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 Lay Ministry

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Lise
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PostSubject: Lay Ministry    Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:53 am

First topic message reminder :

I've seen a few references to LMs on the forum but I don't have a sense of what this is, or is meant to be. The lay ministers I saw around Shasta wore their robes to services, helped with handing out sheet music, etc., but I didn't really hear about the substantive activities of that role. I'm sure there were some.

How does one become an LM? Do you ask or does a monk suggest it?

in curiosity,
L.
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albertfuller



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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:45 pm

Hi Jack,

Quote :

The whole tone of expiation by means of pain, redemption by suffering is a very strong Christian hangover that I've only found Buddhist literature from the OBC. The Buddhist message is all about liberation from suffering.

Yes, you are pointing to similarity. But when you say "The whole tone of expiation by means of pain, redemption by suffering is a very strong Christian hangover that I've only found Buddhist literature from the OBC." you are clearly wrong:

1 - One day the Fifth Patriarch told his monks to express their wisdom in a poem. Whoever had true realization of his original nature (Buddha Nature) would be ordained the Sixth Patriarch. The head monk, Shen Hsiu, was the most learned, and wrote the following:

The body is the wisdom-tree,
The mind is a bright mirror in a stand;
Take care to wipe it all the time,
And allow no dust to cling.

2 - The Buddhist practice of purification - dealing with reincarnation [see http://www.many-lives.com/]

3 - " The characteristic features of the new method of the Constant Walking Samadhi, which was called fudan nembutsu (constant nembutsu), can be listed as follows: 1) The length of the period of practice has been shortened from 90 days to 7 days, from the 11th to the 17th days of
the eighth month during the autumn full moon; 2) Besides the nembutsu recitation, the Amida Sutra is chanted; 3) By this practice one hopes to expiate one’s evil karma. Although the newly instituted melodious nembutsu chanting is apparently different from the meditative nembutsu of the Constantly Walking Samadhi originated by Chih-i (Chigi), we
should note two facts which explain the development of the nembutsu from Chih-i to Fa-chiao, and then to Ennin." [see http://shingondharmazazen.wordpress.com/2007/11/15/biographies-of-dharma-masters/]


Please note item (3) on a Buddhist practice to expiate one's evil's karma.

So what does this all mean: Jiyu-Kenneth experimented with how to present Zen to a western audience and she tried many things, and borrowed freely. The use of Christianity is not a Christianization of Zen but an attempt to create a bridge to Zen through what was commonplace for people. Now this worked for some and backfired for others (like yourself). It is also to be noted that many "experiments" were also abandoned. She setup the meals using Japanese Zen forms but setup the kitchen (quality and type of food) from a Benedictine influence of having food at a very high quality. Does that make Shasta Abbey a Benedictine monastry, not by any stretch of the imagination.

Maybe what is important here is the she did not share your aversion to Christianity and she used Christian terminology and music but does that make what she was doing Christian: absolutely not. You are not going to find Christians feeling comfortable with the Eternal as Dharmakaya.

It's ok to dislike or hate Jiyu-Kenneth, but don't conflate personal issues with what she tried to do with Zen in the West. Remember, from Koho Zenji, the bride's white dress was ready for dying: so you don't like some of the dye she used, ok. I don't like the idea of Jiyu-Kenneth as a husband: through she might have been a good husband.

Dude! If you can't love peace; then feel the love.
.
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Anne



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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:00 am

Quote :
Buddhist practice of purification - dealing with reincarnation [see http://www.many-lives.com/ ]
Thanks for that, Albert. The copyright holder, J (?James) Denosky, has some very interesting websites.

Quote :
Although...nembutsu chanting is apparently different from the meditative nembutsu of the Constantly Walking Samadhi originated by Chih-i (Chigi), we should note two facts which explain the development of the nembutsu from Chih-i to Fa-chiao, and then to Ennin." [see http://shingondharmazazen.wordpress.com/2007/11/15/biographies-of-dharma-masters/][/b]
Just in case anyone has had trouble with this link, try it without the end "][/b]" characters, thus:

http://shingondharmazazen.wordpress.com/2007/11/15/biographies-of-dharma-masters/

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gensho



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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Sat Jan 22, 2011 3:43 pm

Quote :

1 - One day the Fifth Patriarch told his monks to
express their wisdom in a poem. Whoever had true realization of his
original nature (Buddha Nature) would be ordained the Sixth Patriarch.
The head monk, Shen Hsiu, was the most learned, and wrote the following:

The body is the wisdom-tree,
The mind is a bright mirror in a stand;
Take care to wipe it all the time,
And allow no dust to cling.

Let us remember that this poem was considered inadequate by the Fifth Patriarch and Shen Hsiu was asked to compose another.

Hui Neng, who became the Sixth Patriarch, composed:
Bodhi doesn't have any trees
This mirror doesn't have a stand
Our buddha nature is forever pure
Where do you get this dust?
(Red Pine translation. p. 106)

Kennett Roshi only reached as far as the poem of Shen Hsiu. While that poem speaks a truth of training, it falls short. KR's teaching of HGLB, Book of Life and the subsequent teachings are all to tell the disciple that KR will know when your mirror is clean, not you. That KR has the techniques needed to properly wipe away the dust and you do not.

KR was not able to point directly to the pure (empty) mind as the Hui Neng does with his question 'where do you get this dust?' This radical question cuts through all teaching and returns directly to the Buddha's original teaching that the words only point the way. A thousand words cannot convey the taste of one bite. KR piled words on words, complexity on complexity, rules, ranks, all of it just because she didn't know how to pass the plate and allow others to take a bite and taste for themselves.

Once KR accepted that her visions in 76 were 'real' then the 'dust' had 'alighted' and she no longer could wipe that mirror. From then on KR needed to be 'the way', and to train directly with KR you had to take in her teaching without objection. No longer able to train herself, she insisted on controlling every aspect of how others would train.
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chisanmichaelhughes



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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:01 pm

Gensho I have to again tell the story of Ikko Roshi leaving Eiheji. He had spent several years there as the Godo Roshi , the teaching Roshi, giving talks and leading the monks. When his term was up and he returned to his own temple to resume Abbotship, He left in the simple robes of a travelling monk.

The monks came to see their teacher off,and were surprised to see him dressed in such a simple way. When Ikko Roshi arrived at the main gate , he turned and did full bows to all the monks, of course thay all bowed back to their teacher.

This simple act of humility, love and affection,taught them most probably more, than all the words and scriptures.

I got on well with the old man,and as I have told you privately,the only time we argued or fought was when I asked him if I could be his disciple. With great love and affection he threw me out.
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albertfuller



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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Sat Jan 22, 2011 5:31 pm

gensho wrote:

Let us remember that this poem was considered inadequate by the Fifth Patriarch and Shen Hsiu was asked to compose another.

Hui Neng, who became the Sixth Patriarch, composed:
Bodhi doesn't have any trees
This mirror doesn't have a stand
Our buddha nature is forever pure
Where do you get this dust?
(Red Pine translation. p. 106)

Kennett Roshi only reached as far as the poem of Shen Hsiu. While that poem speaks a truth of training, it falls short.
Hi Gensho ... what you have said are all great points; but the purpose of using that quote was for the purpose of showing that here was a Zen monk who had a concern for redemption to address the specific comment: "redemption by suffering is a very strong Christian hangover that I have only found in Buddhist literature from the OBC."

Now how good a monk was Shen Hsiu, or the level of his insight, is not important at this point. He was the head monk of a Zen monastery was he not and his poem shows what john said does not occur in Buddhism. I gave quotes from various Buddhist groups who express the concern that John says is lacking in Buddhist literature, but is a Christian hangover (probably he meant hangup) only to be found in OBC literature.

So, in brief, it was a simple point to show the falseness of the claim by quoting Buddhist literature from various Buddhist schools on a topic that was not suppose to be there.

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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Sun Jan 23, 2011 7:29 am

I believe Kennett threw dust in peoples eyes then when challenged said there is no dust.
Christianity, Buddhism, all religions what Gensho said was where is the dust
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Anne

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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Sun Jan 23, 2011 9:28 am

Quote :
The body is the wisdom-tree,
The mind is a bright mirror in a stand;
Take care to wipe it all the time,
And allow no dust to cling.
:-) Albert, were you drawing attention to the parallels between the imagery in Shen Hsui's poem and that "of being cleansed in fountains, the washing away of impurities"*? Or do you see the poem, or perhaps the directive in it, as suggestive of seeking "expiation by means of pain, redemption by suffering"* ~ all that slog!? [*quoted from Jack] I'm guessing it was the former but thought I'd better check.

One might be tempted to side with the winner of the contest to get on the "right" side of things, but personally I think one needs both poems... (-;
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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Sun Jan 23, 2011 8:04 pm

Actually, is anyone familiar with the story of Marpa and Milarepa? I always thought that that was one of the biggest examples in Tibetan Buddhism of redemption; or did I get that completely wrong?


Brigitte
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Mon Jan 24, 2011 2:19 am

I would like to hear the story can you tell it for me please
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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:26 am

Chisan

It's quite a long story, and several condensed versions of this story can be found on the internet, like everything nowadays, but the book is better. You can type in Milarepa revenge and redemption or redemptionin Tibetan Buddhism. It.s a great story and I used to turn to it when I had trouble with my teacher, because it was nothing compared to what this guy went through (and you really have to read the book to get the full impact of the whole thing) . It usually cheered me up then. I don't know much about Tibetan Buddhism, only that Milarepa was one of Tibets great Saints. Basically he took revenge on his relatives and village where he grew up bu learning Black Magic and killing lots of people to take revenge at his mothers urging when after his father had died relatives of theirs cheated them out of their inheritance. In the end he finds Marpa ( called Marpa the Translator) who becomes his Guru and who puts him through superhuman trials to expiate his evil Karma in this lifetime and thereby attaining Sainthood. I think that's pretty much how I remember it Chisan.


Brigitte
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Mon Jan 24, 2011 4:55 am

Brigitte, thanks for that, It sounds a great story.

Can you relate to to your life Brigitte?
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gensho



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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Mon Jan 24, 2011 3:16 pm

Well, at the risk of interrupting the flow here, I can relate the Milarepa story to my own life.
In the late 60s I was waffling between drugs, yoga, vipassana, sex, self-indulgence, rebellion, crime, liberation, on and on. Didn't go as far as Milarepa but clearly caused some bad things to happen to myself and others. My chance meeting with KR, lead to my first sesshin in may 70, and at sesshin, a divulging of lots of details about my wrong-doings. I placed lots of trust in her and she delivered on it with down-to-earth advice that got me through some difficult consequences of my actions. Saw KR again for sesshin in Dec 70 and it was then that I decided to go to Shasta Abbey; arrived in March 71.
The first two years were a personal version of those 'trials' however intended by KR. I remember in 71 constructing a garden outside of the house I stayed in with Mokurai, and KR having me tear it out when she saw it a day or two later.
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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:10 pm

Anne wrote:

Or do you see the poem, or perhaps the directive in it, as suggestive of seeking "expiation by means of pain, redemption by suffering"* ~ all that slog!? [*quoted from Jack] I'm guessing it was the former but thought I'd better check.

yes this was the point I was making but when you introduce

Anne wrote:

:-) Albert, were you drawing attention to the parallels between the imagery in Shen Hsui's poem and that "of being cleansed in fountains, the washing away of impurities"*?

I see this image of being cleansed in a fountain sharing the Shen Hsui's theme of cleansing/redemption, of washing away impurities

Anne wrote:

One might be tempted to side with the winner of the contest to get on the "right" side of things, but personally I think one needs both poems... (-;

I feel that even the inferior insight of Shen Hsui though inferior is not to be dismissed.

The real problem is the introduction of being superior into spirituality which is not a spiritual practice.

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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:29 pm

After all this time it's difficult to know the original intent of the poem. But one reason it might have been rejected is that the willful washing away of "impurities" can create its own negative mental states. We are who we are at any given moment. Trying to scrub away what we think is impure is a rejection of what is and gives substance and power the very "impurities" we seek to eliminate. Acceptance, relaxation, openness to what exists within us allows the dust and mirror to be waves in the same ocean, avoiding a fruitless struggle. The ego struggling against impurity is not the washing away of what we see as impurity that comes with acceptance, openness and relaxation
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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Mon Jan 24, 2011 7:05 pm

Chisan

Since this story is also one of Guru/Teacher devotion and one of unquestioning faith and trust I often thought of Milarepas example (during the course of my training) that I could be just a big cry baby in the Dharma and that I was "unworthy" or something like that, ( here is my Inadequacy Koan) even though my gut told me something was amiss. And thanks to

Henry

for putting it so succinctly Buddhist I want to say "I knew that", but you have a way of hitting the nail on the head.

Brigitte
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Tue Jan 25, 2011 4:14 am

Well my three friends and all holding
up a mirror for me to see,and I started
it didn't I Brigitte

Are we who we are at any given moment
or are we the given moment?

I don't read books on Zen but I have
sort of been told the Milarepa story,
maybe we are all in a Milarepa story,or
havn't our feet ever touched the
ground. I would like to share mine with you too.

I have slipped many times and I know
Milarepa too. Or so it seemed when I
was 50 to mark the event I bought a
ticket to go to Katmandu.

Ever since I was a beatnik it was the
place to go,a spiritual home. The
moment my tickets arrived,I had a phone
call from the mother of my second batch
of children,she could not cope,I would
have to have them,she had fallen into
disarray. The children came over even
though I was nor set up for long term
stay,I lived an isolated life in a beat
up area,where everyone thought I was a
red Indian .

I had to adjust my life, and as I was
doing so,the kids mum said she wanted
them back as children equaled money in
some form or another,I refused and went
to court to start a battle that went on
for 2 years, I was fighting for life as
the disarray went into the realms of
serious drug abuse and violence.

The very gentle Ikko Roshi had given me
a robe to wear, a robe to wear in the
right way, and over the next few years
I was not sure what that meant, and I
was in such touch and go scenarios
fighting for life,that it was difficult
to even see the given moment.

Despite constant denials of abuse,I won
the custody battle,but of course there
are no winners. Pieces have to be
picked up and scarred children,put back
together. Within a week the mothers new
husband was found dead with a syringe
in his arm in a seedy pub.

It seemed that no matter how bad it was
it always got worse. It also seemed
that no matter how bad it got ,I
constantly met people who told me a
worse story. People would come into our
shop or factory ,and just blurt out a
terrible tragedy , I remember walking
passed a lady in our factory who was
looking at something to buy,and I
stopped and walked back to her,and
asked if she was OK she told me her son
had just died.

This was how it was, wave after wave,
all the time I felt that Ikko Roshi
although dead was with me,I was not
doing a good job of things, it was a
constant wave of disruption. I thought
I would try and take it a bit easier as
trying so hard was not working,things
slowly improved,but the council dug up
the road outside my shop it lasted for
6 months,and I was so close to going
bust,I fought again,I bent rules to
survive,I put someone in to run the
factory, they did not turn up for work,
smoked grass, and everyone there lost
their jobs. I had to go back and pick
the whole thing off the floor.
Throughout this time Bill was dying and
so were other friends. I lost my way
many times,and constantly was picking
myself up,struggling for air let alone
direction.

The big lesson for me was endurance and
super human effort are a part of our
depths, but learning how to unfold and
wear this proper robe,in the middle of
turmoil, showed me the path to
redemption. Sometimes the wonderful
gifts we are born with mature and have
meaning when we touch the depths of our
humanity.

It is a koan we all face,how to have
deep meaning in our lives.
Circumstances can not always be helped,
but the way to our humanity is always
here. I think Rev Mein has a serious
koan to solve,whether one likes it or
not there is a divided Sanga,there are
issues to resolve, big issues,this is
nothing to do with who is right and who
is wrong,it is all to do with
redemption all of our redemption.
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Henry

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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Tue Jan 25, 2011 8:33 am

Whose hands are these
That extend into this dream?
Who dreams these worlds
Known and unknown?

Conflict is born in the mind,
And in the mind only
Can conflict cease.

Ending conflict with ideals
Is like sending one dream
Army to defeat another.

Only that which is aware of
Conflict can end conflict.
Eventually the ocean
Swallows every wave.
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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Tue Jan 25, 2011 3:00 pm

Last night I listened to a translation of an audio tape by the late (I think late-because he was born 1913-ordained 1934) Bikkhu Maha Boowa Nanasampanno of the Thai Forest tradition, on " A question concerning the Citta and Avijja", which says in essence, just as Henry says above in his poem, Conflict is born in the mind, and in the mind only can conflict cease. If anyone should be interested to listen to it. it is on their website, Luangta.com. And to Chisan, thanks for the honesty, and the courage to deal with what is right in front of you.

Bows

Brigitte

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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Tue Jan 25, 2011 6:52 pm

ps:

I just thought I'd give it a quick check, and according to Wikipedia, the Achariya Maha Boowa was born 1914 and since there is no death date he may be still alive and either ninety seven or ninety eight years old??

Brigitte
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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Wed Jan 26, 2011 12:16 am

Gensho

Regarding what you wrote above, was it a "Zen" garden that you had to undo? I once cleared the weeds from the garden in front of the house my teacher lived in as meticulously as possible, then raking some wavy patterns into the sandy walkways. She was not pleased and I had to undo the patterns. I did so, reluctantly, because it did look "nice", yet the motivation for the removal could have been, she thought it might have been "trendy" since the Zen fad was going on at the time (not sure if it is still), or she did not want to be reminded of anything Japanese, since RMJK, her master, had been given such a hard time in Japan, or just simply that I had to work on my expectations (praise?) or ego reduction. Yes, it's nice to have a kind word some time, but Zen is of the "Boot Camp" variety of Buddhism. It's often just darn hard to trust and stop speculating on motivations, period.

Brigitte
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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Wed Jan 26, 2011 7:11 am

Sometimes I think one monks spontaneous teaching method 1000 years ago for a student he had becomes past down, past down, until it is institutionalized like some sort of virtue, and those who do it by rote think they are being spontaneous. Perhaps they are, perhaps not. I just find institutionalized spontanaity (quite the oxymoron, isn't it?)a bit tiresome. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but I imagine part of the skit was to say very little, if anything, to you, other than express her displeasure, and walk away, leaving you to wonder about the meaning of the exchange. It is such unusual behavior in normal society (you don't normally associate with rude people) that you figure there must be some special meaning. In fact it is a rote routine taken out of a stale handbook. Even Hollywood has caught wind of it. I guess it's easier than interacting with a person naturally, allowing one's understanding to manifest in uncontrived interaction with others.
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gensho



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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Wed Jan 26, 2011 8:49 am

Quote :

The big lesson for me was endurance and
super human effort are a part of our
depths, but learning how to unfold and
wear this proper robe,in the middle of
turmoil, showed me the path to
redemption. Sometimes the wonderful
gifts we are born with mature and have
meaning when we touch the depths of our
humanity.

Chisan, thanks for this part of your story. As you say we redeem ourselves with our own efforts, and we have to go beyond what we imagine we are capable of.

Our best teachers prepare us for this and leave in our 'inner garden' seeds that will sprout when conditions ripen. The cultivation is beyond words and clear in our actions.

Harada Roshi has taught that we need both poems, our diligent cultivation, our insight into emptiness; then we will flourish.

Brigitte, yes a little garden inspired by a picture in a zen book. no raked sand, just the rocks that were there and the style of very short vertically planted tree limbs as a perimeter. Right now, I see the 'lesson' as don't imitate, do your own thing.
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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Fri Jan 28, 2011 2:32 am

Thanks for the personal Milarepa stories that have been sent and shared with me.
They are all so similar and inspiring,and show our determination to find relevancy ,meaning and the true way in our lives. The stories have all pointed to Zen outside the scriptures. The sincerity of so many people here on the forum ,makes it such a shame that there has been such a huge divide, but clearly very necessary too........very sad
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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Fri Jan 28, 2011 8:08 pm

Hello Chisan

This huge divide is the problem. I'm not sure that very many folks will agree with this observation but.....

I think that Shasta acts as one big sifting grate that eventually separates meditative practitioners from those with master/disciple proclivities. It hangs on to the master/disciple parts while letting the meditative aspects fall away through the grate like chaff.

The real divide is between these two Buddhist practises.
On one side are those whose primary practise is within the master/disciple relationship, with the other side being those whose primary practise is through meditation.

Those in the meditation camp speak of openness, flexibility, truth in action now and being the path.

Those within the Master/disciple camp speak of religious history, faith in ones teacher, not courting any doubt and keeping true to tradition.

The meditative gang thinks that if you see a problem then it needs to be faced it as you would your meditation.This moment is the best time to start dealing with it and we all hold some responsibility for dealing with it.

The Master/disciple camp sees the master's way as the path, deviation from this path is to disrespect the master, the compass to following this path is found in tradition, imitation of the master is the highest display of devotion and doubt is to be avoided at all costs.

I have seen people from either camp claim to hold both practises but their actions always seemed to demonstrate a dominant loyalty that always comes down on one side of the divide.

I bring this all up because I think there must be more common ground that these two groups can share than I can see right now?

My fear is that it is the intrinsic function of the Shasta Machine to create this divide. That Shasta sees this divide as the natural consequence of their spiritual high ground. That the success of their practise is maintained through this sifting process.

I don't see how this divide is fixable so long as one side truly believes that the breakdown of this divide will mean the end of what they love.

Cheers
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chisanmichaelhughes

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PostSubject: Re: Lay Ministry    Sat Jan 29, 2011 7:05 am

Thanks for joining me on this Howard.
I go along with what you say, the key point is what we really let go off.
A few months ago when I raised the Jesus issue and when other people raise their issues about Eko s behaviour,the common feel coming from the Shasta camp, was get over it, drop it etc.
The key point for me is Gensho's point about sange.
I believe that zazen,is far greater than a discipline or practice,we gradually see our true nature,the entry point to this is not being fixed about master /desiciple, rights and wrongs, it is do do with letting our minds naturally drop away.
Sange allows us to be very open,and admit that our limited minds may not be quite right,this to any degree allows us to put down our self centered filtering of life as we percieve it. To study the self is to drop the self,and be enlightened by everything.
I also believe that zazen unites us individually and collectively if this is not happening pure zazen is not being done.
I also believe that we should reach out to Rev Mein and genuinely offer an olive branch, to proceed,be friends and resolve a lot of personal issues.

As Gensho started the Sange thread I hope he joins in as I woud welcome his view,and Mark as he was the first to leave I would welcome his view ,and of course your continued view Howard,with everyone else
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