Thursday, October 31, 2013

Koun Franz on Zen teacher/student links

Taste is taste and I've got mine ...

In general, I don't like latter-day appreciations of Zen Buddhism. They are too frilly, too self-important, too slickly tricky-dick, too caring and sharing and compassionate without compassion for my taste. Too often they set aside what is important while donning the robes of importance. Sometimes I go so far as to become infuriated. As I say, it's just a matter of taste: I don't like anchovies either.

Nor yet do I like pimping for latter-day appreciations, crooning self-importantly about how powerful or profound or marvelous or on-the-mark they might be. Ick, ick and more ick. It's just my generalized taste.

But for every 'rule' there is an exception and I am not immune.

Today I read Zen monk Koun Franz' blog entry ("My Teacher Doesn't Get Me")and was touched. I was touched not because I thought he was right, especially, but rather by the fact that he took a shot at something I think of as a meat-and-potatoes issue in Zen (or perhaps any Buddhist) practice -- the desire on the part of the student to receive approval and love from his or her teacher.

Imagine: If love and approval on the part of the teaching were all Zen practice amounted to, how much better off could the student possibly be? Would s/he really be able to thank the teacher or would s/he instead simply be reconfirmed in the same old mind-set that brought him/her to Zen practice in the first place ... and Zen practice could be reduced to a self-aggrandizing hug festival? Tea and cookies ... how goddamned marvelous!

Everyone wants to be loved, but is that really love?

Koun Franz is much nicer than I am in asking the question.

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