Monday, January 9, 2012

Study Hall

Last week study hall was impacted by, variously, watching English football, going to the big Zen Center meeting, the Young Urban Zen offshoot study group, and going to meet a tanned and relaxed looking Abbot at the airport. Hopefully I can knuckle down a bit this week. I have picked up Eloquent Silence, a collection of koan commentaries and other writings by Nyogen Senzaki.
I have expressed before my interest in this earlier wave of zen teachers, in the early to middle part of the last century, how they mostly toiled in obscurity, and tailored their message to the audience of the time - Senzaki uses a lot of Christian references - without diluting the strength of their teachings. Here is a quote of his from the introduction:
"Monks have no monopoly on Zen. Zen belongs to the world. Laymen and laywomen attendants should study Zen - even children in kindergarten should be trained in the Zen way. The shrubs and grasses around this humble house also study Zen. They show the color of Zen through their own natural green... Zen monks are like street cleaners. They do their work so that others can go their different ways".


robert barrer said...

I appreciate how Senzaki would address his listeners when giving talks: "Bodhisattvas!"

If you haven't read the book about Sokei-an, another Japanese Zen pioneer in America, "Holding the Lotus to the Rock", I recommend it.
Available at the Zen Center library.

Shundo said...

Hi Robert, I think I did read that one a few years ago, and I have two books of his talks as well, as I think we have discussed.

robert barrer said... seems I have entered that unfamiliar territory where repeating one's self and forgetting what has been previously said is neither a choice nor an option.

Shundo said...

I find forgetting what I said to be very beneficial at times. We always need to be reminded anyway. See you tonight.