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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:47 am 
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Matylda wrote:
uan wrote:
I'm trying to get clear where this thread is at.

It's titled Sex Taboo's & applying Christianized thinking in Western Zen. However, many of the posts here have demonstrated that there is quite a bit of Easternized Dharma thinking being applied to Western Zen.

However, it seems that the argument has now shifted and that true Zen is free (or should be free) from being conceptualized either by a Abrahamic thinking or Eastern Dharma thinking, i.e., the precepts don't apply to Zen masters or Enlightened Zen masters. From those in the know, it appears Zen falls along a similar continuum as Crazy Wisdom and the like.
If this is the case, I think the title of this thread is no longer applicable to what's being discussed.


I think we somehow try to make effort to continue the topic... Sara, the real author, greg, others and me included somehow for the better or worse try to make something out of it...
As for zen one has to say, that all levels of precepts are applied.. then as for the zen master, one is supposed to be a perfect embodiment of the precepts, but ultimately the buddha nature precepts are most important and that understanding is applied. Now we have what greg brought up, with strong moralistic touch.. yes it is important in zen specially when one teaches the lay folk, but not for actual practitioners. Of course real practitioner by real I mean gifted who are capable to follow the true zen path not just its resemblance or fake copy...

Going through the levels of accomplishment what is most important are great bodhisattva vows, and samayas to start from with deep understanding of bodhicitta, and finally buddha's samaya of buddha nature vows, for which buddha nature is their original source... they are called vajra vows or pledges, since they are indestructible and stainless, what is clearly explained during the prediction of buddhahood and buddha lineage blessing, mostly sort of secret when it is well explained... as for the zen master since he has to have complete insight into innermost instructions called JI SHO I he should become great vessel of precepts knowing how to skillfully apply upaya in accordance with mind of the student and conditions to bring one as soon as possible to liberation... one can put it looking from outside that the precepts don't apply to Zen masters or Enlightened Zen masters. but it is not what is taught. Concerning Crazy Wisdom it is not known in Japan, I mean the term... but as I said with the eye of wisdom one should be extremely skilled in JI SHO I and be able to apply method according to the circumstances...

In fact such master should be most ethical or moral,what I mean by moral represents the 3 kayas fully being vessel of Vairochana Buddha, however what I mean here by moral it is not always the meaning common humans like us may try to apply or understand... it goes completely beyond social morality, and moral would mean here also the vow to liberate all beings, by any costs...

I have no idea what is understanding of zen in the West, I tried to figure out but it is very unclear to me... what I wrote is basically true to soto zen tradition in Japan but well followed also by rinzai, since the topic was well exposed by XX century soto master, and is very appreciated by rinzai roshis as well. however there are hundereds of recorded teachings on the topic... once I counted and it was well over 200 works. I am sorry in Jpanese or Chinese dharma language :( never seen anything in English....


Matylda, thank you for taking time to go through this.

Maitri


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:34 am 
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"An old Zen chum and I were batting things back and forth in email. He suggested that there was a bedrock social supposition that people who led spiritual gatherings had their shit together and for that reason it was enormously dispiriting when such leaders were caught stealing funds or literally screwing members of their flock.

My question was: If anyone actually did have their shit together, what need would there be for anything akin to a spiritual persuasion?"

Adam Fisher

I agree with Fisher but add that teachings always come with a certain flavour and one gravitates towards the subtle flavour that beckons.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:37 am 
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Adamantine wrote:
Regarding the Thinley Norbu Rinpoche link in question please head this post by Magnus in a thread devoted to that interview:

Quote:
I would avoid making links to that site. The interview by Thinley Norbu is used to bring fear, doubt and uncertainty to practitioners on that site.

Use this site instead http://welcomingbuddhist.org/archives/124

/magnus

I know that site is problematic. I only linked to it because it had that interview. I didn't realize it was available elsewhere. Sorry!

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 4:41 am 
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@Matylda
You seem to have inside knowledge about Zen in Japan, so in all sincerity I would like to ask you a question.
Would the kind of behavior that Sasaki is alleged to have engaged in be considered acceptable in Japanese Zen circles?

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:02 am 
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Matylda wrote:
The discussion with you goes around just a word or single expression, then you try to ridicule, pretty funny way...
Ridicule? No. Obviously we just have different characteristics upon which to evaluate if somebody is an enlightened master. I base my evaluation on conformance to Buddist morality, spiritual attainments and capacity to reduce suffering and you base it on the degree of their sleaziness and their capacity for sexual conquest. It's no surprise that we do not agree.
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you can play like this with yourself and redicule yourself, it will not cover up your complete ignorance about zen teachings :D
Resorting to ad hominem arguments does not help you win discussions.

By the way, not all zen masters are lustful sleaze bags.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:05 am 
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dzogchungpa wrote:
@Matylda
You seem to have inside knowledge about Zen in Japan, so in all sincerity I would like to ask you a question.
Would the kind of behavior that Sasaki is alleged to have engaged in be considered acceptable in Japanese Zen circles?


As for Japan I cannot imagine.. why? There are no zen centers like in the West where lay are mixed with ordained etc., mostly lay people come to temple only for religious service. Those lay people who engage in zazen have completely different surrounding... it is completely different planet than the West, when it comes to zen practice in Japan... so we simply cannot say anything because there are different conditions.

Some had affairs with women but it happens outside of temple... there is basically no reaction from others... there is sometimes some bad comments about behavior but not personal kind of general.. Not all Japanese like monks. Zen practitioners are mostly quiet...


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:22 am 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
Matylda wrote:
The discussion with you goes around just a word or single expression, then you try to ridicule, pretty funny way...
Ridicule? No. Obviously we just have different characteristics upon which to evaluate if somebody is an enlightened master. I base my evaluation on conformance to Buddist morality, spiritual attainments and capacity to reduce suffering and you base it on the degree of their sleaziness and their capacity for sexual conquest. It's no surprise that we do not agree.
Quote:
you can play like this with yourself and redicule yourself, it will not cover up your complete ignorance about zen teachings :D
Resorting to ad hominem arguments does not help you win discussions.

By the way, not all zen masters are lustful sleaze bags.


Wow I am sorry to point out your ignorance about zen :) no anymore ad hominem :)

as for lustful sleaze bags sounds very much Western and very much christian.. almost like Christian fundamentalism... :D it is what we are talking here about...


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:22 am 
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Has it been the case for teacher that shagging a student brought her to some realization of Zen spirit? Or somehow her mind is brighter now than before. If not, then he is not enlightened. In my view.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:55 am 
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Matylda wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
Matylda wrote:
The discussion with you goes around just a word or single expression, then you try to ridicule, pretty funny way...
Ridicule? No. Obviously we just have different characteristics upon which to evaluate if somebody is an enlightened master. I base my evaluation on conformance to Buddist morality, spiritual attainments and capacity to reduce suffering and you base it on the degree of their sleaziness and their capacity for sexual conquest. It's no surprise that we do not agree.
Quote:
you can play like this with yourself and redicule yourself, it will not cover up your complete ignorance about zen teachings :D
Resorting to ad hominem arguments does not help you win discussions.

By the way, not all zen masters are lustful sleaze bags.


Wow I am sorry to point out your ignorance about zen :) no anymore ad hominem :)

as for lustful sleaze bags sounds very much Western and very much christian.. almost like Christian fundamentalism... :D it is what we are talking here about...


"Lustful sleaze bags" to me, means people who put their lust ahead of other people's well-being, they are people driven by lust. Bodhisattva vows, anyone? This is very far from any sort of enlightenment and by many many accounts this description fits Sasaki Roshi and is a euphemism for Eido Shimano.

Nothing to do with Christianity or fundamentalism of any sort. "Sentient beings are numberless. I vow to liberate them." Not to mention countless teachings on the skillful functioning of the original mind. It's not about hypocrisy, puritanism or even morality. It's about skillful functioning. What we have seen is dysfunction, systematic lies, greed, addiction, manipulation and abuse.

If this is your idea of what skillful functioning of the enlightened mind looks like, then you have a very idiosyncratic notion of Zen. It would certainly be laughed out of most temples in China and Korea and I suspect Japan, as well.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:59 am 
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We place these Christian values, these puritanical sexual values, and mores on Buddhism and others without even thinking about it.


Historically plenty of Buddhist masters in Japan were insistent on the virtues of celibacy and refraining from sexual behavior (body, speech and mind).

However, that hasn't always reflected the diverse situation on the ground throughout the last number of centuries.

I was at a Japanese bookshop yesterday and came across a book about Buddhism and love (a secret history of love and breaking of precepts).

性愛の仏教史: 愛欲と破戒の秘史を読む


http://www.amazon.co.jp/%E6%80%A7%E6%84 ... 221&sr=8-1

It goes into detail about the scandalous history of sex in Japanese Buddhism from the pedophilia to various other questionable activities.

The reality is that elements of Japanese Buddhism never really took brahmacaryā so seriously. I suspect in the days of Kukai and Saicho perhaps things were a bit more disciplined given the state supervision of Buddhism and the ritsuryo system, but somewhere along the line later on there was plenty of scandalous behavior and some of it became legendary and even comical.

That being said, should a Zen master sleep with their students? Eisai and Dogen probably would have said no, but then despite being lineage heads, their proscriptions and prescriptions only enter into contemporary consideration to an extent.

At this point, realistically, there's a lot of culture, established norms and precedents that are factored into the common perspective on acceptable behavior beyond whatever medieval Zen masters had to say about proper behavior and decorum. You can see this in how Japanese Buddhism is transmitted outside of Japan -- for example, Kukai insisted on precepts and celibacy, but all the Shingon priests in Taiwan that I know of are married, drink alcohol and eat meat. The precedent in contemporary Japan in completely different from what Kukai prescribed, so it makes such behavior acceptable.

The same likewise goes for Zen.

Whatever rolls in Japan is likely going to carry over into the west or anywhere else which looks to present day Japan for its precedents and models. If western Zen was going to use Dogen as their ethical role model, things would be very different, or at least I would assume so. A lot of the Chan records which are studied extensively in Japan likewise speak of the samsaric evils of sex and how it fuels the whole process of rebirth.

Nevertheless, times have changed. If someone feels uncomfortable with their Zen teacher coming onto them or requesting sexual favours, they should simply leave rather than pretending it is some kind of special spiritual process at work.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:03 am 
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Huseng wrote:
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We place these Christian values, these puritanical sexual values, and mores on Buddhism and others without even thinking about it.


Historically plenty of Buddhist masters in Japan were insistent on the virtues of celibacy and refraining from sexual behavior (body, speech and mind).



Not just historically...

From one of the foremost Rinzai masters of recent times:

http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cclergy/documents/rc_con_cclergy_doc_01011993_zen_en.html

Quote:
as a Zen monk who has entered a monastic community in order to accomplish both personal religious practice and help for others, I feel that it was easier to do this without a family and the ensuing necessity to have personal property; so for me the choice of celibacy and poverty was a natural and joyful one. I certainly am not the only person who feels joy about celibate life; already in the old Theravada Buddhist tradition of Southeast Asia one finds many poems that sing of the joy of celibacy. Although there may be desires such as sexual desires, this joy protects celibate life.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:08 am 
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tobes wrote:
If one ought not make moral judgements - or any kind of conceptual demarcations - then on what basis can one deny 'Christianized thinking' as bad and promote liberal attitudes towards sexuality as good?

There is an implicit claim for universality here - but in fact it is deeply, deeply normative.

Anyway, I freely admit that I am quite weak on understanding the Sino-Japanese traditions, so perhaps it's best if I bow out here.

:anjali:


"Prajna" instead of wisdom,

"ought" instead of should,

"demarcations" instead of lines or boundaries,

"Universality" instead of all-encompasing

"deeply normative" instead of perfectly normal or standard...

Tobes, I appreciate that you enjoy the use of a large vocabulary,

but your use of exotic words does not make you seem more knowledgeable or experienced about the subject matter.

On the contrary, it demonstrates an attempt to hide an insecurity behind a veil of fancy words.

To answer your question,

The first part, "If one ought not make moral judgements"...

Buddhism is not about judgement. One can see things as they actually are, without making a judgement upon them.

This is actually possible to do, though it might seem very hard at first, it is actually a more accurate way of looking at things.

The second part: "or any kind of conceptual demarcations"...

This second part is not dependent upon the first. You can make/draw/identify distinctions between things without judging them. As I said in regard to the first, this is actually possible.

The third part: "then on what basis can one deny 'Christianized thinking' as bad and promote liberal attitudes towards sexuality as good?"...

The answer is one cannot. Which is why in my case that's what I am not doing.

I am not promoting "Christianized thinking" as bad, Tobes, merely pointing out the obvious, that "Christianized thinking" is not based out of Buddhist teachings, and therefor deserves to be examined under the eye of critical thinking as to whether it "ought" (see I can do it too) to be applied automatically, without thought, or whether perhaps such ways of looking at things should be re-examined, and updated, with a more Buddhist way of looking at things.

On the other end, however, I cannot claim to be either promoting, nor being averse to, "liberal attitudes towards sexuality as good", as the use of "liberal" is extremely vague, the definition of which depends entirely upon what one's definition of "conservative attitudes" towards sexuality are, and upon what one considers "normal" sexually, and upon how one defines "normal".

In Gassho,

Sara H.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:37 am 
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The precepts are full of shoulds...

I think Sarah H that for reasons of your own you are reconfiguring Sila, the moral structure of Buddhadharma, to fit some structure of your own devising.
Which you are accomplishing by putting a minus sign in front of Christian moral teaching and calling the result the Buddhist view.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 11:58 am 
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Sara H wrote:
Buddhism is not about judgement. One can see things as they actually are, without making a judgement upon them.


This vision of truth is however a consequence of a long and arduous ethical discipline. If everyone were simply remain as they are, there would be no need for Buddhism.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:06 pm 
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Matylda wrote:
as for lustful sleaze bags sounds very much Western and very much christian.. almost like Christian fundamentalism... :D it is what we are talking here about...
Nonsense. Did you read the Sutta quotes I posted? Very eastern (Indian, to be exact) and almost like a Buddhist fundamentalism. If you refuse to see the discussion from any position except your own then obviously you will continue to make misiformed remarks like this one.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:17 pm 
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LastLegend wrote:
Has it been the case for teacher that shagging a student brought her to some realization of Zen spirit? Or somehow her mind is brighter now than before. If not, then he is not enlightened. In my view.


Yes in your view. But it is only your own notion of what an enlightened zen master is... look from the other side. if you look at Buddha he also did not bring all to enlightenment, in spite of his kindness and compassion.. the case of Devadatta is calling its attention to your claim...
Moreover there are people persistently sticking to their views, notion of good and wrong, male and female etc. loosing their sight of boundless horizon. Is it failure of zen master or failure of student??? if you wish zen master to ''enlighten'' all, then it is just wishful thinking that he is more powerful then buddha, gods and all supreme forces.. the force of deluded mind is overwhelming.

Zen master responsibility is to take away any feeling of security.. otherwise we are to stubborn to start any journey, even if we think we already started it is mostly just change of our own opinions... still there is force of deluded mind behind it...


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:21 pm 
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Dan74 wrote:
Not just historically...


Nowadays in Japan to remain an unmarried celibate monk for life is uncommon and in some communities undesirable because the local neighbourhood worries you won't have an heir who will succeed you and look after the graves and related services. The role of priests in Japanese society nowadays is generally understood to be funerals. It isn't just doing funerals when people die, but ongoing services and relevant rituals. It is part of the danka 檀家 (ongoing benefactor) system. One researcher of Japanese Buddhism told me that nowadays, too, running a temple without a wife is quite difficult. The family as a whole operates the facility and this is now considered perfectly natural. It is uncommon for priests to remain unmarried for life.

There is now little cultural support for solitary renunciates. You technically can go that route and even have a steady life somewhere, perhaps in the big monasteries as a staff member, but like I said it is uncommon.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:23 pm 
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Dan74 wrote:
If this is your idea of what skillful functioning of the enlightened mind looks like, then you have a very idiosyncratic notion of Zen. It would certainly be laughed out of most temples in China and Korea and I suspect Japan, as well.


I do not know why all of sudden China and Korea are called for, but there are problems as well.. and much bigger problems. As for zen yes it is idiosyncratic .. that is true, it cannot be sane if it is path for only one life to become a buddha :)


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:27 pm 
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I think there are very good reasons to criticize the Christian teaching on 'sin' - mainly because of the way it was used to enslave people to religious authority. This undoubtedly did happen, and it was something that it was good to throw off. But this doesn't mean that 'sin' in the sense of 'inherent moral weakness' or 'habitual errant behaviour', or whatever you want to call it, suddenly ceased to exist. In my view, the rejection of the word itself, has given bad behaviour (in the name of 'self-expression') an unprecedented license to flourish in modern society.

And the idea that the whole discussion can take place from a kind of 'Buddha's-eye-view', above the whole fray of human weaknesses and faults, and untainted by moral corruption, can easily be used to justify immoral behaviours - as it is in this thread.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:29 pm 
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Matylda wrote:
Dan74 wrote:
If this is your idea of what skillful functioning of the enlightened mind looks like, then you have a very idiosyncratic notion of Zen. It would certainly be laughed out of most temples in China and Korea and I suspect Japan, as well.


I do not know why all of sudden China and Korea are called for, but there are problems as well.. and much bigger problems. As for zen yes it is idiosyncratic .. that is true, it cannot be sane if it is path for only one life to become a buddha :)
Dan said that YOU HAVE a very idiosyncratic notion of Zen, not that Zen is idiosyncratic. It pays to actually read and understand what you are responding to.

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