New to Zen in Kansas City

New to Zen in Kansas City

Postby Simplexity » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:30 pm

I have been taking classes and attending Sunday service at a local Tibetan Buddhist center in Kansas City, MO. I have been working on a daily meditation practice and have made some progress with labeling my sense experiences.

I have not been set on Tibetan Buddhism... it has only been the most easily available near me. There is also a non-sectarian center near me that teaches a few different religions including Buddhism. This center also happens to house the Five Mountain Zen group every Friday that has been so heatedly discussed here. I am attracted to Zen because of it's non-mystical and personal approach. When it comes to Tibetan, I see the deities more as frames of mind... and I do like the teachings on rebirth... but like I said, I am not set on that path.

Anyway, with the controversy of the FMZO, I am not sure where to go for Zen studies. I will be moving in the next 2 years to either Portland, Oregan or Seattle, Washington and so I am not sure about Zen availability in those places, but for now... I do not have many options. There is the option of online studies, but I am weary. Is there a credible online Zen institution that I could take classes from? Or perhaps a Zen teacher in the west that stays in contact over Skype?

Thank you for any advice.
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Re: New to Zen in Kansas City

Postby Jikan » Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:48 pm

There's a *lot* of Dharma activity in Portland (my hometown) and Seattle, including thriving Zen groups. You'll have no problem finding a place to practice in Cascadia.

I know the Kansas Zen Center has a branch in KC. I'd give them a look.

http://kansaszencenter.org
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Re: New to Zen in Kansas City

Postby SonofRage » Mon Jan 28, 2013 4:34 pm

If you're looking to talk to a teacher over Skype, there's always Treeleaf: www.treeleaf.org
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Re: New to Zen in Kansas City

Postby Jikan » Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:26 pm

SonofRage wrote:If you're looking to talk to a teacher over Skype, there's always Treeleaf: http://www.treeleaf.org


...just as controversial (if for somewhat different reasons) as Five Mountain Zen Order.
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Re: New to Zen in Kansas City

Postby Jikan » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:33 pm

NOTE: anyone with a search engine can determine for themselves if the Treeleaf organization is or is not controversial. I think my statement that it is controversial is uncontroversial, but you don't have to take my word for it.

Also note that this thread remains open for public rebuttal by anyone willing and able to abide by the Terms of Service here at DharmaWheel.

:popcorn:
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Re: New to Zen in Kansas City

Postby LastLegend » Wed Jan 30, 2013 8:54 pm

Welcome.

Have you been studying Buddha's teachings? It helps with the foundation of meditation. Zen, I think is also about seeing through the Dharma and have insight.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: New to Zen in Kansas City

Postby Simplexity » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:53 pm

I went to the Unity Temple for the Temple Buddhist Center service on a Sunday early last year. I then read a book titled "Naked Buddha." I looked into another local Buddhist Center... Rime Buddhist Center... and went there as well. I decided that I liked the environment at Rime better than Unity. I started going every Sunday to the service along with all of the mantras and chants towards various deities and such. I took a class there titled "Intro to Basic Buddhism" by a guy that is about to start his own retreat center. He was an amazing teacher of the class and I decided that more than anyone at Rime, even the Lama that runs the place... I felt a connection with.

I started taking another class based off of Jack Kornfield's book, "The Wise Heart," earlier this year. While reading Jack Kornfield, I continued reading books by Thay and more recently Pema Chodron. I was turned on to the Five Mountain Zen Order's Friday night session at Unity by a friend, but then I read about the controversy here in this forum. What I have learned about Zen has me intrigued as I do not feel connected with the Tibetan doctrine.... especially related to the various deities. I like the Zen approach, although I still feel connected to the concept of rebirth that Tibetan follows.

So, that is where I stand with my studies. I have a meditation practice, although it has been rocky as of late.

Right at this very moment, I feel strongly that I need a Buddhist teacher. I have not found anyone locally that I feel a connection with. I feel strongly connected to Jack Kornfield's style of teaching, but I also greatly enjoy Pema Chodron and Thay. Of course, I can't have any of them as a teacher. I did go to the Spirit Rock Meditation center for a week and attended a workshop by Mark Coleman. I also spent an entire day there exploring, meditating and taking photos. I fell in love with the place.

Anyway, back on track. I really need a teacher. I have had a rough time lately. I was building a strong foundation and spiritual path, but the past few months have pushed me from the path. I haven't meditated as much. I stopped going to the class on Kornfield's book at Rime. I am not going to a Buddhist service right now because at this very moment, I do not feel connected to any local Sangha.

I could go into some stories and examples about my life situation and my past that would help anyone understand my strong desire to find a teacher, but I will save that unless requested.

Right now more than anything... I need help when it comes to finding a teacher. I need to know where to look and how to go about connecting with a teacher. Please and thank you :)

Namaste
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Re: New to Zen in Kansas City

Postby Jikan » Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:00 am

Good to hear from you. You're on the right track: coming for teachings in good faith, listening with care, and keeping a critical eye.

Find a way to keep the connection open with that teacher you enjoyed working with.

May I suggest the Kansas Zen Center? They meet at Unity too so it might be convenient for you... A road trip to their main center in Lawrence might be in order as well. (or is this the group at Unity that didn't really work for you?)

http://kansaszencenter.org/?page_id=20

When it comes to finding a teacher and practicing in earnest, don't rule out the likelihood that you will need to travel some.
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Re: New to Zen in Kansas City

Postby Wanji » Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:49 am

You'd be welcome to come sit with us anytime. I know there is some "controversy" about with FMZO (there is with most Zen groups if you look hard enough, or participate for any length of time), but I think if you came and experienced our practice, you might be surprised that we're just ordinary people trying to be of service to one another; we have a very close and delightful sangha here locally. That being said, I'm currently travelling in India but will be back in Kansas City in a few weeks and would be able to meet with you in person over coffee or something and discuss and concerns you may have. Feel free to contact me at your leisure.

As far as other options in the Kansas City area, Lawrence Kansas plays host to the Kansas Zen Center (kansaszencenter.org), which is run by Zen Master Hae Kwang (Stan Lombardo) and his wife, Judy Roitman JDPSN (who as I understand it, is being transmitted as a full Zen Master in the Kwan Um School of Zen over the next month or so). Both were longtime students and successors of ZM Seung Sahn and are quite capable and well practiced teachers. They have an extension that also meets at Unity Temple on the Plaza on Tuesday nights I believe, led by a Dharma Teacher (Charlie, I believe his name is), and Judy JDPSN gives kong'an interviews there once a month or so. In comparison to us, they're a bit more formal in the Korean style but a very solid group of practitioners.

As otherwise mentioned, there is a Soto group that meets there on Friday's also but I believe that their practice consists soley of 2 hours sitting zen (zazen) each week, so if that fits your fancy it's available also.

Janet who runs the main Buddhist Service at the Temple on Sunday mornings is quite a capable Buddhist teacher herself whom I highly reccomend (a student of Lama Surya Das, I believe) and has a wonderfully active and large group, if your looking for a more mainline, general Buddhist teaching (non-sectarian) group. In that line, there's also another group here locally that meets a few miles away called the American Buddhist Center (but admittedly I dont know much about them, I'd like to visit but I havent had the time to date).

Of course there is the Rime Center (a couple of my students run their Sunday school) which is a wonderfully bright center for anyone of a Tibetan persuasion and Lama Changchup Kunchok Dorje is very active in many aspects of preserving Tibetan culture...There is a Tibetan group of some sort at TBC as well, in addition to a sitting group in the lineage of Thich Nhat Hanh and even a Sokka Gakkai center if you'd like to explore the NIchiren-esque teachings (though there are many concerns with SGI, but many satisfied practitioners also).

There are a great many options for exploring the Buddha Dharma in Kansas City, overall it's a wonderful place to practice and I invite you to explore as many as possible without relying solely on speculation, as you're sure to find a home.

Let me know if I can be of any service...

Sincerely,
~wanji
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Re: New to Zen in Kansas City

Postby Jikan » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:44 pm

Hi Wanji,

Welcome to DharmaWheel. I'm glad to see you here. Some threads that you may be interested in:

on martial arts and Buddhist practice:

viewtopic.php?f=66&t=3945

on Thich Thien-An

viewtopic.php?f=69&t=10853
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Re: New to Zen in Kansas City

Postby Wanji » Tue Apr 02, 2013 1:11 am

Thanks Jikan, not sure how much time I'll have to actively participate, but in the event that I'm able to add something of substance it will be nice to expand connections with the even greater sangha that the interwebz allows us access to :-)

Be well,
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Re: New to Zen in Kansas City

Postby Nepsis » Fri Jul 04, 2014 1:18 pm

Thanks for the excellent listing of zen groups in Kansas City, Wanji!
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Re: New to Zen in Kansas City

Postby Jikan » Fri Jul 04, 2014 6:59 pm

Ah--good to see this thread back at work after a year and a half. I'd been wondering how our friend Simplexity was doing... perhaps we might hear from him or her again.

With regard to the controversial aspects of the Five Mountain Zen Order alluded to before, see this long and somewhat contentious DharmaWheel thread:

http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=7613

I doubt anyone has an interest in rehearsing all that stuff again.
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