- As for the blog's name: -

I was @ Gustav Ericsson's sight, - Anzenkai, and I was looking at Nishijima Roshi’s calligraphies over there. Particularly there is one - "seki shin hen pen" - about which Gustav has earlier said in a blog post that it is Nishijima's favorite phrase from Master Dogen.

This seemed strange to me. It was not what I would expect Nishijima Roshi's favorite phrase to be. It seemed it could be some Rinzai master's favorite quote, - it seems to express continuous and constant sincerity, - but it did not seem to fit my view of the way Nishijima Roshi saw things.

So - consequently - I tried to think what would I expect his favorite quote to be. But all phrases I could think of did not seem to fit just what I might have had in mind.

So I tried to come up with what I would see it as, - and what I have come up with - is - "this universe out here".

- And this seems to be the right name for this blog here too.

- Definitely.                                                 ________________________

Genpo, Shimano etc

I don’t know much about the Genpo Roshi affair. - I read here and there, on the Internet, mainly on Brad Warner’s blog perhaps. I know almost nothing about Eido Shimano and the matters he’s been involved in, even though my first teacher (Rinzai sect) is a Dharma successor of Nakagawa Soen Roshi of Ryutaku-ji, - who has been Shimano’s teacher too.

I’d be interested to know and it’s quite easy on the web, but I can’t spare the time, - and the “head”, - as we say in Hebrew. (- today)

I’ve heard (actually - read) of other scandals following the mentioning of those of Dennis Merzel and Eido Shimano, and here too - very little. If you are reading this you are likely to be familiar with these things more than I am.

I don’t know the American scene. Quite thoroughly ignorant as for it.

And happily too, - btw.

- Still there might be a point I want to relate to.

- When I first had my first interest in the way - the spiritual path, - and for quite a while after, - several years at least, - I would see the way and religion as two different things - altogether apart. Unrelated.
I had no interest in religion.
- I assumed it to correspond to its appearance, - which I don’t even say it doesn’t.

- I recall when I met Kalo* in 1990 (Tuesday, - October the 15th) I was surprised at his (- unrequested) statement: (which I might still quite hate the sound of) “God exists”.

“God” was associated with religion. - I did not expect to hear anything about it.
(and I still do not see what’s the use of referring to the Reality by that name, or calling it that, - but perhaps there is still something to be learned)

- The point of “God” is irrelevant. I saw religion as people usually do. - Both secular and within the degenerated establishments.

I had no interest in religion. Actually it might be quite repulsive. I can certainly understand the way many intellectuals or extreme-materialists feel toward it.

- I suppose when I got to Nishijima’s Dojo in ’96 I still had this attitude, though I was familiar with the facts I intend to present here in this post already at this time.

It was sometime after that that my view changed. It doesn’t mean there were any facts I considered to be different. It’s somewhat like the way one feels toward things, - their interpretation. (- Still - such things can be quite real too - given that our mind at the outset is a practical tool.)

But then I didn’t think of religion as such a different thing from the way. - The path that aims at enlightenment or runs through it.

- It seems [- btw] this word is getting the status of a dirty one, in the house of Dogen, - as it presently extends to the west.

I don’t think this is correct. The situation in America today is greatly different from that in Japan 700 years ago. Things which may have been taken for granted then may be foreign to alien beings who are today joining the club.

I think this situation should be reconsidered.

Anyway - I suppose my change of view was much due to my stay at the Dojo, - though it only occurred sometime later. It seems to be that way for me not only then.

Again - anyway - now this seems to be strongly drawing us to what I tried to avoid in the last post. - Unavoidingly actually.

I might assume anyone trodding a spiritual path have a reasonable idea of what it is. “Zen” or Yoga or whatever. - Even with Sawaki Roshi’s “Zazen is good for nothing” people seem to parrot illogically taking it literally out of context.

However - as for religion, - in order to reasonably relate to what it is one can’t escape the questions of the existence of our planet and solar system, - and humanity - of what they are and how they came to be.

It is not that true teachers do not know this. It is easily understood why they avoid the subject. Some choose to explicitly lie. - While false teachers don’t even know they are supposed to know this, - in the non-dualistic schools at least - it seems, - so it doesn’t get heard at their places either.

Different religions have their stories of creation. This is not a new fact.

The pervading view today is of course that the whole physical plane - which is considered to be the whole of existence - is run by pure chance. - The appearance of everything within it is considered to be a consequence of completely random occurrences.
- The appearance of the Solar System, the Earth in particular, - and humanity which inhabits it - are merely the outcome of such processes and incidents.

I will not relate to how reasonable or unreasonable such an idea may be.

I will relate to the fact that it is untrue.

I do not expect anyone to take my word just because I say so.

At the same time I will not reasonably support my point at this point. Anyone interested can try and inquire for himself. It would be very difficult and probably far beyond anything I write here.

I will just state that our planetary system, including our home planet, - was brought into its present existence by intelligent beings who run the processes involved which are usually considered to be the fruit of pure coincidence. - That is - while humanity is a tool for individual beings who are born within it to attain to that which is known within Eastern religions as “Enlightenment”. - However shocking some may find this idea, - at least in the possibility of taking it to be true, - it can be said that that which the spiritual way is headed at - is originally the intentional aim of creation.
- I will here also refer to the fact that the statement in the Bible (Genesis 1:27) that God has created man in his own form refers to the fact that man is capable of “attaining” that enlightenment. (- I myself would have preferred not to use that word, - but I don’t want to leave room for absence of clarity.)

As for how things practically took place - the most reasonable description (in English at least) in my view you can find here. - It is not that I am saying it is all correct. I am quite confident it is not. - Contemporary materialistic so-called “science” as well changes its views once in a while. - Also the details are not relevant for the main point this post is to be about. - It doesn’t really matter for that. - And even among the writings or lectures of Mr. Steiner here you might find something which would be better than that. - That which I linked here is from a book I received years ago from a certain woman who doesn’t particularly seem to like Steiner very much, - which may very likely be the reason - in part - why she presented me with it after I initially borrowed it from her.

I prefer to relate to this point [here] as little as I can. It is an apparent fact that many will consider it ridiculous. And I am not (even) arguing as for its validity. - But without it it is generally impossible to practically make a correct assertion as for what a religion is, - here in this context, - and with my present (yet unfolded) intention, - at least.
And with the audience which might be reasonably assumed here at this blog.

- All [true] religions have been introduced by whoever they are - or whoever it is - who guide (- or guides - if you wish) humanity in its course of development, - whom of course do not [- or does not - that is] reside here at the physical plain as we ourselves do.[- i -]

- That is - religions are to be a tool as for the primary cause and aim of creation. - Whatever we do here on Earth serves that purpose. But not in the same way. Our consciousness ever increases. [- else than when it doesn’t - that is] But religion is a sort of guide or stream as to promote this purpose. - Most would imagine today that the moral guidance introduced within religion is identical in principal to the moral rules, laws or attitude we encounter in secular culture. It is not. - I am not referring to the extent or magnitude of refinement, advancement, development, - or primitivity, - of the structure and content of the designated route. - The purpose is not the same purpose.

- I would say the interest of the Heavenly factors who source the vital stream lies primarily with its purifying effect and its creation of natural patterns within the action and mental-structure of individuals who accord with the guidance presented.

- It is not just about “justice” or rightness in themselves as we see it in the secular world.

Not only through moral guidance, - religions contribute to the development of men, women and humanity toward spiritual attainment their present form is created for the purpose of. - And toward what may easily be said to be its pinnacle or climax.

- This of course has to do with the Heavenly introduction of religion. - It does not mean every nonsense introduced through degenerated scholarship which develops with time is favorable in the first place.
- You might consider for example the words of Christ spoken to the [- Jewish] religious leaders of his time in Matthew 23.

(- Which might have - [- btw] particularly as having been delivered in public, - contributed to the addressees of these words having assisted their renowned severe criticizer in safely finding his way to the cross at the famous sight of Golgotha.)

This is as well true as for religions which have made or presently make no reference to anything of the sort of what I said, or apparently seem to just be altogether unrelated to it. - Which of course isn’t really a rare thing; - otherwise most of what I said might have been unnecessary. - Hindu might be quite clear about its objects. - In part at least. - But in Judaism, - which Christianity has acknowledgably sprang out of, - all you might be able to find is religious law, generally without any reasoning or elucidation as for. - Ancient religions too may seem altogether unrelated to the picture I present.

- As for the reason for this - you might generally speculate as I might, - or so it seems - to me at least.

My main point in the above discourse is that religion is an instrument as for the spiritual development of humanity - aiming at the point at which what we might call “the spiritual path” is aimed at and leads to. - The difference is religion is intended for the majority of humanity, - or reasonable portions of it at certain major zones, - while the path is intended for those who are ready to take a far more explicit trek.

- Humanity is all aimed at enlightenment. - That’s what it has been created for.
Through continuous reincarnations it moves steadily forward. - This is the purpose of reincarnation: - To allow repeated use of the human body in constant progress until it is no longer in need.         [- “it” here refers to reincarnation; - if you see it as referring to the human body, - though - it would still be correct]

The spiritual path, - or - “the way”, - (- which could also carry a far wider meaning, - far more inclusive which would also integrate religion [- as presented here, - that is] as well) may perhaps be seen as somewhat like a home stretch in the Earthly existence of an individual. - Though quite a long one in itself; - ranging - you might say - in most cases - it seems - beyond a single life span. - It is when one intentionally pursues the path, - not always recognizing it for what it is, - due to his own inclination, - or attraction, - or sometimes consideration too.

- And there may be those who imagine they follow it but actually don’t, - following the instruction of such silly cons as the notorious Andrew Cohen; - (- he does seem like the most classic example - though my knowledge of him is scarce) an instruction that is made easy and convenient as to suite the will of those who have never had true attraction to where they are suppose to and imagine to be aimed at.

- So, - as for what I was saying earlier: - Originally I saw religion and the way (- I will use this word hereafter in this post) as two different and unrelated things. - Originally, - perhaps, - because I knew nothing of what a religion is. - But after I did too: - I viewed the different as the significant or essential, - or somewhere around the vicinity of these.
- The fact is humanity is not concerned about the way at all.
- Almost, - that is. - These days especially, - or at least.
- So this was the point I tended to notice and evaluate. It is quite natural.

Somehow sometime after visiting Nishijima’s Dojo, - my view changed. I saw the identity of the purpose and the as-if-possible-continuous-link as meaningful. And I generally thought of the way and religion as one.

- Nishijima - like many others - does not relate to the difference at all, - you might say. - He speaks of Buddhism. - He does speak of the will to the truth. - He does not neglect its importance. - But he does not relate at all to the difference between Buddhism as offered to the great humanity, and its practice by those for whom the will to the truth does have (real) significance.

I could mention as well, - that in anything I came across on the net referring to the incidents the title of this post suggests - the difference I am referring to was never suggested, and its existence has never been implied. - Nor in anything else I came across on the web, - as far as I can remember. - There is just “Buddhism”, - no distinction.

After the incidents you might assume this post is to be about, - not right away, but after some (- not necessarily intentional) regarding thoughts have been [quite freely] crossing my mind, - I quite tended to return to my previous view.
- To value the differences and see them as significant.

Buddhism, Christianity, and contemporary scholarism
- The question of what does Buddhism have to offer to westerners in general and perhaps Americans in particular, - and perhaps generally speaking - to that society which originally was of Abrahamic religions, - is practically and essentially to be divide - to a great deal at least - into two separate questions.

- This is why I went into all that I did just above.

It is true that I may be happy to make all the references to the occult, - but I would have preferred to avoid them, - for now at least.

- One question would be what does Buddhism have to offer to the general public, - i.e., - to those of it who find interest in it, - of course.

And a second question would be what would it be able offer to individuals who find interest in the way, - to those who have an inner inclination to pursue or seek that which is described by those who have come to know it as ineffable.

- And my first main point in this lengthying post - is that these two questions are not the same.

I might quote from Shobogenzo Baike: -
My late master, the eternal buddha, does not easily grant monks’ requests to stay at the temple. He usually says, “People who are accustomed to not having the will to the truth are not permitted in my place.” He sends them away at once. Having got rid of them he says, “Without being a genuine person, what do they want to do? Dogs like that disturb others. They cannot stay.””.**
- It is not necessarily exactly what I am talking about, - I don’t know the situation in China, - at the time or generally. - Were we talking about Japan I could say it is not exactly the same. - But the idea is similar and the difference I am talking about is here evident: - Tendo would never dream - of course - of having any objection to these people being Buddhists in the first place.

- I’m not saying I like the quote. - It may be somewhat out of place here in this context. - But it does display some sort of difference nobody would doubt, - not seriously at least - I believe.

As for the second question: - (I am here altering the order, - it seems more convenient) Has a person established the will for the truth, or has it naturally arisen, - or is it perhaps - I guess - in some stages of developing too, - it may be somewhat insignificant which way would he choose.

- The fact that Christianity exists where it does, the fact that Buddhism exists where it does, the fact that Hindu and Islam have spread as they did and are available in the regions in which they are, - is not without reason. - This will be significant when we return to the first question. - But generally religions suit the population where they arise and spread. - I don’t necessarily mean this is true in the last decades too.

- But still - anyway - for an individual who is genuinely attracted to the spirit, or to the truth, or to his or hers actualization of being a living part of humanity, - such environmental background or characteristics are not that dominant. - One’s personal tendencies might be much more significant.

I have recently* come across a post on Brad Warner’s blog where he refers to a woman asking him about the choice of her way. - In my view, - the most significant factor in such a case is which does one find more attractive. - Assuming we are talking about real paths and real teachers - not of the sort of the joker [- AC] I have mentioned earlier, - assuming we are referring to real ways, and the question is just which is better for a particular individual person - I would say in most cases the way one finds more appealing is the one that would actually suit him better.

I am not saying this is without exceptions. - But usually Rinzai would be better for a person who likes Rinzai and Soto would be better for a person who likes Soto. - It seems to me the main question this woman ought to consider is which [form of] meditation she is better found of. - As they are not necessarily at all alike. (- They may be quite alike compared to some altogether different stuff, - but then this does seem irrelevant here.)

Anyway - what I wanted to make a point of here is that with regard to the second question (discussed first here) it is true that Buddhism could be very suitable for men and women who find attraction to it.

However, - as for Buddhism taking its place as a religion in the occident - the situation may be quite different.

- This does not mean that there would not be individuals for whom the bargain would be right and in its correct place.

- The question is how small would the minority be and how insignificant.

I recall Papa-ji (- H.W.L Poonja, a Hindu Advaita teacher, picture on the right) once asked: - “Where do you find 500 people with the will for the truth?”. - Well, - of course, - he meant that you don’t. - Such a number is not reasonable.

- When I hear of a “Zen” center in the west with five hundred members it feels strange. - It doesn’t feel natural.

And this is where all that I have been bringing up here might link to the scandals you might expect me to be discussing here instead of all that you’ve had the chance to come across by now so far. - Sorry if you find it disappointing but you can always Google for sex. - Or Bing.

- If I think of such a center it seems the attendees were somehow misguided as for what they are coming for. - I don’t mean intentionally. - But the general idea might have been somehow misinterpreted for them: - As the whole picture I have been drawing is nothing near known to either humanity [of course] or to practitioners, - [- in most cases - it seems] the possibility of an occurrence of such a situation may be quite more realistic and common.

And it is not only due to that - of course.

The first question (here second) would have to do with the extent to which Buddhism could take its place as a religion in the west.

And this may be the place to mention - in case my - quite fantastic in the eyes of many I suppose - presentation, - is accepted - the true value that is reflected by such statements as that religion is “the opium for the masses”, (- or - “of the people” - as in the original quote) and thus also the true quality that is quite equally reflected - of the actual human material which produces such statements.

- And also - the wrongness of the view which sees religion - in part - as some sort of a primitive form of psychology.

- However, - as for the question itself - the question is how suitable is it for the people.

- Does the glove fit the hand?

And I don’t see room for analysis. - Perhaps somebody could. - But it seems quite impractical.

- But - then again - the feeling is quite clearly that it could not substitute Christianity. (- Nor could Christianity substitute Buddhism in its Eastern grounds - in case it makes anyone feel better; - and otherwise too, - btw.)

Here I might come upon another point which would differ than the view of many - and on different sides too:

- Many would take it for granted that Christianity is available in abundance in the world that is known to be Christian.

I would say that is not at all so.

- I don’t think that which any of the Christian churches today has to offer to the general public who would regard them as religious authorities is of the form Christianity should reasonably take on today, - or could actually justifiably even be called by that name. - Having been born and raised in Israel I have very little knowledge of the matter. - But I do imagine - still - I could say none of them reflects the true spirit of Christianity or its understanding. (I suppose Christianity did not rely upon understanding throughout the last 2000 years; I suppose the situation will not be the same in the next similar period.)

I could again refer to the state of Judaism at the time of Christ reflected in the chapter I linked above.

- There was Christianity. - It may be found here and there - today too. - But I don’t think any of the organizations known as churches does advertize it. - Again: - Suppose my story is true, - what would come a priest - in any of the churches you might know - who tries to advertize it, - or even generally just bring it up?

- I have recently come across news of an unknown Indian tribe traced in Brazil, - (see here too) completely detached from civilization - unless I got it wrong.

- They see airplanes. - They’ve been spotted by such.

- Now suppose they ask you what an airplane is. - Or perhaps you just want to tell them. - And suppose you tell them it’s a big bird. - Because practically they won’t understand better.

- Of course it isn’t. - It isn’t a living being at all.

And then your story goes down through the ages.

And suppose conditions change, and technology perishes, - as in some science fiction stories I might have read when I was a child, or a teenage.

- Airplanes don’t exist anymore, but the church insists on the story.

And then some wise scientist comes up and makes clear such a bird could never have existed.

Fools fight fools, - and those who do have a real and reasonable idea are wise enough to shut up.

(- As in the words of Lao Tse: - “He who knows does not speak; He who speaks does not know.”.)

And the image of religion may then be constructed according to misinterpretations of anachronistic fairy tales neither side really understands.

(+ : - btw - sometimes It’s not even that. - It seems some of the quotes the church used to rely on as to assert the Earth could not possibly be in motion simply do not say that. - It’s just bad translations.
- As I can read and speak Hebrew I can make that statement very unequivocally.)

The above parable is not meant to be perfect, - it is not 1:1, - if you get the general idea just forget it.

+ Back to the subject: - (sorry about the delay)

So, - it is that many, - both secular and religious - would imagine Christianity to be what the churches market or have to market.

In my view it was a great pity if this was about all there may be to it.

If you accept my account given earlier - again - the rerise of Christianity in particular and of religion in general is inevitable.

If you use your common sense and the most ordinary eyes every man normally has, - it will not appear overnight.

We can not expect it at present.

But if you take what you imagine to be Christianity to be what it actually is, - it doesn’t seem like anything we could expect anything much of in the future of humanity.

- It seems like a very poor glove.

- And then you’d say, - “- wtf, - this Christ thing is nothing, - It’s not even something we can take seriously”. - And you don’t see things in the actual perspective and framework or the way they are.

- I do say what the churches have to offer is not something you can plant.

It’s not even a tree.

But if you get what I’m trying to say you might notice Buddhism somehow doesn’t fit the ground.

I’m not saying it’s wrong. - Obviously. - It seems to be a way I follow though I’ve never chosen to receive precepts.

But the bottom line of this long road I’ve been leading through all the above words is: -

“Isn’t Buddhism trying to spread too wide?”.

These may have been somewhat of an expensive two cents, - but that’s it, - either way - here in this brief and light fifth blog post.
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shlomo_Kalo
[- i -] Steiner Speaks of beings who have completed their development on an earlier incarnation of this Earth of ours, who are at present the “leaders and guides” of humanity, - while beings who have not been able to complete their development at the same time and under the same circumstances are serving them for that purpose. (- as “angels”)
You might find some about that in the lecture previous to the one I’ve linked, (up at the post - that is) and in the one here too. - I suppose the natural place to look for it would mainly be in a book called “Occult Science, - An Outline” (- “Geheimwissenschaft im Umriss” ) but I don’t really know this book. - I’m not that versed in Anthroposophy.
** The above quote is from the Nishijima-Cross translation. (Book 3)
- Nearman gives: -

* - Well it was recent when I wrote it. - It has taken me so long to write this post that it may no longer be. [that recent]
- But it is not really that important.