*bows* to Kirk et al;)
 
I address my comments to your last paragraph  on what indeed is happening to 
zen in the west.  I am by no  means a scholar on the  topic. I offer my 
observations as I see a troublesome trend.  I  have been concerned in recent 
years about the commercialization of spiritual practices, like zen.  Retreats, 
books, CD's, other media and the internet have made  spirituality a lucative 
venture. Radio programs like Hayhouseradio.com, among many others, suggest they 
exist as a means to "spread the message".  Ok, I don't have a problem  if 
people  have money or not.  But I am tired of attraction laws, and affirmations 
and chants and meditations, that propose this is a process of coercing some 
karmic force that can lead  you to enlightenment while sitting in a Rolls 
Royce, ( a-la- Louise Hays of Hayhouse).  Maybe I'm naively purist, but 
something seems fundamentally wrong to me.  
 
I am puzzled by the statement in all these books that the "answer" is not in a 
book, but  it still costs $24.95 to gleen this "truth".  Retreat fees are 
outrageous. Omega, Spirit Rock, and the like-- all are reaping big rewards, and 
I do  indeed think it has corrupted the translation and transmission of the 
teachings and its history.
 
One other thought..
 
In the west, there has been this effort to manipulate the  dharma so as to be 
acceptable to  the westernized student mind-set and culture.  Hence, the "Big 
Mind" process.  While many rave over this technique, it has never worked for 
me.  It simply feels like Jungian group therapy.  I see value in the process 
for many seeking better self-awareness and coping skills in life.  
 
But I don't see how it relates to Soto, Rinzai or any other traditional 
teaching.
 
Moreover, though American myself, I am sick and tired of the needyiness  for 
self-gratification many Westerners feel they are entitled to.  A sense of 
entitlement could perhaps sum up a western mind-set.
 
Kristy
 
 
 


--- On Mon, 9/13/10, salik888 <novelid...@aol.com> wrote:







In the case of Americans or Westerner plundering the Tradition of Zen. I think 
that is two answers -- first, there are some who have kept up the Traditions of 
Soto and Rinzai very well, but expressing a natural sense of American 
Transcendentalism. We sort of have our own secrets and gnostics inherent in our 
experience. That is culture and the Tradition, like the differences between 
Chinese Chan and Japanese Zen. And then of course there has been those that 
have expressed an anything goes sort of Zen, or Zen and this and Zen and that. 
So, in short, I don't think Zen Buddhism is under anymore attack in America 
than Japan, at least on the esoteric level. 

I do think there is a possibility in both Japan and the West for any Tradition, 
whether that be Sufis or Zen, for it to continuously be under attack from 
Secularism and syncretism. This is post modern information age times. In some 
sense it is what is wrong at the heart of the Middle East . . . not only is 
Islam fighting the Secular West, but more importantly they are fighting 
themselves, in terms of post modern times. Technological and Western 
individualism and syncretism has made advances on their civilization 
(traditional culture)and they are having a sort of nighmarish reform that we 
are all witnessing. Trust me, it probably was not much fun in Europe for many 
during the upheaval post Reformation. 

So, in perspective Zen is alive and well. It offers a good Tradition and leans 
on its pluralistic expression. The Sufis do likewise, however they are on the 
run in Saudi Arabia and Iran, the two major power brokers in Middle Eastern 
culture. When the Sufis can practice again in Mecca, you will know that its all 
turned for the better. But in the case of Zen, and even in China, which I hear 
Buddhism is flourishing after all these years, as I said, I think the prospects 
look good.

best wishes

Kirk

--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, mike brown <uerusub...@...> 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...@...>
> To: zen_fo...@... 
> 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" <seacrofter001@> 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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