American "Zen"

Re: American "Zen"

Postby uan » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:36 pm

Astus wrote:
Matt J wrote:I don't see that at all. Nonin writes (in my opinion) controversial things at times but this article is not one of them.

Are you a part of a formal Zen tradition? There may be a disconnect between different teachings.


"We need to remember, however, that awakening is not a permanent event, that all of us, even those who have deeply awakened to our true nature and the nature of our relationship to the rest of the universe can fall into delusion in an instant and act badly, causing harm to ourselves and others."

"The law of cause and effect governs all our actions. No one can escape it, even the Zen Buddhist master who foolishly thinks that he or she is beyond it."

The impossibility of becoming free from karma, from samsara, sounds to me like denying nirvana. Saying that one is never permanently liberated means that the chain of dependent origination cannot be broken.

Would you say that Nonin's Zen is a teaching that promises no freedom, unlike other forms of Buddhism?


One is not irreversible until the 8th Bhumi [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bhūmi_(Buddhism)[/url] which is the level corresponding to "nirvana". I don't think Nonin is denying anything, unless when folks use the term "Zen Buddhist Masters" they are saying that each of those masters is definitely a 8th-10th Bhumi Bodhisattvas or full Buddha. (and if they are saying that then that is probably a topic for another thread)

Edit: having read through the article and comments, it appears Nonin is quite active in responding to comments being made. You could ask him directly about this.
Last edited by uan on Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
uan
 
Posts: 380
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:58 am

Re: American "Zen"

Postby uan » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:48 pm

shel wrote:
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.



I believe the term "concern trolling" is being misused. From Wikipedia:

A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user claims to hold. The concern troll posts in Web forums devoted to its declared point of view and attempts to sway the group's actions or opinions while claiming to share their goals, but with professed "concerns". The goal is to sow fear, uncertainty and doubt within the group.


Unless of course we are questioning the motivations of many "regular" contributors to this and other threads.
uan
 
Posts: 380
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:58 am

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Matt J » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:22 pm

What can I say about Nonin's Zen teaching? I have not sat with him nor trained with him (although I have sat with others in his lineage). Zen isn't something you say, it's something you do/are. So how can I say whether or not following his teaching leads to freedom or not?

There is a saying that "to have a child is to know the heart of a parent." Much of the confusion with Zen comes from not practicing Zen.

Astus wrote:Would you say that Nonin's Zen is a teaching that promises no freedom, unlike other forms of Buddhism?
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/
User avatar
Matt J
 
Posts: 208
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Wayfarer » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:35 pm

Astus wrote: "The law of cause and effect governs all our actions. No one can escape it, even the Zen Buddhist master who foolishly thinks that he or she is beyond it."

The impossibility of becoming free from karma, from samsara, sounds to me like denying nirvana. Saying that one is never permanently liberated means that the chain of dependent origination cannot be broken.


I agree with this. I have taken issue with this statement before, but never made any headway with the argument.

The way I put it is that nirvana is forever. It is not something that comes and goes. Many people will say that that means it is 'permanent' and that nothing is permanent. I think this is a misunderstanding of permanence and impermanence. Something permanent is some essence or substance which doesn't change through time. Nirvana is for ever, but it is not some substance or essence which never changes.

For example, Dhammapada:

Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.


As to whether the Buddha is susceptible to karma - surely not. The 'flame is extinguished', there is no longer a separated entity or person to whom anything might occur.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
User avatar
Wayfarer
 
Posts: 1932
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: American "Zen"

Postby kirtu » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:42 pm

Astus wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:These American "Zen masters" are just too subtle for me:
http://sweepingzen.com/unethical-practices/

:shrug:


What Nonin says in that article basically denies liberation and fails to use the teaching to the two truths.


He isn't denying liberation at all (he is saying that all of our realization is probably shallow though) - a person with awakening can still commit misdeeds (he labels it as people who have "deeply awakened to our true nature"). A person with true, deep awakening is not doing to commit any violations of the precepts at all (although they might mess up their taxes or something).

As for the two truths, that permeates his entire article.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4585
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Astus » Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:48 am

Nonin may not have meant it the way it appears to me, that's possible. Maybe "deeply awakened to our true nature" is just a superficial understanding of causality, or anything before the arya levels (i.e. actual insight into emptiness). And "No one can escape it" is not a doctrinal statement but rather a warning to the common people who may delude themselves with thoughts of transcendent enlightenment. I'm not excluding anything, it was simply strange at first.
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4170
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Dan74 » Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:17 pm

I think Nonin has said similar things in the past, ie that awakening is impermanent just like everything else.

I think he is just being honest and teaching from experience.

If you or I feel that awakening or liberation is permanent, we should seek out a teacher who honestly says so. Horses for courses, they say.
User avatar
Dan74
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 631
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:59 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Wayfarer » Sun Mar 03, 2013 12:31 pm

It goes very close to nihilism in my view. This is not to say that Buddhists consciously or deliberately promote nihilism, but Buddism can easily fall into the trap of nihilism.

I don't accept the idea that 'everything is impermanent'. As said in the post above, I believe nirvana is for keeps, for ever. It is not changeable in the sense that things in the world are changeable. I accept the idea that every phenomenon, every manifest thing, is impermanent, including the apparent status of this or that 'zen master'. But some things are always so - they are always the case. Consider a logical law, for instance. It is always the case that 1<2. That is something which is not impermanent. As long as you can count, one is always less than two. If you wait a hundred billion years, it will still be the case.

So I think the notion of impermanence as a formula that applies to literally everything, is a dogma that leads to a nihilistic view.
Learn to do good, refrain from evil, purify the mind ~ this is the teaching of the Buddhas
User avatar
Wayfarer
 
Posts: 1932
Joined: Sun May 27, 2012 8:31 am
Location: Sydney AU

Re: American "Zen"

Postby kirtu » Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:00 pm

Zen realization is shallow and easily overcome by the habits of our mind. As a result we have to keep practicing. There may be some deeply enlightened people in Zen now who have gone beyond this but they are not the people defiling the zendo.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4585
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Dan74 » Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:23 pm

kirtu wrote:Zen realization is shallow and easily overcome by the habits of our mind. As a result we have to keep practicing. There may be some deeply enlightened people in Zen now who have gone beyond this but they are not the people defiling the zendo.

Kirt


I hope you are wrong and it's certainly not what was taught by the great Chan masters right through to many modern ones, like Xu Yun, Seoncheol, etc.
User avatar
Dan74
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 631
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:59 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: American "Zen"

Postby kirtu » Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:32 pm

Dan74 wrote:
kirtu wrote:Zen realization is shallow and easily overcome by the habits of our mind. As a result we have to keep practicing. There may be some deeply enlightened people in Zen now who have gone beyond this but they are not the people defiling the zendo.


I hope you are wrong and it's certainly not what was taught by the great Chan masters right through to many modern ones, like Xu Yun, Seoncheol, etc.


Enlightenment is not kensho and may not be satori. Take a look at the life of Xu Yun - he had very strong concentration (when he sat waiting for the potatoes to cook in his retreat hut for example - other retreatants on the mountain came over and two weeks had passed with him sitting) - I don't remember him recording kensho experiences but he himself said that he didn't attain enlightenment until later in life (more correctly - he was not satisfied until later in life that he had resolved the matter of life and death).

Real enlightenment is deep and permanent. Most Zen enlightenment is shallow and overcome by our mind habits (although if it's real, it too is permanent because it has transformed you at least a little).

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4585
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Dan74 » Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:34 pm

kirtu wrote:
Dan74 wrote:
kirtu wrote:Zen realization is shallow and easily overcome by the habits of our mind. As a result we have to keep practicing. There may be some deeply enlightened people in Zen now who have gone beyond this but they are not the people defiling the zendo.


I hope you are wrong and it's certainly not what was taught by the great Chan masters right through to many modern ones, like Xu Yun, Seoncheol, etc.


Enlightenment is not kensho and may not be satori. Take a look at the life of Xu Yun - he had very strong concentration (when he sat waiting for the potatoes to cook in his retreat hut for example - other retreatants on the mountain came over and two weeks had passed with him sitting) - I don't remember him recording kensho experiences but he himself said that he didn't attain enlightenment until later in life (more correctly - he was not satisfied until later in life that he had resolved the matter of life and death).

Real enlightenment is deep and permanent. Most Zen enlightenment is shallow and overcome by our mind habits (although if it's real, it too is permanent because it has transformed you at least a little).

Kirt


I see what you mean.

I would not have used the word "enlightenment" though.
User avatar
Dan74
Global Moderator
 
Posts: 631
Joined: Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:59 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Indrajala » Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:46 pm

jeeprs wrote:I don't accept the idea that 'everything is impermanent'. As said in the post above, I believe nirvana is for keeps, for ever.


If nirvāṇa is understood as the absence of causes for further involuntary rebirth, then "impermanence" does not really apply because nirvāṇa is not a thing, nor is it really caused. Causes are for phenomena that arise. Nirvāṇa is the absence of causes for rebirth. If those causes have been eliminated, the process of saṃsāra halts.

Not everyone agrees with this. In some strains of Mahāyāna thought, particularly the ekayāna, arhats are reborn outside the three realms and eventually must attain buddhahood.
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
 
Posts: 5972
Joined: Fri Feb 12, 2010 3:19 pm
Location: Taiwan

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Astus » Sun Mar 03, 2013 3:09 pm

Huseng wrote:Not everyone agrees with this. In some strains of Mahāyāna thought, particularly the ekayāna, arhats are reborn outside the three realms and eventually must attain buddhahood.


But those who talk about the inconceivable rebirth of an arhat (and bodhisattvas) add that there is still conceptual obscuration.
"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)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
(Mazu Daoyi, X1321p3b23; tr. Jinhua Jia)

“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; T2076p461b24-26)
User avatar
Astus
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4170
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:22 pm
Location: Budapest

Re: American "Zen"

Postby dzogchungpa » Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:34 pm

Well, as I said, Nonin is just too subtle for me, but he seems to be saying that one can be an "accomplished Zen Buddhist teacher" and still be as contemptible as Sasaki, and I just can't accept that.
ཨོཾ་ཏཱ་རེ་ཏུཏྟ་རེ་ཏུ་རེ་སྭཱཧཱ༔
User avatar
dzogchungpa
 
Posts: 2273
Joined: Sat May 28, 2011 10:50 pm

Re: American "Zen"

Postby LastLegend » Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:51 pm

jeeprs wrote:It goes very close to nihilism in my view. This is not to say that Buddhists consciously or deliberately promote nihilism, but Buddism can easily fall into the trap of nihilism.

I don't accept the idea that 'everything is impermanent'. As said in the post above, I believe nirvana is for keeps, for ever. It is not changeable in the sense that things in the world are changeable. I accept the idea that every phenomenon, every manifest thing, is impermanent, including the apparent status of this or that 'zen master'. But some things are always so - they are always the case. Consider a logical law, for instance. It is always the case that 1<2. That is something which is not impermanent. As long as you can count, one is always less than two. If you wait a hundred billion years, it will still be the case.

So I think the notion of impermanence as a formula that applies to literally everything, is a dogma that leads to a nihilistic view.


Impermanence is permanently empty, not conceivable by concepts. If trying to conceive existence and non-existence, then this is nihilism.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)

Linjii
―Listen! Those of you who devote yourselves to the Dharma
must not be afraid of losing your bodies and your lives―
User avatar
LastLegend
 
Posts: 2367
Joined: Sat Mar 19, 2011 3:46 pm
Location: Washington DC

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Parasamgate » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:03 pm

Huseng wrote:If nirvāṇa is understood as the absence of causes for further involuntary rebirth, then "impermanence" does not really apply because nirvāṇa is not a thing, nor is it really caused. Causes are for phenomena that arise. Nirvāṇa is the absence of causes for rebirth. If those causes have been eliminated, the process of saṃsāra halts.


This is how I think of it. For me it seems helpful to think of the state of nirvana as like reaching a boundary condition in physics.
Parasamgate
 
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Jun 03, 2011 3:53 pm

Re: American "Zen"

Postby Matt J » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:07 pm

Unfortunately, Zen practice tends to accept things as they are rather than as we wish them to be. Zen teachers don't fart sunshine and urinate rainbows, either. Being an accomplished teacher doesn't mean that one is a sinless, Christ-like figure. And having failings doesn't mean that one is not an accomplished teacher. As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

dzogchungpa wrote:Well, as I said, Nonin is just too subtle for me, but he seems to be saying that one can be an "accomplished Zen Buddhist teacher" and still be as contemptible as Sasaki, and I just can't accept that.
The Great Way is not difficult
If only there is no picking or choosing
--- Xin Xin Ming

http://nondualism.org/
User avatar
Matt J
 
Posts: 208
Joined: Tue Aug 03, 2010 2:29 am

Re: American "Zen"

Postby kirtu » Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:29 pm

Matt J wrote:Unfortunately, Zen practice tends to accept things as they are rather than as we wish them to be. Zen teachers don't fart sunshine and urinate rainbows, either. Being an accomplished teacher doesn't mean that one is a sinless, Christ-like figure. And having failings doesn't mean that one is not an accomplished teacher. As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle.


I've argued the counter with Nonin and others online.

Why? Because realization itself, even minor realization, keeps one from committing egregious, harmful acts. Minor realization itself (so kensho) is powerful enough to not exactly prevent this but dampens it in a way. So after a person commits a bad act their conscious is activated acutely and they are unlikely to do so again anytime soon. Overtime, realization builds and those bad acts have to diminish and stop.

With a person who is supposed to be deeply enlightened, really deeply enlightened, this can't happen. Nonin is basically saying that no one today is that deeply enlightened (or he really is saying that enlightenment is temporary and I don't buy that). He is saying that delusion is deep and pervasive. So with Sasaki, these people knew what they were doing was wrong. That they repeated it over years and decades shows that their so-called enlightenment was worthless to anyone but themselves.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
HH Chetsang Rinpoche
User avatar
kirtu
Former staff member
 
Posts: 4585
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:29 pm
Location: Baltimore, MD

Re: American "Zen"

Postby uan » Sun Mar 03, 2013 6:08 pm

kirtu wrote: Nonin is basically saying that no one today is that deeply enlightened (or he really is saying that enlightenment is temporary and I don't buy that). He is saying that delusion is deep and pervasive.
Kirt


I don't know if he is saying that, or intending to say that, but it's an important point - is there anyone living that deeply enlightened today? Personally I think that delusion is deep and pervasive. When you can be on the 7th bhumi and still suffer from obscurations, when that is an incredibly advanced stage (how many people here are even on the first bhumi? Raise your hands. I'm not) just offers evidence of how deep delusions can be.
uan
 
Posts: 380
Joined: Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:58 am

PreviousNext

Return to Zen

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests

>