Monday, January 18, 2010
The Zen that ate Chicago
This is a blog on, more or less, Zen buddhism - Today I found a post on the internet that said " Shohaku Okumura gave Dharma transmission to Taiun Micheal Elliston of the Atlanta Soto Zen center, helping to further legitimize Elliston's previous transmission in the sometimes disputed lineage of Soyu matsuoka."
Lineage - lets talk.
Lineage is more or less the recorded record of transmission of the Dharma from teacher to student going back in time towards the Buddha.
To Buddhist this is like a family tree, and is often used to gain respect , prestige, respect, glamor and as the man said legitimization. It is just sooooooooooo important. It is of course so important that many westerners, and probably some Asian teachers as well, have been know to claim lineages they don't have or that don't really exist.
I have studied with Buddhist teachers from several schools and lineages and have found that a lineage is like most things written on paper, mostly good for burning in a coffee can to keep warm when it gets really cold and little else. Paper is just paper.
Employers depend on such paper to hire and are often very disappointed. Schools give out large expensive pieces of paper like candy at a party, with about as much value.
When I meet Micheal Elliston , my spider sense was triggered, it did not take me long to determine he was the real deal. If you rely upon paper to make your decisions concerning a teacher you are giving up your own right and privilege to see and know for yourself.
Seek your teacher with your own perceptions, don't rely on paper, keep you heart and mind open and empty of preconceptions. There are many false teachers in this world and some that you would never suspect of being your true teacher. You may find your teacher at a bus stop or in a sunset, but you will never find a teacher until you open yourself up to knowing when you have found him or her.
I like my degree it hung on my wall for several years, but today I couldn't even tell you were the darn thing is.