Talk:American Zen Teachers Association

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Untitled[edit]

The following comments were added by Curt Steinmetz on June 20, 2006:

No justification is given in the above paragraph for the claims that the AZTA provides "the defacto list of Authentic Zen teachers in North America" or that the AZTA "has become the principle way" for people to find "real" Zen teachers. The AZTA makes no such claims for itself, so it is puzzling why anyone else would do so. The AZTA website actually gives very little information - and there is no indication of any activity associated with the group other than a photo from 2003 in which there are all of 27 people - none of whom are identified. The section on the "History and Function" of the AZTA on their website actualy does not mention one single date! Many of those listed by the AZTA as "properly qualified" teachers are well-known names and there is no reason to assume that there is anything wrong with any of these folks - but there is also no reason to assume that they are any better or somehow different from any teacher not listed there.


And then, on June 21, 2006:

This article continues to proclaim that the AZTA provides "the defacto list of authentic Zen teachers in North America" and that the AZTA is "the principle way" for people to find "real Zen teachers". My comments questioning thse claims were moved to the discussion section. I continue to ask - since the AZTA explicitly denies anything like this, what, if any, basis is there for this claim?



The true irony of all this is that the phrase most accurately describing the American Zen Teachers Association is "self-appointed". And just in case you don't see it: the whole raison d'être of the AZTA is to separate out the "self-appointed" Zen teachers from the "real" ones! Ah - the wheel of Samsara spins on! Oh, and there is still neither substantiation nor revision nor retraction provided for the wildly false claims about the authority vested in the AZTA - claims which the AZTA does not make because it is, in fact, composed of "real" Zen teachers, who know better!


The previous writer exhibits a great love of the tradition. And this certainly is comendable. However, the tradition must always be tested against realities. It is in those meetings the "rubber hits the road." The tradition of Zen is marked by wonderful teachers (I myself am a member of the Zen Center of Los Angeles and am grateful for all my teachers, particularly Roshi Nakao), but the Zen way is also marked by incompetents and predators. To miss this reality is to open doors to great hurt. The AZTA is no guarantee against the worst of religious organizations. This is very important to note. At the same time it is the only organization currently formed that counts among its membership the larger majority of authentic Zen teachers. (for details look to James Ishmael Ford's "Zen Master Who? A Guide to the People and Stories of Zen" which explores many aspects of this problem.)