Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

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  • disastermouse

    Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

    The thing is, can anyone really 'teach' Zen? In any way?

    Mostly, it seems a matter of encouraging practice and correcting the ego's endless attempts to make it something like what we all imagine the rest of life is 'about' - progress, attaining, and generally creating the optimal situational happiness we feel we can, generally by expanding our illusions if control - outer, and if that fails, inner.

    Zen isn't a method, a posture, or even really an activity (although Zazen is). How do you 'teach' someone to wake up to something that is so obvious that only our own Herculean efforts at not getting it can successfully keep us deluded?

    So how does physical proximity matter? In a way, being slightly removed allows the ability to ask a 'dumb' question without fear of immediate social consequences - probably the same questions that others would ask if they were honest with themselves and not so slavish to what we may imagine the teacher or our peers expect from us?

    The semi-anonymity also prompts us to express our real pompous jack-assery in print where it is less likely to be denied - and hence real correction can take place.

    Thoughts?

    Chet
  • Tb
    Member
    • Jan 2008
    • 3186

    #2
    Re: Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

    Hi.

    reference to Brad's statement?

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    Life is our temple and its all good practice
    Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

    Comment

    • disastermouse

      #3
      Re: Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

      His blog. Harder to cut-paste in iPhone.

      Chet

      Comment

      • Tb
        Member
        • Jan 2008
        • 3186

        #4
        Re: Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

        Hi.

        Here.

        http://hardcorezen.blogspot.com/2009/10 ... ts_16.html

        Mtfbwy
        Fugen
        Life is our temple and its all good practice
        Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

        Comment

        • Keishin
          Member
          • Jun 2007
          • 471

          #5
          Re: Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

          Brad Warner insists Zen can't be taught on the net.

          and it can't.


          other people say he is wrong.

          prove it.

          Comment

          • Hans
            Member
            • Mar 2007
            • 1853

            #6
            Re: Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

            Hello,

            to my knowledge Jundo never claimed that the setup of the Treeleaf community was the most ideal situation imaginable when it came to study Zen. Didn't someone suggest a tongue-in-cheek tagline at the beginning of Treeeleaf's inception that went something like "We're better than nothing"?

            Without Brad's first book I would not have found my way to Jundo and Treeleaf. I am grateful for that. If you or anyone else is unhappy about their practice situation, then do something about it. If you are happy with the way things are, just practice. What Brad might insist or might not insist does not have any importance per se, unless we make his statement an important one. I suggest Brad should do the best he can to realize and express annuttara-samyak-sambodhi...and we should do the same. The title of this post inivtes answers along
            the line of "Brad is right....Brad is wrong..." I will personally refrain from discussing it any further. A topic a la "what are the pros and cons of studying/practicing Zen on the net" might lead to more constructive answers.


            Gassho,

            Hans

            Comment

            • chicanobudista
              Member
              • Mar 2008
              • 864

              #7
              Re: Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

              Originally posted by Keishin
              other people say he is wrong.

              prove it.
              paz,
              Erik


              Flor de Nopal Sangha

              Comment

              • chicanobudista
                Member
                • Mar 2008
                • 864

                #8
                Re: Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

                Brad is right in some aspects, but I think dismisses others that make such venues a very welcomed place. Many faiths use different media to reach out those seeking a particular path. I am not sure how Zen Buddhism is any different.

                BTW....really...if you read the blog post, I personally think he needed a Zennie argument for what was at the root of the whole post: close the comments section. I do think it really got to him. He stated many times he never peeked there nor cared for what people wrote. But. He did peek. Some comments were good responses to his posts. Some were just trolling. Its his blog and he can do what he wants with it. I just wished he just said, "I got tired of reading nonsense comments. I don't have time to edit. I'm closing the comments section."
                paz,
                Erik


                Flor de Nopal Sangha

                Comment

                • Myoshin

                  #9
                  Re: Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

                  Hey all.
                  I agree with Hans. I do not think talking about Brad's statement in either right or wrong will do much of anything, other than produce a possible heated argument over internet vs. real. I have never been to a real Zen temple, but I have sat with real people, both here and the small sitting group of my friends who were interested in what I did back home.

                  Maybe we all could voice, as Hans suggested, pros and cons to the real (what is real anyway?) and the internet.

                  Pros:
                  -As Chet said, in an internet setting one is more likely to speak his mind or express his own 'Jack-assery' through type than compared to in person.
                  -The forum can be reached by anyone at any time. Making it easier for people in different timezones.
                  -The forum is open to the world, not just a specific area. Making everything more diverse and culture rich.

                  Cons:
                  -Practice is more of a discipline of self. No one is forcing you to sit zazen for 'x' amount of time as if you were in a real temple.
                  -Tone and expression is not always clear in the written word causing some confusion
                  -The forum can be reached by anyone at any time. Making it easier for people in different timezones. This doubles as a con because one could become, for lack of a better term, addicted to treeleaf. Where as a real temple has certain hours of operation.

                  Just a few I could think of off the top of my head.

                  Good topic!

                  Gassho,
                  Kyle

                  Comment

                  • Seona
                    Member
                    • Oct 2008
                    • 56

                    #10
                    Re: Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

                    I am personally very grateful for both Treeleaf and Jundo. There is no Buddhist community in my area [which always surprises me because I live in a fair-sized city] and I am not in a position to travel and sit with a group elsewhere. I try to do the best I can with what is available to me - I visit the websites of Zen temples and look at their reading lists and then try to find those books at the library. I check out audio dharma talks. I listen to Jundo's talks. I sit regularly and put into practice things Jundo recommends here.

                    I have noticed very positive changes in myself since I began studying Zen a little over a year ago. It may not be ideal, but I appreciate what I have, and I am pretty happy with what I have learned and accomplished so far. I think it is wonderful that Jundo is attempting to make Zen more accessible for folks like me, and it is nice to know that if I have any questions, my teacher and my sangha are only a click away.



                    Seona
                    The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, and forgiveness.
                    ~ HH the Dalai Lama

                    Comment

                    • AlanLa
                      Member
                      • Mar 2008
                      • 1405

                      #11
                      Re: Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

                      Brad said: I've said this before and I'll say it again, I don't keep this blog as a way of teaching Zen. Zen cannot be taught via the Internet or on a blog. Same as you couldn't teach someone how to play basketball via the Internet or on a blog.
                      Yup, ya gotta do it! Ya gotta learn it yerself. But let's not get caught up in the duality of yes-net teaching and no-net teaching, or the pro and con of it either. Clearly, there is a place for net teaching of zen, and we know this from OUR experience here at Treeleaf, which clearly is not Brad's experience. So let's move on...
                      AL (Jigen) in:
                      Faith/Trust
                      Courage/Love
                      Awareness/Action!

                      I sat today

                      Comment

                      • Hoko
                        Member
                        • Aug 2009
                        • 444

                        #12
                        Re: Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

                        "Be lamps unto yourselves.
                        Be refuges unto yourselves.
                        Take yourself no external refuge.
                        Hold fast to the truth as a lamp.
                        Hold fast to the truth as a refuge.
                        Look not for a refuge in anyone besides yourselves.
                        And those, Ananda, who either now or after I am dead,
                        Shall be a lamp unto themselves,
                        Shall betake themselves as no external refuge,
                        But holding fast to the truth as their lamp,
                        Holding fast to the truth as their refuge,
                        Shall not look for refuge to anyone else besides themselves,
                        It is they who shall reach to the very topmost height;
                        But they must be anxious to learn."
                        法 Dharma
                        口 Mouth

                        Comment

                        • disastermouse

                          #13
                          Re: Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

                          Originally posted by Keishin
                          Brad Warner insists Zen can't be taught on the net.

                          and it can't.


                          other people say he is wrong.

                          prove it.
                          Honey, I got started with Zen before I even knew what it was. Are you going to discount my first four years of Zen practice because I didn't have a flesh and blood teacher (or teacher of any kind, really)?

                          If you propose to answer that question, I wonder - how exactly would you know?

                          Chet

                          Comment

                          • Hoko
                            Member
                            • Aug 2009
                            • 444

                            #14
                            Re: Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

                            Keishin wrote:
                            Brad Warner insists Zen can't be taught on the net.

                            and it can't.
                            Zen cannot be taught because there is nothing to teach.

                            other people say he is wrong.

                            prove it.
                            I just did.

                            Gassho,
                            -K2
                            法 Dharma
                            口 Mouth

                            Comment

                            • Imsu

                              #15
                              Re: Brad Warner insists you can't teach Zen on the net.

                              I am a HS theatre teacher. My school was closed for two weeks because of swine flu. During this time I taught via distance learning using discussion boards, wikis, skype and other social networking tools. There are some things in theatre that I can’t teach virtually. Acting much like Zen is the art of doing. However, I found that using the discussion boards many of the students were much more willing to open up and the discussions on acting theory were much more fruitful. It seems to me that it is much the same with Zen and Buddhism. There are things that would clearly be easier to grasp in a temple with your teacher by your side, but at the same time there is a place for technology too. Living in the Middle East I just can’t pop down the street and meditate with my sangha. Without Treeleaf or Jundo I would be on my own. Brad himself warned about the dangers studying and practicing without a teacher in “Sit Down and Shut Up.” Luckily my teacher and sangha are only a wireless connection away.

                              Imsu

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