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Life within a Zen Monastery

federicafederica seeker of the clear blue skyIts better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

I don't follow Zen, but I can see the attraction. Perusing YouTube for something different, I found this two-part documentary.
Interesting, whatever your vocation.
Enjoy.
Part I:

adamcrossley

Comments

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Part II:

  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited November 26

    Ah I see it was made for BOS, the Buddhist broadcasting organisation that was present for some years here in the Netherlands. Unfortunately they lost their grant a few years ago and are no longer active.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Ah @federica ... it takes me back :) ... and makes me recall my own failure at a Zen monastery (went for six months, lasted two) here in the U.S. I came away with three invaluable lessons that I would expect no one to emulate: 1. As a monk, I'm a flunk; 2. Eating oatmeal with chop sticks is a fool's errand and 3. I wouldn't wish my patchwork Zen training on my worst enemy and I wouldn't trade it for all the tea in China.

    Best wishes to all.

    Hozan
  • jwredeljwredel Albuquerque Explorer

    Very cool, thanks @federica. Having done this a bit, I never get the feeling that these documentaries really get to the heart of Zen training.

    We all know that awakening is the realization of what is already in front of us. And we all know that many (some?) eventually come to this realization through a unique combination of life experiences. And, as we would guess, the surroundings of a Zen monastery are meant to foster an environment that has been shown to be effective in presenting students with these exact experiences.

    But what really makes Zen unique is that a Roshi, through teisho (talks) and sanzen (personal, mandatory interviews), is actually the prime mover in shaping each individual student's experience - that without a teacher, the gaining of benefits from one's experiences are fairly left to the chance. Not so in true Zen training. And what is not clearly shown here is that without a personally invested teacher, there really is no Zen.

    Kerome
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    And what is not clearly shown here is that without a personally invested teacher, there really is no Zen.

    @jwredel -- I believe it was Huang Po who once stood before his assembled monks and said among other things, "There is no such thing as a Zen teacher." One of the monks was quick to challenge him: "But master," the monk said, "how can you say such a thing when you are clearly standing in front of us and teaching us." And Huang Po replied, "I said there was no such thing as a Zen teacher. I did not say there was no such thing as Zen."

  • jwredeljwredel Albuquerque Explorer

    @genkaku Excellent quote. I'm sure that we would agree that in many contexts the word Zen can come to mean many things. Most often, it seems, that people will use the term to mean something more like "the complete manifestation of an individual within each moment". And we can acknowledge that, like Huang Po said, this can't be taught. But we can also consider Zen as the loose framework of insights for the transmission of the fundamental principle of Buddhism (Buddha nature) directly from teacher to student. And in this use of the word, if there is no teacher, there is no Zen.

  • marcitkomarcitko Explorer
    edited November 27

    Thank you Federica.

    Brings back fond memories of my two week lay stay at a zen monastery in the UK. I enjoyed it very much. I'm usually not into ritual, but in that context it was wonderful. I also loved the daily rhythm and the no-talking rule imposed during half of my stay (during a retreat). The monks were friendly and kind.

    I remember that on day 3 of a silent retreat everyone started having giggle attacks :-)

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    But we can also consider Zen as the loose framework of insights for the transmission of the fundamental principle of Buddhism (Buddha nature) directly from teacher to student. And in this use of the word, if there is no teacher, there is no Zen.

    @jwredel -- Huang Po was a large fellow, one large enough to kick this sort of bubbling right in the ass. But what do I know? Maybe he would just kiss the boo-boo better.

  • jwredeljwredel Albuquerque Explorer

    =)

  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    respect to those of higher training.im ok being a layperson.

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    im ok being a layperson.

    @paulyso -- May it neither restrain nor advance you. :)

    paulyso
  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    thank you genkaku!

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    @paulyso said:
    respect to those of higher training.im ok being a layperson.

    Ditto. Some of us need to be the ones to hear the tale.

    lobsterHozanpaulyso
  • In zen cyber space, no one can hear you swish your tail 😇

    ... oh you said tale ... carry on :3

    Hozan
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    You can go there and practice if you want. =)

    http://japan-magazine.jnto.go.jp/en/1511_eiheiji.html

  • There is also an online zendo, with regular virtual practice, a forum and training for priesthood through the Internet ...
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treeleaf_Zendo

    <3 metta <3 Kick up the ass o:)

    Hozan
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