American "Zen"

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Huifeng » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:42 am

Well, I don't know the state of Zen in Europe when Conze wrote, for a start. But, at the time he wrote, there was very little information in European languages about Chan. There was some amount about Japanese Zen. Some of that, such as Suzuki, also appeared to be informed about Chan. But, as the last few decades have shown, the early and mid 20th century use of a Japanese Zen perspective to understand Chan was largely mistaken. Not being able to go to the Chinese, Conze had to rely on this. Not just him, but still the vast majority of western perceptions of Chan are still from such sources. Even a fair amount of academic studies still seem to be looking at Chan only in as much as it is a precursor to Zen. Though, things are improving somewhat of late.

~~ Huifeng
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1449
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: American "Zen"

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Feb 18, 2013 7:51 pm

@Huifeng
Fair enough. Are you familiar with the current state of Zen in America or Europe, and if so, may I ask what you make of it?
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
User avatar
dzogchungpa
 
Posts: 1446
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 10:50 pm

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Ramon1920 » Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:12 pm

Buddhism, not just Zen, harbors a lot of American yuppies looking to fulfill their karate kid fantasies. Shameless people then promote themselves to all sorts of positions and then play master to all these young grasshoppers.

:shrug: What can we do except avoid these people and wait for the fad to end?
Ramon1920
 
Posts: 231
Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:57 am

Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:28 pm

Speaking to the current state of American Zen, another relevant post today by Nonin Chowaney, a Soto Zen Buddhist Priest who chairs the Membership Committee of the American Zen Teachers Association and serves on the Priest Training Committee of the Soto Zen Teachers Association.

Nonin Chowaney wrote:I have a cup of coffee every morning after breakfast. I occasionally have another cup in the afternoon, but not often. I drink alcohol in limited amounts three or four times a week, maybe a beer with dinner in a restaurant or a little bourbon in the evening before bedtime.


Link: http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... =32&t=9289
shel
 
Posts: 1342
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Huifeng » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:41 am

dzogchungpa wrote:@Huifeng
Fair enough. Are you familiar with the current state of Zen in America or Europe, and if so, may I ask what you make of it?


Not really, having only spent maybe a few months total in America or Europe in my entire life...
Have heard a fair bit from friends and other sources, but that of course is largely second hand.

~~ Huifeng
Last edited by Huifeng on Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Huifeng
 
Posts: 1449
Joined: Tue Nov 17, 2009 4:51 am

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Jikan » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:46 am

shel wrote:Speaking to the current state of American Zen, another relevant post today by Nonin Chowaney, a Soto Zen Buddhist Priest who chairs the Membership Committee of the American Zen Teachers Association and serves on the Priest Training Committee of the Soto Zen Teachers Association.

Nonin Chowaney wrote:I have a cup of coffee every morning after breakfast. I occasionally have another cup in the afternoon, but not often. I drink alcohol in limited amounts three or four times a week, maybe a beer with dinner in a restaurant or a little bourbon in the evening before bedtime.


Link: http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... =32&t=9289


Heavens! <clutches pearls, faints>
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4285
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Simon E. » Tue Feb 19, 2013 3:08 pm

shel wrote:Speaking to the current state of American Zen, another relevant post today by Nonin Chowaney, a Soto Zen Buddhist Priest who chairs the Membership Committee of the American Zen Teachers Association and serves on the Priest Training Committee of the Soto Zen Teachers Association.

Nonin Chowaney wrote:I have a cup of coffee every morning after breakfast. I occasionally have another cup in the afternoon, but not often. I drink alcohol in limited amounts three or four times a week, maybe a beer with dinner in a restaurant or a little bourbon in the evening before bedtime.


Link: http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... =32&t=9289

And you draw what conclusion about the current state of American Zen from this snippet ?
Simon E.
 
Posts: 2131
Joined: Tue May 15, 2012 11:09 am

Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Tue Feb 19, 2013 6:18 pm

Simon E. wrote:
shel wrote:Speaking to the current state of American Zen, another relevant post today by Nonin Chowaney, a Soto Zen Buddhist Priest who chairs the Membership Committee of the American Zen Teachers Association and serves on the Priest Training Committee of the Soto Zen Teachers Association.

Nonin Chowaney wrote:I have a cup of coffee every morning after breakfast. I occasionally have another cup in the afternoon, but not often. I drink alcohol in limited amounts three or four times a week, maybe a beer with dinner in a restaurant or a little bourbon in the evening before bedtime.


Link: http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... =32&t=9289

And you draw what conclusion about the current state of American Zen from this snippet ?


Never wear pearls with bluejeans.
shel
 
Posts: 1342
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: American "Zen"

Postby dzogchungpa » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:04 pm

Huifeng wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:@Huifeng
Fair enough. Are you familiar with the current state of Zen in America or Europe, and if so, may I ask what you make of it?


Not really, having only spent maybe a few months total in America or Europe in my entire life...
Have heard a fair bit from friends and other sources, but that of course is largely second hand.

~~ Huifeng

Fair enough. I live in America, but it's been a long time, probably at least a decade, since I've been to any kind of Zen center. The OP was inspired by what I see online, which I tend to find kind of saddening. Perhaps things are better in real life.
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
User avatar
dzogchungpa
 
Posts: 1446
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 10:50 pm

Re: American "Zen"

Postby jeeprs » Tue Feb 19, 2013 10:54 pm

I am very skeptical of 'modern zen' generally. Too much play-acting, theatre and props. A lot of people involved take themselves way too seriously, which is ironic, considering the iconoclastic nature of Zen. I think this is why I prefer to just contemplate the ideas from the sidelines and not get too involved with the machinations.
He that knows it, knows it not.
User avatar
jeeprs
 
Posts: 1409
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:09 pm

Zen is iconically iconoclastic. :tongue:
shel
 
Posts: 1342
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: American "Zen"

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:04 am

shel wrote:Zen is iconically iconoclastic. :tongue:


and ironically, ironiclastic.
.
.
.
Profile Picture: "The Foaming Monk"
The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
User avatar
PadmaVonSamba
 
Posts: 2800
Joined: Sat May 14, 2011 1:41 am

Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:47 am

I think that's spelled ironoclastic.
shel
 
Posts: 1342
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Feb 20, 2013 11:45 am

The term ironic derives from the Greek word ειρωνικό (ironiko). The term iconoclastic (εικονοκλαστικός) derives from an originally religious (which then developed into poltical) conflict in the Byzantine empire, during the 8th and 9th Century CE, over the use of icons in religious worship. There were two camps. The iconoclastics (also known as iconomachous, or battlers against icons), on the one hand, were opposed to the use of religious imagery (except for purely symbolic imagery like crucifixes) and the iconophilous (also known as iconolatris, or worshippers of icons) on the other hand were for the use of religious icons. Anybody that has been to an Orthodox church will be quite aware of who won the conflict. ;)

So, ironoclastic or ironiclastic? Well, the word does not exist in greek, but if it were to exist it would be ironioclastic and would basically mean somebody that is opposed to irony. This, though, seems to be the opposite meaning of the one people are trying to give. I would consider Zen to be ironiophilic (also not a real word) ie friendly towards irony.

This though:
Zen is iconically iconoclastic
Seems to be true for those that try to be iconoclastic (and it seems there are quite a few try-hard iconoclasts in the field of American Zen). I imagine though, that the mad zen masters who have realised this form of being, are not at all iconic, that their iconoclasm is real. Those that use iconoclasm to justify their (unwholesome) behaviour though... in Tibetan Buddhism we have a special hell reserved for people like that.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
User avatar
Sherab Dorje
Former staff member
 
Posts: 7892
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Indrajala » Wed Feb 20, 2013 12:48 pm

jeeprs wrote:I am very skeptical of 'modern zen' generally. Too much play-acting, theatre and props. A lot of people involved take themselves way too seriously, which is ironic, considering the iconoclastic nature of Zen. I think this is why I prefer to just contemplate the ideas from the sidelines and not get too involved with the machinations.


There's a good essay about the performances in modern American Zen:

http://www.academia.edu/944019/Richard_ ... _Zen_Roshi
Flower Ornament Depository (Blog)
Indrajāla's Contemplations (Blog)
Exploring Classical Chinese (Blog)
Dharma Depository (Site)

"Hui gives me no assistance. There is nothing that I say in which he does not delight." -Confucius
User avatar
Indrajala
Former staff member
 
Posts: 5563
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: India

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Jikan » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:11 pm

Perhaps a better word than iconoclasm would be antinomian, which has to do with the rejection of conventional norms of behavior inclusive of the law.

this is for any among us who are particularly concerned with words, their meanings, their inflections, and so on.

With etymology hour complete, let us return to our regularly scheduled righteous indignation and concern trolling, shall we?
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4285
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Astus » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:19 pm

Zen's antinomian/iconoclast nature is no truer than its egalitarian attitude. Both are literary topics but without relevance to actual life where monastic life was highly ritualised and regulated, and Zen was the rhetoric only of the elite monks and lay aristocrats. That actually makes American Zen quite special as it is connected to the Beat culture and a serious re-interpretation of Zen texts.
"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)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4126
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:03 pm

Jikan wrote:Perhaps a better word than iconoclasm would be antinomian, which has to do with the rejection of conventional norms of behavior inclusive of the law.

this is for any among us who are particularly concerned with words, their meanings, their inflections, and so on.

With etymology hour complete, let us return to our regularly scheduled righteous indignation and concern trolling, shall we?


That such terms as 'concern trolling' are so readily used in the Zen community suggests, at least to me, that Zen is not iconoclastic in nature.
shel
 
Posts: 1342
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: American "Zen"

Postby shel » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:11 pm

Jikan wrote:
shel wrote:Speaking to the current state of American Zen, another relevant post today by Nonin Chowaney, a Soto Zen Buddhist Priest who chairs the Membership Committee of the American Zen Teachers Association and serves on the Priest Training Committee of the Soto Zen Teachers Association.

Nonin Chowaney wrote:I have a cup of coffee every morning after breakfast. I occasionally have another cup in the afternoon, but not often. I drink alcohol in limited amounts three or four times a week, maybe a beer with dinner in a restaurant or a little bourbon in the evening before bedtime.


Link: http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... =32&t=9289


Heavens! <clutches pearls, faints>


Feign fainting is often an early symptom of Cassandra syndrome. You might want to have that checked out.
shel
 
Posts: 1342
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2010 9:38 pm

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Jikan » Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:16 pm

I'm not aware that the term "concern trolling" is particularly used in the concept of American Zen. However, I do think that concern trolling exists in this thread on "American 'Zen"" from the very first post and inclusive of constipated and implicitly accusatory cross-examinations on the shades of meaning of particular words.
Jikan
Site Admin
 
Posts: 4285
Joined: Tue Jul 13, 2010 5:04 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Zen

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

>