Friday, March 23, 2007

ZAZEN TOMORROW (March 24, 2007)

I haven't done this for a while, but I want to remind everyone that there is a Zazen class at the Hill Street Center in Santa Monica tomorrow morning. It's open to anyone who wants to show up. Not many ever do, so there's no worry about it being crowded.

I gave a talk at UCLA on Wednesday night. One girl who was there commented that my personality in "real life" was a lot different from what she'd imagined from reading my books and blog posts. In other words, I guess, I was not some fire breathing punk rock ogre. I dunno. I don't really see the difference so clearly. But I suppose when you read something, you tend to give it a specific voice in your head. Maybe the voice everyone gives me is Johnny Rotten crossed with Ian MacKaye (both very nice guys in person, I'm told, by the way).

I remember a bazillion years ago there was this band in Akron called Outerwear. When I first heard them, I thought their lyrics were really morbid and depressing. Then one day I was listening to a tape of them and I just burst out laughing. Their songs were actually hilarious. I told one of them about that later and she said that was always the point of their music. To them it was all very funny. Just goes to show you, I guess. Most of the stuff that gets lots of people angry here is hilarious to me.

Anyway, all this is just to say please don't be scared to show up for Zazen cuz you think I might yell and scream and vomit all over you or whatever, because I usually don't.


Addison Lande said...

Don't worry- you've always been an amiable dork in my head, Brad.

Lysistrata said...

"usually", haha.

I've been meaning to for awhile - I'll try to make it down tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

"To me, most of the stuff that gets lots of people angry here is hilarious to me."

It is really hard to judge someone's emotional state-of-mind from their written words. To me, you seem angry much of the time yourself.

Anonymous said...

I was kind of diappointed you didn't cut yourself and shit on your zabuton like some Zen GG Allin...

No, just kidding, I probably wouldn't have come back if that had been the case. But your opinions and observations do seem to come across much more harshly in print. I'm not sure if "harshly" is the best adverb for what I mean, but I think it gets the point across.

Prof Wes said...

I'd encourage anybody in the area to go meet up with Brad's class on Sat. morning.

I'm a rank amateur when it comes to zazen, and garnered no ridicule at all.

I hate to burst Brad's internet persona as a hard-ass, but in reality, he's a nice guy. Blunt and straightforward - but nice!

I do have to admit he is shorter than I thought he would be...

esmerelda_verde said...

Definitely think you are like Ian Mackaye, except more hair and smaller ears. I just watched American Hardcore again its great! I am still sure the scene died because female fans would not go to concerts due to violence.

If you do not want people to think you are like Ian (do not understand why that might be). You could put up more videos of you talking about Zen(hint hint). Then people would have a better idea of what you are like.

Matt said...

Thats funny. Maybe the gal in question had never met anyone that she held in high regard in person. I've met a number of people that I have admired, had been inspirational and learned early on not to project my ideas onto the experience. That being said, yes you were shorter than I expected....I don't know why I would think something like that alot of people that I have met have been a little on the short side, but I did. Other than that you came across as someone that was very real about zazen, life and experience and all that.

Anonymous said...

Uh-oh, Brad, you're now officially
part of the Zen establishment:

You've been mentioned on page 140
of James Ford's "Zen Master Who?"
as "the iconoclastic Brad Warner".

Is that Johnny Rotten I hear puking?

Matt said...

"Iconoclasm" I actually had to look that word up. What I thought it meant was pretty close, but it might be a fair description of what Brad is doin.

apophasis said...

You know who's shorter in person?

Henry Rollins.

And perhaps this girl had little experience in the punk and harcore community, because a lot of us--not all, by any means-- are surprisingly soft-spoken, as compared to what outsiders tend to expect. And the quieter ones are often the craziest.

Cloudy said...

Until I watched these lecture videos you struck me as far more earnest than in the videos, which was a little off-putting to be frank, but you never seemed all that full-on. But then I haven't looked at much of the 0DFX videos...

Cloudy said...

The perceived earnestness was off-putting, not the videos.

Anonymous said...

Great example of the difference of reality and perception.
If there is something wrong with reality, whatever's wrong is not reality.

Anonymous said...

Your blogs have made a huge impact in my life and zazen an even bigger one. I would love to come out and do some sitting with you, but I am currently in AZ. If you are ever in my neighborhood let us know.

Anonymous said...

Doctor Doolittle's Guide to Life:

1) Life sucks.

2) This suckiness is caused by
the push-me-pull-you.

3) It is possible to tame
the push-me-pull-you.

4) The way to tame the
push-me-pull-you is
to harness it to an
eight-spoked wheel of
complete balance and
symmetry. Wash, rinse,
repeat. Over and over
again. Right here,
right now, do little.

(written from the trenches
of World War I)

Lone Wolf said...

Carless Whispers lol!

Before I go into that article, I was listening to Ian Mackaye's current band The Evens, which is him on Baritone guitar and a girl (forget name) on drums. Wow! He has really mellowed down. The Evens have some nice tunes.

On to my views about the latest SG's article. The more I here The Four Noble Truths explained as the Three Philsophies & One Reality the more in makes sense to me. It's a great teaching on why one should practice Zazen everyday. If I feel like slacking on my Zazen, I just review the Gudo Nishijima take on the Four Noble Truths.

Here is a quote from A Heart to Heart Chat on Buddhism with Old Master Gudo, which also makes me commit to practice Zazen every single day.

Gudo Nishijima:

"If we do not practice every day, we will keep entering and leaving, entering and leaving the state of Buddha, and it is possible that we will suffer psychologically even more than if we had never practiced Zazen at all."

Brad could you give a talk on this quote.

I must go sit now.

esmerelda_verde said...

In New York in the 80's people got killed at a Dianah Ross concert, people got trampled to death at a GreenDay concert upstate. I never saw Black Flag or Bad Brains back in the day. They had a very bad reputation. I wish I could have but the level of violence was real. Which is one of the sad things about Hardcore.

Everytime I see Henry Rollins now, I am reminded of the freakish size on Nancy Regans head.

Thanks Lonewolf, I will look for Ian's new band. Sound a bit like he is doing a White Stripes thing. I would also be interested in more about the starting and stoping issue. I have done this, is it really dangerous?

Greg Peterson said...

This is an example of Zen Buddhists reaching out to eight other faith communities to protect the planet and build cultural bridges:

Greg Peterson, Earth Keeper volunteer media coordinator.

Buddhists Again Join Eight Other Faith Communities For Third Annual Earth Keeper Clean Sweep Targets All Medicines

Buddhists Protect Planet in Ecumenical Project on Earth Day: 2007 Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep

(Marquette, Michigan) - For the third year in a row, members of northern Michigan’s Zen Buddhist community are collecting hazardous waste on Earth Day - this time the target is Pharmaceuticals.

Northern Michigan Buddhists are a vital part of an environmental army comprised of the vast majority of the Upper Peninsula religious community, university students, several environmental groups, and an American Indian tribe, that wants the public to turn in old and unwanted pharmaceuticals on Earth Day 2007.

This project comes one year after over 320 tons of electronic waste (computers, cells phones) were collected during the second Earth Keeper Clean Sweep.

Numerous Buddhists participated in the two previous Earth Day clean sweeps that collected almost 400 tons of hazardous waste for recycling or proper disposal.

Citing success of the previous clean sweeps, the head priest of the U.P. Zen Buddhist community said "this sort of vigilance and care" is needed to protect the planet adding similar projects should be "vastly expanded" by others around the world because grassroots environmental projects "must be the order of things to come."

"The churches and temples are leading the way. Now, if only the politicians can catch up," said Reverend Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, leader of the 15 member Lake Superior Zendo - a Marquette Zen Buddhist temple.

The first year, Earth Keepers collected tons of household waste throughout the U.P.; the second year, tons of electronic waste; and this year, it will be pharmaceutical waste,” Rev. Lehmberg said. “Lake Superior Zendo is proud to be part of this continuing effort.”

Northern Michigan University EarthKeeper (NMU EK) Student Team member Michael Rotter, who attends the Zen Buddhist temple, said "I hope this year's clean sweep will raise awareness for how simple things we throw away can have a such an impact on our watersheds."

"Hopefully people in the UP will take this as a moment to learn something new and help protect the water we drink," said Rotter, a senior majoring in botany.

The project involves the congregations of over 120 churches and temples representing nine faith communities (Zen Buddhist, Baha’i, Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist, and Jewish).

Prescription medication and over-the-counter medicines will be collected at free Upper Peninsula drop off sites during the third annual Earth Keeper Clean Sweep on Earth Day 2007.

The 2007 Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep is targeting out-of-date and unwanted medications of all kinds, according to Carl Lindquist, executive director of the Superior Watershed Partnership.

By addressing the issue of pharmaceuticals in our waters the Earth Keepers are once again at the forefront nationally," said Lindquist, co-organizer of the Earth Keeper clean sweeps.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Lindquist say the reason for the clean sweep targeting medicines is that trace amounts of pharmaceuticals are turning up in America's drinking water because most treatment plants are not designed to filter out these medications.

When pills or liquid medicines are poured down the sink or flushed down the toilet they remain diluted in the water supply after treatment and these trace amounts are suspected of causing a range of health problems, according to the EPA.

As leftover and waste pharmaceuticals get flushed down drains, research is showing that they are increasingly being detected in our lakes and rivers at levels that could be causing harm to the environment and ecosystem," said Elizabeth LaPlante, senior manager for the EPA Great Lakes National Programs Office in Chicago, Ill

“Specifically, reproductive and development problems in aquatic species, hormonal disruption and antibiotic resistance are some concerns associated with pharmaceuticals in our wastewater," LaPlante said.

"The Earth Keeper Pharmaceutical Collection event, therefore, is an excellent opportunity to prevent the introduction of these chemicals into Lake Superior and other water bodies," LaPlante said.

Lindquist said that recent national studies have documented that over 80 percent of the rivers sampled "tested positive for a range of pharmaceuticals including antibiotics, birth control hormones, antidepressants, veterinary drugs and other medications."

Lindquist said some urban centers have even detected "traces of pharmaceuticals in their tap water."

Pharmaceuticals in some rivers have also been linked to behavioral and sexual mutations in species of fish, amphibians and birds, according to EPA studies.
Pharmaceutical compounds known as endocrine disruptors have even been linked to neurological problems in children and increased incidence of some cancers, according to EPA studies.

Lindquist said the Earth Keeper Initiative and thus the Upper Peninsula "are ahead of the national curve" in addressing the pharmaceutical issue.

Rev. Jon Magnuson, Earth Keeper Initiative founder and co-organizer of the clean sweeps, said that combining religion and environmental protection is a perfect fit.

"This will be another step of a deepening connection between the traditions of faith and the critical challenges of the environment," said Rev. Magnuson. "The clean sweep is one of many signs of a new awakening, an historic shift of consciousness into the mystery of God and a gentle love for the planet."

About two dozen drop off sites will be open across the U.P. from 9 a.m. to noon local time on Saturday April 21, 2007 (Earth Day) and most collections are at the same location of previous clean sweeps.

In 2006, over 320 tons of electronic waste (old/broken computers, cell phones etc.) were dropped off in just three hours by an estimated 10,000 U.P. residents. It took 9 semi trucks to haul the e-waste to an EPA approved recycling centers in the Lower Peninsula.

In 2005, the first clean sweep collected 45 tons of household poisons and vehicle batteries. The hazardous waste, including over two pounds of mercury, were properly disposed of in various ways according to EPA and state guidelines.

Both previous clean sweeps broke EPA collection records for the Great Lakes, organizers said. Last fall, the Earth Keeper Initiative and its partners were honored with three international awards.

The third annual Earth Keeper Clean Sweep is again sponsored by nine U.P. faith communities with 130,000 members (40 percent of U.P. residents), the Superior Watershed Partnership, the Cedar Tree Institute, and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

The leader of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community said she's pleased that the tribe and the KBIC Department of Natural Resources is supporting and participating in the clean sweep for the third year in a row.

KBIC Tribal Council President Susan LaFernier is asking all tribe members to join fellow U.P. residents in dropping off old or unwanted pharmaceuticals on Earth Day 2007.

"We are all responsible for taking care of the precious environment that has been given to us from our Creator," said LaFernier. "Gathering and disposing of outdated pharmaceuticals properly not only will help the environment, it will protect human and animal lives from toxic chemicals that can reach our water and soil systems."

Rev. Magnuson said he's proud of the dedicated volunteers because "this Earth Keeper collection will be the largest event of its kind in the country covering fifteen counties and involving hundreds of volunteers."

"The Earth Keeper team will continue to set records for pollution prevention and Great Lakes protection on the community level," said Rev. Magnuson, who is the head of Lutheran Campus Ministry at NMU.

The pharmaceuticals will be disposed or destroyed properly in accordance with EPA guidelines, clean sweep organizers said

The 2007 clean sweep is backed by the many U.P. pharmacists, and numerous law enforcement agencies including the DEA and Michigan Sheriff's Association, clean sweep organizers said.

Pharmacists and law enforcement officers will be present at all collection sites to ensure security and proper collection of the pharmaceuticals, Lindquist said. Clean sweep organizers encourage law enforcement officers, pharmacists, and the public to join the effort because additional volunteers are needed, Lindquist said.

Local corporations, businesses and individuals are being asked for their financial or technical support, organizers said.

The Earth Keeper Initiative has numerous partners in coordinating the 15-county clean sweep including U.S. Senator Carl Levin's Office, the Environmental Protection Agency, Thrivent Financial - a Wisconsin based full service financial services and a fraternal benefit company, the NMU Environmental Science Program and many others.

NMU EK Student Team project director Jennifer Simula said "this year's Clean Sweep is going to be revolutionary - a collection like this is, as far as I know, unprecedented."

The NMU EK team was created last April as the student wing of the Earth Keeper Intiative. The In addition to assisting in the annual clean sweeps, the NMU EK Student Team has numerous projects including (Adopt-A-Watershed) cleaning, testing, and developing a plan for six tributaries to three of the Great Lakes, recruiting students for chapters at three other U.P. universities, plus youth and adult outreach on practical everyday ways people can reduce human impact on the environment.

"I'm really excited, not only about the energy I'm feeling from everyone involved so far, but about the education that's happening through all of the NMU EarthKeepers talking to everyone they know about the dangers of improperly-discarded pharmaceuticals and what they're doing to our waterways," said Simula, an NMU graduate student and Lutheran from Michigamme. "This is a topic that is rarely discussed - no one really knows about it."

EK Student Team Coordinator and NMU sophomore Ashley Ormson, 20, of Negaunee said "last two years has really been mind blowing and successful."

"We feel as if the Earth Keeper culture has really spread, not only in our region but internationally as well, and for every person that climbs on board another goal is being reached," said Ormson, a future attorney wants to spend her junior year as a Senegal exchange student, followed by a year of service work through the Lutheran Student Movement's Global Youth Mission.

Through the pharmaceutical clean sweep, Ormson said, the Earth Keepers "hope that we will be able to reach out to even more people in our community and spread the awareness of protecting our earth."

NMU EK volunteer Elizabeth Bloomfield, a 20-year-old member of the Congregational Church - United Church of Christ in Owosso, MI, said she's proud the students can do their part to protect our planet.

"I am excited about helping with the Clean Sweep because of the great success of last year, it makes homes become safer with no prescriptions getting into the hands of kids, and increases awareness about the effect of drugs getting into the waste stream and causing environmental damage," said Bloomfield, an NMU junior whose major is environmental conservation with a minor in writing.

NMU EK Student Team member Stephen Atwood said while Americans take large amounts of widely varying prescription medications it's "not well known how to properly dispose of the pharmaceuticals."

"I'm especially glad that we are giving people a way to dispose of them responsibly and friendly to the environment because if these chemicals were to get into our wildlife or water supply, it could have many unexpected consequences that are not good," said Atwood, a senior majoring in environmental science with a minor emphasis in policy.

The project involves the congregations of over 120 churches and temples representing nine faith communities (Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church, Unitarian Universalist, Baha'i, Jewish, and Zen Buddhist).

The faith leaders of the vast majority of U.P. churches and temples said they hope all their congregations and other residents will participate in this year's pharmaceutical clean sweep.

Bishop Alexander K. Sample, Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette, said he is "proud that the Catholic community in the Upper Peninsula can be part of this continuing effort to care for God's creation, which has been entrusted to our good stewardship."

"Now that we know more about the harmful effects this has on our water systems and how certain compounds cannot be removed by purification techniques currently in use, I hope this will raise awareness of how to properly dispose of them," said Bishop Sample, who oversees 97 U.P. parishes and missions with 65,400 members.

Catholic Earth Keeper team member Kyra Fillmore, a 29-year-old mother of two small children, said "It's important for all people and in particular people of faith to take responsibility for the health of their neighbors and their environment."

"We are blessed in the U.P. to be surrounded by beautiful bodies of water and supportive communities who are participating in this call for stewardship and celebration," said Fillmore, a member of St. Louis the King Catholic Church in Harvey.

Catholic Earth Keeper team member Kelly Mathews of Big Bay said she and her husband, Chis Mathews, 45, recently cleaned out their medicine cabinets and found one bottle of prescription sinus medication that was 18 years old.

"I wonder how many people just pop open the pill container and flush the pills down the toilet," asked Mathews, a 36-year-old mother of two who says her family switched "years ago to natural remedies" because they believe those medications are usually safer than prescription medicines.

"The results were great and the thought of knowing that I could recover from all kinds of ailments in a natural manner just made sense," Mathews said.

Lutheran Bishop Thomas A. Skrenes of the Northern Great Lakes Synod (NGLS), said "medical prescription drugs keep people out of the hospital, help many to heal and are an important part of our health care system."

"But like all good things - when they are abused or even just thrown away they can do damage to people and nature," said Bishop Skrenes, the head of 91 U.P. Lutheran congregations with 40,000 members.

"We in the U.P. can protect our lakes and streams with an ounce of prevention," Bishop Skrenes said. "Collecting and properly disposing of these medications will make a difference - this clean sweep will do just that."

The NGLS also includes Finlandia University in Hancock, Fortune Lake Lutheran Bible Camp in Crystal Falls and Northland Lutheran Retirement Community in Marinette, WI.

A NGLS Lutheran pastor from the eastern U.P. said that "hosting clean sweeps through the churches has been a powerful way to connect our faith with our lives."

"This has also been a great witness to the secular community who have dismissed religion as out of touch," said Tari Stage-Harvey, pastor of the Zion Lutheran Church in St. Ignace and Trinity Lutheran Church in Brevort (combined 100 parishioners). "Our communities of faith when touched by the spirit become a power that creates amazing change."

Lutheran Earth Keeper team member Joy Ibsen of Trout Creek warned that "drugs have side effects that are very dangerous if not properly understood and handled."

"In a way, ‘side effects' is what Earth Keepers is all about - handling the side effects of our way of life," Ibsen said. "Most of the environmental problems we have are side effects of the way we live in today's highly technological, often toxic and overly disposable world."

NMU EK Student Team member Anna Kerr,19, of Clarkston, MI said "a clean sweep dedicated to pharmaceutical drugs is a unique endeavor that if left undone those drugs may end up in landfills contaminating our soils and harming animals including ourselves."

The drugs leach into the soil and water, ultimately affecting an otherwise clean environment," said Kerr, a sophomore majoring in environmental science with a Spanish minor.

Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan (EDNM) Bishop James Kelsey said "it is common to hold onto unused or partially used medications for indefinite periods of time" adding the clean sweep protects the environment while helping to ensure that the U.P. senior population is not consuming ineffective out-of-date medicines.

"When their effective dates have expired, they can actually create a hazard, particularly for the young as well as the elderly who may have difficulty keeping track of various bottles and boxes which tend to accumulate in our medicine cabinets," said Kelsey, who serves as Bishop for 27 Episcopal congregations with 2,500 members in the U.P.

"Hopefully, this year's Clean Sweep will encourage us all to take stock of this clutter and provide a safe method for disposal," Bishop Kelsey said. "Maybe through this effort, we'll all become a bit more conscious of the hazardous waste we easily neglect around the house."

Episcopal team member Nancy Auer of Houghton said it’s important to stop the developing problem of pharmaceuticals in America’s water supply.

“Although pharmaceuticals may seem like small unimportant products their disposal and dilution in our aquatic ecosystems is having grave impacts on aquatic organisms,” said Auer, who manages the Houghton collection site.

“The drugs we take, and their disposal, are another area of our lives we must vigilantly examine if we are to be careful stewards of earth as God calls us to be,” said Auer, associate professor in the Michigan Tech University Department of Biological Sciences.

United Methodist Church (UMC) Marquette District Superintendent (DS) Grant R. Lobb said the clean sweep is a "great example" of what can happen "when individuals with similar convictions join together" to protect the Earth.

"Much can be accomplished when men and women, students and adults work side by side to properly dispose of items that are often washed down a drain, placed in a landfill, or tossed into the forests," said Lobb, DS of the Marquette District of the Detroit Annual Conference UMC, which has 8,372 parishioners and 60 northern Michigan congregations.

"This year's emphasis of collecting out of date medicines will not require a great deal of heavy lifting by those who contribute and receive, but the result will be cleaner rivers, streams, lakes and tap water for all," said Supt. Lobb, adding the clean sweep is much more personal this year. "I learned recently that I am going to be a grandfather. May our efforts help in providing a clean, healthy future for my grandchild's entire generation."

UMC Earth Keeper team member Rev. Charlie West said "it is good to have a way to dispose of pharmaceuticals so that they don't get into the water, where they don't belong."

"The stories about deformed frogs or abnormalities in fish ought to really trouble us," said Rev. West, pastor of the Grace UMC in Marquette and project director of the first clean sweep. "These chemicals just keep building up in our environment. It's nice that the churches are helping keep some of them out of the water."

For at least the third year in a row, northern Michigan's Jewish community are turning their commitment to Tikkun Olam and Passover from a traditional observance to social action during April by participating in the clean sweep and other activities to protect the environment.

"This year's Clean Sweep of outdated and no longer used medication demonstrates how comprehensive our commitment is to keeping our water pure and our people healthy," said Earth Keeper team member Jacob Silver, one of 70 members of Temple Beth Sholom in Ishpeming. "Many drugs people use, particularly those with hormones, are a danger to other animals and to other people when such drugs are improperly disposed."

Presbyterian Earth Keeper team member Lynnea Kuzak, 28, said she is fortunate to have grown up "in Marquette surrounded by the natural beauty of God's creation."

"To think of anything like prescription drugs polluting our precious water supply is disheartening," said Kuzak, the director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church in Marquette. "I am careful about what prescription and over-the-counter drugs I put into my body, however, others could get into my body through the water I drink unless something is done."

Dr. Rodney Clarken, chair of the Marquette Baha'i spiritual assembly, said he is pleased with the interfaith aspect of the clean sweeps and that Baha'ullah - the Prophet-Founder of Baha'i - stresses the importance of the "essential relationship between man and the environment."

"Not only in the obvious benefit to others on our planet who benefit by our taking better care our physical environment, but equally by our social and spiritual working together of different people and faiths, a much needed antidote to the social and spiritual pollution that we suffer from in our world today," said Clarken, NMU associate dean of Teacher Education and interim director of School of Education, adding there are about 40 members of Baha'i in the U.P., and 144,000 in the United States.

The clean sweep is important to the members of the Marquette Unitarian Universalist Congregation (MUUC) because it helps protect the earth, inspires others, and the Earth Keeper Initiative is on the cutting edge of trying to help solve environmental problems.

MUUC Earth Keeper team member Gail Griffith of Marquette said "the complex mixture of these chemicals, including antidepressants, hormones, blood pressure medications, antibiotics, and the like, can affect the reproductive activity of a number of aquatic species."

"They have even been found in drinking water supplies," Griffith said.

"I continue to be impressed by the number of faith communities across the U.P. that have been carrying out Clean Sweep activities," Griffith said. "I think Earth Keepers are again at the forefront of environmental clean-up on Earth Day."

The Superior Watershed Partnership has on-going programs that including Adopt-Your-Watershed, public environmental education, summer youth programs, land conservation, habitat restoration, energy conservation and numerous opportunities for volunteers to get "hands-on experience" in their communities, national parks, national forests and their local watershed, Lindquist said.

For a complete list of participating communities and Earth Keeper collection sites please visit; and click on "Earth Keepers."

For more information on the clean sweep (or the other projects) contact the Superior Watershed Partnership at 906-228-6095 and Greg at 906-475-5068, or email:

Earth Keeper TV:

Earth Keeper related website addresses are:

The Superior Watershed Partnership

The Cedar Tree Institute:

The Lake Superior Interfaith Communication Network:

Lone Wolf said...

Your Welcome Esmerelda.

Yeah, I've did my fair share of stopping and starting also. I wondering what are the dangers myself. I'm guessing imbalance rather than balance. Switching from the "Buddha state" to the "Emotionally Deluded state" to much. I don't know.

Lone Wolf said...

Yet again, I've heard that Zazen itself cause all kinds of nasty stuff to bubble up to the surface. If that happens, it's recommended to take it easy (which could maybe be 5 or 10 mins of Zazen until things cool down. Again I don't know).

I wouldn't get to bent out of shape about the last comment. I mean if you miss a day of Zazen just jump back on the horse the next day. It might cause more of an imbalance to freak out because you missed a day of Zazen.

Anonymous said...

"One girl who was there commented that my personality in "real life" was a lot different from what she'd imagined from reading my books and blog posts. In other words, I guess, I was not some fire breathing punk rock ogre. I dunno. I don't really see the difference so clearly."

Inability to see your own persona is the vary definition of delusion, dear Johnny. Talk about the blind leading the blind!

Jim Haku said...

Ian is a teddybear. Coolest guy ever.

DoctorFunkenstein said...

Hey Brad,

I was wondering if you have seen that clip of David O'Russell yelling at Lily Tomlin? I only ask because O'Russell is a Buddhist and you are a film maker of sorts and I was wondering if his style of direction is representive of all Buddhist directors? Of course I am only kidding but as an artist and a Buddhist how do you feel about this whole thing? If you haven't seen it I will include a link so you can know what I am talking about.

Anonymous said...

Nishijima has made it into the list of suspect gurus, here:

Anonymous said...

To paraphrase Alice, Always Zazen tomorrow, but never Zazen today.

Dan said...

"Nishijima has made it into the list of suspect gurus, here:"

that's not a list of suspect gurus, it's just a list of gurus.

Moon Face Buddha said...

And we do well to remember to treat all Gurus as Suspect.

Lone Wolf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Greg Peterson said...

Thi is update on Buddhist Pharmaceutical collection. I am a local news reporter and volunteer media advisor for the Earth Keeper Initiative
Northern Michigan Zen Buddhists Help Turn In Tens of Thousands of Pharmaceuticals Weighing Over One Ton

Narcotics Have Estimated Street Value of $500,000

(Marquette, Michigan) - Northern Michigan Zen Buddhists helped turn in tens of thousands of pills plus narcotics with an estimated street value of half a million dollars during the third annual Earth Keeper Clean Sweep.

Over one ton of medicines and personal care products were turned in by the public during the 2007 Pharmaceutical Clean Sweep, said Carl Lindquist, executive director of the Superior Watershed Partnership.

The "controlled substances" turned in have an estimated street value of $500,000 including narcotics in pill and liquid form, clean sweep organizers said.

"We had a great public turnout, a lot of people showed up with old medications," said Lindquist said.

For the third year in a row, northern Michigan Zen Buddhists volunteered at the Grace United Methodist Church in Marquette.

Lake Superior Zendo head priest Paul Lehmberg said it is "the beginning of a tradition and it felt good to be back there on Earth Day" with UMC Rev. Charlie West and "his hospitable crew doing something for the earth and raising consciousness about yet another hazard that is degrading and poisoning our environment."

"Each year during the clean sweeps, I see wider involvement and more publicity, and each year I see more evidence of young people participating, which is absolutely a necessity over the long haul," said Reverend Tesshin Paul Lehmberg, leader of the Lake Superior Zendo - a Marquette Zen Buddhist temple.

The EPA is funding the collection of pharmaceuticals and personal care products because trace amounts of chemicals from those substances are turning up in America's drinking water because many treatment plants are not designed to remove the dangerous chemicals.

The clean sweep was sponsored by nine faith communities, the Superior Watershed Partnership, the Cedar Tree Institute, and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

About 2,000 people turned in items but many had collected pharmaceuticals from family and friends, organizers said.

Assistance was provided by the Michigan Pharmacists Association and numerous law enforcement agencies including the DEA and Michigan Sheriff's Association, Lindquist said.

The annual Earth Day project involves over 140 churches and temples (Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, Presbyterian, United Methodist Church (UMC), Unitarian Universalist, Baha'i, Jewish, and Zen Buddhist).

Rev. Lehmberg said his 15-year-old daughter, Freya, and Rev. West's 13-year-old son, Christopher, were excited to volunteer.

"We're passing along our enthusiasms, and our worry" over the environmental condition of the earth and that youth concern for nature and involvement is essential to the future of the planet, Rev. Lehmberg said.

"The pharmacists brought knowledge of all the things we collect, the law officers praised us for getting these drugs in a secure place and out of the potential of being abused," said Michael Rotter, a senior majoring in botany.

"The amazing thing about the clean sweep, is me being a 21-year-old Buddhist college kid can sit down and talk to a 30 year old pharmacist father and we can both relate to the 50-year-old Methodist pastor," Rotter said.

"As we heal and cleanse the Earth, we are also healing the human heart," said Lutheran Rev. Jon Magnuson, Earth Keeper Initiative founder.

UMC Earth Keeper Rev. Charlie West said that the Zen Buddhist Earth Keepers and his church members "felt really good about providing this service for the community."

"These chemicals should not be loose in the creation - we're glad they will be disposed of carefully," said Rev. West of the Grace UMC in Marquette.

Financial sponsors again this year include the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and $15,000 from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, a not-for-profit financial services membership organization and fraternal benefit society.

"We are in trouble with the way we live with the Earth" but the clean sweeps are humans correcting man-made problems, said Rev. Magnuson, co-organizer of the clean sweeps and the head of Lutheran Campus Ministry at NMU.

The pharmaceuticals will be taken to an EPA-licensed incinerator near St. Louis, Missouri.

"From the EPA's prospective this is an ideal approach for grassroots community members and the faith-based community to work with the federal government, American Indians and others to achieve environmental gain," said John Perrecone of the Midwestern Region office of EPA located in Chicago who visited collection sites.

The collection included a wide range of old and unwanted medicines, narcotic pain killers, sleeping pills, syringes/needles, and antibiotics; and personal care products like shampoo, lotions and soaps.

The environmental project also collected drugs that could be accidentally consumed by children and prevented misuse of controlled substances like narcotics.

Lutheran Mary Sloan Armstrong of Harvey brought 18 large dust-covered antique bottles in a wooden crate to the Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette.

The liquid and powder medicines belonged to her late father J.K. Sloan, a druggist in Galva, Illinois.

"These are drug bottles that were in the basement of my dad's pharmacy," said Armstrong, a member of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Harvey. "Some of the bottle patents are pre-civil war."

"This stuff goes back about one hundred years, " said Marquette pharmacist Dave Campana.

Across town, Marquette pharmacist Kent Jenema said someone dropped off a turn-of-the-century "doctor's traveling pharmacy" kit containing eight small bottles with powders at the St. Peter Catholic Cathedral in Marquette.

Police are pleased "controlled" drugs were turned in during the clean sweep.

"Some of the most abuse things in the area are prescription drugs and a lot of people after they get their prescription refilled don't use them," said Marquette Police officer Brandon Boesl at the Messiah Lutheran Church in Marquette.

"Lots of controlled substances came through that won't get sold or end up in the water," said Rev. Tari Stage-Harvey, pastor of the Zion Lutheran Church in St. Ignace and Trinity Lutheran Church in Brevort.

Marquette General Hospital Pharmacist Bob Hodges at Messiah Lutheran Church said the controlled drugs were inventoried as "required by law."

The clean sweep was praised by America's Drug Czar.

"Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem across the nation, increasingly affecting families who have been untouched by illegal drug use," said U.S. Drug Czar John Walters, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The Earth Keeper collection is an example of "community engagement in properly disposing of pharmaceuticals (that) will help us stop and prevent prescription drug abuse, and the harm it can cause," said Walters, a member of the President's Cabinet

A 2006 study revealed 14 percent of students in the Marquette area admit using prescription medication to get high.

"A lot of times prescription drugs that are suitable for abuse can be stolen from people for whom they are prescribed," said Paul Olson, a licensed social worker in Marquette who works with youth.

Katherine Geier brought various narcotics to the St. John Evangelist Catholic Church in Ishpeming.

Grier said her mother "had become addicted to prescription pain killers and sleeping pills" so she hid the drugs because she "did not want to flush them down the toilet."

Ishpeming Police Officer Robert Sibley said addicts burglarize homes to get drugs and "either use it themselves or sell it on the streets."

At the First Lutheran Church in Gladstone security was provided by Michigan State Police and Gladstone Public Safety Officers.

"This was a wonderful event - a perfect marriage of two concerns - care of the environment and the need to remove drugs that might otherwise be abused from the community," said Pastor Jonathan Schmidt.

Delta County Prosecutor Steve Parks told the Gladstone site manager he was pleased to see narcotics and other prescriptions drugs removed from his community.

"Delta County has a problem with teens abusing prescription drugs, so finding people to help at the pharmaceutical collection was not difficult," said Northern Michigan University student volunteer Miranda Revere, a 21-year-old business management major from Clio, MI.

Marquette Messiah Lutheran Church Pastor Nancy Amacher said "as people of faith we believe the earth is God's created gift and part of our stewardship is to care for ourselves as well as the forests, waterways, and their inhabitants."

Dr. Rodney Clarken, chair of the Marquette Baha'i spiritual assembly who volunteered at a Lutheran church, said "the interfaith aspect of this project has given it a unique energy and power - when you see the results over the past three years" adding he hopes people will see the connection between protecting the Earth and their spiritual beliefs.

10-year-old Eve McCowen volunteered with her parents and other members of the Marquette Baha'i Spiritual Assembly at the Marquette Messiah Lutheran Church.

"We came here to collect the vitamins, pills and any other medicines - so they won't pollute the earth," said McCowen, a fourth grader.

Lutheran Don Flint of Ironwood said his wife, Betty, cleaned out their medicine cabinets "to get rid of medications that we don't want any more" because "we've become more aware that it's not the right thing to do to flush pharmaceuticals down the toilet."

The 64-year-old retired steelworker dropped off old antibiotics, arthritis pain medicine, aspirin, Tylenol and lotions at the Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church collection site in Ironwood.

The Northern Michigan University EarthKeeper Student Team sent volunteers literally hundreds of miles to all 19 collections sites.

A Lutheran, NMU student project director Jennifer Simula said the students "are wearing green T-shirts and they all have smiles on their faces."

"The students are greeting everybody as they come in, providing hospitality and letting everyone know what's going on and that they are involved in a great project," said Simula, a leader in NMU Lutheran Campus Ministry.

Some people "dropped off pharmaceuticals for friends and family members," said NMU student Ashley Ormson, a member of Messiah Lutheran Church member and Lutheran Campus Ministry.

NMU student Matt Nordine enjoyed the four-hour round drive to the St. Ignace UMC Church "to actively participate in Earth Day."

NMU student Lauren Murphy said it is easy to mix getting good grades with several environmental projects because "we keep a good balance - on the weekends we go to our projects."

"We collected a lot of medicines, old suntan lotions, eye drops, cosmetics and other stuff like that," said NMU student Kristy Knutson.

UMC of St. Ignace Rev. Jim Balfour said "it is wonderful to work in a community where the churches come together easily to address the threats to God's world," Pastor Balfour said.

Presbyterian Earth Keeper Sue Piasini of Sagola, MI saw a flock of geese while going to the clean sweep and thought "we are going to take care of the water for you."

At the Iron Mountain Salvation Army Bread of Life Center "one person brought a full duffel bag" of pharmaceuticals and another "bag had over 2,000 pills" that had to be sorted, said Piasini, a grandmother and member of Grace Presbyterian Church in Sagola.

Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Lutheran Bishop Thomas A. Skrenes of the Northern Great Lakes Synod said the public had an "eagerness about being a part of the solution" at the Fortune Lake Lutheran Bible Camp in Iron County.

"It was a morning of solutions to difficult problems and I am proud of my church," said Bishop Skrenes.

Roman Catholic Diocese of Marquette Bishop Alexander K. Sample was especially happy about the large youth involvement in protecting the environment and taking prescription drugs off the streets.

"It is wonderful to see that the younger generation is at the heart of this Earth Keepers effort," said Bishop Sample.

"We have to be concerned about our young people and the world we will hand on to them," Bishop Sample said.

Catholic Earth Keeper Kyra Fillmore, a 29-year-old mother of two small children, said "people were unloading medicines from deceased relatives or from past illness."

"This collection was a quieter, more personal event," said Fillmore, a member of St. Louis the King Catholic Church in Harvey. "I'm grateful that Earth Keepers could provide a comfortable place for people to - in a sense - release past pains and help keep our water clean as well."

Catholic Earth Keeper Linda O'Brien of Marquette, who drove five hours round trip to volunteer at the Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in Ironwood, MI, called the clean sweep "a most spiritual event for cleansing the soul of medicinal toxins."

O'Brien believes participants "shed the reminder of pain from loved ones."

Episcopal Diocese of Northern Michigan Bishop James Kelsey brought several old medications to a Catholic collection site hoping that others will follow the environmental example of the Earth Keepers.

"Care for the environment is an expression of love for God and one another," said Kelsey.

Jewish Earth Keeper Jacob Silver said future health of the planet will depend on how youth are motivated by adults - and protecting nature is clear in the annual teachings and observations of Tikkun Olam and Passover.

"It is important that adults and parents are seen by youth to be carrying out the moral obligation for Tikkun Olam," said Silver of Temple Beth Sholom in Ishpeming, MI.

Silver said "for Jews, the Earth is all we have."

"There is no mention, thus no concept, of existence after death in the five books of Moses, our
Torah," Silver said. "There is nowhere else, and if we foul the Earth, we can be left ultimately homeless."

UMC Marquette District Superintendent Grant R. Lobb said the words "cleaner water" kept popping into his mind while watching people bring pharmaceuticals into the Grace UMC basement.

Catholic Earth Keeper Kelly Mathews of Big Bay, and her husband, Chris Mathews, 45, brought numerous medicines bottles to the collection including 18-year-old prescription sinus medication they found while recently cleaning out their medicine cabinet.

"Some people brought in bottles with 50 to 80 more pills," said Mathews, a 36-year-old mother of two whose family now uses natural medications. "I found the financial waste totally unnecessary."

Marquette Unitarian Universalist Congregation Earth Keeper Gail Griffith agreed the waste of medicine in America is sad.

"It's too bad" some pharmaceuticals "end up as trash, but we need to insure that trash doesn't end up harming our waters," Griffith said, adding one pill turned in cost $600.

Presbyterian Earth Keeper Lynnea Kuzak, who volunteered at the Manistique First UMC was thanked by a resident who lost her husband to cancer and wanted his medication properly disposed.

"Another person told me ‘I didn't like putting them down the toilet,' " said Kuzak, 28, the director of Christian Education at First Presbyterian Church in Marquette.

Presbyterian Pastor Dave Anderson of Iron Mountain worries "about the legacy our generation will leave for future ones."

"As God's children, we feel like we are provided a concrete, tangible way to make a difference in our environment," said Rev. Anderson, who is pastor of the Grace Presbyterian Church in Sagola."

"So many of our environmental problems come from the side effects of our advanced society - and every prescription has side effects," said Joy Ibsen, lay minister at Trinity Lutheran Church in Trout Creek, MI.

Ibsen said, like people, "the earth and water is allergic to many powerful prescriptions and chemicals."

Mary Klups of Ontonagon County brought in several types of pain and blood pressure medication, including two bottles of morphine, leftover from her late husband's cancer treatment.

"I had several drugs I have kept, waiting to dispose of in the right way," said Klups at the White Pine Community UMC.

White Pine pharmacist Chuck Blezek said "for years we told people to flush old prescriptions down the toilet - it is only lately that we have found out that it is the wrong thing to do."

Munising UMC site coordinator Phil Hansen said many participants collected from family and friends and some "brought in large quantities" filling plastic grocery bags.

The previous two cleans sweeps gathered nearly 400 tons of hazardous waste including household poisons, vehicle batteries, old computers and cell phones - all was properly disposed or recycled.

For more information contact the Superior Watershed Partnership at 906-228-6095 and Greg at 906-475-5068, or email:

Earth Keeper TV:

Earth Keeper related website addresses are:

The Superior Watershed Partnership

The Cedar Tree Institute:

The Lake Superior Interfaith Communication Network:

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. said...

I told one of them about that later and she said that was always the point of their music.

beth woodsworth? that her name? ..i met her a few times around the early 80s... i remember she was incredibly cute and shy ...does she still play the bass?