Sunday, July 08, 2007

THE DRESDEN DOLLS, HENRY ROLLINS and THE ZEN POLICE


Yesterday I saw Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls (my new favorite Weimar meets Punkrock drum & piano duo) do this thing that the Hammer Museum near UCLA is putting on called "Conversations." Basically they invite two celebrities who don't know each other to sit on stage in the museum courtyard and talk to each other for two hours. Amanda got invited and named Henry Rollins as the celeb she'd most like to talk to (apparently she also requested Noam Chomsky, but Noam wasn't available). The resulting conversation was really, really interesting. I was pleasantly surprised because I didn't know what to expect. I don't think Amanda and Henry knew what to expect and were probably as surprised as the rest of us.

I'm sure if you search around on-line somebody must have posted a blog about the talk. So I'll just stick to my own impressions. One of the most interesting things they hit upon was the way nearly everyone in the entertainment biz tends to feel like they don't really belong there. The only ones who are cocky enough to think they deserve to be famous probably won't be famous very long. Henry Rollins said that when he acts in a film he sometimes feels like at some point the Acting Police are gonna break down the door and arrest him for not being a "real" actor. He said he feels the same about any of the things he does, including writing books, singing and all the rest. Then Amanda (I think it was Amanda) said that she's seen the same thing with a lot of people, particularly any who are good at what they do. If they're a doctor, they always feel like the Doctor Police are gonna come in, or the Lawyer Police or whatever it happens to be.

This is something I feel myself. Only it's the Zen Police I'm worried about. It may be the reason I'm so uncomfortable in Buddhist robes. I feel like any minute somebody's gonna "out" me as not being a real monk.

In fact, though, this does actually happen. But it's never anyone who has any actual credentials in Buddhism who tries to out you. It's always some jag-off who's read way too many D.T. Suzuki and Alan Watts books who's got some highly developed ideas of what a Zen teacher ought to say and do. I especially love the guys who shriek, "BUDDHA SAID DO NO HARM!!!!!!!" at me on their little blogs because I said something that offended (harmed) them or -- more often -- that they believe might offend somebody else. They should all go be butt buddies together, that's all I can say...

When I first published a book on Buddhism I became aware of the tremendous pressure that exists out there in the big wide world to conform to a certain ideal about what a Zen teacher should be. It's a very vague, but generally understood consensus image we all carry around. And when I say "we all," this includes me and includes a lot of people who've studied and practiced Zazen for years and really ought to know better. But we all have a strong habit of buying into these consensus images society provides for us. In the case of Zen you can see this consensus image in fictional characters like Yoda in Star Wars, Kwai Chang Caine in Kung Fu or even the weird idealized portraits the media has of real people like the Dalai Lama or Tich Naht Hahn. Of course there are a tremendous number of assholes -- and I won't name names, but I'm sure you can guess -- out there who play to this image and try and present themselves as the living, breathing embodiment of it. Yeah, right. Believe whatever you want, friends and neighbors.

At one point in my so-called "career" in this business I made an attempt to conform to this. But it was a pretty half-assed attempt. It felt so incredibly wrong that I could see it was doing me a whole lot of harm (see above) to try and be that non-existent thing people seemed to want me to be. In turn it does other people tremendous, perhaps even irreparable, harm when guru guys of various sorts present themselves in that way. It creates tragic fantasies that are nearly impossible to undo. The best way you can "do no harm" is to present yourself exactly as you are.

I can dig what Amanda and Henry were saying because I know I'll probably never feel like a "real" Zen teacher. I mean, I have all the proper credentials and pedigree. But I often feel like I cheated my way into receiving those certificates and robes. Amanda Palmer said when she plays a concert she sometimes looks out at the audience in amazement thinking, "Wow, I really put one over on these people!" Actually, that's not a quote. I didn't take notes. But something like that. Anyhow that's exactly how I feel sometimes when doing a Zen lecture. Or even when writing a book or a stupid blog entry like this.

But there is one difference. Maybe. I don't know if Amanda Palmer and Henry Rollins know this. But I suspect they do or they couldn't be the tremendous performers they are. And that is that anyone who might try and "out" you as not the "real" whatever it is they think they know all about, those people are just as big of posers as you are. This includes the Acting Police, the Music Police and especially the Zen Police. The whole world is made up of nothing but posers. The only "real" whatever it is you can ever be is to really be yourself. The practice of Zazen is intended to do just one thing and that is to help you understand what you really are and to enable you to be that person. If that person isn't what society thinks he or she should be, that is of no consequence whatsoever.

This is what Dogen goes on and on about in Shobogenzo when he writes about "meeting a true person." Not someone who lives up to some groundless ideal of what a Zen teacher or student is supposed to look like, but someone who is truly himself or herself. But also keep in mind that what you think you are and what you actually are, are two very different things. There may be no relation at all between the image and the fact.

Blah-blah-blah....

It's Sunday today which means it's gonna be Monday in Tokyo in a couple hours. So I gotta go do some "real job" stuff. See ya!

109 comments:

Anonymous said...

"butt buddies"? Does your zazen practice help you cultivate that Oh So sophisticated Homo-Phobia?

I think you need to sit less and think more.

Lone Wolf said...

Thanks for that post Brad!

Anytime, people praise me with success(which is very rare) or they like a story I wrote, I get the that same feeling of being a poser. I used to hate that feeling but over the years I noticed it keeps me humble and striving to better myself in whatever I'm doing. At the same time, like everything there is a balance, because I've also felt like such a fraud where I give up what I'm doing when I should just keep trying to be successful at what I'm doing.

Other times I meet people who have such a great presenation of what they do, but sometimes they aren't all that and a bag of Grippo's like they portray they are. I feel I should keep this in mind because I tend to put people on a pedestal and put my self in the "I'm no Worthy" place of Wayne and Garth. The Godhead and Dorkboy syndrome.

I think we all feel we have a "Loose Nut" in are heads. Yet, here comes that cliche Zen phrase, the universe is perfect as it is because it is what it is regardless of what we think.


May the force be with you, young lawn crickets!

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

" "butt buddies"? Does your zazen practice help you cultivate that Oh So sophisticated Homo-Phobia?

I think you need to sit less and think more."

i swear we went through this before. if i tell someone to go fuck themselves am i being masturbationophobic?

or if one of the people brad was talking about was a woman and one was a man and he said that they could go be fuck buddies...... hmmm, butt buddies is offensive as in saying two people are butt buddies is a diss but i dont know whether it's neccessarily homophobic.

and anon. i think you need to think less and sit more

element said...

I think what you say should be obvious for everybody, and I wonder why it is not. I hate people who expect something of me, and I always destroy their picture of me. I think thats the difference between "normal"
people and critic, somehow suffering, punk or whatever people. It maybe has to do with one biographie and background. People who......

For the anonymous poster who hasn't got it, you can be my butt buddy!

Silent said...

I'm way more attracted to curvy females than boxy males, but I'm not against two guys getting it on if that's what they want.

When I read the line "They should go be butt buddies together" I laughed because I know what he's talking about. He's not dissing our homo bros, he's talking about how we tend to stick to people we agree with and who agree with us. How we jack each other off mentally and reinforce each other's stupid ideas.

This post is probably about not believing in your own bullshit much less anyone who agrees with it.

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

I for one am a bit concerned.
Like watching a cat being picked up and tossed by a child who does not know what 'torment' means, but knows what it is.
Bad Boy Kitty Brad lands on his feet, lands on his feet, lands on his feet.
He's got feet smarts.

The public eye is jaundiced.
The public can only see you, Meester Brad with its state of unhealth.
By virtue of being in the public eye you automatically get to be used by others to balance the equation of their unequiniminious
psyche--that means use of you, because you are handily available--to purge whatever dark shadowy loamy stuff still undigested and still left in the 'unclaimed' section of their baggage. You ain't alone. This is the treatment public figures get. And not just in public, mind you--this shit happens in private too--it's called dysfunctional, but I think DISfunctional captures it better. Truly we 'dis' each other when we use others to balance our own internal equations.......

sitting down, shutting up if it didn't already exist, someone would have to invent it...

Good dharma roots, good dharma stock, bud, you're the flower and we know our teachers by their fruits. Nishijima--now there's a fertile field.

Still, all told, you a puppy--an lookit those paws--when you're all growed, yousa are a gonna be a giant.
I for one hope you make it. No one has ever been a punkrockmusicianmoviemakin'bookwritin'godzillamonstalovin'zenmater before

I imagine all this in-the-spotlight stuff is good training---until it isn't.

I hope you're taking your vitamins and eating your wheaties.


I hope you continue to find balance.
I hope you pace yourself not just for the day, the week, the month, the project, but for the boundlessness.

Do I hear a gassho?
That my friends, is the ONE hand clapping!

Anonymous said...

I for one am a bit concerned.
Like watching a cat being picked up and tossed by a child who does not know what 'torment' means, but knows what it is.
Bad Boy Kitty Brad lands on his feet, lands on his feet, lands on his feet.
He's got feet smarts.

The public eye is jaundiced.
The public can only see you, Meester Brad with its state of unhealth.
By virtue of being in the public eye you automatically get to be used by others to balance the equation of their unequiniminious
psyche--that means use of you, because you are handily available--to purge whatever dark shadowy loamy stuff still undigested and still left in the 'unclaimed' section of their baggage. You ain't alone. This is the treatment public figures get. And not just in public, mind you--this shit happens in private too--it's called dysfunctional, but I think DISfunctional captures it better. Truly we 'dis' each other when we use others to balance our own internal equations.......

sitting down, shutting up if it didn't already exist, someone would have to invent it...

Good dharma roots, good dharma stock, bud, you're the flower and we know our teachers by their fruits. Nishijima--now there's a fertile field.

Still, all told, you a puppy--an lookit those paws--when you're all growed, yousa are a gonna be a giant.
I for one hope you make it. No one has ever been a punkrockmusicianmoviemakin'bookwritin'godzillamonstalovin'zenmater before

I imagine all this in-the-spotlight stuff is good training---until it isn't.

I hope you're taking your vitamins and eating your wheaties.


I hope you continue to find balance.
I hope you pace yourself not just for the day, the week, the month, the project, but for the boundlessness.

Do I hear a gassho?
That my friends, is the ONE hand clapping!

Anonymous said...

oooops once was more than enough, sorry

Jared said...

>>Anon

...what are you talking about?

-Jared

P.S. I'm still amazed that Paris Hilton is famous. Most famous people are famous because they can do something pretty well. But I don't think she has any marketable or desirable skills...you know, other than that pr0n thing.

Anonymous said...

anonymous #1 - fuck you.. think about things for a couple of years but just shut up for now.

Anonymous said...

"Of course there are a tremendous number of assholes -- and I won't name names, but I'm sure you can guess."

I'm guessing that maybe the two lamers who just posted as you and maybe jundo to nishijima's blog are at the top of your asshole list. fucking wipes!

sorry jundo if that was really you. much respect bra..

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

Thanks for another great post. As with many other things you have written, I feel like I can relate to the situations you are describing.

I work as a scientist and just about every day I am paranoid that the "Science Police" are going to come into the lab and haul me off due to incompetency.

I have been working in the science field for about eight years and now I get super-snazzy job titles such as "Study Director" and "Principal Investigator" or "Project Lead" and I don't feel any more comfortable today then I did the first day on the job. Usually it feels like everybody else out there knows way more than I do (which is probably true) and that I am pulling a fast one over my clients hoping they won't catch it.

I try to look at the objective side of things and realize I must be doing something right else I wouldn't still be doing it. However that still doesn't change the fact that any day now I expect people way smarter than I to roll on in and defrock me by taking my lab coat. Maybe that won't be such a bad thing . . .

Anonymous said...

hmm...

authentic > ALL? thats zen? mmmh-kay...

i was on that trip once. for sure was very misleading for me in my observation, but then again, i know shit.
but its VERY irritating to read this statement from someone who got transmission and stuff.

werent we on ethics the other day?
many people consider buddhism pretty important because of its moral "integrity".
but that's not important i hear, i just have to be honest (=real self) beyond brutality, right?

i strongly disagree, but then again only relating to my practice not other peoples. and i dont have a clue like the fully realized crew that gathers here.

always fantastic to have the killer argument "SIT MORE" to people who have some opinion.

different opinion? sit more!
personal problems? sit more!
dont like sitting? sit more!

very inspiring.

Anonymous said...

" hmm...

authentic > ALL? thats zen? mmmh-kay...

i was on that trip once. for sure was very misleading for me in my observation, but then again, i know shit.
but its VERY irritating to read this statement from someone who got transmission and stuff.

werent we on ethics the other day?
many people consider buddhism pretty important because of its moral "integrity".
but that's not important i hear, i just have to be honest (=real self) beyond brutality, right?

i strongly disagree, but then again only relating to my practice not other peoples. and i dont have a clue like the fully realized crew that gathers here.

always fantastic to have the killer argument "SIT MORE" to people who have some opinion.

different opinion? sit more!
personal problems? sit more!
dont like sitting? sit more!

very inspiring. "

SIT MORE FOOL

Anonymous said...

"In the case of Zen you can see this consensus image in fictional characters like Yoda in Star Wars, Kwai Chang Caine in Kung Fu or even the weird idealized portraits the media has of real people like the Dalai Lama"

I'd say, don't worry-- as long as you've got the Two Dragons branded on your forearms. You DO have the Two Dragons...?

Anonymous said...

i think i will stop sitting for good.

id rather want to suffer forever in delusion rather than being an enlightened asshole.

Anonymous said...

"i think i will stop sitting for good.

id rather want to suffer forever in delusion rather than being an enlightened asshole."

you could be both. stop sitting and still be an asshole.

Blake said...

I dig your musings, man. It's nice to see that Zen doesn't wipe away such things. It's also good to see that it doesn't make you into a zombie. Although zombies are pretty cool. I'm still waiting for a movie to come out that pits werewolves against zombies.

I wonder if a werewolf would wonder if the werewolf police might come and take him away... I imagine so.

Anonymous said...

"It may be the reason I'm so uncomfortable in Buddhist robes. I feel like any minute somebody's gonna "out" me as not being a real monk."

Why do you care what others think?

Anonymous said...

" "It may be the reason I'm so uncomfortable in Buddhist robes. I feel like any minute somebody's gonna "out" me as not being a real monk."

Why do you care what others think? "

why do you care that brad cares what others think?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing.

I LOL'ed at butt buddies.

And the bit about the real you not being the you that you think is the real you is great. And I know that's Dogen's idea, not yours, but I don't read Dogen - I read you. So thanks.

Jared said...

Jesus Christ, people; we're ALL assholes! Let's not count eachother's sheep, ya fuck-heads.

Anonymous said...

"Why do you care what others think?"

I'm sure you've cared what others think. You probably still do. It's a human thing.

Anonymous said...

why not just say "faggots" brad? it doesnt make sense to me why you would intentionally drop a demeaning "joke" simply to rile people up.

Anonymous said...

> it doesnt make sense to me why you
> would intentionally drop a
> demeaning "joke" simply to rile
> people up.

He was referring to a post when he said butt buddies earlier, which riled people up in the manner in which he was describing in this post.

The new insult here was "Little Blogs". They don't have great big blogs like Brad, they just have tiny little blogs where they whine. Enjoy Brad's offensiveness or not.

other said...

offended anonymous - If it makes you feel better, look at it this way. Everyone is laughing with gays, not at gays..

Ki said...

I offer this comment in good will, so if you disagree with just ignore it and don't get all worked up, though some of you probably will anyway.

Brad, and his devoted defenders, defends his anger, aggression and hostility by suggesting either that it is him simply being who is really is or that in reality he isn't actually angry, aggressive or hostile and that it only appears as such. The second is clearly denial of the obvious.

As to the first, this is not a defense at all. It is true that one should not deny one's true thoughts and feelings, for this will only magnify them in the long term, but you shouldn't think that simply because it's who you are that it is good.

Buddhism much too often is a way for people to excuse their flaws by citing the idea that the true mind is one that simply observes what is there without making any judgment. This very well may be the doctrine of Buddhism, but that itself is no defense either. If it is, which I am skeptical of, it simply means that aspect of Buddhism is flawed as a method for bringing about good human beings and good human society.

Brad, you were an angry and depressed as a young man and you are angry[I don't know about depressed] as a middle aged man. It is most likely less so, and you attribute that to your sitting practice. This practice has no doubt had some effect, but you do realize that nearly all people, as they get older, experience a lessening of the angst and depression of their adolescence. Its simple biology. Also, their is the placebo effect.

What am I suggesting with all this? First, that you should question to what degree your sitting has actually resulted in any improvements in your life that you have experienced. Also, that you should question just how far your sitting can take you. You clearly have a great many character flaws, as most people do, and your practice, at this point, seems to no longer be correcting problems but rather defending them by excusing them.

You have committed a great deal of time and energy, as well as Ego identification, on your Buddhist practice so its natural to see denial that it may not have the tools you need to become a better person. This is how most religious people people react to evidence that their dogma and practices don't have all the solutions. They do not accept the truth but rather push the blame to the outside. 'Its not us and our beliefs that have a problem, its those others who just don't get it.'

You are, or at least you can be, better than that. But first you have to admit you have a problem, and not in a self excusing way such as saying 'its just who I really am'.

element said...

I think it is very difficult, to live in society, and be your "real" self. I mean society demands that you pose. For example I try to apply for a job. I'm forced to play a role that I'm very uncomfortable with, if I want to get the job. Although lying in order to present yourself better is maybe necessary.

But also when alone, we are posing in front of ourself. Only Zazen shows a way out.

But how can you live the Zen aspect in your everyday live, in a World where you have to play social roles, you can't escape? Sit more, I guess, and I agree.

I think thats one aspect that was important for the early Buddhists to establish Monestaries, and quiting social lifes, and life temple lives?

Brad, Could it be that some people are not able to live in social life, for example mentally ill people, or those who have to much anxiety living in this kind of world or can't cope with it. Mostly such people live in homes like nursing homes or such. I mean could it be that some people who practice zen and have those difficulties wouldn't do wrong, wouldn't escape the world if they did enter a Monestary?

I mean maybe you have not so much difficulties like them. I ask that because you have often said that we should not escape the real world in going to temples. Maybe for some people it is better to go to a monstary but not for you?

Everybody has to decide for themself, even though I would be intersted what you think about that?

dood said...

to quote a man by the name Adrock - "if you don't like it then you press eject"

Dogen - "avoid idle chatter"

Brad - "sit down and shut up" and "you're not what you think you are"

me - "time spent blogging is time wasted at best" and "you're not what you feel you are either"

take care-
do

Anonymous said...

to quote beastie boy Adrock in the song Alive - "Homophobics aint alright". (this is assuming you werent referring to someone who posts on this blog under username Adrock). Yes the beastie boys older lyrics were derogatory, but as they aged they stopped, apoligized and stopped using language that demeans.

gunderloy said...

ki - Where is this evidence that Brad has an anger problem beyond what the rest of us have? What you are saying is that brad's perceived poor behavior is not how you expect a Buddhist to act. You have your ideas about how things should be and Brad is not meeting your expectations. Your criticism of Brad is basically, that his anger is causing him to act poorly. Real Buddhism would help him overcome his gross behavior. I guess by maybe becoming more caring, like you possibly. I think it is quite possible that Brad is already as caring as you are, and maybe even less angry.

You wrote - "most religious people react to evidence that their dogma and practices don't have all the solutions. They do not accept the truth but rather push the blame to the outside." - Do you see any irony in placing the blame on Brad for your disillusions?

Anonymous said...

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, and you can fool all of your foolish fanboys all of the time.

It seems that no matter how many times zen master Brad makes his little 'ironic' homophobic remark the fanboys will find a way to excuse him.

Ki said...

Gunderloy, I am not disillusioned by Brad's behavior. It is quite common. I wasn't critiquing Brad for not behavior like how I think a Buddhist should but rather how I think any human adult should behave.

I wasn't suggesting that he isn't a Real Buddhist or that Real Buddhism would help him. I can't say what Real Buddhism is or even if the idea of there being Real versus Fake Buddhism makes sense. I am not a Buddhist, Real or Fake, so its not my prerogative to way in on such matters.

What I was suggesting, contrary to the words you put in my mouth, was that perhaps Brad needs to think critically about his practice and perhaps augment it or replace it with something more effective. I wasn't suggesting he be a better Buddhist but that he be a better Human by thinking and critiquing his existing life and practice which have, as of yet, not relieved him of his problems and which seem to be a method of rationalizing and protecting himself from dealing with them further.

Anonymous said...

If it's politically fashionable, it just has to the truth, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

I happen to be a jag-off and nobody here is taking the time to defend me and my hurt feelings. Thanks alot!

Jared said...

We gots a shoutout from old Sid Gotama here fo y'all:

"However many holy words you read, However many you speak, What good will they do you if you do not act upon them?

Are you a shepherd who counts another man's sheep, never sharing the way?

Read as few words as you like, and speak fewer; but act upon the law."

Hollaback, Sid. Hollaback.

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Silent said...

Hey, anonymous person who was talking about the reference to another post, do you remember which post that was? I'd like to read it so I can read this one again and get the reference.

Mysterion said...

All:

"You are what you are
and not what you think.
To a blind horse a smile
is as good as a wink."

What impression do you make upon a blind horse? Be gentle and kind; carry a carrot in your pocket. One never knows when one will either meet a blind horse or, alternatively, need a crunchy munchy.

babbles said...

I think the rant by Ki is the exact sort of thing that Brad was suggesting what happens when somebody reads one too many Alan Watts books.

"What I was suggesting, contrary to the words you put in my mouth, was that perhaps Brad needs to think critically about his practice and perhaps augment it or replace it with something more effective. I wasn't suggesting he be a better Buddhist but that he be a better Human by thinking and critiquing his existing life and practice which have, as of yet, not relieved him of his problems and which seem to be a method of rationalizing and protecting himself from dealing with them further."

Sounds rather arrogant and just plain crazy to think that somehow you can identify and diagnose Brad - or anybody for that matter - as not being a good human and that they need to reevaluate their life to fix their 'problems.'

Jinzang said...

While I sometimes have self doubt and self criticism when I write or talk about Buddhism, I have never had any doubts about being a computer programmer or felt like I was a fake programmer. I don't know why that's so, but it would be damned inconvenient to second guess myself every day at work. Maybe it's different if you're an artist or other creative type.

Folks, part of the punk ethos, going all the way back to the Sex Pistols, it to do stuff that shocks or annoys people. If Brad is going to be the punkiest Zen master you gotta expect some verbal projectile vomiting. If you want love, light, and peace, go hang out with the hippies.

Jinzang said...

i strongly disagree, but then again only relating to my practice not other peoples. and i dont have a clue like the fully realized crew that gathers here.

Look, Brad says something and you don't agree, fine. Thinking for yourself is a good and noble thing.

Khandro Rinpoche used to say the most shocking things, (maybe she still does, I don't hang with her any more.) This wasn't because she believed them, she wanted to disrupt the "whatever the guru says is right" sanctimonious smugness and make people think about what she said. I don't know if Brad is playing the same game, but then again, maybe it doesn't matter.

Anonymous said...

ki,

the thing is i really dont see any anger in brad's words when he writes and when i see him in videos he looks and sounds very very unangry.

if everyone but brad saw anger in his behaviour and words then he would most likely be deluded in denying he's angry.

in this case though it seems that you are very much in the minority of seeing anger in his words.

i can call you a fag right now (ki: you're a fag) without being angry about it. see?

and where the hell's gniz gone btw? dont tell me he's got a life outside the internet now?

dan

Anonymous said...

"Why do you care what others think?"

"I'm sure you've cared what others think. You probably still do. It's a human thing."

No, I don't give a fuck what others think of me. I am, I'm me. That's it.

Anonymous said...

"You are what you are
and not what you think.
To a blind horse a smile
is as good as a wink."

Let me grace you with a quote from the Bhagavad Gita:

Man is made by his belief. As he believes so he is.

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

I think mysterion surfed the entire internet and is going back for more..

Anonymous said...

>>Jinzang
"While I sometimes have self doubt and self criticism when I write or talk about Buddhism, I have never had any doubts about being a computer programmer or felt like I was a fake programmer. "
I'm guessing your programming doesn't have you on talk shows, on book tours, giving public talks and lectures, and in film.

This sense of "I'm a fake and they're letting me get by with this" per conversation between Amanda Palmer and Henry Rollins as described in Brad's Blog is not an uncommon experience of self, particularly those in the public eye.

I think it is what is experienced by a 'healthier self' refusing to take on the deification of public adulation. I think it is the self experiencing the boundary of 'just self' as perceptions of external expectations of 'the public' try to use the adultee for their own psychic purposes. (see anonymous blog above)
There is an eeriness to being singled out, for any reason, and it results in a selfconsciousness.

oh, vell, eet ees vat eet ees, no vunder Garbo vanted to be alone...

Matt said...

my balls.

Anonymous said...

I like Brad's post, but one thing that came to my mind was:

I guess we can agree that thinking "I am such a great actor/zen-master/casanova" isn't typically very healthy.

But I think that stating "I am such a lousy actor/zen-master/casanova" isn't very healthy, either.

I found it the best to let other people interpret and shape me and I try to avoid caring about my role.

All of my attempts to create and define my "identity" resulted in problems. I could only live with my contradictions when I didn't care and really didn't even think about it.

The police usually checks for conspicuous people.

Just walk boldy through the "NOTHING TO DECLARE" exit.

--IceBucket


C'mon guys, we gonna crack the 100 comments per post soon! Mysterion's shouldn't been counted though. He's some random link posting bot.

Anonymous said...

btw ki i wasn't actually calling you a fag (well i was but i didn't mean it if you see what i mean) i was just making a point.

dan

Yudo said...

Once, a very long time ago, the various parts of the body convened in order to decide who should be boss.

The Head naturally said that she should be the boss, since she was the one who ordered everything.

But then the Hand said "I should be the boss, since I am the one who does all the work."

The Foot then said that he ought to be the boss, since, without him, no one would be going anywhere.

The Stomach protested loudly and, since without his performance, no one of all those would be able to function, he ought to be the boss.

And so on.

Finally, the Arsehole sallied forth, and ventured that he, of all things, ought to be the boss because...

He couldn't finish. His voice was drowned in a thunder of laughter. So the Arsehole got upset and clammered up. In no time, the stomach was upside down, the feet wobbling, the hands trembling and the head completely dizzy. So, just to regain some balance, everybody agreed that, from then on, the arseholes should be chiefs.

Anonymous said...

when brad w. interprets other peoples behaviour or bash their actions thats cool, hes punk.

if he gets oppugned - its "alan watts style arrogance" (to sum the quarrel above).

yeah right...

so the heart of buddhist teaching is basically "fuck, i am what i am, thats cool, no matter what i do - and you, shut up let me talk whatever i like, you sit more, faggot!" ?

seriously, its getting silly. live your lifes, go your way, but please consider putting a different label than "buddhism" on that attitude. "punk" works for me.

yes, you guys can call yourself everything you like to. just a suggestion.

i would have less trouble being mixed up with naive chanting buddhists who hope for more money than their neighbor when they offer incense...

Genshin said...

I just wanted to congratulate Brad on becoming the successor to Nishijima sensei at the Dogen Sangha. All the best Brad.

gort said...

Congratulations brad on being named by nishijima as his successor and the future world leader of the DOGEN SANGHA INTERNATIONAL. That sounds frigging impressive as hell. Maybe this would be a good time for you to drop the butt-buddy references from all your future missives as it seems to tick off a few of your loyal international lackeys. This is just a modest suggestion by an unworthy follower who does not understand your mysterious ways, so don't smote me or anything. One thousand bows oh great one!

Jared said...

It's far more important to observe how you react to Brad - or anyone - than it is to bitch and moan about what was said. Fact of the matter is THIS time it was a joking reference to the controversy the original caused. I guess we aren't smart enough for Brad's posts anymore. Look past the trees, guys! There's a whole fucking forest.

Anonymous said...

jared, what do you mean?

a)
"its wrong what he said, but its not important"

b)
"its not wrong what he said, because he is so transcendent"

c)
"he might be wrong, but i dont care, care about yourself"

d)
"sit more"

mason said...

jared - Here's the thing.. The term nigger doesn't particularly bother me. I understand that words are just words and they do not mean anything other than the meaning we place in them. But that same exact word that doesn't really bother me could hurt someone else. I know that is their problem but what's wrong with me being a little considerate?

Jared said...

>>Anony

My opinion of what Brad said in his post will in no way calm or bring order to everyone arguing, and so I chose to leave it out of my comment, instead trying to point out what a lot of people seem to be missing. Your comment seems to show that you missed it too.

The real issue isn't whether a 40-something Buddhist living in L.A. doesn't like gay people. The real issue is why we give a flying fuck what Brad, or anyone, thinks. Look at your reaction to his words instead of his words. It will tell you loads more than Brad's sexual orientation.


>>Mason

Again I reference the Dhammapada quote:

"Are you a shepherd who counts another man's sheep, never sharing the way?"

I choose not to use the words fag, nigger, cunt, etc. That's my choice. Brad made his. I just don't see any use in working myself up over it. I think Brad realized last time that he stepped over some sort of line, and was poking fun at himself this time. But that's my interpretation.

mason said...

Better than a thousand hollow words
Is one word that brings peace.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
" "It may be the reason I'm so uncomfortable in Buddhist robes. I feel like any minute somebody's gonna "out" me as not being a real monk."

Why do you care what others think? "

why do you care that brad cares what others think?"

And>>>>
Why do YOU care that anon cares that Brad cares what others think?

Why do I care that you care what anon cares that Brad cares...errgh..Who's on first?

Anonymous said...

"No, I don't give a fuck what others think of me. I am, I'm me. That's it."

Oh-ho! IS it, now?

Jared said...

I shall endure hard words
As the elephant endures the shafts of battle,
For many people speak wildly.

Anonymous said...

Jared said:

"I shall endure hard words
As the elephant endures the shafts of battle,
For many people speak wildly."

You're a better person than I am, Jared. I have a harder time enduring people who virtually take showers in Polo or Lovely than people who speak wildly.

mason said...

"I shall endure hard words
As the elephant endures the shafts of battle, For many people speak wildly."

If everyone felt that way there would be less trouble in the world. unfortunately, less patient people are quick to take up the shafts of battle because of other people who speak and act wildly. We see a microcosm of that here on this blog. Brad doesn't see a problem with his rhetoric. A aging punk has a certain image to uphold.

mason said...

Just to be clear, I am not a Brad hater. I like him and his writing.

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

"instead trying to point out what a lot of people seem to be missing. Your comment seems to show that you missed it too."

yes, more zen elistism, right on.

my comments show that? or is it your intepretation of my comments that made you think i meant something? that i didnt reach you realization level?

no anger on my side, i was just playing the internet game.

dood said...

"I shall endure hard words
As the elephant endures the shafts of battle, For many people speak wildly."

When 2 elephants are fighting - its the grass that suffers...

"I choose not to use the words f##, n#####, c###, etc. That's my choice."

ah dude, you just used them...
not cool

Bryan said...

If there were Zen police in South Africa, enlightenment would only cost you 50Bucks, a coke and a pie.

Bryan said...

Im just saying ... 50Bucks, a coke and a pie is much easier than all that sitting-what-what.

Consider it.

The Rand-Dollar is really in most of your favor at the moment.

Jules said...

Brad wrote: But it's never anyone who has any actual credentials in Buddhism who tries to out you. It's always some jag-off who's read way too many D.T. Suzuki and Alan Watts books who's got some highly developed ideas of what a Zen teacher ought to say and do.

Some of those "jag-offs" continue to try to "out" Brad and/or tell him what he ought to be doing, right in the same thread which describes them so succinctly. I wonder if they're aware of how ridiculous they sound.

Anonymous said...

Would it be so hard to just leave people alone in a positive manner?

Why put them down because they read Alan Watts? Why are those people butt-buddies?

I don't have problem with Brad's tone personally, but I see why people have. It would be easy to avoid it I think. No point to discuss homophobia or whatever here.

Reading some of the angry posts above, I must admit, the anger could also relate to Brad's original "intention" or rather what many people would put it in.

It's not a hard pratice to just leave all people with their (false) expectations without evaluating or judging anybody.

--IceBucket

Mysterion said...

Words have an entertaining entomology of their own. It can be a lot of fun to chase the word back through history and discover who used it, when, and in what context.

IceBucket - O.K. verbosity aside, Allen Watts is readable. He's just my cup-a-tea.
mea maxima culpa

Anonymous said...

Buddhists need a guy like this (HH Joe Ratz): Pope Benedict XVI reasserted the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says other Christian communities are either defective or not true churches and Catholicism provides the only true path to salvation.

In Buddhism, all we have is 'ordinary monks.' We lack that theatrical flare of having a former Hitler Youth Corps dude pretending that, as the eyes of heaven, he can tell us 'what is real.' ROFLMAO

Jared said...

>>Anony said:
yes, more zen elistism, right on.

my comments show that? or is it your intepretation of my comments that made you think i meant something? that i didnt reach you realization level?


Sorry man, but you're groping in a rope bucket for a snake. I apologize if I offended you, or if you took my comment to be "holier than thou" but that's not how I meant it at all. What I meant was exactly what I said, that my original post purposefully didn't include my opinion because it doesn't matter one way or the other. It seems like you really want to argue, so I politely decline.

>>dood said: ah dude, you just used them...
not cool


Words are just symbolic representations of ideas. It is a very different thing to indicate what word I'm talking about as opposed to using that word in context.

Maybe Brad will post about the Dogen Sangha thing?

Anonymous said...

Mysterion said:

"Words have an entertaining ***entomology*** of their own..."

(drily) Indeed. So stop ***bugging*** me, already!

;)

Anonymous said...

ya'll are just WAY too enlightened for me. i'm outta here!

Anonymous said...

@jared, your opinion doesnt matter if you prefer, as any of the postings here does and even brads and even gotamas opinion dont matter. still quetism is silly.

you did not offend me, its sparring fights, nothing more. how do you know what i think and feel?

its strange people have little problems to bash the atttitudes of gwbush, the pope, or whoever. thats cool. but the very people in front of you... no, that opinion does a) not matter and b) should not be critized.

why? why are we not allowed to care about other peoples utterance or action if it offends us?
[weird enough that the original poster bwarner himself rants quite a lot]

i also feel estranged that comments here should be positive, or "constructive" or just left out.

so the template for comments is:
"nice post brad, really made me think, you are sucha smart guy"

but avoid being critical with anything. its not buddhist for some here. or live with answers like:

"start with yourself." "sit more." "you dont understand yet, kid." "your action shows you are the problem yourself." "you are agressive."

so remind you, youd better be perfect before you have an opinion! and then better do not share.

my tone might be harsh, but how would you call brads tone to start with?

what is so much more realized with a statement like "awatts and dtsuzuki readers are butt-buddies" than commenting that very statements silliness?

Jules said...

Offtopic, but I caught this little news item that I thought I should share. Pope Palpatine has declared that the Catholic Church is the only path to salvation, and all other religious communities are defective.

LINK

Matt said...

your balls?

keishin.ni said...

The entertainment biz sure is entertaining!
Everyone's a critic!
It seems it is always easier to criticize another's work than it is to produce one's very own original work oneself.

Why is that? Because it's easier to just go and tear something down, or shoot holes in it than it is to build something from scratch.

There have been some interesting responses to the blog.
Then there have been some not-so-interesting responses to responses.

All told, though, if you're lookin' for a good time, you sure can whittle away at an afternoon sifting through bub's writing a lot of hubbub. And some gems.

As for conforming to a consensus ideal Brad said in the blog:
" It felt so incredibly wrong that I could see it was doing me a whole lot of harm (see above) to try and be that non-existent thing people seemed to want me to be. In turn it does other people tremendous, perhaps even irreparable, harm when guru guys of various sorts present themselves in that way. It creates tragic fantasies that are nearly impossible to undo. The best way you can "do no harm" is to present yourself exactly as you are. "

I'm glad you, Brad Warner, have already been there and done that--the attempt at conforming to consensus ideal of what a 'real buddhist monk' should be like.

We are very lucky indeed to have you just-as-you-are, in my experience, that is fresh and refreshing.

Real, pointing the way to real, it doesn't get realer than that, really!

Anonymous said...

Stop overthinking it.

SmoggyRob said...

Hi everyone:

I think Brad's on to something, so put me down as a fanboy. He could, and I think probably will, drop the butt buddies thing at some point. Riling people up is only useful if it's unexpected.

So, congratulations, Warner Roshi. Being the next leader of Dogen Sangha International is an important role -- don't fuck it up.

Rob

muddy elephant said...

Brad:

It's nice to see you return to your "roots" on this post. I think there's been a lot more bun than burger lately but hey that's cool too.

I really love how you will deliver a "classical Zen" statement such as:

"But also keep in mind that what you think you are and what you actually are, are two very different things. There may be no relation at all between the image and the fact."

and then follow it with "Blah-blah-blah..."

element:

you ask: "I think what you say should be obvious for everybody, and I wonder why it is not?"

It's a good question, and perhaps you have your own version of the answer already but here's my two cents:

I think we have such a tremendous momentum built up of our own image of ourselves that the effort required to stop ourselves from continuing on this vainglorious path is both painful and difficult (not always--but sometimes it seems that way) even when the "truth" is glaringly obvious.

"If true freedom were readily available and could be found without great effort, how is it possible that it should be neglected by almost everyone? But all things excellent are as difficult as they are rare."--Benedict de Spinoza

Anonymous said...

Brad used to to make rather good posts on his old website. This blog has turned in to a slow motion train crash, and it is increasingly clear that he is getting off on his self created 'bad boy of modern zen' image.

The original "butt buddies" comment was a fuck up which his fanboys excused. The latest "butt buddies" is clearly designed to create comment and get his fanboys to defend him yet again.

On both occasions this pseudo-homophobic term is an example of unskillfull speech. Our historical examples of outrageous speech and action by zen masters of the past (the 'Crazy Cloud' zenistas) are not a smokescreen behind which Brad can hide.

Maybe Brad should consider dropping either this blog or his faux bad-boy image. And maybe his fanboys should go and read the Dhammapada and realise just what a schmuck Brad is being.

Anonymous said...

"Brad used to to make rather good posts on his old website. This blog has turned in to a slow motion train crash, and it is increasingly clear that he is getting off on his self created 'bad boy of modern zen' image.

The original "butt buddies" comment was a fuck up which his fanboys excused. The latest "butt buddies" is clearly designed to create comment and get his fanboys to defend him yet again.

On both occasions this pseudo-homophobic term is an example of unskillfull speech. Our historical examples of outrageous speech and action by zen masters of the past (the 'Crazy Cloud' zenistas) are not a smokescreen behind which Brad can hide.

Maybe Brad should consider dropping either this blog or his faux bad-boy image. And maybe his fanboys should go and read the Dhammapada and realise just what a schmuck Brad is being."

f you don't like what brad writes...... dont't read it! duh!

why would you hang around a blog, the contents of which annyoyed you or which you disapproved of?

i bet you a million dollars that most of the people who leave all these stupid comments about how much of a dick brad is come right back the next day to check whether he's written anything new. why would you do that? are you some kind of fucking masochist or something?

fundamentalist creationists piss me off as do people who believe in psychic powers and homeopathy. for this very reason i would not hang around a website full of people talking about how they're psychic or how great homeopathy is. see what i'm saying

if what brad says annoys you don't read it and go find some blogs that dont annoy you.


dan

Anonymous said...

"[i]f you don't like what brad writes...... dont't read it! duh!"

yeah, only read what you like. only get your opinion confirmed. that's the open-minded spirit.

i enjoy reading controversial stuff to keep myself thinking. even bullshit like conspiracy theories, neo-con web-sites, and creationists. its good to know what other people think.

i agree about the bad boy image. it kinda reminds me of keith richards pretending he were anything but very old. heck, brad could be jareds father.

btw: for me "being your true self" was not something fix like a bad body image, but a dynamic ever-changing existence ("no-person"). could be a different zen, though.

Anonymous said...

yeah yeah yeah, all i'm saying i it's like if you're allergic to peanuts or peanuts make you angry then stop fucking eating peanuts and dont hang around websites about peanuts. obviously it's good to have your beliefs challenged and all that but the thing about going onto a creationist website for example is that, if you can read it and not get annoyed and resist the urge to leave angry comments then fine that's probably a good way to control your habitual anger etc. but if every time you go on a creationist website you get angry and leave comments saying that all they're mum's are gay or something then that is not helpful and vaguely masochistic.
if all you who dont like brad can read him and not get angry at what he writes but still disagree fair enough but it's the idiots who get angry and diss him telling him things like 'you need to stop writing your blog' but then coming back for more the very next post. those are the ones who are retards.

Anonymous said...

in fact this is what i think jared meant when he was saying 'look at your own reaction to stuff you disagree with rather than giving in to the habitual tendency to get angry about it and leave stupid comments'

dan

earDRUM said...

Jules wrote:
Brad wrote: But it's never anyone who has any actual credentials in Buddhism who tries to out you. It's always some jag-off who's read way too many D.T. Suzuki and Alan Watts books who's got some highly developed ideas of what a Zen teacher ought to say and do.

Some of those "jag-offs" continue to try to "out" Brad and/or tell him what he ought to be doing, right in the same thread which describes them so succinctly. I wonder if they're aware of how ridiculous they sound.


Exactly!
Pretty funny if you ask me.
I got a kick out of Brad slipping the "butt buddies" comment in there again. It works every time. Ha!

I enjoyed Brad's post. But the endless string of stupid comments almost made me want to leave the blog for a while. I used to get a bit of illumination from some of the reader's comments here. Maybe I'll just skip the comments section for a while.

Gregor said...

Great post Brad!

In my opinion the fact that you don't conform to the false idea What a "Buddhist teacher" should be is one of your strongest assets. Most of the people who do that are full of it, or at the least water down their message to a point where is becomes unrecognizable from the rest of the new age junk.

That you present yourself and your ideas as they are is precisely what makes you the real deal in my book.

gassho,

Greg
of

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

Yes master Yoda :p

Anonymous said...

"but if every time you go on a creationist website you get angry and leave comments saying that all they're mum's are gay or something then that is not helpful and vaguely masochistic."

but is it okay to disagree at all? to place a comment like: "i like part of what you posted, but that other part is not okay for me"?

Imperatrix said...

Chacun a son gout.

Zen said...

Excellent post. Thanks a million, Brad.

Milan Davidovic said...

"...the way nearly everyone in the entertainment biz tends to feel like they don't really belong there."

Funnily enough, there was an article in my local paper about this very phenomenon.

nika said...

I, like Babbles, am a scientist and I also absolutely get the "authenticity police" thing .. Thanks to the funding priorities of the current administration I do not work at the bench right now but I have found something that I feel really circumvents the whole authenticity police thing - photography.

With photography, the authenticity and the art - its absolute and whole and quite apart from me. My photos may be my creations but they absolutely have lives of their own that do not get visits from the authenticity police.

I am still thinking about how zen and my experience of it is transmuted or presented or shared via photography but I think its an important question.

To me it is tremendously free-ing to do photography exactly because it is authentic in itself and I do not need to defend it and it is still me.

If you want to see what I mean try a few of my blogs.

http://nikaboyce.com
http://nikas-culinaria.com
http://humblegarden.com

Each blog uses photos to communicate. Each photo can be appreciated. No one can tell me that any one of them is not authentic .. to me there is no photography police.

I may never go back to the bench, who needs the faculty police, the grant police, the journal article police, the republican police?

Herr Professor said...

Jules Feifer said that humor was dead in this country because everything's so damned serious. That was in 1964-he was, and still is right-relax.

Anonymous said...

Wow, the theme of the "Authenticity Police" has been hitting me over the head lately. . . and boy do I need it. First, it was the book Art & Fear: On The Perils (and Rewards) of Art Making by David Bayles and Ted Orland and now its this blog.

I wish I'd gotten my wake-up call about dealing with fear ten years ago. I'm almost 40, took 12 years to complete a 4-year degree, and, despite having my degree, don't feel like I'm a "real" graphic designer. (And, because of this, I haven't pursued a job in my field.)

Then, there are days when I don't feel like a "real" Buddhist either because I feel I don't sit zazen enough, or I can't wrap my brain around the true nature of shunyata, or have difficulty accepting the devotional aspects of the religion.

I guess you have to recognize your own fear before you can actually do something about it.

the butt crack said...

haha yes! Many people in the middling stages--perhaps past the blahblahblah horseshit talking phase that drives everybody up the goddam wall--get 'serious'...and get this idea that they can imitate their way to the top, whatever that is...and instead of examining their experience start that dear-god-help-me mimicking thing...I think Thanissaro Bhikkhu said it best when he says that "Right Cloning" is not part of the path...

scott said...

...credentials...


hahah, what a joke!

sitzender Drache said...

"The only "real" whatever it is you can ever be is to really be yourself."
My quote of the day at:
http://sitzenderdrache.blogspot.com/2007/11/wirklich-du-selbst.html
Thank you!

scott davidson said...

Nice way to decorate your walls. I have never done that. My effort to beautify the walls in my house was to order big-sized canvas prints from wahooart.com, from images of western art. I use the same angel motifs in all of the rooms painted by different painters, such as this one by very interesting English artist Stanley Spencer, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8LT7K6