i just want to briefly share some personal practice changes.
i decided recently to stop wearing robes and using many of the formal forms of my lineage and tradition while offering teaching.
i now wear casual clothes and prefer sitting outside in chairs to the formal Daisan/Dokusan setting for teaching, no bells or bows or incense.
this to me comes out of much of the disillusionment i experienced around all the abuses of students and sanghas in the name of hierarchy or patriarchy or whatever name is meant to mean fucked up shit by asshole teachers.
i want to practice the way as an american idiot, not a japanese soto priest.
i feel many of the forms required in traditional zen training reinforce the hierarchy/patriarchy and any projected separation between ‘real’ zen students/teachers and ‘other’ practitioners.my commitment to awakening for myself and others is as strong as ever, but the forms the patriarchy/hierarchy have evolved seem to me to undermine awakening and imply there is a “real” way to do things.
if new students are more afraid of making mistakes than they are of sharing their hearts then something is wrong with this for me. this is my experience so far personally and of many students. if new students are nervous because of a perceived separation between teacher and student then there is something wrong for me. teachers are messed up, and being enlightened simply means accepting how messed up we are, not overcoming being messed up.
i am very grateful to my tradition and my teacher and the forms i learned from, and i don’t believe all form is bad or teachers who maintain them are bad, only the ones who use form to manipulate power or suppress awakening/questioning.
it’s too easy to hide perfectionism and power tripping in the forms, and it’s too easy to convince the whole group to buy into it. it’s hard to live without the reassurance of form and hierarchy, but this is where i want to live, for now.