Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Hey dudes. I just got back from Detroit Rock City where I spent the weekend at the Still Point Zen Center. A lovely time was had by all (my journalism teacher said never to use that phrase). It's a great place. They do way too many damn prostrations, though. Still, they got a good thing going out there in Detroit. It's Korean style Zen, which I've never done before.

Gotta go make an Ultraman promo now. See ya!


At February 28, 2006, Blogger Jules said...

Hi Brad!

I completely sympathize about the prostrations. A couple weeks ago, one of our senior zendo members demonstrated "touching the earth," a full-body-laid-out face-down prostration, and announced that one of the other senior students would be doing some readings while the sangha practiced touching the earth.

It's not exactly my favorite part of practice. I don't really mind it if the floor's really clean, and it usually is. But I'm glad we've only done it twice in five months since I joined. It's one of those things where I'm glad my friends and family aren't around because I'd have to explain why there are all these people prostrated face down on the floor in front of a statue of some Chinese demigod or something (Kuan Yin, but they wouldn't know anything about her). It's gotta look pretty weird since bowing is already a bit alien in our culture.

So that night we had a couple new people visiting the sangha, checking out what the Zen thing was about. After the demonstration of "touching the earth" and the announcement that we would all be doing that in a few minutes, there was a little break. The new people snuck out the back door, and haven't returned. Can't say I blame them, really.

Good luck with the promo!

At February 28, 2006, Blogger oxeye said...

Brad, good to hear from you.. Be careful in Detroit. It is almost as bad as north hill.

At March 01, 2006, Blogger Rick said...

Ah... Home sweet dangerous home. I used to go to Still Point, it was just short distance from University I attended.

At March 01, 2006, Blogger Jules said...

Just read that in Seung Sahn's tradition they do 108 prostrations every morning. I guess I shouldn't complain!

At March 01, 2006, Blogger Jinzang said...

I know all about prostrations. You have to do 111,000 of them as part of your ngondro practice. I grew to like them. These days doing prostrations is my favorite sort of practice.

At March 01, 2006, Blogger Jules said...

I'm more concerned with the dominant perception of prostrations in our society. Picture Wayne and Garth from Wayne's World, "We're not worthy! We're not worthy!"

I think people who view prostrations from that perspective (which includes most of the people I know) would view them as pretty unhealthy. And I think for people who have that perspective, aren't educated about the proper attitude and real meaning of prostrations, but do them anyway with an "I'm not worthy" attitude, it's not healthy for them either.

I don't think it's really a big deal, doing them doesn't bother me. It's just one of those cultural differences that make Buddhism a little less accessable to average Americans, which is too bad. I was bummed to see that new couple sneaking out of the zendo just before the prostration practice. I was thinking, "we're not a weird statue-worshipping cult, honest!"

At March 02, 2006, Blogger oxeye said...

"I was bummed to see that new couple sneaking out of the zendo just before the prostration practice. I was thinking, "we're not a weird statue-worshipping cult, honest!"

Jules, I guess prostrations show that we will accept any strange practice if the perceived reward is great enough. Hell, zazen is strange enough in itself. I can see why you are uncomfortable with prostrations. Understanding that these things are done as a sign of respect is very close to admitting they are done as a sign of submission.


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