So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

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So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby ZenLem » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:56 pm

I am posting this because I am a bit distressed over leaving my center and teacher of over five years, so I am looking for some support.

This is a transcript, of the conversation, "I am thinking about taking a one-month hiatus from the center", silence, "That's all I have to say", silence, *rings bell* which is my cue to leave, teacher says "what are you afraid of?"

I don't know if that's enough information for anyone to form an opinion, but he did seem angry over my leaving. Nothing else was said, not a thing. It's all so dry so I feel I am making the right decision. Comments? Personal stories about changing centers?

I keep weighting the pros and cons here, is that against Zen practice? Or am I just suppose to shut up and keep sitting?
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby LastLegend » Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:59 pm

ZenLem wrote:I am posting this because I am a bit distressed over leaving my center and teacher of over five years, so I am looking for some support.

This is a transcript, of the conversation, "I am thinking about taking a one-month hiatus from the center", silence, "That's all I have to say", silence, *rings bell* which is my cue to leave, teacher says "what are you afraid of?"

I don't know if that's enough information for anyone to form an opinion, but he did seem angry over my leaving. Nothing else was said, not a thing. It's all so dry so I feel I am making the right decision. Comments? Personal stories about changing centers?

I keep weighting the pros and cons here, is that against Zen practice? Or am I just suppose to shut up and keep sitting?


What is your reason for leaving?
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby Josef » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:12 pm

It takes a lot of guts to make a move like this. If you are doing it for the right reasons and your practice is evolving positively then I offer you very high praise.
Many people become frustrated and their practice becomes stagnant because they are afraid to allow themselves to explore other options for liberation.
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby plwk » Fri Apr 15, 2011 2:16 am

Yeah so, what are you afraid of...
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby Indrajala » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:36 am

ZenLem wrote: I keep weighting the pros and cons here, is that against Zen practice? Or am I just suppose to shut up and keep sitting?


There is no universal definition determining what is and what is against Zen practice.

If you feel uncomfortable there, then leave and find another community.
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Fri Apr 15, 2011 10:46 am

Let me start by saying that I am not a practitioner of Zen.
...so I am looking for some support.

My question to you Zenlem is: what could possibly be a better support than an experienced and compassionate teacher?
:namaste:
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby catmoon » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:51 am

How very interesting. The teacher might have been asking, "Why are you afraid of this center?" But he might also have been asking "Why are you afraid of leaving?"
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby Dechen Norbu » Fri Apr 15, 2011 4:21 pm

You did the right thing, in my opinion. I bet it took some guts, hum? It doesn't seem productive feeling oppressed by your teacher, like you were a little boy wanting for approval and fearing punishment. That's not what Dharma is about. You are the sole responsible for your practice, although you can search others for help. Take a deep breath and explore new possibilities.
That environment seemed a little toxic to you at least, if you ask me. There are no pros and cons that you should linger about... your teacher has to deal with his emotions and feelings and so do you, but neither should get stuck in them. Now it's time to search for something more suitable to your needs. It's important you don't feel a heavy chest after this. Take a few walks, expand your sight to the horizon (this gives a sort of spaciousness sensation, and you seem to need it) and enjoy a bit your regained freedom, with which comes more responsibility, but it is your own responsibility, your own decisions, not those pressed upon you. Don't ruminate over this. Learn what you have to learn, keep light hearted and search for more suitable help.

Best wishes!
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby Jikan » Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:02 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:You did the right thing, in my opinion. I bet it took some guts, hum? It doesn't seem productive feeling oppressed by your teacher, like you were a little boy wanting for approval and fearing punishment. That's not what Dharma is about. You are the sole responsible for your practice, although you can search others for help. Take a deep breath and explore new possibilities.
That environment seemed a little toxic to you at least, if you ask me. There are no pros and cons that you should linger about... your teacher has to deal with his emotions and feelings and so do you, but neither should get stuck in them. Now it's time to search for something more suitable to your needs. It's important you don't feel a heavy chest after this. Take a few walks, expand your sight to the horizon (this gives a sort of spaciousness sensation, and you seem to need it) and enjoy a bit your regained freedom, with which comes more responsibility, but it is your own responsibility, your own decisions, not those pressed upon you. Don't ruminate over this. Learn what you have to learn, keep light hearted and search for more suitable help.

Best wishes!


:good:

this right here.

Hang in there.
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby Chaz » Fri Apr 15, 2011 11:14 pm

ZenLem wrote: Or am I just suppose to shut up and keep sitting?


That's never a bad idea.

If you feel that it's time to move on, move on.
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby catmoon » Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:04 pm

It is a very old practice in Zen to wander from place to place and from teacher to teacher. Not everyone does it, but many accomplished beings have done so, starting with the Buddha himself.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby Josef » Sat Apr 16, 2011 4:53 pm

Chaz wrote:
ZenLem wrote: Or am I just suppose to shut up and keep sitting?


That's never a bad idea.

If you feel that it's time to move on, move on.

In this context its a very bad idea.
ZenLem needs a teacher who will actually guide him, speak to him plainly, and help him progress on the path.
"Just sitting" without these things will just lead to further frustration in my opinion.
This "just sit down and shut up" business is really weird if you ask me.
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby Malcolm » Sat Apr 16, 2011 4:57 pm

Nangwa wrote:
Chaz wrote:
ZenLem wrote: Or am I just suppose to shut up and keep sitting?


That's never a bad idea.

If you feel that it's time to move on, move on.

In this context its a very bad idea.
ZenLem needs a teacher who will actually guide him, speak to him plainly, and help him progress on the path.
"Just sitting" without these things will just lead to further frustration in my opinion.
This "just sit down and shut up" business is really weird if you ask me.



I like Aleister Crowley's meditation instruction he gave once to someone on a transatlantic voyage: "Sit down, shut up, and get out."

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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby ZenLem » Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:56 am

catmoon wrote:How very interesting. The teacher might have been asking, "Why are you afraid of this center?" But he might also have been asking "Why are you afraid of leaving?"


That's the thing, it felt like a Zen zinger, because it came as I was leaving the room, I was in the midst of getting up and it came out. In a very deep resonant voice, and my reaction was very "if I wanted to tell you i would".
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby ZenLem » Sun Apr 17, 2011 12:57 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Let me start by saying that I am not a practitioner of Zen.
...so I am looking for some support.

My question to you Zenlem is: what could possibly be a better support than an experienced and compassionate teacher?
:namaste:


Nothing, but what if it's always a hard compassion? It's like, here are my tender parts, and now your yelling again and I don't understand.
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby Dexing » Sun Apr 17, 2011 6:06 am

Sounds like you two are married. :?
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby ZenLem » Sun Apr 17, 2011 7:09 pm

Dexing wrote:Sounds like you two are married. :?


Yes, thank you. I started the practice to deal with my deep feelings of loneliness and disconnection, and I felt like I was being adopted, when I really just wanted to be embraced.
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby Caz » Sun Apr 17, 2011 8:31 pm

Sometimes the Zen approach is just that confronting you with the harshness of samsara, Cynical compassion perhapes ?
Although it does make me wonder sometimes as to how one is to develop the mahayana path within zen if the teachers demonstration of compassion isnt skillfull. :thinking:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby James418 » Mon Apr 18, 2011 8:13 pm

ZenLem wrote:I am posting this because I am a bit distressed over leaving my center and teacher of over five years, so I am looking for some support.

This is a transcript, of the conversation, "I am thinking about taking a one-month hiatus from the center", silence, "That's all I have to say", silence, *rings bell* which is my cue to leave, teacher says "what are you afraid of?"

I don't know if that's enough information for anyone to form an opinion, but he did seem angry over my leaving. Nothing else was said, not a thing. It's all so dry so I feel I am making the right decision. Comments? Personal stories about changing centers?

I keep weighting the pros and cons here, is that against Zen practice? Or am I just suppose to shut up and keep sitting?


Oh how the Heart-Bull yearns for fresh pastures! And it is really hard to ignore those pangs, because it is your own heart after all!

You do have my sympathy, I stayed in a Zen monastery and it is the hardest thing any human being can ever do. Who was it who said that you should not attempt to walk the Zen Way unless you are prepared to sweat white beads?? And boy was he right!

I'd give it 3 months, see what happens.
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Re: So I talked to my teacher about leaving the Zendo.

Postby Ven Hong yang » Tue Apr 19, 2011 5:29 am

ZenLem wrote:I am posting this because I am a bit distressed over leaving my center and teacher of over five years, so I am looking for some support.

This is a transcript, of the conversation, "I am thinking about taking a one-month hiatus from the center", silence, "That's all I have to say", silence, *rings bell* which is my cue to leave, teacher says "what are you afraid of?"

I don't know if that's enough information for anyone to form an opinion, but he did seem angry over my leaving. Nothing else was said, not a thing. It's all so dry so I feel I am making the right decision. Comments? Personal stories about changing centers?

I keep weighting the pros and cons here, is that against Zen practice? Or am I just suppose to shut up and keep sitting?


It was time for you leave, I hope you are less distressed over your choice. Have you checked into other places yet? try the links on the www.buddhanet.net site for your area. I think if the teacher wanted to find out exactly what you wanted then the teacher would have said so directly to you, nobody worth his/her salt would just ignore somebody coming for 5 years telling suddenly announcing they are leaving and not reach out to you.

I would think that if sessions are not direct, open and friendly, but stiff and stilted and minimal in conversation then they are of no use to you. It's no benefit if you just get quips and quotes and no direction personalized for your benefit based upon knowing your real progress and habits. It's not counseling or therapy like more of questions, answers considerations and plans, with advice and direction by the teacher.

when you visit your next place see what it is like, do they invite you to eat or drink tea? or are they ignoring you? clickish watching you with glances but not inviting you over or are they dragging you to the comfy seat or cushion with happy faces? are they happy, stressed, too busy to see you, or nervious or just plain out of it?

Just some suggestions that may get you thinking and figuring out what you like in community next time. hang in there!

Amituofo!

Ven. Hong Yang
Practice dilligently, read sutras/suttas widely, seek out monastic Sangha and ask for dharma teachings, practice dana regularly, volunteer daily to do as much good as you can for others in need, be active not passive in your Buddhist life and your light will shine bright.
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