Our Zen Friends.

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
PeterB
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Our Zen Friends.

Post by PeterB » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:18 pm

I have just read a thread on Zen Forum International which made me cheer.,

Its posted by the estimable Ven Nonin, who is a real Dharma/Dhamma teacher and good guy, and quotes from an old article by Gary Ray.

Its called " Zen In Online Forums" and gets a big Sadhu ! from me.

:anjali:




NB If this is not kosher mods, please remove.

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tiltbillings
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:31 pm

>> 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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tiltbillings
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by tiltbillings » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:37 pm

Of course this article is found online, having been picked up by a couple questionable outfits, but that does not negate the point made. Now, without getting nasty or personal, is there a point in that article to be made here?
>> 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

Jhana4
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by Jhana4 » Sat Feb 19, 2011 9:55 pm

In another thread I mentioned an acquaintance I used to have in college. Very well read, very intelligent, very interested in philosophy of all kinds and very interested in Buddhism. In class, he would enthusiastically go off on very long tangents with 20 dollar words which sounded brilliant, but if you analyzed it, hardly made sense. Somehow he would always manage to bring his streams of logorhea back into the real world to be insulting or to annoy someone.......all to his childish delight. When people complained about it he would give some sort of contrived descriptions of Asian folklore about spiritual masters who despite being enlightened would act like crassholes and who would do it for their benefit. The implication being that he was the master and you, having just gotten a philosophical wedgie, had a favor done for you. He was an attention whore, he knew everyone, he loved to talk, but had hardly any friends beyond people who would party with him as it was just a matter of time before he would piss anyone off and twist it into a victory in his mind.

This was in the 1990s, about the same time period the article was referring too. He also haunted talk.religion.buddhism, alt.zen, a few other Usenet groups of the time and several listservs of the time.

About a year or two ago I ran into him on Facebook. He still lives in my area and he still seems to be playing similar games and wasting his life in similar ways. I feel sad for him.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

Jhana4
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by Jhana4 » Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:14 pm

Interesting article. I too had grown up only hearing the term "Zen" and as in the article it sounded funny to me when I first heard the term "Zen Buddhism". I never knew that Zen was Buddhism, just a term for referring to either processing information nonverbally or having happy coincidences coming together.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

plwk
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by plwk » Sun Feb 20, 2011 12:48 am

Its posted by the estimable Ven Nonin, who is a real Dharma/Dhamma teacher and good guy...
Yet made to look like a 'villain' and booted out from a certain major but now defunct forum that shall not be named.
His writings are well thought out.
I never knew that Zen was Buddhism, just a term for referring to either processing information nonverbally or having happy coincidences coming together.
Or just that soap/shampoo brand, spa ad or sushi meal package...

Euclid
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by Euclid » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:05 am

Great article that describes my inter-Tradition frustration on an online forum very well. Thanks for sharing

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ground
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by ground » Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:51 am

Strange

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Lazy_eye
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by Lazy_eye » Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:53 pm

The bookstore I frequent used to have separate sections for "Buddhism" and "Zen" -- quite strange. Eventually they combined them!

Although I agree that Zen shouldn't be artificially extracted from Buddhism, and I agree that more emphasis should be placed on ethics, I wonder if the root problem with online Zen has to do with incompatibility between the practice and the medium. Online forums are basically vehicles for discursive speech -- analysis, explication, argument, the dialectic of views. It seems to me that those traditions which welcome such modes of discourse are more likely to thrive. Maybe that's why Theravada forums seem to have more energy?

By contrast, if one's practice is mainly devotional, what is there to say really on a discussion board? Or if, as in Zen, one sees discursive speech as a hindrance to practice, then it's hard to know how to proceed. Perhaps virtual meditation (or chanting) halls, long-distance instruction, ceremonies transmitted online and discussions focused on practical stuff (how to get into lotus position, etc) would be more beneficial for these traditions. I know Rev. Jundo has experimented along such lines over at Treeleaf.

Personally, I show up on Zen boards mainly to see what Ven. Huifeng has to say, and he's been rather quiet recently!

PeterB
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by PeterB » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:08 am

Personally I pop into ZFI only to see what Ven Nonin and Shonin and So- On have to say.

Otherwise its like wading through treacle.

Jhana4
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by Jhana4 » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:48 pm

I posted the article to alt.zen, but I forgot to put in who posted it. I got a serious, non-nasty reply that whoever wrote the article must have been a novice Zen Buddhism practitioner to have the view about attachment to emptiness.
In reading the scriptures, there are two kinds of mistakes:
One mistake is to cling to the literal text and miss the inner principles.
The second mistake is to recognize the principles but not apply them to your own mind, so that you waste time and just make them into causes of entanglement.

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Nibbida
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by Nibbida » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:20 pm

I dig Ven. Nonin. He's got a nice article on interdependence here:

http://www.prairiewindzen.org/prairiewi ... ring00.pdf

PeterB
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by PeterB » Mon Feb 21, 2011 4:24 pm

Nibbida wrote:I dig Ven. Nonin. He's got a nice article on interdependence here:

http://www.prairiewindzen.org/prairiewi ... ring00.pdf
:goodpost:

Individual
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by Individual » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:14 pm

PeterB wrote:I have just read a thread on Zen Forum International which made me cheer.,

Its posted by the estimable Ven Nonin, who is a real Dharma/Dhamma teacher and good guy, and quotes from an old article by Gary Ray.

Its called " Zen In Online Forums" and gets a big Sadhu ! from me.

:anjali:




NB If this is not kosher mods, please remove.
I am skeptical of zen.

"Just sitting" can turn you into a couch potato. Literally. A vegetable... Like braindead
The best things in life aren't things.

The Diamond Sutra

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Kim OHara
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by Kim OHara » Mon Feb 21, 2011 9:33 pm

Individual wrote: I am skeptical of zen.
"Just sitting" can turn you into a couch potato. Literally. A vegetable... Like braindead
Hi, Individual,
Actually, the article that starts the thread is about trying to avoid just that problem - though you put it a bit more strongly. :tongue:
Sitting needs to be supported by the more active, worldly practices of sila, and when 'zen' is detached from 'Buddhism' that may not happen.
Be well, be happy.
:namaste:
Kim

alan
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by alan » Tue Feb 22, 2011 3:49 am

I was infatuated by Zen for awhile, but gave it up when I found something much better. Coming to an understanding of the suttas and their implications keeps me occupied and intellectually challenged as it is...
Sure, the article was fairly interesting. But I've left that stuff behind. I don't call my high school sweetheart. Why should I spend time reading about Zen?

PeterB
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by PeterB » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:35 am

Actually the idea was not to encourage anyone to read Zen. It was to send a signal to Ven Nonin, So-On, Shonin and the Zen BUDDHISTS on Zen Forum International that their efforts to steer that forum away from kundalini yoga, ascended masters, Jungian analysis, a preoccupation with other peoples sexuality, solipsism, blue rinse brigade oriental dabblings, etc etc etc are noted and applauded... :clap:

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Nibbida
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by Nibbida » Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:15 pm

Individual wrote: I am skeptical of zen.

"Just sitting" can turn you into a couch potato. Literally. A vegetable... Like braindead
My understanding of shikantaza (just sitting) is that it's essentially an insight practice like vipassana. Zen gives a lot less detail and instruction than Theravada teachers do, and there are advantages and disadvantages to that. There's no clear line between not telling people enough detail and telling them too much detail.

I read Zen for many years before I even knew of vipassana & Theravada. On one hand, I knew there was something very important going on there. On the other, I couldn't really get a sense of it. When I found writings on vipassana & Theravada, I had this sense of "Oh, that's what they were talking about!"

Shinzen Young compares the two by saying that Zen is more like poetry while Theravada is more like an essay, which I think is fairly fitting. There's a beauty to the way Zen is expressed, but it can also seem abstruse and confusing. That's not necessarily a problem if a person persists and maybe has a teacher to work with. Otherwise, it can turn a person off to looking further.

Now when I look back at Zen writings (like Suzuki Roshi's Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind), I get it (more or less) in a way that I didn't years ago. I can see Zen and Theravada pointing in the same direction from different vantage points. I even find that shifting from readings in one tradition to another (and certain Tibetan writings for that matter) help me to break out of conceptual ruts. Approaching the same topic (e.g. emptiness, anatta) from a different perspective helps me get at the essence of it without getting stuck in the framework or language.

PeterB
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by PeterB » Wed Feb 23, 2011 4:26 pm

I think Shikantaza when seen free of Mahayana baggage about "vows" ...may be not- different to Vipassana.
But its a pity to say so.

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ground
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Re: Our Zen Friends.

Post by ground » Wed Feb 23, 2011 7:24 pm

Individual wrote:I am skeptical of zen.

"Just sitting" can turn you into a couch potato. Literally. A vegetable... Like braindead
There are reports on the decline of intellectual/rational capacities.

Kind regards

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