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Rinzai with No Teacher?

Discussion of Japanese Rinzai Zen (臨済宗) including Obaku Zen (黄檗宗).

Rinzai with No Teacher?

Postby zafu on Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:25 am

Hi,

If there are no teachers available where you live. what are your options if your heart really wants to practice Koan/Hua'tou/Hwadu?

M...
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Re: Rinzai with No Teacher?

Postby TigerDuck on Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:32 am

I will then study other traditions that over more explanations such as great perfection, mahamudra, and madyamika.

Zen is not easy for a single fighter.

Through nonconceptuality, he is immovable.

[Nagarjuna]
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Re: Rinzai with No Teacher?

Postby zafu on Fri Nov 20, 2015 11:34 am

TigerDuck wrote:I will then study other traditions that over more explanations such as great perfection, mahamudra, and madyamika.

Zen is not easy for a single fighter.


Pity, I feel like I have naturally moved into this type of work
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Re: Rinzai with No Teacher?

Postby chankin1937 on Fri Nov 20, 2015 2:02 pm

zafu wrote: If there are no teachers available where you live. what are your options if your heart really wants to practice Koan/Hua'tou/Hwadu?


Hello Zafu,
The understanding that all these various schools derive from might help:

As the first signs of a central nervous system began to appear in the history of the evolution of life on our planet, the model that primitive system exhibited was:
Passive awareness – reception of a stimulus – reacting to that stimulus by successful action.
The stimulus could be pleasure, the demands of appetite, danger or pain. The response to pleasure would be to sustain it; to appetite to satisfy it; to danger and pain, to avoid them.
All responses would engage all the mental skills the primitive creature possessed. Once the stimulus was removed by finding a solution to the problems it presented, the possessor of such a system would return to a mental state of alert but passive awareness. You could say it would be reacquainted with its original mind. Or that it would have peace of mind – conventionally called happiness.
This is the model from which our own highly sophisticated central nervous system has evolved.
The rules that apply to the original primordial system apply to ours.
However, for us, as life has grown more complex, the stimuli proliferated, and the responses to those stimuli have overwhelmed us to such an extent that modern men rarely if ever experience the first element of the model from which their central nervous system has evolved – alert, passive awareness – profound peace-of-mind.
Meditation (zazen) is a way to reacquaint us with that first element - passive awareness – peace of mind.
TTFN
Colin
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Re: Rinzai with No Teacher?

Postby TigerDuck on Fri Nov 20, 2015 4:19 pm

Just like mind has no male or female,
Truth has no tradition nor lineage.

We go for the truth, not a lineage.

Through nonconceptuality, he is immovable.

[Nagarjuna]
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Re: Rinzai with No Teacher?

Postby Meido on Fri Nov 20, 2015 4:34 pm

zafu wrote:If there are no teachers available where you live. what are your options if your heart really wants to practice Koan/Hua'tou/Hwadu?


It's worth remembering that regardless of where one's teacher lives, the meat of the path as a lay practitioner will be daily practice on one's own. So one can always find a teacher with whom one feels affinity, receive practice instruction - including koan/wato if and when the teacher deems those methods appropriate - and then just go back home and do it. A lot.

Even if our teacher lives next door that's what will need to happen. If we're serious, 2 hours of practice a day is a good minimum. If we're not that serious, or need time to build up our capacity and motivation for practice, it's fine; we can recognize that and do our best. But it's important to understand that Zen (and some of the other paths Tiger Duck mentioned), though they may be called very direct and rapid approaches, normally require an enormous amount of practice. Outside of a monastery, you're going to be doing this largely at home on your own no matter where your teacher lives.

Then, for the periods of intensive retreat including face-to-face encounter that will also be necessary, you could travel to where your teacher is a few times a year. You'll probably be using your vacation time for this kind of activity even if your teacher lives in the same town. So it goes.

Naturally it's desirable to have more contact with one's teacher, not less. But the reality of practice is that there will be extended periods - even years - when the teacher might have little to say except "Keep going!". For example, working with a single wato or koan for years is not uncommon. You could have daily dokusan in a monastery, but if that's where you're at really all you need is to keep biting into it. It may be harder to generate the energy to do so alone, but not impossible. The depth and power of one's vows is crucial.

And of course today we have rapid means of communicating. One can pick up a phone if there is a pressing question. If one is not practicing intensively and a great deal, though, there really won't be much to talk about anyway no matter where one's teacher is. So it comes back to us in the end.

Another factor to acknowledge is the importance of the face-to-face energetic transmission between teacher and student in Rinzai practice. This is not necessarily limited by distance, however, as long as the continuity of practice is established and there is some regular - even if not frequent - face-to-face contact over an extended period of time. Again, you'll probably be planning your yearly schedule around retreats.

A final option is to move to where one's teacher lives. Naturally this is difficult if we have chosen other priorities and taken on many responsibilities. But we do have it much easier than in past centuries...no hazardous sea voyage to China, bandits on the road west, etc.

I hope none of this sounds lacking in sympathy, or needlessly rigid. It is important to begin the path with a real sense of urgency and good fortune at having encountered it at all - and the resultant motivation to decisively arrange our life conditions to follow the path, rather than to mold the path to follow our convenience. Why? So that we can arrive at the place where speaking of "life" apart from "path" doesn't make sense to us at all.

We go for the truth, not a lineage.


Certainly.

My personal experience is that I chose and followed my primary teacher because I was overwhelmingly drawn to him. At that time I had no idea what "Soto", "Rinzai", "koan", etc. meant. I didn't even have my heart set on Zen.

So generally I would advise that if someone wants to practice, they should choose from whom they want to learn without worrying too much about particular lineages or methods. If we are fortunate enough to find such a person, naturally it's up to us to decide how we will direct our lives to follow them.

~ Meido
明道禅徹
The Rinzai Zen Community: http://www.rinzaizen.org
Korinji monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺]: http://www.korinji.org
Madison Rinzai Zen Community/Ryugen-ji [機山龍源寺]: http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
http://rinzaiheartland.blogspot.com
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Re: Rinzai with No Teacher?

Postby Seeker242 on Fri Nov 20, 2015 6:53 pm

zafu wrote:Hi,

If there are no teachers available where you live. what are your options if your heart really wants to practice Koan/Hua'tou/Hwadu?

M...


You travel to see a teacher! If you can't, then you save up money until you can! Although, I don't think it would hurt anyone to contemplate "Who are you?" as that is a pretty universal Hwadu. :)
Kill a cat, with a dried shit stick, under a cypress tree in the courtyard, while eating three pounds of flax! Only a cow goes Moooo!
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Re: Rinzai with No Teacher?

Postby Avisitor on Sat Nov 21, 2015 5:46 am

zafu wrote:Hi,

If there are no teachers available where you live. what are your options if your heart really wants to practice Koan/Hua'tou/Hwadu?

M...


Search on the internet for a place where one can learn such things and then pick up the phone and call
Talk to someone. Be open to what may come.
Disclaimer: There is no intent to be offensive in my posts. None was intended and none should be interpreted as such.
Sorry, got a message that I was not being PC.
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Re: Rinzai with No Teacher?

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Nov 22, 2015 1:19 am

z.,

zafu wrote:If there are no teachers available where you live. what are your options if your heart really wants to practice Koan/Hua'tou/Hwadu?

Well, maybe "just" practice whatever any other Zen Buddhist teacher has taught you, and which you practiced with him or her and the sangha.

I agree with others here, too, who write that travel to see a teacher is what's possible to do.

In advance, we might also call-up that teacher on the phone, or email back and forth a bit. This establishes a connection even before an initial handshake (or bows).

Wishing you the best!

I think Meido's reply is just great. :rbow:

:Namaste:,

--Joe
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Re: Rinzai with No Teacher?

Postby zafu on Wed Nov 25, 2015 4:31 pm

Thanks for your feedback everyone, particularly Meido for such a comprehensive reply.
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Re: Rinzai with No Teacher?

Postby Lunarious1987 on Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:57 am

Meido wrote:
zafu wrote:If there are no teachers available where you live. what are your options if your heart really wants to practice Koan/Hua'tou/Hwadu?


It's worth remembering that regardless of where one's teacher lives, the meat of the path as a lay practitioner will be daily practice on one's own. So one can always find a teacher with whom one feels affinity, receive practice instruction - including koan/wato if and when the teacher deems those methods appropriate - and then just go back home and do it. A lot.

Even if our teacher lives next door that's what will need to happen. If we're serious, 2 hours of practice a day is a good minimum. If we're not that serious, or need time to build up our capacity and motivation for practice, it's fine; we can recognize that and do our best. But it's important to understand that Zen (and some of the other paths Tiger Duck mentioned), though they may be called very direct and rapid approaches, normally require an enormous amount of practice. Outside of a monastery, you're going to be doing this largely at home on your own no matter where your teacher lives.

Then, for the periods of intensive retreat including face-to-face encounter that will also be necessary, you could travel to where your teacher is a few times a year. You'll probably be using your vacation time for this kind of activity even if your teacher lives in the same town. So it goes.

Naturally it's desirable to have more contact with one's teacher, not less. But the reality of practice is that there will be extended periods - even years - when the teacher might have little to say except "Keep going!". For example, working with a single wato or koan for years is not uncommon. You could have daily dokusan in a monastery, but if that's where you're at really all you need is to keep biting into it. It may be harder to generate the energy to do so alone, but not impossible. The depth and power of one's vows is crucial.

And of course today we have rapid means of communicating. One can pick up a phone if there is a pressing question. If one is not practicing intensively and a great deal, though, there really won't be much to talk about anyway no matter where one's teacher is. So it comes back to us in the end.

Another factor to acknowledge is the importance of the face-to-face energetic transmission between teacher and student in Rinzai practice. This is not necessarily limited by distance, however, as long as the continuity of practice is established and there is some regular - even if not frequent - face-to-face contact over an extended period of time. Again, you'll probably be planning your yearly schedule around retreats.

A final option is to move to where one's teacher lives. Naturally this is difficult if we have chosen other priorities and taken on many responsibilities. But we do have it much easier than in past centuries...no hazardous sea voyage to China, bandits on the road west, etc.

I hope none of this sounds lacking in sympathy, or needlessly rigid. It is important to begin the path with a real sense of urgency and good fortune at having encountered it at all - and the resultant motivation to decisively arrange our life conditions to follow the path, rather than to mold the path to follow our convenience. Why? So that we can arrive at the place where speaking of "life" apart from "path" doesn't make sense to us at all.

We go for the truth, not a lineage.


Certainly.

My personal experience is that I chose and followed my primary teacher because I was overwhelmingly drawn to him. At that time I had no idea what "Soto", "Rinzai", "koan", etc. meant. I didn't even have my heart set on Zen.

So generally I would advise that if someone wants to practice, they should choose from whom they want to learn without worrying too much about particular lineages or methods. If we are fortunate enough to find such a person, naturally it's up to us to decide how we will direct our lives to follow them.

~ Meido

Thanks Meido. I havent read most replies so sorry if i don't quote others.

But Medio, i agree there is not teacher like i said. I once ... Well Muslims love Christians, good Christians. We consider ourselves the best nation produced to humanity (it says in the Quran in past tense). So once i want to join the Christians. And like Sufi Muslims (mystics) I want to spread peace and I got much love humbly speaking. I am so kind that I can't control myself when bad guys whom I know are bad guys says something bad to me, I just agree and wholeheartedly. Until i am too dammaged as is happening now. And Aspies like me don't have emotional intelligence and have alot of sympathy but they don't share the empathy with others. They are like kids in a way. So I don't understand what is going on. Yet Apies are intelligent. Strange mix. Imossible mix.

Anyway, what i want to say is that The Christian girl i talked to said that we can't unite. Like for example calling God for Allah, like arabic Christians do and arabic jews too. They call God Allah. Allah is not a random name, it is an ancient name, and very scientific. She said we can't unite. She said, and here is my point, that Christians are saved by grace of their saviour and teaches Jesus (they belive, and to an extent we too), whereas Muslims have to take responsiblity for their own. Allah says in the Quran that we are rewarded by atoms weight. Like Karma. But we don't call it Karma.

So, once can't know with an impure heart what is right and wrong and good and bad. The Quran says that they who are evil and newbeginners and uneducated and unexperienced see good things as bad and bad things as good. And in Islam, Linages are imprtant. Not neccesarly because one thinks of prestige. But because of the qurality of the inheritance. And you have to work really hard, suffer alot, intensivily to find the tone of your hearts true nature so you will find the right teacher.

Peace
- Don't be thankful to be righteous. Be righteous to be thankful.
- Shia: "We are the friends/owners of proof, wherever it bends we bend."
- Imam Hussein was once asked: what is affluence? He said : Decreasing your wishes , and being satisfied with what is enough for you.”
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Re: Rinzai with No Teacher?

Postby Lunarious1987 on Tue Jul 26, 2016 6:37 pm

Hello mods, can you delete my posts in THIS thread?

Thanks.
- Don't be thankful to be righteous. Be righteous to be thankful.
- Shia: "We are the friends/owners of proof, wherever it bends we bend."
- Imam Hussein was once asked: what is affluence? He said : Decreasing your wishes , and being satisfied with what is enough for you.”
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Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2016 2:24 pm


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