Share and list upcoming or annual events.
i will be leading a silent illumination retreat at dharma drum retreat center (ddrc) from 12/26 to 1/1. usually the admins posts these events but what is not online at the ddrc website is that zen teacher jeff shore (http://beingwithoutself.org/) will be on the retreat as a guest teacher.
he and i have been in contact for a while and he would like to co-lead retreats. ddrc is not the right place to do it--there's no precedence for a teacher of another lineage lead retreats at our center. so we'll have to do it elsewhere. nonetheless, he would like to come to do a retreat with me so we're doing it through stealth he will be in the interview with me and i may ask him to help with interviews or give a talk. this is an experiment, so let's see how it turns out at ddrc. perhaps in the future we can have collaborative, true co-led retreat there.
not sure if you all know him, but he's the first american who went to japan and completed the whole koan curriculum in the traditional japanese rinzai zen setting (in any line). the curriculum would be the initial koans, the gateless barrier, misc ones from the entangling vines, the blue cliff record, some other misc ones from the entangling vines, the book of serenity, misc koans, five ranks of dongshan, and finishing with the bodhisattva precepts. he's the lay heir of fukushima roshi. so he belongs to the tofukuji line of rinzai zen.
i feel a kinship with him and his teachings as he doesn't stick to the koan curriculum.... some of what he teaches resemble more of the huatou method in chan. he's always been interested in chinese chan. many of his talks on retreats are drawn from chinese chan masters' discourse records. having him on this retreat will be great as i will learn from him. while he's not too familiar with the silent illumination method and how i usually conduct retreats, having him on the retreat will benefit all those practicing there. i will try to ask him to give some teachings.
anyway, you won't find any info on the ddrc website if you are thinking of registering for the retreat (only on the website of my center). there's not enough of collaboration among chan/zen/son teachers. hopefully this will open up more doors to benefit practitioners.
Very happy to hear this news Guo Gu.
One day there will be lots of collaboration between the different religions/paths as well.
And one day we will all sit in a circle together with no teachers on the "hight seat" nor any such thing as "different religions"
Thanks for "kickstarting" the process and may the "new dawn" manifest in all its glory
Mijn Oude Vriend uit de woestijn begrijpt geen Nederlands. <3
Very happy to hear about this Guo Gu! Congrats and best wishes. The times are calling for it.
on a lighter note, I was thinking of Tofu Roshi with fond memories just today, a friend of Susan Moon:
all the best
Not last night,
not this morning;
Melon flowers bloomed.
"Precedent" always requires someone to have set it, at some time.
I see that that is going to be you.
And many blessings to all attending (and teaching)!
Sounds great! Can you please not cut the videos in half at cliffhangers this time?
Jeff Shore has retreats in Eastern-Europe.
Dharma talk from 2001:
thanks for the good wishes everyone.
should be a good retreat.
p.s.: littletsu, not sure what you're referring to.
Hi Guo Gu,
This is wonderful. I hope we will see more exchange between the various lineages in the future.
Not meaning to re-direct the thread here. But i wanted to add just a few footnotes to your original post, just for the benefit of anyone with incomplete information reading it who might jump to mistaken conclusions about Rinzai practice. So in that spirit:
Since it seems to be commonly thought that in Rinzai practice wato/koan methods are used in a fixed manner - i.e. according to a universal, rigid curriculum - I would want to stress that there is no one Rinzai "koan curriculum". What is called the shitsunai, i.e. the curriculum and actual way of using wato and koans passed down from teacher to student in Rinzai Zen, differs - sometimes greatly - from line to line. And these are not static, dead things. They can change and grow in each generation according to the particular experiences had - and changes/additions made - by members of a line.
So in terms of curriculum, each teacher inherits something alive and potentially different. What is laid out above would (I expect) be the progression Mr. Shore experienced at Tofukuji, but it would be incorrect to view that as definitive for all Rinzai lines. I can see differences between it and other shitsunai.
There is actually no Rinzai teacher I know of who sticks only to a koan curriculum, does not teach the wato method when appropriate, and does not give talks drawn from chinese masters' records. So perhaps you will feel kinship with many other Rinzai teachers!
Of course, all legitimate Rinzai teachers complete and inherit the koan curriculum of their teacher's line. But a misconception many folks have is that Rinzai practice is solely koan contemplation. This is a misconception mainly because there are many other methods in Rinzai Zen (which is good, since there are some students for whom koan practice will never be appropriate).
However, it is also a misconception because koan practice in Rinzai Zen serves more generally as a structure, and series of jumping-off points, around which each student's individualized practice is built. An example of this is the hidden Jewel Mirror Samadhi practice taken up after penetrating the koan series centered on Dongshan's Five Ranks. And, the way of practice after one has completed the koan curriculum of his/her teacher's line.
Finally, an idiosyncrasy I've observed: the Rinzai habit seems to be to use the term "koan practice" to encompass not only methods focused on actual koan cases, but also wato practice taking up questions like "who am I?", "what is this?" and so on. This can be confusing.
FWIW! Again, sorry to distract with Rinzai arcana. But happy also to bump this event announcement back to the top. Best wishes for this event.
thanks for the clarification. yes, ppl reading this thread should know that there are indeed different kinds of curriculum from different lineages and even within each it is used differently by teachers in a live way. nevertheless, in rinzai zen the curriculum does provide a structure around which students work through or build their own practice. i'm sure wato is used in rinzai, too.
in chan, a person can use the same wato/huatou for the rest of the person's life and can have kensho experiences again and again even using the same wato/huatou. so in this sense, the shallowness and depth of kensho is independent from the actual wato/huatou or gong'an/koan.
to add a note, i actually spoke to jeff about this. one of the reasons why he does not ask students to work through different koans is that the curriculum can sometimes give ppl the false illusion of "progress," especially when other fellow practitioners have so-called "passed" certain koans. in other words, ppl feel like they have to also pass through koan in their course of practice. as you know, this is a common problem. but i'm happy to hear that in your tradition, this is not the case.
the actual experience and role of the koan curriculum is actually an interesting topic, worthy of a new separate thread....
another bump of this event to the top
dharma drum retreat center asked someone there to edit this video. i think they cut the video in half at a cliffhanger as a way to generate the doubt sensation, the sense of wonderment??
i have no say in it, sorry.
Thanks for taking my interruption so kindly.
In full agreement. One of my teachers said, "I don't care how many koan you've passed...see through one of them all the way, and I'll pass you on all of them". And I have often remembered something your late teacher said at a retreat: that a koan or wato is like a window, which one can always return to and look out from again and again.
Gregory here at one time expressed that he felt "curriculum" was not the best word, and I agree...though I have yet to come up with a better term. As it is, "curriculum" gives folks the impression that it is something they must complete from beginning to end, rather than a collection of tools...each of which may or may not be useful to an individual.
In any case, here's another bump for your event, and kudos to both you and Mr. Shore for working together in this way.
i will be away for about 10 days or so, starting today, so won't be posting.
looks like it's going to be an interesting retreat. about 97 ppl on it. the largest i've ever led.
So, curious minds wish to know - How did the collaborative stealth retreat pan out?
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice" --- Gandavyuha Sutra
sorry. haven't signed on...
so the retreat went well. jeff's presence was a treat for me personally. he gave a talk and also helped with interviews as there were close to 100 practitioners on this intense retreat. i think the experience deepened our appreciation of each other's tradition as well as our own. i've learned much.
basically, i think some things worked, whiled others didn't. for example, because teacher-student relationship is established through time and mutual understanding/trust, and retreats provide an occasion to deepen that, so if a teacher doesn't know the practitioner's particular situation, it is not possible to truly help the students, like arrows meetings in mid-air.
on the other hand, sometimes a visiting teacher can provide a fresh perspective on things. sometimes a student can get stuck in practice but by contacting another teacher (because the conditions have changed) the student can penetrate the original obstacle.
incidentally, i also have an observation. jeff brought about 5 long-time students... because he only leads retreats and does not have a center of his own, his relationship with his students is mostly only during retreats. i spoke to him about this because it can be a problem.... there's no followup training, and seeing his students in daily life, etc. he's already been thinking about this, and thought that perhaps he would establish a center in philadelphia. so when he comes to the states he would stay a bit longer after retreats and practice with his students. i think it's totally necessary.
the thing with many vipassana teachers co-lead retreat is completely different. their methods are basically the same, formulaic, much simpler. there's more reliance on the method, and the teachers are almost substitutable.... there are even insight meditation retreats based on audio tapes where there are no real teachers present (just facilitators)!
in chan/zen, the teacher-student relationship and the style of the teacher play such an important role in the training and providing the flow of the retreat. chan/zen path also has no clear signposts... so if two teachers co-lead a retreat, they would have to be so in synch with each other in order to guide the students smoothly, without confusion. with this retreat, i took on the leading role. jeff assisted. if we have another opportunity again, i would just assist him, perhaps be the time keeper, and let him take the lead. it would be simpler.
there are other observations, but this will do. so you all don't feel like i left you hanging
Thx for sharing Guo Gu.
Why would that seeing students be necessary? Would skype/mail not be sufficient with the occasional retreat? Let alone "totally necessary"!
If you're willing to have a go.
Are you talking about a form of mirroring of the teachers energy that happens student-teacher?
If I recall correctly you've done a lot of solitary practice. Are you seeing teachers now?
Way I see it every human has an energy signature. Coming into contact with a Guru/teacher can spark the necessary energy in the student. This is not something rational. As you say "deeper" than the student can imagine. It can also happen through a book though, for some that seems enough. Or a forum , how precious this forum is.
Nisargadatta: Your disbelief does not matter. My words are true and they will do their work. This is the beauty of noble company (satsang).
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