Sunday, September 27, 2009

Dogen's Bible and Enlightened Teachers

This is why I intend to gather together the few experiences I

had abroad, and to record the secrets of an enlightened teacher, so that they

may be heard by any practitioner who desires to hear them.


Shobogenzo Bendowa Nishijima and Cross translation





There has been a bit of scuttlebutt about internet teachers/communities versus real life flesh and blood teachers/communities that I caught wind of recently.

That, coupled with what ideas of mine of things like teachers and organizations that have been totally smashed, I would like to put forth that the argument either for and against is pretty lame.

First of I think this is a phenomenon that is primarily occurring in the western zen communities so that is where I'm coming from.

The first idea I'd like to smash is that there is a fundamental difference between the two.

Lets think about why we committed ourselves to this practice for a moment. It should not take very long. Most of us came to this practice because we know that something is not quite right and we want to get to the bottom of it. After a bit of practice most people (who are not mentally disabled, or acutely insane) figure out that it is themselves that is not right.

The more not right the person is or the more they are affected by this not rightness is frighteningly proportionate to how dedicated they are to the practice. So the most messed up people end up being zen teachers (or at least zen bloggers.) Just because they have become teachers doesn't mean that they have solved all of their problems either. From what I have seen Dharma transmission doesn't make someone a perfect human being. That goes for pretty much any of our zen sanghas weather online or physical here in the west. I'm sure there are exceptions, but the exceptions are pretty small and are likely not part of the echosphear. Anyone of these zen teachers who present themselves as being anything but a flawed human being is probably a U.S. Marine... unh no I mean a liar liar pants on fire. Yeah, they have likely been practicing for a while, they are likely well versed in dealing with their stuff (maybe) and most of them can actually be quite helpful in coming up with ways to help point you in the right direction for you deal with yours. You may even get really lucky and find a good friend that can point you to see things as they are instead of how you are.

In the interest of full disclosure, at the time of writing this, I have no pretty bolt of silk with a list of names on it to indicate I am a somebody in the zen community. After publishing this, I probably will never get one. Oh, I'd like one, but I think what I am doing right now is more important.

Ok, on to Dogen's bible, The Shobogenzo. While as my friend Ted pointed out it is only 95% complete, it is what Dogen left behind so that we could get the stuff from the guy who kicked off this whole tradition.

So, if you can get together with a group of folks, practice sitting-zen, and clarify the Shobogenzo for the benefit of all sentient beings (it's OK if your just doing it for yourself too, I think the sentient beings will benefit regardless), I think your going in the right direction. Along your way when the time is ripe, your probably going to run in to some guy or gal that might just help you out. They may not have anything to do with zen or be a kind of zen pariah, you may meet them in the flesh or out on the interwebs. But you are going to know when you meet your real teacher. I meet them everywhere.

9 Comments:

At September 28, 2009, Blogger Rick said...

Jordan,

As to the first part, I don't get what you're saying. Yes, there has been flap about "internet Zen" versus fact-to-face Zen in some circles.

Are you supporting an opinion that there is no fundamental difference between the two? I can't tell from your post.

I have been involved with both face-to-face Zen, and "internet Zen."

The primary mission of any internet-based Zen ministry is to support those who live in rural Alabama (like myself), or Mississippi, or the middle of Montana; places where the nearest Zen center may be hundreds of miles away.

Is it the perfect solution? Not for everyone. And for others, there is nothing better.

I wonder what would those who are flapping against an internet based Zen ministry suggest the rest of us isolated folks do? Give up on Zen?

 
At September 28, 2009, Blogger Jordan said...

Sorry Rick if I was not clear, Put simply I was stating that both internet zen comunities and brick and morter sanghas are flawed. Yes they have diffrences, but I don't think we should call one true and one false. Please let me know if I made things murkier. My intention was the opposite.

 
At September 28, 2009, Blogger Rick said...

I got ya, now.

Gassho,
Rick

 
At September 29, 2009, Blogger BIG JEWELLER! said...

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At September 29, 2009, Blogger BIG JEWELLER! said...

HI I VISIT YOUR BLOG, YOUR BLOG IS VERY NICE, I FOLLOW YOUR BLOG AS A FRIEND, PLEASE VISIT MY BLOGS AND SEND ME COMMENTS ON IT AND FOLLOW MY BLOGS TOO.
http://www.forexrajput.blogspot.com/
http://www.forexzombi.blogspot.com/
http://www.worldofjewellery.blogspot.com/
http://www.onlinespacer.blogspot.com/
http://www.oslinuxp.blogspot.com/
THANK YOU VERY MUCH

 
At October 01, 2009, Blogger Sean said...

That's the kind of smashy-smashy that a person can appreciate... conveniently.

The sermon of no perfect buddhist, to coin what can be coined in one phrase. Gassho.

- SPC Champ

 
At October 01, 2009, Blogger Jordan said...

Thanks Sean.

 
At October 04, 2009, Blogger Fugen said...

In the interest of full disclosure, at the time of writing this, I have no pretty bolt of silk with a list of names on it to indicate I am a somebody in the zen community. After publishing this, I probably will never get one. Oh, I'd like one, but I think what I am doing right now is more important.


Hi.
Quite so.
What is a piece of cloth?

Mtfbwy
Fugen

 
At October 04, 2009, Blogger Jordan said...

Hi Fugen, it's a blanket to comfort children.

 

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