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The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Aug 04, 2017 6:58 pm

BB,

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:The word "church" was used as to avoid persecution.

Yep. We have Korean Buddhist churches in my current town, too.

I'm not sure if they also tolerate wearing shoes in their places, though.

--Joe
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:16 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:BB,

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:The word "church" was used as to avoid persecution.

Yep. We have Korean Buddhist churches in my current town, too.

I'm not sure if they also tolerate wearing shoes in their places, though.

--Joe


The local Shinshu temple is in a very rough neighborhood. If everyone took off their shoes at the entrance, they'd likely get stolen.
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby bokki on Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:17 pm

now, joe, it is ridiculously beneficial 4 me 2 understand u...
plz sir, notice d footwear d monks display...sandals, sport shoes, socks, shoes, barefoot, clogs, whatever and then some shoes...in front of a butsudan....now, who am i 2 complain?
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:27 pm

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:The local Shinshu temple is in a very rough neighborhood. If everyone took off their shoes at the entrance, they'd likely get stolen.

Yes, I know that this is a realistic concern.

Although one of our several zendos here is in a good neighborhood and even located in a cul-de-sac, I recall that in my 20 years or so participating there, a few pairs of shoes and a backpack went missing. Fortunately, people never left wallets outside.

"Homeless" people wander the streets, here, as everywhere (in the world). I like to think that someone in that state found a couple of shoes that fit, and walked off making good use of them. But, ...no used shoes (nor backpacks... ) were left behind. So, I dunno. Maybe just brazen theft.

I've been to places where the shoe-rack is indoors. Such as my late teacher's place in New York City. A good innovation.

Here in the desert, SCORPIONS can also take up temporary shelter in one's pair of shoes outside, so a new Zen Buddhist ritual developed here consisting of shaking-out one's shoes vigorously to expunge evil spirits (err-r, expel scorpions) before putting them back on for the trip home.

Another operational example of natural change-of-imported-religious-forms, in a new place.

--Joe
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:50 pm

bokki wrote:now, joe, it is ridiculously beneficial 4 me 2 understand u...
plz sir, notice d footwear d monks display...sandals, sport shoes, socks, shoes, barefoot, clogs, whatever and then some shoes...in front of a butsudan....now, who am i 2 complain?

I'm not sure if this will help you: you'll not find shoes worn in a Zendo or Ch'an Hall in USA, say. Nor, I think, in religious places in Japan (?), nor even in private homes, there (??). That's all I was getting at (I may be exactly wrong; I haven't been "East" of Cap Chat, Quebec, Canada).

--Joe
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Fri Aug 04, 2017 7:52 pm

At the end of the year, the Sensei at the local Shinshu temple will be moving back to Japan, in order to inherit his father's temple. Their family has been ministering temples for 500 years, and before they were a Shinshu family ministering Shinshu temples, they were a Zen family.

He says he doesn't know when or why his family became Shinshu, but that it was probably due to the political circumstances of the times, since families often changed religious affiliations due to the political circumstances in any given region of Japan.

According to the Sensei, Zen and Shinshu are the same, something that has always stuck with me. I think he was speaking of sameness at the ultimate level, rather than external appearances.

As for myself, I have never been the official member of any temple or Buddhist tradition. Alan Watts kept a healthy distance from official institutions as well, which he said helped him to maintain his impartiality and objectivity.
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:15 pm

hi, BB,

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:According to the Sensei, Zen and Shinshu are the same,

That's just "The official story".

Baseball and Football are "the same": They are sports.

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:something that has always stuck with me.

Healthy to peel it off.

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:I think he was speaking of sameness at the ultimate level, rather than external appearances.

There's no ultimate. Only Alan Watts thought so (and talked that way, misleadingly). It's wobbly turtles all the way down... .

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:As for myself, I have never been the official member of any temple or Buddhist tradition.

To be a part of a sangha is to participate in one of the three jewels (and likely in all three of them). The three legs make the tripod of the minimum number of supports ("Treasures") that make a Buddhist practitioner (and make the larger ensemble).

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:Alan Watts kept a healthy distance from official institutions as well, which he said helped him to maintain his impartiality and objectivity.

Wouldn't say "healthy", if I were kindly advising others.

Alas, the feller's institution was the Public House, and its equivalent when in USA. He died of 'over-participation' there. Watts' autobiography is very good reading. He was still alive, though, when he wrote its last chapter. But the title of the auto-bio is telling-enough: "IN MY OWN WAY". He was his own obstacle, as so many are.

--Joe

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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:27 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:
Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:According to the Sensei, Zen and Shinshu are the same,

That's just "The official story".

Baseball and Football are "the same": They are sports.

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:something that has always stuck with me.

Healthy to peel it off.


I thought this article would come in handy someday:
https://www.webroot.com/us/en/home/reso ... th-a-troll
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:43 pm

The sensei is 500 years into his "institution", thus not "impartial", nor "objective", in your hoped-at terms. Just have a look. --Joe
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:57 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:The sensei is 500 years into his "institution", thus not "impartial", nor "objective", in your hoped-at terms. Just have a look. --Joe

Whereas some brahmans and contemplatives, living off food given in faith, are addicted to debates such as these — ‘You understand this doctrine and discipline? I’m the one who understands this doctrine and discipline. How could you understand this doctrine and discipline? You’re practicing wrongly. I’m practicing rightly. I’m being consistent. You’re not. What should be said first you said last. What should be said last you said first. What you took so long to think out has been refuted. Your doctrine has been overthrown. You’re defeated. Go and try to salvage your doctrine; extricate yourself if you can!’ — he abstains from debates such as these. This, too, is part of his virtue.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby desert_woodworker on Fri Aug 04, 2017 9:05 pm

I hope that your having a look helps.

Bon voyage to the sensei. Safe travels.

--Joe
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby Caodemarte on Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:24 pm

desert_woodworker wrote:It might tickle funny-bones, but I'm entirely serious in my asking about the possibility of degeneration of the tradition, or an accommodation to suit the new place that the tradition has landed in, taking its new name, to boot.

BB had been critical in earlier posts of changes he or she believes he or she perceived in Zen Buddhist practice in Western places, as if accommodations and gracious conformance are not natural when one is at first a Guest in a new place... .

So I ask(ed) about the shoes in the temple, or shrine-room. A major "accommodation", it would have to seem[i]!


I get it, but BCA is clear that the changes it brought in from wearing ties and fedoras in the day down to BCA choirs singing hymns was a conscious choice to help the acculturation of their immigrant members to what the saw as "Protestant" America. It is literally a textbook example of an immigrant strategy. Nowadays, there is often tension with the few non-Japanese members viewed by some as interlopers in what they think should be a club for the preservation of Japanese-American culture! So it goes in American immigrant history!

Non-Christian Korean immigrants almost automatically became Christian on arrival to join what was a well oiled machine for acculturation and jobs. That has changed very recently with the growth of Korean language Buddhist temples (for a complex set of mostly Korea-centric reasons).

None of this affects authentic practice in any religion which has littte to do with what clothes you wear or where your shoes are.
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby Meido on Fri Aug 04, 2017 10:48 pm

Caodemarte wrote:I get it, but BCA is clear that the changes it brought in from wearing ties and fedoras in the day down to BCA choirs singing hymns was a conscious choice to help the acculturation of their immigrant members to what the saw as "Protestant" America. It is literally a textbook example of an immigrant strategy. Nowadays, there is often tension with the few non-Japanese members viewed by some as interlopers in what they think should be a club for the preservation of Japanese-American culture! So it goes in American immigrant history!


I was going to write something similar, you summed it up perfectly. Folks exploring temples like these who are not Japanese-American can be puzzled at what they encounter when it doesn't fit their notions of a "Buddhist temple": Sunday services (and Sunday school for kids), western ecclesiastic titles, parishioners sitting in pews, etc. But the history is fascinating.

~ Meido
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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
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby Caodemarte on Fri Aug 04, 2017 11:33 pm

Meido wrote:...the history is fascinating.

~ Meido


It is for me anyway! Immigrant Theravada temples apparently took the opposite strategy of being the guardian of the home culture against too rapid aculturation and alienation. The spread of Korean temples in the US is a recent innovation. This has much to do with the revival of Buddhism (Zen being the main sect) in Korea and its new,greatly increased openness to the lay in Korea.
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Aug 05, 2017 12:26 am

The point of criticism and dismissal, if any, is not with the struggling or thriving tradition seeking acculturation, or at least not ignominy. It is with the passive-aggressive apologist for it, here, instead.

Again, I write, "If comparisons are odious, how much more so are contrasts".

And the contrasts emphasized are specious, and indeed odious. As I read them.

Not good for the writer; nor prospective readers.

--Joe

p.s. If I'm just being myself, and if I happen to state no points in general agreement by others who read here avidly, just let me know (or not). In addition, remember these interchanges -- including this one -- in half a year, or so. Strong practice, -J.

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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby desert_woodworker on Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:27 am

Cao.,

Caodemarte wrote:None of this affects authentic practice in any religion which has littte to do with what clothes you wear or where your shoes are.

Yes, indeed-e-oh. And has little to do with, as a Ch'an or Zen practitioner, you recite or remind yourself of the Nembutsu. Or not.

But let's not rub it in. You've made my point. Tnx,

--Joe
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Sat Aug 05, 2017 1:32 am

I've been practicing Pure Land Buddhism from a Zen perspective for over two years, under the guidance or influence of several teachers. I am just a lay person, trying to do my best to live out what's normally expected of a lay person in traditionally Buddhist countries.

It's rather presumptuous and sanctimonious when people who've never even met me claim to understand my personal practice better than I do. I'm sorry if I've been enough of a butthead on this forum that some people think they have a right to read my mind over the internet.

In countries like China and Vietnam, the combined practice of Zen and Pure Land has, at least for lay people, been the norm for centuries.

Some people just need to chill out, instead of using the internet to live out their fantasies of being a Zen master.

Image
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby [james] on Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:06 am

Boatman Bodhisattva wrote:
Some people just need to chill out, instead of using the internet to live out their fantasies of being a Zen master.

Image


Maybe he is a "Zen master" :tongueincheek:, or something else ...
In any case, it's useful and maybe helpful not to make assumptions either way.
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:19 am

Caodemarte wrote: I get it, but BCA is clear that the changes it brought in from wearing ties and fedoras in the day down to BCA choirs singing hymns was a conscious choice to help the acculturation of their immigrant members to what the saw as "Protestant" America.


This is a traditional temple service at a Jodo Shinshu temple in Japan:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NaXbniB-hcA

Anyone familiar with BCA temples would see that typical BCA services, as well as the decor, are nearly identical to the above video.

There might be slight variations due to acculturation into a new country, but that can be said of any Buddhist tradition that's been transplanted into the United States.
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Re: The Buddhist Churches of America: An Overview

Postby Boatman Bodhisattva on Sat Aug 05, 2017 2:22 am

[james] wrote:In any case, it's useful and maybe helpful not to make assumptions either way.


Yes, we could stop jumping to assumptions all around. Either way, it's a funny meme.
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