Kirk,

 

I heard the imam behind the controversial Islam Community Center near
‘Ground Zero’ in NYC is a Sufi Muslim.

 

Sufism is described as a mystical practice within Islam -  a subset of Islam
just as most people would classify Zen as a subset of Mahayana Buddhism
which of course is a subset of Buddhism.  Is that how you see it?  Is that
how you practice it?

 

Thanks...Bill!

 

From: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com [mailto:zen_fo...@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
Of salik888
Sent: Monday, September 13, 2010 9:16 PM
To: Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [Zen] Practical Mysticism - Evelyn Underhill

 

  

Dear Mike

Good questions and good post. It is interesting that perhaps we have come to
a little of the same conclusions, only I derived it from an impact of
Japanese Soto and Rinzai Zen Buddhism in America and you are seeing the
reality of culture and the inner life of Zen in Japan.

To a certain extent, I would have to say that while the Japanese intentions
probably would automatically be implementing and apply the Zen (Tradition),
I would not say this is entirely true. I will explain. But before I do,
having said that, I would like to point out something derived from the
Perennialist/Traditionalist School of Comparative Religion, which is a
Philosophical and Metaphysical overview of Ancient Traditions perse -- that
on an exoteric level, the outward manifestation of the Tradition, of course
the Japanese would be closer to this reality, although the West could and
should be doing this as well. So, I would say that Zen is in good hands with
the Japanese under the onslaught of post modernist times and Secularism,
which steam rolls everything in the name of progress. On the other hand,
Zen, the esoteric, which is what is essential, the inner life, this no
culture can place any claim to. It is the reality and the slipperiest of
fish to obtain -- as the Sufis say, the kernal and the kernal. 

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 <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.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 isÂ
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.Â
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
> 
> Â  
> 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 <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.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 <mailto:Zen_Forum%40yahoogroups.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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