I’m in LAX waiting for a flight to Japan to attend the 2006 Zen Retreat in Shizuoka. But I wanted to make a real quick post.

After that last post, I got 2 e-mails from Nishijima Sensei, my Zen teacher, asking me to explain what I wrote (and not in an “Explain yourself!” way, just in an “I didn’t understand what you meant” kind of way). That was weird because the guy never responds to the things I write. In fact, I wasn’t even aware he read them. Anyhow, it seems like the meaning he got from the article was exactly the opposite of what I intended. Maybe he wasn’t alone in that, so I thought I should explain. He thought I was denying the authority of Buddhism in general and of Master Kodo Sawaki specifically. But I’m not.

In fact, I was trying to express that I do respect the authority both of Buddhism and of Master Kodo, very much. In fact, I also respect the authority of cops, lifeguards, the government and even George W. Bush. I probably ought to explain all this in some detail. But I don’t have time & it’s not likely I will have time till well after the Zen retreat is over. But for now, suffice it to say, if anyone else thought I was giving the finger to Buddha and Kodo, I was most decidedly not.

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14 Responses

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  1. kumakouji
    kumakouji August 31, 2006 at 5:01 pm |

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Jinzang
    Jinzang August 31, 2006 at 5:24 pm |

    I hope your retreat goes well and you tell us about it when you get back.

  3. oxeye
    oxeye August 31, 2006 at 9:40 pm |

    I’m reading master nishijima’s “to meet the real dragon” currently. It is so interesting to put that next to the things you write here and compare them. I am not drawing any conclusions, just comparing..

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 31, 2006 at 5:20 pm |
  5. V for Vendetta
    V for Vendetta September 1, 2006 at 7:18 am |

    I dug your last post and even get that Bush is me. Just dont like it yet.

  6. yudo
    yudo September 2, 2006 at 4:45 am |

    Like I said in a previous comment, authority is more of a thing of the moment. Some people, because they have authority on ONE subject, would want to have authority on all subjects.

    But there is also this: if someone or something is to get truly authoritative (which is quite different from “authoritarian”), it has to be subjected to doubt. This is the point of Karl Popper’s thing on science. If you can’t question it, then it’s dogma, not science.

    And once you have doubted the Buddha’s authority, but did so according to his recipe, you’ll just find out that he was just right. If you question MY authority, and I said something quite foolish, you’ll just find out that I was no authority at all.

  7. nai wakara
    nai wakara September 2, 2006 at 12:56 pm |

    made sence to me. except the gov’t part needs some clarification. the concepts of respect and unity are true, but…you really need to read zen at war…it’s not even long. c’mon.

  8. Jinzang
    Jinzang September 2, 2006 at 5:26 pm |

    I read Love’s Body many years ago. It seems that sort of Freudian analysis of society has gone out of style. (Does anyone remember Marcuse?) But it impressed me at the time. I came away with the idea that the reason people resent authority is that they’re not the one in authority. Then they’d be just fine with it,

    It’s like we’ve got not just one infallible pope but a whole society of them, each excommunicating each other with pronouncements ex cathedra.

  9. Drunken Monkey
    Drunken Monkey September 3, 2006 at 3:08 am |

    The post was clear to me, but I can only speak for myself.
    Good luck with your retreat.

  10. zenducker
    zenducker September 4, 2006 at 4:40 am |

    I thought your fuck authority post was completely clear. I can understand why someone translating from English to Japanese may get it confused, but as a native English reader I had no problem with the meaning. Finally found a Zen group in my area… about 20 miles away… just sat around for 1/2 hour

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