I'm missing something...

I'm missing something...

Postby Hickersonia » Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:17 pm

I'm missing something, but I'm not sure what it is exactly.

Rev. Heng Sure came up in discussion in another thread of mine and has sparked a bit of research on him and the tradition with which he seems to be associated. Just to start this off, however, I'm asking for informational purposes and not because I necessarily need the answers to conform to what I'm already aware of, although I of course can only speak of that which I am already aware and understand, so please don't take my inquiry the wrong way.

My question goes back to "basics" as I understand them, the 8 Precepts in particular. I've found some musical compositions authored by Heng Sure and, in the course of my searches, found a Zen Center (not necessarily affiliated with Heng Sure) that has a segment of it's Ethical Guidelines page devoted to relationships of a sexual nature between Teacher and student, placing rules on such relations (as opposed to an outright ban of it, as my understanding of the 8 Precepts would expect with those referred to as "Sangha").

I'm not familiar with Zen -- I'm coming at this question from a mostly Theravada knowledge-base (something I'm on a mission to expand this year). Do Zen monks / Priests (I've seen them referred to in this way) follow the same Precepts and Vinaya rules as those of the Theravada or is there a complete and distinct on it's own version of this in Zen?

Further, does any such distinction apply across the board amongst all East Asian Mahayana?

Thank you very much for your information as I broaden by admittedly limited knowledge.
Hickersonia
http://hickersonia.wordpress.com/


"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."

Nam mô A di đà Phật!
User avatar
Hickersonia
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:23 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Namgyal » Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:51 pm

Chinese Chan monks are celibate (except for mainland Chinese 'monks', who aren't actually monks at all). Japanese priests of all traditions (sometimes called monks) are not celibate and can marry, as can priests from the Korean Taego sect American Zen is derived from Japanese sources therefore its teachers are not celibate, which has created some problems in the past. The teacher you mentioned appears to come from an overseas Chan tradition, so he should be celibate and have a set of rules much like those with which you are familiar from the Theravada.
:namaste: R.
Namgyal
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Sara H » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:14 pm

Some Zen Monks actually are celibate and vegetarian (although on this last bit I believe they make exceptions for health and social circumstance, IE not being rude,and accepting what's in one's begging bowl, when a guest or with family outside of the Monastery).

The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives which is Soto Zen is a Celibate Soto Zen Order.

" Rev. Seikai Leubke, from the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives, spoke about that
organization’s relationship with the Vinaya. In the Japanese Zen tradition, OBC
monastics receive the 16 bodhisattva precepts and 48 great precepts plus celibacy, rather
than the traditional Vinaya ordination. His talk sparked a discussion on how to deal
compassionately with transgressions of fundamental precepts. "


http://www.thubtenchodron.org/BuddhistNunsMonasticLife/monastic_conf_10_16WBM.pdf

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Seishin » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:28 pm

Japanese monks take the 10 major and 48 minor Bodhisattva Precepts, not the Vinaya. This was initiated for various reasons by Seicho who was the creator of the Tendai Tradition. From what I understand (little admittedly) celibacy was part of the vows, which was changed at a later date during the Meiji restoration (I think) so that monks were allowed to marry, drink alcohol and eat meat. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haibutsu_kishaku
In Japan the monks are still referred to as monks and hold the same status and respect as those with vinaya vows. Japanese schools in the west tend to prefer to use the word "priest" to try to save confusion with the celibate monks.
This subject is hotly debated on this board and elsewhere.

Note: Someone with a better understanding of Japanese history might be able to correct the above. :smile:

Gassho,
Seishin
User avatar
Seishin
Former staff member
 
Posts: 1410
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 am

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Namgyal » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:35 pm

:smile: Yes, that's quite correct, a few Japanese priests do indeed volunteer to maintain celibacy and other practices on top of their Japanese Bodhisattva vows. I didn't include OBC monks in my brief list because they are a synthetic Western tradition rather than Japanese...nor are they strictly speaking 'American Zen', because Peggy Kennett was British. In any event, I should have included them, if only for the sake of completion, perhaps under the heading 'British Zen'. :smile: My apologies.
:namaste: R.
Namgyal
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Hickersonia » Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:37 pm

Very interesting.

Is this non-celibate ordination generally perceived as an equal level of ordination or do even the priests/monks that practice in that manner see themselves as working up toward the celibate life (or, inversely, that their vows are of greater standing than the Vinaya)?

Further, would these 10 major and 48 minor Bodhisattva Precepts be applicable / available as a version of ordaining under other Mahayana traditions?

Would this page be a fair representation of what is being referred to as the 10 major and 48 minor Bodhisattva Precepts? Could anyone direct me to other pages that would be worthy of study on this matter?

Thank you very much for the thoughtful and rather helpful replies. :)
Hickersonia
http://hickersonia.wordpress.com/


"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."

Nam mô A di đà Phật!
User avatar
Hickersonia
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:23 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Seishin » Fri Oct 05, 2012 3:35 pm

Hickersonia wrote:Is this non-celibate ordination generally perceived as an equal level of ordination or do even the priests/monks that practice in that manner see themselves as working up toward the celibate life

In Japan they are concidered as equals. Celibacy is by choice. Some monks believe it's better to be celibate, some don't.
Hickersonia wrote:or, inversely, that their vows are of greater standing than the Vinaya?

In Saicho's time, he believed the Bodhisattva vows to be better than the Vinaya, but I'm not sure about these days.
Hickersonia wrote:Further, would these 10 major and 48 minor Bodhisattva Precepts be applicable / available as a version of ordaining under other Mahayana traditions?

In Japan it is the standard. In other Mahayana schools I believe it is part of/or an extra to the Vinaya.
Hickersonia wrote:Would this page be a fair representation of what is being referred to as the 10 major and 48 minor Bodhisattva Precepts? Could anyone direct me to other pages that would be worthy of study on this matter?

The vows are indeed from the Brahmanet sutra but I'm not sure which is the best translation :shrug:

Gassho,
Seishin
User avatar
Seishin
Former staff member
 
Posts: 1410
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 am

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Sara H » Sat Oct 06, 2012 8:49 am

Raksha wrote:I didn't include OBC monks in my brief list because they are a synthetic Western tradition rather than Japanese...nor are they strictly speaking 'American Zen', because Peggy Kennett was British.


Well that statement simply isn't accurate.
You're basically saying that if a Zen Temple or Meditation group was not founded by an American, it isn't "American Zen".

By that reasoning, any American Zen temple or meditation group that was founded by any foreign national, would not be "American Zen" or "American Buddhism".

Even The San Francisco Zen Center would not be "American Zen", since Shunryo Suzuki was certainly not born in Texas. ; )

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Namgyal » Sat Oct 06, 2012 9:51 am

Dear Sara,
As I am sure you know 'American Zen' is a term commonly used to describe a specific group of organisations. As for the OBC, according to 'The Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America's' entry for Rev. Jiyu-Kennett;
'Her adaptation of Zen for Westerners has been likened to Japanese Soto Zen with a flavor of the Church of England...'
Furthermore, her foundation in the UK preceded Shasta Abbey, so strictly speaking it is not correct to call her organisation 'American'.
:namaste: R.
Namgyal
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Sara H » Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:10 am

Raksha wrote:they are a synthetic Western tradition rather than Japanese...nor are they strictly speaking 'American Zen', because Peggy Kennett was British.


So you're basically saying three things here.

One, you're saying the OBC is "synthetic".

I'm not really sure what you mean by that, could you clarify?

Two,
It sounds like you are saying they are a Western Zen Order, rather than a Japanese National Zen order.
That would be correct, the OBC is not based out of or headquartered in Japan. It is a western Zen Order of Japanese decent, the same way the San Francisco Zen Center is. Jiyu-Kennett's teacher was Koho Zenji.

Then third, you go on to imply that they are not really American Zen Because Jiyu-Kennett was British.

However I'm not really sure how that is relevant, as we have already established that they are a Western Zen Order. Are you saying America is not a part of the West?

Or by that are you meaning that they are not an exclusively American Order, and include temples in other Western countries as well.
If that's what you are saying, then you are correct, the OBC is not exclusively American. However Jiyu-Kennett's nationality didn't have anything to do with that.

If you are saying by that that the OBC does not have any temples in it that are American and a part of American Zen, then you are incorrect, Shasta Abbey is an American Zen Buddhist Monastery, as are several temples of the Order and meditation groups.

So I think some clarification from you might be nessicary.

In Gassho, friend,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Sara H » Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:21 am

Raksha wrote:'American Zen' is a term commonly used to describe a specific group of organisations. As for the OBC, according to 'The Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America's' entry for Rev. Jiyu-Kennett;
'Her adaptation of Zen for Westerners has been likened to Japanese Soto Zen with a flavor of the Church of England...'
Furthermore, her foundation in the UK preceded Shasta Abbey, so strictly speaking it is not correct to call her organisation 'American'.
:namaste: R.


That's a very interesting set of statements here.

The OBC is not a member of the SZBA, however I do not believe that group has a patent on the term American Zen.

Typically, American Zen is used to describe Zen Practice in America.

The founding of the OBC itself was actually in the United States. Not that that is actually relevant, it's an international Order.
We've already established it's a western order though and the United States is a part of the west.

The OBC as a whole is not "exclusively American", it is international. However the US Zen temples are certainly part of American Zen.

Im sorry but you seem to think that certain organizations have a trademark on that term, that's not the case.

I am a bit curious as to your hostility over this though.

Is there some reason why you are so angry over this?

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Namgyal » Sat Oct 06, 2012 10:44 am

Sara H wrote: One, you're saying the OBC is "synthetic".I'm not really sure what you mean by that, could you clarify?
Two,It sounds like you are saying they are a Western Zen Order, rather than a Japanese National Zen order.That would be correct,
Then third...meaning that they are not an exclusively American Order, and include temples in other Western countries as well.
If that's what you are saying, then you are correct.
So I think some clarification from you might be nessicary.


Hi Sara,
Synthesis; '...building up separate elements into a connected whole...' (OED). Point two: yes. Point three: yes. :smile: Lastly, I'm not angry or hostile, it's how some of us talk over here in England (I know that to American ears this makes us sound like vampires ;) )
:namaste: R.
Namgyal
 
Posts: 339
Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2013 12:13 pm

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Sara H » Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:13 am

I want to make a correction here,

When I said the OBC is not a member of the SZBA, that's not strictly speaking correct.

While I do not believe the OBC as a whole is a member of that organization, several senior monks including Rev. Master Meian, the current abbess of Shasta Abbey have had active involvement in the SZBA.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Hickersonia » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:40 pm

Sara H wrote:I want to make a correction here,

When I said the OBC is not a member of the SZBA, that's not strictly speaking correct.

While I do not believe the OBC as a whole is a member of that organization, several senior monks including Rev. Master Meian, the current abbess of Shasta Abbey have had active involvement in the SZBA.

In Gassho,

Sara H

I certainly appreciate the correction, although I probably would have never noticed the "error." Ha!

I really appreciate everyone's thoughtful replies here. :)
Hickersonia
http://hickersonia.wordpress.com/


"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of
throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned."

Nam mô A di đà Phật!
User avatar
Hickersonia
 
Posts: 98
Joined: Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:23 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Jikan » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:13 pm

Seishin wrote:
Hickersonia wrote:Is this non-celibate ordination generally perceived as an equal level of ordination or do even the priests/monks that practice in that manner see themselves as working up toward the celibate life

In Japan they are concidered as equals. Celibacy is by choice. Some monks believe it's better to be celibate, some don't.
Hickersonia wrote:or, inversely, that their vows are of greater standing than the Vinaya?

In Saicho's time, he believed the Bodhisattva vows to be better than the Vinaya, but I'm not sure about these days.
Hickersonia wrote:Further, would these 10 major and 48 minor Bodhisattva Precepts be applicable / available as a version of ordaining under other Mahayana traditions?

In Japan it is the standard. In other Mahayana schools I believe it is part of/or an extra to the Vinaya.
Hickersonia wrote:Would this page be a fair representation of what is being referred to as the 10 major and 48 minor Bodhisattva Precepts? Could anyone direct me to other pages that would be worthy of study on this matter?

The vows are indeed from the Brahmanet sutra but I'm not sure which is the best translation :shrug:

Gassho,
Seishin


Hi Seishin,

This is a recent and readable translation of the Brahma Net Sutra:

http://books.google.com/books/about/The ... 2cnISWqWUC
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5135
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Jikan » Wed Oct 10, 2012 2:16 pm

Re: celibacy in the OBC

The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives took up celibacy well after the order was established. I am not clear on the timeline or the reasoning behind this. There has been extensive debate within and eventually without the Order over it.

Interested persons may search around the OBC Connect forum, which includes many past and some present participants:
http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5135
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Seishin » Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:17 pm

Cool cheers. Aren't you at Gyo?
User avatar
Seishin
Former staff member
 
Posts: 1410
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2010 11:53 am

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Jikan » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:03 pm

Gyo starts for me early Friday morning, but that's a topic for a separate forum! :lol:
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 5135
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Sara H » Sun Oct 14, 2012 7:01 am

Jikan wrote:The Order of Buddhist Contemplatives took up celibacy well after the order was established. I am not clear on the timeline or the reasoning behind this.


It might be because, if I'm not very much mistaken, having Married priests who have jobs, etc, was a Japanese imperial Shinto decree, and not necessarily a Buddhist decision.

It was the Emperor of Japan, who said that temples had to be hereditary, in order to weaken the perceived influence that the Buddhists were having.

The Emperor was Shinto, and Shinto is a religion that includes emperor worship as part of the imperial family being descended from gods who created Japan.

When the you are told that temples of Buddhism must be hereditary, or risk property forfeiture, under the threat of samurai, what can you do? You marry and have kids.

This eventually led to priests being simply another profession in Japan, instead of being monastics.

Koho Zenji, Jiyu-Kennett's teacher when wanting her to bring his branch of Buddhism to the West, I believe wanted her to bring it free of encumbrance of Japanese-ness and of the institutional problems that were going on in Japanese temples. It's important to realize that actual meditation practice among lay people, was not very common in Japan (and I believe still isn't), as well as the result of the hereditary decree, made the monasteries into effective boarding schools for 17-year-old and 20-something young men who were going to have to inherit their father's job of taking care of the family temple. As the hereditary decree was the root of this problem in Japan, and also why they were not celibate over there, bringing back celibate practice for monks and meditation practice for laypeople, seems a logical solution to some of the problems that have existed in Japan

Keep in mind, celibacy has been a part of Buddhism from the very beginning.

A married priesthood was not some modern innovation that was developed internally by Japanese Buddhism; it was forced upon them by rule of Japanese Imperial Decree.

Many Chan orders are celibate, as are Korean Seon sects of Zen.

In Korea, married priests only came there after the Japanese occupation, where it was forced on them.

In the west, many people say, "well they're not celibate in Japan, so why should we be? What's wrong with being not celibate?"

And the answer might be that nothing is wrong with that kindof practice. But that doesn't mean celibacy isn't good for some other people to do.
(Note: We also tend to act like the Japanese have it "all figured out" and that everything is just perfect over there, and that's simply not the case. They do have a heaping share of institutional problems. Simply copying their institutional methods straight across isn't necessarily a good idea, or the best solution to things.
The Japanese also tend to have a pretty strong racial bias towards "Japanese" ways of doing things, even when those things aren't necessarily the best way of doing things.)

In the west, we tend to alternate between two extremes regarding sex and orgasms (which is why we usually want sex).

One is sortof a One is a sortof laisez-faire attitude mixed with an entitled, (and sometimes angry) greed.

The other is sortof an awe-filled starry-eyed prudish fear and holy worship of it.

This might be and probably is due to our mixed feelings history regarding western religions treatment of sex and orgasm, as well as the Catholic church and other forms of Abrahamic religion in general.

But there is a middle ground between a libertine greed, and a puritanical fear.

Because hormones and sexuality is such a huge part of who we are as human beings, celibacy is a helpful practice for some people.

So in the OBC they have it as an option in the form of monastic training. There are lay ministers and other options for people who want to do householder training. That way there are more options for people based upon their individual spiritual needs rather than sticking to a one-way-is-right-for-everybody approach.

There are some people who were a part of the OBC early on who disagreed with the structural changes, mainly because they personally were effected by the change. But I think this is normal for any organization undergoing policy and structural changes. There are always going to be some people who disagree with a policy or structural change, and leave an organization. This is true for any organization, companies as well. The "Order of Buddhist Contemplatives" (OBC) was actually the result of this, it was the "Zen Mission Society" before that.
Overall, the providing of additional options and putting it on monastic/householder training lines seems to have been helpful.

Before that they had kids living in the Monasteries, which really isn't the best place for kids to be growing up in, and parents taking leave from their kids to do part time monastic training, when they really should have been with their kids, and property issues related to joined property and inheritance issues, and all of that kindof thing.

Keeping it separate has made things a lot simpler as well as providing additional training options available to practitioners.

So the overall effect seems to have been a positive improvement.

I hope this helps answer some questions,

In Gassho, friend,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Re: I'm missing something...

Postby Sara H » Sun Oct 14, 2012 3:13 pm

One of the things that's interesting to note, is that political, organizational, or social institutions, once established, are difficult to change.

Once temples became hereditary by rule of law by the Imperial decree, that way of doing things became established as an institution. Once married priests became a way of life, it may have become highly difficult or nearly impossible to change once the laws allowed them to do so again.

Indeed, it may have only been after the U.S. occupation of Japan, post WW II, and with a change of the Japanese Constitution, that such institutional changes may have even been legally possible at all, for Buddhism in Japan.

Combined, that, with a Japanese culture that is highly conformist, and largely unwilling to buck trends or foster leaders willing to make dramatic statements in favor of change or reform, and the old ways of doing things that were forced on them by Imperial decree may have largely gone unchallenged.

Indeed, they may have even become nationalized as some sortof patriotic Japanese cultural ideal. And defended as Japanese cultural uniqueness.

But none of these things have anything to do, with whether it was a Buddhist decision, or whether it was in the best interests of Buddhism in the first place.

Indeed, the decision seems largely made because it wasn't in the best interests of Buddhism, and was rather deemed in the best interests of the Emperor, and wanting to keep power to himself, of those who controlled him if he was a puppet.

These sorts of practices, do not mean that we have to follow, repeat, or perpetuate the mistakes, or cultural Japanese ethnic traditions in the west that have little to do with Buddhism itself, and everything to do with Japanese Culture.

Add to that, our own bipolar mix of sexual prudishness/libertine sexual greed, and our suspicion of religious practices regarding sexuality due to the Catholic church, and religious ritual, and you get a fermented mix that needs to be examined soberly, and in context, and not just taken for granted based on our emotional feelings of religion, of or celibacy.

We don't need to make the mistakes of the Japanese,
And Buddhism is not Catholicism.

In Gassho,

Sara H
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
User avatar
Sara H
 
Posts: 531
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2012 11:51 pm
Location: On Hiatus from Dharmawheel.

Next

Return to Zen

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 8 guests

>