How to figure out the soluton to a koan

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seeker242
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

Post by seeker242 »

Norwegian wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 3:22 pm
seeker242 wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 2:23 pm Kwan um students are not obligated to follow Japanese rules nor should they be. You can't break a rule that doesn't exist, it's impossible. Japanese rules are what is not relevant here.
reiun wrote: Wed Aug 18, 2021 9:15 pm (Regarding privacy of interviews in the Kwan Um School)
Sent to Practice Questions, [email protected]
I participate in an online forum where a topic regarding KUZ guidelines for discussing kung-an practice, in comparison to Zen or Chan schools, is now active. It would be most helpful if you could provide any information, especially regarding privacy and confidentiality on this specific topic, and if public discussion is permitted.
Received a request for more info, then a summary reply. To paraphrase, they encourage their students not to talk about answers to koans. Sometimes they talk about how to approach them or how they are used in different traditions.
That's correct. And as I explained to others earlier that means you are not allowed to give away answers or ask other people for the answer. Neither of those things have been done here.
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

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PeterC wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 11:23 am
KeithA wrote: Wed Aug 18, 2021 7:50 pm ...I always understood the practice of working with other traditions as a way broadening one's horizon, not a confrontation. ...
I'm not familiar with Seung Sahn's school.
Clearly not. But thanks for the lecture. :roll:

(I did say I would bow out, but I was quoted, so I answered.)

_/|\_
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

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I'm surprised that given Zen literature, Japanese Roshis would be taken aback by this.
Matylda wrote: Wed Aug 18, 2021 10:22 pm Yes at least from my side it was like this. You see part of the responsibility roshi would put on me actually. But I tried my best, honestly. Anyway the first strange glance of roshi was at me. It happened more than once with different roshis, and this hard look was saying Are you insane? I mean it meant me, not the other person. Once even roshi asked me Are you ok? Which sounds in Japanese like a serious worry. There were moments I felt desperate but sometimes I was on the verge of lougher. Seriously. Of course I did not do it, no by no means.
"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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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

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KeithA wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 8:29 pm
PeterC wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 11:23 am
KeithA wrote: Wed Aug 18, 2021 7:50 pm ...I always understood the practice of working with other traditions as a way broadening one's horizon, not a confrontation. ...
I'm not familiar with Seung Sahn's school.
Clearly not. But thanks for the lecture. :roll:

(I did say I would bow out, but I was quoted, so I answered.)

_/|\_
You didn’t read my post either it seems
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

Post by Matylda »

Matt J wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 8:36 pm I'm surprised that given Zen literature, Japanese Roshis would be taken aback by this.
Matylda wrote: Wed Aug 18, 2021 10:22 pm Yes at least from my side it was like this. You see part of the responsibility roshi would put on me actually. But I tried my best, honestly. Anyway the first strange glance of roshi was at me. It happened more than once with different roshis, and this hard look was saying Are you insane? I mean it meant me, not the other person. Once even roshi asked me Are you ok? Which sounds in Japanese like a serious worry. There were moments I felt desperate but sometimes I was on the verge of lougher. Seriously. Of course I did not do it, no by no means.
why? what do you mean by 'that given Zen literature' etc?
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

Post by Arnoud »

Matylda wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 10:29 am
Matt J wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 8:36 pm I'm surprised that given Zen literature, Japanese Roshis would be taken aback by this.
Matylda wrote: Wed Aug 18, 2021 10:22 pm Yes at least from my side it was like this. You see part of the responsibility roshi would put on me actually. But I tried my best, honestly. Anyway the first strange glance of roshi was at me. It happened more than once with different roshis, and this hard look was saying Are you insane? I mean it meant me, not the other person. Once even roshi asked me Are you ok? Which sounds in Japanese like a serious worry. There were moments I felt desperate but sometimes I was on the verge of lougher. Seriously. Of course I did not do it, no by no means.
why? what do you mean by 'that given Zen literature' etc?
Not Matt, but Zen Roshis are often portrayed as too cool to be bothered by that stuff. Maybe that’s where Matt’s confusion stems from.
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

Post by Matt J »

The stories of the old Zen masters, how they acted, how they were challenged, and how they behaved. They appeared not to be bound up by-- well, by anything.

A lot of people adopt this Zen style to challenge all sorts of masters in America, even non-Zen ones.
Matylda wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 10:29 am why? what do you mean by 'that given Zen literature' etc?
"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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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

Post by JimTempleman »

I'm just an outsider trying to clear things up:
PeterC wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 11:23 am Returning to the broader point of the discussion. I'm not familiar with Seung Sahn's school.
I do know some monks who have trained in Korea (originally from other countries) in temples that don't have dokusan. By definition, they're not discussing what goes on in dokusan among themselves, because they don't have that.
So if we're talking about whether dokusan should be a private matter not discussed in public - as is the norm in both Japanese and Chinese contexts - then I don't see how Seung Sahn or other Korean schools would be relevant to that discussion. If according to the well-established practices of the lineages who do dokusan, it is meant to be private and not publicly discussed - which it is - then that's how it should be treated on this board, IMHO.
So PeterC was under the impression that Korean Seon schools (including Seung Sahn's school) had no dokusan, & therefore had no bearing on the matter as to how it should be presented on this forum. But clearly the Seung Sahn's school has a version of 'dokusan,' and this is what raises the issue of their right to decide how their students practice it & discuss it on this forum (or anywhere else).

From my standpoint, this entire tread poses an interesting koan, in & of itself.
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

Post by PeterC »

JimTempleman wrote: Sun Aug 22, 2021 3:28 am I'm just an outsider trying to clear things up:
PeterC wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 11:23 am Returning to the broader point of the discussion. I'm not familiar with Seung Sahn's school.
I do know some monks who have trained in Korea (originally from other countries) in temples that don't have dokusan. By definition, they're not discussing what goes on in dokusan among themselves, because they don't have that.
So if we're talking about whether dokusan should be a private matter not discussed in public - as is the norm in both Japanese and Chinese contexts - then I don't see how Seung Sahn or other Korean schools would be relevant to that discussion. If according to the well-established practices of the lineages who do dokusan, it is meant to be private and not publicly discussed - which it is - then that's how it should be treated on this board, IMHO.
So PeterC was under the impression that Korean Seon schools (including Seung Sahn's school) had no dokusan, & therefore had no bearing on the matter as to how it should be presented on this forum. But clearly the Seung Sahn's school has a version of 'dokusan,' and this is what raises the issue of their right to decide how their students practice it & discuss it on this forum (or anywhere else).

From my standpoint, this entire tread poses an interesting koan, in & of itself.
Not really. First, as far as I can see OP (who is now long gone) never said he practiced in Seung Shan’s school. So it’s not clear that their practices are even relevant.

But if they are, two opinions have been presented;
1. They don’t do dokusan. So my argument quoted above applies.
2. They do do dokusan but encourage students to keep it private. So by their own rules we shouldn’t be discussing it. This may or may not matter, depending on which school OP is in.

So all roads lead us to the same destination.

As a more general point, I’m not aware of any Buddhist tradition that encourages discussing your personal practice and results thereof with anyone other than your personal teachers. They may exist but they would be highly unusual.
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

Post by Matylda »

Matt J wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 3:18 pm The stories of the old Zen masters, how they acted, how they were challenged, and how they behaved. They appeared not to be bound up by-- well, by anything.

A lot of people adopt this Zen style to challenge all sorts of masters in America, even non-Zen ones.
Matylda wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 10:29 am why? what do you mean by 'that given Zen literature' etc?

Well I think that in the West, where most zen people were never to Japan, Japanese monastery, did not do training there, nor to China and training there, Korea included, the general view comes only from books. This may disturb the idea of zen or zen masters.
Books sometimes collect on 200-300 pages stories which happened during 1500 years of zen history. From a book one may think that roshi is kind of hippie, crazy yogin, or at least some weird guy. I do not say that sometimes happened that there were masters who had strange chracter, but generally 99% of them are just normal citizens of Japan, who have to follow social rules, customs etc.
Japan had at least a few waves of crazy foreigners, who brushed through the monasteries which had allowed them initially, but those people were totally crazy and out of any acceptable line. So it was quickly stoped. there is originally not 'Zen style of challenge' it is purely Western idea. And someone misinformed people.

I do not know what happens in America and what kind of things people adopt there. I do not know anything about style of challenge since nothing like this exists in Japan. Sorry for that. BTW if I am not wrong all this 'challenge' meaning, this challenge would be simply considered as an arrogance. Since who is challenging whom? A poor guy, who read too much? is he going to challenge zen roshi??? do you seriously think so? and the poor convert to zen, knowing just nothing, is he going to judge if roshi is cool or not? it would be a tantamount of pure arrogance, and ill information. Such person is not fit for zen training whatsoever.

Moreover this so called challenege or freedom, has its limits even among there proponents. why? Because they also knnow what is 'polite' and what is 'impolite'. If you treat them 'impolite' they freak out completely. Then were is their freedom of challenge?
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

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Kwan um does do what could easily be called "dokusan" or "Sanzen", but it's not called that because those are Japanese words. If you read descriptions of what dokusan/sanzen is, one would say "Yup, that's what we do. Pretty much the same thing" However, there is no rule or even encouragement to keep it all private.

From wikipedia:
Sanzen (参禅), aka nisshitsu (入室), means going to a Zen master for instruction. In the Rinzai school, it has the same meaning as dokusan, which is specifically a private interview between student and master,[1] often centering on the student's grasp of an assigned koan. If the master rings a bell to dismiss the student, this means the student's understanding is not right and that their work with the koan must continue. It is typically held twice a day in a monastery, though during a week-long sesshin sanzen may take place as often as four times in one day
That's pretty much what is done, minus some minor differences in ritual formalities. It's the same thing. And no mention anywhere that it needs be keep private.
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

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Matylda wrote: Sun Aug 22, 2021 6:24 am I do not know what happens in America and what kind of things people adopt there. I do not know anything about style of challenge since nothing like this exists in Japan. Sorry for that. BTW if I am not wrong all this 'challenge' meaning, this challenge would be simply considered as an arrogance. Since who is challenging whom? A poor guy, who read too much? is he going to challenge zen roshi??? do you seriously think so? and the poor convert to zen, knowing just nothing, is he going to judge if roshi is cool or not? it would be a tantamount of pure arrogance, and ill information. Such person is not fit for zen training whatsoever.
I don't know how it works in other schools but in Kwan Um the style is very confrontational. Often, an interview will be nothing but challenges. Teachers continually challenge the student and the student is encouraged to challenge the teacher. It is very much a "Dharma Combat" type of atmosphere. Zen Master Seung Sahn put it like this "It's like fighting. The master attacks. How can you defend yourself? You have to attack!" or "If the master grabs a sword, you grab one too!" Students are very much encouraged to challenge the teacher, one could even go so far as to say that is what is expected and entirely normal thing. It's not considered impolite to attack the teacher. Seung Sahn encouraged students to "try and kill him" just like one would "kill the Buddha, kill one's parents" etc.
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

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My roshi works practice much like this when in group study, but if a student goes out on a limb he is not waiting with an axe, just patience. If he sees evidence of consistent effort and a mistake then all is well, a swing and miss is still practice. Coming in unprepared is pretty quickly obvious. Questions of him by the students is a frequent occurence. There is no doubt he is the roshi leading the practice, but for my part, him being able to take it as well as dish it out is the reason I stayed around.

He requests weekly dokusan of his students and is always open for other conversations- perhaps this is feasible given its a small sangha. It is understood that is generally a private conversation. I don't think he would tolerate gossip.
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

Post by Matylda »

seeker242 wrote: Sun Aug 22, 2021 2:39 pm
Matylda wrote: Sun Aug 22, 2021 6:24 am I do not know what happens in America and what kind of things people adopt there. I do not know anything about style of challenge since nothing like this exists in Japan. Sorry for that. BTW if I am not wrong all this 'challenge' meaning, this challenge would be simply considered as an arrogance. Since who is challenging whom? A poor guy, who read too much? is he going to challenge zen roshi??? do you seriously think so? and the poor convert to zen, knowing just nothing, is he going to judge if roshi is cool or not? it would be a tantamount of pure arrogance, and ill information. Such person is not fit for zen training whatsoever.
I don't know how it works in other schools but in Kwan Um the style is very confrontational. Often, an interview will be nothing but challenges. Teachers continually challenge the student and the student is encouraged to challenge the teacher. It is very much a "Dharma Combat" type of atmosphere. Zen Master Seung Sahn put it like this "It's like fighting. The master attacks. How can you defend yourself? You have to attack!" or "If the master grabs a sword, you grab one too!" Students are very much encouraged to challenge the teacher, one could even go so far as to say that is what is expected and entirely normal thing. It's not considered impolite to attack the teacher. Seung Sahn encouraged students to "try and kill him" just like one would "kill the Buddha, kill one's parents" etc.
Well it could be like you say.
anyway in traditional zen enviroment in Japan which has long history, students have to listen and to follow. The tome of possible challenege if any, is only after disciple got some understanding. And it takes decades. To develope samdhi power to have an insight, kensho, satori or some deeper experience. Before that student can say simply nothing. And it is in accordance with the oldest teachings in zen, teachings of Bodhidharma, quoted by Hakuin.
So what people read about killing buddha, patriarchs or anyone else, is unseen in Japan in the form you describe. Students have really very little to say, what is obvious since they lack wisdom, they are just like anyone else, unenlightened poor beings wandering in samsara. The only thing they can do is to rely on a teacher. Genuine zen teacher, not an imposter.
Your master as you wrote gave clear instructions for challenging each other or teachers, I guess only of your school, and then it is fine. But it will be only characteristic of this one school, which is I think kind of mosern development. Nothing bad, if it has a good purpose, but do not expect from all other traditions to follow such pattern.
If anyone is going to practice in Japan must then forget about challenging any teacher. It would be end of the adventure.
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

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Matylda wrote: Sun Aug 22, 2021 10:24 pm
seeker242 wrote: Sun Aug 22, 2021 2:39 pm
Matylda wrote: Sun Aug 22, 2021 6:24 am I do not know what happens in America and what kind of things people adopt there. I do not know anything about style of challenge since nothing like this exists in Japan. Sorry for that. BTW if I am not wrong all this 'challenge' meaning, this challenge would be simply considered as an arrogance. Since who is challenging whom? A poor guy, who read too much? is he going to challenge zen roshi??? do you seriously think so? and the poor convert to zen, knowing just nothing, is he going to judge if roshi is cool or not? it would be a tantamount of pure arrogance, and ill information. Such person is not fit for zen training whatsoever.
I don't know how it works in other schools but in Kwan Um the style is very confrontational. Often, an interview will be nothing but challenges. Teachers continually challenge the student and the student is encouraged to challenge the teacher. It is very much a "Dharma Combat" type of atmosphere. Zen Master Seung Sahn put it like this "It's like fighting. The master attacks. How can you defend yourself? You have to attack!" or "If the master grabs a sword, you grab one too!" Students are very much encouraged to challenge the teacher, one could even go so far as to say that is what is expected and entirely normal thing. It's not considered impolite to attack the teacher. Seung Sahn encouraged students to "try and kill him" just like one would "kill the Buddha, kill one's parents" etc.
Well it could be like you say.
anyway in traditional zen enviroment in Japan which has long history, students have to listen and to follow. The tome of possible challenege if any, is only after disciple got some understanding. And it takes decades. To develope samdhi power to have an insight, kensho, satori or some deeper experience. Before that student can say simply nothing. And it is in accordance with the oldest teachings in zen, teachings of Bodhidharma, quoted by Hakuin.
So what people read about killing buddha, patriarchs or anyone else, is unseen in Japan in the form you describe. Students have really very little to say, what is obvious since they lack wisdom, they are just like anyone else, unenlightened poor beings wandering in samsara. The only thing they can do is to rely on a teacher. Genuine zen teacher, not an imposter.
Your master as you wrote gave clear instructions for challenging each other or teachers, I guess only of your school, and then it is fine. But it will be only characteristic of this one school, which is I think kind of mosern development. Nothing bad, if it has a good purpose, but do not expect from all other traditions to follow such pattern.
If anyone is going to practice in Japan must then forget about challenging any teacher. It would be end of the adventure.
Looking at zen in the US, back when Seung Sahn first arrived from Korea, I think it would be accurate to say, one could even say obvious, that he intentionally taught in a style that was distinctly different than Japanese style. Which is understandable as Korean Buddhism has a good amount of history trying to distinguish itself from Japanese Buddhism. In the Book "Zen Masters" by Steven Heine and Dale Wright, there is a chapter on him and his style and it says "what Seung Sahn’s image of Zen attempts to do is to protest the hegemony of Japanese Zen in the West and its presumption to speak for all the branches of the school.". I would say that's entirely accurate. Which was really nothing new for him and his lineage. As it says in the same book, "Seung Sahn’s own grandmaster, Man’gong (1872–1946) was remembered for his “deafening Zen shout” at a Japanese governor and declaring, “For what reason should Korean Buddhism follow Japanese Buddhism? The person who stresses such an idea must be in hell.” :lol: A lot of his early students commented that the reason why they chose Seung Sahn was that is was a distinctly different style from Japanese style, which at the time, was pretty much the one and only style in the US.
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

Post by reiun »

seeker242 wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 1:07 am
Matylda wrote: Sun Aug 22, 2021 10:24 pm
seeker242 wrote: Sun Aug 22, 2021 2:39 pm

I don't know how it works in other schools but in Kwan Um the style is very confrontational. Often, an interview will be nothing but challenges. Teachers continually challenge the student and the student is encouraged to challenge the teacher. It is very much a "Dharma Combat" type of atmosphere. Zen Master Seung Sahn put it like this "It's like fighting. The master attacks. How can you defend yourself? You have to attack!" or "If the master grabs a sword, you grab one too!" Students are very much encouraged to challenge the teacher, one could even go so far as to say that is what is expected and entirely normal thing. It's not considered impolite to attack the teacher. Seung Sahn encouraged students to "try and kill him" just like one would "kill the Buddha, kill one's parents" etc.
Well it could be like you say.
anyway in traditional zen enviroment in Japan which has long history, students have to listen and to follow. The tome of possible challenege if any, is only after disciple got some understanding. And it takes decades. To develope samdhi power to have an insight, kensho, satori or some deeper experience. Before that student can say simply nothing. And it is in accordance with the oldest teachings in zen, teachings of Bodhidharma, quoted by Hakuin.
So what people read about killing buddha, patriarchs or anyone else, is unseen in Japan in the form you describe. Students have really very little to say, what is obvious since they lack wisdom, they are just like anyone else, unenlightened poor beings wandering in samsara. The only thing they can do is to rely on a teacher. Genuine zen teacher, not an imposter.
Your master as you wrote gave clear instructions for challenging each other or teachers, I guess only of your school, and then it is fine. But it will be only characteristic of this one school, which is I think kind of mosern development. Nothing bad, if it has a good purpose, but do not expect from all other traditions to follow such pattern.
If anyone is going to practice in Japan must then forget about challenging any teacher. It would be end of the adventure.
Looking at zen in the US, back when Seung Sahn first arrived from Korea, I think it would be accurate to say, one could even say obvious, that he intentionally taught in a style that was distinctly different than Japanese style. Which is understandable as Korean Buddhism has a good amount of history trying to distinguish itself from Japanese Buddhism. In the Book "Zen Masters" by Steven Heine and Dale Wright, there is a chapter on him and his style and it says "what Seung Sahn’s image of Zen attempts to do is to protest the hegemony of Japanese Zen in the West and its presumption to speak for all the branches of the school.". I would say that's entirely accurate. Which was really nothing new for him and his lineage. As it says in the same book, "Seung Sahn’s own grandmaster, Man’gong (1872–1946) was remembered for his “deafening Zen shout” at a Japanese governor and declaring, “For what reason should Korean Buddhism follow Japanese Buddhism? The person who stresses such an idea must be in hell.” :lol: A lot of his early students commented that the reason why they chose Seung Sahn was that is was a distinctly different style from Japanese style, which at the time, was pretty much the one and only style in the US.
I'm sure many students are grateful for the good efforts of Seung Sahn to bring Korean Buddhism to the West. The fact that Japanese and Chinese Zen preceded it means that Korean Buddhism did, in fact, follow time-wise, albeit with its own distinct confrontational approach, as has been explained here. As far as "the hegemony of Japanese Zen in the West", quoted here in a pejorative sense, and anyone's need to protest it: this seems weak, insecure, and disrespectful of a rich and beneficial, if different, tradition, which is now well-rooted here. Perhaps history is involved.
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

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reiun wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 2:44 am Perhaps history is involved.
I would say most definitely that is the case as the Japanese invaded Korea several times and then tried to declare and dictate how Buddhism should be practiced, which was considered extraordinarily disrespectful by the Koreans. It was considered inappropriate and disrespectful back then and I don't think that has changed any.
The fact that Japanese and Chinese Zen preceded it
I'm no history buff but I don't think that's accurate. From what I have read, out of China, Korea and Japan, Japan was the last country to receive Buddhism so to speak. One could even say that Buddhism in Japan was introduced from Korea.
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

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Matylda wrote: Sun Aug 22, 2021 6:24 am
Matt J wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 3:18 pm The stories of the old Zen masters, how they acted, how they were challenged, and how they behaved. They appeared not to be bound up by-- well, by anything.

A lot of people adopt this Zen style to challenge all sorts of masters in America, even non-Zen ones.
Matylda wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 10:29 am why? what do you mean by 'that given Zen literature' etc?

Well I think that in the West, where most zen people were never to Japan, Japanese monastery, did not do training there, nor to China and training there, Korea included, the general view comes only from books. This may disturb the idea of zen or zen masters.
Books sometimes collect on 200-300 pages stories which happened during 1500 years of zen history. From a book one may think that roshi is kind of hippie, crazy yogin, or at least some weird guy. I do not say that sometimes happened that there were masters who had strange chracter, but generally 99% of them are just normal citizens of Japan, who have to follow social rules, customs etc.
Japan had at least a few waves of crazy foreigners, who brushed through the monasteries which had allowed them initially, but those people were totally crazy and out of any acceptable line. So it was quickly stoped. there is originally not 'Zen style of challenge' it is purely Western idea. And someone misinformed people.

I do not know what happens in America and what kind of things people adopt there. I do not know anything about style of challenge since nothing like this exists in Japan. Sorry for that. BTW if I am not wrong all this 'challenge' meaning, this challenge would be simply considered as an arrogance. Since who is challenging whom? A poor guy, who read too much? is he going to challenge zen roshi??? do you seriously think so? and the poor convert to zen, knowing just nothing, is he going to judge if roshi is cool or not? it would be a tantamount of pure arrogance, and ill information. Such person is not fit for zen training whatsoever.

Moreover this so called challenege or freedom, has its limits even among there proponents. why? Because they also knnow what is 'polite' and what is 'impolite'. If you treat them 'impolite' they freak out completely. Then were is their freedom of challenge?
This is a very good post
"One should cultivate contemplation in one’s foibles. The foibles are like fish, and contemplation is like fishing hooks. If there are no fish, then the fishing hooks have no use. The bigger the fish is, the better the result we will get. As long as the fishing hooks keep at it, all foibles will eventually be contained and controlled at will." -Zhiyi

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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

Post by Matylda »

seeker242 wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 1:07 am Looking at zen in the US, back when Seung Sahn first arrived from Korea, I think it would be accurate to say, one could even say obvious, that he intentionally taught in a style that was distinctly different than Japanese style. Which is understandable as Korean Buddhism has a good amount of history trying to distinguish itself from Japanese Buddhism. In the Book "Zen Masters" by Steven Heine and Dale Wright, there is a chapter on him and his style and it says "what Seung Sahn’s image of Zen attempts to do is to protest the hegemony of Japanese Zen in the West and its presumption to speak for all the branches of the school.". I would say that's entirely accurate. Which was really nothing new for him and his lineage. As it says in the same book, "Seung Sahn’s own grandmaster, Man’gong (1872–1946) was remembered for his “deafening Zen shout” at a Japanese governor and declaring, “For what reason should Korean Buddhism follow Japanese Buddhism? The person who stresses such an idea must be in hell.” :lol: A lot of his early students commented that the reason why they chose Seung Sahn was that is was a distinctly different style from Japanese style, which at the time, was pretty much the one and only style in the US.
Sounds as if there is some sort of gurdge against Japanese zen within Korean KUZ community. Starting woth its founder. Interesting.
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seeker242
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Re: How to figure out the soluton to a koan

Post by seeker242 »

Matylda wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 5:26 am
seeker242 wrote: Mon Aug 23, 2021 1:07 am Looking at zen in the US, back when Seung Sahn first arrived from Korea, I think it would be accurate to say, one could even say obvious, that he intentionally taught in a style that was distinctly different than Japanese style. Which is understandable as Korean Buddhism has a good amount of history trying to distinguish itself from Japanese Buddhism. In the Book "Zen Masters" by Steven Heine and Dale Wright, there is a chapter on him and his style and it says "what Seung Sahn’s image of Zen attempts to do is to protest the hegemony of Japanese Zen in the West and its presumption to speak for all the branches of the school.". I would say that's entirely accurate. Which was really nothing new for him and his lineage. As it says in the same book, "Seung Sahn’s own grandmaster, Man’gong (1872–1946) was remembered for his “deafening Zen shout” at a Japanese governor and declaring, “For what reason should Korean Buddhism follow Japanese Buddhism? The person who stresses such an idea must be in hell.” :lol: A lot of his early students commented that the reason why they chose Seung Sahn was that is was a distinctly different style from Japanese style, which at the time, was pretty much the one and only style in the US.
Sounds as if there is some sort of gurdge against Japanese zen within Korean KUZ community. Starting woth its founder. Interesting.
Nothing could be further from the truth really. As it says in the book I mentiond earlier, speaking about the founder Seung Sahn:

"But it must be pointed out that this subtext of national and cultural pride arising from a history of neighborly competition had never interfered in his relations with his Japanese Zen counterparts. His best friend remained the Soto Zen master Taizan Maezumi, and he himself had never been disparaging about Japanese Zen."

If there is any grudge really, it is just against people expressing the sentiment of "You should do it my way, because my way is better than your way. Your way is wrong and misguided", etc, etc. because that's just inherently disrespectful.
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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