Zendo and Mosque

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  • Myozan Kodo
    Friend of Treeleaf
    • May 2010
    • 1901

    Zendo and Mosque

    I’ve a sitting group in the college I work in. The college is bang in the middle of Dublin City Centre and full of students from all over the world. Each Monday, we sit in “The Quiet Room” for an hour. The Quiet Room is available to everyone for spiritual practice and for such classes as Tai Chi and Yoga.

    So, what’s been happening is that the Islamic students come in during zazen and totally ignore that a sit is in progress. They lay out their mats and pray facing Mecca, while the rest of us sit facing the wall or rise on the bell for kinhin.

    After zazen had been interrupted a few times, I put a poster outside on the door while we sit: “Zen Meditation in Progress, 12 noon to 1pm” it says. But still the Islamic students come to pray in our midst, undeterred.
    I considered asking them to wait until we are finished. We have the room booked for the hour, after all. But in the end I’ve decided that we should sit regardless of whoever comes through the door and to whatever purpose.

    So, we just sit in silence often, and sometimes we sit to the mumbled incantations of “Allah Akbar”.

    Obviously, religious tolerance is a complex thing.
  • Shokai
    Treeleaf Priest
    • Mar 2009
    • 6391

    #2
    Re: Zendo and Mosque

    AND, how's that working for you. Didn't Jundo-oso do a sit-a-long by the side of a highway once? I would think the odd “Allah Akbar” would add to the color of the practice.
    Do the sittees complain or are they able to work around it?
    合掌,生開
    gassho, Shokai

    仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

    "Open to life in a benevolent way"

    https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

    Comment

    • Jundo
      Treeleaf Founder and Priest
      • Apr 2006
      • 39456

      #3
      Re: Zendo and Mosque

      Originally posted by soendoshin
      But in the end I’ve decided that we should sit regardless of whoever comes through the door and to whatever purpose.

      So, we just sit in silence often, and sometimes we sit to the mumbled incantations of “Allah Akbar”.
      Yes, we sit with what is, no disturbance ... even the disturbances.

      And that "What Is' might, perhaps, be called by some "Allah".

      Gassho, J
      ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

      Comment

      • Taigu
        Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest
        • Aug 2008
        • 2710

        #4
        Re: Zendo and Mosque

        Soen,

        You are doing very well. I suppose a very quiet, calm and gentle discussion could do wonders. And if they don't understand, it is good practice anyway. Keep doing what you are doing. The other way of looking at it is that you would never dream of disturbing a muslim prayer. I wouldn't. That kind of attitude is precisely why I have left the shores of one God only a long time ago...

        Allah is greater that their thoughts about it-him-her...

        gassho


        Taigu

        Comment

        • Shokai
          Treeleaf Priest
          • Mar 2009
          • 6391

          #5
          Re: Zendo and Mosque

          Taigu-oso;

          well said, thank you for that
          合掌,生開
          gassho, Shokai

          仁道 生開 / Jindo Shokai

          "Open to life in a benevolent way"

          https://sarushinzendo.wordpress.com/

          Comment

          • Hans
            Member
            • Mar 2007
            • 1853

            #6
            Re: Zendo and Mosque

            Hello Soen,

            just my two novice cents: Hang in there for a while and if it doesn't work, find some other place. It's perfectly okay to have a bit of noise once in a while, since one shouldn't even be attached to some Utopian notion of a perfect Zendo IMHO. Having said that, it has been my experience that beginners in particular are often so put off by noise that they just won't come back due to not feeling comfortable. Your own dedicated practice is one thing, but since you are in the process of trying to build a regular sitting group, you have to take the old saying into account "there's no second chance for a first impression" when it comes to interested newbies.

            Gassho,

            Hans

            P.S. Keep in mind I am just expressing my own flawed opinions.

            Comment

            • Seiryu
              Member
              • Sep 2010
              • 620

              #7
              Re: Zendo and Mosque

              I too think you are doing the right thing, by just sitting with what is..we do not always get the peacful mountain top we want. But this seems like a good practice to really be able to watch our minds when things do not go the way we want them to. Sitting with what is is exactly that. When in a quiet, still room, sit with that and allow that to fill you and the whole universe...when sitting with prayers from another tradition, sit with that and allow that to fill you and the whole universe...


              Gassho


              Seiryu
              Humbly,
              清竜 Seiryu

              Comment

              • murasaki
                Member
                • Mar 2009
                • 473

                #8
                Re: Zendo and Mosque

                I'm sorry to have to say this, but reasoning with them will not work.

                They have injunctions to pray at specific times, and missing those times is (for those who are more on the devoted end of the lax-devoted spectrum) a matter of heaven or hell.

                While staying there might be good in the sense that you are standing up for yourself, I agree with what Hans has to say about protecting the interest of the newbies.

                Out of curiosity, what authority lets the Muslim group into that room even while it is booked? In the U.S., these authorities would be allowed to move them, but required to give them a workable alternative space.

                "Tolerance" has some acknowledgement in the Muslim faith which is emphasized in interfaith communications, but there unfortunately is a very clear line at which it stops. Buddhism is not an acknowledged faith in Islam in the sense that Christianity and Judaism are.

                gassho
                Julia
                "The Girl Dragon Demon", the random Buddhist name generator calls me....you have been warned.

                Feed your good wolf.

                Comment

                • Rich
                  Member
                  • Apr 2009
                  • 2602

                  #9
                  Re: Zendo and Mosque

                  Posting the sign was a good idea. Now add some chanting. A little talk at the end would be nice too.
                  _/_
                  Rich
                  MUHYO
                  無 (MU, Emptiness) and 氷 (HYO, Ice) ... Emptiness Ice ...

                  https://instagram.com/notmovingmind

                  Comment

                  • JohnsonCM
                    Member
                    • Jan 2010
                    • 549

                    #10
                    Re: Zendo and Mosque

                    I will add my voice to the others saying, sit with what is. Sounds to me like the Islamic students are sitting zazen with you, it's just that their zazen faces East and praises Allah.
                    Gassho,
                    "Heitetsu"
                    Christopher
                    Sat today

                    Comment

                    • Dojin
                      Member
                      • May 2008
                      • 562

                      #11
                      Re: Zendo and Mosque

                      as i citizen of israel i should probably keep my mouth shut but the best thing you could do is move your time of sitting.
                      i dont want to say anything bad about islam or anything like. and even less about muslims! but i will say this, they do have specific times to pray so i doubt they will agree to move them. and besides maybe its my delusional mind speaking but i would just avoid confrontation since in israel everyone is looking for a fight, and i dont just mean muslims... i do mean everyone!

                      i feel stupid for sounding like a racist and intolerant, i try not to be but living where i live does have its effects on you.

                      Gassho, Dojin.
                      I gained nothing at all from supreme enlightenment, and for that very reason it is called supreme enlightenment
                      - the Buddha

                      Comment

                      • JohnsonCM
                        Member
                        • Jan 2010
                        • 549

                        #12
                        Re: Zendo and Mosque

                        That is true, Muslims usually follow the Five Pillars of Islam and one of those is to pray, I believe three to five times a day, one of them being at noon, depending upon what sect of Islam they follow. Shia and Sunni are usually pretty close in practice.
                        Gassho,
                        "Heitetsu"
                        Christopher
                        Sat today

                        Comment

                        • Risho
                          Member
                          • May 2010
                          • 3179

                          #13
                          Re: Zendo and Mosque

                          I can be a little territorial and provocative with things like this but what about sitting where they usually pray and see what happens? Just spread out all over the room and see how flexible they are. hahhah

                          And yes I'm serious :mrgreen:
                          Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

                          Comment

                          • Taylor
                            Member
                            • May 2010
                            • 388

                            #14
                            Re: Zendo and Mosque

                            Ancient ones might say: "Move like water"

                            I might say: "Know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em". Comfort is a big factor for beginners, it was, and still is to some extent, a big deal for me when I check out a new place, even when I know it's all in my head.

                            As others have said, for them its Hell if they miss a prayer. For us?

                            Gassho,
                            Taylor (Myoken)

                            P.s. nice to be back
                            Gassho,
                            Myoken
                            [url:r05q3pze]http://staresatwalls.blogspot.com/[/url:r05q3pze]

                            Comment

                            • Myozan Kodo
                              Friend of Treeleaf
                              • May 2010
                              • 1901

                              #15
                              Re: Zendo and Mosque

                              Thank you all for your advice. It is an interesting and complex situation.

                              In fact, it is not a group that comes to pray. Rather, it is individual Muslim students that drop in to observe their faith. It can be at any time. They are in no way organised. Indeed, they are from many different nations.

                              The room itself is designed as a place to use at any time for quiet reflection. However, it is also possible to book it for classes, etc. So, the Catholic chaplain books it for Mass, the Tai Chi group book it for Tai Chi and I book it for Zazen.

                              The Catholic chaplain, Sister Flanagan, says that some of the Muslim students come in and pray even while Catholic mass is happening. And the Tai Chi teacher says they come in during her class also. I think they consider it the only place that they can pray, and they must feel the room is designed for drop in use, in any case.

                              Also, not all the Muslim students come in. Many open the door and politely wave and withdraw when they see the room is already in use. Others come in and pray in silence. Others again come in and pray at a muted volume. There is no way you can generalise about how each individual approaches it.
                              But for the minority that disturb, it is annoying and, I feel, lacking in respect. I asked the ‘newbies’ if it annoys them. They claim it does not. Indeed, I now warn them that there may be an interruption during Zazen. Unfortunately, there is no other room available to us.
                              I think it’s a policy issue for the people that manage the room. They should be clear that if the room is booked, then its ‘drop in’ status is suspended for that period. Maybe I should take the administrative route on this one...

                              ...all in all, it’s a great opportunity to practice ‘undiscriminating mind’.

                              Gassho,
                              Soen

                              Comment

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