In the Zen tradition, as in all other traditions, there are certain ways of doing things that are passed on from one generation to the next. These keep the sincerity of the work. At times these may seem to be broken from an outer perspective. Sometimes, indeed they are, but it is not the so-called outer that determine it, but rather "inner" or more refined function. Thus sometimes people will get "caught up" in outer form to the exclusion or loss of the reality. This is a poor downward spiral that is experienced by most of the religions and crystalized traditions.
But also, at the same time, and within those more refined parts of everyday life, there are those who pay attention to what is going on and try to work with that. They include many who have gone before yet are not separate from each other or some of "those" today. They work together to insure the continuity of Teaching, harmony, breath, and heart. It is from this point of being that the following has been shown.
What is presented here on this page is really not much more than notes.
'For some, this is not enough; and for those we say,
"That is fine. Don't worry about it".
For others this is too much. To those we also say
"That is fine".
So if you read this and find it either overblown or lacking, all we can say is "That is fine" '.
The "folks" who know what is going on in the various paths or traditions also include that which is known by different names; but the function is always the same. It can be "defender of the Dharma", "keeper of the flame", "protector of the faith", or by other names and forms. But it is always with the understanding there is a common working together. The different aspects are but various "faces".
It is very clear, has been recognized by those who know in these matters, and is stated unequivocally that since Phillip Kapleau functioned as Zen Master; he is also openly considered as such; and that the lineage and transmission is complete and unbroken as brought forth through him.
Through a web site such as this I am just reporting and therefore accept that recognition of him, and follow through with the understanding that it is real. This is simply nothing more than saying what already exists.
This in no way is in contradiction to the intent of the writings on the subject by Zen Master Dogen in 1235. He was speaking and writing for the time in addition to leaving work/guide for future use. But the needs of the local situation were primary. We find no conflict. The "Teacher" is the "Teacher".
He, Master Kapleau, resided in New York, was retired, and died shortly after a meeting between this writer and him. He also, in a larger way, looks over the work and includes it and the centers and people from a "semi-supervisory" position. This contact continues to this day, and he is transmission of heart and breath extends into this world. The daily outer work in this world is done by those entrusted with it, and with the transmission passed on through him - sanctioned by him. He is very clear and vibrant and would not have passed this on without reason. It is done rightly and clearly. If you have interest in a real school, they are the people to contact - after adequate preparation and in a grounded state.
If you wish to put the work of Master Phillip Kapleau and the transmission that is carried through him and on through his "heirs" into more perspective, you would do well to go to the Rochester Zen Center web site. It would also be beneficial to read both the "Afterword to The Three Pillars of Zen" and "Roshi and his Teachers", both written by Bodhin Kjolhede, Sensei. You can find these articles through the "library" link on that site. You would also do well to read in full the "Afterword - a Personal Note" found in the book "Zen, Dawn in the West".
It should be, and is clear that whether this transmission is carried on, at least to the extent it has been brought forth through Master Kapleau depends upon those doing this work. Here is a story.
The following is from the book "Zen Flesh, Zen Bones" compiled by Paul Reps. It is one of 101 Zen Stories.
What Are You Doing!