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254Re: [principles_of_zen] Re: Interesting Article: does anybody know this guy?

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  • vivek ramakrishnan
    Sep 24, 2011
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      From what I understand, Buddha did not allow his monks to meditate for the first 3 years. The first 3 years were focused on keeping the precepts and the moral values.

      I think people underestimate the moral dimension to the Buddhism part, especially the Zen Buddhists.

      Really if you look at it, most of the early people in Zen  who came to America were not qualified to teach or transmit the Dharma. Most of them made up their story with time.

      Vivek


      From: Bobbi <bobbi@...>
      To: principles_of_zen@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Friday, September 23, 2011 3:26 PM
      Subject: [principles_of_zen] Re: Interesting Article: does anybody know this guy?

      Interesting dialogue on this subject.  Whenever I read about these incidents of a teacher having inappropriate relations with a student - I come back to the old adage that "power corrupts" or at the very least confuses and messes with our strength in keeping our vows. 

      Such a good reminder for all of us to reflect on the heart of practice of the great way -  which is to live to end of suffering of all beings.

      Bobbi


      --- In principles_of_zen@yahoogroups.com, vivek ramakrishnan <vram22@...> wrote:
      >
      > http://nhne-pulse.org/genpo-roshi-admits-affair-disrobes-as-buddhist-priest/
      >
      > Elizabeth, in this case the teacher gave Kyozen, the student with whom he had an affair Dharma transmission also?
      >
      >
      > Ultimately, I do understand that we have to make our own story, but if we are all being given Kool-Aid, then there is a problem.
      >
      > He was my first Zen teacher so maybe I am just frustrated. We all knew about his alliances even then but come on, many times do you have to repeat it.
      >
      >
      >
      > Vivek
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________
      > From: Elizabeth Bourne <eab31@...>
      > To:
      ymailto="mailto:principles_of_zen@yahoogroups.com" href="mailto:principles_of_zen@yahoogroups.com">principles_of_zen@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Monday, September 19, 2011 2:20 PM
      > Subject: RE: [principles_of_zen] Interesting Article: does anybody know this guy?
      >
      >

      >
      >
      >  I wonder sometimes whether we have an overly romantic way of interpreting the stories about teacher- student relationships in buddhist lore of the past - which then sets us up to be overly vulnerable or idealistic in persuing that kind of relationship; maybe we too easily get an idea in our head of how it is supposed to be.
      >  
      > The buddha himself, in the story that has been passed down, had many teachers and did not have one teacher in particular who took him over the bridge to enlightenment thru his blind trust in him alone - tho according to the story, he studied with
      each to the end of his capacity; in fact, the buddha almost died from practicing some of the teachings that he took up and then rejected.
      >  
      > If there are complaints against a teacher for harming a student - it seems like there is ultimately no keeping it hidden - and then we can each be the judge of whether that teacher might or might not be a good person to learn the dharma from.  Judging whether the dharma can be taught by someone who is not free of errors - that is a tough call; I suppose that is the danger of believing that anyone is actually "enlightened" - thinking that they can make no mistakes;  Maybe if you are strong in certain ways - a person who knows a lot about the dharma can teach you without passing on their own errors to you; maybe some teachers are better for some people than others.
      >  
      > To me, practicing with others you know - over a long period of time -thru ups and downs - is
      also a very valuable teacher.
      >  
      >  
      >  
      >  
      >  
      >  
      >  
      >  
      >
      >
      > ________________________________

      >
      > To: principles_of_zen@yahoogroups.com
      > From: vram22@...
      > Date: Sun, 18 Sep 2011 21:56:44 -0700
      > Subject: Re: [principles_of_zen] Interesting Article: does anybody know this guy?
      >
      >  
      >
      > I would to like to bring this up for discussion again.
      >
      > If you are breaking one of the fundamental precepts of Buddhism then how are you qualified to teach the dharma?
      >
      >
      > ________________________________
      >  From: curt <curt@...>
      > To:
      href="mailto:principles_of_zen@yahoogroups.com">principles_of_zen@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Monday, January 23, 2006 11:20 AM
      > Subject: Re: [principles_of_zen] Interesting Article: does anybody know this guy?
      >
      > I am very interested in the relationship between "right action" and
      > "happiness" - the connection between the two is very important. We all
      > have an innate sense of "right and wrong", and I think that we have the
      > very simple choice of trying to do what is right or choosing not to for
      > a variety of reasons ($$$, sex, what others will think, etc). Our innate
      > sense of right and wrong is not perfect - but if we exercise it and pay
      > attention to the consequences then it will improve. Meditation helps a
      > lot with that - because it helps us to pay attention both to our own
      > decision making processes and also to the consequences of our actions.
      > Like
      John says its easier and more entertaining to pay attention to
      > other people's decisions (and the consequences) but not very useful.
      >
      > Jazz is a good analogy - actually any kind of music works. My favorite
      > song about enlightenment is "Everything I Do Gon' Be Funky From Now On"
      > by Allen Toussaint
      > (http://www.vh1.com/artists/az/toussaint_allen/bio.jhtml).
      >
      > - Curt
      >
      > John wrote:
      >
      > > Thank you Curt, for your articulation. I think Lachs serves a great
      > > purpose in airing the laundry. I get curious from time to time about
      > > these issues.
      > >
      > > Vivek’s pointer a)… What makes someone happy is an interesting
      > > question. Maybe everyone could discover that doing the right thing
      > > will make them happy, but that
      might not account for schadenfreude.
      > > Some people say that the love of others is what makes one happy. Some
      > > people say that getting what you want is what makes you happy. Reminds
      > > me of the old joke, “if your happiness depends on getting what you
      > > want, you will die unhappy.” The right thing is like jazz; one really
      > > shouldn’t have to ask.
      > >
      > > It is easy to judge guys like Sueng Sang, (maybe easier to judge
      > > Baker!), so judging them is what we shall do. But I’ve come to a point
      > > where I can be really glad for their teaching, and for the trails they
      > > blazed. I used to teach (art) and before that I was a journalist, so I
      > > had a very strong belief in 1) the appearance of malfeasance can be as
      > > damaging as actual wrong-doing and 2) a teacher’s responsibility is to
      > > first not fuck up
      their students. So, I might be aghast at what most
      > > of the yoga and Zen teachers have been caught doing. For the most
      > > part, I assume that it didn’t make them happy. Being aghast at the
      > > situation really doesn’t make me happy, either. Forgiving them does,
      > > though.
      > >
      > > John
      > >
      > > -----Original Message-----
      > > *From:* principles_of_zen@yahoogroups.com
      > > [mailto:principles_of_zen@yahoogroups.com]*On Behalf Of *vivek
      > > ramakrishnan
      > > *Sent:* Friday, January 20, 2006 7:28 PM
      > > *To:*
      href="mailto:principles_of_zen@yahoogroups.com">principles_of_zen@yahoogroups.com
      > > *Subject:* Re: [principles_of_zen] Interesting Article: does anybody
      > > know this guy?
      > >
      > > Sensei,
      > >
      > > I read your mail again, carefully and I must admit I am struggling
      > > with the morality issue. Bhuddism explicitly states that one must
      > > behave with compassion to you fellow beings and try your best not to
      > > hurt them.
      > >
      > > So does Sueng Sang, Mazeumi Roshi or Gempo Roshi, Richard Baker by
      > > having an affair with their students violate a cardinal rule of
      > > Buddism. I am asuming that their respective wives and students were
      > > obvioulsy hurt when the affair came to light.
      > >
      > > Another way I would put it is "What consitutes right action"? If
      > > morality can be amiguous and rules
      don't help, how does one choose
      > > right from wrong?
      > >
      > > Few pointers or thoughts:
      > >
      > > a) There is no right or wrong action. Do what makes you happy.
      > > b) There is a right and wrong action but we have no way of knowing
      > > what is right and what is wrong because we are all conditioned by
      > > society and we are all conditioned differently.
      > > c) There is an absolute right or wrong. Only God knows what is right.
      > > d) You cannot answer this question because it is circumstantial.
      > >
      > > Vivek
      > >
      > > */curt <curt@...>/* wrote:
      > >
      > > Lachs says a lot things - most of which no one disagrees with. No one
      > > disputes that there have been lots of sex scandals and money scandals
      > > and power scandals in various Buddhist groups around the United States -
      > > and that
      this is probably a bad thing. But I don't really see anything
      > > positive that Lachs has contributed to dealing with these issues. Many
      > > Sanghas have actually done a good job of muddling through and carrying
      > > on in the midst of all this turmoil and melodrama and lawsuits and
      > > Tricycle exposes. Take the ever crazy Shambhalalians for instance. They
      > > have probably made every single mistake that a group can make (well,
      > > actually, to my knowledge there aren't any claims of financial
      > > mismanagement - but they've done everything else). And yet they keep on
      > > going. There is the Naropa Institute and Shambhala Publishers, and
      > > Samadhi Cushions and various centers big and small all over the world
      > > (including the one in Silver Spring that I keep meaning to visit but
      > > never get around to). Those people have definitely screwed things up
      big
      > > time - and people have gotten hurt badly and even died as a result. And
      > > I don't think anyone in their Sangha would claim that that isn't the way
      > > it is. But at the same time Trungpa and his band of followers have done
      > > a great deal of good and they have established one of the most stable
      > > and successful Buddhist practice communities in the West. They are very
      > > family oriented nowadays, too - because a lot of them are aging hippies
      > > with children and grandchildren of their own.
      > >
      > > As far as morality goes I don't think there's anything more important.
      > > But Lachs confuses morality with following rules. Rules are never a
      > > trustworthy guide to good behavior - of course neither is just breaking
      > > rules for the hell of it. Although, to be honest, if I had to just
      > > choose between following the rules and
      breaking them I'd break them. But
      > > there is another way - its called making your own decisions and taking
      > > responsibility for your own actions. This is more "dangerous" than just
      > > following the rules - because if you are a rule follower and you screw
      > > up then you can always claim "well, I was following the rules". This is
      > > very very close to "I was only following orders" and we all know how
      > > good of an "excuse" that is. I believe that this is the way in which
      > > "Western" Buddhism is evolving - organically and without rules or "Means
      > > of Authorization" - a phrase that quite frankly gives me the creeps.
      > >
      > > Lachs' ideas are also very ethnocentric (and blatantly so). He contrasts
      > > Western "liberal" "democratic" values with the "long traditions of
      > > hierarchy, obedience, and authoritarianism of the Far Eastern
      cultures".
      > > Although this might sound reasonable at first - if you think about it
      > > it's completely absurd - especially with respect to the spiritual
      > > traditions of East and West. Western spiritual traditions (basically
      > > Christianity) are far more authoritarian than the spiritual traditions
      > > of Asia. In fact, its hard to come up with an example of any spiritual
      > > tradition that has been more monolithic and oppressive and intolerant
      > > than Christianity (I apologize if anyone finds that offensive - I'm not
      > > trying to be insulting to Christians or anyone else). Ironically, one of
      > > the things that makes Asian spiritual traditions prone to abuse is the
      > > relative lack of hierarchical controls. Teachers and students are pretty
      > > much free to do whatever they want (including you know what). In Asia
      > > this freedom is kept in
      check not by the religious hierarchy but by the
      > > relatively more conservative social norms concerning sexuality and women
      > > in those societies - norms I don't think anyone wants to import or
      > > imitate. And the way those norms actually work in practice in Asia is
      > > more to enforce discretion than to control behavior. There's plenty of
      > > hanky-panky in Asian Buddhism - but there are relatively far fewer
      > > scandals because things don't come out into the open as easily as they
      > > do over here.
      > >
      > > OK - I'd better shut up now.
      > >
      > > - Curt
      > >
      > > vivek ramakrishnan wrote:
      > >
      > >> I think I agree with him on most points, the essential one which many
      > >> students and teachers forget are the moral precepts. I read Karen
      > >> Armstrong's book on the Buddha and she said that monks
      weren't not
      > >> allowed to practise meditation unless they had rigorously followed the
      > >> precepts for 3-5 years.
      > >>
      > >> How important do you think "Morality" is in this practise?
      > >>
      > >> Vivek
      > >>
      > >>
      > >>
      > >> */curt /* wrote:
      > >>
      > >> Stuart Lachs' ideas are pretty controversial, and his manner of
      > >> presenting them is pretty confrontational. Its just the kind of thing
      > >> that can get otherwise mild mannered Buddhists extremely worked up. I
      > >> wouldn't mind discussing these things - but only so long as we
      > >> "proceed
      > >> with caution". Another more recent article by Lachs is here:
      > >>
      target="_blank">http://www.thezensite.com/zen%20essays/Means_of_Authorization.htm.
      > >>
      > >> - Curt
      > >>
      > >>
      > >> vivek ramakrishnan wrote:
      > >>
      > >> >
      > >> >
      > >> > *Coming Down from the Zen Clouds *
      > >> >
      > >> > *A Critique of the Current State of American Zen - by Stuart Lachs*
      > >> >
      > >> > Copyright (c) 1994 Stuart Lachs.
      > >> >
      > >> > * . . . *
      > >> >
      > >> >
      > >>
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      > >>
      > >>
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