rivers into islands

rivers into islands

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Despite The Buddha's Warnings

Despite the Buddha’s warnings, his insistence on the individual experience of these truths by means of meditation, and despite his advocacy of a “middle way” that shunned asceticism as much as it did hedonism, Buddha’s practice became a widely doctrinal system, caught up in rituals and scholasticism.  After his death, his disciples split up into sects, many advocating the very means and ends against which their teacher had warned.

….The tendency of students, however, to revert to dependence on gods, the Buddha, and the “holy” scriptures persisted.
            Perle Besserman & Manfred Steger, Crazy Clouds


A]            Taking care of the psychosocial realm: for example:

 Fire, Tenderness and Awakening (Race, Sexuality and Gender)
Transforming Depression and Anxiety Through Mindfulness and Compassion
Meeting Trauma and Finding Balance
Zen Approaches to Sickness& Dying
Queer Dharma Group
Four Perspectives on Dharma: Therapy, Spirituality, Science and Religion
Buddhist Psychology
Zen Therapy
The Awakened Writer
                         San Francisco Zen Center 5/13/15

Another characteristic of contemporary Buddhist practice, encouraged by Dharma centers, is to combine meditation with other practices--community circles, twelve-step programs, psychotherapy, martial arts, shakuhachi, drawing, pilgrimages to holy sites, clowning, writing, yoga, cooking, and/or precepts as Moses' commandments.  Whatever the teacher or influential community members happen to be interested in is combined with Buddhadharma and some as the true way, perhaps augmenting the center's membership with people who aren't really interested in traditional dharma practice.  Dosho Port, Keep Me In Your Heart A While

or meditation as mindfulness training that emphasizes awareness, compassion and well-being

B]            The centrality of rules, etiquette and hierarchy.

Meditation, enlightenment, teacher-student relationship, celibacy, lay practice, gender, nature, social convention, leadership hierarchy/administrative roles, sexuality, the play of family/children, socio-political involvement [activism, environmentalism, racism, homelessness, militarism, mental health, illness, nationalism, warrior, anarchism, eccentricity, indigenous/alien], ritual [sutra recitation, chanting, prostration, eating, walking, clothing, sitting form, degree of asceticism in practice—endurance, striking, fasting], public education, retreats, community activities, ecumenism, funding/financial issues

This is quite different from:
            The body is not the bodhi tree, mind is not a mirror stand, nothing to polish
with no place for dust to alight.

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