Thursday, June 07, 2007

RUBBER CITY REBELS TONITE IN FRISCO and BENJAMIN BOGIN CAN BITE ME


First a last minute plug. And not for me this time, either. I just found out last night that my pals The Rubber City Rebels will be playing tonight, June 7th, 2007, at Slim's in San Francisco at an event called Dirkfest. I just saw the Rebels last night at Safari Sam's in Hollywood (another last minute show) and they were fan-fuggin'-tastic. So go see 'em while you still can.

The Rubber City Rebels formed in the mid-Seventies in Akron and put out one smokin' hot LP on Capitol Records around 1980 before going on a hiatus that lasted over 20 years until their second LP (OK, CD) on Smog Veil Records, Pierce My Brain. Here's a promo video from that:



Yesterday my publishers sent me a copy of the latest issue of a rag called Buddhadharma in which there is a negative review of my new book by some blockhead named Benjamin Bogin. Who can bite me, by the way. I suppose I should be happy just to get reviewed at all. But it's common practice for book reviewers to actually read the books they write about rather than just skim the chapter titles and pick quotes from the press release as Mr. Bogin has done. Whatever.

There are a few things about the new book that seem to be bothering a wide range of people who tend to think of themselves as "into Buddhism." One is the cover. I find opinion neatly divided. People who love those covers with rippling water and lotuses that decorate every Buddhist book these days just hate, hate, hate the cover of Sit Down and Shut Up! Then there are those who don't care much about Buddhist books who love it. I love it. So everyone who doesn't can bite me.

The other thing that bugs people is all the "dude talk." Yeah. OK. Maybe I should cool it. It just amuses me though to write about Buddhism in a Bevis and Butthead voice. And I write more to amuse myself than anything else. So, again, I cordially invite you to bite me, please.

Seriously, though, I think one of the great tragedies is how Buddhism has become the property of stuffy intellectuals who seem intent upon making it as inaccessible as possible to ordinary dumb people like me. The books they write are so full of obtuse language and labyrinthine arguments as to be utterly incomprehensible to people like myself to whom the lyrics of "God Of Thunder" by KISS seem like a profound commentary on spiriuality (I am being completely serious here, by the way. Listen to it sometime.). I've tried reading those books. They bore the shit out of me. And what use is that? I see myself as trying to wrest Buddhism out of the hands of fucking brainiacs who really don't have any serious interest in it and give it back to the people who might really get something out of it. Or if not anything as heroic as that, at least cutting their ties with a big pair of scissors and squirting seltzer water in their faces. Maybe that's what got Benji's knickers in a twist. For which he may, if he so desires, do me the courtesy of biting me.

Another other thing that bugs folks is the way I say stuff like "why should I care about some old dead Japanese dude?" It's being taken by some as me talking down to the audience or trying to anticipate what they might think. Again, biting me may perhaps be in order here. Because this is really more a reflection of what I thought when I first encountered Dogen. I don't have a whole lot of reverence for so-called "ancient words of wisdom." Loads of what's taken for ancient wisdom in this world strikes me as just old bullshit that's been repeated so many times it seems wise. My initial take on Dogen was that he was just another one of those guys everybody thought was way cool because he'd been dead so long (like that's some kind of accomplishment). But I gave him a chance and discovered there really was something to it.

At any rate, everybody can bite me. OK? The line forms to your left.

And don't forget all the places I'm going to be speaking next week in San Francisco (the list is 2 articles below this one). Ample opportunities abound for you to personally bite me if you wish to do so.

Please feel free the leave dozens of comments that totally miss the satirical tongue-in-cheek nature of this piece. And feel free to bite me if you don't enjoy sarcasm.

Thanks! ; 0 )

122 comments:

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'm also wondering why I "should believe some dead Buddhist guy" so your writing is more accessible to me. I like the cover. I like the book. Rock on. Gotta go get my brain pierced now.

Anonymous said...

Here's the Review:

Surely one of the most unusual books on Buddhism to appear in recent memory, Brad Warner’s Sit Down and Shut Up: Punk Rock Commentaries on Buddha, God, Truth, Sex, Death & Dogen’s Treasury of the Right Dharma Eye (New World Library, 2007) will likely appeal to a rather select audience of readers. The book alternates between the author’s memories of a trip to Akron, Ohio, for a reunion concert featuring his old punk rock band Zero Defects and his idiosyncratic reflections on Dogen’s Shobogenzo. Although Warner’s colloquial style is refreshingly unpretentious, many readers will quickly tire of phrases such as “some book by some old dead Japanese dude” and chapter titles such as “Buddha Never Metta Man He Didn’t Like.” Too much of an adolescent rant for most Zen readers and too much of a middle-aged strut down memory lane for most punk readers, Sit Down and Shut Up will likely get an enthusiastic reception only from the small group of readers who already identify as Zen punks.

Anonymous said...

watch what your mind does after you read it.

Blake said...

Stuffy intellectuals using $.50 words can Pop Rock my jock.

Plus that language creeps me out. It reminds me of some high-fiving white guy's linguistic attempts to bed some super-hottie at the local watering hole.

"Deep within is a profound awakening the likes of which are foreign to my newly-opened eyes. Another RedBull and Vodka?"

John said...

Don't judge a book by it's cover. There's some ancient wisdom.

The "dude talk" is important because it's American. And we're Americans in America.

"One cannot become a practitioner of Zen just by imitating the way of eating, sitting or dressing of Chinese or Japanese practitioners. Zen is life, Zen does not imitate. If Zen is to fully take root in the West, it must acquire a Western form, different from Oriental Zen." - Thich Nhat Hanh from Zen Keys

Brad wrote: I don't have a whole lot of reverence for so-called "ancient words of wisdom."

Neither did the Buddha. So this is an orthodox Buddhist view and those who object might not be Buddhists. Not that there's anything wrong with not being a Buddhist. But why do you care what some Buddhist guy writes in a book about Buddhism if you're not a Buddhist?

Koudelka said...

What the fuck is a "Zen reader" anyways, as if this was some hobby to be tinkered with and not the big fucking burning question of existence.

>>blake
You rock. :D

muddy elephant said...

Uh, thanks Brad but dude I wouldn't bite you with a stolen set of dentures.

Anonymous said...

"dude speak" is the way most of the folks in this country talk.

deal with it, benjamin. you're getting old.

well...me too...DUDE.

i'm gonna go stroll down my middle aged memory lane with some gang of four and minutemen cds
perhaps some stooges and a little beefheart icing as well.

*middle finger gassho on yore cracker white ass*

heart,
barry

Koudelka said...

>>Barry
Watch out, certain masters have a penchant for severing digits. :D

Anonymous said...

Master Hotdog Fingers!

Imperatrix said...

Hey, Benji B.: You can bite me, too. And my kitties. And my igneous rock collection. And I will find you someday, and then I will swat your ass with a rolled-up copy of Buddhadharma magazine, and rub your nose in your terrible review of SD&SU.

Anonymous said...

Coming from a G-Fan here it's easy for me to say I love the cover. Can't please everybody I guess, but I get the feeling you are hitting a chord with the "younger generation" that are either a practicing Buddhist or interested in it. Just so you know, your first book helped me develop an understanding of where Zen is coming from than any other book I have read, including Shunryu Suzuki's masterpiece. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

Oops!Wait let me rephrase that. Help me understand Zen a little better....so bite me ok?!?
And speaking of understanding, I prefer your take on Dogen and the Shobogenzo in your new book. Uchiyama did a great job as well, but your take just clicked better with me.

Anonymous said...

irreverence and irrelevance not the same thing
What BW writes appears irreverent? To whom, why? Since when has Zen been about revering?Didn't one priest/monk once when asked about the Buddha say he was a shit stick (pretty much like calling him toilet paper).
Anyone who has found themselves in a public stall with no paper understands perfectly.


Sun Face Buddha, Moon Face Buddha, Pie Face Buddha Shit Face Buddha Look in the mirror, Buddha looks like that, too

Anonymous said...

sorry--got the irreverence part but forgot the irrelevance part
BW is very relevant, if not very reverent.

Tom said...

I feel for you after the cheapshot review, O Kindly Brad.

But the review will let some folks know your new book is out, so despite the sting, it is all mostly good.

What bugs me most about it is that the reviewer thinks it is his job to determine who will like the book and who won't. Indeed, that's the whole of the review. Sheesh. A proper review would be about the meat of the book and an assessment of its sense and sensibility. It is not Ole Ben's job to try to limit your sales.

I was also disappointed by Gwen Bell's review of your book in Buddhist Geeks. It's a rave, but I wish Gwen had ratchetted up her geekery to her usual level and had dug deeper into its profundity.

Anonymous said...

What if Oprah! picked SD&SU for her book club!!

salvador dali parton said...

...then i would call oprah

Master Hotdogfingers

*CHOP CHOP*

Jinzang said...

I didn't like the cover and said so. But after seeing it in the bookstore I realized that it's really good marketing. And since the purpose of the cover is to sell the book -- it's just the damn cover -- I realize now it's a great cover.

I subscribe to Buddhadharma and it's usually a fine magazine, though this issue wasn't so hot. But I thought the review was really superficial. It's like all the people who hate Perl because of the dollar signs. Give me a criticism that takes more than a minute to form, okay?

Anonymous said...

(Z)In response to Benjamin Bogin's review:
Is that so?, We'll see, and Thank you!

salvador dali parton said...

the cover of the book, for those of us who were in hardcore scenes in the 80s, looks alot like a gig flyer.

loved it.

FencerScott said...

I just finished SD&SU, and I loved it. I tried reading exerpts of Shobogenzo later and came to totally agree with what Brad was saying - basically you have to take Dogen's words, consider their context, and find modern examples that prove the same point. Otherwise it just doesn't make sense. When I read Dogen I got a migraine from trying to get my head around it. When I read SD&SU, it made sense. Thanks, Brad!

coburn@connectexpress.com said...

FuckinA dude! these squeaking sphincters can bite me too. I 'm not too comfy thinking someone was "born" to do this or that, but you've breathed more life (and truth, or should I say "skill") into Buddhism than anyone I can think of for the last oh, 8 or 9 hundred years. Period. Roll daddy roll!
I think you were actually born to be in the next Godzilla movie.

Koudelka said...

>>Jinzang

#!/usr/bin/perl
wait(60001)
print "Perl sucks!"

:D

roman said...

i think the most important thing is that someone has sincerely studied and practiced Buddhism for a long time, then started to write about it
in a way that makes sense to a lot of people - this is about zillion times more important than choosing words like dude or Venerable Master
- i wish i myself had enough stamina and energy and motivation to do the same thing - bows to brad

Mike said...

I read an issue of Buddhadharma before, as well as Tricycle and Shamabala Sun. I thought I would advantage from really getting into modern buddhist culture and learning as much as I could about it. I consider myself a pretty good reader, but the articles magazines had my head tangled up in knots and practically bored me to tears. Out of all three magazines I found like one or two helpful quotes to use in my everyday practice, that's about it. Everything else was too heady and pretentious. I have books on physics that are easier to read.

So I threw those magazines away and cracked open Hardcore Zen for the 900th time, and that hit the spot.

If there are people out there that can get something from the kind of writings in those magazines then fine, but I don't think I'd have ever esablished a steady practice of zazen if it weren't for HCZ. I definitely wouldn't be able to identify with Buddhism as much as I can; I got the sense that most of the buddhism that they discussed in these books was of the "super cosmic enlightenment" variety, which mostly just scares me away.

Jared said...

I love the cover, but I would hope that regardless of how people feel about it they spend exponentially more time looking at what's between the covers than what's on them.


At first I thought Brad was talking about the RIVER CITY REBELS, a punk band from White River Jct. Vermont. But I guess they are different bands. Does anyone happen to know if the River City Rebels took part of their name from the Rubber City Rebels, or if both bands are referencing some event or place or something? Brad might know...

Lone Wolf said...

"Too much of an adolescent rant for most Zen readers and too much of a middle-aged strut down memory lane for most punk readers, Sit Down and Shut Up will likely get an enthusiastic reception only from the small group of readers who already identify as Zen punks".

From writing quotes like the one above, It's not hard to see that Benjamin Bogen is a pure asshole (feel free to visit my blog and read about another pure asshole, http://lonewolf333.blogspot.com/), who needs to go to his teacher (probably Wilber or Genpo) and renew his Bodhisattva Vow (I know it's difficult, but we should do are best to help assholes too).He sounds like some rich superficial snob writing his review during a short break, after getting double bogey on the 9th hole, at his local private country club. Being to worried about the word "dude", Benji obviously didn't get the significant meaning of Dogen's work through Brad's "most excellent" (some Bill & Ted talk for Benji) commentary. I'm sure there are many people that read and like Brad's two books that don't listen to punk rock. I think most people love Brad's writings on Buddhism because he writes like most people communicate with each other on a daily bases rather than a big brained scholar with a big vocab that has his big head stuck up his big ass. So once you pull your head out Benji, you can bite me too.


Sit Down and Shut Up is the best damn Buddhist book I've ever read (and the front cover is freakin' awesome). And this is coming from a person who has read many Buddhist books on Zen, Tibetan, and Vipassana Buddhism, and who also likes both punk rock and golf (though recently I perfer Disc Golf aka Frisbee Golf).

"Again, Biting me may perhaps be in order here."

LOL Love that line Brad! Thanks for introducing me to the The Rubber City Rebels, that video was, in the words of Cartman, totally tits. I already know you won't, but as a compliment, don't change a thing about how you write.

F'you Roshi said...

I get it now.

Brad is the Buddhist teacher for the PBR drinking, Nascar lovin', Homo hating angry white men of America. It makes sense.

I didn't realize that you had such an anti-intellectual streak, Brad. You must hate all of those f'ing college graduates too with their big words and more than shallow ways of looking at the world.

Sadly, sarcasm aside, the fact that you get bored reading Buddhist texts by some of the best Buddhist minds today probably says a lot about you and the good ol' boys that love you.

Good luck with your cracker Buddhism. I'm sure that all of those other anti-intellectuals who don't like big words will just quit their Christian religion and Republican beliefs and flock to your punk ways when you show how much better you are than all those other pretentious, know-it-all bastards.

salvador dali parton said...

is it ok if i like pbr and homos but hate nascar?

Anonymous said...

No, Brad will say "F'you!" and send you to bed with Genpo Roshi and Ken Wilber.

You must adhere to Brad's true Buddha way, whatever it is when he figures it out.

jundo cohen said...

Dear Brad,

You have a book out? I didn't know. What's it about?

Gassho, Jundo

Anonymous said...

Different strokes for different folks
can't we just enjoy what we enjoy and take utter delight in that which delights us?
To have a teacher is lucky
To have a teacher who can 'splain it, in ways which can be deeply understood and taken to heart and be applied in daily life and put into 21rst century post post modern practice
whooohoooo! It doesn't get any better than that.
Just because a reviewer doesn't share our perspective we go on and on?
Time will tell who enjoys the book, who gets something out of it.
But let me share a little something. At a recent 40th year celebration of a zen center there were several discussion groups. In the group on lay practice and two other disscussions the concern raised was 'how do we stay in existence' one complaint being that people come, but don't stay).
You can see, from a perspective of that sort, the concern would be 'what are the demographics of the population buying this book', rather than interest in what reach a modernized interpretation of Dogen could have and what making Dogen's work accessible to us ordinary folk could mean.
The reviewer is looking at the book with his own mind and his review reflects the mind with which he read the book.
Our 'reviews' of the reviewer reflect our minds.
Speaking for myself--time for a lot more sitting down and shutting up: let thoughts pass unhindered, unobstructed, and unblogged...
I'll wait for Brad's next book and in the meantime re-read the one I've got.

karmatah said...

"Our 'reviews' of the reviewer reflect our minds.
Speaking for myself--time for a lot more sitting down and shutting up: let thoughts pass unhindered, unobstructed, and unblogged..."

Ahhm, no offense "dude" but why did you blog your thoughts then?

karmatah said...

Brad, thanks for your books, your time and your being. You help me a lot. Without your books I wouldn't have started sitting again (after 5 years of abstinence).
Before you only Suzuki inspired me to really sit down and shut up. Wilber and the like just got on my balls after very short time. I personally call what "intellectuals" like him do: "brain-wanking". I know because I did that too for a very long time. Feeling oh so superiour for maybe having (or not) a slightly higher IQ then most. It can get you very high (say: "grey matter orgasm" ; ). It's tempting and it's fucked up! Shakyamuni was a member of the elite who "came down to earth". That's the way IMO.

Anonymous said...

I didn't realize that you had such an anti-intellectual streak, Brad. You must hate all of those f'ing college graduates too with their big words and more than shallow ways of looking at the world.

that's stupid and you know it. brad went to college. so did i. lone wolf's at college. loads of people here went to college. it's got nothing to do with how intelligent you are. if you can't write something in a way that means that your average schmo can't understand it the it's probably not worth much. some ideas are neccessarily complicated and so it becomes even more important to be able to convey it clearly. but buddhism is pretty simple really. there's no need for all of the flowery language and big long sanscrit words. it's got nothing to do with nascars. doofus.


i cant find the quote but i will paraphrase some clever guy:

'the point of science is to convey, in a way that is understandable to as many people as possible, something that no one ever knew before. the point of poetry is the opposite'

Anonymous said...

that was me (dan) who wrote the last comment btw.

Eric said...

Brad's latest book didn't confirm any of the ideas I had about Buddhism, so it's obviously crap. Most Buddhist magazine readers will agree with me on that one and I think that's what Benjamin Bogin was saying too. Damn those unusual books on Buddhism.

Thom said...

Well, would you take seriously the flippant and superficial review of Brad's book by someone whose PhD is titled (to flippantly and superficially use someone's no doubt considered and intelligent work against them):

"Tantric Buddhism, Visual Arts, and Liberative Violence in Seventeenth-Century Tibet: A Microhistorical Study of the Memoirs of Yolmo Tenzin Norbu (1598-1644)"

It seems more than ironic that Bogin can dismiss SD&SU out of hand as having a narrow audience (published as it is by a mainstream publisher, and with a growing popular audience that numbers members for whom buddhism and zen are a new experience), when he describes his own academic work as:

...conducting an annotated and detailed study of the memoirs of Yolmo Tenzin Norbu (1598-1644), a Tibetan Buddhist priest, painter and ritual expert. This close attention to biographical and historical literature, he believes, will lead him to understand the expression of abstract religious ideals in historical and local contexts. To this end, on the basis of Yolmo Tenzin Norbu's memoirs, he will examine the distinction between monks and non-celibate tantric priests in the light of the author's conversion from the former to the latter; the production, consecration, veneration and trade of sacred art; and the political role of prophecy and violent "black magic."

I am all for intellectualism--sometimes complex ideas can't be explained in simple language (to do so would just be violently reductive and dumbed down)--and as a partisan in the culture wars where all too often people's obscure humanities postgrad work is dragged out into public scrutiny, far from the intellectual and historical context in which it makes sense for a nasty and ignorant lynching, let me be the last to denigrate the valid and laborious work of a PhD student.

But aint it just a bit sweet that Bogin's own work in the big wide world is going to appeal to a pretty damn narrow audience? Bite me, Boges.

Anonymous said...

To put it mildly, it seems like your 'Bite Me' is a way for you to call this person's review 'unskillful', wouldn't you agree Brad?

Metta ;-p

Anonymous said...

"there's no need for all of the flowery language and big long sanscrit words"
-that's exactly the kind of stuff you will find in many, many Buddhist books.Personally I get tired of all the "esoteric answers" and vocabulary in these books that most of us never say during a regular conversation. Keep it simple please.

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!

louis said...

to fyou roshi:
OMFG, I love the "cracker Buddhism" subgenre. Why did Richard Petty come to Daytona?

But he also appeals to my NPR listening, Patty Smith rules, Prius driving and yes KISS rules sensibilities.

BW's punk-ass delivers a dried shit on a stick message that resonates with some of us.

SVID

(while t
(message "Perl $uck$! now bite me")
(message "") ; force emacs to update display
)

Nicole said...

OMG! How can you guys be going on about this silly little book and review while Paris may be sent back to jail this very day?!!!

salvador dali parton said...

*shoots coffee outta schnozzer!*

Koudelka said...

>>bite_me!
Even post-liberation, our heros trained in the matrix's ways to beat it at it's own game. Even so, they fought in the real world to protect their new homes from sentinels.

So in a conflict, how do you tell a liberated man from a slave?

salvador dali parton said...

he'll be the one who shows up at the kkklan rally
in drag. or she'll.

Anonymous said...

Thom,

There difference is that Brad claims his book is for anyone interested in Zen and shows the One True Right Way of Zen (unlike Genpo Roshi's, of course, with his 30 years of experience).

His reviewer's dissertation is just that, a dissertation. It's audience is intended to be his PhD committee and others of a similar academic level. It's goal is to prove his mastery of a topic for the purposes of granting an academic degree.

Apples and Oranges...

As to the other commenter, I might have more respect for his derision if he could spell the word "Sanskrit" correctly...

Let's face it, Warner is anti-intellectual and no, it's bullshit to think that all Buddhist concepts would be explained in simple language to anyone. A lot of it, sure, but I bet Brad hasn't tried to explain Madhyamaka philosophy to them either. Of course, I doubt if Warner even knows what that is since it's just intellectualism and not meaningful (oh, except to every Mahayana tradition in East Asia...).

Anonymous said...

"bite me....bite me.....bite me"

The lady doth protest to much methinks.

Koudelka said...

>>Anonymous
What's an intellect? Have you ever seen one?

Cry more. ;_;

Koudelka said...

>>Anonymous
Also,
I'd have a lot more respect for your "intellect" if it knew the difference between the conjunction of "it" and "is" and the possessive form of the third-person gender neutral pronoun.

Anonymous said...

koudelka: say what? those is some purty big words yer usin there.

-PBR drinkin, homo hatin, NASCAR luvin redneck

Koudelka said...

ah dont know wut ah actualy sayd ther enehways! whur'z ma budwizur. ahn ma sistur.

keishin.ni said...

Is that Buddhist with a 'Be' or Dudehist with a 'Do'?
Oh, i see, it's a philosophy AND a practice!

salvador dali parton said...

i'm a nascar hatin' whitecastle pbr lovin'
homo friendly booty-ist.

John said...

anonymous said"...but I bet Brad hasn't tried to explain Madhyamaka philosophy to them either. Of course, I doubt if Warner even knows what that is since it's just intellectualism and not meaningful (oh, except to every Mahayana tradition in East Asia...)."


Ha! It's funny you would try to use Madhyamaka as an example. Brad just recently finshed helping Nishijima translate Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika into English.

My admittedly ignorant opinion (I've read about Nagarjuna but haven't actually read his work) is that it isn't quite accurate to call Madhyamaka intellectualism for one, and second that Dogen employs a simalar method in Shobogenzo, which Brad explains in a resonably straightforward way in SD&SU.

Anonymous said...

Of course, the point that matters is that Brad is helping "Nishijima translate Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika into English".

It isn't Brad's understanding of Nagarjuna's thought. It is Brad's teacher's understanding. I somehow doubt Brad is capable of understanding (or caring about) Nagarjuna. It's just more big words for him.

Elizabeth said...

I practice Zen, by which I mean I sit on a regular basis.

I also have a PhD and wrote a dissertation with a narrow (non-Buddhist-related) focus, fancy words, and 4 people as its audience.

I also like punk and even used to play in bands and still say 'dude' on occasion.

I'm also female, which seems a rarity on this rootin' tootin' dude-centric comment board/occasional pissing contest.

I admit that the illusion that is my ego did still bristle a bit at BW's comments about intellectuals, cause that assumes that all 'intellectuals' are the same and none like to say 'dude' or enjoy B movies. I also wish he would give a bit of credit to some other Buddhist writers out there, but that's just my preference talking. What do I know? I am probably taking him too seriously, which I'm sure he wouldn't condone, not that it matters what BW condones or doesn't.

Anyway, I like the books.

I'm sure somewhere in here someone will take offense to something I've said. To which I say, lighten up, dudes.

Anonymous said...

Are only people who sit and practice Zen real Buddhists?

What about the Dalai Lama? Brad says that he isn't a real Buddhist.

Anonymous said...

"At any rate, everybody can bite me. OK? The line forms to your left."

Laughing My Fucking Ass Off

i'll have to remember that one.

-bluewolf

p.s. i love the cover of your new book. twould make a killer tattoo

Anonymous said...

Brad's mission: to go where no bodhisattva has gone before.

Anonymous said...

my bad, to FEARLESSLY go where no bodhisattva has gone before.

Elizabeth said...

Contrary to what anonymous may think, by saying that I sit, I was not suggesting that zazen The Only Way (tm) people should practice, and indeed, it is not the only way I practice. It is *A* way that I practice. I imagine it is not even the only way that BW practices, not that this matters a hill of beans what he, I, or anyone else chooses to do as a practice. I knew someone would get offended and take something I said the wrong way. Never mind. I'm always sorry I ever say anything on here.

Enjoy trying to convince each other you're right, dudes.

Jules said...

It isn't Brad's understanding of Nagarjuna's thought. It is Brad's teacher's understanding. I somehow doubt Brad is capable of understanding (or caring about) Nagarjuna. It's just more big words for him.

Have you read it? There really aren't any big words, as far as I remember. It's more like a bunch of small words, arranged in a very confusing way.

Nice flamebait, by the way.

Anonymous said...

sweating the small stuff
here in life's locker room
slogging through blog
you'd think it was a job
and somebody had to do it

Jinzang said...

#!/usr/bin/perl
wait(60001)
print "Perl sucks!"


#!/usr/bin/perl
sleep(60001);
print "Perl rules!\n";
print "Your coding sucks!\n";
print "See you at YAPC!\n";

Jinzang said...

Let's face it, Warner is anti-intellectual and no, it's bullshit to think that all Buddhist concepts would be explained in simple language to anyone. A lot of it, sure, but I bet Brad hasn't tried to explain Madhyamaka philosophy to them either.

Brad is laughing his ass off that you take what he wrote so seriously. And the test of a real Buddhist is not how well they can expound on the Mulamadhyamikakarikas, but how they react when insulted.

Anonymous said...

You know, some people like big words. They like the way they feel in their mouth. And they like the way they feel in their mind. It's not really different than liking the sound of punk rock. It's not a virtue, just a preference. It's no big deal.

Anonymous said...

Being a shit-disturber can be immature ("bite me?"), but Zen is full of this sort of pushing of people's buttons, isn't it? What I find interesting in all this is what has come out of BW's stirring of the pot. All this ego, anger, indignation, and pettiness has bubbled up.
Cheers to BW for an excellent lesson in Zen!

PS--Brad, your books are great, but punk/hardcore has been over since the 80's....so please get over it and move on. Talking about old dead rock bands and what they once meant in the middle of a zen book is simply filler. This seems to be contrary to the spirit of both Harcore and Zen.

I think I'll go sit down and shut up now.

Thom said...

Anonymous (kinda a cipher of a tag, don't you think? Far better to have a moniker so that we think there's an 'other' self out there to argue with), you said:

'His reviewer's dissertation is just that, a dissertation. It's audience is intended to be his PhD committee and others of a similar academic level. It's goal is to prove his mastery of a topic for the purposes of granting an academic degree.

Apples and Oranges...'

It aint. It's still work put out there into the world, available in the public domain, with the intent of advancing the collective knowledge of humanity (and better 'em). That's what a dissertation is for, isn't it? Warner's book is put out there to lessen the suffering and better the lot of humanity, isn't it? My rather irrelevant and poorly put point was that if his reviewer is going to criticise Warner's work on the grounds that it has a narrow audience, then you could very well say the same of his own (and by implication make a dirty smear about its relevance). Which is unfair and far from generous, considering it's really a paragraph long review in some magazine with its own limited audience, and I actually happen to like hearing about people's scholarly work (and it really isn't Bogin's fault anyway: the very nature of modern academia necessarily generates ever-ramifying subtopics of ever microscopic areas of knowledge: that's what's necessary to piss on your own bit of scholarly turf). Plus reviewers generally only get their gig if they've got an alphabet soup after their name, and people wouldn't respect them much if they didn't have the alphabet soup.

Elizabeth, you said:

'I practice Zen, by which I mean I sit on a regular basis.

I also have a PhD and wrote a dissertation with a narrow (non-Buddhist-related) focus, fancy words, and 4 people as its audience.

I also like punk and even used to play in bands and still say 'dude' on occasion.

I'm also female, which seems a rarity on this rootin' tootin' dude-centric comment board/occasional pissing contest.

I admit that the illusion that is my ego did still bristle a bit at BW's comments about intellectuals, cause that assumes that all 'intellectuals' are the same and none like to say 'dude' or enjoy B movies.'

I have to say that I agree with you: I practice zen, by which I mean that I try and sit zazen in the prescribed way regularly, and I also hold a postgraduate degree in a non-Buddhist related area (and am a guilty devotee of fancy words). I've struggled with zen's anti-intellectualism (particularly soto zen) for some time, given that I think there's a lot to be said for a deep inquiry into the nature of things, some of which you can only do with fancy words, and after which only about 4 people will understand what you've had to say anyway. Sometimes saying that it's all empty anyway just doesn't quite satisfy. And I also think that saying dude and reading some heavy duty pointy ended philosophy aren't mutually exclusive.

I take your point about the lack of women in this 'mine's longer than yours' contest as well. Women are under-represented in buddhism and in academia. And in punk rock. Maybe that's because all of them rapidly devolve into pissing contests and women have better things to do.

Anonymous said...

plenty of women are here, we just post as 'anonymous'

Bizarro said...

I appreciate what you write, Brad. Your books (and blog) have helped me to make a lot of positive changes in my life, in ways that many other stuffy books completely failed to do.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

If the true measure of a Buddhist is how you respond to criticism, then Brad really fails.

He calls people "butt buddies" or swears at them, displaying his anger and inability to really take any criticism for all to see.

Brad wonders why no one shows up to his sitting sessions on a regular basis. I don't wonder at all.

Thom said...

Anonymous = gender neutral?

Elizabeth said...

Well, Virginia Woolf did say "Anonymous was a woman," but I don't think she necessarily meant that as a positive observation.

Actually, there have been a lot of women in the Buddhist groups I've sat with, although men have still been in the majority most of the time. That said, I have always appreciated practicing with them. They were cool guys and didn't seem all competitive and defensive.

I guess there's a fine line between being assertive or just being an ass. In terms of this comment board, I don't really understand all the need for all of the insulting and character assassination, which, I just noticed, appropriately has 2x the 'ass' contained in it.

In terms of intellectual vs. anti-intellectual, I appreciate the idea that Zen does not have to be grasped intellectually and can be understood intuitively without ever reading a book. I don't think of that as anti-intellectual though, non-intellectual or beyond-intellectual maybe.

Anonymous said...

Once upon a time, I was a spouting know-it-all intellectual. As a result, I was an obnoxious little beast. The best thing that ever happened to me was being diagnosed two years ago with cognitive difficulties from an illness I have. I can't think very well and I have trouble retaining what I learn. But I also don't overthink stuff any more...and that's a pretty good gig! I also learned that intellectualism ain't all that and a bag of chips.

Anonymous said...

"Brad is laughing his ass off that you take what he wrote so seriously. And the test of a real Buddhist is not how well they can expound on the Mulamadhyamikakarikas, but how they react when insulted."

Spoken like a true fanboy :)

As someone already pointed out, Brad uses unskillful language on a regular basis. Buddha teaches us the following...

"Do not make light of your faults saying, "They don't bother me." Just as a jug fills drop by drop, a fool becomes filled with his folly. "

This Blog would be of less concern if Brad removed the "I'm a Zen monk" from his bio. Start acting like a monk, use skillful speech, and stop trying to be the bad boy of buddhism. Lets face it, Noah Levine does that role so much better than Brad.

JasonDL said...

its funny you mention this as I read the book and then a day later read the review in question. My reaction was the same, "this guy didnt even read it!"

I realise that sounds like something everyone says when there is a bad review, but it honestly looks like the reviewer didnt actually crack the book at all!

So I wrote a letter to the magazine (something I never have done before)suggesting that if the reviewr is going to critique the style of a book he might at least want to check the substance of it as well.

Anyway, I enjoyed the book even more than Hardcore Zen which I enjoyed tremendously. And unlike the reviewers, I paid for my copy.

JasonDL said...

p.s. dont feed the trolls.

dan said...

"As to the other commenter, I might have more respect for his derision if he could spell the word "Sanskrit" correctly"

this is exactly what i'm talking about.

you are a dick..............................................head

ursa303 said...

This iz why your frickin awsome!!! You have a better grasp on buddhism than most people, but because you don't talk like master Yoda people don't respect you as a serious buddhist. You don't give a shit about about the contrisy you generate and that makes you the shiznik. By the way, I would be honered to bite you!!! You are so frickin awsome!!!

FeMonky said...

Now that you've mentioned it, I'm going to have to re-read the book with the Beavis & Butthead voice in mind... I don't know if I can read it any other way!
And I bought the book because of the cover! Gojira & Buddha?! I gotta read that!!!

Bite_Me said...

>>Koudelka said...

"So in a conflict, how do you tell a liberated man from a slave?"

Only the mind of a slave will conceive conflict. If one perceives conflict, the wisest thing one can do is to realize one is a slave.

Conflict is a state of suffering. Suffering is due to attachment. Attachment is due to not knowing. This is the state of slavery.

The slave who wishes to be liberated will take some time to reexamine the whole conflict situation, including their role in it. They will choose do this with their own mind, under their own authority. Usually this happens after a long time of wining and losing conflicts, after a long time of enjoying conflict. Eventually the slave realizes the need to find trusted beings, liberated or at least more-free, from whom reliable instructions for re-examining conflict can be heard.

Seems like Brad & his writing does this for many and that's really a great thing in this world.

This has been the actual experience of this slave, speaking from this mind, none other, expressing, not seeking conflict, open to any assistance that may further loosen these chains I can't see.

Anonymous said...

whole lotta duddhists on this blog
what is the sound of one finger typing?

Anonymous said...

"This iz why your frickin awsome!!! You have a better grasp on buddhism than most people,"

LOL. That would be who, the 'most people' on the planet who never read a copy of the Dhammapada?

Joey said...

I just finished you book, Hardcore Zen. I just wanted to say thank you for writing it. I just posted my "review" per-say on my blog. Again great job and amazing, clear writing.

yudo said...

Here is what a 65 years old lady from Southern Italy, with absolutely no knowledge at all of punk rock, wrote to me after I had her read Hardcore Zen:

Aspetto con gioia gli estratti di Brad: mi ha aiutato molto a capire e ad accettare senza fare tante storie gli eventi della vita. Grazie anche a te.

(I'm waiting with joy the extracts from Brad's book: he has helped me a lot to understand and accept without so much fuss the events of my life. Thanks to you too.)

Anonymous said...

Brad's writing is mixed but he's the 'real deal' and damned insightful. He's also young, Caucasian, clearly heterosexual and not from the intelligentsia, although he's clearly a smart, from the solid middle-class dude. And he's opinionated and rude (in a cute way, if you ask me). No surprise he's pushing lots and lots of buttons in the Buddhist blog-o-sphere. Here are my two cents as to why (don't spend them all in one day)

Some people really freak out at Brad's bad-boy speech, you can see the seething anger or irritation behind their criticism of his words. Maybe in the past they laughed at stories of crazy wisdom or other bad-boy zen masters (the Korean tradition is full of them). Maybe they 'understand' Buddhism but they don't get Zen. They just like pretty, soothing, and complicated talk from people like themselves. They're like "Hey Zen Master Brad-O, I can't believe some bumfuck from fly-over country got some 'transmission' in Japan from a nobody zazen-obsessed zen master before I did and dares tell me about it in his own way." Clearly real gringo zen masters need to have a small liberal-arts school education, have been sweet sensitive contemplative types and have written thoughtful, if deluded poetry before embarking on to Asia to get enlightenment (with at least an MA in Asian languages and cultures). Now there's a respectable zen teacher! Too bad Hui-Neng himself never passed the civil service exam and he probably didn't smell too good after a long day pounding rice.

Maybe it's soothing to hear pretty zen talk. I know I like it. It's also good to pull out for the folks or to hang on my meditation room wall. But then we have trouble with Un Mun's shit stick buddha or Ko Bong's freedom style. Just because Brad don't talk pretty don't mean that he's really bad. And he's not anti-intellectual in my reading, he's anti-mental masturbation. The question is, what do you like? What fills your belly?

Zen is Buddhism, but not all Buddhism is Zen (as with any other school). Most Zen schools criticize those who try to understand Buddhism without practice or depend too heavily on the sutras as if they were the Christian Bible; it's like really, really understanding the menu but never eating your dinner. The point is, are you full? If you are, then you can understand the menu without reading it obsessively. And if you've eaten, why read the menu again? unless you're curious or to see the ingredients in that yummy pudding.

There's some real difference here between Buddhist schools--some are very complicated with multiple levels of sutra study, lots of 'stages' and secret initiations, lots of levels of teachers and kinds of enlightenment and students who are into obsessive 'modelling' and 'evolutionary' approaches. No surprise they might not like Zen style, there's that poem: "Buddha taught the sutras to save all minds. If you don't keep any of these minds, what need do you have of sutras?" Other styles are very simple and direct but take a different approach to the set of questions that make up Buddhism (like really doing things slowly all the time). Again, it depends on what you need.

I think another group of commenters want Buddhism to be like a philosophy church without that troublesome God, but they get to decide who breaks precepts and who doesn't, and how to punish people who don't speak like they do, who gets to be part of their 'pretty club' and who doesn't, who is a real teacher and who isn't etc. They want their smartness (hey, I'm a -real- intellectual and understand how these cool Buddhist sutras are just like Western physics) to count somehow in their lives for more than it does (speaking from personal experience here). I want my PhD to count for something, right? It doesn't help them put their pants on or take a shower, after all (ouch, that's me I'm writing about!)

I liked Brad's comments on the Shobogenzo and his insistence that you have to do it for yourself. You do the sitting, you'll know for yourself whether the coffee is hot or cold. You commit some unclear action, you suffer the consequences. You don't, you won't. But there are great causes and effects. Spring comes, snow melts.

As for me, I'm 'anonymous', not heterosexual, well-educated with poor taste in music (not even punk) and appreciate Brad's refreshing, bad-boy pun-filled tone. He's also got something to teach if you hear it.

Elizabeth said...

Rock on, anon, whoever you are. Amen, sista (or bro, whichever). You totally characterized this comment board and some (needlessly) divisive issues in Buddhism generally. You hit the nail right on the head.

Jared said...

Talk talk talk talk....

A shamefully low number of these posts address WHY we should give a shit about how Brad feels over a book review. Or anything! I like Brad, he seems like a nice guy. But who cares?? I can't remember who posted it or what they were talking about, but I think a ton of people reading this blog would do well to take the javelin out of their eye before they comment on someone else's splinter. Brad gets mad just like you and me, regardless of whether or not this was one of those times. Give the dude a break and sit your ass back on the zafu!

P.S. Buddha-Chicks are hawt ;-D

Jinzang said...

People like myself to whom the lyrics of "God Of Thunder" by KISS seem like a profound commentary on spiriuality (I am being completely serious here, by the way. Listen to it sometime.).

You've got something about you
You've got something I need
Daughter of Aphrodite
Hear my words and take heed
I was born on Olympus
To my father a son
I was raised by the demons
Trained to reign as the one

God of thunder and rock and roll
The spell you're under
Will slowly rob you of your virgin soul

I'm the lord of the wastelands
A modern day man of steel
I gather darkness to please me
And I command you to kneel


Whaaaat?? (Scratches head.) Maybe your next book will explain the Zen of Kiss lyrics.

Jinzang said...

I like Brad, he seems like a nice guy. But who cares??

People just like to argue. Even Zennies, who should know better.

Koudelka said...

>>bite me

Wow, sounds pretty dramatic, man.

Anonymous said...

"God of thunder and rock and roll
The spell you're under
Will slowly rob you of your virgin soul"


'virgin soul' is a reference to buddha mind.
'The spell you're under' is delusion, attachment, craving etc.

Master Bankei wrote...

Keep your mind as it was
When you came into the world
And instantly this very self
Is a living "thus-come" one

Koudelka said...

you people are retarded, i quit.

Anonymous said...

be sure and shut the door on your way out :)

Anonymous said...

and this makes this, comment number 97....

-bluewolf

Anonymous said...

Brad said, "Seriously, though, I think one of the great tragedies is how Buddhism has become the property of stuffy intellectuals who seem intent upon making it as inaccessible as possible to ordinary dumb people like me."

Absolutely! I hope you keep right on doing what you're doing, even when you piss me off. That mag takes itself way too seriously (taking oneself seriously seems to be a common Buddhist disease or something).

DB

Jared said...

Who else thinks that "Girls" by the Beastie Boys is also a not-so-subtle musical treatise on Buddha-mind?


:-D

esmerelda_verde said...

Well, I thought it was a good review in that if I had not already bought the book it would make me likely to go find it.

By the way I took the book to Greece and read most of it on the Island of Samos. While I also looked at big fish and the ocean, it was still a good place to read it. I do now understand Dogen a little better.

Thanks Brad, sorry I couldn't take you but I figure you and the book are one so you got to go too, in a way.

ursa303 said...

"LOL. That would be who, the 'most people' on the planet who never read a copy of the Dhammapada?"
Yeh, but even people who have read it still don't see hat buddhism is really about.

Café Zen said...

Since when does Zen Buddhism have anyhing to do with words anyway? Every book on zen should get a horrible review. They all fail. Miserably. The only good dharma book is one that kicks people in the ass to PRACTICE. With a real teacher. With a sangha. To keep pushing the edge of their practice. To not be complacent. On the zafu, off the zafu.

Elizabeth said...

BW addresses the very issue of words and "seeing the moment of their complete nonnecessity" in one of the last chapters of SD&SU, which I happened to run across last night when I finished the book. He discusses it in the context of a particular scientist's critique of Buddhism:

"John Horgan talks about a Zen teacher who said that 'language prevents us from seeing the world as it truly is.' He responds, 'I thought how tired I was of this Zen cliche. How many millions of words have Zen masters spouted telling us to get beyond words?'

"The answer is - a whole lot of 'em, including the ones in this little book. And the reason Buddhists spout so many words telling us to go beyond words is to get us to go beyond words. [Footnote: 'Duh!'] Without hearing that words are unnecessary - spoken in unnecessary words - most of us would never make the effort to see why that might be so ... It's not enough just to hear the words that words are unnecessary. We have to make the real effort to go beyond them." (pp. 220-221)

Hence, verbal/written teachings show and tell us how different teachers think we can get to that point, and why. Makes sense to me. If BW's take on how to get beyond words doesn't work for you, there are plenty of other teachers out there who might explain it differently. And if you're so experienced as to be totally over everyone's teachings (ummm... no comment), then by all means, yes, get off the internet and onto your zafu, and be sure and write a book for the rest of us so we can finally ditch all teachings too.

Café Zen said...

Elizabeth:

Yes, exactly. Ditch all the teachings. Ditch the Dharma, ditch Buddha, ditch enlightenment, ditch Zen. Ditch the one who ditches and then ditch that. That's zazen! Ah, now I can really read Dogen. Now, I can really hear the teisho. Now, I can really listen to my child. If I thinking there's something called enlightenment, I'm in deep shit. Clearly words can be a powerful upaya. But words ain't it. Even words that say that words ain't it. Good reviews ain't it; bad reviews ain't it. All dharma books fail AND all dharma books are absolutely necessary (well, maybe not ALL). How can I be free from words and free from silence? How can I blog without moving my fingers?

Jinzang said...

Ditch the one who ditches and then ditch that. That's zazen!

No, zazen is neither ditching or keeping. Zazen is paying attention.

Anonymous said...

And some of those "stuffy intellectuals"
*might* be smokin' crack; here's one with
a PhD in Buddhist Studies from Harvard:

Professor Graeme MacQueen

Imperatrix said...

Too much thinking.

Elizabeth said...

I have respect for teachers and texts, and I have respect for my own experience. I'm neither going to overvalue nor completely ditch either one.

Maybe someone might tell me something that I can then explore and confirm in my own experience. Maybe it's something I might not consider otherwise...Or maybe they're full of crap.

Either way, it's ultimately direct experience that determines it. For me anyway, teaching is a catalyst towards action and understanding. Or not. Either way it can be valuable.

Anonymous said...

I can't remember who posted it or what they were talking about, but I think a ton of people reading this blog would do well to take the javelin out of their eye before they comment on someone else's splinter.

it's from the bible. matthew 7:3

and thanks to the guy who pointed out that mental masturbation is not being intellectual even though many people (inlcuding intellectuals unsuprisingly) have trouble distinguiahing between the two.

also to the guy who started going on about ditching loads of stuff. um, well i sort of see what you mean but it also sounds like you might be one of those 'no one can teach me anything anymore, i've moved 'beyond' ordinary understanding' types.those types of people suck

dan

Thom said...

There are so many javelins, it's like 300 in here... except without the 9 foot S&M freak Persians.

UncaDan said...

When I first started my spiritual journey and became a dedicated Christian I believed that after a certain amount of spiritual growth, scriptures would become unnecessary and God would become realized and known. After a few years I found that Christianity doesn't work like that and left. Even though if you have a red letter bible and just read the words of Jesus you get a completely different impression.

I looked into other isms and I found the same obstacles of proprietary revelations and "our way or the highway" attitudes, but when I read their source books I could always find a useful nugget to take to heart and move on.

When I first encountered Buddhism, I bought a copy of the Dhammapada, read it all the way through and enjoyed it very much. The intro explained the 4 noble truths and the 8 fold path nicely. I was struck by Buddha's words when he said "All effort must be made by you, Buddha's only show you the way." Even though it lacked some of the mysticism I was searching for at the time, I felt that it was an important book and held on to it and occasionally would thumb through it.

When I discovered the Tao Te Ching I was floored. Here was a book that was short, concise and to the point, with just enough mysticism and practical wisdom. It was saying all the things that I was pulling out of all the other isms without demanding my undying devotion to someone else's vision. The many translations of this book remain a treasured part of my library.

Later, my wife pointed me to J. Krishnamurti. It was while reading "Think on These Things" that I had my first "mystical experience". For at least a month after that I could not read anything religious, spiritual or philosophical, just old Charlie Brown and Beetle Baily paperbacks. When I started reading again it was more to put my experience into some kind of perspective so I could move on. That was almost 15 years ago.

About 6 months ago I picked up Hardcore Zen. This was the first book since the Tao Te Ching that seemed real and understandable. After reading SD&SU I have been inspired to actually sit zazen. I have always been more of a contemplator than a meditator so this is new to me and I really have to push myself to do it on a consistent basis.

When I first started reading this blog I really enjoyed it. The comments were insightful and Brad's posts were entertaining and helpful. Lately, things have changed. I find the arguing about Brad's language and the debates of who is Buddhist and who is not or what is Buddhist and what is not just as offensive and disturbing as the "I am right, you are wrong" attitudes among the different Christian sects.

So what I am getting at is don't get hung up on rules, regulations, precepts, teachers, scriptures, ideas. These are only paths and tools to realize reality. It doesn't matter what others do, it only matters what you do and everything you do has consequences so be careful. Move past the deceptive duality of perception and let things be what they are.

-

Sight obscures.
Noise deafens.
Desire messes with your heart.
Thoughts mess with your mind.

The Master watches the world
but keeps focused on what's real.

Tao Te Ching Ch. 12
adapted by Ron Hogan
http://www.beatrice.com/TAO.html

Anonymous said...

"I find the arguing about Brad's language and the debates of who is Buddhist and who is not or what is Buddhist and what is not just as offensive and disturbing as the "I am right, you are wrong" attitudes among the different Christian sects.

So what I am getting at is don't get hung up on rules, regulations, precepts, teachers, scriptures, ideas. These are only paths and tools to realize reality. It doesn't matter what others do, it only matters what you do and everything you do has consequences so be careful. Move past the deceptive duality of perception and let things be what they are."

or.. instead of getting the 'disturbed' by the incessant arguing you could relax a bit and join in by calling everyone a fag or something.


dan

Anonymous said...

sorry that was a tad too aggressive. i meant to say that the arguing is by and large, not really serious. i personally dont mind too much if someone totally disagrees with me and i have no problem arguing with people just for the entertainment of it. it's only a problem if people take it too seriously which no one here really does. except for kouldelka




psyche

keishin.ni said...

Everyone is our teacher.
Even children fighting on the playground.

Open this blog and what do we find?
What do we come with?
What do we leave behind?
What stays with us?

When I walk along this blog's shoreline: trash and treasures along the way.
When I was little, I'd take pretty shells and leave the trash.
Came a time I'd go pick up trash and leave the pretty things for others.
Now I realize it can be good to leave both:
it is really good for us all to see what is here.
This very life: this very blog.
Thank you.
gassho

keishin.ni said...

Everyone is our teacher.
Even children fighting on the playground.

Open this blog and what do we find?
What do we come with?
What do we leave behind?
What stays with us?

When I walk along this blog's shoreline: trash and treasures along the way.
When I was little, I'd take pretty shells and leave the trash.
Came a time I'd go pick up trash and leave the pretty things for others.
Now I realize it can be good to leave both:
it is really good for us all to see what is here.
This very life: this very blog.
Thank you.
gassho

nika said...

so is this a warner-smörgåsbord? Are we allowed to nibble to taste-test or do we have to take a big old full mouth bite?

I do not have any problem with your anti-orthodoxy, so I wonder if I can still have a bite!

This might be a good lesson in the reactive mind and not letting the turkeys see you sweat and all that bull.

scooterjonz said...

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE THE BITE?

As a middle-aged former Mod (we got along pretty well with the punks - they just kept borrowing our bikes and not returning them) I like this book just fine, dude. Brad has hit a few things on the nose, the biggest of which is his suspicion of would-be teachers. And he doesn't set himself up as judge or jury - he simply says, "Go with your gut" or something like that anyway.

I have run into a lot of teachers whose goal in their followers is more like-mindedness than right-mindedness.

I expected Brad's book to suck. The "good old days" are that - old days. I had some too. And true, those portions of the book can bore me. But they also remind me how boring I can be when I dwell on 3D or at Pink Cadillac. (lame personal reference). The rest of the book, however makes some things clear to me. And for that I will wade through what is less desirable.

Why would you knock someone for making Zen or Buddhism accessible?

There is something in the Dhammapada about "he who knows many Buddhist sayings but does not live them is lame, but he who knows few but puts them into practice in his daily life will win a guitar or something.

Alan G. Ampolsk said...

Sorry to have missed most of this firefight.

For what it's worth, have posted a few comments over at my blog. Am having trouble getting the full link to take in this form, but if you're interested, head over to www.metaphorcountry.com, click over to the religion page, and scroll down.

Apologies in advance for the shameless (illusory-)self promotion...

Gregor said...

Amen Brad.

Thanks for doing your part to keep Buddhism honest and real.

Tell Benji he can bite me too.

Jacob said...

All of this rebelious and childish "bite me" stuff? I LOVE it. You're speaking my spiritual language dude.

Mysterion said...

Re: as good as a wink - blind horse
the Oxford English Dictionary:
"1794 Godwin Caleb Williams I. viii. 171 A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse "

Well, 1794 is very recent in OED terms
- some of its examples come from 800 or so, a mere millennium earlier
1793 J. RITSON Let. 14 Feb. (1833) II. 11
"A nod, you know, is as good as a wink to a blind horse."

This is not the version I learned just 45 years ago. I suspect my version was adapted from Chinese Chu'an Buddhism:

"You are what you are...
...and not what you think.

To a blinh horse a smile
is as good as a wink."

I enjoyed your 'lecture' at SF Zen Center.

Mysterion said...

Natural, reckless, correct skill;

Yesterday's clarity is today's stupidity

The universe has dark and light,

entrust oneself to change

One time, shade the eyes and gaze afar at the road of heaven.

Ikkyu
Japanese Poet, Priest - (1394-1481)