Formal English Training

Formal English Training

Postby Christopherxx » Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:59 pm

One thing I have noticed through my search on the forums is that there isn't a sticky about "Formal Training".

I am sure that many of the people that visit and stay with DW have an above average interest in Buddhism and specifically that of the Zen schools.

It may be cool to list formal training opportunities for people interested in becoming priests, monks, etc.

I was able to find the list of Formal Head Temples for the 14 Schools of Rinzai:

Kennin-ji
Tōfuku-ji
Kenchō-ji
Engaku-ji
Nanzen-ji
Kokutai-ji
Daitoku-ji
Kōgaku-ji
Myōshin-ji
Tenryū-ji
Eigen-ji
Hōkō-ji
Shōkoku-ji
Buttsū-ji

And for Soto the two Eihei-ji and Sōji-ji.

The issue being I am not aware if any of these temples instruct and guide in english. Nor if these head-temples are even training centers or simply formal headquarters.

So hopefully we can hear from the knowledgeable members of the forum and help create a wonderful resource for interested North American and European citizens

Metta!
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Re: Formal English Training

Postby Matylda » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:30 pm

As for rinzai monasteries there is not even one which will give chance to study and practice using English. In Hokoji was roshi who spoke some English, but I am not sure if they accept any foreigners now. If roshi is still alive must be something like 100 years old.

Same for Eiheiji and Sojiji. Both temples may have some English guide for people who come for zuise ceremony, but it s only one night and day stay. And zuise is only for those who received dharma transmission.

Actually it is almost impossible to study in all those monasteries in English since there is always a lot of classic Chinese and Japanese. And those teachings have their own subtleties. Nobody could put it in English, and rinzai monasteries were never interested in it.

Among soto monasteries there was Hosshinji which offered training in English, but I am not sure if it is still possible. Most of English translators left according to what I have heard and this monastery has very few monks now. And probably only Japanese. Good situation there was like 20 or 30 years ago.

Generally I think that people who have wish to study and practice in Japan, should rather take some effort and learn Japanese. Chinese, written Chinese and reading in Chinese will be eventually obligatory in the course of study and sodo work.

Now soto headquarters offer annual training for foreign priests in English.. there is special ango for 3 months each year, where translators are available. Those angos are in some old, historical temples. But then it is different then practice in Japanese sodo, or training monastery. Rinzai does not offer yet such privilege.

I think that 80-ties it was the best time in Japan to study zen for foreigners... at the moment many places changed, and possibilities are gone. One temple in Okayama offers training with English translator available, but surrounding is a bit different since it is like a temple for Westerners. So I heard it is more like a zen center in the West. With particular atmosphere, quite different then in Japanese monastery. But to now for sure one has to go and check for oneself.

Once there was Ryutakuji, in Mishima - rinzai, with English speaking roshis, but those died already. The person who is in charge now, I do not know if he speaks any English.

BTW again I will say.. learn Japanese. When it was time for Japanese to go to China, and many did, all of them learned Chinese. They were not waiting for Chinese masters to learn Japanese. Why should Japanese be so kind and learn English???
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Re: Formal English Training

Postby Astus » Wed Dec 12, 2012 11:51 pm

The One Drop Zen Buddhist Community is an international Rinzai organisation with a training monastery in Japan where they speak English. The Soto Zen School has several temples in Europe and America, plus all the Soto communities that are not members of the Japanese church. As for those who want to train in Japan, it seems only natural that one should first learn the language.
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Re: Formal English Training

Postby Christopherxx » Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:15 am

There is no argument that learning Japanese or any other language is important.

However I would like the topic to stay on point.

Who here can speak Pali? Or further back Sanskrit? Etc.

This is to be a subject for English speaking training centers. The native language centers are already clearing noted :smile:

In addition another point of the original subject was to find which centers are in fact training centers rather than sites for other activities.

With Metta! And Much respect to the previous posters :namaste:
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Re: Formal English Training

Postby Astus » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:41 am

By training centres do you mean monasteries specifically designated as shugyou dera/doujou (修行 寺/道場) by one of the official Zen churches? Because of those, all Rinzai sects combined have only 33 in Japan, of which 20 belong to the Myoushinji tradition.

Here is a training temple of the Sanbo Kyodan group: Tetsugyuji International Zen Center

However, if you extend this definition to all Zen centres (not necessarily Japanese) where one can regularly practice meditation and participate in retreat, there are quite a few in the West of those. Or if you mean monasteries where monks live, there are some of them too.
"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)

“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; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Formal English Training

Postby Christopherxx » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:55 am

Hi Astus,

It's great that you brought that point up.

The topic was originally started with the intention of developing a discussion of Zen training institutions (Be it priestly training, monasteries, etc.) in the native Japanese setting (Rinzai and Soto).

Though I think maybe we could open this discussion up to all sects of Zen throughout the world as long as it fits a "Training center" & "English oriented" definition.

I think it would also be a good idea to list such places by a standard for easier reading by additional viewers/posters.

I.e. Antaiji: Temple of Peace, Soto Zen Affiliation (Very strong Zazen practice), Shin'onsen, Mikata District, in northern Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan.
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Re: Formal English Training

Postby Christopherxx » Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:57 am

Additionally if someone does post an American or European location it would I think be of benefit to the intention of the Original post to list it's ties with the head temples of it's tradition rather than who provided the dharma transmission or other authorization.
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Re: Formal English Training

Postby Indrajala » Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:57 am

If you want to study Zen in Japan learn Japanese.

Most Japanese people don't understand English and don't really want to (nor are they obligated to).

When I was in Japan I had a friend from Eihei-ji who said that while some foreigners stayed long-term there for a year or more, they were always thought of as guests.

If you don't know Japanese, you won't get far. If you speak decent Japanese and make connections you can train at any number of monasteries. Your foreigner status becomes less of an issue provided you

1) Speak Japanese.

2) Know how to behave yourself.

3) Don't step on any toes.

4) Respect the hierarchy.

The last one is particularly important. Buddhism in Japan is NOT democratic. There is no sense of everyone having an equal voice. You only get a voice after being around for a long time. The decision making process will not be transparent. The same goes for Buddhism anywhere else in Asia.
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Re: Formal English Training

Postby Indrajala » Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:01 am

Christopherxx wrote:Who here can speak Pali? Or further back Sanskrit? Etc.



If you went to India in ancient times from elsewhere as a monk you learnt Sanskrit ahead of time.

Seriously, if you go to Japan and want to live and/or train there, you simply need to learn Japanese. Temples are quite traditional environments where English is irrelevant to most people.

The fact of the matter is that if it wasn't for so many foreigners taking an interest in Japanese Buddhism, most schools wouldn't have much to do with the outside world.
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Re: Formal English Training

Postby Christopherxx » Thu Dec 13, 2012 6:18 am

Thanks for taking the time to post Huseng.

I think the point I was making with the comment about Pali and Sanskrit was lost.

I wasn't making the point that learning the other cultures languages and customs isn't important. I was trying to make the point that the majority of what we have received as teachings and instruction in the west (Even this forum for example) is by these teachings and instructions being put into "our" native context.

As I stated before. I agree with you as well as the previous posters on the language issue, etc though the topic was started in hopes of creating discussion apart from this point - So as to see what was available apart from this "requirement".

I have had some success in looking into this topic by myself but again if anyone wishes to post for all future viewers/posters it is welcome :).
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Re: Formal English Training

Postby Matylda » Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:56 pm

Of course one may find some places in Japan with English language. But original post listed training monasteries 14 for rinzai and 2 for soto monks... there is no English basically.

All other mentioned places are not monasteries, but temples which offer their own unique practices so their training is somehow different then in originally listed monasteries. And among them at least two are run by foreigners.
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Re: Formal English Training

Postby Sara H » Fri Dec 21, 2012 8:31 am

In North America and Europe, the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives teaches formal training in English in English speaking countries, and in Dutch and other languages of those European countries.

Their lineage is directly from Soji-ji in Japan, and they are Soto Zen.

You can find more info on them here on their website http://www.obcon.org .

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