Wow, this is throwing the baby out with the bath water!  What a
stereotypical summary of western zen practice.  So what are we westerners to
do?  I guess we should just give up.........

I don't practice zen this way and I live in America.  I don't spend any
money and I don't believe every 'instant enlightenment' fad I hear either.



-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf
Of Kristy McClain
Sent: Thursday, September 16, 2010 5:06 PM
Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: Practical Mysticism - Evelyn Underhill

I'm glad we both  got our rants out for all to witness;)
I guess I was just truly disgruntled by this trend to somehow make the
dharma  palatable to the westerner.  Either the teaching has value and
wisdom--or it doesn't.  I don't think one changes the teaching to suit the
student.  The teaching exists so the student can change within.  Its the
square peg ~ round hole issue.  If a westerner mindset is  stuck in
ignorance and ego-drive, contorting the teachings  does not seem like a
reasoned response.

--- On Tue, 9/14/10, roloro1557 <> wrote:

        From: roloro1557 <>
        Subject: [Zen] Re: Practical Mysticism - Evelyn Underhill
        Date: Tuesday, September 14, 2010, 3:50 PM
        Oh Kristy, what an excellent post :-) My comments are below. . . 
        --- In
<> ,
Kristy McClain <healthypl...@...> wrote:
        > *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. 
        The first question asked isn't "How many people could benefit from
this?" The first question asked is ALWAYS "How can we make money from this?"
And people rush forward, happy to pay exhorbitant prices for nothing but
empty words and concepts. 
        > Radio programs like, 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 completely agree. And this has always been true. If you want to
look at it from a christian (western) perspective Jesus said very similar
things about the pharasees and others. Sad but not surprising that nothing
has changed in 2000+ years. . . . 
        > 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.
        I have not attended a retreat in years for this very reason. . . 
        > 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.  
        I think this is exactly correct. And speaking of Jung, I agree with
his assertion that whole cultures can be introverted or extraverted and that
America is extraverted in the extreme - I think this is why most Americans
have so much trouble with zen and other eastern teachings.
        > 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.
        I agree most whole-heartedly!!!


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