Treeleaf Sangha

Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Omoi Otoshi » Sat Feb 09, 2013 8:03 pm

Jikan wrote:Hi Omoi Otoshi,

I'd like to hear more about the successes you see at TreeLeaf sangha. What are they, and how would you describe their success?

thanks


Sure! :)

How do you talk about success when it comes to buddhism and Zen buddhist practice? I don't know. I'm not sure you can.
But I'll try to explain a little more and give some examples of why I view Treeleaf as successful. When I found Treeleaf I decided to join to see if it had anything to offer for me and my practice. I didn't really compare it to a normal brick and mortar Sangha back then, but the dharma talks seemed good and the forum friendly so I gave it a go. There isn't a Sangha within reasonable distance, so the alternative was to continue on my own. Treeleaf helped me gain some understanding of Shikantaza for the first time. Helped me realize that there wasn't anything I needed to do, or some special state to achieve/attain. That it was all there to begin with. Before, when I was practicing on my own, I was stuck for a long time in a confused practice of thought suppression and what not. So for me, for my practice, Treeleaf and its teachers was a major turning point. Without listening to Jundo's and Taigu's dharma talks and replies to questions, I would also know much less about buddhism, its history, traditions and concepts. You could also say that Treeleaf has been a success story only because it is still around and even growing after all these years. In my view, Treeleaf has also been successful in challenging some ideas in a sometimes rather conservative world of Zen buddhism (whether this is positive or negative is in the eye of the beholder of course! ;)) During the past few years I have also seen many members change in positive ways. One member has gone from being insecure to being much more confident in himself, another doesn't suffer from as much anxiety anymore, a third has become better at dealing with anger and so on. I would even say that some members are seeing more clearly (but I wouldn't be the best judge of that, so take with a pinch of salt!). Many members have found the Zazenkais, sewing sessions, chats, sittings on G+ and so on to be a great support and motivation for their practice. I'm still surprised at the collective wisdom in some of the discussions at Treeleaf. No matter what question or problem, there's always someone around to share their own experiences, suggest a way forward, see things from a different perspective or offer a word of comfort. Some people who have practiced in another Sangha and then come to Treeleaf say that the teacher presence is very high at Treeleaf. And last but not least, Treeleaf has so far produced some very promising Unsui (hi Myozan! :)). If they continue in the same way, they will be great teachers one day! For some members though, Treeleaf and its teachers hasn't been what they have been searching for. I'm sorry for that, but I guess it is to be expected. I don't think any teacher or teaching place is right for all people.

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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Jikan » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:50 pm

zenji wrote:A true teacher is one who shows that we all face struggles in life. No matter how long one has been practicing, one can still be affected by the day to day comings and goings of life.


Would you say that equanimity is one of the fruits of practice?
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Jikan » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:54 pm

Daido wrote:Treeleaf and its teachers have provided me with a large resource of information on zen buddhism principles big and small as well as the opportunity to practice with guidance and companions along the way.


I'm glad to hear you're practicing. I'm interested in learning more about what kinds of knowledge is transmitted in Treeleaf. That is, what are you all studying? Do you study together or collaboratively through skype or other media, or do you study on your own?

For me it is working.


Excellent! Care to elaborate on the fruits of your practice?

Thanks
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Jikan » Sat Feb 09, 2013 9:57 pm

Thanks for the specifics, Omoi Otoshi.

I don't want to be presumptuous, so if I'm reading you incorrectly, please do set me right. Would you say that TreeLeaf is suitable for beginners in particular? Would you say that one of its main virtues is that it is accessible to people who cannot (or will not) work with a meat-world sangha?

many thanks
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Omoi Otoshi » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:42 pm

Jikan wrote:Thanks for the specifics, Omoi Otoshi.

I don't want to be presumptuous, so if I'm reading you incorrectly, please do set me right. Would you say that TreeLeaf is suitable for beginners in particular? Would you say that one of its main virtues is that it is accessible to people who cannot (or will not) work with a meat-world sangha?

many thanks


Hello Jikan,
I can only share my own experiences! :) I have never been a member of a meat-world sangha, so I can't really compare. As a Soto Zen beginner Treeleaf was great, but I wouldn't recommend it only to people new to Zen. There are people who have been practicing for decades and seem to be very happy they found Treeleaf. There may be many reasons for choosing an on-line practice place, so I couldn't really say what would be a good or bad reason for coming there. But of course the accessability is a bonus!


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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:17 pm

Omoi Otoshi wrote:
shel wrote:Hello Omoi Otoshi,

Omoi Otoshi wrote:No, I believe we all stumble and fall, every day. I don't believe any of us are saints all the time.


Yes, obviously, the point I'm making is that with online communication life is controlled and measured so "all the time" may be filtered, and we show only what we want to show. Even when we stumble, as in the case of Taigu's breakdown, it is put on show to derive some much desired meaning out of it.


Yes, it's a good point.
However, even face to face, we put on a show, show only what we want to show, play a charade. Maybe it's easier to see through face to face

Well, not everyone plays charades all the time. And again, being around someone in person we see everything, unedited, which includes reactions to the unexpected.

on a forum, or on Skype, it shows when something comes from the heart, when words are not dead, but come alive. True, honest words.

People often see what they want to see, or imbue meaning where that meaning was not expressed.
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:32 pm

Hello Daido,

Daido wrote:Shel,
As far as Taigu's video. I viewed it in its entirely. Not doing so does is like viewing the world through a peep hole then pretending to understand it entirely.

I don't recall claiming to understand everything in your world. My focus was very specific. If you don't have anything to say about the points I've raised I'll assume that you don't disagree with them, or you don't disagree enough bother addressing them.

I think describing Taigu as having a "breakdown" is unnecessarily hurtful and a gross misinterpretation.

Frankly I wasn't sure how to describe it. How would you describe it?

I apologize if I've misrepresented the situation.
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:54 pm

zenji wrote:
shel wrote:Hello Omoi Otoshi,

Omoi Otoshi wrote:No, I believe we all stumble and fall, every day. I don't believe any of us are saints all the time.


Yes, obviously, the point I'm making is that with online communication life is controlled and measured so "all the time" may be filtered, and we show only what we want to show. Even when we stumble, as in the case of Taigu's breakdown, it is put on show to derive some much desired meaning out of it.


Hmm, interesting point.

Hiya Zenji, I'm glad you like it.

Are you showing us your true nature Shel?

My true nature is emptiness, Zenji. The question is, can you see it. :tongue:

A true teacher is one who shows that we all face struggles in life.

Good to know.

No matter how long one has been practicing, one can still be affected by the day to day comings and goings of life.

Effected in what way, Zenji?

If I sit in front of someone day after day, does that mean I know them? No. We have seen time and time again that is not true ... both in a spiritual/religious context and in everyday life. But really, what does that matter? Accept or not accept, that is one's choice. I am a Treeleaf member and very much enjoy and trust what my teachers have to say and my other Sangha member's. Just because I trust someone, does not mean I follow every word they may say ... but I respect them for taking the time and just listen. :)

People can deceive us in person, you enjoy and trust your sangha, and you don't follow every word someone tells you. Is any of this supposed to address my point?
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Jikan » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:56 pm

shel wrote:
Omoi Otoshi wrote:However, even face to face, we put on a show, show only what we want to show, play a charade. Maybe it's easier to see through face to face

Well, not everyone plays charades all the time. And again, being around someone in person we see everything, unedited, which includes reactions to the unexpected.


Apropos of which...

I have some understanding of the role of surprises in the teacher-student relationship in Zen generally speaking, and I'm certain everyone else here does too. How does this work when student-teacher interactions are mediated through skype and email?
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Jikan » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:01 am

Omoi Otoshi wrote:
Jikan wrote:Thanks for the specifics, Omoi Otoshi.

I don't want to be presumptuous, so if I'm reading you incorrectly, please do set me right. Would you say that TreeLeaf is suitable for beginners in particular? Would you say that one of its main virtues is that it is accessible to people who cannot (or will not) work with a meat-world sangha?

many thanks


Hello Jikan,
I can only share my own experiences! :) I have never been a member of a meat-world sangha, so I can't really compare. As a Soto Zen beginner Treeleaf was great, but I wouldn't recommend it only to people new to Zen. There are people who have been practicing for decades and seem to be very happy they found Treeleaf. There may be many reasons for choosing an on-line practice place, so I couldn't really say what would be a good or bad reason for coming there. But of course the accessability is a bonus!


Thank you for this.

Respectfully, are you in a position to make such a recommendation when, as you say, you don't have a basis for comparison? (by that I mean experience with any other Buddhist group than TreeLeaf)
Thanks to the help of generous sponsors (most of them from DharmaWheel), I'm doing a Vajra Armor (Dorje Kotrab) self-retreat this summer. May the merit be yours!
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Sun Feb 10, 2013 12:18 am

Omoi Otoshi wrote:Without listening to Jundo's and Taigu's dharma talks and replies to questions, I would also know much less about buddhism, its history, traditions and concepts.

There's plenty of material on/offline on the subject. Maybe you're saying that they have a unique view and you prefer their views over other views?

You could also say that Treeleaf has been a success story only because it is still around and even growing after all these years.

Growth can of course be a measure of success, if that's what Treeleaf values and has planned to achieve.

In my view, Treeleaf has also been successful in challenging some ideas in a sometimes rather conservative world of Zen buddhism (whether this is positive or negative is in the eye of the beholder of course! ;))

I would disagree with this. But maybe you can substantiate this claim.
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Daido » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:10 am

Ref your points about the video. Your focus was specific but out of context. You have the opportunity to view the whole video. I think then you will find a better description than "breakdown" on your own and you won't have to understand my world lol

I would be interested to know what you come up with

Jikan

Study occurs in all the ways you have stated. Book club posts on forums, videos by teachers, meetings with teachers and sangha members on Skype etc. Due to your level of interest you should come check us out.

As far as fruits of labor ill leave it at I strive to do good and Actualize good for others anything more feels like bragging or tallying a score for treeleaf which is far from how it operates. If truly interested though feel free to pm me or maybe we could Skype. You to shel. Maybe I could better understand where you are coming from if we had contact through a different medium

Thanks guys

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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Shingen » Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:20 am

Hello all,

I am new to this forum and have just read this thread on Treeleaf. I am a Sangha member at Treeleaf and have to say I am very thankful for all that Jundo, Taigu, and my Dharma brothers and sisters have shared. We all have different needs and different views on how the Dharma should be taught, for me, Treeleaf is it. :)

This thread has shared a lot of great ideas and thoughts, but I guess the one question I have is ... what does it matter? If it works for you great, if not, that is ok too, is there really a need to always question. :thinking:

Gassho
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Omoi Otoshi » Sun Feb 10, 2013 8:55 am

Jikan wrote:
Omoi Otoshi wrote:
Jikan wrote:Thanks for the specifics, Omoi Otoshi.

I don't want to be presumptuous, so if I'm reading you incorrectly, please do set me right. Would you say that TreeLeaf is suitable for beginners in particular? Would you say that one of its main virtues is that it is accessible to people who cannot (or will not) work with a meat-world sangha?

many thanks


Hello Jikan,
I can only share my own experiences! :) I have never been a member of a meat-world sangha, so I can't really compare. As a Soto Zen beginner Treeleaf was great, but I wouldn't recommend it only to people new to Zen. There are people who have been practicing for decades and seem to be very happy they found Treeleaf. There may be many reasons for choosing an on-line practice place, so I couldn't really say what would be a good or bad reason for coming there. But of course the accessability is a bonus!


Thank you for this.

Respectfully, are you in a position to make such a recommendation when, as you say, you don't have a basis for comparison? (by that I mean experience with any other Buddhist group than TreeLeaf)


You are very welcome!
No, I am in no such position. I am simply sharing my own experience, which is a positive one. It is one view, which is not the truth. I would never say to someone that his "meat-world"-sangha sucks and that he should come to Treeleaf instead, because it's so much better. I'm just glad Treeleaf is out there as an alternative, and I'm not so sure anymore it's a second choice alternative. If you wish, I could put you into contact with others with experiences from several types of sanghas, now practicing with Treeleaf.

Gassho,
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Omoi Otoshi » Sun Feb 10, 2013 9:42 am

shel wrote:Well, not everyone plays charades all the time. And again, being around someone in person we see everything, unedited, which includes reactions to the unexpected.

Thank you Shel,
I do believe everyone plays charades, consciously or subconsciously. But not all the time, as you say. The charade, the mask, the ego, the mental construction trying to describe who we are, is sometimes dropped during Zazen for example. Other times too of course, when we are who we are completely, without trying to be.

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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby seeker242 » Sun Feb 10, 2013 2:28 pm

shel wrote:And again, being around someone in person we see everything, unedited, which includes reactions to the unexpected.



Only if you are a mind reading zen master! :tongue:

There was this one guy in our local sangha. Everyone liked him, thought he was a nice guy. Thought he was a generally happy guy. Then one day he just decides to commit suicide... Same thing happened with another person at another sangha... It's still quite easy for some people to hide things in person as well as online.
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby floating_abu » Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:14 pm

Dan74 wrote:think that for those with no possibility of access to a "real-space" Sangha, this is an interesting and potentially useful idea.

Personally I have reservations about Jundo but they are mine and if your practice there is strong, that's the main thing.

All the best.


I would agree with Dan74. Whilst I would not subscribe to, or generally recommend Treeleaf "Zendo", if it helps you to practice (sit) to start with, it is not a bad thing I guess?

My own limited opinion is the major limitation of Treeleaf, and of the good man Jundo, is it/he presents a particular view and stance of Buddhism which is limited by his experience/understanding (like everyone - which is why the real is the rare gem in Zen).
To sprout a new line.group can be OK, but for me I think it also depends that the person is real i.e their insights are deep and genuine and well lived. In theory, having been taught by the real gives the students a better chance of living the true themself...but then again I guess it all also depends on having the right teacher, and even in established lineages yes we have also seen error. So maybe as Dan indicates, practice is still the best bet in any case!

And who are we to say what leads to what and what leads to which.

Karma, intention and will all play a role in the roles we live in this life, and may it be good for all of us - and thence the wider world/universe at play.

Happy practicing.

Well wishes,
Abu

P.S. Myself, Dan74, shel (i.e praxis & perhaps other names from what I am reading now) have been around since the old E-sangha days - maybe even circa 2004 so these users are not new to the internet, or the world of online Buddhism "talk"

P.P.S praxis, you have been hitting the Treeleaf line for a long time now, I am no fan of Jundo and would not take guidance from him myself, but the reality is this whole world sees things differently. Almost all of Treeleaf Sangha is here to defend the group, and if they find it useful, then who are we to argue that..IMO. Happy New Year.
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:02 pm

Hello Daido,

Daido wrote:Ref your points about the video. Your focus was specific but out of context.


I think you mean to say that I've got the context wrong, as you wrote earlier, and not that I'm out of context. I asked you for correction but for some reason you have not answered. I will ask again for good measure:

In the video Taigu says that the news of his condition caused a stir at Treeleaf. You say that it did not cause a stir. Who is telling the truth? and why would Taigu lie about it?
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby shel » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:09 pm

Omoi Otoshi wrote:
shel wrote:Well, not everyone plays charades all the time. And again, being around someone in person we see everything, unedited, which includes reactions to the unexpected.

Thank you Shel,
I do believe everyone plays charades


Charades is an absurd pretense intended to create a pleasant or respectable appearance. I guess when we're not playing charades we're simply telling the truth.
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Re: Treeleaf Sangha

Postby Daido » Sun Feb 10, 2013 7:10 pm

Did you watch the whole video?
Please pm as this seems like you have taken it personal and is not fair to others on this forum
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