Dogen Sangha Blog

  by Gudo NISHIJIMA

Japanese / German

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Dogen Sangha (7) The Truth is just one

Reliability of teachings

When I think the reason, why I have begun Dogen Sangha Blog, it goes back to the original principle, that Buddhism exists as only one. When we think how many numbers of the Truth exist, if there were three or four Truths exist, it would be very strange. When the numbers of the Truth are 2, or 3, we should never say that they are the truth, because we should think that the Truth must be only one.
However, I think that we, human beings, ironically, have given up to get the only one truth for thousands years at least. Because, we, human beings, are fortunate to have both the excellent thinking ability and the excellent sensuous perception, and so our philosophies are prone to divide into two kinds, that is idealism and materialism. And those two kinds of philosophies are absolutely divided into the two fundamentally different bases, and so if someone believes in idealism, he can never believe in materialism, and if someone believes in materialism, he can never believe in idealism. Of course, each individual person usually does not have so clear consciousness about phylosophy, and so the situations are not so clear, but at the same time such a kind of principle, that our human philosophies are prone to divide into idealism, or materialism, and so human societies have been divided into a goups of people, who believe in idealism and who believe in materialis, and they have been fighting against each other for thousands of years at least. Therefore in such situations people are usually difficult to think that there was only one truth, and so almost all people can never believe that there is only one truth.

Gautama Buddha's teachings

However, it was a very splendid fact that in human history there was a gineus, who noticed that without throwing away the two kinds of fundamental philosophies of idealism and materialism, it was impossible for us to grasp the truth. That was Gautama Buddha. But at the same time his idea was so much difficult for many people, and so it has been understood by only very few people for about one and a half thousand of years.
But fortunately his thoughts have begun to meet with the very developed western civilization recently, and so Buddhism has begun to be understood on the basis of western logical philosophy, and such interpretation of Buddhism is going to make a very clear and understandable philosophical system of Buddhism throughout the world. Even though many people do not think so, I think that since Soeren Kierkegaard has established his existentialism at the middle of the 19th Century, the western civilization has entered into the Age of Realism. And when the western people are entering into the Age of Realism, I think that it is very useful method for human beings to utilize the four philosophies in Buddhism.
The four philosophies are the philosophy of pain (idealism), philosophy of accumulation (materialism), philosophy of self-regulation (philosophy of act), and realism itself (philosophy of morals), and the first two philosophies, idealism and materialism, are the fundamental philosophies in the western philosophical thoughts. But at the same time Buddhist thoughts request that it is not sufficient for us to have only the two intelectual philosophies, but Buddhism requests that the realistic philosophy should be realized leaving from the intellectual philosophies to enter into realism. And at that point we should notice the dimensional difference of intellectual area and real area. Therefore in Buddhism we utilize the practice of Zazen to transcend the area of intellect to enter into area of reality. And utilizing the practice of Zazen, we can make our autonomic nervous systems balanced. The autonomic nervous systems are seperated into two parts, that is, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. And the two kinds of nervous systems have opposite functions. When the sympathetic nervous system is stronger, we are prone to be spiritual, and so we are prone to be idealistic. But when the parasympathetic nervous system is stronger, we are prone to be materialistic. However, when the strength of the two contradictory nervous systems will become balanced, the contradictory functions of the two nervous systems become like plus/minus/zero. In other words idealism has vanished, and materialism has vanished. And we can experience that we are just sitting in reality. That kind of fundamental principle of Buddhim is described with the four philosophies, and so we can insist that the theory of the four philosophies are the fundamental priciple of Buddhist philosophies.
The reason, why I established Dogen Sangha, was in such a point. Reading the historical situations of human societies, I feel very strongly the necessity to solve the contradictory situations of idealism and materialism, and to establish the only one priciple of realism. And in the case of Buddhism, the solution is not only related with theory, but the Buddhist solution includes also the practical, or realistic method of Zazen. Therefore we can experience the real situation of human beings, who are living in the real world, and we can accept the philosophical system of realism in our daily life. Therefore I expect that we, human beings, will get the Age of Realism relying upon the practice of Zazen.

Examples of leaving Dogen Sangha

(1) In the case of Mr Mike Cross

In the case of Mr Mike Cross, our mutual contact has continued more than 30 years, I remember. First he came to Japan for studying Karate, but he attented to my Buddhist lecture in English, which had been continued in the Young Men's Buddhist Association of Tokyo University. He was very diligent to study Buddhism, and sometimes he studied in my house in Tokorozawa too. But several years later, he began to study Alexander Technique (AT), and he wanted to insist that AT was the same as Buddhism. The AT has been established by an actor, called Matthias Alexander from Australia, who has suffered from difficulty to speak in his life, because of his enormous efforts to speak in his vocal job. Therefore it was necessary for him to solve the difficulty of speaking in his job, he made enormous efforts to solve the problem, and he established his AT theory, which is useful to solve mental and physical difficulty. Therefore Mr Mike Cross and I have continue our discussion about the problem in every 2 or 3 days for more than 10 years, and such discussions have continued even after my blog has begun. However it is completely difficult for me to affirm the identity between AT and Buddhism, and so I decided that it is better for me to separate Buddhism from AT, and then I recommended him to leave Dogen Sangha. Therefore he is now out of Dogen Sangha, and he is still insisting his a little strange theory, even though he does not belong to Dogen Sangha.

(2) In the case of Mr Michael Luetchford

In the case of Mr Michael Luetchford, I remember that he has attended my Buddhist lecture in English in the Young Man Buddhist Asociation in Tokyo University several years later after I have begun my Buddhist lecture there. The reason, why he has begun to listen to my lecture, came from a situation that one day he visited me in my office in Ida Industry Co. to complain serious difficulty of Japanese company because of much difference between English and Japanese habits and ideas. And after that he also began to listen to my Buddhist lecture on Saturday every week.
Then because I found that he had very good ability to produce beautiful books, I established a small company called Windbell Publications, and I selected him as the manager of the company, and he has produced several beautiful books for me, therefore I feel many thanks for his efforts. At that time I couldn't pay any money for him, and at the same time I have never received any money from the company at all.
Later I felt that it is necessary for me to study Sanskrit if I continue my efforts to study Buddhism. And I have met a chance to study Sanskrit under Professor Hideki Kiyoshima in the Eastern Institute, which was established by Doctor Hajima Nakamura. And after finishing to listen to the lecture I began to read Mulamadyamaka-karika (MMK) in Sanskrit utilizing Sanskrit-English dictionaries and Sanskrit Grammar books in English. And several years later Mr Luetchford wanted to study Sanskrit together with me, and so we established a workshop for studying MMK with the wife of Mr Luetchford, Saito Taijun, and so forth. But several months later he complained that the study was too much difficult and he wanted to stop the workshop, and so I followed his opinion and I begun to continue my study of MMK alone by myself. However, several months later he asked me to attend a Summer Seminar of Sanskrit study in Princeton University for 2 months relying upon payment by Windbell Publications, and I permitted him to do so thinking his enormous efforts to produce excellent books for me. However after coming back from US, he began to translate his own translation of MMK, and wanted to publish it by Windbell Publications. Therefore I read his draft, but it was completely different from mine, and so even though I permitted him to publish it by Windbell Publications, I refused to put my name on it absolutely. And frankly speaking I had a little doubt on his personality at that time.
After that Windbell Publications has published several good books, and I have begun to think that Windbell Publications has been going to enter into the term, when the company would get its profit, but he suddenly requested me that he wanted to stop working for the company. Therefore I listened to his opinion carefully, and I supposed that he has idea that after stopping the company, he wanted to manage the job by himself personally. But I do not like to have him does so, and so I thought that it might be necessary for me to close the company. However I thought that it might be very difficult for me to solve the problem as I like, and fortunately in my students I had Mr James Cohen, who is a lawyer, I asked him to solve the problem lawfully.
After a few years later, I remember that it was in the last spring, he requested me to be a little independent from me in Dogen Sangha. And so I thought that if he wanted to be a little independent from me in Dogen Sangha, I thought that it might be much better for him to leave Dogen Sangha, and he agreed to do so, but later he asked me to come back to Dogen Sangha again. However he haven't be oermitted to come back to Dogen Sangha yet.

Purity of teachings

Only my own aim, for which I established Dogen Sangha, is to maintain the true Buddhist theory as it is exactly, and to pass it to the next generations. I have begun to study Buddhism when I was 16 years old, and I have sacrificed almost all my life for studying Buddhism. Fortunately I have met with Master Kodo Sawaki in 1940, and have begun to practice Zazen. And then I have begun to study Master Dogen's books so enormously, especially Shobogenzo, and after understanding them I had lectures at many places in Japan including Eihei-ji temple, and I have also had my Buddhist lectures abroad several times. I have wrote so many Buddhist books in Japanese and English, and so forth. I have become a Buddhist monk in Soto Sect under Master Renpo Niwa, who was the later Abbot of Eihei-ji temple. Later I began to read Mulamadyamaka-karika by Nagarjuna in Sanskrit, I found that Master Nagarjuna's Buddhist thoughts were never a kind of vague nihilism, but his Buddhist idea is just a very exact realistic philosophy like Master Dogen, which denied idealism and materialism as real entities, and insisted that Buddhism is just realism, which affirmed the real existence of this world. Therefore we can think that we, human beings, have passed through the age, when we have been wobbling about between idealism and materialism, and have entered into the gorgeous and brilliant age of realism.
Reading such a too optimistic belief, I guess that many excellently intellectual, or sensitive poeple might laugh at my so optimistic ideas like Don Quixote. Before noticing the true meaning of Buddhism, I have also had a perfect skepticism that we, human beings, did not have any ability to arrive at the ultimate truth at all. But after meeting Buddhism, I have clearly noticed the clear existence of the ultimate philosophy on the earth exactly, and relying upon the ultimate truth, it might be possible for human being to establish the new world of realism.

My reverence of the western civilization

At the same time I have a very strong reverence in the western civilization. It is said that the oldest civilization of human beings has occured in Ethiopia, Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, and so forth, and those ancient civilizations have moved very slowly to the district of the Middle and Near East. Then the civilization moved to the Clete island, and landed in Greece.
In the ancient Greece there were so excellent civilizations, it is said that the almost all civilizations in the world today have started in the ancient Greece. And the ancient Greek civilization moved to Rome. And the Roman people were excellent in martial power and lawful governance, and so the Roman Empire has spread its territory almost through the Europe, and the Greek-Roman Civilization has also spreaded through the Europe.
ABut at the end of the Roman Empire, Christianity has become popular throughout the Europe, and the Christianity was very adequate to maintain the economical condition of medieval ages, which were not so productive because of the agricultural basis. But relying upon the opening the navigation between the West and the East, the European economy has stimulated massively, and then the Europiean economical activity has been much progressed. And being backed up by such vigorous economical activities the Age of Renaissance has begun. Then the Protestantism and the modern sciences have occurred so vogorously, and so the European human civilization has entered into the very vigorous age of Capitalism. The leadership moves from Spain to France, from France to England, and from England to US.
After the world war 1, and the world war 2, we, human beings, were going to enter into the world war 3, because of the serious situations between USA and USSR. But fortunately we, human beings, were not so stupid to enter the world war 3. When I was watching the serious confrontation between USSR and USA, I thought that it might be impossible for human beings to avoide the world war 3. Therefore I felt so happy when USSR and USA stopped the world war 3. I was so joyful that human beeings were not so stupid to burn so wide area on the earth utilizing nuclear weapon foolishly.
I revere such kinds of Euro-American civilization so much, and I think such a gorgeous and excellent civilization will continue more and more as the central civilization of the world. Therefore I do never think that the Euro-American civilization will be replaced by Buddhist civilizations, but I think that if the Euro-American civilization will utilize Buddhism to revise its contradictory disunion of idealism and materialism, the excellant Ero-American civilization will enter its new Age of brilliant Realism.

The value of the Four Philosophies

And in such a case Buddhism has its especially logical methode, which is able to connect the contradictory situation of idealism and materialism with the brilliant oneness of Realism, and relying upon such a change the Euro-American civilization will naturally and logically can enter into Realism. And the Buddhist logic, which supplies a very logical and relyable theory is the Four Philosophies in Buddhism. The theory of the Four Philosophies is a bridge, which can connect the two contractory philosophies of idealism and materialism into one realism utilizing the actual exercise of Zazen.
At the same time such a kind of logical series has become to be certifided by modern scientific research. Recently, especially many American psychiatrists, and so forth, have begun to research the relations between our mental and physical conditions, have become so much identified with the situation of the authonomic nervous system. I wrote my first Buddhist book entitled "Bukkyo Daisan no Sekaikan, or Buddhism as the third worldview" in 1975, and in the book I wrote my proposition that our human mental and physical stableness had the absolutely the same relation with the balance of the autonomic nervous system. And so I have felt very happy that my proposition 31 years ago, has begun to be certified by many scientific scholars recently.
In such a meaning I think that the Buddhist theory in Dogen Sangha should be precisely the same as the newest conclusion of scientific research.

Ittsu-Ki Sha-sui, or one cup of water should be poured into another cup perfectly

In Buddhism, we have the words "Ittsu-Ki Sha-sui, or one cup of water should be poured into another cup perfectly." And the words indicate that Buddhist Master's teachings should be poured into another cup of his student perfectly without fail. I think that this rule should be maintain even in Dogen Sangha, and so each student should study his Master's teaching without any kind of difference.

82 Comments:

Blogger Mike Luetchford said...

It makes me very sad to read this selective and condensed version of the 29 years that I have worked and studied with Nishijima Roshi. Those of you who know me, know that it was not like that. Talking to him on the phone this morning it seems that he is worried that I am teaching something different from him. Those of you who know me know that is not true. For those of you who do not know me, the website of Dogen Sangha Bristol is at www.dogensangha.org.uk. I hope you will make your own judgments. It is not easy for an 86-year-old Japanese buddhist master to trust his heirs. But in the end there is only that.
Mike

11:38 PM, September 13, 2006  
Blogger PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Thank you Nishijima, for your invaluable wisdom. There is but one truth.
Our challenge is to keep it in mind
during our daily lives.
One Truth-NOW

1:36 AM, September 14, 2006  
Blogger BALLYMENA ZEN said...

One cup is poured into another.

Certainly, but afterwards this transmission does a master expect a student to "go beyond"? Or is the student always just a cup, the the curator of his teacher's museum?

Nishijima Roshi himself went beyond his teachers, for instance with his explanation of Dogen in terms of four views. Such innovation is necessary not because the immeasurable truth changes but because ideas and words can never express it.

The task of tranmitting unchanging dharma is endless.

+++++++++++++++

A nun made a statue of Buddha and covered it with gold leaf. Wherever she went she carried this golden Buddha with her.

Years passed and, still carrying her Buddha, the nun came to live in a small temple in a country where there were many Buddhas, each one with its own particular shrine.

The nun wished to burn incense before her golden Buddha. Not liking the idea of the perfume straying to the others, she devised a funnel through which the smoke would ascend only to her statue. This blackened the nose of the golden Buddha, making it especially ugly.

2:35 AM, September 14, 2006  
Blogger Gilles Rivest said...

Nishijima roshi,

The wold war III is the international antiterrorist war. The human bird cannot fly without the two wings of idealism and materialism. If we try to fix an other wing to the human bird, call it realism or an other name, the flying new-Age bird will kill itself on the GWB wall, the George W Bush of modern reality.
I don't know what your buddhist perspective has to say about that 2006 problem. Do you think with Mike Cross and Mike Luetchford, Gilles Rivest, Gudo Nishijima and all the members of Dogen sangha, we have a small chance to blow of the wall of our individual mind centered perspectives.
George W Bush is trying to convince the world he has the solution. If we don't think the way he tinks we are guilty of erroneous thinking.

Respecful salutations
both hands of materialism
and idealism
joined.

5:34 AM, September 14, 2006  
Blogger Gilles Rivest said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:34 AM, September 14, 2006  
Blogger Lone Wolf said...

Thank you Gudo Nishijima for sharing your understanding of Buddhism with the world via the internet.

8:19 AM, September 14, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Gautama Buddha spoke not of “Buddhism” but of the Dhamma. FM Alexander spoke never of “AT” but always of the Work. In my life there are not two Dhammas, and not two kinds of Work. Only pursuit of the one Truth which, when we investigate it, pervades everywhere.

So in response to the words “he wanted to insist that AT was the same as Buddhism,” I say: Fuck you, Gudo, you old bastard. Go to hell.

By what kind of effort can I manifest my original human face?
This paradox is at the heart of Master Dogen’s Zazen and at the heart of Alexander’s Work.

I come back just to this, bodily sitting in the full lotus posture and mentally sitting in the full lotus posture.

There has been no Zen Master for several hundred years who understood Master Dogen’s words that the two are not the same. Even to Gudo it sounds like a strange theory.

Master Dogen said: EKO HENSHO NO TAIHO O GAKU SU BESHI. SHINJIN JINNEN NI DATSURAKU SHITE HONRAI NO MENMOKU GENZEN SEN.
“We should learn the backward step of turning light and returning illumination. Body and mind naturally drop off and the original face appears.”

The great obstacle to guard against, in this learning, is trying to be right. I have done far too much of that.

It is in that spirit that I repeat my exhortation to Gudo: Fuck off, you meddling old goat. Go to hell.

12:01 AM, September 15, 2006  
Blogger Gilles Rivest said...

Hi Mike,
Do you have an irreversible stomach disease? You can not adhere to Gudo Nishijama philosophy of life, if you choose to. You can reject the Nishijima way of zen practice. No problem. My bulshitt detector tilt when you say "fuck off, you meddling old goat". When you write "Fuck you, Gudo, you old bastard", never forget what we feel or think are always the projections of our inner mind.

If you want talk about that or Alexander practice, you can send emails to:
gillesrivest@gmail.com

Gassho,

Gilles Rivest
Stupid zen monk

2:08 AM, September 15, 2006  
Blogger Drunken Monkey said...

Thankyou Master Gudo Nishijima for sharing your views on Buddhism.

If I were you I would delete posts created by Mike Cross. He doesn't seem to understand Buddhism at all, yet insists he is the sole bearer of the truth. He is even worse than someone who hasn't studied buddhism.

3:26 AM, September 15, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

Hello Mike,
welcome back from your retreat.

Has it brought you any benefit or peace?

For the last few weeks it has been eerily quiet without you and your flock of e-swans flapping around.

The strange thing is that I really don't know if it was better without you here.

This does not mean that I think that your approach or your words hold merit or value. Merely that they sometimes provide an accidental catalyst for others.

3:32 AM, September 15, 2006  
Blogger oxeye said...

Nishijima Sensei,

Thank you for giving us some background and information about your concerns.

I am left wondering why you did so.

11:52 PM, September 15, 2006  
Blogger Anatman said...

Mike Cross:

Wow.

I've read some of your writing in the past, and thought your teaching might have some merit.

But then you write, "Fuck off, you meddling old goat. Go to hell."

You are the living example of the fruits of the technique your teach.

This is what you consider appropriate and right action and speech after how many years of practicing Zazen and AT?

I am baffled.

I appreciate the sense of bafflement, but as a new practitioner of Zazen, I pray that your current perspective is the result of your AT practice, and not Zazen.

4:11 AM, September 16, 2006  
Blogger Drunken Monkey said...

anatman, I don't think its a result of AT nor Zazen, but the unwillingness to let go of old negative thought patterns.

Like a child who curses his parents if he doesn't get it his way, Mike Cross freely insults people because thats the only way he thinks he will get attention.

anyways.. It reminds you that any amount of meditation isn't going to make you a saint.

6:29 AM, September 16, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

When a seed in the earth grows, it grows up towards the light, and its growth is light itself.

A human being, who is also light, can learn to turn his own light, directing it upwards.

This understanding is discernible in the writings of Zen Master Dogen. It is also discernible in the writings of FM Alexander.

I have been striving to understand this, and striving to express this. That is all.

I have been striving for 25 years to understand Master Dogen’s teaching as Master Dogen’s teaching:

EKO HENSHO NO TAIHO O GAKU SUBESHI.
We should learn the backward step of turning light.

My Buddhist master, Gudo Nishijima, suspects me of having another agenda. In that case, he should have left me alone. But he did not leave me alone. From spring of last year, he bothered me with the Shobogenzo copyright problem, expressing his fear that James Cohen was out to gain control of our joint copyright. (If anybody wishes to see the email in question, I will post it on my blog.)

Now I perceive that raising the copyright issue was all part of a master-manipulator’s wider political strategy to purge Dogen Sangha of the two senior foreign students, Michael Luetchford and myself, who have fallen out of favour by showing an attitude other than blind obedience.

My response to my perception that I have been manipulated in that way, is anger. Strong anger. My anger shows you that I am not perfect. If that teaches you something, good. If it offends you that I am not perfect, then you can fuck off, too, whoever you are.

How does Michael Luetchford feel about it? He chooses not to express his emotions openly. I chose to express my anger openly, in the heat of the moment. And I stand by what I wrote.

Students of Gudo Nishijima who have never met me think that their Master’s suspicions must be true. And so, for example, James Cohen has expressed his view of his teacher, a good guy, being bothered and attacked by me and Michael Luetchford, two bad guys. Brad Warner has expressed the same view, with regard to me.

The reality is not so simple.

The Master’s blindness is sad. His students’ state of denial is doubly sad.

We should learn the backward step of turning light.

12:18 AM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Reckless said...

"A human being, who is also light, can learn to turn his own light, directing it upwards."

Lay off the bad crack.

2:43 AM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger JundoCohen said...

Dear All,

This topic presents important lessons, and a great warning for all of us.

One can practice Zazen for a lifetime, yet lose one's way at any time. Like some addict trapped anew by his addiction, like a tortured soul with inner demons she cannot escape, so for any of us. Our Zen practice is only what we do now-and-now-and-now, at this very moment.

There is a true "dark side" to our practice (not just in the movies), for the freedom we discover includes a freedom to go astray. Thus we see the role of the 'Precepts,' each of which guide us in not abusing our freedom: "Do not become angry" is perhaps the most important.

Learning to let things go is a central aspect of our practice. Learning to drop grudges and resentment is another. Learning how not to be aggressive toward other people is a third. If someone has not mastered such abilities, then they may have mastered some minor skill, but they have never mastered either the Dharma or themselves.

Another Precept is for us to seek to manifest the "Truth." But if the "truth of the universe" that one is convinced one has discovered involves aggression, inner turmoil and outer conflict, then what good is that "truth"? Please keep that truth, for it does not teach us what we need in living life.

It is said that one can learn from anyone, even from a child. I believe that deeply. But, I say, do not seek to learn an instrument from a musician who cannot hold a key, dance from a teacher blind to grace and balance. It is the same for Zazen. Maybe the best thing to learn from such teachers is what -not- to do.

None of us are perfect beings. Not even close. We all have failings, rough points, are prone to be spiteful and deceptive, sometimes hurt others. We become attached to what we want, cannot let things drop, cling and resent the deprivation. We are all prone to smallness at times. The only question in life is how we handle these human failings. Do we increase the hurt that we do to others, do we bring additional anger and conflict into the world? Or, are we forgiving, peacemakers, who leave this world better than we find it?

Here is a little Koan:

All Zen Masters are imperfect. But imperfect Zen Masters can manifest Perfect Teachings.

How? I think it is just by the Master's living gracefully amid his own and life's imperfections.

Perfection in all things, at all times, is not what matters. If you ever meet a so-called Zen teacher who claims to be a "perfected" being, run away fast (I know that Nishijima never claims such a thing). Instead, our practice is the ability to recover inner balance and outer grace at times when others are trapped by their worst tendencies. We all make mistakes, we all act badly sometimes, but many of us are imprisoned by our inner thoughts, trapped in the destructiveness of our acts and words.

If a person cannot practice in this way, then what value is the "truth" they preach on living life?

Gassho, Jundo

2:45 AM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Drunken Monkey said...

Thanks Jundo. Your post hit the spot.

In the end, it doesn't matter if you have attained enlightenment or had a trippy experience, if you don't even have the decency to live respectfully with others.

What comes around, goes around.

2:59 AM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Gilles Rivest said...

to Mike Cross:

You write "If it offend you that I am not perfect, then you can fuck off too, whoever you are". HI Mike, I am a respectful perfect stupid zen monk.

You also write "I have been striving 25 years to understand Master's Dogen teaching as Master Dogen's teaching".

I think you probably have a slow mind problem. Maybe?

You also write "EKO KENSHO NO TAIHO O GAKU SUBESHI". I like to eat sushis and drink cold pure water.

And you translate your japanese cultivate knowings by "we should learn the backward step of turning light".

Good answer Mike. If we put the "switch on", we can see our understandings are a blind understanding. We can also see why our backward steps are often a misdirection. I am not sure FM Alexander clearly see that. I know Master Dogen see what I mean.

If we put the intellectual switch off, we can see clearly, instantly, what Master Dogen mean in saying "learn the backward step of turning light".

Why take "25 years of striving to understand Master Dogen's teaching"?

If we are sage stupids, with the ego mind on "OFF" position, we can walk freely on the Master Dogen road of living zen. We dont need the AT learnings. We have to walk naturally. One step, two steps, three steps, and ..., ..., ...

All other zen teachings are bullshits. I dont know what FM Alexander will think about that. If you have the answer, I will appreciate respectfully your understandings. I dont accept bullshit.

If you say "fuck off, Gilles, stupid bastard", I will smile and replicate "Fuck, Mike will never, never understand; it's mind is too slow".

Have a good weekend Mike.

Gilles Rivest
Stupid zen monk

3:02 AM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Pete, an ordinary bloke. said...

In the six years that I have known Mike Luetchford he has taught nothing but Buddhism, always acknowledging you, Gudo Nishijima, as his teacher. It is truly sad that you have chosen to write in a public way about such a loyal student?

When I did Alexander work on the zafu with Mike Cross he showed me how to sit. It was truly remarkable. If ever Mike Cross offers to do Alexander work with you Gudo take the opportunity. What do you have to loose?

5:06 AM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Pierre Turlur said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:56 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Pierre Turlur said...

Dear Nishijima roshi,

Mike Luetchford and Mike Cross, are very different people and also different from you. They are, in their own way, expressing Buddha’s truth. It is sadness to see my grandfather in the Dharma treating his own heirs as if they were badly behaved kids. They are not.

Dogen Sangha is a very respectable project. I have a question though, do leaves and trees belong to Dogen Sangha? Are mountains and rivers and tiles part of your community? Can you exclude a single blade of grass? Can you say to a speck of dust: “I don’t accept you”?
Your teacher master Niwa wrote once the following sentence which I happen to have on a kakejiku: you cannot live out of It. This is why I sit, because I cannot live out of It. Neither you nor Mike can exclude me. Nobody is in fact ever excluded. To say so is but…I let you figure it out.

4:59 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

mikecross:
Have you considered just not striving? You always seem to write of Buddhism and AT as a struggle, as something you fight for, as something you believe in, as something that you invest huge amounts of energy in.

The result of all this seems to be the same as a stick in a wasps nest - lots of noise and colour but nothing of benefit.

Pierre praises you for your AT skills. Given the complexity of that relationship it suggests to me that you have something of benefit there.

Why not just give up, let go, relax?

jundo:
A useful reminder.

dogen sangha:
I'm not sure what benefit all this bitch-slapping serves.

If ML is not teaching 'pure' Buddhism or 'pure' Gudo Nishijima's Buddhism then people will be able to see that for themselves.

I think Buddhist students are a bit more savvy in spotting 'good' and 'false' teachers than perhaps all would like to credit.

5:41 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger bushido said...

Very sad to read those posts..About Master Nishijima's students.

I thought that everything was impermenance in Dogen's Buddhisme. So Why we cant accept any evolution of Dogens Buddhisme for westerners.? As luetchford seems to do?
I guess humbly for me It doesnt mean to RE-Invent Dogen's teaching but make it may be more understandable for Europeans. By the way, some teachers talking now about Western ZEN may be in opposition to Eastern ZEN?
Could we or Should we accept the impermenance even in Budhisme?

6:39 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:25 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Reckless said...

Mike Cross, I would suggest you talk over your problems with a psychiatrist.

I don't think any of us can help you with your issues.

8:02 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Jundo Cohen is a phoney who does not know Master Dogen's teaching at all. The precept not to become angry in Master Dogen's case is not the same as in the case of an intellectual person who attaches to the idea that he is on the right side. For example, look at the conclusion of the chapter Bussho, The Buddha-Nature.

Master Dogen's most important rule is only one: to practice Zazen, being free from the will to fame and profit. In Jundo's attitude there is a gap. The separation is like that between heaven and earth. Jundo is not expressing the truth at all.

What Gilles Rivest expresses is not the whole truth. Yes, learning the backward step includes taking a rest from intellectual effort. But turning light is not only that. Not only turning off the intellectual switch, Gilles, but turning on another switch. Not only letting the water flow downstream, Gilles, but making it into a kind of fountain. If you don’t understand, you should visit me, following the example of my student Pierre Turlur, and Michael Luetchford’s student, the ordinary bloke called Pete. I cannot promise to show you, but I will do my best.

What the ordinary bloke called Pete wrote is true. Alexander work has been demonstrated to us to be a wonderful tool, albeit one that is difficult to master, and impossible to describe satisfactorily in words. Both Pete and I have found from our experience that Alexander work points towards the true meaning of Zazen, and we are bearing witness to that fact. Pierre Turlur is also like that.

Gudo Nishijima’s words about me that “he began to study Alexander Technique (AT), and he wanted to insist that AT was the same as Buddhism” are a vicious misrepresentation of the truth. Nishijima’s ego could not accept the fact that I was not satisfied with his approach to postural re-education in Zazen, and so I left Japan 12 years ago and went to England to investigate a different approach to postural re-education in Zazen, that is, Alexander’s approach. Unable to accept the reality, Nishijima’s ego constructed an illusion, that is, Mike Cross the enemy of true Buddhism, the non-Buddhist who wants to identify Buddhism with something other than Buddhism. Brad Warner, James Cohen, and others, bought into that illusion. Nishijima and others (including, sadly Michael Luetchford also) acted on the basis of Nishijima’s illusion.

My true position is this. The Alexander Technique is a tool. It is a wonderful and valuable tool. It really works. As Buddhists, we can investigate how we can make this tool useful to aid our understanding of what the Buddha taught, in the same way that, for example, Gudo Nishijima and the Dalai Lama have endeavored to embrace modern scientific method as a tool to promote understanding of the true Dharma.

This is my position. My position is not what Gudo Nishijima has written on this post. Therefore I demand that you retract your false statement, here and now. You lying old bastard.

10:09 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger JundoCohen said...

Hello Pierre,

Still in Kyoto? I will be back in Japan in mid-December. Maybe I will wander down your way.

About your post ...

I have a question though, do leaves and trees belong to Dogen Sangha? Are mountains and rivers and tiles part of your community? Can you exclude a single blade of grass? Can you say to a speck of dust: “I don’t accept you”?

No, nothing is rejected. And the universe contains all things, including thorny weeds, mosquitoes, rabid dogs and angry people. The Sangha of All Reality holds all of that, without the slightest gap.

However ...

Fuck you, Gudo, you old bastard. Go to hell ... Fuck off, you meddling old goat ... You lying old bastard.

A Sangha, in another meaning, is but a collection of people, a small society, no different from the society in which we live. Every temple in the world has Vinaya rules instructing Buddhist monks how to act as a community. All through history, monks have lost the way, upset the community through their anger and aggression, or excesses and dishonesty, and been shown the door. Monks with personal, personality or medical problems beyond the cure of Zazen have been encouraged to seek other treatments. Thorny weeds must be pulled from the garden, rabid dogs removed from the city streets.

It is not a matter of doctrine or of imposing some ideological conformity (the universe, and Buddhism, has room for many variations on the same musical theme). It is not a matter of Buddhism changing as it comes to the West (there is no greater supporter of that idea as Nishijima, who always tells us to find our own voice, not his). It is a simple matter of decency in behavior toward each other, of someone who has become mean and abusive. Simple as that. As far as I am concerned, someone may have discovered the most wonderful truth about how to place his backside on a Zafu or the supposed meaning of Dogen's "Flowers in the Sky," but if that path leads the person to act with cruelty, then of what value is his discovery and teachings? A lesson about how to drive the road of life, but which manifests in the teacher's constant road rage, is likely just plain wrong.

(Let me add that I am commenting simply on the situation with your fellow to whom you show such protective loyalty, and pointedly not with regard to anyone or anything else. Every situation is unique, has a long and complex history. Many things go into it known only to the people involved. Even if you and I feel differently about another outcome or persons (as, personally, I do), it is a matter between the principal people involved, has its own story about what has happened between them. I personally hope that the other situation is resolved for the best. But, it is very different from what is going on -in the present- at our Oryoki meal, with your someone who lacks basic table manners and throws his bowls at others)

Gassho, Jundo

11:05 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Gilles Rivest said...

To Pete:

First, respecful salutations.

On the zafu, I never practice yoga, the AT Alexander technique, kendo or aikido. I don't practice new age bullshit. I need nobody for to learn how to "sit". I simply put my ass on the zafu. Did Master Dogen essentially said something else in his writngs? If my ass or my deep self is tense, I check my mind posture. My Deshimaru's kyosaku is in the toilet room, just in case I have a real constipation problem.

And my respiration is free again, instantly, believe me Pete, when I think of the therapeutic help of the kyosaku, and no charge for the help specialist doctor.

Have a good day Pete,

Stupid zen monk

11:06 PM, September 17, 2006  
Blogger Gilles Rivest said...

He Mike,

Gudo Nishijama is not a "lying old bastard".

Your Alexander colored lenses can see presently only "bastards". Maybe if you want to see the reality of the visual problem, you must throw your Alexander lenses in the garbage? Maybe a cleaning process is sufficiant?

I will ask to my personal optometrist if he thinks the problem is in the lenses or
in your organ of visual perception.

Gilles Rivest

Stupid zen monk

12:13 AM, September 18, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

The inflated ego of a small vain man turned him into a liar and revealed me to be a foul-mouthed Zen bastard.

To hell with you, Gudo, you vain bag of shit.

That I was attracted before such a mirror, says what about me?

And yet, even a vain bag of shit, by devoting itself to daily investigation of Fukan-zazen-gi, can experience the body and mind of a vain bag of shit, dropping off.

And now, when I investigate it, the persona of a foul-mouthed Zen bastard suits me quite nicely.

Perhaps instead of insulting the old man, I should really thank him for leading me to this realization? No, fuck him. Fuck you, too Gilles. What do you know about it? In the old man's view he translated Shobogenzo and I just revised the English. That's how he sees it and that's what he says. But he is lying, to himself and to others. What do you know about it? Pretentious French twat. Fuck you. Fuck the lot of you. Bunch of know-alls giving your useless Zen opinions on the basis of no real knowledge. Fuck the lot of you.

Just now in Zazen I remembered how, when I was struggling in Japan with the Shobogenzo translation, I used to encourage myself with a simple four-phased slogan:

JUST FUCKING DO IT.

That sums up my practice quite nicely. If you don’t like it, fuck off and leave me alone, whoever you are.

2:50 AM, September 18, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

"That sums up my practice quite nicely. If you don’t like it, fuck off and leave me alone, whoever you are. "

You choose to post on here on a public blog instead of talking to Gudo Nishijima privately. You consistently choose to do this.

You choose to write in a way that is provocative and insulting.

For someone who wishes to be left alone these are all odd decisions.

I have spent some time with my 3-year-old nephew today and he currently seeks attention by shouting at people and 'accidentally' dropping things.

His behaviour is at least more honest. He knows he is trying to draw attention to himself (and away from his new brother) and there is no self-delusion or sophistication in it.

3:57 AM, September 18, 2006  
Blogger Drunken Monkey said...

What a loser.

6:28 AM, September 18, 2006  
Blogger Gilles Rivest said...

To Mike Cross:

If you can practice the bushido way of life, we will see the miror will reflect an ego with no head. It is a funny image. A no head zen monk walking nowhere. Who is walking nowhere? Mike Cross or the Mike Cross's ego?

Be careful Mike. The next blow is coming. But with no head, who can see the wind's blowing from the west?

Did you see the ferocius paper sheep singing somewhere in the desert?

Did you see the zen monk who has got his (just) deserts?

Gilles,
your "fucking" stupid zen monk.

The samouraï"s battle is not for pious zen monks. Only buddhas can assist to the battle with a compassion laughs.

6:35 AM, September 18, 2006  
Blogger Pete, an ordinary bloke. said...

Gilles, I do not wish to enter into a fruitless and poisonous dialogue with you. I choose to learn Buddhism face to face from people I know and trust. Therefore I attend Mike Luetchford’s retreats and listen to and consider what he has to say. I usually grasp the wrong end of the stick but I trust Mike Luetchford. I will repeat that. I trust Mike Luetchford. If I did not trust him I would not attend his retreats. In my comment I said that I was sad that Gudo Nishijima chose to write in such a public way about a loyal student of his. That was the point I wished to make. As Gudo Nishijima also mentioned Mike Cross in his post I thought it relevant to relate an actual (real) experience of mine (the hands on teaching of Mike Cross) which I found to be truly remarkable. I do not have the words to describe this teaching of HOW to sit because it was an experience. Perhaps Gilles you have passed beyond the learning stage. I have not. Not being a scholar or monk I will not pretend to know all that Master Dogen wrote about zazen or for that matter what he wrote about the kyosaku.
Nishijima Roshi, as an expert on Master Dogen’s teaching, could you tell us what did Master Dogen have to say about the kyosaku?
Pete

8:44 AM, September 18, 2006  
Blogger Gilles Rivest said...

Pete, not knowing personally Mike Luetchford, your zen educator, I have nothing to say, objectively speaking.

I like your image of the two ends of the stick. There is no "wrong" end, like you say. You cling trustfully and loyal attitude to one end of the stick and your zen educator clutch at the other end.
If Mike and you have the right grip and respecful zen attitude, you can integrate what you think is good for deep understanding.

Have a good zen road Pete. Have good zen educator road Mike.

Gilles Rivest,
bloody stupid zen educator
at Vaudreuil Zen Center.

Listen together respectfully what Nishijima Roshi has to say about kyosaku.

10:56 AM, September 18, 2006  
Blogger Troof said...

From the way some people act even after practicing zazen for many years, I can say that zen has no benefit.

In the case of Mike Cross, it seems that zen has caused him great pain and suffering.

This is not Buddhas teaching.
I hope you people can see this.

6:37 PM, September 18, 2006  
Blogger JundoCohen said...

Dear Troof,

From the way some people act even after practicing zazen for many years, I can say that zen has no benefit.

I would say that, from the way some people act for years and years, Zazen or no, people are just people. However, from the way most people act after their years of practicing Zazen, it is obviously a beneficial practice for those people who stick with it. Almost anything in life usually good for us (or just good) ... spinach, vitamins, oxygen, lollypops ... is harmful if used wrongly or obsessively.

Also, for Gilles and Ordinary Bloke, if I may point you to something Nishijima Roshi once said about the Kyosaku (he is a bit busy these days, so not sure if he will respond quickly. I take the liberty. Unfortunately it is in Italian, but the basic point is this):

http://membres.lycos.fr/zenmontpellier/BuddhZaz.html

One reason he said, is that it creates unecessary fear and stress in the person at a Retreat or just sitting Zazen. Roshi thinks that this is totally mistaken. Zazen is not something to fear. Although it is now widely used in Zen temples, he never uses it.

Another reason is that Master Dogen does not mention it in any of his writings, despite Dogen's meticulous descriptions of most other traditions and aspects of practice. If he had approved of its use, he would have written of its purpose, describing in detail its form and the way to use it. Because there is nothing of the sort in his essays, Nishijima Roshi believes that Dogen did not use the Kyosaku, and that the use began later.

But perhaps the main reason against the use of the Kyosaku is that it disturbs our practice. Nishijima Roshi says that it is essential that we each individually take responsibility for our own posture during Zazen, at least as much as possible. Depending on an authority figure in the Dojo is of little value. We must make our own practice for ourselves in the Zendo. Our personal task is to make sure that we are seated right.

Anyway, I hope he will correct me if I made a mistatement.

Gassho, Jundo

7:40 PM, September 18, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:06 PM, September 19, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

The act of sitting in the full lotus posture is the Buddha-Dharma and is the King of Samadhi.

Samadhi is the criterion. What is samadhi? It is a condition of balance/integration of the whole self, centred on a spine that is stretching itself, from within. Pursuit of samadhi is the Buddha’s way.

To try to be right, to live in fear of being wrong, is not the Buddha’s way. But people who have this attitude deeply ingrained in them--e.g. the likes of Cohen born into Jewish families, the likes of Leutchford and Cross, born into Christian families, the likes of Nishijima, a boy of very small stature, even for a Japanese--are prone to bring this attitude to their Buddhist pursuit of samadhi.

It is in this context that words such as “fuck off,” “fuck him,” “fuck you,” and “fuck that,” can have real and valuable meaning even in Zazen itself. In short, in pursuit of samadhi we should dare to negate idealism strongly.

For example, Jundo Jimbo Jumbo Dumbo writes above: “Our personal task is to make sure that we are seated right.” My response is this: You, Cohen, haven’t understood anything. You have only heard Gudo’s words that Buddhism is not idealism. You are a voice-hearer, a sravaka, not a bodhisattva, not a buddha.

For more than half a century before I was born, there had already existed in my country, England, a very wonderful tool for pursuing samadhi. Even though it should not be insulted with the name “technique,” it has come to be known as “the FM Alexander Technique” or AT for short.

What has thus come to be known as AT can be used as a tool to clarify the Buddha’s original criterion.

Gudo Nishijima wrote on this post that I wanted to insist that AT is the same as Buddhism. His small man’s ego has thus caused him, in this instance as in other instances, to deny reality and to tell a lie. Buddhism is the act of just sitting in the full lotus posture. AT is a tool that can be used for clarifying the criterion of this practice -- as well as for many other purposes.

A spade is a tool that can be used for digging out a jewel. To criticize a person who proclaims the value of a spade, saying “he wants to insist that a spade is a jewel,” is not the act of a true person.

My egoistic agenda is the desire to be recognized (or loved, admired, venerated et cetera) as the first one who understood the true value of AT as a tool for getting to the true criterion of Buddhist practice. So if people wish to criticize me for having an egoistic agenda, please don’t miss the target.

5:08 PM, September 19, 2006  
Blogger Reckless said...

"So if people wish to criticize me for having an egoistic agenda, please don’t miss the target."

Thats the thing Mr Cross. You have mistaken a rock for a jewel and claimed it to be a jewel.

You have not seen nor attained the truth.
Its very obvious to someone who reads your ill willed posts.

9:50 PM, September 19, 2006  
Blogger gniz said...

Once again, how did all of this bitching start?
Gudo Nishijima wrote extremely personal information about his students on an effing internet message board!
Dharma master????
My ten year old brother knows better.
Zen masters? How about just plain idiots.
I'll call a spade a spade.
What a joke.
I've never seen such a pissing contest in all my life.
And yet, I enjoy it. So does everyone else which is why there are 8 zillion comments to this blog.
Even Zennies love a bitchfest!!

Go get em Mike!

BTW, as crazy as Mike Cross is, in some way i find his perverse honesty refreshing. Now watch as Brad goes to his teacher's defense. Now watch the soap opera continue.
Jesus, its not THAT hard to get along with people in your life.

g

11:31 PM, September 19, 2006  
Blogger docretro said...

Though Mike's posts really lack courtesy towards his old teacher (both for being old and for the teaching-position he once tenured) you just have to admit that he really has the better argumentation.

Spoken words aren't that easily taken back. The pope faces quite similar problems at the moment. No one can expect Nishijima Gudo to correct himself. You wouldn't demand this of any old person. You wouldn't demand it of your grandfather. And you shouldn't demant it of an old japanese Zen-Master either.

I dont't think Mike Cross is insane, like some people entitle him in here. I guess you have to read his posts with a certain irony in mind. In fact I find the whole bashing-one-another-thing going on here quite hilarious.
I also can't tell if he is wrong or right, proposing AT as a good tool for practising Buddhism, as I dont't have enough insight in buddhist matters to judge this. But one could say this about most of the people argueing in here - they aren't in the position either.

The whole thing is a problem between Nishijima and his students. They should leave us alone with it. And we, the audience, should not meddle, too. So: "Fuckin' stop pouring gasoline in the bloody fire, will ya?"

2:06 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Gilles Rivest said...

To Mike Cross:

If "buddhism", you say, is just the act of sitting in the full lotus posture", can I ask you, Mike, are you a buddhist"?

If so, if your answer is sincerly YES, it's ok. "Just sit in the full lotus posture". Please shut-up. If your desire is to put your "egoistic agenda" in the garbage, I'll pick- up everything with a garbage truck. Did I need the big one blue truck? Tell me. Mike, how many trips I need for a good cleansing job?

If your desire is to persevere with your "egoisitic agenda", it's OK too. Build a strong sangha with the objective to understand the "true value of AT as a tool for getting to the true citeriom of buddhist practice".

Go for it, Mike. Good luck.

Me, Gilles Rivest, stupid zen monk, hope I have no consciously or unconsciously "egoistic agenda". I only practice "just sitting".

I can't practice zazen (after 35 years of daily practice, believe it or not) "in the full lotus posture".

My body posture is not perfect, I know that.

For zazen time, I just sit my ass, and my mind, and my ego, on the lotus buddha nature of the zafu.

If my ego tell me it has very important messages for me, I smile and say you can only talk to me after the zazen period. After zazen, it's ok. After the zazen period my ego is never in the dojo. My ego is probably running after an AT practitioner. He is looking for the perfect posture?

I hope my double-self ego is not running after ET, the new "new-age and progressive" commercial Zen master. That "funny guy" distribute business cards before the zazen periods. I tell to the members of the Vaudreuilsmall dojo Zen Center, ask to the new Zen master what is his "egoistic agenda". Don't forget to bring with you the bullshit detector and you will know if the new-age teachings of the business cards Zen master are buddhist teaching.

2:44 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Reckless said...

Gniz, you don't even understand one tenth of what is going on, so I would shut up if I were you.
It was not an attack, as you so plainly put it. Far from it, buttface.

3:10 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger gniz said...

Reckless,

You say i dont even understand 1/10th of what is going on.
Well, Mister "I'm in the know", tell me what info I am lacking.

All I stated was that I think anyone who posts personal and inflammatory material about their little dojo wars (which is what Gudo, Brad and Mike et al have done), deserves what they get.
Its called Karma baby!!
Thats why i leave my life at home and dont post stupid shit about problems i have with my friends, family or coworkers on the effing internet!
Do I really need to know 9/10ths of the info or 10/10ths to realize that naming names and calling people out on the web leads nowhere?? You sir, are a fool.



g

4:33 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger gniz said...

Just to clarify my points, lets take them one at a time.
1) I am an internet troll. That means i spend some of my time looking around finding ways to stir up controversy and enjoy it when i find it.
2) I dont stir up controversy in my personal life with my real life friends, family and business associates.
3) I am not stupid enough to write about people I care about, (including full names and situations). Why would i subject people i love to that-- that is not the business of the general public.

But there are always fools who will make excuses for the gods they worship. People who worship GW Bush find excuses for him and people who worship Gudo or Brad or the Dali Lama or Andrew Cohen will find excuses for their idiocy.
But before you bash me for being a troll and making noise about stuff i dont know, remember that i never wrote about the people in my life who I care about and put it on the internet for public consumption.
When i do that, feel free to call me an idiot.

g

5:09 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger JustKeith said...

I have to say that both Brad's and Nishijima's blogs are getting pretty weird and actually kind of irrelevant to me and my Zen practice. I began reading both blogs because in both their work I found a no BS, down-to-earth Buddhism with which I connected. I hoped to learn more, and I did. However, I now have to admit that it's become too voyeuristic, like not wanting to turn away from a car wreck. I am frankly tired of doing this. This has nothing to do with my needing Zen masters to be perfect or my having to agree with everything they say. My teacher isn’t perfect and even though Hardcore Zen is one of my favorite books, I don’t give a rat’s ass about punk rock or monster movies. But, I am no longer learning anything from these blogs except how silly people are. And I knew that before I came here.

I sincerely wish you all peace and tenacity in your practice.

5:10 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger ConElPico said...

ah, so it goes.

5:28 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Drunken Monkey said...

Alot of people don't realise this is GUDOS NISHIJIMAS BLOG. He posts articles on buddhism, but he also posts personal information such as his last article. To try and flame him for posting his opinions, is like breaking the doors of a dojo and telling the karate master that he is doing it all wrong.

If you have a problem with the way Gudo Nishijima writes, then its your problem, not his. Go and write your own friggin blogs and stop flaming the opinions and thoughts of others.

Get a life, people.

6:26 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger docretro said...

@Drunken Monkey:
Weblogs don't run by dojo-rules. Even the most illuminated spirit has to accept this .. or should disable the commentary option (or use moderation-features and such alike).

6:34 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger JundoCohen said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:46 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger JundoCohen said...

Somehow, when I sit for a moment, all is right. All the tension and conflict gone gone gone.

Nothing to fight about, nothing to change, nothing to expect, no arguing, nothing to demand.

Everybody 'just sit your sit.'

Leave the rest to be.

Gassho, J

6:48 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger gniz said...

God damn but some people lack critical thinking.
Question: Why do you think Brad posts the stuff he posts? Notice that Brad's blog has become more and more critical and caustic of his audience as time goes on.
Possible answer: He doesnt have much new to say about Zen, and yet he wants an audience and so continues to write things that upset people.

What about Gudo? Well, maybe he's getting older and feeling left out of the world, maybe he wants to have his opinions matter.

Either way, they invite people like me to comment on their stuff because they apparently NEED to do it. They need the attention and feel like they are contributing to the world or something.

As for me, I come here because it is entertaining and i like a good soap opera. I dont have to come here to learn, as some of you supposedly do. I dont come here to kneel at Gudos feet and frankly, i dont give a fuck that the dude is old. What does that have to do with anything?
Old or young, it means nothing to me.
But y'all lack critical thinking. You cant even see the hypocrisy inherent in much of what Brad and Gudo say on one hand and then do on the other.
Whatever. It all just make me laugh.
Bunch of zennies running around worrying about a freaking blog, trying to make something different than what it is.
Okay lets look at reality then.
This bullshit is it...and its here for a reason. Believe me, friends, this blog and brad's blog could look a whole lot different.
And just a hint: its not because everyone else is stupid and Brad and Gudo are enlightened.

g

6:58 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Drunken Monkey said...

Stop spamming, gniz.
Its a waste of energy on your part.

7:06 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger gniz said...

I am having a bad day so i am blowing off some steam...better than punching a pillow.
probably i need to go exercise

i still think these dudes are morons, but most days i dont bother to write about it.

7:18 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Drunken Monkey said...

What about zazen? That usually cools me down when Im a little rattled.

7:23 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Anatman said...

Seems to me to be a matter of normal people, involved in normal relationships, including the normal bickering, betrayals, grudges, and hurt feelings. Like any soap opera, from ancient Greek plays to the reality show, "Survivor."

Seems people are people, after all.

9:35 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger gniz said...

Anatman said:
"Seems to me to be a matter of normal people, involved in normal relationships, including the normal bickering, betrayals, grudges, and hurt feelings."

Good point and as has been said 8 zillion times, Zen Masters are people too. I still question the level of absurdity here.
If these Zen Masters cannot even show good judgment in keeping their petty in-fighting off the internet, tell me what they really offer.
I think not very much.
I'd rather take advice from someone who is humble, sincere, honest, and maybe doesnt tell me they know the truth or the true reality, but still knows not to put private shit up on the net.

g

10:46 AM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:48 PM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

gniz:
Troll or not it is never sensible to project and second-guess why people come here.

Even the title of 'Troll' over-sells. I tend to see more of a pram with toys that can be thrown.

For me the measure of a persons 'zen' is not whether they can pretzel their legs or whether they can write beautiful spiritual prose or whether they can sit on a cushion for 7 days or run a zendo or a blog or whether they claim divin knowledge of the SBZ or any of the other things that people class as important or spiritual. It's all just fluff that can be faked.

I am much more interested in that which cannot be faked.

How does a person behave when they lie dying in a car crash or in a hospital ward?

How do they behave at work when the boss is shouting?

How do they behave when stuck in traffic?

How do they live their life when no-one is looking?

Words like Integrity, authenticity, simplicity, honesty, generosity, compassion, love.

These are the words that I would hope to see describe someone's everyday life.

When I look at the teachings of any particular teacher (for example in the martial arts) I don't look so much at the teacher but at the students. The students are often a much better guide to the character of the teacaher.

So, the real learning for me about Gudo Nishijima's teachings comes not from what he rights here but in the interactions that we see between all of the different Sangha memembers (I am not part of DS and expect it to stay that way).

It seems to me to be unusually animated and vitriolic.

The saddest thing in all that I see written in the DS is the lack of directness in much that is written. A steel fist in a velvet glove hurts no less.

When people are indirect it can be because they wish to pretend to themselves that they are saying things less harsh than they are actually saying or wish to claim another as their authority for saying so.

When Mike Cross was away both this blog and Brad's blog were calm waters but it had a sense of falseness about the calm - the elephant in the room was sleeping.

When Mike Cross was back from his retreat (with no less venom) then normal business resumed and all the old wounds were scratched.

In a bizarre way their is some integrity to Mike Cross's behaviour. He carries his old wounds openly and cries when he scratches them. He craves attention and thrives on it. He wants to be venerated for his attempts to integrate AT with Buddhism and is consistent in this. He deludes himself sometimes as to what motivates him but often that delusion is a matter of convenience. He seems often more aware of his own motivation than many who write here.

That does not mean that I agree with anything that he says or believe that he has some great knowledge. From my own analyis of AT I think it might have some benefit to bring to people but the benefit is in the realm of stabiliser wheels on a bike. It get's you going in the right direction but should be cast of further down the line.

[That's a long response to a troll rant...]

4:13 PM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

What is supremely valuable in Buddhism is just to sit in the full lotus posture -- like Buddha sitting like Buddha. In other words, bodily to sit; mentally to sit; dropping off body and mind, to sit.

This is not Alexander's teaching. This is the Buddha's teaching. This is Master Dogen's teaching, which should be compared not to a rock but to a jewel.

Without Alexander work I could not understand Master Dogen's statement that there is mental sitting that is different from physical sitting. Other than me, for the past several hundred years, who has understood this statement?

If you ask Gudo what Master Dogen meant, he will give you his usual crap about the autonomic nervous system. Because he has never understood this statement (from chapter 72. Zanmai-O Zanmai).

The comment I deleted doesn't belong here, so I posted it on my blog.

What belongs here is a question to Gudo.

Over 25 years I have asked Gudo thousands and tens of thousands of questions. He has never begrudged me an answer. So let this be my last question:

When Master Dogen wrote that there is mental sitting that is different from physical sitting, what did he mean?
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.

It was a rhetorical question. Because I know that Gudo cannot manifest the answer, not with his words, not with his hands, and not with his eyes.

4:50 PM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger JundoCohen said...

Hi MikeDoe,

Thanks for a really nice comment, and I think it is right on the money ...

How do they live their life when no-one is looking?

Words like Integrity, authenticity, simplicity, honesty, generosity, compassion, love.

These are the words that I would hope to see describe someone's everyday life.


I actually cut and pasted that out and will keep it.

The only place I might depart from what you wrote is this: Most of us are getting along fine in the Sangha, among each other, like and respect Nishijima and ... most importantly, are fine with ourselves. Perhaps it doesn't make for as much excitement or scintillating blogging, but the calm for most of us does not ring false. A few storming clouds do not obstruct the blue sky, a couple of sour grapes in the bunch and all that.

Anyway, just wanted to say that.

As I mentioned a couple of times, I myself will have a Zendo on the WWW for people who cannot commute to a Sangha easily (the elderly, people in remote areas, etc.). There will be a blog and chat area.

www.treeleaf.org

I can say right now that it will be run like a true Sangha and Zendo: only sincere practitioners need stay, only sincere practice coupled with respect for and proper decorum toward all fellow members will be tolerated. Others will be told to leave. (It is necessary in order to make any Dojo, Zendo etc. a proper and welcoming place of practice for its members.).

Although we teach freedom, Zen temples have strict rules and strict practice. The rules help us live and practice together. As well, the rules also help us learn inner freedom amid outer restriction. If someone is sincere in his or her practice and understands the reasons for this, they will be most welcome.

Peace, Jundo

5:14 PM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger bushido said...

I am getting tired to read lot of garbage language and ideas in commentaries ;
This is Nishijima Sensei's blog (this is my understanding) and he is talking about his buddhisme, his life, his teachings.
If somebody isnt agree , its easy for him to create a blog and say, write whatever he wants to say, write... If somebody has a perfect Buddhist technique and zazen, he just can do it in his own weblog et zendo..
But please stop spamming this blog with your egoistic "teaching about budhisme" .Even someone who practise during 40 years can be still stupid and understanding nothing about Buddhisme. i dont thing that the duration gives you any legitimation to critisize Masters past and present.
Here and now Shikantaza and practise; sit on your ego put it under your zafu before giving lessons to others.
franck

5:41 PM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

Thank you Jundo:

"Most of us are getting along fine in the Sangha, among each other, like and respect Nishijima and .."

With this aas your comment I'd like to refer back to this:

"Somehow, when I sit for a moment, all is right. All the tension and conflict gone gone gone.

Nothing to fight about, nothing to change, nothing to expect, no arguing, nothing to demand."


I wonder if there is a difference between what you experience on the cushion and in everyday life.

If there is, is it because when you get up from the cushion you mentally leave the cushion behind and then carry on with your 'normal' life?

6:14 PM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Franck:

SHIKANTAZA does not mean "sit on your ego put it under your zafu."

SHIKAN means just, soley.

TA means to strike. It expresses concrete action. None of your Bushido bullshit. Action itself.

ZA means to sit.

SHIKANTAZA means just to sit.

SHIKANTAZA is BUTSUDO, the Buddha's way. It is not BUSHIDO. BUTSUDO is one BUTSUDO, not BUSHIDO.

Just to sit doesn't mean to do a big physical performance, as per a Nike advert. When a buddha sits like Buddha sitting like Buddha, wanting nothing that is not there, that is SHIKANTAZA.

It is like a dragon finding water, like a tiger before its mountain stronghold.

You write of SHIKANTAZA as if you know what it means. Probably you read about it in one of Deshimaru's books -- jam your spine up straight and call it "MUSHOTOKU"? Right Franck?

You should learn that when a spine stretches itself,that is MUSHOTOKU. Forcing your spine straight is not MUSHOTOKU. You haven't understood true SHIKANTAZA, Franck. You give yourself airs of knowing, but you don't know. You are a typical example of the pretentious French twat.

8:23 PM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Cohen's idea to have a WWW Zendo is too ridiculous for words.

From the internet you can learn information about Zazen itself, and about Zazen teachers. But the most important matter in Zazen practice is to meet face-to-face with a true teacher.

You might be able to get a lot of information about Zazen from Cohen's website. But true knowledge of Zazen -- I don't think so.

Cohen is a sravaka, a voice-hearer. In short, a thorough pain in the arse.

8:42 PM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger JundoCohen said...

Hi MikeDoe,

I wonder if there is a difference between what you experience on the cushion and in everyday life.

If there is, is it because when you get up from the cushion you mentally leave the cushion behind and then carry on with your 'normal' life?


I think that, for all of us who practice diligently, we come to never leave the cushion. So, for example, when I get up physically from the cushion and run into a difficult situation (in your examples, at work with an angry boss, stuck in traffic ... I haven't tried my deathbed yet, but I will let you know) it is all Zazen. None of it is experienced the same as I experienced those things in years past, before I began to practice. So, it can all feel like I wrote ...

Nothing to fight about, nothing to change, nothing to expect, no arguing, nothing to demand.

(By the way, I am not saying anything earthshaking, and anyone who has been practicing for awhile knows this). What is more, and as I once said to you, I am not going to claim that everyday and moment is one of perfect balance. Not everything is a rose garden, and not every single moment is handled with (as you wrote)...

Integrity, authenticity, simplicity, honesty, generosity, compassion, love.

But more and more are, maybe most things on life's obstacle course.
Even the best archer does not hit the target every time. But, the more we master our art, the more it becomes part of our life naturally.

Gassho, Jundo

PS- I did not mean my last post to be a criticism of how Nishijima handles his Blog. We have all asked him about this several times. He just believes in letting the chaos happen, hiding nothing, letting people say what they want to say, not trying to pretty up things. His blog, his choice. All I know is that he does not appear bothered very much by any of it.

9:00 PM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Pretabe said...

"You might be able to get a lot of information about Zazen from Cohen's website. But true knowledge of Zazen -- I don't think so."

Mr Cross, I just sent you a query on the blog; "the middle way"

9:07 PM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger bushido said...

for mike:
You are very funny to insult people as you seem be "master" on that. iused SHIKANTAZA as a concept of "just sitting" .
Any how, if you wanna know about bushido just come in my dojo and practise in spite of talking.
I am also very happy learned much by Deshimaru Sensei's teachings . I understand now from your talking, you, you dont know what is it MUSHOTOKU.
Reste courtois et évite d'insulter les français.. Sinon gare à toi.

9:39 PM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger MikeDoe said...

Jundo:
A good response thank you. It was rougly what I 'expected' you to say but wanted you to make clear.

10:53 PM, September 20, 2006  
Blogger Jordan&TheTurtle said...

MUSHOTOKU: without desire for gain or profit, without any goal.

Is there a different definition that I am un aware of?

1:25 AM, September 21, 2006  
Blogger Pierre Turlur said...

Dear Frank,

Mushotoku cannot be known. Of course Mike Cross doesn't know mushotoku, yet mushotoku knows him very well. And yes, he is a noisy Zen bastard with a tendency to insult French and Japanese people. That's the other side of the mountain.Why don't you listen a bit more carefully to what he says about the meaning of sitting?
He has got a real understanding of what sitting is NOT. Most Zen guys will teach you what zazen means and give you endless fancy explanations and flowery talks. He doesn't. Quite abrupt. Sharp. Very unpleasant. Sometimes too rude.

A last suggestion, once you let It know you, you might drop your sword. Bushido is great...in sitting, it boils down to nothing. The ultimate kata is motionless. The true sword cuts itself.

"Sinon gare à toi" That's funny.What are you going to do?

Kumasan

1:42 AM, September 21, 2006  
Blogger Reckless said...

Pierre Turlur, my good friend, what exactly does zazen mean to you?

For me, its the perfect union of mind and body in the present moment.
Thats a no bullshit answer.

However, from the actions of your teacher it seems that he is not in the present moment. Always holding grudges, alot of the time angry and stern. He seems like a hooligan than a mindful and peaceful zen master.
He is not only disrespectful to his former master, but makes grand generalisations about others, never mind the Japanese and French.

If Zazen is not being in the present moment, what is it?

What makes Mikes Zazen more beneficial than your previous Zazen?
& Im curious, how exactly is it different?

4:18 AM, September 21, 2006  
Blogger bushido said...

For Pierre,
Thank you very much for this riche teaching. I really liked the last paragraphe." the ultimate kata is motionless" .
I dont think that i ll have any more discussion with this guy named mike i am not interested in what he is saying. As i know nothing about zen, about life about nothing i do try to listen everyone and learn whilst they are polite which isnt his case.
" gare à toi" meant simply, if he persiste in his behaviour may be he can meet one day the tiger!
Bien cordialement à toi,

3:54 PM, September 21, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

Jordan & Turtle:

MUSHOTOKU is not what you think; it is not an idea to be defined; it is a state to be experienced. A state of zero, a state of emptiness. Like putting out a fire on your head.

Gudo Nishijima is very proud of himself that he nailed MUSHOTOKU down with the words "balance of the autonomic nervous system." That is why, looking into the mirror before which I was so inexorably drawn, I call him a vain bag of shit. For many years he has been proud of himself without reason for being number one -- the first one to call everything in Buddhism “balance of the autonomic nervous system.” That is my master. The champion of arrogance. “My brain is Buddhism itself.” Ha! Ha! Ha!

Those who follow to the letter the instructions of Deshimaru and Nishijima try to get the state of zero by pulling in the chin and stretching the spine upwards vigorously. But I say those instructions are wrong, and not in accordance with what Master Dogen wrote in his instructions for Zazen. Sitting upright in the full lotus posture is inherently perfect. It is just the King of Samadhis. It doesn’t need add-ons like pulling in the chin, which seem to me to be borrowed from the military parade ground.

Bushido Franck:

Master Dogen taught that we should devote ourselves to whatever has got the marrow, even if it is a wild dog or a demon. But a Bushido warrior like you can only listen to a person who meets your criterion of politeness? Mmmm. That seems to exclude not only a bastard bag of shit like me but also wild dogs and demons who might have got the marrow. Shouldn’t you reconsider your policy, in the light of Master Dogen’s teaching?

Why is it that we repressed English and brash Americans don’t seem to have a problem with being insulted as such, whereas robotic Japanese and pretentious French are so much more sensitive about their national stereotypes? Maybe it has got something to do with our respective performances in WWII. Probably we Brits and Yanks have got less that we are in denial about. Not polite to say so. But true.

Reckless:

Gudo is not my former master. The old bastard is my master forever. The old bastard is me. I call the old bastard the old bastard because the old bastard made a bastard out of me. Maybe so that, at least once before his death, he could look into me as an undistorted mirror, and read me telling him straight the truth about himself, without any regard for the consequences. Or maybe, as the bastard son of Kodo, he wanted a bastard son of his own. Who knows?

Pierre Turlur:

“Too rude”?

Too rude for what purpose?

Too rude for getting fame and profit?

Too rude for negating idealism?

Too rude to teach you the true meaning of Fukan-zazen-gi?

Master Dogen instructed us: SUNAWACHI SHOSHIN TANZA, Just sit upright.

You should learn, every time you receive that stimulus, to say, “No. Fuck that. I am not going to react to that stimulus in my habitual way, relying on my false sense of uprightness. No, fuck that.”

“No, fuck that” is what creates the space for the full lotus posture to weave its magic. This might be a bit of “sitting in the full lotus posture with the mind.”

Buddhism is not idealism. If the old bastard taught me anything, it is that Buddhism is not idealism. On that point at least, there is no difference.

5:36 AM, September 23, 2006  
Blogger youarehere said...

you are here

6:14 AM, September 23, 2006  
Blogger siapac said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:34 PM, September 23, 2006  
Blogger bushido said...

for mike cross,
you said "Shouldn’t you reconsider your policy, in the light of Master Dogen’s teaching? "
You are right i will re-consider this and think about.
As far as what you area talking about to resist to insults "
Why is it that we repressed English and brash Americans don’t seem to have a problem with being insulted as such, whereas robotic Japanese and pretentious French are so much more sensitive about their national stereotypes?

I think you need to re-visit the history, you will learn that JAPAN and France has more then 5000 years of history which isnt the case of
yankees ( do they have any history by the way??)
That makes the CULTURAL difference between you ( yankees) and us i mean French and Japaneese..
Good day dear friend .
ps:
One sufi thinker said
" i meet many men with dress and may dress without men inside "

F

2:57 AM, September 25, 2006  
Blogger Michael said...

Bushido,

Before you criticize a nation's history, it is best to study it first so that you have at least a grasp of what that nation is about, and what it has been through. If you had made the effort, you would have discovered that the histories of the United States and France are inextricably linked, as are the histories of the U.S. and Britain, and Britain and France.
The United States may not have much of a history, comparatvely speaking -- but what little history we have includes bailing your nation out of two world wars.

5:15 AM, September 26, 2006  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

How easy is it for any of us NOT to be in denial about our own history?

When I think about my own life as one individual, there are heroic things I would like everybody to recognize that I did, and also totally unheroic things I did or didn't do that I would prefer not to be remembered, including by myself.

How easy is it to ascend beyond all that, and just sit?

I don't mean just sit on it, pulling in the chin et cetera. That is easy. Any brash American, repressed Brit, pretentious Frog, or robotic Nip can do it. I mean ascending beyond that, just to sit. That is not easy. Not for any of us.

Facing that difficulty, we are all in the same boat.

11:11 PM, September 26, 2006  
Blogger Drunken Monkey said...

That Great Mike, lets have some of your prerecorded messages playing again and again and again, whilst nobody sane is listening. Get a friggin life.

7:27 AM, September 27, 2006  
Blogger Justin said...

Mike Cross,

I sincerely hope that you find the stillness that you seek, whether with your chin in or out, in Zazen or Alexander Technique.

It seems that you have a bigger challenge than most. All the best with your efforts,

Justin

2:02 AM, September 29, 2006  

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