Going independent?

Re: Going independent?

Postby Motova » Mon Jul 21, 2014 12:22 am

nichirenista wrote: I actually take the practice seriously, and I know that it's recommended to recite the chapters twice a day -- and, surprise surprise, after doing that for a while, viola! you have them memorized….


Thanks I needed to hear this! :juggling:
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Re: Going independent?

Postby nichirenista » Mon Jul 21, 2014 2:16 am

Myoho-Nameless wrote:Thats funny, because I DO have aspergers and as far as I know, it did not help me memorize the hoben or juryo at all, it took me a long while, and it was more the listening to it while walking around or just in spare time on an app that made it stick than the reading of it, at first it was scary and dull and I lacked enthusiasm for it. Aspies often have these narrow interests, sutra recitation would be a VERY narrow interest indeed.


Interesting. I wish you had been there to explain this to that woman. Many people, it seems, believe people with Aspergers have near-genius abilities to memorize things. And many people want to place the label "Aspergers" on anyone who seems "odd-man-out" in a given situation.

I've heard one indication of Aspergers is when someone develops an interest in an era of history, or a foreign culture, that is far removed from their life. I've heard stories of teenage boys in Wisconsin who are obsessed with, say, Marie Antoinette and her era in France. You know, not directly related to his life….

Maybe I seemed that way to this lady at first. It probably seemed out-of-place to her that I had the chapters memorized and yet she didn't, and SHE is Japanese! (Or at least Japanese American.)

But she wasn't too interested in my explanation: my interest in Japanese Buddhism is in-context for my life, because I was introduced to the figure of Buddha when a child in Japan; due to the fact that my stepfather was Mexican, I speak Spanish -- and I know that Japanese pronunciation is very similar to Spanish. So, learning the chapters wasn't as intimidating to me as it may be for other people. When I explained this to this Japanese American lady, she proceeded to make very insensitive comments about friends of hers from Spain who look-down-on "Mexican Spanish" as being low-class, which I thought was unbelievably insensitive on her part! Needless to say, I kept my distance after that comment from her….

With this lady, I think the issue was just jealousy and status. I don't think she really cared about my mental health (whether I had Aspergers or not). I think she just didn't want non-Japanese at the temple, and if non-Japanese were going to be there, then they could at the very least be, I don't know, "lethargic" in their practice (and likely disappear in a few months). Japanese society, and I suppose Japanese American society to a certain extent, is very status conscious (not unlike the Mexican culture of my stepfather), and there was no getting past the elephant in the room: my big, white (male) face. In other words, the same issue I grew up with in Mexican American culture: people who look like me have subjected Japanese people to discrimination, and so I "look" suspicious.

As I progress though this thread, recounting the absolutely bizarre situations I've experienced at this temple (yet not discounting the wonderful experiences here and there), I find myself confronted with a great irony: I purposefully sought out this temple (and its umbrella organization) in an attempt to avoid joining Soka Gakkai, because I thought the controversies in Soka Gakkai would get in the way of my practice. Oh, the irony … my refuge from Soka Gakkai almost killed my practice. LOL
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Re: Going independent?

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Tue Jul 22, 2014 12:02 am

nichirenista wrote:Interesting. I wish you had been there to explain this to that woman. Many people, it seems, believe people with Aspergers have near-genius abilities to memorize things. And many people want to place the label "Aspergers" on anyone who seems "odd-man-out" in a given situation.

Autism and similar.....modes of brain functioning (for me personally, I do not consider apsergers or high functioning autism as disorders, but thats easy for me to say and I don't hold it against anyone who thinks otherwise) might actually be the extreme male brain...an interesting idea when I heard it, but the idea is new.

There are some who think Thomas Jefferson and Sherlock Holmes had aspergers, Holmes because he could go on and on about very specific things and was very observant. Of course his creator did not know about aspergers as such, but probably of people with these traits.

People also like to throw around words like "horder", "obsessive compulsive", or "addictive personality". everyone is a psychologist now it would seem. Its sort of the new "are you are Taurus?".

though there might be benefits as well as annoyances to a culture more aware of mental health.
nichirenista wrote:
I've heard one indication of Aspergers is when someone develops an interest in an era of history, or a foreign culture, that is far removed from their life. I've heard stories of teenage boys in Wisconsin who are obsessed with, say, Marie Antoinette and her era in France. You know, not directly related to his life….

for me its Star Wars. Star Trek is getting there too, but personally I see them as apples and oranges. also botany...Geology...

I think temples even within the same orgs can have a great deal of variety, I often hear horror stories about the SGI, and other people saying "that was not MY experience with the SGI at all".
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Going independent?

Postby rory » Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:34 am

Well I think that woman's behavior was appalling and I wish I had been there Nichirenista to have called her on it; it's just so unkind! And I'm glad your practice is happily resuming!
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Re: Going independent?

Postby nichirenista » Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:38 am

Thank you, Rory. I was so caught off guard by her statement that I was left speechless. Not very, um, "Buddhist" of her, right? But that's the way this temple was for me….

Again, there were many wonderful experiences there, but in large part it felt like walking unprepared into a battle zone -- where I could never really understand what people were fighting about. I came to realize that in many ways the temple was built on the same dynamic as a church, and all churches have their "church ladies" -- the women who monitor everyone else and who are better-than-thou. Unfortunately, this exists at the temple too. I could've just stayed with Christianity….

I think that maybe in some ways I was the victim of my own idealism. This is the first Buddhist temple I've ever attempted to be a part of, and yet I'd been reading about Buddhism since the late 90s. Filling myself up with terms like "mindfulness" and "lovingkindness." When in reality it was "same-old-same-old," at least where the structure was concerned. What I mean is: at the Catholic Church it was all about competition, keeping up with the Joneses. I was shocked to find the same thing at the Buddhist temple. I referred to it as "keeping up with the Yamaguchis." LOL

In other words, the only reason I learned the Hoben and Juryo chapters was to show off. To keep up with the Yamaguchis. Couldn't possibly be that I actually believe this stuff! LOL
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Re: Going independent?

Postby nichirenista » Tue Jul 22, 2014 10:55 am

Myoho-Nameless wrote:People also like to throw around words like "horder", "obsessive compulsive", or "addictive personality". everyone is a psychologist now it would seem. Its sort of the new "are you are Taurus?"


Yep. In the 80s, everyone was an enabler or a codependent. In the 90s, everyone was ADD or ADHD. In the 00s, everyone had Aspergers. These days, you're a hoarder, obsessive compulsive, and/or allergic to gluten. (Oh, and in the 90s, everyone under the age of 10 was either "gifted" or an "Indigo Child." LOL)
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Re: Going independent?

Postby Motova » Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:03 am

"Even if someone broadcasts throughout the billion worlds all sorts of offensive remarks about one, speaking in turn of that person's qualities with a loving mind is the Bodhisattva's practice."

"Even if, in the midst of a public gathering, someone exposes faults and speaks ill of one, humbly paying homage to and perceiving that person as a spiritual friend is the Bodhisattva's practice."

From the Thirty-Seven Bodhisattva Practices
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Re: Going independent?

Postby nichirenista » Tue Jul 22, 2014 7:28 pm

With all due respect, have you ever actually been to a brick-and-mortar temple? As I mentioned above, and as most will admit, they are largely cultural clubs for people of Asian descent. I guarantee you that most people at this temple have never even heard of the sutra you just quoted.

I tried to get along with this lady. She didn't like me because I am white and male. There's nothing I can do to change that. It's a relatively taboo topic, but growing up as a white male in communities of color, I know that there are simply some people who are prejudiced against white people (with young white males being a particular focus of anger and resentment).
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Re: Going independent?

Postby Motova » Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:26 pm

That's not from a sutra.

You never know, that woman could be a Bodhisattva trying to teach you a lesson!

It sounds like it's a good place to practice patience.

You could maybe continue practicing there and be a source of motivation for the temple and benefit many sentient beings.

And what's a brick-and-mortar temple?
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Re: Going independent?

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:43 am

Motova wrote:
You never know, that woman could be a Bodhisattva trying to teach you a lesson!

It sounds like it's a good place to practice patience.

You could maybe continue practicing there and be a source of motivation for the temple and benefit many sentient beings.


plenty of things sound nice in theory, but do not always work. Think of someone like Stalin.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Going independent?

Postby Motova » Wed Jul 23, 2014 12:50 am

Myoho-Nameless wrote:
Motova wrote:
You never know, that woman could be a Bodhisattva trying to teach you a lesson!

It sounds like it's a good place to practice patience.

You could maybe continue practicing there and be a source of motivation for the temple and benefit many sentient beings.


plenty of things sound nice in theory, but do not always work. Think of someone like Stalin.


No one said accomplishing Buddhahood was easy.
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Re: Going independent?

Postby Myoho-Nameless » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:00 am

Motova wrote:No one said accomplishing Buddhahood was easy.

there is hard, then there is impossible. You cannot change another person from bad to good. Not unless they want to do it themselves. you might provoke a change in them, but there is no telling what sort.

its more likely their negativity will rub off on nichirenista if anything.
Peace is a lie, there is only passion.
Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.
Through victory, my chains are broken.
The Force shall free me.-The Sith Code
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Re: Going independent?

Postby Motova » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:09 am

Myoho-Nameless wrote:
Motova wrote:No one said accomplishing Buddhahood was easy.

there is hard, then there is impossible. You cannot change another person from bad to good. Not unless they want to do it themselves. you might provoke a change in them, but there is no telling what sort.

its more likely their negativity will rub off on nichirenista if anything.


Considering this woman is at a Buddhist temple, shows she has enough merit to have been born into the situation that she feels compelled to visit. Regardless if she's at the temple to socialize or practice, she has adequate merit to be there. Thus, I feel she would have the karmic seeds to be able to cultivate more merit. Maybe if nichirenista practices the six perfections at the temple it may inspire her and be the cause for her redemption? Maybe he can pray for a Bodhisattva to help? He can do it.
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Re: Going independent?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:18 am

You just have to figure out whether or not there is anything there for your spiritual growth, it's as simple as that. If there isn't you should find somewhere there is..if there is, then IMO you should figure out a way of skillfully dealing with this sort person.

One thing is for sure, there is not some special place out there you can practice where you will be free of politics, disagreements, fickleness.. whatever behavior that bothers you. I feel 99.9% sure that wherever you go, someone will do something to upset you - and obviously I don't know you at all, that's just a safe bet for all of us.

So, you have to make the decision based on something other than your evaluation of other people's behavior alone.

Just my two cents of course.
"We're chained to the world and we all gotta pull" -Tom Waits
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Re: Going independent?

Postby nichirenista » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:33 am

Motova wrote:That's not from a sutra.

You never know, that woman could be a Bodhisattva trying to teach you a lesson!

It sounds like it's a good place to practice patience.

You could maybe continue practicing there and be a source of motivation for the temple and benefit many sentient beings.

And what's a brick-and-mortar temple?


Maybe the "lesson" to learn is that the Japanese American community has endured great discrimination and therefore is very sensitive. Maybe that's what this woman "taught" me, and maybe what I need to "do" with this lesson is ... leave. I'm reminded of the scene in the movie "Gandhi" where the well-meaning English minister asks Gandhi how he can best help the movement, and Gandhi's response is, "I think you could best help us by accepting the post you've been offered in Sri Lanka.... I think Indians need to feel this fight is fought and won by and for Indians."

I've been instructed by another person (who is of Japanese descent) that Japanese American temples are often refuges from the big, mean world, and maybe my white face represents that big, mean world to this woman. In the case of the temple in question, it is quite literally true that it was their refuge; members of the temple stored their belongings in the temple when they were put in internment camps.
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Re: Going independent?

Postby nichirenista » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:37 am

Motova wrote:
Myoho-Nameless wrote:
Motova wrote:
You never know, that woman could be a Bodhisattva trying to teach you a lesson!

It sounds like it's a good place to practice patience.

You could maybe continue practicing there and be a source of motivation for the temple and benefit many sentient beings.


plenty of things sound nice in theory, but do not always work. Think of someone like Stalin.


No one said accomplishing Buddhahood was easy.


I think you're purposefully ignoring some truly real political and racial issues that we face in this country.

Assuming you are white, I welcome you to go into a black ghetto (such as the one I grew up in) and teach lessons of acceptance. On a good day, you'd get laughed out of the neighborhood.... On a bad day.... Nevermind.

In other words, I think you're being overly simplistic, overly idealistic, and naïve. You have good intentions, though, which I appreciate. :anjali:
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Re: Going independent?

Postby nichirenista » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:40 am

Motova wrote:
Myoho-Nameless wrote:
Motova wrote:No one said accomplishing Buddhahood was easy.

there is hard, then there is impossible. You cannot change another person from bad to good. Not unless they want to do it themselves. you might provoke a change in them, but there is no telling what sort.

its more likely their negativity will rub off on nichirenista if anything.


Considering this woman is at a Buddhist temple, shows she has enough merit to have been born into the situation that she feels compelled to visit. Regardless if she's at the temple to socialize or practice, she has adequate merit to be there. Thus, I feel she would have the karmic seeds to be able to cultivate more merit. Maybe if nichirenista practices the six perfections at the temple it may inspire her and be the cause for her redemption? Maybe he can pray for a Bodhisattva to help? He can do it.


Okay, well, I invite you to visit this woman at this temple and become her counselor.

I HAVE "prayed" for a Bodhisattva to "help," and the direction I've been giving is to leave the temple.
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Re: Going independent?

Postby Motova » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:47 am

Everyone was supporting your departure, I was just trying to give another perspective. Whatever you do may your practice only become stronger. :twothumbsup:
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Re: Going independent?

Postby nichirenista » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:48 am

Motova wrote:
Myoho-Nameless wrote:
Motova wrote:
You never know, that woman could be a Bodhisattva trying to teach you a lesson!

It sounds like it's a good place to practice patience.

You could maybe continue practicing there and be a source of motivation for the temple and benefit many sentient beings.


plenty of things sound nice in theory, but do not always work. Think of someone like Stalin.


No one said accomplishing Buddhahood was easy.


Actually, yes they did.... I'm guessing you're not a Nichiren Buddhist. Nichiren Daishonin said that the Daimoku (chanting Nam[u]-Myoho-Renge-Kyo) is the key to Buddhahood. It's called a "single-practice" form of Buddhism. http://www.tricycle.com/special-section ... line-stone

In other words, I think you come from another school of Buddhism. In Nichiren Buddhism, it is taught that enlightenment can be achieved in this lifetime by chanting the Daimoku. There's nothing in there about a US-born white guy hanging out in a temple founded by Japanese Americans, nor about said US-born white guy hanging around and attempting to help a Japanese American woman 30 years his senior overcome her karma.
Last edited by nichirenista on Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Going independent?

Postby nichirenista » Wed Jul 23, 2014 1:51 am

Motova wrote:Everyone was supporting your departure, I was just trying to give another perspective. Whatever you do may your practice only become stronger. :twothumbsup:


Thank you. As I've mentioned, only a week after deciding to leave, my practice feels like its back to 100%.
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