Dogen Sangha International is No More

In one of my comments on the previous posting I said that I might dissolve Dogen Sangha International but not just yet.

 Well, I’ve thought about it some more and I’ve decided that now is the time to put the thing out of its misery. As of today April 20, 2012 at 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time (USA), Dogen Sangha International is no more.

Any groups who wish to continue using the name Dogen Sangha may do so. Not that you need my permission anyway. And that’s that.

Phew!

 I’ve wanted to do this for a very long time. There’s really no reason to wait any longer. I’m not retiring my position as a monk or discontinuing teaching Zen or anything like that. I’m simply ending Dogen Sangha International.

135 Responses

Page 3 of 3
  1. Harry
    Harry April 23, 2012 at 5:48 am | |

    … besides, I think what Buddhism holds to be the 'self' and the many spurious ideas (and unclarified assumptions) as to what constitutes an 'ego' might be quite different at times.

    Regards,

    Harry.

  2. Harry
    Harry April 23, 2012 at 5:57 am | |

    …For example, Buddhist teaching sees the self as comprising of the five skandhas, including our physical form.

    'The ego' by comparison, in Western thought and assumption, is often held to be just some sort of psychological entity or sense of 'self', 'me', 'I' or some sort of self referential mental structure… and the term is often used negatively speaking in terms of Buddhism or self help or just in common speech.

    At any rate, the zen/mahayana goal is not confined to either a personal psychological realisation or any other form of personal redemption.

    Regards,

    Harry.

  3. anon #108
    anon #108 April 23, 2012 at 6:04 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 23, 2012 at 6:07 am | |

    from what i've read, at nirvana the whole self/other thing goes away and knowing is everywhere. if there is attachment to any single 'point' of view, it's delusion.

    apparently we're all deluded here, so the previous statement may be entirely wrong.

  5. anon #108
    anon #108 April 23, 2012 at 6:09 am | |

    Jinzang: all phenomena are WITHOUT A SELF (anatman).

    Is that what you mean by "the false concept of ego," Jinz? Ego = Atman? I understand atman/self to refer to some kind of permanent, enduring essence; a soul or spirit. And yes, the Buddha suggests there isn't such a thing – not in things or people. And he might be right. I'm not wanting to split hairs, but, like Harry, I don't think that's quite the same thing as "ego". Still…

    If that is what you're getting at, then you seem to me to be saying (in my words) "the goal of Buddhism is to arrive at the opinion that that the concept "ego" is a false concept." That would be an opinion, a philosophical view. Fair enough. Buddhism 101, perhaps. But hardly "the goal of Buddhism".

    But if you're saying that "liberation from ego" is more than adopting a view, but is something that can be made real for a person, then that sounds like my second option (above): "liberation from having a sense of self," ie having no sense of self-hood/identity. I think such a state stands little chance of being realised by anybody for more than a few moments…however badly someone might value and want such a state and however much time and energy they might devote to achieving it.

    (Less dukkha necessarily involves less dukkha for both self and others, of course.)

  6. anon #108
    anon #108 April 23, 2012 at 6:28 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Blake
    Blake April 23, 2012 at 6:32 am | |

    So would you consider being head of the Sing-a Sangha? As an organization, we love to sing-a about the moon-a and the June-a and the spring-a. We love to sing-a about a sky-a of-a blue-a and a tea-a for-a two-a. We love-a to, we love-a to sing!

  8. Harry
    Harry April 23, 2012 at 6:57 am | |

    BTW, I think the Old Barbarian himself pulled a masterstroke in regards to the Buddhist preoccupation with mental wrangling, 'ego', 'self' and all such notions that we get hung up on from time to time:

    Huike said to Bodhidharma, “My mind is anxious. Please pacify it.”

    Bodhidharma replied, “Bring me your mind, and I will pacify it.”

    Huike said, “Although I’ve sought it, I cannot find it.”

    “There,” Bodhidharma replied, “I have pacified your mind.”

    … now it was probably some poor chinese chap came up with that chestnut long after the fact, but you know what I mean.

    Regards,

    Harry.

  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 23, 2012 at 7:43 am | |
  10. Fred
    Fred April 23, 2012 at 7:49 am | |

    "Do you mean that the goal of Buddhism is to arrive at the opinion that that the concept "ego" is a false concept? Or do you mean the goal is liberation from having a sense of self? Something else? Perhaps liberation from greed, hatred, delusion? I'm never sure what people mean when they say things like "…liberation from ego."

    The false sense of self that is
    yapping away on this board.

    Did the Buddha stop yapping when
    he realized that which exists
    beyond yapping? Who knows.

    Why were Buddha, Jesus and Mohamed
    men? Because it's bullshit. The
    Unnown can be grasped by anyone.
    Organized religion is a crock of
    shit.

  11. Fred
    Fred April 23, 2012 at 7:59 am | |

    To train and enlighten all things from the self: is delusion; to train and enlighten- the self from all things is enlightenment. Those who enlighten their delusion are Buddhas; those deluded in enlightenment are all-beings. Again there are those who are enlightened: on enlightenment-and those deluded within delusion. When Buddhas are really Buddhas, we need not know our identity with the Buddhas. But we are enlightened Buddhas-and express the Buddha in daily life. When we see objects and hear voices with all our body and mind-and grasp them intimately-it is not a phenomenon like a mirror reflecting form or like a moon reflected on water. When we understand one side, the other side remains in darkness. To study Buddhism is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things.

  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 23, 2012 at 8:08 am | |

    organized religion is organized religion and a crock of shit is a crock of shit. your feelings are your feelings.

    get it straight fred!

  13. Fred
    Fred April 23, 2012 at 8:12 am | |

    This fiction of ego can not gain
    what it wants.It should just want
    that which is here in this moment.
    There is no suffering because there
    is nothing to suffer. A maggot is
    meant to crawl through rotting flesh.
    Form is transmuted and morphed into
    different form. This concept of a
    self ego is like a red hot poker in
    held in my hands.

    If Buddhism had a goal it would be
    to see through and transcend this
    sense of self ego.

  14. Harry
    Harry April 23, 2012 at 8:24 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 23, 2012 at 8:25 am | |

    atman = atman

    some want atman = soul

    some want atman = ego

    I want atman = eggo

    that way there's more waffling and plenty of room to make something else that it isn't to begin with – like the "Elvis Waffle."

  16. Harry
    Harry April 23, 2012 at 8:28 am | |

    One problem with not having any organisation (and/or standard) at all is that the spurious might flourish without any sort of check. And, as much as I like to believe it's not true and afford people complete autonomy and dignity, people (me very much included!) do tend to disappear up their own asses from time to time. Even at that, and acknowledging that people really do need to keep an eye out for each other, I'm not sure that a big lumbering institution is ever an appropriate response.

    Still, sometimes I wonder which is the worst evil… and I'm sure there's a clever 'middle way' there somewhere.

    Regards,

    Harry.

  17. Mysterion
    Mysterion April 23, 2012 at 8:34 am | |

    Try Psych 101 – and I am no Freudian!

    ego = ego*

    Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama Shakyamuni) may not have been the first psychologist but he was certainly the first noteworthy psychologist.

    "Along with this basic analysis of the human predicament as one of suffering, the Buddha gained acute understanding of human psychology and physiology which formed the basis for later philosophical developments of Buddhism as well as the foundation for many advanced meditative practices. Essential to this teaching was the principle of 'no-soul' (atman) or no essence to what we consider the 'self.' " source

    *you cannot accurately measure oriental philosophies with an occidental ruler.

  18. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 23, 2012 at 8:39 am | |

    “Try imagining yourself standing in an empty room. You look around and see only empty space – everywhere. Absolutely nothing occupies that space – except you, standing in the middle of the room. Admiring its emptiness, you forget about yourself. You forget that you occupy a central position in that space. How then can the room be empty? As long as someone remains in the room, it is not truly empty.

    When you finally realize that the room can never be truly empty until you depart, that is the moment when that fundamental delusion about your true self disintegrates, and the pure, delusion-free mind arises. “Once the mind has let go of phenomena of every sort, the mind appears supremely empty; but the one who admires the emptiness, who is awestruck by the emptiness, that one still survives.

    The self as reference point, which is the essence of all false knowing, remains integrated into the mind’s knowing essence. This self-perspective is the primary delusion. Its presence represents the difference between the subtle emptiness of the radiant mind and the transcendent emptiness of the pure mind, free of all forms of delusion.

    Self is the real impediment. As soon as it disintegrates and disappears, no more impediments remain. Transcendent emptiness appears. As in the case of a person in an empty room, we can say that the mind is truly empty only when the self leaves for good. This transcendent emptiness is a total and permanent disengagement that requires no further effort to maintain.

    Delusion is an intrinsically blind awareness, masquerading as radiance, clarity and happiness. As such, it is the self ’s ultimate safe haven. But those treasured qualities are all products of subtle causes and conditions. True emptiness occurs only when every single trace of one’s conditioned reality
    disappears.

    As soon as you turn around and know it for what it is, that false awareness simply disintegrates. Clouding your vision with its splendor, that luminous deception has all along been concealing the mind’s true, natural wonder.

    ~Ajahn Maha Boowa

    (kind of sounds like what you guys have been saying)

  19. REAL practitioner
    REAL practitioner April 23, 2012 at 8:45 am | |

    There is no goal to Buddhism. Once you've established a goal you have already fallen into the delusion of dualistic thinking. There is nothing you lack and there is nothing for you to change. Change always happens without you having to push things around. A goal driven mind is a mind that will never be quiet or satisfied. Chatter on then, goaltenders.

  20. Harry
    Harry April 23, 2012 at 8:50 am | |

    Well, Mysti, that points to a big distinction to be made right there I think. Freud's theories have had such an affect on how we consider 'the mind' and 'the self' etc that it bears some clarification around terms i think.

    Freud originally saw the ego as operating to a reality principle in that it sort of negotiated to satisfy the unreasoned, unconscious arising selfish id drives while avoiding the lofty, guilt inducing morality of the superego (that's my cartoon version of the theory!)… which is quite in contrast to how we perceive the 'ego' to be when we croak on about it in relation to Buddhism and in popular usage (I'm of the opinion that the term is of very little use in Buddhism, if of any use at all, because nobody seems particularly clear what they mean when they say it).

    Even to Freud it was just a term to describe a function of the mind, not some sort of mental organ or entity.

    'Ego' from the Latin and Greek before it just means 'I', but it seems to have taken on the baggage of the Western idealist tradition and become associated with a percieved mental/ psychological 'I' or notion of what constitutes a 'self'.

    Regards,

    Harry.

  21. anon #108
    anon #108 April 23, 2012 at 9:09 am | |

    Fred suggests ego is:

    The false sense of self that is
    yapping away on this board.

    and concludes:

    If Buddhism had a goal it would be to see through and transcend this sense of self ego.

    I look forward to one day hearing from someone who has "seen through and transcended this sense of self ego"…whatever that may mean. On the evidence available so far, I'm not impressed.

    And Ajahn Maha Boowa says:

    Self is the real impediment. As soon as it disintegrates and disappears, no more impediments remain…This transcendent emptiness is a total and permanent disengagement that requires no further effort to maintain.

    I don't believe it.

  22. Zenleo
    Zenleo April 23, 2012 at 9:30 am | |

    If you have a wireless mouse on your computer, turn it around. (A 180 from it's proper position). Then try using it, you will find out where your mind is zen….errr I mean then.

    If you do not have a wireless mouse then you will never understand.

    Cheers
    Dale
    (Thanks for the links myst.)

  23. St. Francis The Talking Mule

    Unsupported premises.

    Logical fallacies.

    Deluded Neoplatonism.

    Did a malicious virus redirect my browser to the Hardcore Catholic Forum?

  24. Jinzang
    Jinzang April 23, 2012 at 9:55 am | |

    Yes, I am using ego as a synonym for the self. I know that's not what it means in Freudian psychology, but it's the common sense of the term. I use it because it suggests egotism, and egotism is a result of the sense of self. From the sense of "me" comes "mine" and from that comes all of our attachments. To give an example. if you hear a crash a look out the window and see one car has hit another, you don't get upset. But if it's YOUR car that got hit, you do. The difference between the two cases is egotism.

    To bring it back to actual practice. If I ask you to meditate by looking at your thoughts, in your mind there will be a sense of something that is watched and also a watcher. The watcher is ego, or the sense of self. If you meditate for long enough, to the point where there are significant gaps between your thoughts, sooner or later that sense of a watcher will fall away. You will see it for what it is, a mental fiction. That's what I'm referring to as enlightenment, though it's only one step in a very long process.

  25. Jinzang
    Jinzang April 23, 2012 at 10:01 am | |

    REAL practitioner said… There is no goal to Buddhism.

    Yes there is, the liberation of yourself and all sentient beings.

    There is nothing you lack and there is nothing for you to change.

    Greed, hatred and delusion?

    Change always happens without you having to push things around.

    Buddha taught all phenomena arise from a cause and cease when their causes cease.

    Chatter on then, goaltenders.

    Since I'm not a REAL practitioner, what is there for me to do?

  26. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 23, 2012 at 10:12 am | |

    Welcome, today on the Hardcore Catholic Forum, we thank (somebody) for The Pixies, and we thank somebody else for news about alien abductions.

    Getting to the word of the day:

    "Whatever… is material shape, past, future, or present, internal or external, gross or subtle, mean or excellent, or whatever is far or near, (a person), thinking of all this material shape as 'This is not mine, this am I not, this is not my self', sees it thus as it really is by means of perfect wisdom. Whatever is feeling… perception… the habitual tendencies… whatever is consciousness, past, future, or present… (that person), thinking of all this consciousness as 'This is not mine, this am I not, this is not my self', sees it thus as it really is by means of perfect wisdom. (For one) knowing thus, seeing thus, there are no latent conceits that 'I am the doer, mine is the doer' in regard to this consciousness-informed body." (MN III 18-19, Pali Text Society volume 3 pg 68)

    As to what is meant by "no latent conceits that 'I am the doer, mine is the doer' in regard to this consciousness-informed body":

    "One sage clarified True Mind (Reality) when he saw peach blossoms and another realized the Way when he heard the sound of tile hitting a bamboo. They attained the way through their bodies."

    (“Shobogenzo-zuimonki”, sayings recorded by Koun Ejo, translated by Shohaku Okumura, 2-26, pg 107-108, ©2004 Sotoshu Shumucho)

    In plain English: if I grasp at the feeling I have, I am no longer waking up and falling asleep, and my ability to feel changes. If what I feel informs the place of occurrence of consciousness, then the ability to feel is my necessity of breath and posture, and I find myself waking up or falling asleep in the midst of my activity.

    perfect wisdom, mind that takes place out of the necessity of breath and posture, the place of mind that moves dispelling any latent conceits that "I am the doer, mine is the doer" with regard to the consciousness-informed body" (the body of referred sensation?).

  27. Anonymous
    Anonymous April 23, 2012 at 10:19 am | |

    D. enigrate
    S. lander
    I. nsult

    can it be dissolved?

  28. Harry
    Harry April 23, 2012 at 10:29 am | |

    "I look forward to one day hearing from someone who has "seen through and transcended this sense of self ego"…whatever that may mean. On the evidence available so far, I'm not impressed."

    I tend to concur on that one Mysti,

    With all the prattle about Buddhism being about dissolving or transcending the 'ego', and our very normal and real human desires, one might mistake Buddhism for an inhumanly sqeaky clean philosophy of battering ourselves into a state of nothingness. This has happened in zen too of course (I recall the recentish article by the zen teacher who required therapy after being encouraged by his master to 'destroy his ego', or words to that effect).

    If someone can't aknowledge that they are at least a bit pissed off about their car being trashed then I'm inclined to think that's it's more to do with a sort of denial, or a type of psychosis, than enlightenment.

    Zen is good on this subject too though (in countering a sort of emotionally/intellectually aloof transcendism), and Gudo always pointed that we require a certain amount of desire in order to exist as we do.

    Regards,

    Harry.

  29. anon #108
    anon #108 April 23, 2012 at 4:29 pm | |

    Harry quoted this:

    "I look forward to one day hearing from someone who has "seen through and transcended this sense of self ego"…whatever that may mean. On the evidence available so far, I'm not impressed."

    And then wrote this:

    I tend to concur on that one Mysti…"

    Maybe you want draw Mysti's attention to that excellent point, H. Or maybe you're confused. What you wrote certainly might confuse others. I wrote it, not him. ME! It's MY work and all the credit accruing from any concurring belongs to ME. OK?

  30. Harry
    Harry April 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm | |

    Cheque's in the post, 108.

    You have to renounce the sin of personal possesion before you can cash it tho.

    Regards,

    H.

  31. Harry
    Harry April 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm | |

    That black plastic orb is like the big brother I never had.

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  34. Kyle
    Kyle May 17, 2012 at 5:23 am | |

    "I look forward to one day hearing from someone who has "seen through and transcended this sense of self ego"…whatever that may mean. On the evidence available so far, I'm not impressed."

    If it is worth anything, those who I think have been on the best track have been those who have stated that there is no "ego" to be "transcended." Transcending would kind of lose its meaning and not make very much sense. Those that have stated as much have tended to be also Zen Buddhist masters.

    I can understand the empirical method like the given quote, as I share it, however I just wanted to quickly correct this interpretation. Some Buddhists or those that have claimed Buddhism for themselves have said there is something to "realize" to "transcend." That is only as true as it is not true, and some very precious select Buddhists have also said as much. There are diamonds in the rough. ^.^

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