Bill wrote (Saturday, 6/17):

> [snip] ... I lost my interest in Buddhism and have since focused 
> my practice exclusively on zen. (I know suggesting a separation 
> of zen and Buddhism is a controversial view and not accepted by 
> many on this forum. I would be glad to discuss it further if 
> anyone is interested.) 

Hi, Bill.  Thanks for sharing the interesting info on your Zen 
journey   I guess the separation you speak of is as old as Zen 
(no dependence on the "ism" aspect of formal Dharma imported 
from India).  But to me the key is in the meaning of this word 
"dependence" and its strong link to basic Buddhist teaching - 
no clinging, no attachment.  So in a way we're right back in 
Buddhism when we affirm no-dependence.  In other words, the 
Eightfold Path, especially Right View.  

I came to a point in my own Zen practice, in the early 90s, 
when it became clear I was stuck and was trying to duplicate 
certain experiences I'd known in the beginning.  Also realizing 
that I hadn't basically changed, despite all the storm and stress 
(and love) of practice, and was still carrying around a lot of 
mental baggage and negative habits.  But so were a lot of my 
Zen friends.  Definitely part of the problem was that I didn't 
have a teacher at this time.  That was almost fifteen years ago.

Anyway, I'm grateful for the learning that came via excursions 
through Theravada (longer - one hour - sittings of vipassana 
with their boredom, controlled anxiety, etc.), and the Tibetan 
way (powerful imagery, use of emotion, and intellectual input).  
It's been quite a trip and as always Zen is homebase.  Interesting
that you use the Hekigan Roku as a practice tool.  I do too, along
with the Mumonkan.  They're the roshi.  

I want to comment on an issue you raised, about the Western-
oriented meditation centers of Thailand and their commercial
character, but this post is already too long.  So next time.  

All the best to you and your wife and the village of Ahngnam.


~ Frank


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