Pathos: James Ford, Call me Roshi

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Pathos: James Ford, Call me Roshi

Post by kirtu » Sun Sep 16, 2018 12:58 am

Call me Roshi: A Small Meditation on Zen Titles in the West, James Ford
Huangbo said to his assembly “You are all slurping up brewer’s dregs. If you’re always wandering about, how will you find this moment? Don’t you know that in all of China there is not a single Zen teacher? One of the assembly stepped forward and protested. “But, there are people all over the country who lead communities and guide practitioners. What about them?” Huangbo responded, “I didn’t say there is no Zen, only there are no teachers.”

Blue Cliff Record, Case 11 (my paraphrase)

Brad Warner who made his bones as a Zen person in the West with his book Hardcore Zen, which, to put it succinctly can be seen as a punk introduction to the Zen Way, has as he’s aged become a bit of a grump. Which may be the general fate of that generation. But, also, I have to admit, it’s a part of what I like about him.

Today on his Facebook page he has returned to a popular theme among the get-off-my-lawn crowd of Zen teachers and priests: the inflation of titles among Zen practitioners in the West.

He points out that in Japan people don’t call themselves Zen masters, and particularly they don’t use the title Roshi. The term which I believe literally means “venerable elder,” is within the Soto school strictly an honorific. Well, with the exception of a couple of function titles in large monasteries. In the Rinzai school it is a title for an extremely high rank, comparable to the Soto shike, where there are no more than a double or triple handful in the country.

And. Here in the West the title is tossed around like confetti.
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth."
Kyabje Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche

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