American "Zen"

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Jikan » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:17 pm

shel wrote:
Jikan wrote:
Heavens! <clutches pearls, faints>


Feign fainting is often an early symptom of Cassandra syndrome. You might want to have that checked out.


I was being facetious. Nonin is someone for whom I have a great deal of respect.
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:45 pm

Jikan wrote:I'm not aware that the term "concern trolling" is particularly used in the concept of American Zen.

Indeed.

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.

Maybe we're learning what particular words, and other things, really mean.
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby dzogchungpa » Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:19 pm

Jikan wrote: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.

Well, if you are so concerned about it, why not just delete the whole thread?
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby Jikan » Wed Feb 20, 2013 7:56 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:Well, if you are so concerned about it, why not just delete the whole thread?


I elected to keep the thread open I hold out some hope that some good may come of yet another thread on this set of topics.

It's not all good or all bad, you know. Black-and-white thinking (or splitting if you still need to correct my diction) is part of the problem, wouldn't you say?
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby Jikan » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:03 pm

shel wrote:Maybe we're learning what particular words, and other things, really mean.


I hope some kind of learning is going on. I think the Chogyal Namkhai Norbu is absolutely right when he insists... "you have to use your brain!"
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:37 pm

We are certainly learning about each other, Jikan.
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby dzogchungpa » Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:53 pm

Jikan wrote:I hope some kind of learning is going on. I think the Chogyal Namkhai Norbu is absolutely right when he insists... "you have to use your brain!"

I, for one, learned that the third volume of Conze's memoirs actually existed and had been read by some people. For me, that alone justifies the thread's existence.
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby Wayfarer » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:19 pm

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.


Actually I want to take that post back. This thread sent me off on a bit of a rabbit hunt for various news items related to the scandal that we have mentioned, which in turn lead to discovery of various dueling blog posts about the affair and opinions and commentary and so on. At that point, I always feel like disowning any interest in modern (not only American) versions of Zen. But then, I remember what a huge influence Zen books and meditation has been on my life (particularly books by Alan Watts, D T and Shunryu Suzuki, and also Gudo Nishijima.) And there are some excellent Zen teaching centers about whom you never read much, and who don't get involved in any kinds of dramas, but quietly do their work and provide a lot of guidance to many people. I am currently working through Living by Vow by Okumura, and it's a great book. So, I hereby rescind my cynical post above.
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:46 pm

These American "Zen masters" are just too subtle for me:
http://sweepingzen.com/unethical-practices/

:shrug:
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:15 am

Nothing very subtle about the closing paragraph:

Nonin wrote:When Zen Buddhist masters ignore the law of cause and effect and fail to live ethically according to the precepts, they have manifested into negative actions. They then create suffering not only for themselves but also for others, for as I mentioned earlier, “karma” means “action.” The law of karma is: positive actions have positive results, negative actions have negative results, neutral actions have neutral results. No one is above this law, no matter how long one has practiced or how deep their understanding.


As far as using spiritual philosophy to rationalize abberant behavior, there are exact parallels in European religious history, for instance 'antinomianism':

Catholic Encyclopedia wrote:The heretical doctrine that Christians are exempt from the obligations of moral law. The term first came into use at the Protestant Reformation, when it was employed by Martin Luther to designate the teachings of Johannes Agricola and his sectaries, who, pushing a mistaken and perverted interpretation of the Reformer's doctrine of justification by faith alone to a far-reaching but logical conclusion, asserted that, as good works do not promote salvation, so neither do evil works hinder it; and, as all Christians are necessarily sanctified by their very vocation and profession, so as justified Christians, they are incapable of losing their spiritual holiness, justification, and final salvation by any act of disobedience to, or even by any direct violation of the law of God.
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:30 am

jeeprs wrote:Nothing very subtle about the closing paragraph:

Nonin wrote:When Zen Buddhist masters ignore the law of cause and effect and fail to live ethically according to the precepts, they have manifested into negative actions. They then create suffering not only for themselves but also for others, for as I mentioned earlier, “karma” means “action.” The law of karma is: positive actions have positive results, negative actions have negative results, neutral actions have neutral results. No one is above this law, no matter how long one has practiced or how deep their understanding.


As a philosopher maybe you can explain how a Zen master can manifest into negative actions? and can anyone manifest into negative actions or just Zen masters?
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:47 am

like anyone they can screw up.

I'm sceptical about who really is a 'Zen master'. It is such a cultural icon. So cool, so hip, and so inscrutable. 'Brut and charisma poured from the shadow where he stood'. (Steely Dan, The LA Concession.)

But I still think here are good teachers and that Zen is a great teaching. You just need to be critical and ruthlessly honest. I don't want to criticise particular teachers, I would rather criticise ideas.
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:53 am

I mean the language, manifest into negative action. That's just goofy, isn't it?
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:51 am

Yes, I take your point.
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby Astus » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:21 am

dzogchungpa wrote:These American "Zen masters" are just too subtle for me:
http://sweepingzen.com/unethical-practices/

:shrug:


What Nonin says in that article basically denies liberation and fails to use the teaching to the two truths.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby Matt J » Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:51 pm

I don't see that at all. Nonin writes (in my opinion) controversial things at times but this article is not one of them.

Are you a part of a formal Zen tradition? There may be a disconnect between different teachings.

Astus wrote:What Nonin says in that article basically denies liberation and fails to use the teaching to the two truths.
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If only there is no picking or choosing
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby dzogchungpa » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:13 pm

Honestly, I couldn't really see the point of that article. I don't know anything about Nonin, but this comment by Erik Storlie: http://sweepingzen.com/unethical-practices/#comment-10489 makes me wonder.
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby Astus » Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:57 pm

Matt J wrote:I don't see that at all. Nonin writes (in my opinion) controversial things at times but this article is not one of them.

Are you a part of a formal Zen tradition? There may be a disconnect between different teachings.


"We need to remember, however, that awakening is not a permanent event, that all of us, even those who have deeply awakened to our true nature and the nature of our relationship to the rest of the universe can fall into delusion in an instant and act badly, causing harm to ourselves and others."

"The law of cause and effect governs all our actions. No one can escape it, even the Zen Buddhist master who foolishly thinks that he or she is beyond it."

The impossibility of becoming free from karma, from samsara, sounds to me like denying nirvana. Saying that one is never permanently liberated means that the chain of dependent origination cannot be broken.

Would you say that Nonin's Zen is a teaching that promises no freedom, unlike other forms of Buddhism?
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:11 pm

Astus wrote:
Matt J wrote:I don't see that at all. Nonin writes (in my opinion) controversial things at times but this article is not one of them.

Are you a part of a formal Zen tradition? There may be a disconnect between different teachings.


"We need to remember, however, that awakening is not a permanent event, that all of us, even those who have deeply awakened to our true nature and the nature of our relationship to the rest of the universe can fall into delusion in an instant and act badly, causing harm to ourselves and others."

"The law of cause and effect governs all our actions. No one can escape it, even the Zen Buddhist master who foolishly thinks that he or she is beyond it."

The impossibility of becoming free from karma, from samsara, sounds to me like denying nirvana. Saying that one is never permanently liberated means that the chain of dependent origination cannot be broken.

Would you say that Nonin's Zen is a teaching that promises no freedom, unlike other forms of Buddhism?

If the man can't meet the practice he can always try to change the meaning of the practice to meet the man. This has the unfortunate consequence of rendering the practice meaningless.
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:15 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:Honestly, I couldn't really see the point of that article. I don't know anything about Nonin, but this comment by Erik Storlie: http://sweepingzen.com/unethical-practices/#comment-10489 makes me wonder.


What's telling is the way he responds to all the criticism. He can't accept any, apparently. If he could help himself, to show even an ounce of humility would probably help.
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