Stuart's Blog

zen on tour / Madison

song of the day: sunday bloody sunday / u2
word of the day: cryptonym / a secret name

you must click the red "READ MORE" words below to read the whole blog

yes, just a note to everyone: YOU MUST CLICK THE "READ MORE" button to read the entire blog, each and every time you're reading a blog. i've had several people tell me in the last week that they had no idea there was more than the first four sentences, but indeed, there is, and the doorway is clicking the red "read more" words below. of course the exception will be this blog, which is a psa... tits!

duluth

song of the day: sledgehammer / peter gabriel
word of the day: love / ~?~

vomit

song of the day: crucify / tori amos
word of the day: verbicide / destroying the meaning of a word

i'm back...

song of the day: army of me / Bjork
word of the day: clavigerous / keeping keys

i'm back, sorry for the void in blogs this last week. i was on retreat with Genpo Roshi (Zen teacher, Maezumi's line). i highly recommend attending one of Genpo's Big Mind events. i am so taken with this dude i'm seriously considering asking him to be my teacher. that's something i've never considered doing before with any teacher, and i've been at this for almost a decade now. we'll see. gotta wait it out a bit and see how much of this feeling endures after a few weeks. i've only been with Genpo twice, but it's a distinct feeling, one that's hard to misinterpret. i'm not saying that means i'll impulsively jump at it, but what i feel is a deep alignment with this particular teacher, and his particular way of manifesting the Dharma, in this culture, at this time in history, etc. and that's a big deal, perhaps especially in Zen. when Zen made the hop over from Japan to America, of course it had to change. it's changed everytime it's moved from one culture to another. i think it's an awkward time, with some pretty weird discomfort, trying to figure out how to not dilute the teaching or the tradition, and yet have it spontaneously express itself in this moment. Japanese Zen is not going to "work" with Americans, just like Chinese Zen did not work wtih the Japanese, etc. Americans need to discover and strengthen whatever American Zen. the sad thing many Western teachers who are the direct successors of these Japanese lines will tell you that Zen is dying or dead in Japan, that's it's just a museum of forms and that its exuberant, vital heart has nearly passed away there. conversely, Japanese and Americans note how Zen is thriving and doing very well here. i've never really wanted to ask someone to be my teacher because to be honest, i haven't met a Zen teacher that i felt was both a living, breathing Buddha-Mind AND had a clear, creative capacity to really connect and contact the Western student. so many of them are just boring. i don't mean boring like "entertain me now, wacky teacher" i mean boring like they're just regurgitating all the same old forms and teachings- there's no spark. i'm pretty touchy about this, the minute i feel a teacher going through the motions, or just repeating what was repeated to them, and they sort of fall into that comfortable spot of teaching what they've taught a million times, i say who gives a shit? it's a museum. zen is bare awareness, not memorizing and repeating the doctrine. Genpo is probably the greatest example of someone i feel is really in "it", and simply emodies whatever IS as it comes, in our language, in our culture, in this time. he's really as no-nonsense as it gets. his own stories about his often torturous relationship with his own teacher (Maezumi) offer a great deal of insight into what may have been useful and what may have been bullshit about the way the old teacher / student relationship functioned for so long. i asked him about this quite a lot while i was there (and also asked Roshi Halifax, our host) along this lines, some things that have changed as Zen has taken root in the U.S. :

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