Zazen Notes

The Mudra of Zen

Fuxi's Poem

Zazen Notes homepage

Register   or   Sign In for Comments

(return to Posts)

Post Detail


Mark Foote

Post title:  The Measure of the Hall

(Mar 13 2013 at 05:39 PM)



I do think some of the Western, second-generation Zen teachers are actually established in the teaching (if I may say so), even though they may not be monsters, as Kobun Chino Otogawa once described his own teacher (the Rev. Chino).

The question is really, can they teach? At least, that's the question in my mind; my take is that Western Zen is a family affair, like Layman Pang and company, and a return to teaching both the esoteric and the exoteric without the closed fist of the teacher and in mixed company is the order of the day. Really the principal shortcoming of Western Zen teachers is their inability to vocalize the esoteric aspects of their own practice in a way that is meanful to others; "just sit zazen" may be good advice, but in the end I think it was the inner happiness that Gautama experienced as a child that gave us all a seated practice. Western Zen teachers don't mention that happiness much.

I think most Western Zen teachers haven't read the sermons of the Pali Canon; that's probably because the Japanese Zen heritage emphasizes a person-to-person transmission of some kind of experiential wisdom, and study can be a stumbling block to that kind of wisdom.

I won't argue, but to me the measure of the hall is in the instruction to the total novice, and most Western Zen teachers seem out of their depth in giving meaningful instruction about the practice to first-time sitters.

I have had to teach myself. This in large part because what I need to know is not being taught, and yet I feel it could be.

comments: 0  (post a comment)



August 2019


July 2019


June 2019


May 2019


April 2019


February 2019


January 2019














Google SiteSearch privacy notice:  if you use the Google SiteSearch on this site, third parties may be placing and reading cookies on your users' browser, or using web beacons to collect information, in the course of ads being served on the search results page. You can Opt Out of Behavioral Advertising- The Network Advertising Initiative.

Zazen Notes