Living in the US but in this funny year of 2010 it seems like there is the 
beginning of a global culture with many varieties of cultural practice coming 
together to form interesting combinations. I am Episcopal, practice soto zen 
and take my kids to get Miso soup and California rolls when we need some 
reliable fast food. 

I think a big task for all culture and religions at this point of history is to 
separate out the positive aspects for their existence from the 
exclusionary/tribalistic/only one path aspects of their historical legacy. I am 
a proud reader of Anglo-Saxon and happy to claim my inner Prussian when those 
bits of myself manifest into my family's morning routine (better on time than 
happy, is my training). But I condemn whole-heartedly any notion of essential 
differences based on race or even the actual existence of real racial groupings 
as something more than a cultural construct. 

Thanks,
Chris Austin-Lane
Sent from a cell phone

On Sep 12, 2010, at 7:51 PM, mike brown <uerusub...@yahoo.co.uk> wrote:

> 
> 
> Kirk,
>  
> The below was an interesting read. If I read it correctly. you seem to be 
> saying that practioners of Zen need to adapt their practice to suit their own 
> particular cultural milieu. As someone who is living in Japan, and is 
> reminded daily of the chasm between Asian/western thinking, I think I'd have 
> to agree. 'Zen' is Japanese, but what is at the heart of Zen is not. The 
> change towards a more western approach to Zen, however, is slow and 
> incremental and maybe that's as it should be. I wonder tho, will a more 
> western approach to Zen include it as 'just' part of a wider, eclectic system 
> of religious/philisophical etc. study and practice - or will the efficacy of 
> Zen be diluted by such an approach (the traditional Japanese viewpoint).
>  
> Mike  
> 
> .From: salik888 <novelid...@aol.com>
> To: zen_fo...@yahoogroups.comto 
> Sent: Mon, 13 September, 2010 2:28:50
> Subject: Re: [Zen] Practical Mysticism - Evelyn Underhill
> 
> Dear Ed
> 
> I appreciate the affirmation, you never know what is going to be taken out of 
> context in the wrong way in the peanut gallery. Nevertheless, at some time, 
> later for me than sooner, and really through the Sufis, who have a different 
> way of explaining psychology, where they break down the levels of delusion 
> and attachment, it became clear to me, at least for myself what my overall 
> aim is and could be. 
> 
> We were talking about mysticism earlier, in my estimation a wholly 
> unproductive discussion, since people would be speaking about the end results 
> and their definition of this -- enlightenment, cosmic concsiousness, etc . . 
> . The reason I bring this up is that it has to do with greed and not 
> realizing first things first. If you look at Zen Masters, Texts, and Sufi 
> Masters, you will find plenty of address about having your mind on the wrong 
> things first -- enlightenment. The Sufis would address this as a sort of 
> greed that operates and is furthered in the Nafs, The Commmanding Self, that 
> is overlayed with personal experiences, wrong education, trauma, prejudices, 
> opinions, and all the seven deadly sins. Oftentimes we bring our lower 
> instincts into our practice without ever realizing it, through worldly 
> conditioning. 
> 
> I have witnessed plenty of ego maniacs who are very clear in terms of their 
> meditation practice, or their pious dedication to their path, but are as 
> greedy as if they were thieves. 
> 
> Now, having said that, I realize that I am a thief as well, robbing this and 
> taking that. Now we are in the realm of what a Zen Buddhist Master used to 
> talk about -- the big doubt. He was not doubting the tradition, but doubting 
> our own sincerity and utilization of the tradition. This can be useful, make 
> us human and humble . . . keep us from being big shits, big know it alls, big 
> kahunas . . . there are big kahunas in Zen and big Kahunas in Sufism too, in 
> fact lots more in Sufism, since it has a devotional nature to teachers at 
> times. 
> 
> I think what is needed sometimes is fresh perspective on an ancient message. 
> That is pretty much it. There is really nothing new, and I don't say this to 
> bring attention to myself, although there is that, we are all looking for 
> attention, or we would be doing something else, but also as a reminder. As 
> the Sufis say, we are forgetful people. Remembrance on the path is a useful 
> tool. We want to keep our practice and path alive and vital, not by rote, 
> fall victim to Japanese cultural customs of order and clarity. This is a 
> by-product of Soto Zen, and only gets you so far -- a bad imitation of 
> Japanese practitioners. 
> 
> At times I am very excited to see the expression of Zen Buddhism in America, 
> it appears to be trying to keep the tradition alive and deal with cultural 
> conditioning that might not be applicable. Let's keep in mind the expression 
> of Chan in China and then Zen in Japan. Once again, the Sufis have addressed 
> this thoroughly, in terms of pluralism -- one path, many permissions. 
> 
> As anyone might be able to gather my area of practice and specialization has 
> been mostly Soto Zen and Sufism. I have delved into the Hermetic traditions 
> considerably, as they related to Sufism. I have not joined the Tibetan 
> discussion but have found it interesting, since I know very little about the 
> Dalai Lama other than he wears glasses and has a nice smile and appears to be 
> everywhere. I don't know much about the Basques either, other than Ernest 
> Hemingway sure thought they were swell. So hopefully my offerings will serve 
> as crumbs to strengthen you heart in the path, nor detract. 
> 
> Thank you all for letting me post here . . . 
> 
> Donkey is never happy.
> 
> K among the permissive
> 
> --- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "ED" <seacrofter...@...> wrote:
> >
> > 
> > 
> > Kirk wrote:
> > 
> > > I think it is safe to say that Zen is a path that addresses the
> > > experiential with zazen as its central methodology -- a sort of
> > undoing of yourself,
> > > the conditioned cultural and experiential part of your personality
> > that
> > > continuously reacts and feeds your ego.
> > >
> > > Think of it this way, while you are reading this you are already
> > reacting
> > > inside in an automatic way. Zen seeks to loosen the bounds of your
> > false
> > > self and return you to your natural state. Part of the reason why Zen
> > > honors spontaneity, clarity, nature and a sense of the primordial
> > untouched
> > > mother that feeds us all.
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > Greetings!
> > 
> > I resonate strongly with the above statements on zen. Does anyone hold a
> > different perspective?
> > 
> > --ED
> > 
> > 
> > 
> > --- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, novelidea8@ wrote:
> > >
> > > Greetings
> > >
> > > In my estimation there really is no way to assert what Zen is, whether
> > you
> > > are restricting it to zazen; or opening it to a wider religious and
> > > cultural discussion. The best we can do is just admit we fall short
> > and perhaps
> > > point to our own experience, to presence. Of course we could ask
> > ourselves
> > > who is being present?
> > >
> > > So repeating zazen zazen zazen with platitudes to support it, or
> > explaining
> > > big Zen and little zen, does do much but tell us something about who
> > is
> > > doing the talking and perhaps who is doing the listening here.
> > >
> > > I think it is safe to say that Zen is a path that addresses the
> > > experiential with zazen as its central methodology -- a sort of
> > undoing of yourself,
> > > the conditioned cultural and experiential part of your personality
> > that
> > > continuously reacts and feeds your ego.
> > >
> > > Think of it this way, while you are reading this you are already
> > reacting
> > > inside in an automatic way. Zen seeks to loosen the bounds of your
> > false
> > > self and return you to your natural state. Part of the reason why Zen
> > > honors spontaneity, clarity, nature and a sense of the primordial
> > untouched
> > > mother that feeds us all.
> > >
> > > In this respect Zen shares a great deal in common with Sufism,
> > although the
> > > methods might be a great deal different.
> > >
> > > Best wishes
> > >
> > > Kirk
> >
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 

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