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The Zen Mind
December 8, 2007 12:08 AM   Subscribe

The Zen Mind - An Introduction. A Day in the Life of a Zen Monk. Zazen - A Guide to Sitting. Interview with a Zen Buddhist Priest (previously).

Happy Rohatsu!
posted by homunculus (36 comments total) 64 users marked this as a favorite

 
i like the idea of Zen. it's also always amusing to read Westerners on the internet vigourously arguing in favour of it
posted by dydecker at 12:11 AM on December 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


The Empty Mind - Kyudo or Japanese Archery
posted by homunculus at 12:13 AM on December 8, 2007


I knew a nun who once sat Zazen with the local master for a few days. At the end of it, he reportedly told her that if she could just get rid of that Jesus thing, she would be the best he had ever seen.
posted by Faux Real at 1:03 AM on December 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


There were plenty of often heated doctrinal disputes among various Chan and Zen schools and with other Buddhists too way out East thought, dydecker, though I take your point that the more appealing figures rose above them. I do have a vague recollection of reading some rather blood-curdling anti-Christian polemics by the astoundingly insightful Dogen Zenji, but maybe I'm making this up as Google shows nothing.
posted by Abiezer at 1:14 AM on December 8, 2007


LOL苦行者
posted by panamax at 1:41 AM on December 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


/me sits quietly doing nothing but seeming to lurk about.
posted by zengargoyle at 1:46 AM on December 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


i like the idea of Zen. it's also always amusing to read Westerners on the internet vigourously arguing in favour of it Also, if this is your first night at the Zendo, you have to sit Zazen.
posted by moonbiter at 2:31 AM on December 8, 2007 [16 favorites]


Zen and the art of Archery is a nice book about Westerners and Kyudo. Btw, it inspired Henri Cartier Bresson in a much more modern but related practice : photography, and his concept of Decisive moment (l'instant décisif). Thanks for the links. I dig this stuff tremendously.
posted by nicolin at 2:48 AM on December 8, 2007


Zen is compatible with good and evil deeds. (Discuss)

Also: is there a way to not practice Zen? Or is the thing you cannot not practice not the real Zen?
posted by vertriebskonzept at 5:14 AM on December 8, 2007


"Domo arigato" Good Post.
posted by adamvasco at 5:46 AM on December 8, 2007


moonbiter wins the thread
posted by brassafrax at 6:44 AM on December 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


always amusing to read Westerners on the internet vigourously arguing in favour of it

My friend the the Zen priest always brought these kinds of discussions back to "do you sit an hour a day?" If not, then you know nothing of it.

He took me to sit at a Zendo in San Francisco, and after about forty minutes of sitting in a row, facing a windowless wall that bordered the street, an argument between a street walker and a pimp on the other side escalated into what sounded like violence.

I'm thinking, OK, now what? After an awkward pause, the group rose en mass and charged out together in their Zen attire to stop the fight.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:54 AM on December 8, 2007 [16 favorites]


Abeizer: "I do have a vague recollection of reading some rather blood-curdling anti-Christian polemics by the astoundingly insightful Dogen Zenji"

This seems unlikely. I've read a fair bit of Dogen's writing, and not come across any mention of Christianity. In a way, I'm surprised that he doesn't - he was very well educated, and had trained in China (yes, probably not a hotbed of Christian thought). And he was certainly capable of polemics aimed at 13th C. Japanese society.
posted by sneebler at 7:21 AM on December 8, 2007


Yes, the more I think about that I must have that wrong, sneebler. Even the dates don't seem right as now I recall it was something written during the suppression campaigns against Japanese Christian converts and they're not until much later.
posted by Abiezer at 7:45 AM on December 8, 2007


Great post. And nth-ing what moonbiter said.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:11 AM on December 8, 2007


*swats homunculus with a fan*
posted by everichon at 8:13 AM on December 8, 2007


When I sat regularly, I would too frequently fall asleep at various periods of zazen. I have fallen over into the lap of the person next to me. The worst, though, was once when I was the doan, or bell-ringing person for that period of zazen. I fell asleep, and was awoken by my head striking the cauldron-size bell directly in front of me. The Ino was not happy.
posted by everichon at 8:17 AM on December 8, 2007 [5 favorites]


"the idea of Zen"- misses the point
Rhymes w/ Orange is closer to the mark.
posted by pointilist at 10:28 AM on December 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


When I was billeting with a middle-aged single woman in London on Katimavik, I had just come out of the shower one saturday morning to find her with a group of about 20 or so people, sitting cross-legged in the basement, chanting, and ringing a bell.

Now I guess I know what it was that made me drop my towel in astonishment.
posted by tehloki at 10:52 AM on December 8, 2007


Zazen is sitting.
Zazen is not sitting.

When you finally understand this, you are doing it wrong.
posted by zennie at 11:52 AM on December 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I thought I might make my MetaFilter screen name "ZenMasterThis," But I decided not to.

/zen
posted by ZenMasterThis at 1:44 PM on December 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


pointilist, awesome comic.

homunculus, thanks for the post.

LOL @ describing Zen with words, though the Zencast (podcast) does a damn good job.
posted by desjardins at 1:49 PM on December 8, 2007


[gassho], homunculus.



An ancient Buddha once said, "A painted rice cake does not satisfy hunger."
There are few who have even seen this "painting of a rice cake" and none of them has thoroughly understood it.
The paints for painting rice-cakes are the same as those used for painting mountains and waters.
If you say the painting is not real, then the material phenomenal world is not real, the Dharma is not real.
Unsurpassed enlightenment is a painting. The entire phenomenal universe and the empty sky are nothing but a painting.
Since this is so, there is no remedy for hunger other than a painted rice cake. Without painted hunger you never become a true person.

-- Dogen-zenji
posted by digaman at 3:36 PM on December 8, 2007


I was raised by two soto zen priests.

That was interesting.
posted by milarepa at 6:29 PM on December 8, 2007


While looking at the kyudo link I saw this. Turn down the volume, it is loud-- but as a bad archer myself, I thought this is the sort of thing where absolute concentration and finding the self in the target comes in handy.
posted by oflinkey at 7:32 PM on December 8, 2007


Without painted hunger you never become a true person.

*looks at beer in hand*

is this one of these things you have to be painted to understand?
posted by pyramid termite at 8:31 PM on December 8, 2007


> raised by two soto zen priests.

What sangha? Fascinating. Have you read Silence and Noise? Nice book.
posted by digaman at 10:30 PM on December 8, 2007


I hope to one day have the patience to understand some of this stuff beyond an outside observer's view. It has fascinated me for at least the past decade. But then again, so have George Herriman cartoons, mezcal, and Jandek.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 12:05 AM on December 9, 2007


Sci-fi writer Spider Robinson's wife, Jeanne, is a lay-ordained Soto Zen Buddhist, studying alongside Tenshin Reb Anderson.
posted by humannaire at 2:04 AM on December 9, 2007


I studied with Reb at Tassajara for a couple of years. His is an intense dude.
posted by everichon at 10:36 AM on December 9, 2007


He, consarn it, "he" is an intense dude.
posted by everichon at 10:37 AM on December 9, 2007


Zen is Stupid is an excellent podcast.
posted by Huw at 12:10 PM on December 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Buddhist Geeks
posted by homunculus at 12:20 PM on December 9, 2007 [2 favorites]


Urban Dharma
posted by Huw at 12:27 PM on December 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Reb was a teacher at SF Zen Center when I was a student there. I still remember hearing his firm voice ringing through the zendo for one of the last periods at the end of a sitting day, "Face out."

Gambatte, baby. The man had presence. That was 27 years ago.
posted by digaman at 3:07 PM on December 9, 2007


If we do not understand it, then we should make a religion of it.
posted by ewkpates at 5:16 AM on December 10, 2007


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