I really am not concerned with what you think about Jundo. I’m also not concerned about your history with Jundo. That has nothing to do with me. I speak for myself, not Jundo.
(That said, in my experience, Jundo is fair-minded and, obviously, impassioned in discussion ... as are many of you, i'd wager).
Shel, you had some questions I’d be happy to try and answer.
I’ve never met Jundo in person. No. But I have met my teacher Taigu in person. Indeed, I was ordained by him at the end of a Sesshin held in Kortenborg, Belgium, in 2011. This ordination came after two years of preparation, including weekly, hour-long meetings on Skype. I think we must be talking of about 100 hours or more of face-to-face, student-teacher interaction in advance of ordination.
You also asked about Unsui training at Treeleaf. Well, much like elsewhere it involves study and practice. Study of the sutras. Practice of the forms. Immersion in the history of the Soto tradition. Also, work practice, engaged practice, and the like forms part of the training. All in all, it is a daily commitment ... not a fly-by-night affair.
My weekly hour of Dokusan continues with my teacher. Having received Jukai in the SFZC lineage, I decided that Dokusan twice a year with Paul Haller just wasn’t enough. I realised I’d have much more interaction with a teacher at Treeleaf. So, I sought out Taigu, with whom I identified. Indeed, some of the training (particularly in forms) happened in Belgium ... and will continue, both online and at our next retreat.
I know Jundo’s priests-in-training also have spent time practicing with him in Japan, as well as their interaction online. This is certainly true of Mongen, who did some training in a Japanese monetary with Jundo for a week or two a year or two ago.
So, although much of our interaction occurs online, it is complemented in other meetings. It’s really not that radical ... quite like any other Zen Sangha in North America or Europe, really.
Thanks for your questions Shel. Who do you practise with, and where? I’d be curious to learn of your own practise.
This is an interesting post, and I appreciate you sharing it.
I was just jumping in here, but I would like to voice a couple of concerns.
While advanced trainees, (transmitted monks or priests, or highly advanced lay practitioners) can do fine training on their own, but with regular electronic contact with Teachers, etc,
novices are quite different, from what I've seen.
The reason for this is, there are some ways of teaching, and things that need to be taught, that just need physical interaction, and/or observation of the student, physically.
There's a lot that can be learned about a student's individual "genjo-koan" that can (and I believe in some cases must) be learned by physically observing the student.
This is because body language, how one interacts when not in a Sanzen/spiritual counseling session, ordinary irritation, frustration, etc, often reveal important clues and insights to a teacher as to just how to help the student with the particular issue they are struggling with.
While I can attest from personal experience that it's not necessarily required to be in a monastery in order to have a kensho,
Physical interaction with one's Teacher's is, in my experience very important.
I lived at a monastery for several months as a Lay Resident, in preparation to become a postulant.
Before that I lived in close physical proximity to a monastery and so had the ability to go on retreats often and in many cases over the weekends for a period of a couple years.
I had constant guidance available to me and interaction with both senior Lay trainee's as well as monks of many years of practice.
Often, just the way observing someone bow to you with sincerity can be more impactful and instructive than all the talks in the world.
When one is so damned mad, full of hate and anger at something, and some monk see's you and walks over and tells you a funny, human, compassionate story that you just needed to hear at that moment, about how they had one time been so mad at something in the monastery that they were flinging the rake around... (lol)
Or those little compassionate moments when you are really having a hard time and someone brings you a little sweet treat because they know you are having a hard time...
Demonstrated compassion, real, physical compassion, and love like that.
The wisdom of when somebody listens to you go off and rant on something and they don't tell you something yet, because they know you just arn't ready to listen to it, or giving you some small physical task to do, because they know it will help a certain kindof problem you have...
I could go on and on.
I do think this is an incredibly innovative idea, and, I certainly think there is a place for it in adopting it to modernize along with traditional practice.
Especially with prison Dharma, I could see this as being incredibly useful.
There's a thing that I've heard a lot said in our tradition that I belong to, that "find a need and fill it"
I guess the question I would ask you, out of genuine sincerity and wishing to learn, is if there is a need, that this fills, what is it, and how would you describe it, and why it's needed.
I'm not saying there is or isn't a need for this, I'm open to the possibility that it could be either way, I'm just wishing to learn.
Again, I appreciate you sharing Myozan.