Brad Warner

‘I’m often pretty disgusted with some of the things I see passing for Zen. I’ve been pretty outspoken about some of these things — for example, the instant enlightenment seminars offered by certain so-called “Zen Masters.” I’ve often tempted to do what Toni Packer and others have done and just drop the words Zen and Buddhism entirely.

But I haven’t done so because I feel that would be dishonest. Any insight I have to offer came from the Zen Buddhist tradition, from Zen Buddhist teachers, from the Zen Buddhist environment. If I tried to pretend otherwise I’d be lying. I sometimes regret having taken the vows and become a Zen monk. But I did so. I could declare my vows null and void, but even that would be dishonest. I took them. They’ll never truly be null and void.

I don’t think we can find a Zen that transcends all cultural trappings. Even if we scrupulously attempt to remove everything that tastes the least bit Asian, we’re still left with our own cultural trappings.’ (from Hardcore Zen)

I have a regular conversation with one of my dharma sisters about how it is that we express our practice in this culture, and this was helpful to read (the post is nominally about Godzilla, which is also illuminating). I can’t say that I ever regret taking the vows, though, even if I have upheld them imperfectly.


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