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An interesting post by Brad Warner...

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An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby Shodo on Sat Apr 09, 2011 1:32 pm

Here it is:
http://hardcorezen.blogspot.com/2011/04 ... ssion.html

For the past few years a number of people have been suggesting that I join one or both of the current US-based associations of Zen teachers, the SZBA (Soto Zen Buddhist Association) and the AZTA (American Zen Teachers Association). I’ve hemmed and hawed about this for quite some time. Some of those who belong to or even hold important positions in these organizations are friends of mine. I respect their views on most matters. So when they say I ought to join these groups, I believe their opinion on the matter is worth considering.

Yet for all this time I still haven’t joined either organization. Something about them just didn’t seem right to me. It was never anything I could articulate very well. It was just a feeling I had. It seemed to me that to join one of these organizations would go directly against the most fundamental reasons I got into this whole Zen thing in the first place. Yet for a long time I couldn’t put my finger on why I felt that way.

I’ve finally managed to nail down what it is that troubles me so deeply about these organizations. And it comes down to one single word. That word is “professional,” as well as its grammatical variations (professionalism, profession, etc.).

In the fall out from the sex scandals involving Genpo Roshi, Eido Shimano Roshi, Maezumi Roshi, Baker Roshi and whoever else has been caught with their dick where it wasn’t supposed to be, a lot of people are saying the same thing. They say that Zen teachers are very much like therapists, doctors and lawyers and as such should be required to belong to some kind of organization to police their activities the way these other professionals are.

Let me just spell my position out very clearly here.

Zen teachers are not therapists.

Zen teachers are not doctors.

Zen teachers are not lawyers.

I recently came across a piece on the Internet in which someone lamented the current state of affairs in the Zen world and then asked, “Is Zen not, in it’s deepest sense, in the helping profession?”

I also came across a statement by a member of both SZBA and AZTA stating, “the SZBA and the AZTA hold the premises that Zen teaching is a profession.”

These statements are both entirely incorrect. I know it’s far too bold for me to say such a thing when so many people believe that these statements are correct. But this is my firm position on the matter.

Zen is not in the helping profession. Zen teachers are not professionals.

A Zen teacher is someone who has chosen to do serious work on herself or himself. Our experiences in doing this work on ourselves can be useful to others. Many of us allow other people to join us in this work. Those who join us in this work may very well be helped. And most of us will try our best to help them when we can.

But fundamentally a Zen teacher is not a professional who helps students who are non-professionals in exchange for compensation. The so-called “students” are actually companions in work that is being undertaken by both teacher and student. The only real difference is that the teacher is someone who has done this work for a bit longer than the student. Yet the teacher is no more advanced, because the concept of “advancement” is an illusion.

This is why I refuse to accept students. I do not wish to share my work with anyone who defines herself or himself as my student. That would be unfair to both of us. Such a person is only a hindrance to me. They get in the way of what I need to do. Frankly, students are a nuisance. Furthermore, their attitude of viewing themselves as students is a hindrance to them. It’s such a hindrance that it makes it impossible for me to help them even if I wanted to.

Zen teachers are not in the helping profession. That would imply that we charge money to people who come to us to be helped, the way a professional therapist does. It would imply that we promise to help heal them in exchange for that money, the way professional doctors do. It implies that we promise them concrete results from our paid efforts to help them, the way professional lawyers do. No decent Zen teacher I know of views what he or she does in that way.

In fact, I would be so bold as to further state that the root of many of the problems in Zen right now stem from the fact that too many Zen teachers view themselves as “professionals” or as members of the “helping profession.”

I disagree completely with the position taken by the SZBA and the AZTA. They are dead wrong. Zen teaching is not a profession and must never be a profession. A professional is someone who charges for their services and promises some kind of results, even if not necessarily promising what the client views as success. The moment Zen teachers start looking upon what they do in this way, what they do is no longer Zen teaching at all.

Furthermore, whenever I think about joining one of these organizations I have to ask what such an organization would do for me. If I join the Musicians Union, for example, by paying dues to that organization and abiding by its rules I get some form of compensation. The union engages in collective bargaining so that I can earn a living wage and provides members in good standing with group discounts on medical insurance and so on.

But what does any Zen teacher get from being part of one of these Zen teacher unions? I suppose we get their seal of approval, sort of like the Better Business Bureau. Maybe we get invited to big parties once in a while where we can all hang out with each other, although we have to pay our own way to get there. But we don’t get a whole lot else.

I suppose my position on this may strike some readers as an unforgivably selfish attitude. And it would be, if we were talking about an organization of noble bodhisattvas running around trying to help each other save all beings before saving themselves and asking nothing in return.

But that’s not what is being proposed by these organizations. And we can know this for certain because of their use of the word “professional.” What is being proposed here is a professional organization for professional people who, just like the doctors, lawyers and therapists we’re being categorized with, charge for their services and promise results. People who charge for their services and promise results ought to be held accountable for the results of those services.

I, for one, do not promise any results. Nor do I offer any help. I will let you join me in my work if I feel that you won’t get in the way of what I need to do. Historically this has always been the attitude of Zen teachers. Why else do you think it was so hard for people to become students of the Zen teachers of the past? If they were professionals, their rates would have been posted at the door and anyone who was willing to pay would have been welcome to come on in. That was never the case. Until today.

Unfortunately, the position I am taking here is clearly in the minority. It’s obvious that people like me who do not view Zen teaching as a profession are going to lose this battle. Organizations like SZBA and AZTA will become more and more powerful, and teachers who refuse to classify themselves as members of the helping profession will be marginalized. Those who refuse to join will have red flags stuck all over them and few will attend their Zen groups anymore. Which is fine, actually. The majority will, instead, go to the professionals who charge for services rendered and promise results. Good luck with that.


What do folks think about this...?
"Before Arda you were, but others also, and you did not make it. Neither are you the most mighty; for you have spent your strength upon yourself, and wasted it on your own emptiness. No more are you now than an escaped thrall of the Valar, and their chain still awaits you."
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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby Seigen on Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:00 pm

I question the research:

But that’s not what is being proposed by these organizations. And we can know this for certain because of their use of the word “professional.” What is being proposed here is a professional organization for professional people who, just like the doctors, lawyers and therapists we’re being categorized with, charge for their services and promise results. People who charge for their services and promise results ought to be held accountable for the results of those services.


a) Is there an organization using the word professional, or an individual? Seems to me like Warner is citing an individual, no?

b) None of the teachers I know personally, and are members of AZTA at least "charge for their services and promise results."

b) Is "professional" always so bad? In the context of a midwestern punk scene, "professional" will be said with a sneer, but it is not in itself a wrongful way of being, where would doctors without borders be without doctors? Should there be no certifying body?

And at any rate, here is the mission statement of the AZTA, which in no way reflects any of the above:
MISSION STATEMENT: The purpose of the American Zen Teachers Association is to foster dialogue among Zen Buddhist teachers and to provide access to information about Zen Buddhist practice and teaching.


I see Brad Warner in this instance using the power of already established vilification of "prefessionals" to build a streetcred slacker fandom around shared cultural sentiment, it is how things like ideology, propaganda and marketing work. Maybe there is something to look at with regard to the value of these organizations, but this is not an example of skillful inquiry in my view, its self-serving hype.

ps: I enjoy Brad Warner much of the time, but this is just off the mark it seems to me.

* slackerism is, in fact, a movement. I have some respect for it.
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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby doormat on Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:18 pm


Unfortunately, the position I am taking here is clearly in the minority. It’s obvious that people like me who do not view Zen teaching as a profession are going to lose this battle. Organizations like SZBA and AZTA will become more and more powerful, and teachers who refuse to classify themselves as members of the helping profession will be marginalized. Those who refuse to join will have red flags stuck all over them and few will attend their Zen groups anymore. Which is fine, actually. The majority will, instead, go to the professionals who charge for services rendered and promise results. Good luck with that.



I don't see much wrong with anything he's said. I agree that Zen Masters aren't paid therapists. The last paragraph, which is pure fantasy, is a bit silly. Ending his essay with speculation like that sort of betrays a little immaturity. If he left it off, I would have had more respect for him. With this, he's ignited our imaginations and now, we're going to engage in needless speculation and opinion proferring. Come to think of it, he's not a member or SZBA or AZTA - how does he know what it's like to be a member? His ideas about SZBA and AZTA are just opinions his imagination has cooked up. Maybe he should be a member first and really see what happens and then tell us about his experiences.
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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby Seigen on Sat Apr 09, 2011 2:22 pm

I don't know that there are too many in AZTA or SZBA who think of it as a profession in the terms that Warner raises, maybe for health insurance or some such group benefits. I feel that Warner is spreading misinformation and hype, and yes, there is responsiblity towards avoiding misleading conjecture.
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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby lok91 on Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:13 pm

* slackerism is, in fact, a movement. I have some respect for it.


As a pro slacker I thank you. :)
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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby Linda Anderson on Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:45 pm

Sweeping Zen has published a response to Brad.

I don't have a problem with what he is saying. I don't see the issue as a discussion about what is a professional and the money aspect... think this is a distraction to a much richer conversation. Perhaps, it is Brad's attempt to justify his view with faulty comparisons. Don't see the vilification of professional practice. I do see that he is looking at the gestalt of what is implied by organizing as a body that creates standards of behavior which can be called professional. The "44" may have acted independently, but I think that honestly, this is seen as the beginnings of organized sanctions. Here is the dilemma for me, what the Eido thread never could answer, how can enlightened or at least very senior teachers act in ways that can harm. And, the important question, to me, is.... is it worth standardizing, what do we lose in the process, what do we gain. How does this further instill the power structure, and undermine individual responsibility. How is it contrary to the core of zen practice.

I dunno what Mahayana really is, but I will make the distinction between helping which occurs as a natural instinct of one's being, and that which sets out with the intention of helping. I have never trusted activists who don't know their own shadow. To organize, implies an agenda... the price should be considered, not whether right/wrong. Brad appears to have taken a stand on this issue, to me.

I think most people do agree that zen is not therapy, yet we all face seeing beyond our stories in this multi-dimensional culture. I think Brad's statement about all walking together is worthy of considering. The world is moving too fast and is too vast to rely only on a one on one teaching. What is our responsibility, apart from depending on an external source.

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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby Jaya on Sat Apr 09, 2011 4:46 pm

True Zen Masters carry a big stick.
And they use it.

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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby clyde on Sat Apr 09, 2011 5:33 pm

My comment posted to Brad’s blog:
That was a challenging post to read. I was going to argue how wrong you are. Then I was going to argue how right you are. Instead, I want to note that if all Zen teachers followed your way, teachers wouldn’t have students, there would be no transmission, there would be no traditions and lineages would cease. And that wouldn’t be a beneficial outcome. I’m grateful that there is a Zen tradition and Zen teachers with students, even while I think of myself as a Zen practitioner.

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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby christopher::: on Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:13 pm

I wonder if part of the difficulty here stems from differences in roles and expectations for Zen Buddhist clergy (and practitioners) in the West vs. Japan? In Japan a person who becomes a Zen priest is not usually expected to take on students or to be doing a lot of teaching or transmission of the dharma beyond what they share when folks come to the temple for ceremonies or while visiting people's homes. The focus is primarily on maintaining the physical temple and conducting ceremonies for members of the community.

I think this is important- most Zen priests in Japan think of themselves as serving their community, not teaching individual students. The teacher/student relationship is for training future priests and passing on traditions, for transmitting the dharma in that way. Not saying this is better (or worse) but the situation is very different.

With less demands (and income) for Western Zen priests from funerals and formal ceremonies the role of priest as teacher seems to be much more important here. It's different for Brad, he has a band, a formal guest blog gig and book royalties. In some sense that frees him up, he doesn't "need" students, need to support a temple or need to teach in the same way others may.

We benefit greatly from having so many willing and able to teach the dharma, to take on the role of teacher, but it does create difficulties and challenges. These issues of professionalism and proper ethical conduct have be considered seriously.

But this is kinda new territory. I think it's useful that Brad is pointing that out.
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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby thewhitesquirel on Sat Apr 09, 2011 6:54 pm

I agree with Brad. I'm not sure how many people on the forum personally know members from these organizations, so I'm going to take his word for it. I'm also not convinced that what's pasted on their website can be an accurate reflection of what actually going on with this step towards "professionalism."

Being skeptical of forms of institutionalization, hierarchies and guru-worship (although that's not the wording we choose because we're sneaky like that), I've never felt the need to formalize my participation in the sangha with a purely symbolic ceremony to publicly announce my sincerity to other people. These things are already known by actions and there's no need for "public approval" in these matters.That being said, I also see no need to become "professionalized" by establishing an institution other than a desire to gain, or rather take, public approval and establish orthodoxy. I also have a suspicion, whether this is true or not we'll see, that this step towards professionalism is financially motivated due to this being a materialistic and capitalist country.

But we'll see. I've had doubts that Buddhism could thrive in the West due to our shady social practices, and this is just another event confirming those doubts.
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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby So-on Mann on Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:39 pm

I disagree completely with the position taken by the SZBA and the AZTA. They are dead wrong. Zen teaching is not a profession and must never be a profession. A professional is someone who charges for their services and promises some kind of results, even if not necessarily promising what the client views as success. The moment Zen teachers start looking upon what they do in this way, what they do is no longer Zen teaching at all.


He's throwing baloney. Of course it's a profession- from what I understand the position that the SZBA and AZTA are trying to take is that Zen teachers shouldn't need to be working at factories or in offices to support themselves. What he's throwing out is a red herring and has nothing to do with SZBA's or AZTA's real position on the subject. He just wants to be able to have his robe and bass guitar too.
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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby jiblet on Sat Apr 09, 2011 9:59 pm

So-on Mann wrote:
I disagree completely with the position taken by the SZBA and the AZTA. They are dead wrong. Zen teaching is not a profession and must never be a profession. A professional is someone who charges for their services and promises some kind of results, even if not necessarily promising what the client views as success. The moment Zen teachers start looking upon what they do in this way, what they do is no longer Zen teaching at all.


He's throwing baloney. Of course it's a profession- from what I understand the position that the SZBA and AZTA are trying to take is that Zen teachers shouldn't need to be working at factories or in offices to support themselves. What he's throwing out is a red herring and has nothing to do with SZBA's or AZTA's real position on the subject. He just wants to be able to have his robe and bass guitar too.


Hi So-on,

While I think Brad's post doesn't satisfactorily address all the issues he's raised in it, to say he's "throwing baloney" is a tad harsh. His teacher, Gudo Nishijima Roshi, has always taken the view that Zen/Buddhism should never be a profession; that a Zen teacher should support him/herself by means other than teaching Buddhism.

So, whatever you think of Brad's position and his arguments for it, it is entirely consistent with what he and Gudo's other dharma-heirs have been taught and, to the best of my knowledge, practise.


(FWIW, I agree with where Brad's coming from. It's fine and dandy to have a teacher's club/association - join it or don't join it - but a supervisory, even advisory body with (even implied) authority over self-selected members of the Zen 'profession' - no need, and a dangerous development in my opinion...which no one has asked for or will take any notice of, so that's fine :))
Last edited by jiblet on Sun Apr 10, 2011 12:18 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby Pemako on Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:17 pm

I didn't read the whole thing but I think this bit is good:

"This is why I refuse to accept students. I do not wish to share my work with anyone who defines herself or himself as my student. That would be unfair to both of us. Such a person is only a hindrance to me. They get in the way of what I need to do. Frankly, students are a nuisance. Furthermore, their attitude of viewing themselves as students is a hindrance to them. It’s such a hindrance that it makes it impossible for me to help them even if I wanted to."

That is excellent and it would help many people if they understood it.
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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby fukasetsu on Sat Apr 09, 2011 10:48 pm

Pemako wrote:I didn't read the whole thing but I think this bit is good:

"This is why I refuse to accept students. I do not wish to share my work with anyone who defines herself or himself as my student. That would be unfair to both of us. Such a person is only a hindrance to me. They get in the way of what I need to do. Frankly, students are a nuisance. Furthermore, their attitude of viewing themselves as students is a hindrance to them. It’s such a hindrance that it makes it impossible for me to help them even if I wanted to."

That is excellent and it would help many people if they understood it.


I'll second that.
However, I took 4 times the prescription on cough sirop today
So yeah, I really have no position on anything :hide:
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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby Pemako on Sat Apr 09, 2011 11:09 pm

fukasetsu wrote:
Pemako wrote:I didn't read the whole thing but I think this bit is good:

"This is why I refuse to accept students. I do not wish to share my work with anyone who defines herself or himself as my student. That would be unfair to both of us. Such a person is only a hindrance to me. They get in the way of what I need to do. Frankly, students are a nuisance. Furthermore, their attitude of viewing themselves as students is a hindrance to them. It’s such a hindrance that it makes it impossible for me to help them even if I wanted to."

That is excellent and it would help many people if they understood it.


I'll second that.
However, I took 4 times the prescription on cough sirop today
So yeah, I really have no position on anything :hide:


Thanks, Lol. Your good deed for the day is done, you really gave me a laught. :)X
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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby So-on Mann on Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:10 am

Let me insert a little hyperbole here- what if Old Gotama decided after he got up from under the Bodhi Tree that he could go back to his father's palace and run affairs there, while teaching a bit of what he taught on the side?

I like what Christopher brought up about the differences between Japanese and western responsibilities... but in my experience, our teachers at Dharma Rain, who are full-time, vocational priests, fill many of those roles. They bless new homes, they do welcoming ceremonies for new babies, they officiate funerals (just attended one for a fellow lay disciple, sad to say), as well as working very hard behind the scenes to keep our temple up and running. We have well over 100 active members and only two full-time priests to serve them. Maybe Brad won't take students and thinks it's enough to teach people from a distance through books and blogs, but our sangha has real personal needs that can't be met that way.

Sangha is not a part time job. The age-old "lay vs. priest" debate can only go so far... I am not advocating for return of vinaya, but we have to look at the established practices across religions to see where we need to draw the line. Unitarian ministers work full time at what they do, for instance, seeing to the needs of their flock. They draw a salary from the church. Our priests live on a tiny stipend and have their basic housing needs met by the donations of the sangha, which we GLADLY give, because we know they are there for us, 24/7. If Zen is to flourish, it needs to be vocational. The sangha is too important to be left to part-timers and best-selling writers.
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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby christopher::: on Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:25 am

I agree with you, Lisa. I also think Brad is raising some good points about problems that can arise when Zen priests emphasize their teaching role, viewing community members as students, primarily. It can have an effect on one's thinking, creating distance, social ranks, co-dependence and hierarchy. Not in all cases. Many Western sanghas such as yours seem to have a wonderful sense of community. Brad and those of us practicing outside sanghas may not have an understanding of that.

fukasetsu wrote:
Pemako wrote:I didn't read the whole thing but I think this bit is good:

"This is why I refuse to accept students. I do not wish to share my work with anyone who defines herself or himself as my student. That would be unfair to both of us. Such a person is only a hindrance to me. They get in the way of what I need to do. Frankly, students are a nuisance. Furthermore, their attitude of viewing themselves as students is a hindrance to them. It’s such a hindrance that it makes it impossible for me to help them even if I wanted to."

That is excellent and it would help many people if they understood it.


I'll second that.


Yes, this seems to be the part that resonates some truth with many people, it's what caught my eye as well. I also agree that some of what Brad writes here is throwing baloney. I think a lot of us throw a bit of baloney around from time to time. Those outside sanghas may have some mistrust of teachers who are are put up on a pedestal, those practicing within sanghas can't understand why anyone would want to stay on the outside.

Someone who is living and breathing the way of Zen may be a car mechanic, an artist, poet, journalist, doctor, chef... There is nothing wrong with taking up a livelihood other then that of "official" teacher or priest. One of the wisest Zen masters I've come across works as an orderly serving the sick and dying in an old age home, cleaning toilets, changing diapers. He's been living and breathing Zen for decades, has no formal title and no formal students but would probably make a fine teacher, has actually been a teacher for many, although never formally recognized as such.

I think the world, and the way of Zen, often works that way. Both Brad and So-on (Lisa) have raised valid points.

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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby lok91 on Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:33 am

Brad Warner wrote:Fundamentally a Zen teacher is not a professional who helps students who are non-professionals in exchange for compensation. The so-called “students” are actually companions in work that is being undertaken by both teacher and student. The only real difference is that the teacher is someone who has done this work for a bit longer than the student. Yet the teacher is no more advanced, because the concept of “advancement” is an illusion.

This is the fundamental truth of course, however Brad is clearly in the minority when it comes to talking about such truths. RED FLAG.
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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby thewhitesquirel on Sun Apr 10, 2011 2:33 am

Start at 2:30

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaXb8c6jw0k

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What is nearness if it fails to come about despite the reduction of the longest intervals? What is nearness if it is even repelled by the restless abolition of distances? What is nearness if remoteness also remains absent? -Martin Heidegger
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Re: An interesting post by Brad Warner...

Postby Jundo Cohen on Sun Apr 10, 2011 6:29 am

Hi,

I think that Brad makes some very good points in his article, but I also thinks he raises a couple of strawmen not really there.

I am a member of both organizations ... as far, anyway, as one could call those loose knit, disorganized groups even "organizations".

But beyond that ... I don't know any member of the SZBA or AZTA who thinks of being a Zen teacher as a "profession" in which, as Brad says, a Zen teacher is someone "who charge[s] money to people who come to us to be helped, the way a professional therapist does." The only exception I can think of are the few members who actually are psychologists and therapists and seek to combine their work, as well as those money grubbers (like Genpo Roshi, not a member of the SZBA or AZTA) who try to turn Buddhist teaching into a business. In fact, the AZTA and SZBA members spend a good portion of their time trying to keep the calling of "Zen Teaching" from becoming that. Most members of these organizations work very hard and receive little if any compensation for it ... often barely able to pay the rent via donations and such.

Furthermore, most members of the SZBA and AZTA that I know are very much opposed to the "teacher" as "guru" thing, and almost all would see a teacher as having a role like an experienced voice sharing the same path ... a friend in this practice ... who offers a helpful word or hand from time to time to someone along the way. Each practitioner on this path must do their own heavy lifting, and the teacher and Sangha are merely there as a support. That, I believe, would be the overwhelmingly prevalent view among the members of those groups I have encountered.

Maybe "calling" is a better word, like for any decent member of the clergy. Whether we want to admit it or not, and whether Brad wants to recognize it or not, people come to us ... ask us for advice ... and we can hurt them if we are insincere or abuse the situation. I have people coming to me at times in their life like divorce, cancer diagnosis, death of a loved one ... and while my role is primarily to direct them to the Zafu, it is simply wrong to believe that I have no ethical standards I need follow in such cases because "it is not my job as a Zen teacher to help people." What is more, if someone is asking me for some guidance on their Zen practice, it is silly to think that there is no relationship between us in which I could do the person harm because they trust me. I often encounter folks who are vulnerable. I do have a position of trust not to hurt people, and groups of teachers like the SZBA and AZTA have some responsibility to see that people do not get hurt by so-called "Buddhist teachers".

The fact of the matter is that the SZBA and AZTA are loose knit associations of teachers from a variety of Zen traditions, all flavors of Zen ... liberal, conservative, traditional and new fangled. In a way, they are barely more than discussion groups. They have tried to enforce minimal standards for recognizing who are folks coming to teach with some legitimate credentials ... and who are all the con-men and flimflam artists out there, like Barry Graham who claims to be successor to a made up Zen Teacher from a non-existent temple. They have tried to encourage (not even insist on) some minimal standards of training for young priests to make sure that people are not turned out on the world with a title and little more (we are not "professionals", but if you think a Zen teacher cannot do harm to someone's heart as real as an untrained quack heart surgeon with a white coat, a scalpel, and a degree from a fake medical school ... one is naive about the damage we can do to lives.). Many have also wrestled with how to respond to problems of ethics and Sangha members being hurt (you will hear more about that in the coming days), and they are doing their best even without any real police powers except the pen and the wagging finger (because the "organizations" are so disorganized and toothless).

But the SZBA and AZTA are not nefarious groups set on appointing a Pope and turning Zen in the West into a doctrinaire church. Not most of the members I know (maybe a few would like that).

They have given me a bit of a hard time because of our recent "Online Ordinations" and the way we are trying to train our novice priests at Treeleaf through a combination of "at a distance/no near or far" and "under a roof" training.

http://www.treeleaf.org/sit-a-long/with ... eleaf.html

Most of the folks who are members have some concerns about it ... AND THEY ARE RIGHT TO HAVE THOSE CONCERNS! They want to make sure that "Zen Teacher" certificates are not being handed out like diplomas from an online diploma mill. So far, it looks like I am succeeding in slowly winning them over about the seriousness of what we are doing in our Sangha ... but even if I cannot, I do not fault them for trying to have some minimum standards for what it means to be ordained and to train as a priest.

The fact is that both the SZBA and AZTA let me in as a member. That shows that their standards can't be all so high. :?

Gassho, Jundo
Last edited by Jundo Cohen on Sun Apr 10, 2011 1:16 pm, edited 5 times in total.
Founder Treeleaf Zendo, Japan. Member SZBA AZTA. Treeleaf is an online Sangha for those unable to commute to a Sangha, w/ netcast Zazen (www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=17) & all of a Soto Sangha (http://www.treeleaf.org) Nishijima/Niwa
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