Wednesday, June 27, 2007

BUDDHIST GEEKS INTERVIEW and JOIN US

They put up the last part of my interview on Buddhist Geeks. So go give it a listen if you're into that sort of thing. I listened and did not puke, as is my usual reaction to my own interviews.

I've been going to the LA Film Festival this week. It's sorta kinda related to my "real job." But mainly I'm just watching the movies that seem most interesting. So far I've seen Escape From LA, a trash classic in which Kurt Russell escapes from Los Angeles, which, according to the film, was turned into a penal colony in 1998 after a fascist religious nut president got himself elected ruler for life. I had no idea. I was in Japan in 1998, so I guess I never heard about this and the people I know around here now don't seem to like to talk about it. When I think how this town operates, though, it kinda makes sense now...

I tried to get tickets to the Transformers premier tonight, but they were all gone and even the connection I have at Micahel Bay's office proved useless. But there's still a slim chance I'll get in one way or another.

On Monday I saw a very interesting film called Join Us. It's a documentary about a religious cult in South Carolina. According to the movie, the new brand of cult is not a giant international organization like the Moonies or Scientology. What's more common these days is little cults you never hear about in rural areas. The film follows the fall of one of these, a fire and brimstone Christian cult led by a charismatic German immigrant named Raimund Melz.

I'm gonna try to work up a review of the film for my next Suicide Girls installment. But just very quickly here, whenever I watch a film like this these days I tend to focus on the wrong things. Meaning, I tend to focus on stuff the film makers seem to want to relegate to the background. In this example, the "heroes" of the picture are the brave souls who got out of the cult and taught their bretheren inside what an insidious organization they were participating in, eventually succeeding in toppling the church. The "villains" of the piece are cult-leader Raimund and his wife.

Me, though, I tended to focus more on Raimund. As the leader of a cult of my own, I can see his side of the story more clearly than I can the side of the supposed heroes of the film. I'm thinking, how can I get my followers to buy me a fleet of sports cars and build me a whole subdivision full of houses for free which I can then rent back to them at inflated prices? How come I gotta pay my own money to rent out the Hill Street Center for retreats and Zazen classes and take a huge loss on the thing every month when only five people show up? What's up with that? Shit, maybe I should charge $185 a session and hypnotize everyone into thinking they've been enlightened by the end of the day like some other Zen Masters do.

NO! NO!! NO!!!!! I am joking. Joking. OK? But seriously, I do see Raimund's side of the story more clearly than his followers' side. I can see exactly how a guy can get sucked into that. Because, unlike what the film-makers seem to want us to believe, the followers of a cult are not simply poor innocent little creatures who get duped by big, bad, dirty, greedy guys. They are generally very manipulative people who desperately want to get duped. Man, I can feel it from people who come and see me sometimes, how they are seriously searching for someone exactly like Raimund, or like Charles Manson, or bin Laden, or Hitler. And they won't stop till they find him or some poor sap like Raimund who they can turn into the corrupt leader they so desire. Of course, it takes two to tango, so the leader has to be a fairly bad guy as well. But he never works as a solo act. Never, ever, ever. Nope. Not even one example. Cuz the solo cult leaders, they're just crazy people yelling on street corners that everyone ignores.

Anyway, I'm gonna spend some more time developing this little thesis and premier it on Suicide Girls this weekend. So forgive me if I steal some of my own words and use it in the piece.

67 comments:

Mysterion said...

Movies??? The Silver Screen? WOW!!!

Did you see: Azumi
http://www.lovehkfilm.com/panasia/azumi.htm

If so, whattaya think?

Also, Shinto-influenced "Spirited Away" was kinds interesting.

As a comedy, Zatoichi is #1
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0363226/

Hint: all the dead people come back to dance in the finale.

Blake said...

Have you seen Jesus Camp? I recommend it. The church featured in it is near me (spoooooooky).

And just so you know, I'm signing over to you the title of my car oh Great Leader!!!!

Jinzang said...

I can feel it from people who come and see me sometimes, how they are seriously searching for someone exactly like Raimund, or like Charles Manson, or bin Laden, or Hitler. And they won't stop till they find him or some poor sap like Raimund who they can turn into the corrupt leader they so desire.

Really? I've been part of Buddhist groups for thirty years, given lectures, given meditation instuction, and no one has ever, ever tried to surrender their free will to me. Maybe your problem is the whole "zen master" thing.

scooterjonz said...

There are many reasons why people seek out religious/spiritual/self-help "masters" to whom they wish to turn over complete control of their lives. There are many people who have never been in an institution whose psychological make-up makes them desire total structure - to have someone else responsible for every aspect of their lives.

Since I am NOT one of these people, what do you say we all chip in and buy Brad a Rolls?

Mysterion said...

"They are generally very manipulative people who desperately want to get duped."

OUCH!

Nah... they are just plain simple folk who want simple answers spelled out for them to follow.

Or an absolute authority:
http://www.purplelotus.org/temple/en/main/main.html

Or a Supreme Truth:
http://www.masonicinfo.com/supreme.htm

Or an inerrant text:
http://www.feasite.org/Editorials/fbcfinal.htm

Or bathwater:
Portions of Asahara's bath water were bottled and sold as "Miracle Pond" for $800 a quart.
http://www.crimelibrary.com/
terrorists_spies/terrorists/prophet/4.html

or, how about a TOOTH of Buddha?
http://www.voanews.com/burmese/archive/
2005-08/2005-08-15-voa5.cfm

"How about a retired security guard and a toothless police dog?" - Maxwell Smart in "Get Smart"

Jules said...

Mysterion,
your "inerrant text" link reminded me of a letter that circulated the interwebs a few years back ... (dig dig dig) ... ahh, here we go:

Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination - Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? - Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,
Jim

Mysterion said...

"Jules said... ahh, here we go:

Dear Dr. Laura:"

LOL - exactly!
Did you catch my concubine post in another thread?

Let us all please, take rest.

So Brad, how ARE book sales for June?

July is always a slower book month owing to the burning of bull dung.

"But... of the bull, ...its dung, you shall burn with fire outside the camp; it is a sin offering."
Exodus 29:14

I learned the truth - not from Lenny Bruce - from Harry Frankfurt.
http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7929.html

a serious KEEPER!!!

Anonymous said...

"take a huge loss"

you *are* funny!

Anonymous said...

Brad..kill this blog, haven't you had enough entertainment?

Mysterion said...

Anonymous said... "Brad..kill this blog, haven't you had enough entertainment?"

Hmmm... do I detect a control issue here?

Misogi O-negai-shimasu

From: The Psalms of the Early Buddhists: The Psalms of the Brothers, (Mrs. Rhys Davids Trans.), PTS, pp 230

This is Bhaddiya’s Declaration of Arahantship:
Beyond the gardens of Ambataka
In woodland wild, craving and craving’s root
Withdrawn, and rapt in deepest reverie
There happy sits fortunate Bhaddiya
And some are charmed by cymbals, lutes and drums,
And I in leafy shadow of my trees
Do dwell entranced by the Buddha’s Rule
Let but the Buddha grant one boon to me,
And if that boon were mine, I’d choose for all
Perpetual study in control of self.

Dozo...

Mysterion said...

Los Angeles is turned into a penal colony after a fascist religious nut president (king George, the Shrub) got himself elected ruler for life (with the help of Ted ‘I am a deceiver and a liar’ Haggard).
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15588371/

So how was 'Escape from LA?'

I rarely watch LA movies.

Lone Wolf said...

Brad- There's a cult movie I watched at the Oxford Film Festival in Oxford, Ohio (right above Hamilton) called "Free Spirit". And get this, the cult leader is a metalhead named Michael Metelica Rapunzel.

http://acornproductions.net/

I enjoyed the documentry.

Anonymous said...

yarr...lets all chip in on a RollsRoyce for ol' Brad. YARRR!!!

send all donations to me at

P.O Box 1274......

-bluewolf

Paul Grieg said...

What should a punk rock Zen master do with a Rolls Royce? Suggestion - flame it then drive it off the Golden Gate bridge (jumping out before it leaves the bridge of course!) Or he could channel Chogyam Trungpa and drive it into a joke shop. Nah! Gotta be original. So no car for Brad.

yudo said...

Jinzang a dit...

" Really? I've been part of Buddhist groups for thirty years, given lectures, given meditation instuction, and no one has ever, ever tried to surrender their free will to me. Maybe your problem is the whole "zen master" thing. "

Either you never noticed because of some personal idiosyncrasy, or...

In my city lives a "Dharma uncle", who claims to be a Dharma heir to Deshimaru. The typical spiritual vampire who feeds on the energy of his followers. That became quite obvious for me when I me a girl who a a devotee of his. She said that she so much needed his energy (she didn't say she "fed" on it, but it was just like), just as she had fed on Deshimaru's energy. Later, her "master" yanked her out of his dojo, and I'm pretty sure that he couldn't bear with her eccessive adoration, because, if she "pumped" him out of his energies, obviously, she was there to give HIM some, not take them from him.

This w-e, I've had to help two friends sort out their differences. They were bitching each other all of the time, systematically misunderstanding everything they said one to another. Lucky both girls live two hours motorway away from each other. I came back washed out.

Anonymous said...

The pattern is:

1. Brad posts something at least mildly sensible

2. Mysterion posts something mildly insane in the comments

3. Provocative answers follow

4. Mysterion enrages and posts more of his links to prove his high level of enlighment and knowledge of everything

5. Rinse and repeat

It's quite entertaining actually.

Rev. Moon said...

jinzang - I am sure that your lectures are just as fascinating as your blog posts, but one thing you and even the great brad lack (brad can sometimes pull this off in his writing) is that elusive and undefinable personality trait that defines certain people with an uncanny ability to lead, charm, persuade, inspire, and/or influence others, no matter how idiotic their doctrine.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

well that proved ot for me. mysterion is definitely enlightened. end of debate.

Anonymous said...

He deleted that reply?
Damn, I don't have a copy.
Where did he go? He probably joined Raimund's crew...

Mysterion said...

Someone, somewhere wrote:

"5. Rinse and repeat"

Misogi O-negai-shimasu means:

Please pour a bucket of ice water on your own head for my benefit.

chill... o.k.?

Jimmy Page sang: "Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run There's still time to change the road you're on."

Theravada (knowledge) and Mahayana (compassion).

and now... my analysis

The Buddhist experience is a martini.

vermouth is the lesser or theravada ingredient (not many go for it)

gin is the greater or mahayana ingredient (most sip it)

the olive is the kesa

the pimiento is the monk

and the toothpick is the neophyte's attachment to the monk.

Anonymous said...

He lives. How was it at Raimund's?

Thanks for the neophyte/wanna-be/newbie thing again.

Riddle-speech and world conspiracy theories are not necessarily the same as scholarship.

I am sad you deleted your enlightment statement, it was more revealing than I ever hoped for.

The ice bucket suggestion makes me shudder, is that some ancient Theravada celibacy training that Zeus taught Buddha and Jesus?

Really, we enjoy the cluttering of Brad's Blog with our mental diarrhea, me and Dr Mysterion.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Jinzang old shoe...your supercilious comments tell me that you're simply *plagued* with envy. Dude, let it go.

Oh, and while you're at it, can you also ditch the New Age honky look?

Thanks, buddy! :D

Mysterion said...

Raimund lack all those qualities which overflow aplenty from Sun Myung Moon --
http://www.spinwatch.org/content/view/3000/9/

There is a "Dark Side of the Moon"
(listening to Pink Floyd)

I buried the guru with the bullshit when I was 14 and gat 'damned to hell' for not believing the bible is the true and inspired word of god. What the hell does a cleric know? At best the bible is, like other sacred scriptures, "a constrained collection of regional folklore." Those are the exact words I used at age 14, they remain the exact words I use today.

Please, peel back layers of the onion for yourself - you will find nothing more than new growth on old fears.

Jared said...

I love a good internet pissing contest. I also like that I read through all of the comments twice and still have no idea what everyone is arguing about...

Anonymous said...

I don't know either, Jared, but it's heaps of fun for many people.

I think I should join this blogging business, it appears to be quite adequate to keep yourself occupied.

Posting random rants and getting even more random rants as answers for a living - where is the sign-up page?

--IceBucket

Anonymous said...

Hey, Jinzang old shoe...your supercilious comments tell me that you're simply *plagued* with envy. Dude, let it go.

Oh, and while you're at it, can you also ditch the New Age honky look?

Thanks, buddy! :D

YOU ARE FULL OF CRAP. STFU

Anonymous said...

all hail mysterion ruler of the unknown universe

Jared said...

Screw knowing what they're arguing about, I have no idea what half of these posts are supposed to mean...

gunderloy said...

I suppose all this mysterious blabbering is fun or else why would we all be reading it? But unless you are an idiot, after a while it changes from being fun into something else. what is it then?

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jinzang said...

One thing you and even the great brad lack (brad can sometimes pull this off in his writing) is that elusive and undefinable personality trait that defines certain people with an uncanny ability to lead, charm, persuade, inspire, and/or influence others.

True. I'm a nerd's nerd. So nerdy even the other nerds won't hang with me.

you're simply *plagued* with envy

Who am I supposed to be envious of? Brad? Or the gurus who have women throwing themselves at thier feet? I never want to be a guru, spiritual teacher, etc., because the only thing that comes from that is more pain.

Jared said...

Pot: "Hello, Kettle?"
Kettle: "Yes?"
Pot: "You're black."
Kettle: "..."

*click*

Anonymous said...

so anyway, a man walks into a bar and says 'ow!christ my head!'

Anonymous said...

I accept being called a clown, as I don't have a proper blog yet that qualifies me for your exclusive club.

And really, I am glad that Mysterion attempts to change the perspective so it's me who is the troll. Thanks!

I try to dig up witty links like you but I fail. [Must... try... this google.com... thing... at least once.]

Good you explained your motives. So you are one of Brad's cringers and you are supplying him ideas for his next book. Oops, I'd better say consultant. What are you after? Royalty shares?

Because there's one thing that puzzles me with your statement: How can I "personally" attack a practitioner, a Buddhist?

Inflammatory... can you say that again? Inflammatory... yummy!

--IceBucket

Anonymous said...

I confess...

I want my own 1920s Paper Doll in Vanity Fair... it's too late? It's the 21st century?

http://xroads.virginia.edu/~UG00/
robertson/asm/cutoutdolls.html

keishin.ni said...

Chumming for bait
water's gone all white and wild with the feeding frenzy
hooked, that's what we are! but why, and
what for?

the more you move the deeper the hook sets

use the little ones to catch bigger ones, cut up big ones into pieces to catch more little ones....

Ah, days go by with n'ere a nibble
Makes you lazy with the full sun and only the drone of flies
But lookit Here, Now:
Big ones, fighting all the way
Who's gonna give out first?
Think we can land 'em?
get the knife ready--we may need to cut 'em loose.

dood said...

mysterion said:

Jimmy Page sang: "Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run There's still time to change the road you're on."

Robert Plant? 8 posts in 2 days - looks like someone is going "POSTal"

don't worry - my own laughter is drowning all sound anyways...

Rev. Moon said...

I come to this blog to read what Brad has to say along with a few others.

I prefer serious posts like young jared's to the buckshot outbursts of old web surfers like mysterion.
no offense dude but take a pill..

A lot of the silliness written here is best just passed over.

Anonymous said...

"prefer serious posts like young jared's "


yo.....say what?

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
keishin.ni said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
keishin.ni said...

the men working construction on the house behind my apartment building have stopped
when they stop the pounding stops
my pounding headache has not stopped yet
but it too will stop

this blog playground gets rough at times.
it would appear some of us like to play harder than others
I for one like more playful play
dropping the gloves and slugging it out happens when refs aren't making calls

a time a place
for everything

Mysterion said...

Yeah... sorry... really bad hip pain.
Just because I have a major pain in the ass in no excuse for BEING a pain in the ass. (I refuse the meds... save coffee or green tea).

O-cha-ryu

Mysterion said...

Misogi from my Alma Mater

From good old Chico State, I found this article on 'chilling out.'
http://www.csuchico.edu/~gwilliams/
tsa/nl/Mark_Hobt.html

Misogi is the Shinto cold water purification ritual. The Buddhist version is mizugori. (I actually never noticed the word difference before now).

Misogi O-negai-shimasu should be
Mizugore O-negai-shimasu.

IceBucket, can you ever forgive a feeble old man for his failure?

Honto ni Gomenasai!

Jared said...

I'm as serious as a heart-attack.

Anonymous said...

Jinzang said:

"Who am I supposed to be envious of? Brad? Or the gurus who have women throwing themselves at thier feet? I never want to be a guru, spiritual teacher, etc., because the only thing that comes from that is more pain."

LMAO...*both*, you petulant little sour grapes eatin' Sensitive New Age Guy, you.

Methinks the Jinz doth protest too much! :D

Matt said...

it's like the special olympics folks... my god...

c-zone said...

I have to admit that I'm a little envious of gurus who have women throwing themselves at their feet.
But then I'm a little envious of the special Olympic dudes too..

go beets said...

it's sad reading people's mean comments and seeing how unhappy they are. Some people really hate themselves.

Anonymous said...

and some love themselves a little too much.

-NOt I!!

Anonymous said...

Mysterion, I forgave thee a billion times and will continue until I die. What anger you might have seen in my posts could have been yours from the start.

I sincerely hope that you are well.

--IceBucket

Anonymous said...

what's better than winning the special olympics?


having all your arms and legs

Jared said...

What's worse than making jokes about the physically and mentally impaired?

Nothing. Have some taste, please?

rev. moon said...

"Have some taste, please?"

Jared - anonymous is unfortunately stuck with her own bad taste. She can't have any of yours.

Mysterion said...

If you are in the San Francisco East bay, please come by & buy an ear of corn, a bowl of noodles, or 1/2 BBQ Chicken. Young children welcome (sorry, no pets).

Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church
32975 Alvarado-Niles Road
(510) 471-2581
www.sacbc.org
Bazaar: Saturday, July 7 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday, July 8 from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Domo,
O-cha-ryu

keishin.ni said...

sometimes
when you go a fishin'
alls you come up with is trash
an old boot, a part from an appliance, a bicycle frame
it's something to ponder:
the strangeness of things
the juxtaposition of
this freedom--
to write not only for ourselves, but for so many unseen others
and in what we choose to leave
here on the path--
this trail we are blazing

Mysterion said...

On this path
take only photographs
leave only footprints

(with apologies to the Sierra Club)

All things are destined to decay.
http://jpgmag.com/photos/35337

Imperatrix said...

Dammit! Is anyone else having trouble accessing Blogspot, or is it just me? IIRC, last week some of you were...looks like it's been my turn!

Jared said...

Rev. Moon:

Y'all only wish you could have my bad taste ;-)

But in all seriousness, the vast majority of the handicapped that I know use their handicapped brains/bodies to such a greater extent than half the people I meet that I often think the title is misplaced.

Mysterion said...

Mrs. Suzuki expresses the strict side of Zen compassion. She helped train and refine Zen students while acting as a teacher of the Way of Tea, commonly referred to as Tea Ceremony. Suzuki Roshi had suggested she take up tea practice, and it became a vehicle for her to share the background of his teaching after he was gone. Mrs. Suzuki used tea and the sensitive handling of its many traditional utensils as skillful means, frequently demonstrating "tough love" in her sharp-tongued criticism of students’ lack of attentiveness to the details of the tea-making forms and choreography. Her lessons helped many Zen students expand their sense of presence, and learn to care for their everyday surroundings.

http://www.cuke.com/bibliography/
more-ba.html

Anonymous said...

sorry about the bad taste joke. i guess everyones too nice around here to find it funny.

Jared said...

I always hear people refer to Leonard Cohen in a negative way, and I'm not sure why. I have no idea who the guy is, unless you mean that singer, in which case I still have no idea what he has to do with Buddhism. Could someone explain it to me, or link me up to a place explaining the controversy?

Anonymous said...

Mr Cohen was a student of famous Rinzai teacher Joshu Roshi (who recently turned 100!) of Mt. Baldy monastery.

I consider him a serious Zen practioner and a great artist.

--IceBucket

Gregor said...

interesting point, I don't know why I never realized this myself. Thanks Brad, really great food for thought.

Paul Grieg said...

Great interview. Brad, did you check out Dhrma Dan's interview? Or his free book? Is he an arahat? Does an arahat outrank a Zen master? Why don't you give away your books free? OK I can pick 'em up cheap on amazon, but isn't it Buddhist to give away teachings? Dharma Dan's a doc and says he makes enough money to give away everything for free forever. Aren't you in the same situation? Or are you a new Bhagwan trying to build Bradville with suicide girls for chauffeurs and 20 hummers to drive?

palmcop said...

I read really much effective material above!