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Practicing outside one's lineage

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Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby cam101+ on Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:17 am

Zen has been my practice for over 20 years and am comfortable w/ either Soto or Rinzai, but there is no Zen center in my new city. However, I CAN get to a center in my city that is of another Buddhist lineage. There is no need to mention which linage as it's not directly related to my problem.

I get along great w/ everyone in the sangha including the teachers, and limit my activities to what is closest to Zen. That actually works out very well, and as I have my own daily meditation practice as well as the possibility of practicing mindfulness wherever I am at any time, things are not so bad. I don't need the sangha to practice Zen, and if I had a particular problem could always go to one of their teachers. After 20 years of practice we realize that our problems come from us and it's my job to sit w/ the problem. Advice is always welcome though, and both the sangha and teachers are available for that.

The problem is that while I do fit in w/ the others on a person to person level, the differences in practice make relationships outside the formal sangha difficult for some reason, and my conversations w/ people at the sangha are somewhat restricted because of our different paths. Just today at a luncheon someone mentioned that they really wanted to go to Berkley for a training, and someone else said that it sounded like that person was really pushing for enlightenment. Of course, as a Zen practitioner I kept my mouth shut rather than pointing out that enlightenment was in this very moment and not located somewhere in Berkeley. This sort of thing often pops up.

On one level this is more of an annoyance and does not affect my practice. If anything it has helped me to be more patient and refrain from saying this and that because what I do is not what they do. So I listen more to others and talk less. The other side of this is that I am not able to communicate effectively. In the past I have tried to offer something from a Zen perspective, which is all I have (and in my mind is universal due to the lack of dogma) but each time no communication is possible. They don't get it. My path is not theirs, and the approaches are not the same. Any ideas on how to work with this in a manner that may be more effective? Or is this just how it is? Perhaps I need to let go of it and work w/ what I have in front of me? I've thought of that, but it seems there might be other ways as well.
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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby Lunarious1987 on Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:32 am

Have you thought that enlightenment is not right here and now and that Zen is too intuitive and abstract to be practical? Work is as important as enlightenment in professional Zen monstaries where monks reside, you do not work. Westerners do not work. Maybe their right and Zen don't exist?
- 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: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby cam101+ on Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:34 am

I haven't thought of that. Actually, I find Zen to be very straight forward and concrete (which, when you think of it, may be be some of the problem), but perhaps I have forgotten what it felt like in the beginning. Maybe it took a long time to get the understanding that I have now. Impossible to say, as the person that started 20 years ago is not here now. There is only me as I now am.

Enlightenment is of course here now. I know that on an experiential level. My path is always going to be my path, and they have theirs. I am simply searching for a better way to communicate across the differences. This is the first time I have practiced outside of my lineage, so it is not that easy to figure this out.
Last edited by cam101+ on Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:46 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby Lunarious1987 on Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:40 am

I think, as i see you all, you're all spiritual clones, whom repeats certain things as parrots. Theres a reason Tibetan buddhism forum is put here, so you won't be brainless.

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: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby cam101+ on Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:43 am

Thank you. This will teach me about what may happen when asking for advice :]
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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby Lunarious1987 on Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:46 am

:)
- 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: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:59 am

cam,

I say enlightenment is located in Berkeley. Why not? If a person wants to undertake extra and energetic practice, let's encourage them. Some people actually do awaken when they do this, when fortunate also to have the cooperating causes and conditions to help it to happen. You say you're comfortable in both Soto and Rinzai circles, and, I'd say, if so, then don't just suppose that awakening is found in just every moment. Dogen didn't. That's why he collected 300 koans in China and brought them to Japan. Sudden-awakening is real, and is a potential for all when ripe.

In fact, that's why Dogen went to China in the first place. Otherwise, he could have continued to sit at home.

On the other point, I'd say that when speaking with folks in the sangha, it's good to use just ordinary speech and not special parlance. Unless the person is a close Zen Buddhist friend, one shouldn't expect universal understanding of our expression. Good to start as if you're speaking with an ordinary Joe on the street, like me (I've practiced formally for 37 years, but am still 'Joe').

If there's anything to "get", in our expressions, then I think we're off on the wrong foot. Keep it simple. "KISS": Keep It Simple, Sir (or Sis).

Save the special shorthand-speech for display of understanding in dokusan, I'd say. And/or for dharma combat, if you guys do that at your place. Ordinary, bland speech usually suffices otherwise, and if it "works", perhaps then you can escalate -- tentatively! experimentally! -- to some other level (of brevity, or demonstrativeness). I wouldn't stretch it or push it.

(I hope we're communicating) ;) ,

--Joe
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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby Caodemarte on Mon Dec 12, 2016 1:10 am

cam101+ wrote:Zen has been my practice for over 20 years and am comfortable w/ either Soto or Rinzai, but there is no Zen center in my new city. However, I CAN get to a center in my city that is of another Buddhist lineage. There is no need to mention which linage as it's not directly related to my problem.
...The problem is that while I do fit in w/ the others on a person to person level, the differences in practice make relationships outside the formal sangha difficult for some reason, and my conversations w/ people at the sangha are somewhat restricted because of our different paths. Just today at a luncheon someone mentioned that they really wanted to go to Berkley for a training, and someone else said that it sounded like that person was really pushing for enlightenment. Of course, as a Zen practitioner I kept my mouth shut rather than pointing out that enlightenment was in this very moment and not located somewhere in Berkeley. This sort of thing often pops up...


I don't think any religious, let alone Buddhist, group would argue with the statement about poor Berkeley, but am not sure why you would make it. I think you will find that the differences between Buddhist sects are often far less than the differences between individual teachers in the same sect. Buddhist sects come from the same basic roots and are often pretty much the same in terms of practice. The deeper you go the more similar they often become. Remember that Buddhism is about practice and its fruits. There are no brownie points for believing in the "correct" doctrine.
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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby cam101+ on Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:27 am

The only communicating I am getting is that I have been called brainless and a parrot for asking a simple question, so what the hell does that tell you about the path someone is on, and this worthless forum in general? It would be laughable if it wasn't so sad. What a joke of a human being that said that. It would have been better to walk down to the corner bar and ask the folks in there. At least they are probably genuine.

You know what? I have seen more authentic Buddhists in a comic book. So ban me because I am here to tell you this place is full of total phonies, not Buddhists. Just a bunch of internet trolls who know absolutely nothing about what they talk about. It really is sad though. I think it's an internet thing, because I have never seen such stupidity in my 2 decades of practice in Zen centers. You folks wouldn't last 5 minutes in there.

Goodby and good riddance. I learned a long time ago to keep toxic people as far away as possible. There is no compassion here, no knowing, and no not knowing. Simply ignorance and ego parading as wisdom. If someone cannot even understand my comment about enlightenment not being a place in Berkley they are total morons. Where on earth do you people come from? Please, do the world a favor and crawl back under the rocks you must have crawled out from under, OK?
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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:34 am

cam,

Before you go, have a look at my post. I offered a "take" based on my decades of formal practice. So, I think, does caodemarte.

A deranged person who posts without thinking is the fellow you are complaining about, I think. If not, and you're fed up with all of us collectively, please see fit to slander me too, before you go. I haven't had my poison today, whereas it seems you have. Or maybe you're just a slow reader and have yet to read through the transcript of the thread in its entirety.

On the other hand, maybe no wonder sangha folk in places you haunt don't "get" you.

Are you always so reactive? A hot reactor. Watch the blood pressure; I hope you have it under medical control.

strong practice, no matter what,

--Joe
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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby Caodemarte on Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:42 am

I would not worry about being called names on the Internet.
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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:58 am

(he'll / she'll be back. Just having a bad day there, I'd say. Or maybe it's night. Yes, I'd say it's night, alright. Other hand, maybe he/she missed his/her nap this afternoon. "Cranky", was the word moms in U.S.A. used to describe what their kids became, when that happened)

Non-parenthetically, I'll say that people are people, when speaking to them (if you are a person, too).

If "lineage" has something -- anything -- to do with it, I'd say, "check your practice".

Our practice is to open the heart of Compassion, informed by Wisdom. If communication is not working, then those two true fruits of practice clearly aren't developed (yet). No blame. But then, don't brag about the "two decades" of practice!, or however much it was.

Seems from evidence that cam101 is an eccentric-cam, tonight, in Zen Buddhism 101.

Again, no blame. And strong practice, All.

Dreamless sleep,

--Joe

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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby Avisitor on Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:08 am

cam101+ wrote:The problem is that while I do fit in w/ the others on a person to person level, the differences in practice make relationships outside the formal sangha difficult for some reason, and my conversations w/ people at the sangha are somewhat restricted because of our different paths. Just today at a luncheon someone mentioned that they really wanted to go to Berkley for a training, and someone else said that it sounded like that person was really pushing for enlightenment. Of course, as a Zen practitioner I kept my mouth shut rather than pointing out that enlightenment was in this very moment and not located somewhere in Berkeley. This sort of thing often pops up.

Why would the differences in practice make it difficult for a relationship outside the sangha when one fits in on a person to person level?
If one fit in on a person to person level then it should be easy to make relationships outside the sangha ...
Unless one is separating oneself from others? If one does this then one is creating the very problem one believes one has.

If they are part of the sangha then why does one keep ones mouth shut rather than pointing out that enlightenment is no found in a particular location??
One separates oneself from others and then say it is because the practice is not the same?
The practice is the same ... only the form has changed.

cam101+ wrote:On one level this is more of an annoyance and does not affect my practice. If anything it has helped me to be more patient and refrain from saying this and that because what I do is not what they do. So I listen more to others and talk less. The other side of this is that I am not able to communicate effectively. In the past I have tried to offer something from a Zen perspective, which is all I have (and in my mind is universal due to the lack of dogma) but each time no communication is possible. They don't get it. My path is not theirs, and the approaches are not the same. Any ideas on how to work with this in a manner that may be more effective? Or is this just how it is? Perhaps I need to let go of it and work w/ what I have in front of me? I've thought of that, but it seems there might be other ways as well.

If one truly believe that one's path is not theirs then one should go find one's path, teacher, sangha.
But, it seems one is resisting change.
Disclaimer: There is no intent to be offensive in my posts. None was intended and none should be interpreted as such.
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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby Avisitor on Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:13 am

cam101+ wrote:Enlightenment is of course here now. I know that on an experiential level. My path is always going to be my path, and they have theirs. I am simply searching for a better way to communicate across the differences. This is the first time I have practiced outside of my lineage, so it is not that easy to figure this out.

If one looks for differences then one will see differences.
There really is no such thing as enlightenment
There is only enlightened actions
I know this on an experiential level.
Disclaimer: There is no intent to be offensive in my posts. None was intended and none should be interpreted as such.
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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Dec 12, 2016 4:29 am

cam101+ wrote:Just today at a luncheon someone mentioned that they really wanted to go to Berkley for a training, and someone else said that it sounded like that person was really pushing for enlightenment. Of course, as a Zen practitioner I kept my mouth shut rather than pointing out that enlightenment was in this very moment and not located somewhere in Berkeley. This sort of thing often pops up.

Before I forget I just want to mention that this is one of the more uninformed and unfortunately-conceived things I've seen a putative practitioner state.

People attend traditional sesshin, don't they? Or they attend 90-day Winter or Summer Ango trainings, no? And, these training opportunities are not always located in one's town of residence, yes?

Such a fixed idea that someone cannot benefit from practicing in some place in Berkeley is an unfortunate misconception. Occasionally, a change of scene, air, and environment will be what the Doc ordered.

I think the OP was making a joke, posting the OP. Funny! You caught us. :heya: Heh-heh. Thanks. Quite fun!

--Joe
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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby desert_woodworker on Mon Dec 12, 2016 5:12 pm

cam101+ wrote:This is the first time I have practiced outside of my lineage, so it is not that easy to figure this out.

The feelings may be mutual, with them. Something interesting that you have in common.

But you kept quiet when you had your puzzlement. That's not communication.

I'd say try a different tack, mebbee. Take responsibility: try communication.

--Joe
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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby lobster on Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:37 am

:tee:

As a phony, I am able to talk with Zenniths, the insane, the ordinary samsaran, relatives, the religious (including Buddhist crackpots) and I do this by being extremely judgemental. More so than them BUT of course in the same genre ...

People require confirmation, empathy, appreciation etc. Conversations with patience eventually burn themselves out or reach a more effective harmony.

It is a bit like talking to a chicken. Bring corn. :rbow:
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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby partofit22 on Wed Dec 28, 2016 7:48 pm

:tee:
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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby desert_woodworker on Wed Dec 28, 2016 9:49 pm

Looks as if cam101 has not returned to post an apologetic note, or any other note.

Too bad he took seriously Lun.'s reply, and ignored those who offered real advice and experience (granted, cam's new to ZFI, relatively, having joined about 6 months ago, and racked-up some 40 posts).

Hard to believe that someone claiming to have practiced for 20 years would be so unperceptive, and misconstrue what is going on at ZFI. Unperceptive, yes, ...or just a distracted-driver. Also, that someone with so much claimed experience would be such a hot-reactor. It may just go to show that claims are not the same as reality. And that reality is not uniform while folks are under delusion. They have their own "realities".

Thanks!, 'cam101', bringing home this lesson to all reading. You're a Bodhisattva.

May all beings realize Freedom!

Strong practice,

--Joe
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Re: Practicing outside one's lineage

Postby anka on Thu Dec 29, 2016 12:36 pm

I don't think cam is way off base, please hear me out on this.

We have many lay practitioners that have been practicing Zen for many years here on ZFI. As such they have come to many conclusions about Zen, this world, and our purpose in this world even (even if you belive you haven't, reaching this state is natural). A teacher once told me that words can not describe Zen each one of us must figure it out for ourselves. As such the role of a teacher and sangha is merely to nudge us every once in a while to keep our own practice strong. So it is natural if a person's practice travels to odd or non traditional waters every now and then.

However, it seems a lot of practicitioners on this forum have there mind made up. That might be part of the reason why traffic and conversations can slow down here at times. If everyone is on the same page then what is there to talk about. If every new question is answered the same way then where is fruitful discussion born.

"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few" - Suzuki : Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind.

At times this feels like a forum of experts, this is just my opinion with of course is worth less then a grain of sand.
:PP: so take it or leave if as you will.

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