least a decade, since I've been to any kind of Zen center. The OP was inspired by what I see online, which I tend to find kind of saddening. Perhaps things are better in real life.

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:54 pm
by Wayfarer
I am very skeptical of 'modern zen' generally. Too much play-acting, theatre and props. A lot of people involved take themselves way too seriously, which is ironic, considering the iconoclastic nature of Zen. I think this is why I prefer to just contemplate the ideas from the sidelines and not get too involved with the machinations.

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:09 pm
by shel
Zen is iconically iconoclastic. :tongue:

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:04 am
by PadmaVonSamba
shel wrote:Zen is iconically iconoclastic. :tongue:
and ironically, ironiclastic.
.
.
.

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:47 am
by shel
I think that's spelled ironoclastic.

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:45 am
by Grigoris
The term ironic derives from the Greek word ειρωνικό (ironiko). The term iconoclastic (εικονοκλαστικός) derives from an originally religious (which then developed into poltical) conflict in the Byzantine empire, during the 8th and 9th Century CE, over the use of icons in religious worship. There were two camps. The iconoclastics (also known as iconomachous, or battlers against icons), on the one hand, were opposed to the use of religious imagery (except for purely symbolic imagery like crucifixes) and the iconophilous (also known as iconolatris, or worshippers of icons) on the other hand were for the use of religious icons. Anybody that has been to an Orthodox church will be quite aware of who won the conflict. ;)

So, ironoclastic or ironiclastic? Well, the word does not exist in greek, but if it were to exist it would be ironioclastic and would basically mean somebody that is opposed to irony. This, though, seems to be the opposite meaning of the one people are trying to give. I would consider Zen to be ironiophilic (also not a real word) ie friendly towards irony.

This though:
Zen is iconically iconoclastic
Seems to be true for those that try to be iconoclastic (and it seems there are quite a few try-hard iconoclasts in the field of American Zen). I imagine though, that the mad zen masters who have realised this form of being, are not at all iconic, that their iconoclasm is real. Those that use iconoclasm to justify their (unwholesome) behaviour though... in Tibetan Buddhism we have a special hell reserved for people like that.

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:48 pm
by Huseng
jeeprs wrote:I am very skeptical of 'modern zen' generally. Too much play-acting, theatre and props. A lot of people involved take themselves way too seriously, which is ironic, considering the iconoclastic nature of Zen. I think this is why I prefer to just contemplate the ideas from the sidelines and not get too involved with the machinations.
There's a good essay about the performances in modern American Zen:

http://www.academia.edu/944019/Richard_ ... _Zen_Roshi

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:11 pm
by DGA
Perhaps a better word than iconoclasm would be antinomian, which has to do with the rejection of conventional norms of behavior inclusive of the law.

this is for any among us who are particularly concerned with words, their meanings, their inflections, and so on.

With etymology hour complete, let us return to our regularly scheduled righteous indignation and concern trolling, shall we?

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:19 pm
by Astus
Zen's antinomian/iconoclast nature is no truer than its egalitarian attitude. Both are literary topics but without relevance to actual life where monastic life was highly ritualised and regulated, and Zen was the rhetoric only of the elite monks and lay aristocrats. That actually makes American Zen quite special as it is connected to the Beat culture and a serious re-interpretation of Zen texts.

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:03 pm
by shel
Jikan wrote:Perhaps a better word than iconoclasm would be antinomian, which has to do with the rejection of conventional norms of behavior inclusive of the law.

this is for any among us who are particularly concerned with words, their meanings, their inflections, and so on.

With etymology hour complete, let us return to our regularly scheduled righteous indignation and concern trolling, shall we?
That such terms as 'concern trolling' are so readily used in the Zen community suggests, at least to me, that Zen is not iconoclastic in nature.

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:11 pm
by shel
Jikan wrote:
shel wrote:Speaking to the current state of American Zen, another relevant post today by Nonin Chowaney, a Soto Zen Buddhist Priest who chairs the Membership Committee of the American Zen Teachers Association and serves on the Priest Training Committee of the Soto Zen Teachers Association.
Nonin Chowaney wrote:I have a cup of coffee every morning after breakfast. I occasionally have another cup in the afternoon, but not often. I drink alcohol in limited amounts three or four times a week, maybe a beer with dinner in a restaurant or a little bourbon in the evening before bedtime.
Link: http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... =32&t=9289
Heavens! <clutches pearls, faints>
Feign fainting is often an early symptom of Cassandra syndrome. You might want to have that checked out.

Re: American "Zen"

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:16 pm
by DGA
I'm not aware that the term "concern trolling" is particularly used in the concept of American Zen. However, I do think that concern trolling exists in this thread on "American 'Zen"" from the very first post and inclusive of constipated and implicitly accusatory cross-examinations on the shades of meaning of particular words.