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hello from Oregon

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  • homitsu
    Hi-I found you while looking up something else and liked peoples replies to each other. My situation is thus (and please feel free with comments and advice):
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 26, 2003
      Hi-I found you while looking up something else and liked peoples'
      replies to each other. My situation is thus (and please feel free
      with comments and advice): I've been practicing Soto Zen for 15 years
      and actually even just finished a three-year seminary course
      (graduated in Oct.) but my disenchantment has been steadily growing
      for some time. When I was on a pilgrimage of sorts in Japan last year
      I visited Higashi Honganji (had been there before in the '80's) and
      also Nishi Honganji where I happened upon an Ohigan ceremony. There
      was something very homey about them despite their size; everyone was
      welcome to come in and there was a microcosm of society in
      attendance, old folks worshipping, little kids running around,
      families, businessmen, high school students, etc., all very relaxed.
      As part of a seminary class I researched different sects of
      Buddhism and visited our Oregon Buddhist Temple (BCA-affiliated). I
      was so impressed by the minister and the sangha that I began
      attending services during last summer. Thought I'd be back with the
      zennies this fall but when offered the choice between a daylong
      retreat there or a seminar with Dr. Bloom, I chose the latter and was
      glad for it.
      I know from my own experience that it's impossible for me to keep
      the precepts or to do the ascetic practices for any length of time-I
      really am a fool most all of the time. And as a blue-collar sort, my
      intellectual capacities aren't exactly enormous. Should I be outside
      the compassion and wisdom of the Dharma because of that? I no longer
      think so. thanks for your time in reading this-homitsu
    • Clifton Ong
      Namu Amida Butsu! Welcome to the Sangha! Thank you for sharing your experience. Gassho, Clifton ... ===== Gassho, Clifton Ong (Shaku Do Tatsu) Email:
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 26, 2003
        Namu Amida Butsu!
        Welcome to the Sangha!
        Thank you for sharing your experience.
        Gassho,
        Clifton

        --- homitsu <homitsu@...> wrote:
        > Hi-I found you while looking up something else and
        > liked peoples'
        > replies to each other. My situation is thus (and
        > please feel free
        > with comments and advice): I've been practicing Soto
        > Zen for 15 years
        > and actually even just finished a three-year
        > seminary course
        > (graduated in Oct.) but my disenchantment has been
        > steadily growing
        > for some time. When I was on a pilgrimage of sorts
        > in Japan last year
        > I visited Higashi Honganji (had been there before in
        > the '80's) and
        > also Nishi Honganji where I happened upon an Ohigan
        > ceremony. There
        > was something very homey about them despite their
        > size; everyone was
        > welcome to come in and there was a microcosm of
        > society in
        > attendance, old folks worshipping, little kids
        > running around,
        > families, businessmen, high school students, etc.,
        > all very relaxed.
        > As part of a seminary class I researched different
        > sects of
        > Buddhism and visited our Oregon Buddhist Temple
        > (BCA-affiliated). I
        > was so impressed by the minister and the sangha that
        > I began
        > attending services during last summer. Thought I'd
        > be back with the
        > zennies this fall but when offered the choice
        > between a daylong
        > retreat there or a seminar with Dr. Bloom, I chose
        > the latter and was
        > glad for it.
        > I know from my own experience that it's
        > impossible for me to keep
        > the precepts or to do the ascetic practices for any
        > length of time-I
        > really am a fool most all of the time. And as a
        > blue-collar sort, my
        > intellectual capacities aren't exactly enormous.
        > Should I be outside
        > the compassion and wisdom of the Dharma because of
        > that? I no longer
        > think so. thanks for your time in reading
        > this-homitsu
        >
        >


        =====
        Gassho,
        Clifton Ong (Shaku Do Tatsu)

        Email: sanath_sg@...

        Homepage: http://honganmission.cjb.net/

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      • DAC Crowell
        ... This is one of the things that captivated me immediately as well. I ve also done some cursory studies/practices in Soto as well as one of the more
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 27, 2003
          --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, "homitsu" <homitsu@s...>
          wrote:
          >My situation is thus (and please feel free with comments and
          >advice): I've been practicing Soto Zen for 15 years and actually
          >even just finished a three-year seminary course (graduated in
          >Oct.) but my disenchantment has been steadily growing for
          >some time. When I was on a pilgrimage of sorts in Japan last
          >year I visited Higashi Honganji (had been there before in the
          >'80's) and also Nishi Honganji where I happened upon an
          >Ohigan ceremony. There was something very homey about
          >them despite their size; everyone was welcome to come in and
          >there was a microcosm of society in attendance, old folks
          >worshipping, little kids running around, families, businessmen,
          >high school students, etc., all very relaxed.

          This is one of the things that captivated me immediately as well.
          I've also done some cursory studies/practices in Soto as well as
          one of the more Westernized 'hybrids', but it always felt like
          something was missing. And when I went to services at Midwest
          for the first time, that missing element was very apparent. The
          families. The continuity of Dharma as it's viewed through a
          continuum of generations. Not to be disparaging of Zen practice,
          but for many in the West it just doesn't seem like something
          they're _living_; it's like something you put on, like the latest
          fashion trend. Sure, there's real Zen practitioners in the West, but
          it's in Jodo Shinshu that I first encountered people who felt like
          they were _living_ in Buddha Dharma.

          You mentioned going to the temple in Portland (Rev. Gibbs's
          temple), which I've also been to once while on business travel.
          And the day I was there was the Dharma School graduations,
          and you had the kids running all over, and parents, and
          everything was so impromptu...and it's moments like THAT that I
          treasure in Jodo Shinshu, because they're moments like real
          life, which is the REAL practice. Sure, there's also those amazing
          and revelatory instances, too...but you can't make a diet solely
          out of chocolate cake, and likewise you can't make a practice
          solely out of purely transcendant moments.

          >I know from my own experience that it's impossible for me to
          >keep the precepts or to do the ascetic practices for any length of
          >time-I really am a fool most all of the time. And as a blue-collar
          >sort, my intellectual capacities aren't exactly enormous. Should
          >I be outside the compassion and wisdom of the Dharma
          >because of that?

          To paraphrase in a blue-collar way, from that great blue-collar
          philosopher Stone Cold Steve Austin...HELL, no!!! ;)

          Even in Zen, you hear that life itself is practice. But it seems to
          much moreso to me that in Jodo Shinshu, it's the other way
          around: practice is life. In that light, it's not surprising that D.T.
          Suzuki referred to Zen and Shin as different sides of the same
          coin. And likewise, the practices of both aren't really mutually
          exclusive. As long as one keeps in mind that one should always
          avoid self-power working for one's own merit, it doesn't matter
          whether one engages in seiza, for example, or not within Jodo
          Shinshu. And really, depending on the person/practitioner, there
          may be just as much that comes from sitting in concentrated
          meditative practice as there might be from sitting back with a
          cold one and watching a Cubs (the MBT faves, of course!)
          game...as long as there is mindfulness of the infinite wisdom
          and compassion of the Tathagata present in both. Because,
          ultimately, it's that infinite wisdom and compassion of Amida
          Buddha...manifested in other power or Tariki...that runs the
          show. So, no...no rigorous practice needed, unless you count
          everyday life itself. One can at least say it's more _convenient_...
          ;)
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