zen masters...

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
darvki
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Re: zen masters...

Post by darvki » Tue Dec 18, 2012 7:24 pm

alan... wrote:but clearly i'm getting no where and asking actual zen practitioners already proved useless as well so i give up.
I don't see your question on Zen Forum International. I would seriously try there. I guarantee you won't get "it's all Zen" answers.

Dan74
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Re: zen masters...

Post by Dan74 » Tue Dec 18, 2012 9:49 pm

alan... wrote:
daverupa wrote:
but asking Theravada Buddhists to justify Mahayana tactics is somewhat odd, isn't it?

apparently it was quite a waste of time lol!

although everyone shares vinaya i think right? so it's still a reasonable question: how do they get around the vinaya and still maintain status as masters?

but clearly i'm getting no where and asking actual zen practitioners already proved useless as well so i give up.
Japanese Zen does not have the Vinaya, not for a long time really.

As for your earlier statements, a narrative by Hakuin like the one you've quoted does not make him a violent man in my book, nor within the Japanese culture of the time. When you said in your earlier post violent, this to me implies intention, and this is how the Buddha taught. If the intention is to harm, this makes a person violent. I don't see that passage by Hakuin going anywhere to prove his intention to harm.

But more importantly can you show me the Vinaya rule about striking your disciple? I am not familiar with it.

Yeah, sure, I am biased. But it'd be good to get things straight first. As it stands we have one Rinzai Zen master writing about his poor disciples who toiled and suffered under his harsh words and blows and another known much more for his poetry and eccentric ways. Have you actually studied under a Zen teacher? Mine's a celibate nun who neither drinks, nor beats me, nor goes to brothels, and neither did her teacher who was one of the foremost Zen masters of his generation. The two other Zen teachers I know, who are Japanese Soto are hard-working gentle people who do none of these things either.

So what are you after, exactly? A condemnation by the Theravadins of Zen masters as heretics? Actually Japanese Zen establishment said that of Ikkyu during his lifetime and afterwards too.

The bottom-line for me is human beings do as human beings do. And if one is a true Zen master he/she will manifest their enlightenment in skillful compassionate action and yet sometimes they may have some rough edges. Maybe some don't, but most will!

PS As for useless, perhaps communication needs some fine tuning here..
_/|\_

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m0rl0ck
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Re: zen masters...

Post by m0rl0ck » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:31 pm

Being a student of chan myself, i have been following this thread with interest bordering on soporific stupefaction. In the interest of completeness i dont think we can afford to forget the amputations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhidharm ... ff_his_arm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

and
Whenever anyone asked him about Zen, the great master Gutei would quietly raise one finger into the air. A boy in the village began to imitate this behavior. Whenever he heard people talking about Gutei's teachings, he would interrupt the discussion and raise his finger. Gutei heard about the boy's mischief. When he saw him in the street, he seized him and cut off his finger. The boy cried and began to run off, but Gutei called out to him. When the boy turned to look, Gutei raised his finger into the air. At that moment the boy became enlightened.
In addition zen / chan masters over the centuries have no doubt been guilty of halitosis, not rewinding, crossing against the light and other crimes against humanity.
I for one am shocked and have no choice but to express my alarm by taking a nice nap.

EDIT: and again, just for the sake of completeness i think we should add that zen people have also sometimes been guilty of satire.
2nd EDIT: changed sarcasm to satire
Last edited by m0rl0ck on Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“The truth knocks on the door and you say, "Go away, I'm looking for the truth," and so it goes away. Puzzling.” ― Robert M. Pirsig

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tiltbillings
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Re: zen masters...

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Dec 19, 2012 7:38 pm

m0rl0ck wrote:Being a student of chan myself, i have been following this thread with interest bordering on soporific stupefaction. In the interest of completeness i dont think we can afford to forget the amputations.
Actually, for completeness, don't forget Bobo Roshi.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

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Alex123
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Re: zen masters...

Post by Alex123 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:02 pm

alan... wrote:what is up with zen masters in history (and today i suppose) drinking alcohol, sleeping with women, beating people up, and not losing their status of being accepted as a master with a great understanding of satori and the dharma????
So some people had problems, it doesn't mean that ENTIRE teaching is wrong. It is probably the problem of THOSE people.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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tiltbillings
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Re: zen masters...

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:08 pm

Alex123 wrote:
alan... wrote:what is up with zen masters in history (and today i suppose) drinking alcohol, sleeping with women, beating people up, and not losing their status of being accepted as a master with a great understanding of satori and the dharma????
So some people had problems, it doesn't mean that ENTIRE teaching is wrong. It is probably the problem of THOSE people.
Actually, the number of Ch'an/Zen masters about whom such stories are told, are a very, very small number in comparison to the number of Ch'an/Zen teachers there has been.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

alan...
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Re: zen masters...

Post by alan... » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:17 pm

Dan74 wrote:
alan... wrote:
daverupa wrote:
but asking Theravada Buddhists to justify Mahayana tactics is somewhat odd, isn't it?

apparently it was quite a waste of time lol!

although everyone shares vinaya i think right? so it's still a reasonable question: how do they get around the vinaya and still maintain status as masters?

but clearly i'm getting no where and asking actual zen practitioners already proved useless as well so i give up.
Japanese Zen does not have the Vinaya, not for a long time really.

As for your earlier statements, a narrative by Hakuin like the one you've quoted does not make him a violent man in my book, nor within the Japanese culture of the time. When you said in your earlier post violent, this to me implies intention, and this is how the Buddha taught. If the intention is to harm, this makes a person violent. I don't see that passage by Hakuin going anywhere to prove his intention to harm.

But more importantly can you show me the Vinaya rule about striking your disciple? I am not familiar with it.

Yeah, sure, I am biased. But it'd be good to get things straight first. As it stands we have one Rinzai Zen master writing about his poor disciples who toiled and suffered under his harsh words and blows and another known much more for his poetry and eccentric ways. Have you actually studied under a Zen teacher? Mine's a celibate nun who neither drinks, nor beats me, nor goes to brothels, and neither did her teacher who was one of the foremost Zen masters of his generation. The two other Zen teachers I know, who are Japanese Soto are hard-working gentle people who do none of these things either.

So what are you after, exactly? A condemnation by the Theravadins of Zen masters as heretics? Actually Japanese Zen establishment said that of Ikkyu during his lifetime and afterwards too.

The bottom-line for me is human beings do as human beings do. And if one is a true Zen master he/she will manifest their enlightenment in skillful compassionate action and yet sometimes they may have some rough edges. Maybe some don't, but most will!

PS As for useless, perhaps communication needs some fine tuning here..

a condemnation of zen masters? no! my teacher is a celibate, non-violent, zen priest, i don't know of him to drink or smoke or anything like that either! he is one of the most calm and kind guys i have ever met. i have no theravada teacher and that's what i study, the only buddhist temple anywhere near me is zen so that's where i've been going since i was a teenager. i unfortunately rarely get to go but i still consider him my teacher and correspond with people at the temple by email. that is where my path of buddhism began and i'll always consider that temple my dharma home, i'm actually going to spend a two day retreat there in a few months which i'm really excited about.

and as i keep saying and said roughly in the OP: i love zen! i think these teachers could have been enlightened and many of their methods surly worked regardless of vinaya or whatever else. i studied solely zen for six or seven years before discovering theravada. i became theravada only because it makes more sense to me. i discovered it because my zen temple has books from the pali canon and does dharma talks on suttas from it. although the teachings at the temple on meditation are completely zen, hence all my posts about jhana and what not on here. my teacher knows about jhana but won't teach it, not sure why. i've never asked, maybe he was never trained in them or sees zen methods as more fruitful. i still consider myself a zen/theravada hybrid

this thread was just a curiosity. i think it's a real stretch trying to fit violence into the theravada dhamma. a HUGE stretch and i was just wondering how this stretch came about and was accepted by zen peoples in history. i don't even know of any teachers today who use it like the teachers of old. i'm only talking about violence at this point because all the other stuff i can't find direct quotes for and i'm kind of over this whole thing. just wanted to be clear on my stance on zen. love zen, don't see anything wrong with posing a question about how it can be validated that some masters were violent (drank, married, etc.).

i think most people use the whole "skillful means" thing from the lotus sutra (and surly it's in other sutras as well). using this logic one can do basically anything as long as one can justify that it leads to enlightenment in some way or another, and certainly this has some truth to it.

this being largely a mahayana idea in the sense of stretching out this idea and certainly the lotus sutra being so popular and illustrating it so well is the reason it does not match up with theravada. at least i don't think it does, no one has really answered that part of the question but i believe theravada does not do the whole "violence as skillful means" (at least not in buddhas time) and monks are not allowed to marry or drink alcohol.

there we go, answered my own question lol! i already knew that stuff but was thinking others might know more, like maybe influence from chinese law, confucianism, taoism or something like that allowed for these things? as you said japanese law allowed for monks to marry so that's the kind of info i was looking for.

basically, as i said, all i wanted to know is:

"how is it justified?"

answers i was looking for were something about: laws? other religious influence? other philosophies?

because it did happen and clearly was somehow justified when it didn't happen in the older suttas and certainly was not justified so that was the comparison.

and

"is it the same in theravada"

yes? no? details?


but i am over it as this is leading no where since it seems like no one knows.

thanks for your time and patience Dan74! you're a gentleman and a scholar. i need to work on typing with more tact!
Last edited by alan... on Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

alan...
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Re: zen masters...

Post by alan... » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:21 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
Alex123 wrote:
alan... wrote:what is up with zen masters in history (and today i suppose) drinking alcohol, sleeping with women, beating people up, and not losing their status of being accepted as a master with a great understanding of satori and the dharma????
So some people had problems, it doesn't mean that ENTIRE teaching is wrong. It is probably the problem of THOSE people.
Actually, the number of Ch'an/Zen masters about whom such stories are told, are a very, very small number in comparison to the number of Ch'an/Zen teachers there has been.

well everything else aside, violence was an accepted technique in a large section of chan/zen in history. the so called "hitting and shouting school" so common there were people who actively spoke out against this idea and of course people who spoke out for it as well. since linji it's been a "thing" in linji/rinzai that violence is a skillful means.

but i guess if we're talking ratio of: teachers+the past 1400 years / teachers that used violence
then yes it is small in that aspect.

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tiltbillings
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Re: zen masters...

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:29 pm

alan... wrote: since linji it's been a "thing" in linji/rinzai that violence is a skillful means.

but i guess if we're talking ratio of: teachers+the past 1400 years / teachers that used violence
then yes it is small in that aspect.
Violence. Certainly not the norm that I have seen or heard in modern Rinzai.
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

alan...
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Re: zen masters...

Post by alan... » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:31 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
alan... wrote: since linji it's been a "thing" in linji/rinzai that violence is a skillful means.

but i guess if we're talking ratio of: teachers+the past 1400 years / teachers that used violence
then yes it is small in that aspect.
Violence. Certainly not the norm that I have seen or heard in modern Rinzai.

in the tang and song dynasties it was. it's littered throughout every koan collection and there's many other references to it. if perhaps you will say these references were written after the masters in them died and therefore are not accurate then maybe a new question but similar: why would later followers accept these as masters when their hagiographical records are violent?


also my question was mainly about historical masters, sorry if that wasn't clear.

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mikenz66
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Re: zen masters...

Post by mikenz66 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:39 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
alan... wrote: since linji it's been a "thing" in linji/rinzai that violence is a skillful means.

but i guess if we're talking ratio of: teachers+the past 1400 years / teachers that used violence
then yes it is small in that aspect.
Violence. Certainly not the norm that I have seen or heard in modern Rinzai.
I have no experience with it, but the "hitting" thing in Zen doesn't sound like it has anything to do with violence. It seems like a way to motivate the students to push through barriers.

Theravada teachers do things to push students too. One visiting (Thai) teacher here persuaded me to meditate all night one weekend. As I recall, he promised that devas would come to visit after about 1am. I don't think I saw any devas (perhaps we are in the wrong time zone), but it was interesting to see my mind falling apart with tiredness.

When he visited the following year, apparently he commented to one of my friends something along the lines of: "Mike is doing much better since I made him stay up all night". :tongue:

:anjali:
Mike

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tiltbillings
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Re: zen masters...

Post by tiltbillings » Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:42 pm

alan... wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:
alan... wrote: since linji it's been a "thing" in linji/rinzai that violence is a skillful means.

but i guess if we're talking ratio of: teachers+the past 1400 years / teachers that used violence
then yes it is small in that aspect.
Violence. Certainly not the norm that I have seen or heard in modern Rinzai.

in the tang and song dynasties it was. it's littered throughout every koan collection and there's many other references to it. if perhaps you will say these references were written after the masters in them died and therefore are not accurate then maybe a new question but similar: why would later followers accept these as masters when their hagiographical records are violent?


also my question was mainly about historical masters, sorry if that wasn't clear.
If you ask me, assuming I am an experienced and realized teacher, a question about a particular aspect of the Teachings, and because of the nature of the question, because I know you and your particular level of practice, and I give you an unexpected whack, and as a result you have a startling insight into the question you ask, a genuine realization, not just an intellectual, conceptual notion, what is the problem?
>> Do you see a man wise [enlightened/ariya] in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.<< -- Proverbs 26:12

This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond. -- SN I, 38.

“Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?” HPatDH p.723

Dan74
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Re: zen masters...

Post by Dan74 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:04 pm

tiltbillings wrote:
alan... wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Violence. Certainly not the norm that I have seen or heard in modern Rinzai.

in the tang and song dynasties it was. it's littered throughout every koan collection and there's many other references to it. if perhaps you will say these references were written after the masters in them died and therefore are not accurate then maybe a new question but similar: why would later followers accept these as masters when their hagiographical records are violent?


also my question was mainly about historical masters, sorry if that wasn't clear.
If you ask me, assuming I am an experienced and realized teacher, a question about a particular aspect of the Teachings, and because of the nature of the question, because I know you and your particular level of practice, and I give you an unexpected whack, and as a result you have a startling insight into the question you ask, a genuine realization, not just an intellectual, conceptual notion, what is the problem?
That sounded more like a lashing than a whack :D

As for Zen justifying anything to themselves - I think there were always different lineages and opinions. My teacher once said to me that even in modern day Korea where she trained, there are a few lineages where it is more accepted to "stray" and most where pure ethics are paramount. My guess is that "straying" is seen as a way of connecting and teaching people who would otherwise not be reached by "purer" monks. Kind of like Trungpa teaching Dharma in bars. But I am not sure - this is not my tradition and I don't have a strong opinion one way or another. Those eccentric "wayward" teachers could be quite brilliant and incisive, so take the good and leave the rest! Or something like that.
_/|\_

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DAWN
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Re: zen masters...

Post by DAWN » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:09 pm

tiltbillings wrote: what is the problem?
Your aggressivity ? :namaste:
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...
I'am sorry for my english

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marc108
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Re: zen masters...

Post by marc108 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:12 pm

very simple... if he was beating people up or drinking, he simply was not enlightened.
"It's easy for us to connect with what's wrong with us... and not so easy to feel into, or to allow us, to connect with what's right and what's good in us."

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