Sunday, January 07, 2007

ENLIGHTENMENT Part A Million

For those who haven't noticed yet, I have a new article up on SuicideGirls. You should be able to get to it by clicking on the words "new article up on SuicideGirls" in the previous sentence. I'm really bad with this HTML mark-up stuff. So if that didn't work, there's a link over to your right that will also take you there.

The latest article is a kind of a response to some of the endless chatter my last post generated. Sometimes I say things here in an offhand way, forgetting that I'm supposedly some kinda celebrity or some such garbage. I commented about that webpage maintained by that person whose students have been advertising in the comments section of this blog — which I think is just a really weird thing to do, actually. Anyway I kinda wish I hadn't said anything because I couldn't give a shit about her in particular or her students. There's a much more serious problem.

See, lots of the stuff that various wanna-be Masters out there claim as the basis for their supposed Grand Awakenings are pretty much the same stuff I encountered a number of years ago as part of the normal process of doing this zazen stuff. Not just me. Lots of practitioners encounter this stuff. In my case, I was also pretty jazzed up about it. I remember walking around thinking, "Yeah, bay-bee! I am the King of All Creation and you better believe it!!!" I was ready to start collaring the monks I saw begging for loose change at Shinjuku Station and challenging them to Enlightement Smackdowns. Had they seen the great truths to which I was now privvy? I thought not. HA! What fools they were compared to ME!

But if you study the koans, you'll see over and over and over again instances of young monks all jazzed up on their initial experiences in the practice being told off by their teachers. If the relationship between teacher and student is a healthy one, this usually works. When it's not, the youngsters often end up breaking away from their teachers convinced that they have surpassed even the great masters in the depth and power of their new-found enlightenment. This is nothing new. It's been repeated countless times over the past couple thousand years.

This is one of the reasons Dogen advised people not to study Buddhism without a teacher. I devoted a whole chapter to this in my upcoming book. But the upshot is that it's OK to do zazen without a teacher. Unless you're really obsessed with obtaining some kind of big experience from the practice, it won't do you any harm and, in fact, will probably do you a whole lot of good. But if you find yourself getting truly serious about the practice, a teacher is absolutely necessary. Among other things, a good teacher will keep you from declaring yourself the One True Messiah upon your first shallow rumblings of understanding.

We've been so conditioned to look at and understand the world we live in a specific way deemed by society to be "normal" that when you first start to get an inkling of how things actually are it can be quite a shock. The severity of that shock depends on how deeply you bought into the supposedly "normal" way of looking at things. If you really, really, really bought into it without question, you're gonna be in for one hell of a surprise upon encountering even the merest shadow of understanding how things really are. If you've had questions and doubts about what most people see as "normal" all along, the shock may not be quite as severe. The people who are the most severely shocked are the ones most likely to believe they are now the New Savior of Humanity the moment they get a glimpse that things might not be as they've been told. Still, the difference between what life really is and what you've been told it is, is so great that pretty much everyone is surprised by it.

I think there's a real danger in what's going on with all these supposed Enlightened Beings plying their trade nowadays. Someone who is very persuasive can have you believing just about anything. I told the story in Hardcore Zen about how deeply impressed I was by the former leader of the Cleveland Hare Krishna temple. He was later allegedly involved in a murder case in West Virginia. I recently came across a copy of the book Monkey On A Stick, which details the case and has a photo of the guy. Looking at him again after 20-some years I shuddered to think what might have transpired had I not held on to that little bit of skepticism towards what he was saying that I felt at the time. I know exactly how people get involved in those horrible gloom-and-doom cults because I could easily have been one of them.

70 comments:

Anonymous said...

It works

Anonymous said...

Brad, so in effect, what that Linda Clair person is claiming as "enlightenment" is as you say, "very shallow glimpses of understanding being presented as Ultimate Truth."

So what do those followers of hers do now? How are they to determine when she has reached enlightenment? Do you think she is purposely defrauding people or is she just deluded?

Anonymous said...

So, Linda Clair IS a Zen master?

Anonymous said...

Good post.

I remember that feeling after doing zazen for a while. Started to buy in to my own bs. Luckily it passed and I avoided becomming to much of a 'cosmic schmuck' (as Robert Anton Wilson would say).

Anonymous said...

"If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him."

It's just as applicable when that Buddha that you meet is yourself, yes?

V for Vendetta said...

I think it depends on what we are talking about. To claim Enlightenment means what?? We dont all have the same experiences so how would we have the same enlightenment? If we cant then its impossible to say what it is and how that relates to me. If inquiry is correct the only thing that keeps us from seeing our "normality" is the thought im not enlightened. The ego thought that i am John and you are not. When John is gone who is left?? Hard to say until John IS gone.

MikeDoe said...

So how does this stuff relate to you then?

You have now two books (which presumably earn money) that tell of your experience.

You have this blog. You have articles on SG and elsewhere.

You have a certificate (yay!) from a Genuine Zen Master who in turn has a certificate from ...

You feel free to assess others on whether or not they are enlightened based on what exactly?

You also have your weekly zazen sessions which a few people sometimes turn up to (and I guess must be loss-making).

So, in some ways it would be possible to suggest that you are making money and encouraging a band of followers based on your own experiences.

Of course you have a day job that pays the bills, but hey you are just starting out on the 'Ultimate Zen Master' trip...

Have I missed something? ;-)

Anonymous said...

"So how does this stuff relate to you then?

You have now two books (which presumably earn money) that tell of your experience.

You have this blog. You have articles on SG and elsewhere.

You have a certificate (yay!) from a Genuine Zen Master who in turn has a certificate from ...

You feel free to assess others on whether or not they are enlightened based on what exactly?

You also have your weekly zazen sessions which a few people sometimes turn up to (and I guess must be loss-making).

So, in some ways it would be possible to suggest that you are making money and encouraging a band of followers based on your own experiences.

Of course you have a day job that pays the bills, but hey you are just starting out on the 'Ultimate Zen Master' trip...

Have I missed something? ;-)"

Well said. Zen as all other religions is a load of shit. If you don't have a certificate from such and such a teacher and follow the same dogma then it isn't "correct" Zen according to the "fixed tradition" of Zen.

All this talk about direct lineage from the Buddha. Yet throughout most of Japanese history the "Zen masters" were simply appointed by the government or given their temples and "master" recognition simply because there was no one else to take over the job.

And how is hongaku shiso Zen? This is atman and not Buddhist at all.

And most of what is practiced in "Zen" was not practiced by the Buddha anyhow. Did he practice Toaism or Confucianism? Can you sepperate them from the original Zen?

You (Brad) rally against those who teach from their experience and through their own methods. You claim that what they have experienced is not the TRUE enlightenment/way etc. And you base this on what exactly?

An old man has you wright out some names on silk, then signs it and low and behold YOU are now a MASTER able to determine whether someone else HAS IT or not. What a load of rubbish. Sounds like Scientology to me, another cult with an elaborate hierarchy and elaborate ways of determining who is in and who is not.

"Oh no, sorry, you aren't enlightened because nobody has recognised you and given you a piece of paper."

"Oh no, sorry, you don't speak Japanese or know all the correct religious terminology."

When all these hairy fairy superstitious religions are gone human kind will be better off.

Anonymous said...

All this Buddhist bullshit about us creating our own suffering.

What about others who create OUR suffering? What do you do about that? What do you do if you are living your life morally and abiding by the teachings, but others are constantly dogging you, bringing you down, attacking you? Do you strike back? Do you turn the other cheek? Do you endure this suffering?

Isn't it also true that our suffering is caused by others? What did the Buddha have to say about that, huh? Hide away in a monastery?

Where I live, trying to be peaceful and calm, trying to spread the teachings of Buddhism will get you killed.

From my view Buddhists shut themselves out of the real world, they hide from the truth of the world and create their own dimension. Isn't that the same as Christianity or the other religions that hide the truth behind ideals and fantasies?

What are Buddhists doing about the REAL world? Oh, sitting in a room facing the wall and hoping that the real world won't come and kick them in the nuts.

Anonymous said...

Yeah...but can 'anonymous' get a blogger account, please? There's no suffering like the suffering of clicking on the name only to find it's not really a link to some interesting personal info...

Jordan & The Tortoise said...

"What are Buddhists doing about the REAL world?"

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/jones/wheel285.html

http://www.dhagpo-kagyu.org/anglais/actions/indexaction.htm

http://www.buddhanetz.org/texte/yadana.htm

This was just a quick web search. There are people putting Buddhist principals in action in many areas.

Don't forget Buddhist prison projects and hospice work.

Be well and happy!
Gassho
Jordan

Anonymous said...

Linda Clair sure has stirred up Brad. You have to wonder why he has had such a reaction to her.
Also, he doesnt seem to have read her website properly. She says she had three or four teachers (two of them Zen masters) over a period of about ten years. It sounds to me like she did a lot of practice, and awakened gradually.
There was a post a while back by someone who said that he was her student, and that she was definitely enlightened. This person may, of course, be deluded, but if I had to decide between a student of a teacher claiming enlightenment and a few guys who have read a bit of website text, I know where I'd be putting my money.

Anonymous said...

"Don't forget Buddhist prison projects and hospice work."

In my country this is not allowed. All teachers and pastors must be Christian.

Jordan & The Tortoise said...

"In my country this is not allowed. All teachers and pastors must be Christian."

Right action, When and how is up to you. And the great thing is you don't even need to be a Buddhist to do it!

Be well and happy!
Jordan

Anonymous said...

Words from the Scottish poet Robert Burns' The Jolly Beggars come to mind:

Courts for cowards were erected,
Churches built to please the priest.
What is title? what is treasure?
What is reputation's care?

(and)

Let them cant about decorum
Who have characters to lose.

Anonymous said...

"it takes one to know one" as the saying goes...

Anonymous said...

"The pot calling the kettle black" more like!

gniz said...

Brad's a good writer but I feel he's rather penned himself in with this "enlightenment/Buddhism" crappola. How long can you write about the same goshdarn stuff before you move on?

We get it, dude, there are a lot of phonies out there. Real practice is hard and not glamorous.

Thanks.

Time to move on.

:)

Jinzang said...

Still, the difference between what life really is and what you've been told it is, is so great that pretty much everyone is surprised by it.

Many years ago I was visiting my teacher's center. So was a guy who practicied at one of the local Zen centers. (The Catskills are full of Buddhist centers.) We were talking about dharma names and he mentioned his Zen name. Someone else, who knows this stuff better than I, said, wait, that teacher only gives names when you solve a koan. He smiled, and said he had. What struck me at the time was that it was an ironic smile and I couldn't figure out where the irony lay.

Twenty years later I'm a little wiser and I know that the book of koans is called "The Gateless Gate" for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Note to Brad:

I'd have to agree with gniz here:
you're preaching to the choir. I
doubt that any of your regular
readers would be deceived by the
blatant cheesiness of
Zen Master Rama and his ilk.

Here's a question for one of your
future posts:

Is it possible to sit
conscientiously every day
for say 40 years and still
not get what this Buddhist
stuff is all about?

Anonymous said...

note to anon - it could be that brad is not that interested in regular readers. he might be more interested in newbies who don't think they know more than they do.

Anonymous said...

"I'd have to agree with gniz here:
you're preaching to the choir. I
doubt that any of your regular
readers would be deceived by the
blatant cheesiness of
Zen Master Rama and his ilk."


Oh, i'm not so sure. Some experienced Zen masters were deceived by the blatant cheesiness of japanese imperialism.

Anonymous said...

"Oh, i'm not so sure. Some experienced Zen masters were deceived by the blatant cheesiness of Japanese imperialism."

Hear hear.

MikeDoe said...

"Is it possible to sit
conscientiously every day
for say 40 years and still
not get what this Buddhist
stuff is all about? "


Yes, but you have work really hard at it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, both of Brad's books cost around 15 bucks each. Oh.My.God. He'll be rich tomorrow, shucking Zen. The horror!

Get real.

First of all, do you have an opinion and want to post here and start a flamewar? Grow a pair and stop posting anonymously If you feel that strongly about your beliefs, you shouldn't have a problem attaching your handle to them.

Second of all, listen to what the man is writing. He's not attacking Linda Clair directly. He's saying that he has a problem with people who offer out-of-the-box enlightenment solutions. At no point did he say that Linda Clair is x and y. I also don't think he insinuated anything about her, either. I think you're reading into it and attaching what you want to it. He initially used her as an example as any writer applying rhetoric would. That was all. Get over it.

As far as the SG stuff, etc... I truly believe that Brad feels that he is 'spreading the word' (as corny as that sounds). There is a huge problem with Buddhism in the western world and I feel that Brad wants to undo some of that. Initially, I was confused as to why he would write articles for SG (I even posted a question on one of his previous posts), but he offered an explanation (and a valid one at that). He understood that some people were confused and he addressed it. I thought that was pretty cool.

I've been reading Brad's blog and web page for a couple of years now, but despite all of the interest surrounding Brad and his teachings, I've never seen him make the huge leap that many people who are in his position do. While he isn't exactly flying under the radar, he seems to be controlling a 'popularity explosion'. I also see consistency in each of his posts, even if he does seem to ramble at times. Consistency is something that few teachers have to offer.

Please, if you have a valid question or comment about the material, post it here, but if you're going to twist a couple of words around and turn a comments section of a great blog into a battleground, find another one.

yudo said...

"I've been reading Brad's blog and web
"page for a couple of years now, but (...)
"I've never seen him make the huge leap
"that many people who are in his position
"do. (...). I also see consistency in each
"of his posts, (...). Consistency is
"something that few teachers have to
"offer."

Agreed. What I saw was Brad saying that those who post ads for someone, saying that only her/him is the only right one are forgetting an essential piece of critical eye. And it well may be that some masters within the lineages were fools, and yet, nevertheless, willy nilly, they transmitted the BD. Even Deshimaru did.

Anonymous said...

Mikedoe said:

"You have now two books (which presumably earn money) that tell of your experience."

Firstly, you don't become rich publishing books on Zen. Secondly, Brad's experience doesn't seem to stick to his nose like a piece of shit. He criticizes those whose experience does stick to their nose like a piece of shit.

"You have this blog. You have articles on SG and elsewhere."

So what. A Buddhist teacher's job is to teach Buddhism, be it written or oral or both.

"You have a certificate (yay!) from a Genuine Zen Master who in turn has a certificate from ..."

So what. Some Buddhist teachers have certificates, some don't.
It is recommended to choose a teacher who was certified by another authentic teacher.

"You feel free to assess others on whether or not they are enlightened based on what exactly?"

I don't think Brad decides whether others are enlightened or not, rather decides whether they teach the truth or not - based on his own experience of reality seen as reality. You don't have to learn from Brad, if you don't trust him.

"You also have your weekly zazen sessions which a few people sometimes turn up to (and I guess must be loss-making)."

That's another job of a Buddhist teacher to lead zazen sessions. Brad doesn't criticize others leading zazen sessions, rather misleading others using meditation and teaching a would-be-truth.

"So, in some ways it would be possible to suggest that you are making money and encouraging a band of followers based on your own experiences."

Making money? Hardly any amount worth mentioning.
Encouraging people - yes, to be themselves and practice reality (zazen) and study reality and forget all illusions about Brad and themselves and others. That's what Brad encourages people to do.

"Of course you have a day job that pays the bills, but hey you are just starting out on the 'Ultimate Zen Master' trip..."

It seems like Brad is starting a Zen master career but he will never leave the ground, in other words, he has always been realistic as a Buddhist teacher, I suppose. So no trip is going to be taken.

I am not here defending Brad, I don't think he needs it, but I am explaining how a Buddhist teacher is different and motivated other than quasi-gurus who only care about fame and profit.

Anonymous said...

How to tell a fully enlightened teacher.

Disillusioned teacher says "Only I have the answer, only I can show you the way."

Enlightened teacher says "Only you can find the answer, I will help you if I can. If I cannot there are others who may have other insights to guide you."

All effort must be made by you, Buddhas only show the way.
Dhammapada 17:221

MikeDoe said...

Ryunin:

Firstly I don't honestly think Brad is doing any of this for fame or money, I believe his motives are sincere. But there again I have been around for a while.

"Buddhist teacher is different and motivated other than quasi-gurus who only care about fame and profit"

And therein lies the rub. To try and attribute motivation to others. So, you assume that Brad's motivation is one thing and that X's is another but you don't actually _know_.

There have been names of some other teaches bandied around on this site and I am not going to comment on either their 'state' or their motivation. I have views on all of them but they are merely my views. I have not met any of these people and without such a meeting it can be hard to discern where someone is at.

You can guess at motivations but it is just a guess.

Brad's book writing may be motivated by many things including the desire to bring Buddhism to a wider audience but only he knows.. I have a copy of Hardcore Zen on my bookshelf so no doubt Brad has received a few cents in royalties from it.

I sincerely wish Brad all the best with his ventures and his journey. Posting on SG was an inspiring move and something a little 'unconventional' for Buddhist circles. Go Brad!

Anonymous said...

gniz wrote - "Brad's a good writer but I feel he's rather penned himself in with this "enlightenment/Buddhism" crappola. How long can you write about the same goshdarn stuff before you move on? "

gniz - "enlightenment/Buddhism crappola" is a rather broad topic. I do not think Brad has exhausted it yet. But if a reader gets tired of reading about it, then it is time for him to move on, not the other way around.

By the way, I have been liking your blog lately.. Especially the troll in recovery post.

Waylon said...

Wow, I'm really surprised at how riled up people got over that last post......I mean Brad actually never named anyone and examples that he did use on the SG site are'nt ones that anyone could argue with. (Though Rama looked pretty fuckin cool, made me wonder if he was still doin the meditation circuit or not)

A few of my sacred cows went to slaughter when I started getting serious about zazen. I guess that people don't like to have their world views challenged. Thats okay. But if thats the case, maybe zazen isn't a good choice for them.

Anonymous said...

One of the anonymouses wrote:

"Zen as all other religions is a load of shit. If you don't have a certificate from such and such a teacher and follow the same dogma then it isn't 'correct' Zen according to the 'fixed tradition' of Zen."

I hear you, but I wouldn't go that far. I don't think the message of Zen, or the message of other religions, is necessarily at fault. I think it's the messengers -- the charlatans who create cults of personality and read a bit too much of their own press -- that is the problem.

I think many, if not most, people can spot their b.s. pretty readily, especially over time -- or at least entertain serious doubts about their attitude or approach, hence some of the comments on this blog expressing such doubts.

Anonymous said...

reading your blog is the coolest thing in the world brad. just had to say that. you put a fresh spin on things that i think is much needed. your sort of a semi-role model for me, but i'm not sure that's your intention. but thanks anyway, and keep up the good work

kidney

trbecker said...

"What about others who create OUR suffering?"

You suffer. Your fault. You should fix it.

Jinzang said...

Though Rama looked pretty fuckin cool, made me wonder if he was still doin the meditation circuit or not.

Rama committed suicide by taking barbituates and stepping off a pier. Pretty sad. There's a pretty good story of his life here.

That picture always makes me think of the cover of "Frampton Comes Alive!" But I'll always remember him from a full page ad he placed in a bunch of magazines. It showed him meditating on the hood of an expensive sports car. No self-denial for the sake of the spirit, no sir!

Waylon said...

"Rama committed suicide by taking barbituates and stepping off a pier. Pretty sad. There's a pretty good story of his life here"

One of his teachers was actually called Master Fwap.......that is priceless.

gniz said...

It is the reader's job to get bored and move on if they find the writer (in this case Brad) to be going over the same material again and again.

My point is really partly questioning why someone would hammer away at the same material again and again without being motivated to turn to other topics.

Its true that spirituality is wide and broad and minutiae can and will be discussed for eternity probably.

But I feel (just my opinion) that Brad's pretty much made his case and that further writings actually DIMINISH the power of what he's done so far.

Probably others disagree. Myself, I do write a bit on the subject for my own blog and have found that it gets dreary to tackle the same issues over and over.

I'd rather make up a new fictional story or discuss poker/politics/movies.

But thats just me--and yes i'm suspicious of those who will confine their writings to spirituality and the like ad infinitum.

Anonymous said...

"If the relationship between teacher and student is a healthy one, this usually works. When it's not, the youngsters often end up breaking away from their teachers convinced that they have surpassed even the great masters in the depth and power of their new-found enlightenment. This is nothing new. It's been repeated countless times over the past couple thousand years."

Reminds me of a story about a young jedi.

Reading through various comments about this post, I'm struck with the recognition of my own tendency towards getting jazzed up about any number of epiphanous moments in my life. The human mind is wired to learn, and it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that our emotional wiring would go into overdrive when we learn something particularly cool, and especially when that something is about reality.

What I think people get confused about is that "waking up to reality," as an event in one's life, isn't something that happens just once. Hey, you're enlightened! Now you can call yourself Neo and learn to run around rooms on the walls. Nope, that ain't it. Waking up may happen once and feel like a really momentous multi-orgasmic mind twitch. But that sort of thing can happen again, and will. If you let it.

The people who decide they've achieved enlightenment only get one of those moments. The people who allow for that one moment to be equal in importance to every other moment in life get to experience it again and again.

Esmerelda said...

1) "Is it possible to sit
conscientiously every day
for say 40 years and still
not get what this Buddhist
stuff is all about? "

Probably doesn't matter.

Brad has a very clear discussion of the lack of importance of enlightenment in his first book. I think a lot of people either did not read it or forgot it. Which is fine sometimes we all have to go over and over things before we understand them. There was an article in the Sunday New York Times about techniques for teaching happiness. Meditation is one of the things that they teach. Apparently it is 'good for you' so even if you just do not get 'it' what ever it is, you are still a 'winner'.

2) Any one who thinks he is getting rich from this stuff is quite uninformed about publishing and the economics of the internet. The only way to make less is probably to write and self publish poetry books.

3) It's getting hard to tell the anonymous guys apart so could the ones that are reasonable people please get at least a minimal identity? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Mikedoe: "And therein lies the rub. To try and attribute motivation to others. So, you assume that Brad's motivation is one thing and that X's is another but you don't actually _know_."

I don't know but I have to trust my intuition.

Lone Wolf said...

I was at Hastings the other day and reserved a copy of "Sit Down and Shut Up" along with "You Suck" by Christopher Moore (which is the sequal to "Blood Sucking Fiends" in case your into CM. And if not, you should be. Try "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal." It's great historical satire on the missing years of Christ. Jesus and Biff even train in a Buddhist Monastary. Biff is sarcastic and promiscious, but has a deep devotion to keep his buddy Christ from getting in trouble).

Anyways I noticed the humor in saying these two book titles when the Hastings lady asked.

"What's the title sir?"

"Sit Down and Shut Up"

Then she looks at me with her eye brows in a V and her lips all crumpled up most likely thinking -- did you just tell me to sit down and shut up fat boy. Then after she realized I had told her the actual title, she relaxed and giggled.

"What's the other book sir?"

"You Suck."

"I'm beginning to since a patteren here," she said.

I suggest you go out and reserve or pre-order your "Sit Down and Shut Up" too.

I also watched "Borat" at the dollar theatre later that same night.

Verry Nice!

Anonymous said...

"What about others who create OUR suffering?"

"You suffer. Your fault. You should fix it."

So, if I walk up to you on the street, pistol whip you, take your money, bash you and leave you for dead - it's YOUR fault, YOU should fix it?

Funny that's the same answer I got from the Christians. Somehow it's MY fault that I was left in a coma for months, am now on a disability pension, can't get a job.

Well, if Buddhism has the same lame answers as Christianity it's fucked up too.

Jordan & The Tortoise said...

"Funny that's the same answer I got from the Christians. Somehow it's MY fault that I was left in a coma for months, am now on a disability pension, can't get a job."

So you are suffering. There is a whole world suffering. Are you contributing to the world suffering or your own suffering? Everybody suffers; yes some suffer more than others. And usually this is because of things we bring on our selves one way or another, often without even knowing it.

Are you looking to suffer? Or do you want freedom from your own suffering?

Be well and happy!
Jordan

Anonymous said...

"So you are suffering. There is a whole world suffering. Are you contributing to the world suffering or your own suffering? Everybody suffers; yes some suffer more than others. And usually this is because of things we bring on our selves one way or another, often without even knowing it.

Are you looking to suffer? Or do you want freedom from your own suffering?"

Thanks for the nonsensical riddles master Yoda.

Yes, I want freedom from my suffering. But, try as I might, society doesn't give a rats ass. Not to worry, I have found my freedom from this world of torture, I have acquired some pain killers and a big bottle of Jack Daniels - release on the way fuck you all.

Jordan & The Tortoise said...

"Yes, I want freedom from my suffering. But, try as I might, society doesn't give a rats ass. Not to worry, I have found my freedom from this world of torture, I have acquired some pain killers and a big bottle of Jack Daniels - release on the way fuck you all."

That really won’t help.

If you really want a release from suffering there is a roadmap to do it. You just have to ask and you can usually get it for free. It is here on the web as well. If you want instant satisfaction you are not going to find it. It is allot of work, and takes a lot of faith in yourself.

Killing yourself is a waste of a body capable of getting to the truth.

Yoda, I rather prefer professor X.

Be well and happy, and don’t kill yourself.
Gassho
Jordan

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that Lone Wolf...a nice anecdote!

A Strange Day said...

Haha, this guy has to be a troll. Why would a guy whose life is *so* horrible feel the need to anonymously rant and rave about it on a relatively unknown Buddhist writer's blog?

But in any case, fuck the Zen act, you should be happy the guy that pistol whipped you didn't put a bullet in your skull instead. You should be happy you woke up from that coma at all. But, no, you're just going to go ahead and off yourself anyways. Nice.

Stuart said...

anonymous said:
> "Oh no, sorry, you aren't
> enlightened because nobody has
> recognised you and given you a
> piece of paper."

No, anonymous, this is wrong understanding. The reason you aren't enlightened ISN'T because you lack recognition or a piece of paper. The reason you aren't enlightened is that enlightenment isn't a thing that you can get.

Stuart
http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm

kim said...

suicidal anonymous sounds like a bad writer trying his hand at fiction. gniz?

Anonymous said...

Hey Stuart,

Thanks for the salvia divinorum
recommendation. I tried it out
and concluded it's some seriously
fucked-up shit. Maybe it's just
not my cup of tea, but it appears
to be a world unto itself that
doesn't have very much to do with
this world that I have to wake up
in every morning. Or maybe I just
did too much by accident?

Calling it psychedelic rocket-fuel
would probably be an understatement.
I'm just glad it only lasted about
10 minutes. Everything became very
dream-like within seconds and one
friend suddenly looked an awful lot
like The Thing from The Fantastic
Four. (Fortunately, it wore off
before anyone had a chance to take
me to the emergency room ;)

My question to you would be: Is it
something that you think is worth
exploring at lower doses? In short,
can you be a little more specific
about what exactly you might have
learned from it that might be
useful for your everyday life?

If you're able and willing to
respond, thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Brad's blogger comment board went negative real fast! On a positive note, I just saved a bunch of $$ on my insurance by switching to Geico!! ;-) Life is too beautiful to allow all of this drama to suck you down.

Anonymous said...

Brad,

Zen Master Rama is cartoonish, and
an easy target. Do you care to
comment on some subtler examples?

How come sitting makes some folks
"a little better" (as Gudo would
say) and others a lot worse?
For example, you vs. Mike Cross,
Joko Beck vs. "Big Mind" goofball
Dennis Merzel (they were both
students of Taizan Maezumi), and
then there are some really bad,
harmful cases like Eido Shimano
(as described by Robert Aitken
in his book "Original Dwelling Place").

Apparently, having a good teacher
and sitting for decades is not
necessarily enough to make a person
any less of an asshole.

Lone Wolf said...

Your welcome PA, Heyyy!

Anonymous said...

Along the enlightenment line of discussion. What would be the difference between enlightenment and awakeness or awareness. If I recall correctly, Buddha described himself as awake, not enlightened. If we equate the two then would not enlightenment be an on going state of awareness as opposed to an isolated flash of insight? Where did this enlightenment idea come from?

Dukkha Earl said...

UncaDan said...

Where did this enlightenment idea come from?


Gassho

gniz said...

Kim, no love for me? Thanks.

I dont do anonymous posts and I have tried to go on the troll wagon.

Anyway, glad to hear you're thinking of me.

Anonymous said...

Go away Gniz. Stop wasting webspace.

gniz said...

That's funny--telling me to stop wasting web space. Very likely you're the person being mistaken for me...

So whatever I am--looks like you're in the same boat my friend.

Stuart said...

> How come sitting makes some folks
> "a little better" (as Gudo would
> say) and others a lot worse?

One logical point: who said sitting makes anyone worse? If someone has done sitting practice for 20 years and is an asshole, that demonstrates precisely nothing. It might mean a LITTLE if you compare someone's assholocity before years of sitting practice vs after. The only really meaningful comparison would be between a person who's sat for 20 years (or whatever) and the person he would have been if hadn't sat for 20 years; such a comparison is impossible.

Anyway, a more practical point... I don't believe the act of sitting on one's ass is the key thing. It's one's direction: WHY are you sitting on your ass? If you're doing it because you want to get something, I'm not sure that makes anyone better. If you're doing it to deeply question, or to help suffering beings, that might be different.

It's like "Creation Science." You may put on a white lab coat and talk and act AS IF you're a scientist, but if you're defending a dogma (rather than openly seeking truth), you're really not. Likewise, you can look like a Buddhist on the outside, but if you're not putting down I/my/me, what's the point?

http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm

Stuart said...

To "anonymous" who wrote about Salvia above... Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on this poor sinner. I do get a handful of website visitors who are inspired to try Salvia and email me about it. Buyer beware. I'm surely going to hell for this. Or maybe heaven.

From my "spiritual" web page, go to the home page (link at bottom) to email me or sign the guestbook with your email address. I'm happy to talk more about it off this board.

http://home.comcast.net/~sresnick2/socalled.htm

Drunken Monkey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Great answer, Stuart, on the question
of the amount of assholishness before
and after 20 years of sitting, but I
thought that a "good teacher" was
supposed to be the essential
ingredient (or crucial catalyst) that
would allow a long-time student to
substantially zero out the majority
of assholishness that he or she began
with. But I guess not.

Anonymous said...

Great answer, Stuart, on the question
of the amount of assholishness before
and after 20 years of sitting, but I
thought that a "good teacher" was
supposed to be the essential
ingredient (or crucial catalyst) that
would allow a long-time student to
substantially zero out the majority
of assholishness that he or she began
with. But I guess not.

trbecker said...

"So, if I walk up to you on the street, pistol whip you, take your money, bash you and leave you for dead - it's YOUR fault, YOU should fix it?

Funny that's the same answer I got from the Christians. Somehow it's MY fault that I was left in a coma for months, am now on a disability pension, can't get a job.

Well, if Buddhism has the same lame answers as Christianity it's fucked up too."

I was rude before, and I apologize.
Your fingers looks good to type. You know how to operate a computer. Can you do something useful with that? I belive yes, but it's your power to do something about it.

And, sorry, but Christians would rather tell you to pray for a better living instead of doing something to get a better living.

You want some easy way out? Sorry, either killing yourself is not as easy as it seems.

Anonymous said...

Who cares if Brad or Linda is "enlightened"(which, by the way, we all are)? If you choose to bicker over such stupid things you are miles off the mark. Practice. Here. Now.
If something is wrong with reality, whatever's wrong is not reality, Guy

Katie said...

there is no good place to post this random comment... so here

I'm just a little confused. There's so many different beliefs and ideas about buddhism and zen, and so many different ways to practice... but I thought the whole point was just to sit. Just the action, not the thought. So why do I feel like I need to research the hell out of everything before I commit myself to zazen? If this practice is what I love and what I believe, should I bother to look into all the other stuff? Is it even about belief? I've been reading a lot of this blog (I just found it about a week ago) and other stuff, and it's making me think way too much about what was so clear to me before and I'm really not sure if that's a good thing. It's good to question everything, but to what extent?

Anonymous said...

Dear Katie,
There are many ways to the same path. Every school of Buddhism teaches the same dharma, just not the same way.
Your comment on "just sitting" is typical of the Soto school. Other schools, such as Rizai, practice koan work. Theravada has it's mandalas. Whether or not you should explore these other areas is completly up to you. If you find it overwhelming and confusing, well, just sit for a while. Don't stress because you don't feel you undestand; understanding comes in time.
Furthermore, this is not about "belief". It's about direct experience. Beliefs are weak tools to explain the universe around us, often having little basis in reality. Direct experience of reality is undisputable; what is, is.
To what extent should you question everything? MY answer: If you think something is fireproof, throw it in the fire. If it burns, it was useless anyway. I say question everything; nothing sacred or profane. Question your beliefs and your fears, why do you have them? Where did they come form? Were Mom and Dad and the clergy and teachers,..., wrong? Only you can answer these things for yourself. Gassho, Guy

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Anonymous said...

This article is pretty much trying to say that no one is Enlightened and it reeks of desperation in saying so. The sad thing is that this type of mentality stops these sorts of practitioners from actually seeking anything new, while at the same time they plod along never really achieving anything at all. In the end they become armchair experts who can do nothing except criticize.

Anonymous said...

Hello all!

I'm a student of Linda Clair's here in Australia so I thought I might be able to help with some confusion that some of you have about her. I'm sure that no spam was sent by her.
As for whether she (or anyone else) is "enlightened" or not is probably quite irrelevant but in my personal experience of sitting (zazen) with her for the past two years, I'm deeply affected just being in her presence. Not to mention how she is immensly compassionate and supportive. Sometimes tough but alway very loving.
I have no doubt at all in my mind that she is deeply (and growing more deeply) enlightened.
I can see how it's challenging to the mind, though because she is so darn ordinary. To be honest I was a little disappointed when I first saw her but I guess that was the first thing that I very quickly let go of while with her.
The ego is challenged because it sees that someone very "normal" just like you and me has the possibility of freedom in this life. It would rather think that it may take lifetimes and you need to be a bit more sparkly like Osho and sit on a throne (I'm not knocking Osho). The ego loves the chase, but is terrified of succeeding.
Everyone needs different lessons and teachers on their paths. She is perfect for some and certainly not for others.
One path will not work for all.
Of course one goal will.

That's enough out of me. All the best to all of you.