Dragged.KeithA wrote: ↑Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:03 amMeido wrote: ↑Sun Nov 12, 2017 4:54 pmExcuse me for chiming in here, but to my mind this is essential advice that applies across traditions.
I wouldn't be disappointed if these words were added to the top of the site page.
Really? That's interesting. I would love to see you drag this topic over to the Zen forum for discussion.
Basically (and vis a vis the other thread where this was raised): beginning Dharma practitioners commonly seek out specific practice methods, lineages, styles, schools, cultural aspects, ideal environments, etc. that they find fascinating. In some cases their attraction to these things has roots that may be valid and deep. But in many cases, it is largely just due to their own self-referential and irrelevant notions, romanticizing, fears, comforts, and so on.
It doesn't make sense to seek out lineages, methods, styles and so on, and certainly not to choose a teacher based on them. This is because the path is actualized within human relationship with a teacher with whom one shares affinity. One should therefore just seek one's shisho, the teacher (of any tradition) with whom one has deep affinity, and take that relationship as the foundation of one's path and the source of lineages, methods, and the rest. To seek a teacher based on those things rather than affinity is exactly backwards.
In Zen this ties into what is meant by "transmission outside the scriptures, not dependent on words and letters": the lifeblood of the path is realized within face to face human relationship, that is, within the ba ("field") of the teacher. It is also related to what is meant by "direct pointing at the mind" as the function of the teacher.
Actually today I experienced an example of this kind of thing. Since Korinji will be done in the spring and our first extended retreat period will begin, i've been reviewing applications from interested persons. One of these applicants let me know today that he's actually sent applications to several Zen places simultaneously. I told him I wished I'd known that earlier, as it would have made things easier: I'd have just told him to go elsewhere.
The reason is that it means to me he is not seeking relationship with a teacher and community in order to actualize Zen. He is not engaged in the careful, patient process of examining a teacher to see if there is affinity. He is just seeking *MONASTERY*, as he imagines such places must be. In other words, he is seeking a place or environment, not a teacher.