Wednesday, 4 May 2016
One view of a clergyman in any tradition is that he is one kind of technical expert, in this case one who knows how to perform certain kinds of ceremonies. To fix your car, get a mechanic. To perform a marriage or funeral, get a priest/vicar/minister/imam etc. Also, to settle a doctrinal question, ask the clergyman. And many laypeople do not think beyond that! Is it in a play by Ibsen that a failed medical student and a failed theological student share a room in the attic so that someone says, "If you ever need a doctor or a priest, there is half of both upstairs"?
Zen monks must know how to perform ceremonies but I think that there is also an attempt to ensure that they understand certain basic teachings on a level deeper than the merely intellectual.