topic posted Thu, November 3, 2005 - 5:09 PM by  Unsubscribed
Hey all,

I've already posted several responses, but haven't really introduced myself to the group.

I'm a person interested in zen buddhism practicing in New York City. I've been interested in buddhism about 18 years, but only the past year have I been seriously practicing at Fire Lotus Zen Temple in Brooklyn, which is connected with Zen Mountain Monastery in the Catskills.

I'd be interested in networking, etc. with any other serious students of Zen, about any aspect of the training, including scripture-study, philosophy, koans and other fun stuff like that.

I also happen to be a gay man, so would be interested in meeting other gay buddhists.

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  • Unsu...

    Re: self-introduction

    Thu, November 3, 2005 - 5:45 PM
    You should come on out to the San Francisco Zen Center. You'll meet more gay Zennies than you can shake a stick at.

    Is Zen Mountain Monastery John Daido Loori's place? I hear he's hard core. Is that a mixed linnage type dealy?

    I'm way into Buddhist philosophy and would love to see some discussion of it go on on this tribe. There's a strong anti-nomian sentiment in Zen, but a lot of the core insights of Zen can be expressed philosophically. My view is that conceptual thought is like any other form of intentional activity, and can tend toward liberation or ensnarement.

    I remember hearing Yatsutani-Roshi's disciple Okomura-sensei speak, and he said "Somehow a lot of Westerners got the idea that in Zen you do not have to study. I do not understand this - this is totally wrong!" That coming from the Dharma heir to Sawaki-Roshi, the man who revitalized Zazen practice in the early 20th century.

    Glad to meet ya.
    • Unsu...

      Re: self-introduction

      Thu, November 3, 2005 - 6:01 PM
      Yes, it's Daido Loori's place. I guess he's hard-core. He's authentic, that's for sure. It's mixed Rinzai-Soto. He's big on study of the literature, like Yasutani-roshi.

      Zen Mountain Monastery has a great website, and they have mp3s of the roshi available for download if you want to check it out. Everyone I've met there is really cool, and the dharma talks by Shugen-sensei, a junior teacher there, are really great.

      Daido-roshi is very big on Dogen, who is fascinating and complex. The fascicle that is the theme of this fall's Ango is "Painting of a rice cake." A real mind-bender of a piece. We're supposed to study it and then make art based on our understanding. Gaa. Hard to do.

      In it, Dogen takes the old saw, "A painting of a rice-cake does not satisfy hunger" and completely turns it on its ear. I mention it because Dogen expresses the same idea you bring up regarding conceptual thought and philosophical writing. He writes, among many other interestin things: "To think this statement means that expedient teachings are useless is a great mistake. This is not the correct transmission of the ancestors' teaching: it obscures the words of the buddha ancestors."

      Presently, I'm studying Hui Neng, Bodhidharma, Dogen (just a little bit) and the Diamond Sutra. Not necessarily in that order or in any linear fashion.

      Anyway ... glad to meet you (virtually, at least).
      • Unsu...

        Re: self-introduction

        Fri, November 4, 2005 - 11:30 AM
        "Painting of a Rice Cake" is nice. I like that move by Dogen, to take stock images and stand them on their heads. He does the same thing in Shobogenzo "Sky Flower". In Indian Buddhist philosophy, a flower in the sky is a stock image of something that cannot exist. It would be like something that had no basis to sustain it, or something without a cause. Dogen takes this image and inverts it, saying EVERYTHING is actually like this. All things are without ground, with no underlying basis, like a flower in the sky. Beautiful.
      • Re: self-introduction

        Mon, November 7, 2005 - 7:21 AM
        Hi, John - nice to meet you online.

        The Zen Mountain Monastery sounds interesting. Do you have the URL for it? Oh, hey, I can simply "google" it.

        I'm on the Left Coast, on the cusp between Los Angeles and Orange counties. I've been a member of a sangha for about 18 months and relying chiefly on interviews and dharma talks for my education. Our Zen Master Jibong was a student of Seuhn Sahn, founder of the Kwan Um School of Zen. So we're an American version of the Chogye order out of Korea.

        Though I'm intimidated by the huge library of literature on Zen practice and philosophy, I'm also tempted to start somewhere -- and Dogen seems like a good choice. Any suggestions on books you've found and liked?

        • Unsu...

          Re: self-introduction

          Mon, November 7, 2005 - 12:33 PM
          Even though you asked John, I'm gonna jump in with my two favorite Dogen starters:

          Moon in a Dewdrop

          Heart of Dogen's Shobogenzo

          I wrote a review of the latter book on Amazon.

          All of Dogen's writings are short. He ranges from philosophical (Uji, Genjokoan) to practical (Bendowa, Fukanzazegi) to majestically poetic (Mountains and Waters Sutra, Plum Blossoms). Ohhh... it's good stuff.
          • Re: self-introduction

            Mon, November 7, 2005 - 12:44 PM
            I've always wanted to visit the SF Zen center.
            Is there a website?
            I did most of my Zen study in Taiwan, and at the Purple Lotus (Oakland)
            • Unsu...

              Re: self-introduction

              Mon, November 7, 2005 - 3:51 PM

              I recommend checking out the Saturday morning program. If you would like to do one period of Zazen and attend a Dharma talk, with the option of staying for lunch, you can show up around 9 (the schedule's on the web site). If you want to do the full monty, the first period of Zazen is around 6:00 am.

              If you're interested in Zen, you might keep your eye on their events, because they have some amazing stuff going on.
        • Unsu...

          Re: self-introduction

          Mon, November 7, 2005 - 4:41 PM
          Well, like Barnaby said, "Moon in a Dewdrop" is a good book. Dogen can be kind of obtuse -- hard to figure out. Fascinating though!

          Another historical figure you might want to check out is Bodhidharma -- Red Pine has a wonderful translation of writings attributed to him. Then there is Hui Neng. An old translation of the "Platform Sutra" (not really a sutra but Hui Neng's story and teaching) is available on line at

          You can find info about Zen Mountain Monastery and the Mountains and Rivers Order at:

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