Hi Al, I remember those heady days when Fudo and Genryu were `patrolling` this forum and I learnt a lot from them too. In fact, it was partly thru` Fudo`s contribution that I went to Japan. However, after over 3 years of living there I came to the conclusion that following a Japanese form of Zen is too... well, Japanese. Culturally the Japanese think and do things quite differently from those of us from the west and their search for Buddhahood is no different - hence the aching legs and slaps on the back! I honestly don`t think certification of a person`s understanding means much. You`ll know yourself if you`ve experienced a kensho/satori breakthru (let`s be honest - this is what `IT` is all about) and you`ll know if you meet another if they`ve had a breakthru or not. Of course, this initial realization can (and should) be cultivated, but it can be done thru zazen and following the precepts. It`s nice to have someone to talk with `eye to eye` but it`s not essential and neither is a certificate on the wall proving you or they can. However, for a person beginning Zen or who hasn`t at least worked on `mu` etc. then I would recommend a bona fide Zen temple (affliiated with Japan - if possible). Maybe as the moderator your expectations are different from those of us who write here, but for myself I find this forum interesting, sometimes informative but nearly always fun! I can honestly say, without being too dramatic or sentimental, that in some small way (re Fudo/Japan) it has changed my life. Don`t underestimate what you`re doing. Mike.
__________________________________________________________ Sent from Yahoo! Mail - a smarter inbox http://uk.mail.yahoo.com