The Real Buddha Bar, Tended By Tokyo Monks

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The Real Buddha Bar, Tended By Tokyo Monks

Postby Mr. G » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:13 pm

Another Friday night at this tiny neighborhood watering hole in Tokyo: By 7:30, the bar stools and tables in this cozy joint are filling up; office workers settle in with their cocktails and Kirin beers. And by a little after 8, it's time for the main act. Vow's Bar in the Yotsuya neighborhood has no house band, no widescreen TV, no jukebox. But it does have a chanting Buddhist monk so tipplers can get a side of sutras with their Singapore Slings or something even more exotic. A pair of younger monks — conspicuous with their shaved heads, bare feet and religious garb — man the bar. For a non-Buddhist American like me, they shake up an order of the house specialty, shakunetsu jigoku, or "Burning Hell," and boy, they're not kidding.

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Re: The Real Buddha Bar, Tended By Tokyo Monks

Postby Indrajala » Fri Dec 30, 2011 7:41 pm

Epic fail.

Japanese Buddhism has gone so far down hill it is in Death Valley and running on the last fumes in the gas tank.

It is a hallow empty shell of its once former self. The hereditary priesthood, wrong views, intellectualization of everything, lack of practice and rejection of discipline across all traditions has led to bars run by "monks" who are really just laymen with shaved heads wearing robes.

The thing is that almost nobody sees this. You mention to Japanese people that elsewhere monks by default are unmarried and don't consume liquor or have girlfriends, and they're surprised. Such a monk in Japan would be praised as a paragon of virtue. Meanwhile elsewhere it is just the basic standard.

Then you have priests who say their way of doing things is just "characteristic of Japanese Buddhism" as if that somehow justifies everything.
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Re: The Real Buddha Bar, Tended By Tokyo Monks

Postby Mr. G » Fri Dec 30, 2011 11:25 pm

“At present, Buddhism exerts practically no influence on life in society. . . . That is due to the fact that Buddhism has merged too closely into the social life,has turned into social habit, and has fallen into a state of inertia.”

- Keiji Nishitani
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: The Real Buddha Bar, Tended By Tokyo Monks

Postby Huifeng » Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:25 am

Mr. G wrote:Another Friday night at this tiny neighborhood watering hole in Tokyo: By 7:30, the bar stools and tables in this cozy joint are filling up; office workers settle in with their cocktails and Kirin beers. And by a little after 8, it's time for the main act. Vow's Bar in the Yotsuya neighborhood has no house band, no widescreen TV, no jukebox. But it does have a chanting Buddhist monk so tipplers can get a side of sutras with their Singapore Slings or something even more exotic. A pair of younger monks — conspicuous with their shaved heads, bare feet and religious garb — man the bar. For a non-Buddhist American like me, they shake up an order of the house specialty, shakunetsu jigoku, or "Burning Hell," and boy, they're not kidding.

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Correction:

The Real Mara Bar, Tended by Tokyo Monks

These people have neither wisdom nor shame.

~~ Huifeng
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Re: The Real Buddha Bar, Tended By Tokyo Monks

Postby rory » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:31 am

Here's a better article about Bozu Bar & the big failure of buddhism in Japan.
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editori ... 03397226/1
yes buddhism in Japan is in serious decline & the sects who believe nothing, preach nothing, do nothing have only themselves to blame. And it doesn't have anything to do with keeping a 2,000 year old Vinaya.
My sensei, a priest, has a regular day job, no temple & goes every year to Cambodia and India to distribute free Lotus Sutras. To me that's admirable.
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Re: The Real Buddha Bar, Tended By Tokyo Monks

Postby Indrajala » Sat Dec 31, 2011 7:30 am

rory wrote:Here's a better article about Bozu Bar & the big failure of buddhism in Japan.
http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editori ... 03397226/1
yes buddhism in Japan is in serious decline & the sects who believe nothing, preach nothing, do nothing have only themselves to blame. And it doesn't have anything to do with keeping a 2,000 year old Vinaya.
My sensei, a priest, has a regular day job, no temple & goes every year to Cambodia and India to distribute free Lotus Sutras. To me that's admirable.
gassho
Rory


Actually, if they had maintained the Vinaya, then a lot of modern problems in Japanese Buddhism would have been avoided.

The hereditary priesthood has fostered apathy as taking on robes is seen as a duty, not as a mission. The result is that most priests were forced into by way of obligations to family. Even those who take it on themselves to ordain are still surrounded by apathetic people who neither properly understand or actually believe in Buddhadharma.

Another problem is in the Buddhist universities you have "priests" teaching materialist ideas as Buddhism.

Japanese Buddhist institutions still have a lot of money, so you have professors who have a lot of time and money for intellectual wankery.

The skeleton of old Buddhist institutions is still there and the leftover resources of a bygone era are still there for salvage, but the future is quite bleak. In a few generations there will be a lot less priests because as the economy contracts the Japanese public will cease paying for expensive funerals, meaning the reason for those priests and temples will likewise cease.
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Re: The Real Buddha Bar, Tended By Tokyo Monks

Postby rory » Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:59 am

Huseng I agree;
Modern Japanese buddhism is exactly in the same state as Anglicanism in England which had a tradition of married clergy who inherited family churches, religion as a profession, atheism and decline. Let it go & rebuild on the ashes. As Buddhists we should be fine with that.

if Japan had the vinaya there would be state monasteries, do you think they'd be any different than what occurred in Tibet? It's the institution that is the killer. Institutions live to perpetuate themselves and kill off any kind of faith or spontaneity. Look at the Vatican staffed by celibate monks, gorging on property and terrible scandals over the abuse of children.
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Re: The Real Buddha Bar, Tended By Tokyo Monks

Postby Indrajala » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:52 pm

rory wrote:Huseng I agree;

if Japan had the vinaya there would be state monasteries, do you think they'd be any different than what occurred in Tibet? It's the institution that is the killer. Institutions live to perpetuate themselves and kill off any kind of faith or spontaneity. Look at the Vatican staffed by celibate monks, gorging on property and terrible scandals over the abuse of children.
gassho
Rory


I think Tibet's current situation is still better than Japan's.

Again, Japan had the Vinaya for a number of centuries, but for various reasons dropped it over the course of time.
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