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East and West and Why and What - Jeff Broadbent comments quite
intelligently on DC's speculations posted 10-30 on
but now am posting this response on
Comments and linking from here,
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Correction: Jeff Broadbent will be speaking at SFZC Page Street Tuesday August 19, 7:30 pm.
8-12-14 - Jeff Broadbent, who is speaking Friday night (corrected) at the SFZC Page Street (see notice below in yesterday's top post) writes that his translations of Sawaki Kodo's Commentaries on the Song of Enlightenment are coming out piece by piece in English, French and German in the new magazine Zen Road by the Paris Soto Zen group.
8-11-14 - Correction: Jeff Broadbent will be speaking at SFZC Page Street Tuesday August 19, 7:30 pm. (corrected date)
"Way-Seeking Mind: Lay Wanderings in East/West Heart/Mind Scapes"
I highly recommend this talk. Jeff has a broad range of education, experience, and practice most relevant for today's engaged Zen students with an openness to revealing the demons as well as the angels that he has encountered on his path.
Jeff first encountered Zen in 1956 at the age of twelve at a Quaker retreat center in Pennsylvania when he met Sohaku Ogata from Shokokuji in Kyoto. After entering college young, dropping out, and involvement with civil rights and peace movements, in 1964 he started practicing with Hakuun Yasutani and Eido Shimano at New York Zen Studies. As a conscientious objector he worked in a hospital. After meeting Shunryu Suzuki and Richard Baker in New York in 1967 he went West and became an early Tassajara student. He returned to college, majoring in Religious Studies-Buddhism at UC Berkeley, living at the Berkeley Zendo. Following Suzuki’s advice, he studied in Japan for a year starting in 1971 and became a lay disciple of Suzuki's younger brother monk, the revered Hakusan Kojun Noiri. After further practice with renowned teachers in Thailand and India, Jeff studied sociology with the eminent sociologist Robert Bellah at UCB and then did graduate work at Harvard in the sociology of religion. He spent three years in Japan working on his thesis about environmental protest. He joined the sociology faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1986 and practiced with Dainin Katagiri. For years Jeff has been leading a global research project on climate change.
With gassho - - David Chadwick
Jeff's Zen Bio - sent 8-10-14
His email signature includes: “The world is much more interesting than any one discipline.” – Edward Tufte
Zen Name: Jomyo Bendo
global research project on climate change Jeff is leading 2014
12-18-07 - Here is a little bit biographical approach to the global climate change project, mentioning Buddhist practice as one key. It came out in the Sociology Association newsletter last month. It would be better than the more formal blurb I sent you.
Jeff Broadbent talk at SFZC Tuesday August 13, 7:30 pm.
[Correction: Tuesday August 19, 7:30 pm. ]
"Way-Seeking Mind: Lay Wanderings in East/West Heart/Mind Scapes"
Suzuki Roshi taught way-seeking mind. Opening mind to whatever comes up, mind weeds and mind jewels. Let it pass, bring attention back to tide flow of breath. In the process, life happens. Do things, watch results, bring mind back to breath. A tree breathes in the here and now. A dog does. A person does, but in the mist. Falling down through the mind, nausea, terrible sinful demons gnash teeth, open doors. No road leads to this place. How did you get here? Life in the disciplined dangerous world hurts. Clashing rationalizations tear away hard-scabbed illusions, tear the tit from the mouth. Learning to cope is hard practice. Why bother? Way-seeking mind takes you to drink at this trough. Drink until empty.
At age 12 (in 1956), I met Sohaku Ogata, a Zen monk from Shokokuji, Kyoto. Ogata’s mind projected an aura of deep silence unlike anything I had encountered. His presence conveyed the hope of coming home, in the heart. We met at the Quaker retreat center, Pendle Hill, where silent worship followed the inward light and people spoke as the spirit moved them. Having been spirited away at age 8 from mother and siblings by my itinerant father, the two of us had spent years moving from place to place, living in rooming houses, fleeing the police and the evil forces. But also searching for truth: joining and quitting Christian sects and socialist groups, meeting with Dorothy Day and Alan Watts, finally joining the Quakers and protesting chemical weapons at Fort Dietrich. Ogata’s hope kept percolating during my high school years, shuffling between Huang Po’s infinite mind, Marxist revolution and Quaker social justice.
Dropping out of college in 1961 to start therapy, join the civil rights and peace movements, I still found no inner peace. In 1964, I sought refuge in Zen, sitting sesshins and daily practice with Yasutani Hakuun at the Zen Studies Society in New York, assisted by the Rinzai monk Tai-san (Shimano Eido). Yasutani said, "idea-delusions can be cracked like a stone, but emotional delusions have to be sawed through like the lotus root." Work at a hospital under the Conscientious Objector program provided an income.
Suzuki Shunryu and Dick Baker visited in 1967 to announce the opening of Tassajara. Following them back, I practiced at Tassajara from 1967 to 1969. The two practices, Rinzai and Soto, differed like diamond and gold, the first a sharp and hard pursuit of the flash, the latter mellow and soft. Suzuki taught the Way-Seeking Mind, practice without purpose, a walk in the mist making you wet unawares. In personal interview, Roshi asked me, "what is your favorite activity at Tassajara?" I answered, "masturbation." He responded, "sexuality is like a bamboo flute. If you stop up the bottom holes, water can rise to the top." I could not take ordination because I knew I would violate sexual precepts. I spent the second year of my CO national service, arranged by Dick, as the "fire warden" of Tassajara, protecting the national forest from arsonist monks. So, as a monk, I was putting out fires while in Vietnam, monks were immolating themselves in protest.
Kicked out of Tassajara for lack of funds, I had to find work in SF to pay them back. Dreamed of making Zen gardens and Jesus the carpenter. Worked in an SF apartment pet-walking park, scooping up dog and catshit. When Paul Provasoli told me "the door opens inward," my old Rinzai striving mind collapsed. Finally, work as a laborer sledge-hammering concrete forms into the side of hole in the stinking SF airport landfill convinced me to go back to college. Majored in Religious Studies-Buddhism at UC Berkeley, living at Mel’s Berkeley Zendo.
Upon Suzuki Roshi’s advice, studied Japanese in Japan for a year (1971-2) at a Christian University in order to study Zen. Became lay disciple of his austere brother monk, Hakusan Kojun. Straight line from Shakyamuni. Running to put his shoes in place, often bashed my shaved pate on the low lintels. Knees ached unbearably through three hour sermons on Dogen, while at night on my futon I dreamed of sex. Disappointed I would not ordain, Hakusan told me to follow householder Vimilakirti.
Giving up, I traveled on. Holding an old monk’s big iron begging bowl, I trailed after the line of begging monks through the local village outside of Theravada teacher Achaan Chah’s Wat Pah Pong forest monastery in Ubon, Thailand. They ate only one meal per day, but it was so huge I could not move for two hours. Sitting at 4 am, the thunderous roar shook the hut--US B-52 bombers taking off to bomb Cambodia. In India, after bowing at the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, I took initiation in Surat Shaab Yoga from Sikh teacher Kirpal Singh. Zen goes out to merge with the present, Yoga goes inward to merge with light and sound. Going out accepts the monkey mind, going inward suppresses it.
Back after two years, for my UC senior project, I translated Sawaki Kodo’s Talks on the Song of Enlightenment. My teacher Robert Bellah sent me to graduate school at Harvard in the sociology of religion. Would Buddhism save the environment? Three years in a Japanese community wracked by environmental protest to find out. Taking a break, at the end of a long road in Busan, past the main temples to the outback practice center, an ancient Korean Zen teacher propped up from bed by his monk asked me, "No roads lead to this place. How did you get here?" My tongue froze.
Back in Japan, top-down Confucianist state industrial policy trumped the Buddhistic preservation of white sands and crooked pines. Thesis done, joining the sociology faculty at the University of Minnesota in 1986, I practiced with Katagiri Dainin. Heady academia can be interesting, but is a horrendous rat race until tenure, and even after. Very nerve-wracking practice for a lay Buddhist terrified of criticism.
Having wrecked one marriage, though, I have found my second marriage, together now for 23 years, to be even harder practice --- but rewarding to the marrow. Learning to make friends. Coupled with breathing, therapy, lexapro to quiet the demons of depression, clonazepam to quiet restless legs, VPAP to quiet sleep apnea and nuvigil to wake up, daily sawing down through the gut agony, sometimes it turns to joy. Save all sentient beings. Organizing global academics to fight climate change (photo). www.compon.org
10-19-14 - Jeff Broadbent had a comment posted on NY Times dot com pertaining to an article on space/time/Einstein and so forth. Posted in NYT 10-15-04
This is regarding a review entitled
Cosmos as Masterpiece In 'Cosmigraphics,' Our Changing Pictures of Space Through Time by Michael Benson
This is a wonderful and fascinating book. But I would like to take issue with Benson's use of the concept of space-time. In my view, Benson's introduction does not use, as he claims, our latest understanding of space-time (as developed in Einsteinian relativity). Rather, Benson implicitly accepts traditional Newtonian terms of three dimensional space, with time as a fourth dimension (of change). Benson nicely portrays the most recent understandings of the constitution of three-dimensional spatial universe as spongiform clusters foaming [forming?] among webs and nodes, like the internet. But Einsteinian space-time, in my understanding, shows that time is an illusion created by gravitational fields and is relative without fixed metric. This means that time does not unfold or pass, as in the Newtonian vision. Rather, it means that space-time (all space and all time) arise simultaneously as a kind of holographic projection from some unknown underlying generator. But a human is only aware (usually, at least) of their own immediate, personal circumscribed small space-time circle. Equally true, as in the metaphor of Benson's final Byzantine fresco, space-time is just a twinkle in God's eye.
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