shel wrote:I don't see the problem. A Zen teachers job isn't helping people how to deal with stress at their job, though they might try to help them with that. And a Zen teacher might actually be a bad choice for assistance in such matters. A Zen teachers only essential job is 'pointing to the moon', so to speak, and anyone can do that, even a so called fraud. This is how just about anyone can fill the role of a Zen teacher. They don't actually need to be any good at their job, they only need to play the part.
Your post kind of proves my point,in that frauds and inept teachers, by using Zen illogic, have duped many people into thinking exactly what you posted above. I really hope, for your own sake, that you don't listen to just any idiot who thinks they can teach Zen. Where did you get this idea that "just about anyone can fill the role of a Zen teacher." and that "anyone can do that, even a so called fraud."? A Zen teacher must be good at their job and cannot be a fraud by definition, as a fraud is a person who is pretending to be something they are not. So any time someone is a fraud, they are not whatever they pretend to be.
And every Zen teacher I've ever spoken with teaches their students and helps them with many of life's problems, they don't just sit on a meditation cushion and babble koans. I have personally, been the student of, and specifically asked two different Zen teachers myriad questions, among them roughly the same as my hypothetical question above, and I received sound advice based on logic and attention to the Dharma. When dealing with a lot of stress, one teacher (I asked about stress in college dealing with professors) taught me to step aside from the thoughts that were bothering me and remember that they are not self, he explained how this idea is found in the Heart Sutra. The other (I asked about co-workers who didn't do their job and forced me to pick up the slack, stressing me out severely) told me that he used to deal with the same when he was a lay person and that he found the only real fix was practicing very strong loving kindness exercises before, during and after work.
I have never been the student of a Zen master I thought was a fraud, only read works by ones I think probably are, and heard stories from students of ones that may be. My first teacher was in fact of the Rinzai [Linji] school (after moving far away from my first teacher for work, my second was just broadly a synthesis of Ch'an in general, no specific school, although more Caodong [Soto] than anything) and did use koans but would also happily answer questions in plain speech as well, koans were just a vehicle he used specifically for koan practice. Every now and then he would say some things in his Dharma talks or direct interviews that were the flavor of illogical Zen but usually framed with other speech that made it reasonable.
I did learn from a Zen teacher for a very short while who had no idea what he was talking about, he wasn't a fraud, he just gave bad advice and taught things that were counter to the Dharma, probably because he was not ready to teach or just didn't understand the Dharma fully. All of his students were only his students for a short while for this reason. He eventually left the temple and moved elsewhere. If just anyone could teach Zen, I would imagine his students would have stayed under him and somehow still learned the right stuff and experienced Kensho or even come to enlightenment through his teachings or at the very least would have found new insights on the Dharma and better life experiences overall. Instead they realized he could not effectively teach Zen, and left. On a happy note, six years later I found out he is doing very well and has many students at the center he now teaches at so it seems he came into his own and (hopefully) became a better teacher!