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Zen Buddhist nuns in Australia

Postby LolloRosso on Fri Mar 31, 2017 5:55 am

Hi,
This is merely a question out of curiosity, but:
I was wondering if anybody on here may know if there are (non-monastic) Zen Buddhist nuns in Australia please?
If there are, they are hard to google ;)


Thanks so much,
Fiona
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Re: Zen Buddhist nuns in Australia

Postby Hosei on Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:43 am

Hey lollorosso,

I don't imagine googling "zen buddhist nun australia" will get you much, non-monastics especially often don't use the word "nun" but "priest" - there are exceptions of course.

A quick google and I found https://mzg.org.au/ Which, while not in Adelaide , is a mere 750km away in Melbourne and is a city-zen centre run by a soto zen teacher named Susan . :-)


:-)
-hs
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Re: Zen Buddhist nuns in Australia

Postby jundo on Fri Mar 31, 2017 2:25 pm

Hi,

I don't know them personally, but you might also track down ...

Zen Group A.Z.I.
11 Linkmead Ave., Clontarf
SYDNEY, NSW
2093
Australia
Contact: Carole Bourgeois
Denomination: Japanese Soto School
Lineage: Taisen Deshimaru


Jikishoan Zen Buddhist Community
PO Box 475, Yarraville
MELBOURNE, VIC
3013
Australia
Contact: Hannah Forsyth
Tel: (+61-3) 9687 6983
E-mail: contact@jikishoan.org
Denomination: Japanese Soto School
Lineage: Ikko Narasaki Roshi
Teacher: Ekai Korematsu

http://jikishoan.org.au/

A few others, from the many flavors of Zen, listed here ...

http://iriz.hanazono.ac.jp/zen_centers/ ... strali.htm

Gassho, J
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Re: Zen Buddhist nuns in Australia

Postby LolloRosso on Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:11 am

Thank you so much for your replies, I am a little confused: If a Zen committed woman is not a Roshi but made the 8/10(?) vows for nuns, would you still call her a priest, rather than a nun?

I always assumed in orer to be a priest you need to have a flock of some kind.

Thankyou,
Fiona
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Re: Zen Buddhist nuns in Australia

Postby Hosei on Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:54 am

It's a bit complicated I guess.

In soto zen anyway (can't speak for others) - the words Monk, Nun, and Priest are often used interchangeably for people who have received the "shukke tokudo" (leaving home and entering the way) ordination. Which word is used largely depends on where you are, which order/lineage you received ordination in etc.

For example. In North America, nearly all the lineages use the word "priest" for anyone, male or female, who has received tokudo ordination . And the word "monk" is used for both genders if that person is living monastically. In Europe, in my lineage, which is based in France, we usually use 'monk' or 'nun' (everything has a gender in french language) for everybody who receives that ordination regardless of whether they live monastically or not. Depending on where you are this ordination may also lead to being called a "training preist" or an "unsui".

In the lineage/order founded by Jiyu kennett roshi, the word "monk" is used for both genders and they all live monastically.

Regardless of gender, the ordination is the same.

Now, if a monk/nun/priest receives Dharma Transmission from their own teacher (meaning various things but generally that, in the opinion of their teacher, they are now also qualified to be a teacher) a m/n/p may then take on an additional title. Which title is used also largely depends on where you are, and which lineage/order you are a part of. But that title may be "roshi", "sensei', "master", "teacher", "godo", or "fully ordained priest", or a host of other names

Then, just to make things more confusing. In the west we have some organisations who dispense with the ordination bit but keep the dharma transmission bit. So we have lay teachers.

confused yet ??

best,
-hs
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Re: Zen Buddhist nuns in Australia

Postby jundo on Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:38 pm

Hosei wrote:It's a bit complicated I guess.

In soto zen anyway (can't speak for others) - the words Monk, Nun, and Priest are often used interchangeably for people who have received the "shukke tokudo" (leaving home and entering the way) ordination. Which word is used largely depends on where you are, which order/lineage you received ordination in etc.

For example. In North America, nearly all the lineages use the word "priest" for anyone, male or female, who has received tokudo ordination . And the word "monk" is used for both genders if that person is living monastically. In Europe, in my lineage, which is based in France, we usually use 'monk' or 'nun' (everything has a gender in french language) for everybody who receives that ordination regardless of whether they live monastically or not. Depending on where you are this ordination may also lead to being called a "training preist" or an "unsui".

In the lineage/order founded by Jiyu kennett roshi, the word "monk" is used for both genders and they all live monastically.

Regardless of gender, the ordination is the same.

Now, if a monk/nun/priest receives Dharma Transmission from their own teacher (meaning various things but generally that, in the opinion of their teacher, they are now also qualified to be a teacher) a m/n/p may then take on an additional title. Which title is used also largely depends on where you are, and which lineage/order you are a part of. But that title may be "roshi", "sensei', "master", "teacher", "godo", or "fully ordained priest", or a host of other names

Then, just to make things more confusing. In the west we have some organisations who dispense with the ordination bit but keep the dharma transmission bit. So we have lay teachers.

confused yet ??

best,
-hs


Nicely summarized. Thank you.

"Roshi" is not an official rank of anything in Soto Zen, and "Sensei" is not a Buddhist title at all. They are not "ranks" in Japanese Soto Zen. When Westerners call themselves "Somebody Roshi" it is very strange in Japanese culture, for one would never refer to oneself in such way (a bit like a judge calling herself "The Honorable Me.") So, this is a largely Western thing that, as Hosei says, has varied from group to group and individual teacher to teacher.

As well, in modern Soto Zen, women are not "80%" of anything! We all take the same Vows. More than half of Zen Teachers in the West, in my understanding, are women.

In Asia, there has historically been (and continues to be) a lot of discrimination against female Buddhist priests ... and the Japanese Zen world has been no exception. This is not the product of our doctrines so much (where all are ultimately equal in Buddha Nature, beyond and right through male or female), but because conservative traditional societies in which Buddhism is typically found have tended to act in conservative traditional sexist ways. Things are improving however, at least in Japan (although conservative parishioners still often have a hard time to accept them as lead priest). In fact, the women Zen monastics are known for a seriousness and commitment to Training said to put many of the male monasteries to shame (the women, mostly by choice and not by requirement, tend to celibacy while the vast majority of male priests do not these days(. If you would like to read a paper on women Soto priests in Japan, this is a good one [PDF} ...

SOTO ZEN NUNS IN MODERN JAPAN:
KEEPING AND CREATING TRADITION
Paula K. R. ARAI
Harvard University
https://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/1854

Gassho, J

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Last edited by jundo on Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Zen Buddhist nuns in Australia

Postby Caodemarte on Sun Apr 02, 2017 3:50 pm

Just to add more confusion: In Japan and the US there are completely lay teachers who have received full transmission or authorization. Some are ex-monks; some are former Christian priests; some have never had ordination of any kind. No special title is used at all. So they can't perform funeral rites for you. I am not aware of the current situation in other countries, although there have been, of course, many ancient lay luminaries in China and Japan. Somehow it all gets sorted out, unless you really need those funeral rites!
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Re: Zen Buddhist nuns in Australia

Postby jundo on Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:10 pm

Caodemarte wrote:Just to add more confusion: In Japan and the US there are completely lay teachers who have received full transmission or authorization. Some are ex-monks; some are former Christian priests; some have never had ordination of any kind. No special title is used at all. So they can't perform funeral rites for you. I am not aware of the current situation in other countries, although there have been, of course, many ancient lay luminaries in China and Japan. Somehow it all gets sorted out, unless you really need those funeral rites!


Hmmm. Why should they not be able to perform a funeral, except for some in-house rule within some Lineage? Anyone with a good heart is welcome to perform my funeral, thank you! :)

What exactly is the distinction between a sincere, dedicated, experienced, caring, well trained and well meaning "lay Zen teacher" and a "priest" in the West, male or female? Few are celibate, so that can't be it. Frankly, the difference escapes me quite often.

Gassho, J

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Re: Zen Buddhist nuns in Australia

Postby Hosei on Sun Apr 02, 2017 5:15 pm

jundo wrote:"Roshi" is not an official rank of anything in Soto Zen, and "Sensei" is not a Buddhist title at all. They are not "ranks" in Japanese Soto Zen. When Westerners call themselves "Somebody Roshi" it is very strange in Japanese culture, for one would never refer to oneself in such way (a bit like a judge calling herself "The Honorable Me.") So, this is a largely Western thing that, as Hosei says, has varied from group to group and individual teacher to teacher.


oh the actual ranks can come into the mix too, and are varied and even more complicated! best not get into all that :-)

Yes, I totally agree with this assessment on the self-use of "roshi" ... and the self-use of "master" is also a mystery to me - it's a bit weird. I have no problem with using either of these 'honourifics' for someone else. I, for example, have a master - but I would argue that the word has no meaning at all outside of the context of a specific master/disciple relationship. And when I address him, I just use his first name - he would be horrified (and probably a bit pissed off) if I called him "master ____ " or "_____ roshi" .

jundo wrote:In Asia, there has historically been (and continues to be) a lot of discrimination against female Buddhist priests ... and the Japanese Zen world has been no exception. This is not the product of our doctrines so much (where all are ultimately equal in Buddha Nature, beyond and right through male or female), but because conservative traditional societies in which Buddhism is typically found have tended to act in conservative traditional sexist ways. Things are improving however, at least in Japan (although conservative parishioners still often have a hard time to accept them as lead priest).


Yeah.. I think this is (slowly) changing, and its origin is largely cultural rather than AT ALL doctrinal, as you pointed out. Japanese culture is historically rather male-dominated and chauvinistic . How could a woman possible be the head of a temple?? Who will make the tea? (for instance)

This wasn't a problem at all at the Japanese temple I recently spent time at. I was the anja for the director of Soto Zen office in Europe when she visited, and she was afforded all the same courtesies of all the other visiting dignitaries, including using the abbot's private bath, leading the ceremonies for the day, and well.. having an anja . The very fact that the shumucho boss in Europe is a woman is an AWESOME change - and it can't be fun for her to spend so much time dealing with the old-boys-club that is 'the establishment' in Japan.

thankfully, that's "over there" and really has no impact or effect on the role of women in western lineages.

oh.. and here's a fun picture for those who think "ranks" are easy.. or even if you don't :-)

Image

-Hōsei 法星
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Re: Zen Buddhist nuns in Australia

Postby jundo on Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:31 pm

Hosei wrote: Yeah.. I think this is (slowly) changing, and its origin is largely cultural rather than AT ALL doctrinal, as you pointed out.


Hi Hosei,

Quibble quibble, I like to quibble. :)

We have had some sexism in general Buddhist, Mahayana and Zen doctrines as well. So, I would not say "AT ALL." The question of whether one could reach Buddhahood or Enlightenment in female form, the "Blood Pool" Sutra and the like. I know you are familiar with the writings of the late, great Rita Gross, for example.

https://feminismandreligion.com/2015/11 ... a-m-gross/

On the Blood Pool ...

https://zendirtzendust.wordpress.com/20 ... ell-sutra/

Of course, "sexist" is a modern term from a modern, egalitarian point of view. Most folks of the past, in all our countries, generally did not think in such terms at all. Today, we seem to have gone well past such distinctions, and things are better.

Gassho, J
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Re: Zen Buddhist nuns in Australia

Postby Caodemarte on Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:01 pm

jundo wrote:
Hmmm. Why should they not be able to perform a funeral, except for some in-house rule within some Lineage? Anyone with a good heart is welcome to perform my funeral, thank you! :)

What exactly is the distinction between a sincere, dedicated, experienced, caring, well trained and well meaning "lay Zen teacher" and a "priest" in the West, male or female? Few are celibate, so that can't be it. Frankly, the difference escapes me quite often...


I myself am trying to avoid my own funeral by not showing up.

Anyone can perform a rite, but only someone ritually qualified can perform specific rites to be ritually effective in most religions (broadly defined). As I am sure you aware, there may be legal implications if some one claims to be clergy, performs marriages for example, and then turns out to be "unregistered clergy." The marriage license is made invalid and there must be a new ceremony (at least in New York). In that case, saying there is no difference between lay and priest won't go over too well. In some places only the eldest child can perform ritually effective funeral ceremonies. So if you a member of that belief community you really want the eldest child to perform that ceremony for fear of miserable wandering in the afterlife. If you are not a member of that belief community (or don't need a legal marriage certificate) you would not care.

A friend of mine was told that he could live at a Zen temple on the priest track or as a lowly lay attendant. On the priest track he would learn how to perform funerals (often the main source of funding) and other rituals. He was warned that as a lowly lay attendant he would "have to sit longer and harder." He chose that option. He is still lay and still does not perform funerals, but is invited to lead sesshin and give dharma talks at his old temple.
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Re: Zen Buddhist nuns in Australia

Postby jundo on Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:22 pm

Caodemarte wrote:
jundo wrote:
Hmmm. Why should they not be able to perform a funeral, except for some in-house rule within some Lineage? Anyone with a good heart is welcome to perform my funeral, thank you! :)

What exactly is the distinction between a sincere, dedicated, experienced, caring, well trained and well meaning "lay Zen teacher" and a "priest" in the West, male or female? Few are celibate, so that can't be it. Frankly, the difference escapes me quite often...


I myself am trying to avoid my own funeral by not showing up.

Anyone can perform a rite, but only someone ritually qualified can perform specific rites to be ritually effective in most religions (broadly defined). As I am sure you aware, there may be legal implications if some one claims to be clergy, performs marriages for example, and then turns out to be "unregistered clergy." The marriage license is made invalid and there must be a new ceremony (at least in New York). In that case, saying there is no difference between lay and priest won't go over too well. In some places only the eldest child can perform ritually effective funeral ceremonies. So if you a member of that belief community you really want the eldest child to perform that ceremony for fear of miserable wandering in the afterlife. If you are not a member of that belief community (or don't need a legal marriage certificate) you would not care.

A friend of mine was told that he could live at a Zen temple on the priest track or as a lowly lay attendant. On the priest track he would learn how to perform funerals (often the main source of funding) and other rituals. He was warned that as a lowly lay attendant he would "have to sit longer and harder." He chose that option. He is still lay and still does not perform funerals, but is invited to lead sesshin and give dharma talks at his old temple.


Hi,

I guess we have wandered off the topic a bit, but ...

Yes, of course, someone in their religious faith or in a particular lineage might believe for themselves that "only a priest" has ritual power. That is their faith and belief, and it must be honored.

But there is no rule (apart from rules of our own making) that all Buddhists or Zen folks must believe so. (By the way, in most Western countries, non-priests such as lawyers, notaries, mayors and ship captains are also fully capable of performing weddings, as can lay clergy (e.g., Mormons have this) with the proper registration, and the officiant at a funeral can be anyone the family chooses).

I wrote this in an obituary for my own Teacher, Nishijima (by the way, it is also poor form in Japan to put "Roshi" after one's own Teacher's name when talking to folks outside your group, although polite to use it for someone else's Teacher as a sign of respect. In English, however, we often do refer to our own Teachers as "Roshi" however. It is not a rank in Soto, but just a respectful title for a seasoned teacher, and literally means "Old Teacher") ...

STEPPING THROUGH THE TRADITIONAL FOURFOLD CATEGORIES OF PRIEST & LAY, MALE & FEMALE: Unlike most Buddhist clergy in Asia, Japanese priests typically marry and are not celibate. Some look at this as a great failing of Japanese Buddhism, a break from 25 centuries of tradition. In Japan and the West, even some Japanese lineage priests and lay teachers themselves are unsure of their own identity and legitimacy, and of their roles compared to each other. With great wisdom, Nishijima transcended all such questions and limiting categories. He advocated a way of stepping right through and beyond the whole matter, of finding living expressions where others saw restriction, and of preserving the tradition even as things change. While he was a champion of the celibate way (Nishijima Roshi, although married, turned to a celibate lifestyle for himself upon ordination), he never felt that celibacy was the only road for all priests. Nishijima advocated a form of ordination that fully steps beyond and drops away divisions of “Priest or Lay, Male or Female”, yet allows us to fully embody and actuate each and all as the situation requires. In our lineage, we are not ashamed of nor try to hide our sexuality and worldly relationships, nor do we feel conflicted that we are “monks” with kids and mortgages. When I am a parent to my children, I am 100% that and fully there for them. When I am a worker at my job, I am that and embody such a role with sincerity and dedication. And when I am asked to step into the role of hosting zazen, offering a dharma talk, practicing and embodying our history and teachings and passing them on to others, I fully carry out and embody 100% the role of “Priest” in that moment. Whatever the moment requires: maintaining a sangha community, bestowing the Precepts, working with others to help sentient beings. The names we call ourselves do not matter. In Nishijima’s way, we do not ask and are unconcerned with whether we are “Priest” or “Lay”, for we are neither that alone, while always thoroughly both; exclusively each in purest and unadulterated form, yet wholly all at once. It is just as, in the West, we have come to step beyond the hard divisions and discriminations between “male” and “female”, recognizing that each of us may embody all manner of qualities to varying degrees as the circumstances present, and that traditional “male” and “female” stereotypes are not so clear-cut as once held. So it is with the divisions of “Priest” and “Lay”.
http://sweepingzen.com/eight-ways-gudo- ... -buddhism/


A lot of Lineages in the U.S., such as the folks from San Francisco Zen Center, are really having trouble with this issue of "Priest" versus "Lay Teacher." Nishijima's idea of stepping beyond it, as we have done for "male/female" has not won many sympathizers (yet! :) ) in the Zen world. Many folks in the below organization constantly bump into these issues, such as their Lineage forbidding them to perform "Jukai" for their group members without calling a Priest in to perform the actual ceremony. I even proposed Nishijima's idea to many of them, and it did not win much support even among the lay teachers.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/America ... ssociation

Gassho, Jundo (thoroughly a Zen Priest, thoroughly a husband and father, thoroughly many roles ... )
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