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Showing posts from February, 2013

Teachers with a Capital T, Lankvatara, Practice, PERIOD.

Obligatory picture of majestic animal completely necessary- If you don't understand, you better ask somebody!
The practice period kicked up with tangaryo,Parinirvana, opening ceremonies, and I was swept away. And now, swept away again- independently studying Lankavatara, while taking Jeremy's (the Tanto) class on Genjo Koan and Fu's (the leader of the practice period) class on the three trainings. In addition, my practice leader and tea teacher is away in Japan, so tea ceremony is on hold. I've been thinking about retiring from calligraphy, also...I've put in a year, took about 6 classes, and it's fun but...not very alive for me. What is alive for me is writing, so I've been work shopping stories with an online writing community and in turn reading a lot more short fiction. Just short fiction for now. And of course, writing here.
 I'm also hanging around our Ecosattva group a lot more. I'm learning about navigating the channels of activism through leg…

Dogen Practiced for His Mother and Aunt

Investigating what makes issues around patriarchy alive for me I found this again:

"It is not enough for us to be “good guys”. It is not enough to personally refrain from exploiting women. It is not enough for us to be personally conscientious and respectful to women. It is not enough to maintain equality in our own relationships with women. While all of those things are important, abstaining personally from outright oppressive behavior doesn’t challenge patriarchy as a system of power. Basic decency commands that we work alongside women to uproot and dismantle this entire patriarchal system– within ourselves, within our groups and communities, and within institutions and the culture at large." 

-Guidelines for Male Allies from Deep Green Resistance

The institution I am a part of is women lead; My practice leader is Meiya Wender and I am Anja for the Abbess, Linda Ruth Cutts. The Ino is Carolyn. The Tenzo is Steph. The director is Sara. The head of guest services is Anna. Hea…

Grave Mistakes, Monasticism, and Zen

First let me apologize (see Shitsurei Itashimasu!) for commenting on Brad Warner's practice. That's not my place. Next, let me express that I want to proceed from the ground of inquiry about obejective acts and statements toward the heart of the practioner. Let me judge no one. However, let me offer my humble and flawed feedback, as I have to say something if silence is acceptance when it's not appropriate response.

Nathan, over at Dangerous Harvests picked up on more than I wrote when I commented that Brad Warner had never done a monastic practice period. Stuck again! The self carried itself forward. Nathan took it to mean that monks are superior to lay people. I don't mean that, not ever.  I don't mean to praise self at the expense of others. But I do love this life and I do champion it. 
And I mean our practice comes from our monastic ancestor Dogen, who wrote: 
"To train constantly...requires unstinting support. The structure of the Practice Period provides s…

I'm Just Like Brad Warner!

Accept, I don't have dharma transmission, wear a brown O'kesa, and sit on the top side of a power dynamic. My words don't have the weight of "teacher."And my wife didn't marry me because she thought I was enlightened.

Brad says in his blog that Zen teachers are like ordinary people (just like me!) and have sexual feelings. They're like your princi-pal, man. And if you consent, as a Zen student, you can have sex with him, despite what your subconscious will be doing when you have sex with an authority figure in a robe-wearing tradition.

I say robe-wearing here, because Brad has deftly dodged the trappings of religiosity, spirituality, and moral accountability, because, like, he's too damn hardcore, too damn cool for all that. It's not okay, it's not okay, it's not okay. This entitlement to sexuality drips with patriarchy.

This is like the 13th step sponsors in AA; it's like an LT seducing a corporal; it's like sleeping with your bos…

My Gold Streaked Shadow

From exuberance, I talk too much when I should be practicing noble silence, our form of using functional speech sparingly. What am I yammering on about? Where is it coming from? There is a dark shadow, but in that dark shadow is also a streak of gold.

I talk from, Zazen, tea ceremony, sutra study, Buddhist philosphy, activism, calligraphy, creative writing, running, hiking, yoga and I even made a damn clay tea bowl, thinking I'd do that once a month, too,

My resume is ridiculous: Mason, Carpenter's apprentice, Dog musher in Alaska, English major, Middle School Teacher, National Park Ranger, Monk. These were big ideas.

Invited to a weekly Tai-chi class, I can barely contain myself. I won't be going, but I'm white knuckling for some rest.

And I love it all. If you asked me to not have done something, I'd ignore that. If you ask me to stop some of my hobbies, my attachment balks at the lack of diversity, the boredom, the static and stale day in and day out nightmare.

Humble, But Not A Doormat

D.T Suzuki's Dharma name, Daisetsu,  means "Great Humility." I just had to say something, as I read in a blog that had to say something. I invite any feedback for my response, as I'm trying to refine humility from doormat, and expression from aggression (even assertion), practice right blogging, and connect with our huge sangha of way seeking minds.

Oh, and I like this blog, Original Mind, very much! Very worthwhile practice to surround yourself with so many people you respect, and then disagree with, even when you don't want to.

 Of course, I maybe wrong; who isn't when perception is deception?

Dear Doshin,

I respectfully disagree.

 I'd like to address this statement: "Part of this, at least in the Zen community, is attributable to D.T. Suzuki and his mythologizing Zen and Japanese culture."

First, my experience with D.T Suzuki is a very no-nonsense approach to dharma, delving into and translating sutras like the Lankavatara which hadn't b…

Oh Bodhisattva-Mahasattvas, Concentrate On Her!

My beautiful wife, Lauren, will receive Jukai, a new Dharma name, and the 16 Bodhisattva Precepts today. 

This poem is dedicated to her and to the Buddha's robe, which she has sewn herself and will wear herself. 

First paint a cagewith an open door
then paint
something pretty
something simple
something beautiful
something useful
for the bird
then place the canvas against a tree
in a garden
in a wood
or in a forest
hide behind the tree
without speaking
without moving...
Sometimes the bird comes quickly
but he can just as well spend long years
before deciding
Don't get discouraged
wait years if necessary
the swiftness or slowness of the coming
of the bird having no rapport
with the success of the picture
When the bird comes
if he comes
observe the most profound silence
wait till the bird enters the cage
and when he has entered
gently close the door with a brush
paint out all the bars one by one
taking care not to touch any of the feathers of the bird
Then paint the portra…

Non Celibate Married Monks Wake Up! (early)

We have a flock of farm apprentice applicants visiting and one said, "It's not like there are real monks here...I mean, you're not celibate y'all just wear robes for sitting and ceremonies."
Well, in the above picture it's real early in the morning and this real married couple (technically not monks, but wear robes and live above a 60+ real person temple) is making real pancakes and is also real tired. 
I wonder what people think us non celibate monks are doing in our bedrooms that some celibate monk isn't doing with their own damn hand or with a nightly emission; I wonder what they think house holding married couples are doing; I wonder if they know how exhausting a single person's bedroom can be, how rife with pain.
Excitement...adventure, I know, we shouldn't crave these things. Mostly Lulu and I are too tired anyway. 
I'll be honest, I want a gold star. I envy the single monks here. Sometimes Lulu and I argue (gasp!) into the night and wh…

One Continuous Mistake

First, so sorry about my polarizing posts, like the one below, where I speak from emotion and not generosity, tranquility, or anything nice. Katagiri Roshi said you have to say something, but did I have to say it like that? Sometimes I'm rabid. Shitsurei Itashimasu!

Second, I haven't felt like keeping up this blog. How much has been useful, timely, beneficial, true, and an improvement on the silence or the blank page? I don't know. But it's been a couple of years, and I don't feel like quitting, dare I risk the title of dilettante, again.

Third, the fucking honeymoon is over for me and my zen practice. Hard questions have arisen. Kosho and I have parted ways and my ordination is suspended, sort of, in that there is no one who has agreed to ordain me at the moment. Kosho and I parted ways on very satisfactory, very grateful terms, and I miss him very much; I just don't think I'll be going back to the south any time soon. He gave his blessings and said, "…