On Lineage and Women: An Unpopular View

Mugai Nyodai , 1223-1298, a great practitioner, teacher, and woman.At the recent conference, one teacher who had recently completed dharma transmission told me about her ceremony. Her teacher had her do the bowing practice with almost 150 names, including many of the known women great practitioners through the ages. Despite the dogma of Zen, most Buddhists, including Zennists, through most of our history have apparently thought that women could not become truly enlightened and were more or less … [Read more...]

Returning Home, Quick Reflections

Got back from the conference earlier today and pulled up the old boat for the time being, metaphorically speaking. On my way out to Bald Eagle Lake to bike ... but reflecting on a couple "take aways" from the conference.One is that the are a lot of Zen teachers who are really right with themselves. I continue to find that reassuring.Another reflection is from the inevitable conversations about mission statements, long-range plans, fund raising, etc., and the many thousands of hours that people … [Read more...]

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In Japan, Buddhism May Be Dying Out

Thanks to Tonen for pointing this out - a nice summary of the pickle Japanese Buddhism, including Zen, finds itself in, having gambled on family succession and the funeral business to keep things going. Looks like those two horses only got so far down the road.However, I kinda doubt that Buddhism will die out in Japan for a long time. A major contraction seems to be coming, however. There are a number of quite dynamic teaching lines and I expect that these will continue. Perhaps the monastic … [Read more...]

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Coming From Zero, Face to Face: Post Modern Power

My power consultant is a post-modern guy. He even wears Italian shoes. At least I’m confident that they’re not Birkenstocks or NB’s. They look odd in a stylish way – so I like to think they’re Italian. Like my consultant’s shoes, my thoughts are a work in progress here. And I’m experimenting with this post-modern power orientation with a small group and expect that things will develop some over time. Modern power is exercised through normative theories. The post-modern power orientation is to p … [Read more...]

Inmates Running the Asylum (second of three on power – see below)

That’s how it can seem if the horizontal gets carried away. Rather than traditional power with its hierarchical, vertical orientation, the second form of power, modern power, is community-based and horizontal – but that’s good, right? Well, it is certainly a hard-won development and movement from the feudal form of authoritarianism, but modern power comes with a couple major negatives when applied to Zen that can eat away at the teacher-student relationship and the organization as well. Fir … [Read more...]

Why Teacher-Student Relationships Often Get Wacky

Power. That’s one big reason. Or more specifically, often when teacher-student relationships go south, the power relationships have either been uncleanly defined, or there is a change necessary due to whatever is happening in a person’s practice (the "teacher" being one of those people) and the other won’t/can't/don't want to go where they’d have to go to keep the relationship alive. That isn’t bad. Each person's true freedom is the important thing. I have a lot to say about this and I’m wonderin … [Read more...]

The Stadium Pal – Some Real Zen Possibilities Or What I Learn from Young People

http://youtube.com/v/YBdymtyXt8YI'm up taking my early morning turn with puppy Bodhi and he's quite happy at the moment chewing on a rope. So I read a blog I enjoy by a young person about another blog about white-people-and-their-wacky-shenanigans. He mentions someone named "David Sedaris" and I felt a lot like when I talk with African American friends, although in those conversations I first need to get some of the words translated and then ask about who the players are.Anyway, I didn't have a … [Read more...]