The Real Zen (Comment on Brad Warner’s “Hardcore Zen” blog)

I heard Baker speak at San Francisco Zen Center, he wrapped up by saying “respond with your concentration.” I’m told he could arrive at the Zendo after a late night of drinking and sitting after sitting, become more centered; an adept, was how he was described to me by the person who observed this.

Because he was adept at sitting cross-legged and adept at raising money, Shunryu Suzuki had no choice but to approve of his understanding, for the sake of the business of bringing Zen to America. That’s how I feel. What did Suzuki say, something about how sorry he was to do that to Baker, I think?

Intention produces karma, good karma, bad karma, consequence. There are good things about SF Zen Center, and Tassajara. There are good things about the Sotoshu, and as Brad has pointed out a lot of complaints about corruption among the younger set in Japan, which point to the weakness of any ongoing institution (especially in a tough economic climate).

Will we find a way to describe the nature of just sitting in terms that everyone can understand (if not experience), or will we stone-wall communication in favor of the business of bringing Zen to America? ‘Course, it’s not as black and white as that, but I see it that way a lot.

Brad’s good, and he would throw Zen over in a heart-beat for real, all-consuming love. I think that’s what we need, because Zen is about being human to the max, and whatever ability to feel we have out of where we are now is necessary to love what we are.

Ok, so Brad said he would give up teaching Zen if it were a choice between that and the woman he loved; truth is, the part that he couldn’t give up, that’s the real Zen to me.

2 Replies to “The Real Zen (Comment on Brad Warner’s “Hardcore Zen” blog)”

  1. Thanks, Jerry. “Not attached to that tradition”- I’m attached to communicating something that a lot of traditions have in common, and I guess I should watch that and stick to the necessary. Sobering, thank you.

  2. Jerry Bolick’s comment:

    Yes. Yes. Yes. And so too the nembutsu teaching, remembering buddha, the buddha of infinite light and life, wisdom and compassion, beyond comprehension, thus beyond naming, but “named” nonetheless Namuamidabutsu: nembutsu. We learn of this through the Pureland Buddhist Tradition. But our life in nembutsu is not something attached to that traditon.

    Nicely done.


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