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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby Zen Pete on Fri Oct 17, 2014 12:54 am

[james] wrote:Perhaps, as a balance to the "ask a teacher" section, there might also be a place where any ZFI member could be addressed, as a teacher or student, a question or a statement arising from the requester's current awareness and realization of this. Addressed with the hope that the ZFI member whose reflection was sought would respond from the depths of her and his conviction and compassion. You know, Buddha to Buddha. Is that possible on/in a forum like this. I sometimes think so and you, Zenpete, support that impression.


I like your suggestions.
To be honest a young child would give you better advise than some of the teachers on this forum.

There is far more wisdom in the students here than the high and mighty teachers and their misleading pronouncements!
'Zen will Free your Mind'
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby Avisitor on Fri Oct 17, 2014 1:21 am

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The mission of ZFI is to support and inspire the practice and study of Zen Buddhism (including Chinese Chan, Korean Son, and Vietnamese Thien Buddhism) by providing a friendly place where students and practitioners from different Zen schools and lineages can share and discuss their practice and experiences. We also hope that newcomers to Zen will find helpful information provided by our members and our moderators (all of whom are practicing Zen Buddhists), giving them a glimpse of what Zen practice can be.

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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby [james] on Fri Oct 17, 2014 1:24 am

Zen Pete wrote:
There is far more wisdom in the students here than the high and mighty teachers and their misleading pronouncements!


So just stick with the students and call the teachers students and everything will be fine
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby Linda Anderson on Fri Oct 17, 2014 5:09 am

oh Pete, for Pete's Sake. Rest assured that I'm not going to answer your question... because it is none of my business what ppl think of the teacher's section. ofc, it means many things to many ppl.... are you trying to come up with the one answer? ... we are all teachers and students among ourselves, among family. It's just that some ppl know more about the details.

My only experience with the teacher's section is when I didn't see the "teachers" section and went ahead and made a response that didn't get posted bec I'm not a teacher. Thus, the topic sometimes gets posted twice to get around that loop hole. For me, it seems like the teachers on this forum, who I respect for who they are and the diff perspectives they carry, are a bit reticent on their teaching bec they emphasize the need to find your own teacher... that is often not possible for a variety of reasons. The teacher thingy is emphasized in zen and buddhism... but here we are on a forum where pretty much anything goes unless it is unskillful. now what? Why not offer some assistance, come what may.

so, I will ask for a second time.... what is it in you that persists in asking this question. The answer is not for me, but for yourself. I have learned the hard way that teachers have their faults which are completely sometimes irrelevant to what they can offer us... and I have also learned that their faults can be an impediment to what they can offer. I have witnessed the good, the bad and the ugly... and at the end of the day it's only me who can love them and have my freedom. it may take some time, often a long time, take it... in the meantime, be kind to yourself.

And, I thank you for bringing this question, zen is nothing if it can't address the difficult questions of the day.
linda

ps - thanks to all, this is a necessary conversation :hugs:
Last edited by Linda Anderson on Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby Sparkle on Fri Oct 17, 2014 7:43 am

I vote to KEEP.

Some new people with minimal knowledge find it very useful...as do some not so new people. Why do you feel so self-assured - instigating this vote to deprive them of this help? If you were looking at this situation from the outside, what traits would you attribute to yourself?

Your cup seems to be running over with knowledge Pete. Maybe you should set up your OWN forum and be the teacher there?

This is probably a pointless "vote" as it's unlikely someone speaking in the manner you do will have any influence on a forum set up years ago and which the majority of long-term members seem to be quite happy with.

Thank-you and goodnight! :rbow:
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby Quiet Heart on Fri Oct 17, 2014 8:08 am

Vote to Keep the Ask a Teacher section.

Not that that I always agree, and sometimes I don't think the answers are up to the standard I would expect of a teacher or necessarily relevant to the question asked.
But I appreciate read[ng them anyhow.
I suggest for anyone who feels he or she did not get what they thought was a pertinent answer from the teachers in the teachers forum, post that same question again in a more general and unrestricted topic area.
See what others have to say on your topic.
It may be You, the poster, who is not putting the question clearly enough .... and that's why you are dissatisfied with the answers you get from the teachers.
Open it up to a wider audience, the answers you get there might surprise you.
In Quietness is the beginning of all Things
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby Kojip on Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:35 pm

I appreciate and respect the teachers who take the time to contribute here at ZFI. Nonin has been helpful maybe more than he knows, and I'm grateful for his presence here. Everyone and everything is a teacher, including a traffic jam and finger in the eye, but then there are teachers, and without them this forum would just be another internet platform for the self-ordained.

I'm proud and stubborn and have lived for a while, but not too proud to be quiet and listen sometimes. One vote to keep the teacher's section. Richard /\
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby fukasetsu on Fri Oct 17, 2014 2:41 pm

Dark and light sides don't really exist.


Yet Chris, to speak of a middle way creates the very framework to bring light/dark into being (existence). :peace:

Hui Hai wrote:Q: What is meaning of "the Middle Way"?
A: It designates the extremes.

Q: I asked about the Middle Way, so why do you reply that it designates the extremes?
A: The concept of the extremes is derived from that of the middle, and the concept of the middle is derived from that of the extremes. However, if originally there is no extreme, where would the middle come from? Thus, we talk about the Middle Way because we conceive of extremes; therefore, we know that the concepts of the Middle Way and the extremes are derived from each other and that both are impermanent. This is also true of form, feeling, conception, impulse and consciousness.
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby Linda Anderson on Fri Oct 17, 2014 4:32 pm

that's good Fuki. I once heard a teacher speak about doors ... and walls like that. there would be no door, if no wall.
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:31 pm

Linda Anderson wrote:that's good Fuki. I once heard a teacher speak about doors ... and walls like that. there would be no door, if no wall.

There would be no river if no bank.

_/|\_
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Sat Oct 18, 2014 10:39 pm

Dark and light sides don't really exist.


The word "yin" means the shady side of the mountain, and the word "yang' means the sunny side of the mountain. Also for streets and everything else.
When the sun shines, everything under the sun has a shady side and a sunny side. But the dark or sunny side does not really exist independent of the sun or independent of the light.

The problem with dark and light sides is that people take their mutually dependent nature to be mutually exclusive. They see the sunny side and then form an attachment to always walking on the sunny side of the street.


_/|\_
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby lobster on Sun Oct 19, 2014 2:04 pm

Fortunately we have beginners section, where people can ask and answer on the basis that they have a responsibility for discernment. I vote to abstain from judging on whether the 'ask a horrid teacher' is less or more valuable than 'listen to a horrid beginner'.

However we need more ninjas. :ninja:
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby oryoki on Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:07 pm

Kojip:
… but then there are teachers, and without them this forum would just be another internet platform for the self-ordained.


Although I agree with the above statement 110% , I do also note that there are 7 billion people in the world of which approximately only ½ billion are Buddhist and 6 ½ billion are not. If Buddhist teachers (and that includes Zen teachers) were really competent then the numbers should be the other way round. After all, Buddhist teachers had 2 ½ thousand years to spread the Truth (Dharma) … but, I do forgive them because they did not have in the past the internet, and therefore I do vote for the “ask a teacher” section to remain.
:tongueincheek:
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby Gregory Wonderwheel on Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:10 am

oryoki wrote:
Although I agree with the above statement 110% , I do also note that there are 7 billion people in the world of which approximately only ½ billion are Buddhist and 6 ½ billion are not. If Buddhist teachers (and that includes Zen teachers) were really competent then the numbers should be the other way round. After all, Buddhist teachers had 2 ½ thousand years to spread the Truth (Dharma) … but, I do forgive them because they did not have in the past the internet, and therefore I do vote for the “ask a teacher” section to remain.
:tongueincheek:

That's why it is said that to be able to hear the true Dharma is rare with the odds of a blind sea turtle coming to the surface and putting its head through a hole in a log floating on the surface of the ocean.

_/|\_
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby Ted Biringer on Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:24 am

oryoki wrote:...snip...
there are 7 billion people in the world of which approximately only ½ billion are Buddhist and 6 ½ billion are not. If Buddhist teachers (and that includes Zen teachers) were really competent then the numbers should be the other way round. After all, Buddhist teachers had 2 ½ thousand years to spread the Truth (Dharma)...
...snip...


Greetings oryoki,

Thank you for your comment.

I do not know what you consider to be the nature and role of Buddhist teachers, but genuine teachers in the Zen tradition have no interest in making "Buddhists" - rather, the role and nature of Zen teachers is to make "Buddhas." In light of this, then, the "competency" of Zen/Buddhist teachers can clearly be seen to have far surpassed the standards your example suggests for being "really competent" - not only have they succeeded in actualizing the Buddhahood of every one of the "7 billion people" presently in the world, they have done so for every single thing, being, and event in the past, present, and future. Moreover, it was not an activity that took 2 ½ thousand years - it was accomplished in no-time prior to the empty eon.

In other words, when you consider the "competency" of Zen/Buddhist teachers in light of and according to Zen/Buddhism's vision of the true nature of reality rather than an incompatible system of thought (e.g. idealism, realism, materialism, scientism, etc.), you cannot help but marvel at how perfect such competence truly is. To clarify, here are some of the basic points excerpted from an elucidation of the nature and role of Buddhas and Zen ancestors (teachers) provided by one of those very teachers:

The Great Teaching which Ancestors of the Buddha have Transmitted one-to-one is the prediction of Buddhahood.

…It is predicted even for persons who have not yet given rise to the Mind of Wisdom, and it is predicted for those who are not yet aware of their Buddha Nature, and it is predicted for those who are aware of their Buddha Nature, and it is predicted for those who have a sense of a personal self, and it is predicted for those who are beyond a sense of a personal self, and it is predicted for all Buddhas.

…In your training, you should not think that after you have had the prediction conferred on you, you will become a Buddha, nor should you think that after you have become a Buddha, you will receive some affirmation of it. At the time when the prediction is conferred there is one’s becoming Buddha, and, at that same time, there is also one’s continued training and practice.

…This affirmation is given to oneself, and it is given to one’s body and mind.

…The prediction of Buddhahood is present before one has a body, and the prediction of Buddhahood is present after one has a body. There is the prediction of Buddhahood that we can recognize, and there is the prediction of Buddhahood that we do not recognize. There is the prediction of Buddhahood that others become aware of, and there is the prediction of Buddhahood that others do not become aware of.

By all means, you need to realize that when you affirm your prediction of Buddhahood, your true Self will manifest before your very eyes, for affirming the prediction of Buddhahood is synonymous with the manifesting of your true Self.

… And further, there is not a single thought or thing that is excluded from this prediction. So how could the great earth with its mountains and rivers, along with Mount Sumeru and its vast oceans, possibly be exceptions? There is not the least person, be it Mr. Chang’s third son or Mr. Li’s fourth son, who is beyond it. The prediction of Buddhahood that we thoroughly explore in this way is something that we can express in one phrase, that we can hear in one phrase, that we may misunderstand in one phrase, and that we may comprehend in one phrase. It is our doing our practice in all earnestness and our giving expression to the Dharma in all sincerity. It is what instructs us to step back and what instructs us to step forward.

The Buddha once said:

Although there are many forms for affirming Buddhahood, to summarize them briefly, there are eight:

First, you recognize it yourself, but others do not recognize it,
Second, everyone else recognizes it, but you do not,
Third, both you and everyone else recognize it,
Fourth, neither you nor anyone else recognize it,
Fifth, those close to you perceive it, but those distant from you do not,
Sixth, those distant from you perceive it, but those close to you do not,
Seventh, both those close to you and distant from you perceive it,
Eighth, neither those close to you nor distant from you perceive it.

The affirmation of one’s Buddhahood is just like this. So, do not occupy yourself with thoughts that your Buddhahood cannot be affirmed because it has not been recognized or appreciated by the living spirit within that smelly skin bag of yours. And do not say that the prediction of Buddhahood cannot be readily given even to those humans who have not yet awakened.

In ordinary, worldly ways of thinking, people have customarily been taught that they will receive this prediction when they have completely fulfilled their training and practice, for that is what is critical to their becoming a Buddha, but in the Way of the Buddha this is not what is taught.

… Why would the prediction of Buddhahood not include great realization and great delusion? It is just as Meditation Master Obaku said to his disciple Rinzai, “When my tradition comes down to you, it will greatly flourish in the world.” And it is just as Meditation Master Eno said to his disciple Nangaku, “You too are like this, and I too am like this.” The prediction of Buddhahood is a mark of the Dharma. The prediction of Buddhahood is “How could it be otherwise?” The prediction of Buddhahood is a face breaking out in a smile. The prediction of Buddhahood is birth and death: it is coming and going. The prediction of Buddhahood is the whole universe in all its ten quarters. The prediction of Buddhahood is the whole universe’s never having been hidden from us.

This has been described as:
Clear and bright are the tips of all the things
that sprout up;
Clear and bright are the true intentions of the
Buddhas and Ancestors.

Since this is so, how can the Buddhas and the Ancestors not include ‘all the things that sprout up’? How can all the things that sprout up not include ‘me’ and ‘you’? Do not be foolish and think that you can see or recognize all the thoughts and things with which you are personally endowed. This is not the way things are.

…So, do not be skeptical, thinking that since the prediction is beyond anything we now know, or see, or think about, we are not in possession of it.

…If there is no affirmation for sentient beings, there cannot be any affirmation for Maitreya, because all sentient beings are manifestations of enlightenment. It is enlightenment that receives the prediction of enlightenment. Receiving the prediction is our life this very day.
Shobogenzo, Juki, Hubert Nearman


I hope this is helpful.

Please treasure yourself.
Ted
Do not misunderstand Buddhism by believing the erroneous principle ‘a special tradition outside the scriptures.’ Zen Master Dogen, Shobogenzo, Bukkyo (trans. Hee-Jin Kim)
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby oryoki on Tue Oct 21, 2014 6:44 pm

Thanks for your comment Ted; but I wonder if your much loved Shobogenzo is relevant to an average Muslim man who believes that if he kills an unbeliever in the name of Allah not only he gets to heaven but at the same time he secures the heaven for 70 of his friends and relatives and gets to have 72 virgins provided for him in heaven as a reward. (There are 2 billion of Muslims in the world). Would some quote from Dogen make him an apostate? … just teasing. ;)
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby Caodemarte on Tue Oct 21, 2014 10:47 pm

You might want to find out what Islam actually teaches ( no school of Islam teaches the Fox News version you use in your "teasing"') before you opine on the average Muslim. I would think that the Shobogenzo would be of great interest to Muslim theologians and practioners.
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby another_being on Tue Oct 21, 2014 11:01 pm

Zen Pete wrote:
[james] wrote:We all have a natural awareness, referred to above in Ted Biringer's quote of Bodhi Dharma. So what harm can come of being influenced by each others awareness in some sort of student/teacher encounter? None. Only the benefits increasing our understanding through the encouragements of another who maybe, sort of, speaks a similar language. In such a meeting each of us is student and each is teacher regardless how we otherwise identify ourself or each other. It seems entirely possible to me that you, Zen Pete, and Zen Teacher Nonin, could have a rich and mutually beneficial friendship of sorts. What do you say?


Zen teacher and Master Nonin is the diametrically opposed to me.
I am the exact opposite of him.

Everything he is, I am not!


To harbor and maintain this mental fabrication is to limit your mind. By doing so you've closed off that freedom you claim. It's actually a false statement, not near the truth. Don't let those thoughts fool you.

:peace:
"Some people think they are enlightened, some people think they are not enlightened." -- Denko
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby Ted Biringer on Wed Oct 22, 2014 6:35 am

oryoki wrote:Thanks for your comment Ted; but I wonder if your much loved Shobogenzo is relevant to an average Muslim man who believes that if he kills an unbeliever in the name of Allah not only he gets to heaven but at the same time he secures the heaven for 70 of his friends and relatives and gets to have 72 virgins provided for him in heaven as a reward. (There are 2 billion of Muslims in the world). Would some quote from Dogen make him an apostate? … just teasing. ;)


Dear oryoki,

Thank you for your reply.

As much as I do love Shobogenzo, it is not mine. Like all Buddhist writings (all sacred writings regardless of tradition for that matter), Shobogenzo belongs to the myriad beings past, present, and future. The only value of any such writing is its capacity to convey or evoke truth - knowing the truth or being enlightened (in contrast to holding false views or being deluded) is, in my experience, relevancy itself. For instance, people that know the truth about the "average Muslim man" are immune from fallacies designed to inspire fear and hatred toward "Muslims" by bigoted ignoramuses, hateful fanatics, and other parasitic species - how much more so are they immune from spouting such delusional views. To know the truth of the "average Muslim man" is to know that they are just as much Buddha as any sentient being and have access to the same truth that provided Dogen with the capacity to express Shobogenzo.

No, the reply was written in hope that you might find some relevance there. Perhaps another source of truth would prove more helpful.

Respect and honour all human beings irrespective of their religion, colour, race, sex, language, status, property, birth, profession/job and so on.
[Qur’an, 17/70]

Always speak the truth. Shun words that are deceitful and ostentatious.
[Qur’an, 22/30]

Do not confound truth with falsehood.
[Qur’an, 2/42]

If you do not have complete knowledge about anything, better keep your mouth shut. You might think that speaking about something without full knowledge is a trivial matter. But it might have grave consequences.
[Qur’an, 24/15-16]

Whoever recommends and helps a good cause becomes a partner therein, and whoever recommends and helps an evil cause shares in its burdens.
[Qur’an, 4/85]

Ascertain the truth of any news, lest you smite someone in ignorance and afterwards repent of what you did.
[Qur’an, 49/6]


Finally, there is no such thing as "just" teasing - and while this is a matter of common sense as well as basic principle expressed in all the great traditions, I think Northrop Frye expresses the point best:

[the] perverted wish to cut down and restrict the scope of life, is the touchstone not only of all the obvious vices, but of many acts often not classified as such, like teasing, instilling fear or discouragement, or exacting unthinking obedience.
Northrop Frye, Fearful Symmetry, p.56


I hope this is helpful.

Please treasure yourself.
Ted
Do not misunderstand Buddhism by believing the erroneous principle ‘a special tradition outside the scriptures.’ Zen Master Dogen, Shobogenzo, Bukkyo (trans. Hee-Jin Kim)
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Re: Remove ' ask a teacher' section....

Postby oryoki on Wed Oct 22, 2014 3:08 pm

I did work in the Middle East for 4 years among Muslims. I am reasonably well versed with their religion. I have nothing whatsoever against them as human beings, and I am talking from a first hand experience. They are indeed all potential Buddhas. But does not mean that I will excuse appalling behaviour of some of them based on their strange beliefs (I think of the current events in Syria and Iraq).

Having said that, I hope that in the future, all people will have access to the internet, as I see its great potential in enabling all people to realise the Truth. And therefore (returning to the subject of this discussion thread), I do consider presence on the internet of the experienced Zen teachers vital in this task.
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