4.1.07

What am I doing in Vancouver Washington?

Before I had even returned to Camp Pendleton I had begun looking for a place to share my practice with others. This turned out to be much more challenging then I had thought it would be. Or at least I had made it a challenge. Finding the correct Sangha (for me) would turn out to be a challenge for me for over a year. This was complicated shortly after my return “stateside,” by a permanent change of station from Camp Pendleton, California to inspector instructor duty in Portland, Oregon.

Further complications had me traveling around the country to visit several remote sites around the country. It was during this time that I came across Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen. While my “view” of Brad has changed over time, it was his book that really got me serious about putting myself on a cushion. His book said a lot of the same things I had already been familiar with from reading Master Dogen, and Master Uchyama’s Works, but the “punk rock” angle seemed to be a scalpel to pierce my own thick skull. My practice went from trying to sit for 20 or 30 minutes a day when I had time and was not to drunk, to the eventual cessation from alcohol all together and sitting at least an hour a day, morning and night regularly.

Moving to the Pacific North West, I found a several “Zen Centers” and found flaws that I could not seem to bend my ego around. I went to quite a few “introductions to Zen Meditation" classes just seeking the right place, only to find out things that disturbed me later. For example one center had a “membership Level” that depended not on the level of your practice but the measure of your monetary contribution to the center. Another had a class who’s “Soto Zen Priest and monk” was not familiar with Master Dogen’s Work, even pronouncing the masters name as “Dojen.” I found this a bit outrageous at the time. Persevering had benefits, and I found a place to practice (that almost seems perfect {for Me.})

Be well and Happy!
Gassho,
Jordan

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jordan, I am happy for you.. No matter what you think of Brad Warner the internet personality, his book brought an lot of people to serious practice.

Jordan & The Tortoise said...

Oxeye,

Thank you for your comment.

I once sent an e-mail to Brad Warner saying how much I loved his book, and that if I ever met him I would probably punch him in the face.

Expectations are not reality.

I do think he is helping many.

Merit to Brad Warner.

Be well and happy!

Jordan

Anonymous said...

i have to ask you jordan.. what possible reason could you have for wanting to punch out a buddhist teacher?

Jordan & The Tortoise said...

Oxeye,

To clarify, my thoughts were to punch him in the face not punch him out.

I say my thoughts because looking at my sent items in gmail (I wanted to look at again for context,) it looks like it may never have been sent. I likely thought better of it before sending it. I did find an e-mail where I offered him a place to stay and sit if he ever came up to the area.

To answer your question as for why, (I would punch him in the face) boundless compassion for all beings is the best answer I can give you. But here are a few answers others have come up with.

Form the 927 Eternal Truths: “If you have a hero, look again: you have diminished yourself in some way.”

Hal Helms: “take responsibility for what you are and learn and become.”

The Zoo Fence: “Also, despite appearances to the contrary, no information is exchanged, for in a spiritual relationship there is nothing to teach. We already know all there is to know; we just don't know we know it. There are several exchanges in the Gospels that highlight this reality wonderfully. Consider, for example, Jesus' insistence to his students (at John 14.4), "You know where I'm going, and you know the way." There, his disciples at the time, hearing him say that, react even as we do today - in effect, a resounding "Huh?"

Osho: it is not that the disciple kills the master in anger. He kills him in gratitude.

Buddha: You need the boat to get across the river. But once you're across, you don't carry the boat with you. You leave it behind.


There are countless answers, and these are just a few. I hope this has helped your understanding.
Be well and happy!
Gassho,
Jordan

Anonymous said...

jordan, I do not think you understand your reason very well or maybe you just do not wish to share it. that is ok.. I keep forgetting that a lot of the people visiting HZ are as much punk as they are buddhist.

Anonymous said...

and thanks for your explanation. :)

Jordan & The Tortoise said...

Oxeye,

It is not that I don't want to describe it; more like unable to, it could be my own inability to articulate the matter or may be ineffable.

"I keep forgetting that a lot of the people visiting HZ are as much punk as they are Buddhist."

I tend to think of "punk" as something often widely misunderstood. Usually by the people who Identify themselves as such. But if you asked my to describe it I would likely fail there as well. What is Punk”? An image? A form of Music? An attitude? a prostitute? An inexperienced youth? a hoodlum? Is a “punk” the same thing to you as it is to me?

Mumon said:
"Meeting a man on the way on the road,
Meet him with neither words nor silence.
A punch on the jaw:
Understand if you can directly understand."

Trying to articulate further, I am biased by the here and now. Even the self history I have written in this blog would likely be different if I had started it in another place in space and time.
So when you say “I do not think you understand your reason very well”
It is a matter of perspective. I understand it then differently than I understand it now.

And you are always welcome!

Be well and happy!
Gassho,
Jordan

Anonymous said...

Is it something akin to "killing your idols?" not literally, but figuratively. That's how I interpreted it.

Jordan & The Tortoise said...

Mangadezi-jr,

That is a great start, but not the full expression.

Thank you for your comments.

Be well and happy!
Gassho,
Jordan

Anonymous said...

Jordan,

Thank you for the continuing posts. I think you underestimate your ability to articulate your ideas and thoughts. I always find them genuine and thought provoking (or emotion provoking).

As I followed one of your recent ongoing discussions, I was reminded by a talk by Master Rinzai (Lin-chi). He said:

"The way I see it, we should cut off the heads of the Bliss-body and Transformation-body buddhas. Those who have fulfilled the ten stages of bodhisattva practice are no better than hired field hands; those who have attained the enlightenment of the fifty-first and fifty-second stages are prisoners shackled and bound; arhats and pratyekabuddhas are so much filth in the latrine, bodhi and nirvana are hitching posts for donkeys. Why do I speak of them like this? Because you followers of the Way fail to realize that this journey to enlightenment that takes three asmkhya kalpas to accomplish is meaningless. So these things become obstacles in your way. If you were proper men of the Way, you would never let that happen."
(The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-chi, p.26)

Some might say that Master Rinzai did not articulate well; but nobody could say his intentions were unclear. Ha!

Take care, Bodhisattva Jordan...

Gassho, Ted

Jordan & The Tortoise said...

Ted,

Thank you for your kind words.

Be well and happy!
Gassho,
Jordan

Anonymous said...

Interesting that you had to go to a few places in order to find one that fit for you. Unfortunately, there is only one place where I live, and they charge $20 per zazen session. A bit too steep for me.

Jordan & The Tortoise said...

Spider63,
I don’t know how far any of the places this link are from you, I have to go about 30 miles to get to the priory.
http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/Florida

Worst case you could start your own group, looks like there are a lot of people looking.
.
http://buddhism.meetup.com/cities/us/fl/miami/

A Buddhist teacher used to say that the sangha is like a rock tumbler. As we rub together we eventually smooth down each other's rough places.

Keep looking and good luck.

Be well and happy!
Gassho,
Jordan

Jordan & The Tortoise said...

Spider63,
Just an afterthought, try not to be too discriminating on what "sect" you visit. The Buddha-Dharma is the Buddha Dharma. You will know the right place for you to practice weather it is Rinzai, Soto, Chan Sun,Theravadan or whatever.

Be well and happy
Gassho
Jordan

Thanks for looking!