Wednesday, July 29, 2009

someone even more full of *&^% than Eckhart Tolle

O. My. Gods. I found someone even more full of shit than Eckhart Tolle! And no, it's not David Hasselhoff.

A friend recently alerted me to a critique of Ken Wilber she had seen at a blog calling itself The Zennist. The post in question does not specifically mention Wilber, or Genpo, or even Eckhart Tolle, but rather takes broad aim at "Modern Zen".

There has always been only one way to study Zen: find a real, live, flesh-and-blood Zen teacher and study with that person. The definition of a Zen student is someone who studies under the direction of a living, breathing Zen teacher. And the definition of a Zen teacher is someone who has studied with one or more Zen teachers until being given authorization to teach Zen (by one or more of those teachers).

This is not a personal opinion of mine, it is simply a well documented historical fact that this is how Zen has always been studied and taught. An excellent source of information on this subject is the book Zen's Chinese Heritage by Andy Ferguson, but the same information can be found in any well written book on Zen written by anyone who has any idea of what they are talking about (such as the many books written by Steven Heine).

"The Zennist", however, proposes his alternative to "Modern Zen" with these words of wisdom:
For all of you Zen romantics who refuse to go along with this you have only one course of action to take, continue visiting this blog and other like blogs and Internet sites that teach about something other than the moment, for example, the Buddha Mind, the Unborn Mind, the One Mind, the Dharmadhatu, the Tathagatagarbha, or the foundational Buddha-nature.
Learning about Zen from "blogs and Internet sites" is like trying to learn about oceanography by watching Bay Watch. In fact, it is worse than that, because at least when you watch Bay Watch you will see pictures of an actual, real ocean.

Please do not take my word for it, though. Distrust and verify.
It is pointless for you to praise a maiden to the ears of a young man and describe her in words in order to inflict upon him pangs of love, when you can bring her beautiful form before his eyes. Point, if you can, to her beautiful form, then you have no further need of words.
Marsilio Ficino


Erik said...

I believe that Zennist was being sarcastic; reading through some of his or her other posts, I find somebody who seems pretty firmly rooted in classical teaching.

As evidence, let me introduce the following, from this post:

Today, especially in Zen circles, one is considered a great Zennist who practices a lot of zazen, i.e., seated meditation. Perish the thought that they haven’t actually won Bodhicitta or have the slightest clue as to what the great Zen masters of the past meant by the expression, Buddha Mind, the One Mind, the Unborn Mind, etc...

Also, the post immediately following the one you reference, "Stuck on Mundane Awareness", contains a good bit of commonsense Zen wisdom...

Apuleius Platonicus said...

His dismissive characterization of ngondro practice is inexcusable, but it highlights what is missing from "The Zennist". Ngondro practice is always done under the close supervision of a teacher. The teacher assesses your progress, and will make you do your bows all over again if that seems appropriate. Also, if you physical problems, many Tibetan teachers will work with you to find an alternative that is appropriate.

The Zennist gives no hint that he or she has ever spent 10 minutes studying under a qualified teacher.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

OK - I thought this was so, but there is no indication on the blog itself, so it took a little digging.

"The Zennist" is none other than the internet's most notorious Zen charlatan, "Zenmar". Anyone who wants to buy what he is selling is welcome to it.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

And I would now like to formally apologize to David Hasselhoff, Eckhart Tolle, Ken Wilber, and Genpo Roshi for mentioning them in the same blog post as Zenmar.