Are Zen teachers awakened?

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Malcolm
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by Malcolm »

Matylda wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:05 am
Malcolm wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 2:49 am
Matylda wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 11:55 pm

I just did it.
If I am ever in Japan, I’m inviting You to dinner at your favorite restaurant.
:thanks: but you cannot afford it :D
Don’t be so sure. :cheers:
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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Matt J
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by Matt J »

The problem I had with Western Zen teachers is that they were often frankly unaware of states of mind and how to navigate them. My last year or so with Zen I sat in dull or trance-like states. My teachers were unable to provide any guidance. When I had meditation problems, they were not familiar with them and again were unable to provide guidance. I found this different from Theravada teachers who were usually very familiar with the workings of the mind, although they were unable to deal with certain issues as well.

I live in a very Buddhist area. When teachers such as Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, Thrangu Rinpoche, and Tsoknyi Rinpoche came to give teachings, I spotted a lot of local fully transmitted official Zen teachers in the audience. However, when I attended talks by Bernie Glassman Roshi or other Zen teachers, I never saw a single Tibetan Buddhist teacher or senior student attending. It does seem that there is a deficient transmission in the West as these teachers often feel the need to spend at least some time learning or training in the Tibetan lineage, even after dharma transmission.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
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LastLegend
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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Matt J wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 3:17 pm The problem I had with Western Zen teachers is that they were often frankly unaware of states of mind and how to navigate them. My last year or so with Zen I sat in dull or trance-like states. My teachers were unable to provide any guidance. When I had meditation problems, they were not familiar with them and again were unable to provide guidance. I found this different from Theravada teachers who were usually very familiar with the workings of the mind, although they were unable to deal with certain issues as well.

I live in a very Buddhist area. When teachers such as Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, Thrangu Rinpoche, and Tsoknyi Rinpoche came to give teachings, I spotted a lot of local fully transmitted official Zen teachers in the audience. However, when I attended talks by Bernie Glassman Roshi or other Zen teachers, I never saw a single Tibetan Buddhist teacher or senior student attending. It does seem that there is a deficient transmission in the West as these teachers often feel the need to spend at least some time learning or training in the Tibetan lineage, even after dharma transmission.
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Dan74
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by Dan74 »

Matt J wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 3:17 pm The problem I had with Western Zen teachers is that they were often frankly unaware of states of mind and how to navigate them. My last year or so with Zen I sat in dull or trance-like states. My teachers were unable to provide any guidance. When I had meditation problems, they were not familiar with them and again were unable to provide guidance. I found this different from Theravada teachers who were usually very familiar with the workings of the mind, although they were unable to deal with certain issues as well.

I live in a very Buddhist area. When teachers such as Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche, Thrangu Rinpoche, and Tsoknyi Rinpoche came to give teachings, I spotted a lot of local fully transmitted official Zen teachers in the audience. However, when I attended talks by Bernie Glassman Roshi or other Zen teachers, I never saw a single Tibetan Buddhist teacher or senior student attending. It does seem that there is a deficient transmission in the West as these teachers often feel the need to spend at least some time learning or training in the Tibetan lineage, even after dharma transmission.
I think it really depends. The long-term teacher I had in Australia (from the Korean Seon tradition) was always able to give me guidance. Over the 13 years I studied with her, I never felt that she lacked the depth of practice and insight in order to guide me. When I did a short retreat with Meido Roshi, I didn't really have any questions, but I also felt confident that he was more than sufficiently competent and walked the talk, so to speak.

That said, Zen teachers are not necessarily perfect and may still have some rough edges and issues they grapple with. But as long as they don't significantly get in the way of the teacher-student relationship, this is fine with me.

I am sure there are Tibetan teachers who lack sufficient insight and realisation and there are Zen teachers like that too. Perhaps one salient difference is that the Zen teachers in the West are predominantly Western and the Tibetans are predominantly Tibetan and this can easily colour the way we perceive each of them.
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by reiun »

Matylda wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:29 pm
clyde wrote: Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:32 pm This is a question for Zen students (not Zen teachers nor about other traditions, only those that follow from Bodhidharma).

Is it your understanding that all Zen teachers have had an awakening (commonly expressed in Zen as “seeing one’s true nature”) though to varying degrees? It’s my understanding that it’s so and matches my limited exposure to some Western Zen teachers.

But I’m curious how others see it.
It is one of most important questions I think. Generally I do not think so.. In the West I never met anyone.
It is valuable that you are so astute.
Matylda wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:29 pm In Japan there are only a few probably. In zen, a teacher cannot get his disciple beyond his own state of experience and realisation. If he has none, than we cannot expect any of his students to go through it in a genuine way.
A student is capable of attaining his or her own state of experience and realization, irrelevant of the teacher's, because it is the student who does the work, the heavy lifting, not the teacher. The teacher's required skillful means are just a guardrail, the rest is up to the student. Each student has their own capability.
Matylda wrote: Sat Jun 27, 2020 6:29 pm Soto escaped into stating that shikan taza is all, so there is no way to check on them or their realisation, for this soto is harshly criticized. And in fact it almost completely lost zen spirit.
Rinzai got stuck in very formalistic koan curriculum, and many think of it as the whole thing. Nowdays some rinzai teachers, one of most important in Japan criticize this position, and point to attaining genuine samadhi and realisation, going beyond sensless koan training where seldom one attains kensho or seeing the nature.
No comment on Soto.

Calling koan training "senseless" is meant to be a criticism, right, not some eye-ear-nose-tongue-body-mind-color-sound-smell-taste-touch-thinking irony?

Especially under the circumstance when the student is in the room with the teacher, and the student passes Mu and has that "bottom drops out" moment, and the gaze is locked, then we can talk about another kind of senseless.

Just as with a car, if you don't wash and polish it, it will lose its luster. If the oil wears too thin you risk blowing the engine. As seeker242 has pointed out, actualization is key, and maintenance of actualization is essential for both teacher and student. Zazen is a way to do this. Complementary continued koan study with a teacher is also. In Rinzai there is the possibility/probability that experience transmitted through healthy lineages provides a wealth of good teaching material and the means to evaluate its effects, as offered.
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

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reiun wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 5:27 pm A student is capable of attaining his or her own state of experience and realization, irrelevant of the teacher's, because it is the student who does the work, the heavy lifting, not the teacher. The teacher's required skillful means are just a guardrail, the rest is up to the student. Each student has their own capability.
Teacher is lazy. Then I personally can’t have such teacher because I am lazy.
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by reiun »

LastLegend wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:06 pm Teacher is lazy. Then I personally can’t have such teacher because I am lazy.
Maybe try making a personal vow to address your weakness?
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LastLegend
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by LastLegend »

reiun wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:38 pm
LastLegend wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 6:06 pm Teacher is lazy. Then I personally can’t have such teacher because I am lazy.
Maybe try making a personal vow to address your weakness?
‘I vow not to practice as hard.’
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Daizan
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by Daizan »

Matylda wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:24 am
Daizan wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 2:29 am
What I think you're trying to say is that Eastern culture tends to be more holistic and Western culture tends to be more individualistic.
Buddhism could be seen as being more holistic than individualistic, and therefore more easily integrated into a culture that tends to value holism.
On the other hand, a culture that experiences the stress that individualism may be prone to could be hungry for a holism that reduces this stress, in which case Western soil would be fertile ground, at least for the segment of it that's lost touch with religion/spirit.
Well terms like holistic or individualisic I thnik do not even exist in the East.
They are terms or concepts that describe characteristics. It doesn't matter if Easterners recognize these qualities for them to exist. An arid climate doesn't need to recognize that it's an arid climate for it to be an arid climate, for example, it just needs to be relatively dry or have less precipitation than other climates. You can deny that the characteristics are correctly applied, or you can deny that they are relevant to the subject.
So it is already problem how to communicate zen teaching that it does not fall into the pit of great misunderstanding.


I don't see how this follows from the previous statement but would guess that few would doubt that Zen teaching is difficult to grasp or practice.
But it is possible that thinking in he western hemisphere is determined by the Western philosophy since 17th century, and overloaded intellect.
Whatever this 17th-century Western philosophy is that you're referring to I'll assume it not zen-like and leave it at that. In regard to the critique of being "overloaded," it goes well beyond intellect. Westerners overload themselves with food, stimulates and depressants, work, etc. etc. all resulting in stress. Recently I've learned that Westerners even tend to breathe too much and this leads to health issues.

Once again this only highlights the fertile ground or need for something like Zen practice.
The other thing is that nobody told people in the Far East that the Earth with its living creatures was given to them, always it was obvious that power of nature is feeding and also killing, and as human beings we depend entirely on weather and nature. There was no other supreme power to govern our lives. no Creator who loves us and hates us.
According to the Pew Research Center, Western nations vary between 10-50% atheist. Also, I don't see why someone content with their religious life would be interested in Buddhism or want to understand it.
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by muni »

A Buddha would ‘receive’ any sentient being with no differentiation.
Lastlegend,
Because Buddha does not cling to great or small, women or man, such or such... whatever classification or form.
Buddha perceives Buddha.
Wisdom plays without obstructions, automatically helping all dreams to awaken, out of suffering.
We can use guidance, and then indeed the work to awaken is for us.
Zen instructions are very very simple... just body breath and proper focus. There is not much to add to it
One learns zen more through the body than teaching in the sense of reason or intelectual explanation
Hi Mathilda,
It are perhaps karmic dreams who are very complex. "Don't know", a Tibetan master gave as example, an example stolen from Zen. It seems to take self-ground away. Its actually all I know about Zen: Don't know.

Wonderful.
*I do not teach separation.* sz.

Wisdom beings know that we are not separate. This is why they are able to grant blessings."
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by PeterC »

Malcolm wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 3:10 pm
Matylda wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:05 am
Malcolm wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 2:49 am

If I am ever in Japan, I’m inviting You to dinner at your favorite restaurant.
:thanks: but you cannot afford it :D
Don’t be so sure. :cheers:
Malcolm, as someone who has had to pick up the bill in high-end restaurants in Tokyo many times, let me give you some advice for once - don't fight her on this one.
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seeker242
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by seeker242 »

Astus wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 3:54 pm
Malcolm wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 3:43 pmYes, Astus rejects utterly the notion of transmission, he always has. He thinks Dharma can be learned from books.
Dharma transmission in Zen is not about one person teaching another, but one person authorising another after that other has already mastered everything that had to be mastered.
"everything that had to be mastered" in order to do what though? Teach beings how to practice appropriately? Point them in the right direction, etc, etc? Which is what a teacher's job is. Does one really need to have attained anuttara samyak sambodhi in order to do that teacher job properly?
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by LastLegend »

seeker242 wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:05 pm
Astus wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 3:54 pm
Malcolm wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 3:43 pmYes, Astus rejects utterly the notion of transmission, he always has. He thinks Dharma can be learned from books.
Dharma transmission in Zen is not about one person teaching another, but one person authorising another after that other has already mastered everything that had to be mastered.
"everything that had to be mastered" in order to do what though? Teach beings how to practice appropriately? Point them in the right direction, etc, etc? Which is what a teacher's job is. Does one really need to have attained anuttara samyak sambodhi in order to do that teacher job properly?
I probably don’t know what sambodhi is. Barely minimum has transcended both Nirvana and samsara, otherwise it’s hard to produce a line of enlightened successors.
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by Caoimhghín »

seeker242 wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:05 pm
Astus wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 3:54 pm
Malcolm wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 3:43 pmYes, Astus rejects utterly the notion of transmission, he always has. He thinks Dharma can be learned from books.
Dharma transmission in Zen is not about one person teaching another, but one person authorising another after that other has already mastered everything that had to be mastered.
"everything that had to be mastered" in order to do what though? Teach beings how to practice appropriately? Point them in the right direction, etc, etc? Which is what a teacher's job is. Does one really need to have attained anuttara samyak sambodhi in order to do that teacher job properly?
I think the idea is they are supposed to be teaching mind by way of mind, or transmitting mind are other phrases you can hear. I'm limiting my participation in the thread, but hopefully this isn't redundant or foolish to point out.

If mind is being conventionally spoken of as being transmitted, one should hope it's a noble mind.
Then, the monks sang this gāthā:

These bodies are like foam.
Them being frail, who can rejoice in them?
The Buddha attained the vajra-body.
Still, it becomes inconstant and rots.
The many Buddhas are vajra-entities.
All are also subject to inconstancy.
Quickly ended, like melting snow --
how could things be different?

The Buddha passed into parinirvāṇa afterward.
(T1.27b10 Mahāparinirvāṇasūtra DĀ 2)
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by Matylda »

reiun wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 5:27 pm Calling koan training "senseless" is meant to be a criticism, right
yes in fact it is... in modern koan training kensho is very rare. And there are so many koans that finally people who do it, must count their passed koans, and somehow it becomes aimless. A few rinzai shike picked up this subject and gave or give their opinion about it, very critical opinion. But I do not think that it will change much in general.

There are people who complete koan training and are still far away from kensho or ad just some shallow. It was the meaning of sensless... some probably become teachers, it is my guess. So it refers also to the main subject - Are zen teachers awakened?
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by Matylda »

reiun wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 5:27 pm
Especially under the circumstance when the student is in the room with the teacher, and the student passes Mu and has that "bottom drops out" moment,
this drama does not happen anymore, bottom dropping out - it comes from very old texts of Chinese masters who came over to Japan in Kamakura era. today it is much less dramatic, since the power of practice is very weak in comparison with the oldies. Today it is enough to have just some intuition and there is another koan to go. we forgot that zen practice is for complete liberation, and there are many signs of it.
and the gaze is locked, then we can talk about another kind of senseless.
no. this would be another pitfall
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by reiun »

Matylda wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:44 pm
reiun wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 5:27 pm
Especially under the circumstance when the student is in the room with the teacher, and the student passes Mu and has that "bottom drops out" moment,
this drama does not happen anymore, bottom dropping out - it comes from very old texts of Chinese masters who came over to Japan in Kamakura era. today it is much less dramatic, since the power of practice is very weak in comparison with the oldies. Today it is enough to have just some intuition and there is another koan to go. we forgot that zen practice is for complete liberation, and there are many signs of it.
and the gaze is locked, then we can talk about another kind of senseless.
no. this would be another pitfall
Your opinion is misinformed and contradicted by direct contemporary experiences.
Malcolm
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by Malcolm »

reiun wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:21 pm
Matylda wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:44 pm
reiun wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 5:27 pm
Especially under the circumstance when the student is in the room with the teacher, and the student passes Mu and has that "bottom drops out" moment,
this drama does not happen anymore, bottom dropping out - it comes from very old texts of Chinese masters who came over to Japan in Kamakura era. today it is much less dramatic, since the power of practice is very weak in comparison with the oldies. Today it is enough to have just some intuition and there is another koan to go. we forgot that zen practice is for complete liberation, and there are many signs of it.
and the gaze is locked, then we can talk about another kind of senseless.
no. this would be another pitfall
Your opinion is misinformed and contradicted by direct contemporary experiences.
:popcorn:
"Nonduality is merely a name;
that name does not exist."
—Kotalipa
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seeker242
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by seeker242 »

Caoimhghín wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:29 pm
seeker242 wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:05 pm
Astus wrote: Fri Jul 03, 2020 3:54 pm

Dharma transmission in Zen is not about one person teaching another, but one person authorising another after that other has already mastered everything that had to be mastered.
"everything that had to be mastered" in order to do what though? Teach beings how to practice appropriately? Point them in the right direction, etc, etc? Which is what a teacher's job is. Does one really need to have attained anuttara samyak sambodhi in order to do that teacher job properly?
I think the idea is they are supposed to be teaching mind by way of mind, or transmitting mind are other phrases you can hear. I'm limiting my participation in the thread, but hopefully this isn't redundant or foolish to point out.

If mind is being conventionally spoken of as being transmitted, one should hope it's a noble mind.
Yes, but one could say there are varying degrees of "noble mind". For example, is the "noble mind" needed to be an actual and appropriate zen master equivalent to something like the 1st Bhumi or the 10th Bhumi? Big difference between the two, but still both could be called noble.
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: Are Zen teachers awakened?

Post by Matylda »

reiun wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 2:21 pm
Matylda wrote: Sun Jul 05, 2020 12:44 pm
reiun wrote: Sat Jul 04, 2020 5:27 pm
Especially under the circumstance when the student is in the room with the teacher, and the student passes Mu and has that "bottom drops out" moment,
this drama does not happen anymore, bottom dropping out - it comes from very old texts of Chinese masters who came over to Japan in Kamakura era. today it is much less dramatic, since the power of practice is very weak in comparison with the oldies. Today it is enough to have just some intuition and there is another koan to go. we forgot that zen practice is for complete liberation, and there are many signs of it.
and the gaze is locked, then we can talk about another kind of senseless.
no. this would be another pitfall
Your opinion is misinformed and contradicted by direct contemporary experiences.
What do you mean? do you mean that 'the locked gaze, and another kind of senseless' is any achievment? or do you mean something else?
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