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Thread: help pls - my thoughts

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.D_03
    There is a Soto Zen group in Melbourne near my home town.
    Can you describe Soto at all ? While I imagine its a matter of choice, Is Rinzai worth holding out for ?
    If there is a Soto group near you, I would check it out. Soto Zen is very direct, with a strong emphasis on zazen, meditation, practice.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "describe"; so here are a few comments. Soto Zen was founded in the 1200's in Japan by Zen Master Dogen. He is one of the great lights of the Zen tradition as a whole. His writings are truly sublime. Dogen inherited the Ts'ao Tung (Japanese: Soto) tradition from China. His view of Zen is that the practice of zazen itself is enlightenment, hence the strong emphasis on zazen practice.

    There is a wonderful simplicity about the Soto tradition. I would recommend calling the group that is near you and ask them if they give beginner's instruction at any specific time. Many Zen centers offer such instruction on a regular basis and that would be a good way to make contact.

    Regarding the Seattle Shinto Temple; I was aware you are in Australia. But I'm not aware of a Shinto Temple in Australia so I linked to the Seattle Jinja because I've found Rev. Barrish accessible to english speaking inquiries. I've corresponded with him myself and he has always taken the time to answer my questions. Tsuabaki Shrine also runs a yahoo group where you might be able to find others in Australia that share a similar interest.

    Best wishes,

    Jim Wilson
    Dharmajim

  2. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by R.D_03
    There is a Soto Zen group in Melbourne near my home town.
    ...While I imagine its a matter of choice, Is Rinzai worth holding out for ?
    There used to be a homeless man who hung out near an Arby's fast-food joint in the south industrial area here. The crew were nice, and they'd give him a free sandwich from time to time. That store closed a few years back and it sat vacant, waiting for a new tenant to lease it.

    I used to see him roaming in the area where it used to be, looking forlorn, dejected, and depressed.

    I stopped once and gave him a coupon for a free meal at the McDonald's just up the street. He handed it back to me and said, "I think I'll hold out for a Burger King to open." Then he walked away, still looking forlorn, dejected, and depressed...and hungry.

    (Don't you just love parables?)
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BGalehouse
    Pirsig was almost certainly making a playfull reference to Suzuki, a point which I hadn't noticed before."
    I am sorry, but he rode an American motorcycle, if I am not mistaken.
    David Orange, Jr.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    "That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
    Lao Tzu

  4. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BGalehouse
    Pirsig was almost certainly making a playfull reference to Suzuki...
    Quote Originally Posted by kimiwane
    I am sorry, but he rode an American motorcycle, if I am not mistaken.
    Allllllllllright, you just had to, didn't ya! You made me spew Diet Coke all over my keyboard!
    Yours in Budo,
    ---Brian---

  5. #20
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    I am a member of the Soto Zen group that you mention. They are called Jikishoan Zen Buddhist Community and their abbot is Korematsu Ekai osho. I heartily recommend taking part in one of their orientation workshops. Just google "Jikishoan" for their website.

    If you look for any of the books by or about Suzuki Shunryu roshi ("Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind", etc) will give you the basic flavour of Soto Zen.

    b

  6. #21
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    Soto Zen focuses on "shikantaza" or 'just sitting'. Koan practice is not emphasised like in Rinzai Zen. However the characterisation of the two sects as "Rinzai=samurai zen, Soto=farmer zen" is a little glib. Some teachers such as the late Deshimaru Taisen roshi made a point of stradddling both styles.

    As a previous poster mentioned, Dogen Zenji, the founder of the Japanese branch of Soto Zen, is an incredibly subtle and profound thinker. His "Shobogenzo", a massive work of about 32 volumes (and the first Buddhist work written in vernacular Japanese rather than scholarly Chinese), covers a huge amount of philosophical ground. "Dogen Studies" is an area of contemporary academic scholarship that looks at translating and interpreting this work from the standpoint of Western philosophy, not just Buddhist studies. Stephen Heine, Thomas Cleary, William R. LaFleur and Masao Abe have all written interesting books or essays in this field. Try "Uji" (Being-Time) for an example of one of his more difficult essays, which you can read here .

    Jikishoan has a weekly "Sanzenkai" which is a period of sitting, followed by prostrations and chanting, tea ceremony and 'teisho' or dharma talk by Ekai osho.

    b

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Owens
    Allllllllllright, you just had to, didn't ya! You made me spew Diet Coke all over my keyboard!
    It was my humble duty.
    David Orange, Jr.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    "That which has no substance can enter where there is no room."
    Lao Tzu

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