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Decisions

Discussions of Zen stemming from the Sanbyo Kyodan School founded by Yatsutani Roshi.

Decisions

Postby island on Sat Aug 13, 2016 11:55 pm

I used to have a Diamond Sangha teacher, who had to quit suddenly. I've been sitting in Soto sanghas since then. Due to some scheduling conflicts, I switched to one that combines Soto with Vipassana and has a good feel. I asked to have some time with the teacher and during this interview, she suggested names of people who do koan practice. One name, David Weinstein, was repeated, and he has practiced with someone I know, David Loy, in Japan, which means this is Sanbo Kyodan. There is also a branch of this group that is local.

I'm trying to decide whether to switch again or not. I have heard back from Weinstein and the local teacher. My concerns are that I'm sorta a caregiver now so I'm not sure if being away is responsible. I am also starting an intensive period of training and seeing clients.

The benefits are that both of these teachers are in the field of mental health and are closer to what I prefer in forms of practice. Eventually, I will relocate in O'ahu and sit at the Diamond Sangha there.
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Re: Decisions

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Aug 14, 2016 12:04 am

Island,

Maybe John Tarrant is not far from you (in Santa Rosa, I think he is)? He's a Jungian Analyst, besides.

--Joe
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Re: Decisions

Postby island on Sun Aug 14, 2016 1:00 am

Tarrant also teaches at this place, which in Rockridge, a lot closer and more familiar since I used to teach at UC Berkeley so know that area. Even though closer than Santa Rosa, it's still a drive when I have many responsibilities at home and to clients. The branch of this group has another group in Aptos, which is within the county. I don't want to say much about people, but I'd rather go with Weinstein than Tarrant. He is also in mental health and so is the teacher in Aptos. I'm also not that fond of Jungian analysis, and I've done it. I'm more open to mindfulness based treatments (MBSR & DBT), contemporary psychoanalysis (Relational & Intersubjective) and existential approaches.

I just don't know if I can commit to a new teacher and intensive koan practice given the degree of time I have to caregive for someone who is quite elderly, can't drive, has trouble hearing, walking, and remembering in addition to clients, trainings, and my own self-care.
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Re: Decisions

Postby Caodemarte on Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:22 am

As I suspect you know, the PZI web site has Weinstein as part of PZI (Tarrant's group), not Diamond Sangha and not Sanbo Kyodan, so if you intend to practice with either later on you might want to hook up with their local affiliate now. I know none of these people so can't comment on their individual qualities even if I was qualified to do so!

However, if you are really driven to koan practice you might want to consider more traditional Japanese or Chinese tradition derived groups. Speaking personally, I would fear that mixing psychological and religious work might leave me with the advantages of neither, but that is a very personal decision.
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Re: Decisions

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Aug 14, 2016 3:38 am

Island,

:Namaste:

island wrote:I just don't know if I can commit to a new teacher and intensive koan practice given the degree of time I have to caregive for someone who is quite elderly, can't drive, has trouble hearing, walking, and remembering in addition to clients, trainings, and my own self-care.

There's a koan in there, somewhere. And sounds like strong practice.

rgds,

--Joe
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Re: Decisions

Postby island on Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:20 am

Thanks. David Weinstein is part of PZI and so associated with Tarrant. David Loy is someone I know and am in touch with. He said he practiced with Weinstein in Japan, which means he is Sanbo Kyodan in training. I know other Diamond Sangha teachers, Aitken Roshi's Hawaiian based version of that tradition. Some are in fact very psychologically minded or even mental health providers. Joseph Bobrow runs an institute for trauma and veterans; he has written about Zen and psychoanalysis; he also began in Aitken's sangha alongside Loy. Loy also has written about the relational of modern, Western Buddhism, and psychology.

I'm not sure why the intersections between psychology and spiritual practices would be something that was problematic. So many Buddhists are interested in Western forms of psychology. And many people in the mental health profession are using forms derived from spiritual practices to reach people who may not respond to traditional forms of therapy.

Barry Magid has written eloquently about the dangers of "spiritual by-pass" and how going toward meditation without working things out psychologically presents dangers to self and others. Magid is a Zen master of the Joko Beck lineage and runs a large sangha in NYC. He is both an analyst and a psychiatrist.

There are many others and lots around the world. Many in the American Insight traditions are also counselors. As far as I know, both Weinstein and the teacher locally are also licensed. I am leaning toward making this move since I feel I will have more in common with people used to the overlap of intensive koan practice and psychology. I will see if I can talk to the Soto teacher about this idea, which was her recommendation after a 90 minute meeting.
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Re: Decisions

Postby Caodemarte on Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:15 pm

Mixing psychological work (to improve functionality of the self) with religious work (to manifest or reveal the true self) at the same moment may not be problematic or may even aid both efforts for you. Knowing myself, I would almost certainly drift into an unsatisfactory, unserious Buddhism Lite/Psychology Lite dead end. But that is me. Others would probably find this approach to be a satisfactory, serious Buddhist/Psychological road. People are different. You certainly must practice as you see fit (a characteristic of the pragmatic Zen sect has long been using whatever is useful for the individual). I am certainly not the Buddhist police!

As noted, I spoke from my personal perspective for what is beneficial to me in the hope that it might be marginally useful for others to consider or reject and find what benefits them.
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Re: Decisions

Postby Linda Anderson on Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:25 pm

Daniel Terragno (Sebastopol, CA) is in that line. He maintains connections with Diamond Sangha and is more of a traditionalist, I think. He is a good teacher with a kind heart. I know ppl who sit with him... some of my best buds.
Not last night,
not this morning;
Melon flowers bloomed.
~ Bassho
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Re: Decisions

Postby island on Sun Aug 14, 2016 7:46 pm

Daniel is my former teacher's teacher. I am in touch with him; he is currently not taking students. Nor is Bobrow, whom I used to know when he was in Northern CA. He has since moved south.

I'm still considering what to do. I think it depends on how my own schedule develops and if it fits with the other teachers. I can't by law and ethics overextend myself so even if I really want to make the change, I may have to put other things ahead.
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Re: Decisions

Postby island on Mon Aug 15, 2016 11:43 pm

I took the plunge and set up a phone call with David Weinstein to see how things go. The center is a 4 hour drive round trip, which I could do easily if I didn't have someone almost entirely dependent on me as well as other responsibilities. I could certainly do it once a month if the more local group has sittings every week. I'm not sure if the more local group is an off-shoot or relatively independent, meaning I'm not sure if the person in charge is authorized to teach. I still haven't heard. I'm patient and would prefer to go slowly.
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Re: Decisions

Postby island on Sat Sep 03, 2016 9:33 pm

I meet with the teacher in Oakland, talked about his approach to koan practice, went over some of my background, and made the commitment to work with him. I stayed after the group sit to hear his introduction to koan practice. I liked the approach and am glad I stayed. It is different from what I had done before in ways that I think will work well in general.
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Re: Decisions

Postby partofit22 on Sun Sep 04, 2016 1:06 am

:peace:
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Re: Decisions

Postby desert_woodworker on Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:19 am

I find sometimes it's good when we like it, and sometimes good when we don't like it. Also, sometimes bad when we like it, and good when we don't. So, I dunno.

(This makes me no expert when it comes to "decisions", and no good advisor when it comes to choices).

Maybe I've become indifferent to liking and not liking. But when it's clear that true dharma is present, and teaching is informed by clear Wisdom, and true Compassion, yeah, I'll stick around, 'cause that's home. :)

--Joe
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Re: Decisions

Postby partofit22 on Sun Sep 04, 2016 4:27 am

desert_woodworker wrote:I find sometimes it's good when we like it, and sometimes good when we don't like it. Also, sometimes bad when we like it, and good when we don't. So, I dunno.

(This makes me no expert when it comes to "decisions", and no good advisor when it comes to choices).

Maybe I've become indifferent to liking and not liking. But when it's clear that true dharma is present, and teaching is informed by clear Wisdom, and true Compassion, yeah, I'll stick around, 'cause that's home. :)

--Joe


Yes! Don't know if you're indifferent, but yes! to the rest that you said-
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