Faces of Chan

Faces of Chan

In Kyudo there is talk of spiritual skills and technical skills. I have heard, seen, been in some heated discussions about Zen and Kyudo. I have always said there is religious Zen and there is Philosophical Zen, branches of the same tree. It was brought home to me recently the differences in real life. Religiously, no Zen is not Kyudo, Kyudo is not Zen, but Philosophically it is very much part of it. As Zen is all things, it is life, the operation of the universe. Everything is Zen, as everything is Kung Fu training, everything is Zen training.
I want to mention three different Zen practitioners. 
#1 Listed as a master, but has no compassion for the people who work for him. His concern is self, and his benefits from whatever the $ituation . He was a big disappointment to me. After his thoughtless, selfish actions almost got me killed and I received not even a thank you for my efforts. I have stopped attending his Zazen sessions or really any association with him other than work. If my Chan Shifu ( Sensei) had not asked to meet him I would not have been in contact with him for this meeting with my teacher. 
From the meeting we had the other day with my Shifu from Taiwan and the discussion of this “master’s” ( #1) sensei, I understand now why his thoughts and action are lacking compassion. He has Technical skills on how to meditate, but lacking the heart. Same as shooting in Kyudo with technique but no spirit. Yet…on the other hand, now that I know more of why, I should have more compassion toward him and his lack of it, as my act of compassion. I should clear my heart. Still his Zazen sessions are empty of meaning for me. I can just sit on my own.
#2. An Abbot with the Hsu Yun order, said to me that he would publish several articles I had written. I was asked to contribute to the website, asked! Yet when I did the articles were never published. Nor was the bio and picture I was asked to contribute as a new Priest. Even after I brought it up a couple of months later after waiting. I was told, oh things got in the way, with family problems. I will check them over tonight and publish tomorrow, if I have any questions or issues I will contact you. Now another 4 months later nothing. If the writings had issues, of whatever, something should have been said. Not just leave me hanging on his words. Point here, someone with a high title, such as an Abbot should behave, operate on a higher level than just Joe Blow the seeker, at the least be true to your word. Another person with the technical skills to have a title, but lacking the compassion of the heart, to earn respect as just a person of substance, trust, compassion. I have yet to figure out what the issue is, I can only wonder if there is something racial happening.


#3. An acquaintance had his sensei expel him out from his “wing” because he, the student was getting more praise than the teacher for his acts of compassion, and interaction with others. He was jealous of his student. This is how a master behaves? Disappointing.

The point here really is that people are people, regardless of the title, if you are a messed up person, your title no matter how high, or powerful it is, seems, without the heart it is just another word with one’s name and empty.

One can have the technical skills to meditate, teach others how to meditate and still lack the spirit, the heart of meditation. Or perhaps it can be broken down as this. I read something somewhere about the mindfulness movement, practice, how it is lacking “wholeness” without the Buddhist influence. Technique, but no spirit, no heart. It is an unbalanced practice. This is one of the reason why I was so attracted to the Heart Chan Group, they had balance with the physical and spiritual in training. Not just sitting facing a wall.

Balance is living, one’s actions are a big part of Chan. One’s life is a bigger example than preaching words. When they being basically do as I say, not as I do. One should walk the walk as well as talk the talk. The American government version of Christianity is brought to mind. They talk about being a Christian, following Jesus, but they will not help the poor, homeless, sick. There is no money except for raises for them and bombs to drop in war.

Well, as everything is training/practice, there is something to be learned from everyone, even those you lack respect for. Perhaps those have a bigger lesson to teach, a greater learning is to be gained.


9 thoughts on “Faces of Chan

  1. Lots of awesome posts lately, hard to keep up with! Really liked this one, reminds me of a conversation with one of my kyudo teachers the other day. He talked about his experiences with others in the higher circles of the kyudo world, and its funny that even though kyudo is a practice where human cultivation is of the utmost importance, you can find a lot of selfish bullies around the top. He said he views kyudo like looking at the stars. He looks up aiming for the highest point, if he sees another person higher up doing the same, then he works with them working together to head upwards. As for other people who stop along the way who look around themselves and start bickering and placing titles and fighting for higher ground, well, then that’s what they get, a tiny little bickering world. Aren’t we all aiming for the stars? I guess not. Apologies for tangent stories, but thank you for the provoking posts.

    • Hey Zac, thanks as always for dropping in an sharing some wisdom. Yeah, people are people no matter what they do, go, study, practice and just because they are “up there” does not make them automatically less shallow. 🙂

      I am pretty sure I will be attending on one day or another the Kyoto event. Maybe We will get to meet up. I met “Mu” there last year.

      Shoot well


      • Well… there might not be a connection! I wanted to point out the comments. We’re all drops of water in the sea. Your personal problems with the attitude of the Japanese around you can be explained differently. Remember that the USA crashed Japan, check the war in the Pacific, Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima. That generation of people has not passed yet and resentment can come up to the surface still. And as you say yourself, racial prejudice can pop up to the surface as well.

  2. …I meant “crushed” not “crashed”. One more thing, the priesthood might be a coverup for political activism. If you were allowed in you’d have access to info they don’t want you to have as an American. I find you’re a bit naive for your age, Fuu!!! (you can say the same of me)

    • interesting thought Frankie, Way off mark, but interesting. I am already ordained, the person ( #2) I had an issue with has nothing to do with that, and could not stop it even if he had wanted to. He is not Japanese. Nor is he Chinese which is the linage I am with. He only runs the webpage and is an Abbot in Brazil or some place. He only knows about it because his senior, one of my teachers ( very recently deceased) told him I was ordained and should be contacted to be listed on the webpage under clergy. The person (#1) who is Japanese, I had an issue with is not old enough to have been around in WW2 he is my age (maybe a year younger or older). The issue with him had nothing to do with Zen or being racist as I have been over his house many times, and hung out with. He is NOT a bad person, just heartless to everyone unless money going into his pocket is involved. That is sadly basically just how he is, so has no close friends.
      The other person ( the 3rd), is Japanese, I do not even know him or has anything to do with me, but with a friend who just told me about his issue with his teacher.
      How are you these days?
      Yeah , I am pretty naive about somethings, I can be too trusting.

      • Dear venerable,
        I just sent you a post on facebook about this situation.
        As a senior priest of the order and a member of its board, I am deeply sorry.

        Would you please resend me your bio and details so that your ordination be formally shared on the order website.

        As a master in the Order,who had deep respect for Lohan Temple, I assure you that you are a recognize as a fully ordained priest of our order and, knowing and trusting your Dharma, that I endorse you as a Zen priest of our Order if any doubt persisted.

        Please continue to manifest the Dharma in thr many colours and shapes you like, its personal and beautiful.

        In the Dharma,
        Yao Xin Shakya
        Sorry for this

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