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genkaku Veteran

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genkaku
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Northampton, Mass. U.S.A.
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  • I kind of like the quote from the movie, "Fury" [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fury_(2014_film)] that goes, "Ideals are peaceful. History is violent." A living koan: What will a (wo)man do when violence is not enough and what is called peace is not …
  • My teacher's teacher was hell on "waste." There were endless tales of his visiting the kitchen in the monastery and retrieving bits of greens the cooks had thrown away rather than adding to the pot. With age, however, I find there is a whispering…
  • ... and never forget my mother's admonition, "Don't get too holy by next Thursday."
  • a new country, a new culture, a new phase of my life The past is ungraspable. The future is ungraspable. And when you get down to it, the present is ungraspable as well. Enjoy the kangaroos.
  • A little bit of personal experience. As a Zen student, I was once given Joshu's "mu" as a koan to munch on. [A monk asked Joshu, "Does a dog have Buddha Nature or not?" Joshu replied, "Mu" ("no" or "not")"] As a new and dutiful student, I munched…
  • As hard as anyone might try, there is no escaping the world of so-called samsara. It is probably more sensible to stick with Thaddeus Golas' ("The Lazy Man's Guide to Enlightenment") observation that "when you learn to love hell, you will be in heav…
  • Not to be a wet blanket, but of my own wowser moments I remember and cherish and can retail from time to time, perhaps the most compelling was the recognition that arose after the wowser. It was then, in the quiet after-space, that I realized I was …
  • @DhammaDragon -- "We complement each other" might be a little weird unless you were addressing your honey.
  • My own nesting point: "Reincarnation" is what happens in Hollywood. "Rebirth" becomes apparent in actual-factual practice. Every breath is reborn of something that was never born and lives anew ... sort of. Saying "something" is of course saying t…
  • Perfect doesnt exist. @HOZAN -- If perfect doesn't exist, how then can you assert "I am here to help me learn as part of my path to accept imperfection and change." Are you saying perfection doesn't exist but imperfection does???? Cozy, p…
  • ... and yet, no insult intended, what is NewBuddhist if not a location where we can all dither this way and that in search of what might roughly be called perfect ... a state we might claim not to know or own, but we damned sure would like to attain…
  • There is no "must," but one of the reasons I put in a plug for breath -- and possibly breath-counting -- is that breathing is real: Without it, not only is there no practice, there is also no life. Buddhism concerns itself with life and not so much …
  • I'm a fan of counting exhalations -- one to ten and begin again. When something like a Big Mac interferes, just go back to one. The counting offers focus, even if it too can be a pain in the patoot. My feeling these days is that anyone who can co…
  • @karasti -- Lord, I remember those days and you have my sympathy. When it comes to naughty and nice, for some reason I remember driving on a back road with my two, then young sons. Both were in love with the cuss words they seemed to pick up as a…
  • I am used to spin, self-promotion and BS from politicians, but it's disappointing when Buddhists indulge in it. @SpinyNorman -- My take: It takes a while to realize that such a disappointment exists in any well-appointed outlook. Buddhists, …
  • I enjoyed the article too.
  • Zen is sometimes referred to as "the teaching outside the scriptures." It's a snazzy line, but when you look things over, I think every teaching represents "the teaching outside the scriptures." Why? Because each teaching -- however profound or wack…
  • I'll admit that I might have preferred sitting on the Left Bank of the Seine pondering existentialism (and perhaps being surrounded by lovely brainy women), but the question that interests might remain unanswered: "If I'm so smart, how come I'm not …
  • @newlotus -- Go for it! Dump the whole thing! Just don't imagine you know for sure what you are talking about. If "Karma" gets your goat, you can either 1. dump it or 2. study it thoroughly. There is no aspect of Buddhism that is carved in granite, …
  • When my daughter was little, her best friend was Roman Catholic and was taking the confirmation training. My daughter wanted to do it too, so, as part of the friendship, I figured I'd go to church services. I was in an 'ecumenical' phase and figured…
  • Buddhism is something that adopts you. You don't adopt it.... @federica -- Sometimes I feel as if I had been adopted and Buddhism changed its mind and decided to send me back to the ASPCA.
  • The Dharmic religions certainly seem more mature than the Abrahamic ones. @SpinyNorman -- I once asked at Roman Catholic priest if there were any phraseology in the Bible that asserted "and Jesus laughed." I was treated to quite a treati…
  • I find Hinduism fascinating, but I still don't fully understand the essential difference(s) with Buddhism. On a personal-study and somewhat jocular level, the difference is that Hinduism is older and therefore Hindus laugh more.
  • @kerome -- I imagine that everyone who's serious about their Buddhism eventually hits the wall that reads "put up or shut up." My training was largely in Zen (though I do count Trungpa Rinpoche as a serious teacher of mine based on a three-minute…
  • Sometimes I think students feel constrained to seek out and abide by Buddhism's various tenets. I disagree: do not seek out Buddhism; let Buddhism seek you out. And no, this isn't just blowing holy smoke where the sun don't shine. There are some …
  • "The Religious Experience of Mankind" by Ninian Smart is faithful to the important word in the title: "experience." Smart goes after the meat and potatoes of religion and doesn't loll about so much in theology, ritual and belief. A nervy book from w…
  • @SJDR21 -- If you have a practice, do that. If you don't, do that. It is nice to have a temple to visit -- it is, as you say, an education. But then ... well, it's nice not to have a temple. That too is a good education. Be patient. Pay attention…
  • @shadowleaver -- I sympathize with your sense of burnout. How many times can anyone say "shitshitshit" before the bloom is off the cussing bud? But you have to admit that when you bang your thumb with a hammer, the ache doesn't magically disappear j…
  • Where and HOW do you fit in ethics? How does Zen result in transformation of character in a "positive" way? @MrCrowley -- This will probably piss you off but it worked out for me. Sit. Most disciplines start by listing the rules and after…
  • @Kerome -- It used to be illegal here too. But now, of course, Donald Trump, the master of "the deal" is president.
  • @SJDR21 -- A longtime chum of mine, a Zen teacher, once responded to a question I asked by writing, "I sometimes pray to a god I do not believe in." In my mind, this also sharpens the focus on your question since having a god is dependent on belief.…
  • FWIW -- After we had been embroiled in a sex scandal at the Zen center we both attended, a buddy of mine and I quit the center and took to meeting each other once a week for an hour or so of meditation and then a Thai or Chinese meal at some local r…
  • Bite sized wisdom is the easiest to digest Yup ... makes me want to go into the guru business.
  • The next time someone dribbles and croons, "No pain, no gain," do your best to remember that by logical extension, the saying must work equally well when reversed, i.e. "No gain, no pain."
  • @karasti -- I certainly wish your instructor and you well. I once saw a map that indicated places in the US where there were Buddhist centers. It was very informative, not least in the fact that teachers tended to congregate where the money was -…
  • @Lee82 -- Perhaps I am wrong, but it sounds to me as if you are sniffing around the challenge that reads, "Put up or shut up" or, if you prefer, the question, "If I'm so smart, how come I'm not happy?" Think for a moment: If book-reading really p…
  • I never was a Tibetan Buddhist, but I count -- based on a less-than-30-second encounter -- Trungpa Rinpoche, booze and all, as one of my no-fooling-around, sword-through-the-heart teachers. It honestly doesn't matter to me whether anyone agrees or n…
  • Head hung, I confess -- yes, and I write in it [http://genkaku-again.blogspot.com/] every day. Used to be a lot of Buddhist munching. Now it's more the fact that writing is what I do -- or seem to. A lot of Buddhist dust I'm too lazy to clean up.
    in Blog Comment by genkaku April 24
  • When it comes to improvements, I think one that stands near, if not at, the front of the line is, "Stop using the word "we." It is both smarmy and presumptuous and diverts attention from MY very real problems. Group-think may be sweet and cuddly and…
  • Well said, auntie federica...
  • At the risk of repetition: I once asked my teacher what role hope and belief played in Buddhist practice. He replied, "For the first four or five years [of practice] hope and belief are necessary." "And after that?" I pressed. "After that," he said…