Monday, June 04, 2007

OH LORDY WOULD YOU LOOK AT THIS!

My past comes back to haunt me on the San Francisco Zen Center website! The pic there originally appeared here a month or two ago but now returns cropped to look even more incriminating. Be sure to click on the photo to see an even cooler pic the guys at SFZC created themselves.

Someday I'll tell the actual story behind that photo. Suffice it to say, pictures lie. Whatever you imagine happened before and after the shutter snapped is probably a whole lot more interesting than what actually went down (heh-heh) or didn't that night.

Action, once accomplished, cannot be undone. So be careful. Funny picture, though.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great photo! ;-) I have a question (Off-topic). What is your take on the writings of the Abhidharma? My zen center is providing month long classes on this teaching and it comes highly reccomended. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Brad, all I noticed about the pic is that you have wicked cool thumbs like Jaco Pastorius! :D

osel said...

peace brother:

if you are in the city(sf), drop by foe the class: you might enjoy!

keep up the meaning full work:

osel

holiness: tomorrow night's teaching: dharma for generation now

Dharma
for Generation::
NOW!
Experience the Radical Teachings of Great Liberation with Buddhist Meditation Master
Ösel Rangzom Tsele
on HOW TO THINK:
THOUGHT TRANSFORMATION FROM THE HEART
OF COMPASSION

EVERY TUESDAY NIGHT throughout 2007
Location: 701 Grove Street @ Webster
Suggested Donation: $10
Contact: Leif Wold 415.637.5888
leifoutloud@gmail.com

www.hipgnosis.wordpress.com
(
http://www.flickr.com/photos/8191876@N05/

tomorrow i am giving the ksitigarbha empowerment.
today i gave the blessing to set the stage with Leif. the bodisattva manifested this auspicious sign for us (see pictures). please spread the word. this will be most sacred for the family.

this empowerment removes all obstacles and bestows all blessings
read more about bodhisattva ksitigarbha:
http://www.buddhistdoor.com/OldWeb/resources/sutras/Ksitigarbha/sources/ksitig1.htm


peace

love

osel
)

Eight Verses for Training the Mind
by Langri Thangpa

With a determination to accomplish
The highest welfare for all sentient beings
Who surpass even a wish-granting jewel
I will learn to hold them supremely dear.

Whenever I associate with others I will learn
To think of myself as the lowest among all
And respectfully hold others to be supreme
From the very depths of my heart.

In all actions I will learn to search into my mind
And as soon as an afflictive emotion arises
Endangering myself and others
Will firmly face and avert it.

I will learn to cherish beings of bad nature
And those oppressed by strong sins and suffering
As if I had found a precious
Treasure very difficult to find.

When others out of jealousy treat me badly
With abuse, slander, and so on,
I will learn to take on all loss,
And offer victory to them.

When one whom I have benefited with great hope
Unreasonably hurts me very badly,
I will learn to view that person
As an excellent spiritual guide.

In short, I will learn to offer to everyone without exception
All help and happiness directly and indirectly
And respectfully take upon myself
All harm and suffering of my mothers.


Ösel (Thugchen Rinpoche) is a meditation master, healer, visionary artist, poet and musician. He is an adept & lineage holder of the ancient teachings of the Lotus Speech Mandala, the Energy Matrix of Primordial Purity, dating back to the practices & teachings of the Immortals 9,000 years ago. He has lived a contemplative life devoted to the study, practice & realization of Timeless Wisdom & Compassion. He thrives on the teachings of How to THINK, his life’s passion. He & his wife Laura live in SF.

Koudelka said...

Yo wtf, are there UFOs too? 'cause if there aint, i'm not down.

Thom said...

Awesome photo. Zen dudes can still rock out, particularly in the company of heavily inked women.

I love the one that the SFZC have montaged, though: a perfect confluence of some of your passions.

Anonymous said...

and they thought baker roshi was a swinger..

Anonymous said...

on the lower shelf of a bookcase in my parents room were two books with small words in big print on their spines: one was the word ZEN and one was the word SEX.
I don't think my parents got much past the purchase of the books, there were no behaviors indicating any mastery of either subject: these two mysterious and profound topics which still arouse in me great interest and misuderstanding. Both over-rated and under-valued, both idealized and debased. I'm talking about my own experiences here...
Maybe I'd have had a chance at sex if I hadn't been practicing it with someone else--what I mean by that is that with two (me and another) all manner of various layers of cultural expectation would come into play --things would get complicated, they inevitably would--and then Too Much: it is possible to talk about and analyze something to its death.
It stops being natural--
same goes for zen: reading, talking about it--ok, maybe for orientation--but what is it when it is just itself--without any embellisment or mental commentary.
Turns out zen and sex aren't that different for me--I just get much more regular practice with one...

james said...

"Action, once accomplished, cannot be undone."

Apparently this time it can. I was made to change it. And 'very fine website' was 'unnecessary editorialising'. Yay.

06/05/07. Never Forget.

Koudelka said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Koudelka said...

Epic Godzilla picture

Imperatrix said...

Cool, Koudelka! :D

Gregor said...

Can't wait to hear the story of the infamous photo

Anonymous said...

Ösel (Thugchen Rinpoche) is a meditation master, healer, visionary artist, poet and musician.

generally, when someone claims to be this many things it means they suck at all of them. not always but usually.

He is an adept & lineage holder of the ancient teachings of the Lotus Speech Mandala, the Energy Matrix of Primordial Purity, dating back to the practices & teachings of the Immortals 9,000 years ago.

um yeh, so we''l just call you Neo right?

He has lived a contemplative life devoted to the study, practice & realization of Timeless Wisdom & Compassion. He thrives on the teachings of How to THINK, his life’s passion.

sounds like 'the secret'
http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=75168

He & his wife Laura live in SF.

aww, bless :)

Anonymous said...

naah, it's not the secret, but it is pretty much the opposite of what people usually think.

Jules said...

Whenever I associate with others I will learn
To think of myself as the lowest among all
And respectfully hold others to be supreme
From the very depths of my heart.
...
When others out of jealousy treat me badly
With abuse, slander, and so on,
I will learn to take on all loss,
And offer victory to them.


Great treatise on how to be a poor role model for others, unwilling to defend one's own reputation or one's family's reputation, a flaccid doormat, a prime target for abusers, a willing participant in the victim-victimizer game.

I believe that attitude encourages people who are inclined to be abusive to act on their bad inclinations. That's no good for anyone, especially the abuser.

I believe that it's my responsibility to help people who misbehave learn that they should expect to face consequences for their actions.

Anonymous said...

Jules, it's a hardcore teaching that one. Awareness clinging to a 'self' is the last barrier to complete freedom. The self is just a flux of stuff that's changing. When the Buddha saw through this final obscuration he said:

"Through many a birth I wandered in samsara, seeking but not finding the builder of this house. Sorrowful is it to be born again and again.

O house-builder! You are seen. You shall build no house again. All your rafters are broken. Your ridgepole is shattered. My mind has attained the unconditioned. Achieved is the end of craving."

In this quote he is referring to the self-creating mechanism in the mind as the 'housebuilder'.

The teaching you read is from the Tibetan tradition and is a mental training intended to begin to uproot the deep clinging to the 'self' by putting others first always and bearing all difficulty from them. Since it's the last thing the Buddha overcame, you can imagine that it must be a very tough nut to crack.

dan said...

i hate to say it but i think he might be right. i'm not sure that having that attitude would mean you'd let someone walk all over you. it could be misinterpreted like that and therefore it would probably not be good for people with low self esteem. but for egocentric bullies it would be useful (i'm not saying you are an egocentric bully i'm just using it as an extreme example).

Koudelka said...

>>jules
Agreed. Having humility certainly is useful, but only to the extent that it helps you to stop your ego getting in the way of understanding another person, but to roll over like that is bullshit in my mind.

It always makes me crazy suspicious when people frontload their doctrines like that, too. As well as having stupid names like it gives them some kind of cred.

muddy elephant said...

Jules:

I really appreciate your comment and I think I totally agree. But on the other hand there is something that really resonates in a , um, counterintutitive way:

I will learn to take on all loss,
And offer victory to them


And just for some religious variety the good'ol Serenity Prayer seems to fit nicely here:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

Jared said...

The other day I was really upset at someone for doing something I thought was really disrespectful to me. But then I started to wonder who or what exactly was being disrespected. I tried for so long but couldn't answer that really simple question. We're stupid.

Colin said...

What picture are you talking about? There's just that fat mohawked buddha head from SD&SU. And then the link takes you to a cool montage including that photo of you in a rubber monster suit, but that surely cannot be what is being referred to here. What did I miss? I saw a reference to rocking out and heavily inked women. Where?

Jules said...

muddy elephant:
I like the Serenity prayer a whole lot better than the other thing.

Anonymous wrote: Jules, it's a hardcore teaching that one. Awareness clinging to a 'self' is the last barrier to complete freedom. The self is just a flux of stuff that's changing.

The "teaching" says, "To think of myself as the lowest among all
And respectfully hold others to be supreme"


So... if you're not clinging to a self, then what is there to hold as "the lowest among all?"

Sorry, I'm not buying it. Doesn't work for me. If someone calls that a teaching, they're no teacher of mine.

keishin.ni said...

so many approaches to the mountain top
doesn't much matter which one you take--find one that resonates with you and stick to it.
just as long as I don't confuse what might be great for me with what might be great for you.
Sure, I'll listen to someone all fired up about a teaching or a teacher, a great pizzaria, car mechanic...it's a form of simple generousity, isn't it?
I thank my karma that the dishwasher at Amara's Restaurant in Providence Rhode Island liked the way I stacked my bus tubs--thought there was something in zen for me, or something in me for zen...gave me my first book. Seeds got planted.. and voila, 20 years later, I go to bed happy, wake up happy. Got injured, I'm happy. In rehab, I'm happy. Not slap-happy, but a steady state. I can't tell you if its the zazen or just being 20 years older now. I can't go back and split myself in two and compare the me with zen with the me without. I just know that the raging angry person I once was isn't. I still get angry, but not as frequently, as intensely, or for as long, certainly not about the same kind of things.
I used to think that za zen was a way to 'take life straight up, no mixers, no chasers, no umbrellas, no olives, no cherries' But now as much as I love metaphors, I really have no way to explain it at all. The best I can do is give sitting instructions for someone who is interested enough in wanting to try it for themself. Having a teacher? Well finding a good one who is also a good fit for you--this is not as easy as it may appear. Lots of teachers out there. Look for an honest one: one that allows you to directly encounter the extraordinariness of the ordinary. GOOD LUCK
and have fun along the WAY.

Jinzang said...

Jules, there's making yourself the lowest because you feel you're dirt, and that's wrong. But there's also making yourself low because you see that high and low are just a scam and making yourself low is a skillful way to deal with your residual habit of thinking there is a difference.

Jules said...

Sure, I'll listen to someone all fired up about a teaching or a teacher, a great pizzaria, car mechanic...it's a form of simple generousity, isn't it?

Yes, and thanks for the perspective. But I think there comes a point where, in friendship, one has to draw the line between generously listening to someone fired up about a new art teacher or a new yoga teacher, or a new spiritual teacher, and someone fired up about a new Amway sales 'coach', or a new opportunity to invest in Central American real estate, or a new personality profiling "technology" which can get you "clear" for a low low introductory price...

I'm perhaps oversensitive to this particular "teaching" because I know some Buddhists who believe similar things who basically live their lives in perpetual victimhood. Sweet, kind people, but unhappy and unsure of themselves; doormats in many areas of their lives. It's sad that elements of the tradition they study leads them to roll over and just accept getting abused, rather than standing up and finding "the courage to change the things they can."

There are no easy answers. Just bowing before abusive people is an easy answer, but it doesn't work in real life. It's not right.

On the other hand, there are times when it does make sense to "take on all loss and offer victory to" your opponent in conflict, even when you believe you are in the right. Sometimes you have to ask the question, "is it more important to be right, or to end the conflict and work on building the relationship(s)?" But it's an open question, and it generally doesn't apply to people who are really being abusive.

Jules said...

Jinzang: that's a better way of looking at it, I guess... It still doesn't really work for me (strikes me as false modesty), but I can see it working for some people. I prefer uncomplicated honesty, no games.

Jared said...

Jinzang:

I wholeheartedly agree. I just think that it takes an incredibly self-assured person (or rather "no-self assured" [HAHAHAHHAHAHAH]) to constantly accept the shit-end of the stick from those unsavory individuals in our world who have no problem with clawing to the top.

I think it would be like constantly finishing last in an imaginary race. Sure, the race isn't real and you can be content knowing that, but the baton that Charlie in lane 7 just threw at you might hurt like hell.


BUT then I guess when you come to fully understand, while mindfully practicing the dharma, that Charlie and you are both one and the same, then the baton becomes imaginary too, right?! Well fuck that. Who wants to "become one" with an asshole? :-D

I guess my prevailing point, sarcasm aside, is that I wholeheartedly agree.

Jared said...

P.S.

I'm sorry. It's really late here...

Koudelka said...

"Who wants to "become one" with an asshole?"

Ummm.... Gay dudes? GOD STOP BEING SO INSENSITIVE.

Anonymous said...

"The other day I was really upset at someone for doing something I thought was really disrespectful to me. But then I started to wonder who or what exactly was being disrespected. I tried for so long but couldn't answer that really simple question. We're stupid."

This 'wondering who or what exactly was disrespected' has been a pervasive thang in my life for the last year or so. It's helped me not to waste time getting pissed off...

Koudelka said...

>>jared
I <3 the Heart Sutra.

and this exchange:

Where are you going?
I go where it's changeless.
How can you go where it's changeless?
My going is no change.

Jinzang said...

Jules, being a teacher, any kind of teacher, means taking a lot of guff. (I'm sure Brad knows this well.) If you've got something you have to share, there's no other way of doing it than accepting the negativity that the people you are sharing it with will give you in return.

Or you could live on a mountain as a hermit.

Anonymous said...

I think point raised by Jared is a key to the understanding of this particular practice. (8 verses for training the mind).
It isn't self submitting to all these counter intuitive, ego aversive situations, it is no-self, where everything is SELF.
Kind of like being in love when you are completely absorbed in every possible way you can give that person delight and ease. The you you knew yourself to be is gone and now all of you--every particle of you--seeks doing everything you can think of, everything within your power to be thoughtful, kind, caring, considerate. You don't even think 'I'm going to be thoughtful and caring now' you just are,
it's effortless, even though you are expending energy. You don't feel put out, it's the most natural thing.
Now think how it would be to respond to another person in this manner when you aren't 'in love' with them. What about when you actively don't like them, or think that they have it in for you?
It is a very interesting practice to consider.
I'd have to take it in really small doses--really, really small doses. I don't know that I'd be able to accomplish all of it continually, but by the time I got to that place, I imagine 'I' wouldn't be doing anything, the responses would be spontaneous acts arising from that moment seamlessly, no thought involved.

Chris vLS said...

So there has been a lot of talk about whether extreme humility is a way to learn no-self. But, perhaps "accepting all loss" is really a way of seeing through what really does or does not hurt us. That what appears to be loss -- some &^#$%! we wouldn't want to take from some $%@#hole -- turns out not to hurt our true self.

Someone quoted Sojun Mel Weitsman Roshi to me as saying, about sitting, "Just *die* there." And then, it turns out, you don't die. Then what?

One post this thread said they wouldn't want to not "defend one's own reputation or one's family's reputation", another said they would not want to "roll over". Should we be so fearful of these "losses"?

As Jared points out in his analogy of the race, so much of me is spending time keeping track of a scoreboard that is not real. Had I the bravery to live this humility practice, I would probably learn better to let go of the scorekeeping.

Gassho --

--Chris.

Jules said...

Jinzang: I think I'm talking about apples, and you're talking about oranges...

Of course you're absolutely correct. Sometimes you have to "take guff," and often no response is the best response.

You seem to have interpreted my post to say that one should never let any negative comments pass by without confrontation.

But that's not what I said at all. What I'm saying is that occasionally there ARE times when a confrontation is exactly the right action. I'm not talking about 'taking guff' or criticism. I'm talking about self defense.

When others out of jealousy treat me badly
With abuse, slander, and so on,
I will learn to take on all loss,
And offer victory to them.


To "learn to take on all loss," even when you're in the right, is a good skill to have. One should be aware it's just a game and being 'right' usually isn't as important as you might think. But the context it's in says that one should ALWAYS take on all loss, which is wrong. OK? That's what I was saying.

For example, let's say you're running for President. Further, let's say your opponent is not competent to run the country, but is willing to play very dirty pool to win the election. Your opponent floods the media with untrue accusations about your military record. Do you keep to the higher ground and not bother to respond to the slander, assuming that people will recognize the lies for what they are? Or do you correct the lies with bold statements of fact, refusing to offer victory to your opponents? What is Buddhist right action in these circumstances?

Jules said...

Chris wrote: One post this thread said they wouldn't want to not "defend one's own reputation or one's family's reputation", another said they would not want to "roll over". Should we be so fearful of these "losses"?

Who said anything about being fearful? The question is, what is right action when criminals are taking advantage of the innocent? Of course, it depends on the situation. My argument is that Buddhist "right action" is not always the same thing as avoidance of conflict. In my opinion, sometimes right action is fighting back.

Letting go of the scorekeeping is important. You're right, it absolutely doesn't matter who wins. But I think you guys are forgetting that it's also really important that we keep racing. With integrity and with love for our opponents, we race. If we let others run us off the track, we're not really in the race anymore, are we?

Anonymous said...

Yes! The Race!

Jules said...

jinzang wrote: If you've got something you have to share, there's no other way of doing it than accepting the negativity that the people you are sharing it with will give you in return.

Sometimes when you get criticized, the Right Action is not to just accept it, but to say, "Bite me!" (With a smile of course) :-)

Jared said...

I don't think that whoever penned that sutra had muggings or rape in mind when they said "I will learn to take on all loss,
And offer victory to them." or anything like that.

Our lives, like Brad says, are 99% boring. I think the author was referring to our interaction with people on a daily basis, not extremes such as assault or physical abuse. Even though the culture and technology, etc. is so much different between now and then, I honestly think that social interactions are almost identical. There have always been competitive assholes and there have always been people who like to be right all the time.

I wish I had the wherewithal to stop and wonder about exactly what is suffering an offense every time I'm confronted with it. But every little bit helps, I guess!

"It's a race, it's a race!"

"I'm winning, I'm winning!"

Bite Me! said...

So, suppose you're in the Matrix and you already know that it's all being created in your mind. Except, you decide not to join a resistance or fight the machines or get in any conflicts... or at least you're not quite sure what to do yet. But you know you're in the Matrix and that it's being created in your mind.

So 'real' isn't exactly 'real' like you used to think it was. And you pick up a book and it seems pretty real, and you read words in it that say, "like a dream, a flash of lightning, or a cloud - so should one consider all compounded things." And then you look at the book again, and your body, and the computer screen, and all the writing in the blog, and there's a little bit of confusion!

It's a real sunny day in the Matrix. You have a doctor's appointment so you get to leave work mid-day. Before you do, you get on the computer and look at the blog again. The one by the guy who wrote a book about Zen and punk rock music. He's bothered by someone who wrote a review about his book. Or maybe he's happy? In any case, it seems to have affected him enough to have written about it. Then lots of people are leaving comments about the situation, and suddenly you are too!

Oh, but it's the Matrix. It's in my mind. The books and teachers are saying I'll be here for a long time unless I do something with increasing consistency. Pay attention, or something like that.

You're getting groggy. Everything's feeling so real again. Conflict with 'people' helps bring on that realness. It's 'reassuring'. But some of the people in the Matrix are saying to watch out for this.

Oh it's so confusing!

Dorje said...

From the mouth of a genius, narsisitic alcoholic, confirmed.

отели в барселоне said...

This is all erroneous what you're writing.