Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Insulting habit

Unhappy Buddhist teacher of student?
Does a dog have Buddha nature?

In a previous comment, Mike Chodo Cross, my Zen teacher says:

"I think that a person who hasn't got the same state as Master Dogen should never fall into the abyss by pretending to be like Master Dogen through preaching and scolding.But a person who has got the same state as Master Dogen might inevitably preach and scold as vigorously as Master Dogen preached and scolded. So preaching and scolding, or not, is neither here nor there.The very difficult problem is: same state as Master Dogen, or not? If the same, we might have a voice with which to preach and scold. If not the same, we should not pretend. If we don't know, same or not, then what shall we do?"

The late chogyam Trungpa states that the main role of a buddhist teacher is to insult you.

In that light, I am certainly a very bad student, a very poor teacher and do not have the same clarity as master Dogen.

And I wont repent, bow, cry, shout or throw a tandrum. For I left behind this religious habit to despise oneself or others in the name of the truth.

I let buddhist teachers insulting their disciples and heirs if it is what they wish.

In my limited opinion and clouded eyes, just sitting, sewing kesas and shaving one's head are the true Dharma gate. And life is also as big as embracing 10 000 activities such as laundry doing, kicking stones, love making, cooking, working, drinking, laughing, being happy or sad etc.

As far as fits and fists are concerned, there are not necessary anymore.


Blogger wenders said...

So happy to see you back, Pierre. I have very much appreciated looking back at your posts on this blog and on your Nyoho-e Kesa blog. Your poetry, pictures, and comments about Zen practice are wonderful. I don't know very much about what a Buddhist teacher should be like, but there really are 10,000 dharmas, and so the teacher's role should probably vary according to the student. At the same time, the problem of finding one's true teacher is indeed difficult. It may be that the shouting scolding dharma is not to your liking (it's not my favorite either), but from what you have said, it seems to prompt you to clarify your understanding every time. You are not under any obligation at all to take harsh words seriously. But if you do, it is in your use of them that shows your own true Buddha-nature. Thank you so much for your life and your practice. Gassho and love,

11:07 AM  
Blogger Pierre Turlur said...

Dear Wenders,

My teacher, Mike Chodo Cross, has been really kind to me. From him I received much more than I could ever have wished.

Now, i stand on my own. Teacher without any student except a very difficult one: myself.

I really feel touched by your gratitude and at the same time I am not sure I deserve it. My life and practice are very limited. At least, I am glad to know you follow what I follow. This coming year, I am planning to open my sitting to japanese people and offer free sitting outside temples and religious institutions. No teisho, no kusen ( I cannot speak a word of Japanese) just sewing and sitting.

I am also willing to fulfill the task my teacher gave me a long time ago: translating the Fukanzazengi into French from Dogen's text. The fukanzazengi is the essence of our lineage.

Take great care.

gassho and love

Monk Kuma

2:22 AM  
Blogger wenders said...

Each of our lives and each of our efforts to practice both feel "limited," yet what we can appreciate about our life and our practice is utterly unlimited. How we allow our life to be the real teacher is fundamental. That is very difficult to put into words. A moment-to-moment awareness practice that never stops asking, "Are you awake? Do you see? Do you hear?"

It's not such as easy practice, I agree. But you are in it, doing it, appreciating it. Appreciating it, there is no boring, no sad, no happy, no interesting. At the same time, a boundless compassion arises. As a student, you yourself are no more difficult than any other. Just more intimate. How wonderful!

I am happy you will invite people to sit with you, and to sew the kesa with you. Whoever comes will be lucky to meet you.

Translating the Fukanzazengi is wonderful too.

I have links to your blogs from my new one, which you can find by clicking on my user name; you get the profile, then scroll all the way down to find the link to my blog.

Thank you again for your life and your practice.

Gassho and love,

8:42 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Salut, Pierre,

It's great to see a new post by you.

If I understand your point of view, then it seems that love and compassion conquer all -- and the compassion may involve a figurative smack in the head from time to time.

I agree.

With warmest regards,

10:10 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

(... the "smack in the head" bit is my own addition. I should've made that clear.)

8:42 AM  
Blogger Pierre Turlur said...

So wonderful to read your words like birdfeet on my dirty blog, dear Michael. Take great care.

4:36 AM  
Blogger Mike Cross said...

“I left behind this religious habit to despise oneself or others in the name of the truth.

I let buddhist teachers insulting their disciples and heirs if it is what they wish.”

But Pierre, is this really true? Or is it just another instance of you jumping blindly into the abyss?

If I answer my own questions: I suspect that what you wrote is not true, only wishful thinking. I suspect that you haven’t left behind your old religious habit. And, deep, deep in your heart you don’t truly allow others to do what they wish.

When you finally get around to translating Fukan-zazen-gi into your native tongue, I recommend you to ask yourself this question:

Did Master Dogen caution us against the arising of a gap (a) from the standpoint of one who was confident that he himself had totally become free from the gap-arising tendency, or (b) from the standpoint of one who was able, from time to time, to glimpse the gap-arising tendency in himself?

From where I sit, the fist of “Not that!” is still necessary, for self and for others. It is not the fist of compassion or of non-compassion. It is just the fist of “Not that!” Any kind of caring is not it. Losing the head is never it. Lengthening without widening, or widening without lengthening, is never it. And claiming to be free while still manifesting yourself as a slave to your old frog/monkey-like habits, is never it.

1:08 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Hi Pierre,

Mike Cross suggested I ask you to teach me to sew a bird's-foot kesa. I think that would be a good idea, if you have the time and are willing.

You can e-mail me at henro1962(at)

All the best,

3:09 PM  

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