American "Zen"

Re: American "Zen"

Postby tigerdown » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:48 am

Astus wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:I can certainly agree with that. I guess 'guilty' just sounded somewhat harsh to my ear. However, I do feel that Sasaki's fault is really of a different order of magnitude than that of the women he abused.


Agreed. However, to avoid future incidents, studying the actual teachings of the Buddha and the masters should be emphasised. It is really saddening that only a handful of Zen teachers tell people more than how to put their buttocks on the cushion.


I believe this statement is not only false, but extremely so. In fact, I do not think you could turn up any mainstream American Zen teacher who teaches nothing beyond sitting Zazen, and the overwhelming majority emphasize to their students the Precepts and Right Action, including "not misusing sexuality" as central to this Way.

In fact, As far as I know, we have only a handful of teachers on the Soto side - Richard Baker, Maezumi, Genpo, and Katagiri - who engaged in troublesome consensual sex with their students. On the Rinzai side we have Shimano and Sasaki, accused of engaging in both consensual and non-consensual sex with their students. From the Kwan Um school we have Sueng Sahn having consensual sex with his students.From these, most of the cases (such as Baker, Maezumi and Katagiri) seem to have involved one time or infrequent transgressions possibly amounting to little more than love affairs. Only two of the cases (Sasaki and Shimano) seemed to have involved true, long term sexual abuse, assault and harrassment.

I may be missing out pm some zen sex scandals here, but that’s 7 teachers over the course of some 50 years, only 2 of whom are accused of truly reprehensible activity. Given that there are over a hundred zen teachers in the U.S. alone today registered with the AZTA, plus many more authorized Zen teachers in America who are not so registered, with no legacy of abuse, that hardly seems like a ratio to condemn the practice as a complete moral and spiritual failure. Quite the contrary. In any group of Christian ministers, Jewish Rabbis, College Professors, medical doctors or the like, there will always be bad apples. A ratio of 2 or 10 among 200 does not indicate a serious ethical lapse.

As has been pointed out by commentators, these stories tend to gather media attention like a plane crash, which causes us to ignore the hundreds of thousands of safe landing each year which garner no attention because they were safe. Although even one air disaster or one student harmed by a bad Roshi is tragedy to be avoided, this can give the misleading impression of a problem with air travel or Buddhist ethics when, in fact, the problems are few and far between. Of course, we must stay on our toes to prevent even one crash, but still the numbers don't lie about overall safety.

Nor is this type of scandal limited to Zen teachers, nor to America. Buddhists priests of all kinds have engaged in like conduct. For example:

The meeting took place at Wat Dhammaram, a cavernous Theravada Buddhist temple on the southwest edge of Chicago. A tearful 12-year-old told three monks how another monk had turned off the lights during a tutoring session, lifted her shirt and kissed and fondled her breasts while pressing against her, according to a lawsuit.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011 ... ul-numrich

Of course, Kalu Rinpoche's talks of child and sexual abuse in Tibetan monasterie:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... u-rinpoche

Other equally RARE cases are reported elsewhere, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Thailand.

Do these largely rare cases among a handful of Buddhist monks mean that there is some systemic problem with ethics in Theradan, Tibetan, Taiwanese and other Buddhism? Of course not, and at least, no more than it would mean so in the American Zen world or Japanese Buddhism in general.

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Re: American "Zen"

Postby Astus » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:20 pm

tigerdown wrote:Do these largely rare cases among a handful of Buddhist monks mean that there is some systemic problem with ethics in Theradan, Tibetan, Taiwanese and other Buddhism? Of course not, and at least, no more than it would mean so in the American Zen world or Japanese Buddhism in general.


School shootings are also rare things, and it's not every day you find a dictator as the head of the state. Since we live outside of a war zone rape and murder are uncommon things too. Does low frequency mean there's nothing to worry about, nothing to watch out for? Also, the number of reported cases don't tell us the number of unknown issues, but it shows that people can get away with these things for decades, and it takes lot of effort for students to uncover the abuses to the public.
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(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."

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Re: American "Zen"

Postby tigerdown » Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:24 pm

Astus wrote:
tigerdown wrote:Do these largely rare cases among a handful of Buddhist monks mean that there is some systemic problem with ethics in Theradan, Tibetan, Taiwanese and other Buddhism? Of course not, and at least, no more than it would mean so in the American Zen world or Japanese Buddhism in general.


School shootings are also rare things, and it's not every day you find a dictator as the head of the state. Since we live outside of a war zone rape and murder are uncommon things too. Does low frequency mean there's nothing to worry about, nothing to watch out for? Also, the number of reported cases don't tell us the number of unknown issues, but it shows that people can get away with these things for decades, and it takes lot of effort for students to uncover the abuses to the public.


Of course, even one single victim is tragic. Of course, we need reasonable preventative policies. However, yes, I am saying that a rare danger is not much of a danger.

Your school shooting example demonstrates this. Yes, even one child is tragic, but the number of students in public schools (elementary through high school) in the US in this current school year is approximately 50 MILLION. Including Sandy Hook, less than 30 students died in school shootings in 2012 (about 270 total in the last 30 years). That leaves almost 49.9997 million who went to school safely, and received no news coverage for doing so. Yes, the chance of a child being killed in a school shooting is virtually non-existent statistically ... until CNN and FOX run there with 24 hour coverage, and you would think our schools are under siege!

http://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372
http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_ ... 0_map.html

There were two teachers out of hundreds over the last 50 years of Zen history in North America who engaged in predatory sexual harassment (I think we need to separate out true predatory behavior from cases where people just got into an affair with someone they should not have). However, even including all of it, it is extremely, statistically rare. Thus, there is no significant moral crisis among Zen teachers.

As in another thread this week, I must reject the argument that absence of reports is suspicious, or that absence of evidence is evidence of some hidden wrongdoing. In the case of Sasaki and Shimano in fact, there were reports of repeated abuses for decades. The problem is that nobody acted upon them, leaving it to each Sangha to clean its own house (something that is unlikely to be so easy to pull off in the future). In this day and age of internet, google and better communication among Zen people, it would be even harder to keep rumors and information from spreading. You cannot keep things as hidden any more.

Surprisingly, the ability to "keep things hidden" may be more prevalent outside the Western Zen world now, in other kinds of Buddhism in America and Asia. Why? As the Sasaki case shows, a lot of Zen people in America are happy to blow any whistles and start publicizing dirt. In contrast, many more traditional, conservative, closed, self-protective communities might be the ones to keep this kind of thing hidden. The Chicago Tribune report gives one example regarding American Theravadan culture. Notice that some of theses cases, by the way, involve sex with pre-teen minors which has not happened even in the worst cases of Sasaki and Shimano:

A Tribune review of sexual abuse cases involving several Theravada Buddhist temples found minimal accountability and lax oversight of monks accused of preying on vulnerable targets.

Because they answer to no outside ecclesiastical authority, the temples respond to allegations as they see fit. And because the monks are viewed as free agents, temples claim to have no way of controlling what they do next. Those found guilty of wrongdoing can pack a bag and move to another temple — much to the dismay of victims, law enforcement and other monks.

"You'd think they'd want to make sure these guys are not out there trying to get into other temples," said Rishi Agrawal, the attorney for a victim of a west suburban monk convicted of battery for sexual contact last fall. "What is the institutional approach here? It seems to be ignorance and inaction."


http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011 ... ul-numrich

But as that same report states, and as applies in the Zen world too:

Paul Numrich, an expert on Theravada temples in the United States, said that like clergy abuse in other religious organizations, sex offenses are especially egregious because monks are supposed to live up to a higher spiritual calling. The monks take a vow of celibacy.

But he cautioned against any sweeping generalizations.

"I'm sure most of the monks are living up to their calling," said Numrich, a professor at the Theological Consortium of Greater Columbus, Ohio.


Today, some people in Russia were hit by a meteorite. I am not going to start worrying about meteorites.

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Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:06 pm

Jundo wrote:There were two teachers out of hundreds over the last 50 years of Zen history in North America who engaged in predatory sexual harassment (I think we need to separate out true predatory behavior from cases where people just got into an affair with someone they should not have). However, even including all of it, it is extremely, statistically rare. Thus, there is no significant moral crisis among Zen teachers.


You simply can't say this. Even if you have personally met each teacher you couldn't know the kind of people they are. That's true of anyone and they are ordinary people, right? We could be seeing the tip of the iceberg...
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:40 pm

@tigerdown
Going back to the OP, I don't think Conze had Zen sex scandals in mind when he wrote that, since I don't think there were any at that time. For me the sex scandals and the reactions to them are more like symptoms. I posted the link to the NYT article because it came out and seemed relevant.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:14 pm

Zen was designed to operate within emptiness. When coming West it is transferred into a vacuum. Let us just recollect what Zen took for granted, as its antecedents, basis and continuing background: a long and unbroken tradition of spiritual "know-how''; firm and unquestioned metaphysical beliefs, and not just a disbelief in everything; a superabundance of Scriptures and images; a definite discipline supervised by authoritative persons; insistence on right livelihood and an austere life for all exponents of the Dharma; and a strong Sangha, composed of thousands of mature and experienced persons housed in thousands of temples, who could keep deviations from Buddhist principles within narrow bounds. As I have said elsewhere, the Chan sect "found a situation in which the fervour of the faithful had so multiplied the means of salvation, in the form of Sutras, commentaries, philosophical subtleties, images and rites, that the goal itself was apt to be lost sight of, and the spiritual life was in danger of being choked by the very things which were designed to foster it. In their reaction against the overgrown apparatus of piety they advocated a radical simplication of the approach to enlightenment. They never tired of denouncing the misuse of this apparatus, which could so easily become an end in itself". It is the fundamental error of many Europeans to mistake these denunciations for a desire to do away altogether with traditional spiritual practices. Suzuki could not possibly have foreseen that. Likewise, when he condemned the intellect as inhibiting our original spontaneity, Suzuki took it for granted that, once the intellect is eliminated, the Tao will take over. He was unfamiliar with Western irrationalist philosophy, where the elimination of the intellect makes room for nothing more than the uninhibited assertion of self-willed instincts. When speaking of spontaneity he meant the spontaneity of Sages, and not that of overgrown schoolboys.


Getting back to the OP, whenever a Zen teacher is outed the common response is like 'well, they're only human' or 'boys will be boys'. Conze shows that it's not unreasonable to expect more.
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby dzogchungpa » Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:25 pm

tigerdown wrote:As has been pointed out by commentators, these stories tend to gather media attention like a plane crash, which causes us to ignore the hundreds of thousands of safe landing each year which garner no attention...

If you are referring to this:
http://sweepingzen.com/sit-a-long-with-jundo-safe-landings/
that is a good example of what I have in mind.
He says:
What such doomsayers overlook is the fact of all the other teachers … hundreds of caring, devoted, wise, compassionate, well trained, illuminating, enlightening folks … who do not get involved in such things. who range from competent to truly gifted pilots who do not do harm to their students and, in fact, bring illumination and change lives for the better.
(my underlining)
Do you really think there are hundreds of Western Zen teachers that fit that description? Hundreds? Really?
It seems that accuracy is not his highest priority, his main point being "Move along, nothing to see here."
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby jeeprs » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:00 pm

That article by Jundo Cohen is pretty accurate in my view.

Scandals and failures are a part of any spiritual movement. They don't necessarily invalidate the whole thing. I remember clearly the issue of the counter-culture journal Common Ground which broke the story of the role of alcohol in Chogyam Trunpa's death and the fact that this chosen successor was behaving like a potentate whilst infecting students with HIV. It was genuinely shocking and it seemed to me that the school associated with his name would not survive. It did, though. His successors have redeemed his teaching and provide great examples of engaged Buddhism. I remember the Shoes Outside the Door scandal at SFZC. But SFZC picked itself up, re-wrote its constitution, and went on. We ought not to look at any of these movements through rosé coloured glasses. They are the work of individuals in a complex modern world which is beset with perils and contradictions. Sometimes there are failures and scandals, but its not the whole story.
He that knows it, knows it not.
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Fri Feb 15, 2013 11:19 pm

Jundo Cohen wrote:Thus we must be on our guard, careful in flying and maintaining the plane and diligent as the crew with lives in our hands. Thus, yes, there are things that need to be fixed about Buddhism, both in the West and back in the old countries. Some issues are quite serious.


I agree with Jundo's article also, especially the quoted portion here, but Buddhism doesn't need to be fixed, whatever is causing these Zen scandals could use some diligent attention.
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby tigerdown » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:58 am

The OP of this thread, Conze's "Recent Progress in Buddhist Studies", was first published way back in 1959. At that time, Conze was probably right about the state of Zen in American, and the void it was entering, maybe best described by Alan Watts in "Beat Zen vs. Square Zen". But that was a long LONG time ago.

As Conze describes in that article, Chan itself was a reformulation of something earlier that had become choked, robbed of life, lost in images and rites. Conze writes:

the Chan sect "found a situation in which the fervour of the faithful had so multiplied the means of salvation, in the form of Sutras, commentaries, philosophical subtleties, images and rites, that the goal itself was apt to be lost sight of, and
the spiritual life was in danger of being choked by the very things which were designed to foster it. In their reaction against the overgrown apparatus of piety they advocated a radical simplication of the approach to enlightenment. They never tired of denouncing the misuse of this apparatus, which could so easily become an end in itself".


However, the response of the Western Zen Teachers was exactly like that of the Chan ancestors which Conze described. They did not abandon the old forms, but reformulated them by simplifying, freeing, adapting to new cultures and eras. I know of no American Zen Teacher who completely abandoned the old forms, from Ango to Oryoki to Chanting to Bowing (maybe Toni Packard is the closest, but even she kept much that she perceived at the heart). The response has been a flower of American Zen in many formulations, some closer to the old Asia styles and some very new. It is a great experimentation of newly packaging and old treasures. Some will take root, some will wither on the branch. However, some will certainly flower and bloom in new soil.

One more note on Conze:

Huifeng wrote:Keep in mind that Conze was known for his temper and criticism. I have heard this personally from a number of scholars and practitioners from the older generation that personally knew him very well. Even he admitted that he had a problem in this regard


Yes, one has to wonder at any Buddhist who comes across as angry, grudge holding, spiteful, temperamental, but who is quick to lecture on what is "right" and "wrong Buddhism". You have to wonder how much the person can really see beyond their own spiteful nose!

Anyway, my bed time. Goodnight.

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Re: American "Zen"

Postby greentara » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:04 am

jeeprs, "alcohol in Chogyam Trunpa's death and the fact that this chosen successor was behaving like a potentate whilst infecting students with HIV. It was genuinely shocking and it seemed to me that the school associated with his name would not survive. It did, though. His successors have redeemed his teaching and provide great examples of engaged Buddhism"
Have they redeemed his teaching or have they attempted to water down and rewrite history?
Seriously can you believe the insight of devotees when many thousands believed in Osho, his many Rolls Royces, his ostentatious behaviour, the vulgar display, the implosion of the ashram.... of course it all ended in tears and finger pointing. Now his place in Puna has refreshed/refurbished itself and is still going strong! So there you go and the whole place has been reinvented.
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Sat Feb 16, 2013 9:07 pm

tigerdown wrote:The OP of this thread, Conze's "Recent Progress in Buddhist Studies", was first published way back in 1959. At that time, Conze was probably right about the state of Zen in American, and the void it was entering, maybe best described by Alan Watts in "Beat Zen vs. Square Zen". But that was a long LONG time ago.

I showed an example in this topic of what's taught in American Zen today. When asked, "Is sexual restraint required to make progress?" Nonin Chowaney, who chairs the Membership Committee of the American Zen Teachers Association and serves on the Priest Training Committee of the Soto Zen Teachers Association, replied "No." Maybe things have gotten worse since the '60s.


As Conze describes in that article, Chan itself was a reformulation of something earlier that had become choked, robbed of life, lost in images and rites. Conze writes:

the Chan sect "found a situation in which the fervour of the faithful had so multiplied the means of salvation, in the form of Sutras, commentaries, philosophical subtleties, images and rites, that the goal itself was apt to be lost sight of, and the spiritual life was in danger of being choked by the very things which were designed to foster it. In their reaction against the overgrown apparatus of piety they advocated a radical simplication of the approach to enlightenment. They never tired of denouncing the misuse of this apparatus, which could so easily become an end in itself".


However, the response of the Western Zen Teachers was exactly like that of the Chan ancestors which Conze described. They did not abandon the old forms, but reformulated them by simplifying, freeing, adapting to new cultures and eras.

Unfortunately, simplifying and freeing has in many cases has made room for nothing more than the uninhibited assertion of self-willed instincts, hence the "overgrown schoolboy" scandals.

The response has been a flower of American Zen in many formulations, some closer to the old Asia styles and some very new. It is a great experimentation of newly packaging and old treasures.

Hasn't gotten much traction at all really, in America, and may even be in decline. Statistically, less than 1% claim to practice Zen Buddhism.
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby tigerdown » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:20 am

shel wrote:
tigerdown wrote:The OP of this thread, Conze's "Recent Progress in Buddhist Studies", was first published way back in 1959. At that time, Conze was probably right about the state of Zen in American, and the void it was entering, maybe best described by Alan Watts in "Beat Zen vs. Square Zen". But that was a long LONG time ago.

I showed an example in this topic of what's taught in American Zen today. When asked, "Is sexual restraint required to make progress?" Nonin Chowaney, who chairs the Membership Committee of the American Zen Teachers Association and serves on the Priest Training Committee of the Soto Zen Teachers Association, replied "No." Maybe things have gotten worse since the '60s.


You have already been shown once earlier in this thread by Dan74 that your statement is completely out of context because made with regard to yogic ascetic practices.

viewtopic.php?p=152728#p152728

To make the statement again mischaracterizing a priest's views on his vows after being corrected once is intentional and malicious. As a former judge, I would tell you that it may amount to libel and a defamation of character. You don't seem to care very much about truth or context when you throw your mud.

shel wrote:Hasn't gotten much traction at all really, in America, and may even be in decline. Statistically, less than 1% claim to practice Zen Buddhism.


I never knew that we measure things by popular mass appeal and quantity. In fact, one might argue that Zen in China and Japan was always a path having its core support among a certain educated and philosophically-artistically oriented societal "elite", never appealing to the masses who took their Buddha and other religions in more popular and easily digestible forms. Even today, a disproportionate number of Zen practitioners (most other convert Buddhists too) have graduate degrees compared to the general population, for example. Zen took some work to understand and practice, and thus did not offer a simple "pie in the sky when we die" message or the like. That does not mean that one kind of Buddhism is better than another, and all have their strengths and beauties. However, sometimes to be small is good.

Anyway, even if we assume a small population of Zen practitioners in America relative to the general population of 314,000,000, the sheer numbers may still be larger than the populations of entire Buddhist countries like Tibet or Laos in centuries past. More people may be practicing Zen Buddhism in America today than in Japan in the 16th century. Numbers can be deceiving.

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Re: American "Zen"

Postby dzogchungpa » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:37 am

dzogchungpa wrote: For me the sex scandals and the reactions to them are more like symptoms.

Some good examples of the kind of reactions I had in mind can be found here: http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=69&t=11837
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:04 pm

tigerdown wrote:
shel wrote:
tigerdown wrote:The OP of this thread, Conze's "Recent Progress in Buddhist Studies", was first published way back in 1959. At that time, Conze was probably right about the state of Zen in American, and the void it was entering, maybe best described by Alan Watts in "Beat Zen vs. Square Zen". But that was a long LONG time ago.

I showed an example in this topic of what's taught in American Zen today. When asked, "Is sexual restraint required to make progress?" Nonin Chowaney, who chairs the Membership Committee of the American Zen Teachers Association and serves on the Priest Training Committee of the Soto Zen Teachers Association, replied "No." Maybe things have gotten worse since the '60s.


You have already been shown once earlier in this thread by Dan74 that your statement is completely out of context because made with regard to yogic ascetic practices.

http://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?p=152728#p152728

Dan was mistaken about a couple of things there, and did not dispute my corrections.

To make the statement again mischaracterizing a priest's views on his vows after being corrected once is intentional and malicious. As a former judge, I would tell you that it may amount to libel and a defamation of character. You don't seem to care very much about truth or context when you throw your mud.

You are the one characterizing what was published as "mud."

Is this how Zen masters in America spend their time, making comments on internet forums and bringing frivolous lawsuits? Is that what Zen in the West has "flowered" into?

shel wrote:Hasn't gotten much traction at all really, in America, and may even be in decline. Statistically, less than 1% claim to practice Zen Buddhism.

I never knew that we measure things by popular mass appeal and quantity.

Yes, popularity and quantity are measurements.

In fact, one might argue that Zen in China and Japan was always a path having its core support among a certain educated and philosophically-artistically oriented societal "elite", never appealing to the masses who took their Buddha and other religions in more popular and easily digestible forms. Even today, a disproportionate number of Zen practitioners (most other convert Buddhists too) have graduate degrees compared to the general population, for example. Zen took some work to understand and practice, and thus did not offer a simple "pie in the sky when we die" message or the like. That does not mean that one kind of Buddhism is better than another, and all have their strengths and beauties. However, sometimes to be small is good.

You sound just like Jundo Cohn. It's not clear if you are Jundo, or perhaps it's idol emulation?

Anyway, even if we assume a small population of Zen practitioners in America relative to the general population of 314,000,000, the sheer numbers may still be larger than the populations of entire Buddhist countries like Tibet or Laos in centuries past. More people may be practicing Zen Buddhism in America today than in Japan in the 16th century. Numbers can be deceiving.

It seems you learned by the end of your post that popularity and quantity are measurements. Good for you. :smile:
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby Huifeng » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:27 am

Whatever Conze knew (or thought he knew) of Chinese Chan was pretty much from D T Suzuki. (Though he did visit the CTTB a few times quite early on.) Conze couldn't read Chinese, and relied on Suzuki's presentation. Though now, of course, most would say that Suzuki's presentation of Chan was highly problematic. So the result is - really don't believe anything much at all that Conze may have to say about Chinese Chan.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby Dan74 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:44 am

shel wrote:
tigerdown wrote:
shel wrote:I showed an example in this topic of what's taught in American Zen today. When asked, "Is sexual restraint required to make progress?" Nonin Chowaney, who chairs the Membership Committee of the American Zen Teachers Association and serves on the Priest Training Committee of the Soto Zen Teachers Association, replied "No." Maybe things have gotten worse since the '60s.


You have already been shown once earlier in this thread by Dan74 that your statement is completely out of context because made with regard to yogic ascetic practices.

viewtopic.php?p=152728#p152728

Dan was mistaken about a couple of things there, and did not dispute my corrections.



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Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:46 am

Are you characterizing me as an evil sith lord? Don't make me be like a Zen Master and sue your ass for deforming my character!
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:47 am

Huifeng wrote:Whatever Conze knew (or thought he knew) of Chinese Chan was pretty much from D T Suzuki. (Though he did visit the CTTB a few times quite early on.) Conze couldn't read Chinese, and relied on Suzuki's presentation. Though now, of course, most would say that Suzuki's presentation of Chan was highly problematic. So the result is - really don't believe anything much at all that Conze may have to say about Chinese Chan.

~~ Huifeng

I understand. Do you feel that Conze was basically just mistaken, perhaps due to the limited information available to him, when he wrote what is quoted in the OP?
Last edited by dzogchungpa on Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
ཨོཾ་མ་ཧཱ་ཤུནྱ་ཏཱ་ཛྙཱ་ན་བཛྲ་སྭཱ་བྷཱ་བ་ཨཱཏྨ་ཀོ་྅ཧཾ༔

The thousands of lines of the Prajnaparamita can be summed up in the following two sentences:
1) One should become a Bodhisattva (or, Buddha-to-be), i.e. one who is content with nothing less than all-knowledge attained through the perfection of wisdom for the sake of all beings.
2) There is no such thing as a Bodhisattva, or as all-knowledge, or as a ‘being’, or as the perfection of wisdom, or as an attainment.
To accept both these contradictory facts is to be perfect.
- Conze
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Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:49 am

He was mistaken about a great many things...
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