zen masters...

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Re: zen masters...

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

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People live in one another’s shelter.

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Re: zen masters...

Postby 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.
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Re: zen masters...

Postby 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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Re: zen masters...

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

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: zen masters...

Postby 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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Re: zen masters...

Postby 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:

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Re: zen masters...

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

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: zen masters...

Postby 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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Re: zen masters...

Postby DAWN » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:09 pm

tiltbillings wrote: what is the problem?


Your aggressivity ? :namaste:
Sabbe dhamma anatta
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Re: zen masters...

Postby 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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Re: zen masters...

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:12 pm

Dan74 wrote:
That sounded more like a lashing than a whack.
No, just a simple, unexpected whack.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: zen masters...

Postby Dan74 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:17 pm

DAWN wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: what is the problem?


Your aggressivity ? :namaste:


He might just be a frustrated zen master... :spy:
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Re: zen masters...

Postby Sambojjhanga » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:34 pm

alan... wrote:i don't doubt that many of these masters deeply understood buddhism and possibly were even enlightened. i really dig zen and have read a LOT of zen literature, from tang dynasty masters works to dogen all the way up to shunryu suzuki and dt suzuki. i have trained zen at a zen temple and gone to retreats and loved everything about it for the most part. so don't think i'm hating or anything, zen really is wonderful.

that being said,

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???

correct me if i'm wrong but if a bhikkhu in the buddhas time or even today in the theravada tradition was well respected and thought of as a stream enterer or higher and then started getting wasted on booze, got married and started beating people up, wouldn't they generally be understood to have fallen away from the dhamma at best or at worst to have been total frauds in the first place? i recall one sutta (somewhere in the vinaya i believe) in which the buddha created a new rule, because a bhikkhu slept with his own wife, that bhikkhus could not do this, so i'm fairly confident that i'm right in this regard.

asking a zen person this will get a reply such as: "that's just zen. all things are one, non dual, so sleeping with women is zen, so is beating people up."

now i'm wondering what theravada people say about this?


I would recommend avoiding any teacher whom you don't both trust and respect.

Metta

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Sabba rasam dhammaraso jinati
The flavor of the dhamma exceeds all other flavors
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Re: zen masters...

Postby DAWN » Wed Dec 19, 2012 9:38 pm

Dan74 wrote:
DAWN wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: what is the problem?


Your aggressivity ? :namaste:


He might just be a frustrated zen master... :spy:


When there is pain it must be healed. IMO.
Sabbe dhamma anatta
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I'am sorry for my english
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Re: zen masters...

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:26 pm

Dan74 wrote:
DAWN wrote:
tiltbillings wrote: what is the problem?


Your aggressivity ? :namaste:


He might just be a frustrated zen master... :spy:
Friustrated with the incessant unitelligent questions from his students who should be studying the Dhamma far more carefully than they are doing.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: zen masters...

Postby dude » Wed Dec 19, 2012 10:48 pm

Sambojjhanga wrote:
alan... wrote:i don't doubt that many of these masters deeply understood buddhism and possibly were even enlightened. i really dig zen and have read a LOT of zen literature, from tang dynasty masters works to dogen all the way up to shunryu suzuki and dt suzuki. i have trained zen at a zen temple and gone to retreats and loved everything about it for the most part. so don't think i'm hating or anything, zen really is wonderful.

that being said,

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???

correct me if i'm wrong but if a bhikkhu in the buddhas time or even today in the theravada tradition was well respected and thought of as a stream enterer or higher and then started getting wasted on booze, got married and started beating people up, wouldn't they generally be understood to have fallen away from the dhamma at best or at worst to have been total frauds in the first place? i recall one sutta (somewhere in the vinaya i believe) in which the buddha created a new rule, because a bhikkhu slept with his own wife, that bhikkhus could not do this, so i'm fairly confident that i'm right in this regard.

asking a zen person this will get a reply such as: "that's just zen. all things are one, non dual, so sleeping with women is zen, so is beating people up."

now i'm wondering what theravada people say about this?


I would recommend avoiding any teacher whom you don't both trust and respect.

Metta

:anjali:



That's how I see it too.
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Re: zen masters...

Postby Dan74 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:11 pm

tiltbillings wrote:Friustrated with the incessant unitelligent questions from his students who should be studying the Dhamma far more carefully than they are doing.


"...lulled to sleep by the sound of our own voices, our keystrokes, our narratives and dreams..."
_/|\_
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Re: zen masters...

Postby tiltbillings » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:27 pm

Dan74 wrote:
tiltbillings wrote:Friustrated with the incessant unitelligent questions from his students who should be studying the Dhamma far more carefully than they are doing.


"...lulled to sleep by the sound of our own voices, our keystrokes, our narratives and dreams..."
A well placed kyōsaku iswhat is needed.
This being is bound to samsara, kamma is his means for going beyond.
SN I, 38.

Ar scáth a chéile a mhaireas na daoine.
People live in one another’s shelter.

"We eat cold eels and think distant thoughts." -- Jack Johnson
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Re: zen masters...

Postby Dan74 » Wed Dec 19, 2012 11:48 pm

Yes, I was thinking the same, but all I have is a small chugpi, which makes a loud rap when struck but inflicts no pain...

92002-2.jpg
92002-2.jpg (28.35 KiB) Viewed 593 times


Pretty wimpy, eh?

On a serious note, I think some of us (ahem... ahem... eg me) do need a spiritual elder to occasionally (metaphorically) whack us between the ears for the stupidities that we do, how many are sufficiently mature to do it ourselves? And how often we don't even notice??
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Re: zen masters...

Postby retrofuturist » Thu Dec 20, 2012 12:27 am

Greetings,

Dan74 wrote:On a serious note, I think some of us (ahem... ahem... eg me) do need a spiritual elder to occasionally (metaphorically) whack us between the ears for the stupidities that we do, how many are sufficiently mature to do it ourselves? And how often we don't even notice??

I dunno... dukkha provides a pretty good whack in and of itself, and it only whacks us when we're not doing the samma (right) things.

Rahula's mirror is cool. 8-)

Metta,
Retro. :)
If you have asked me of the origination of unease, then I shall explain it to you in accordance with my understanding:
Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


Exalted in mind, just open and clearly aware, the recluse trained in the ways of the sages:
One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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