Wednesday, December 12, 2007

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER

Here's an interview I did with the National Catholic Reporter (Reporter? Didn't even know her!). So now all you Cat'lics out there can justify doing some Zazen!

And don't forget to buy all my shit on eBay!

91 comments:

merv said...

great interview, not much else to say about it really.

Holger said...

Yeah, right. But "Shobogenzo, a mysterious 13th-century text"? It's not mysterious at all, it is very down to earth (well, okay, at least the early chapters are...).

Holger said...

Jeez, I took a look at your stuff on e-bay. Man, you're really a messy monk. But that brings me to a serious question: If one owns to much stuff, could it be that it blocks your look on what really counts in Zen (even if you sit down and shut up)?

Anonymous said...

come on Brad... move to Montreal!!!

Jim said...

Imagine my surprise when my mother (72 years old) told me about this punk-rocker Zen priest in her current issue of the Catholic Reporter. [laugh] I knew who it had to be right away. I think she was surprised that I also had both of your books. Take care and keep on keepin' on.

Mysterion said...

Shobogenzo is hardly a Saturay morning read.

Remember what I said about dialect, jargon, idioms, and slang? Add time. Words change colors over time. Hell, it was not even until the last 15 of 20 years that scholars (anywhere) could read Biblical Hebrew. Heretofore, they were just making (poorly) educated guesses.

So to with Pali Sanskrit.

12. THE ROOTS OF PECULIARITIES OF LANGUAGE USE IN BUDDHISM: Some of the peculiar characteristics of language use in Buddhism stem from its preference for the dialects and languages used by people as ordinary language, the resistance to the use of a standardized closed system like Sanskrit, the emergence of frozen expressions in languages and dialects originally used, the necessity to standardize the terms within the discourse, and the use of Sanskrit later on as one of the languages of Buddist expression and theological exposition, and popular currency of Hybrid Buddhist Sanskrit. Conze (1959) identifies several interesting characteristics of language use in Buddhism. First, the diction in Buddhism has its own peculiarities. These may be due to the belief that Gautama Buddha was no ordinary being. He is a "god-like being" and that there was something numinous about the diction he used. Such usage departed from the standards of normal Indian usage … Buddhist writings, with few exceptions, are full of the artificews of Sanskrit rhetoric. … Far more intractable is the difficulty presented by the technical terms which abound everywhere. In the original they are quite inconspicuous, but in all translations into non-Indian languages they stand out like so many foreign bodies. The Chinese either retained them in Sanskrit, or coined some strange neologism. 'Dharma', in particular, is deliberately ambiguous, with up to ten meanings. … In this respect, as in much else, they differ radically from contemporary 'linguistic analysts'. Buddhist thinkers had weighty reasons for preferring ambiguous, multivalent terms, … The authors of the Buddhist Scriptures were in fact unwilling, or unable, to state their message without a liberal use of technical terms. … The Scriptures as they stand cannot be read without some mental effort, and they demand a minimum of intellectual agility and attainment. … A great deal of Indian thought, on the contrary, is enshrined in memorial verses of almost unbelievable precision. (Conze, 1959:13-16). In other words, the Buddhist language use became obtuse over the centuries.

Sourced from HERE

Holger said...

I didn't say that Shobogenzo is easy to understand. I said it's not mysterious.

Marty_O said...

I hate to split hairs, Mysterion, but Hebrew texts have been studied continuously (and vigorously) by scholars for two thousand years.

You are 100% right that there has been some amazing work in the study of classical Hebrew in the past 30 years (thanks in part to Nag Hammadi & the Dead Sea Scrolls). But it's not fair to call everything before that guesswork.

After all, you can't judge the entire field based on people like John Dee or Alister Crowley. That's like saying modern Judaism is best represented by Madonna giving Britney Spears a book on Qabalah.

Alan_A said...

"I hate to split hairs, Mysterion, but Hebrew texts have been studied continuously (and vigorously) by scholars for two thousand years..."

True enough, but add a couple thousand years to that. Inter-biblical criticism, cross-references and such... y'know?

marty_o said...

good call, Alan!

Anonymous said...

Do Buddhist use a moyle?

Jinzang said...

If one owns to much stuff, could it be that it blocks your look on what really counts in Zen?

No, you can keep all your stuff and still do Zen. Just don't spend all your time playing with it, or worrying about it, are chasing after more of it.

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

As a recovering Catholic, I would just like to say that dinosaurs are for the birds.

Mysterion said...

Intro to Ras Shamra (Ugaritic)

The evolution f Hebrew theism is here for those without a basic foundation.

Cheers,
Chas

Anonymous said...

Brad, you've been very busy on your blog and I thank you for it. The subject matter has been right where I need to be and what you've had to say has been just what I've been needing to hear.
I hate to admit it--I think anonymous at 10:46 am is right in urging you to go to Montreal.
In my most unselfish moments I think leaving is better for you--certainly better for whatever town you end up in and better for the folks who get to sit with you.
And while we're lucky to have you here--I'm glad of it!
I hope all gets cleaned up in the apartment plumbing situation. There are some good natural odor buster type things out there. I'll have to bring some to Hill St.

Anonymous said...

It has been proven that Smell does influence the attitude and well being of people. Bad and Offensive Odors will create uncomfortable situations and problems in our daily lives.

Brad, This is a good product for eliminating odors.

esmerelda_verde said...

It's totally amazing to me, everyone is thinking the kitten on SC post is cute. The cat, being a predator, is trying to kill that toy! If we were mouse sized the cat will kill and eat us. I think the video goes better with the communitation article than the compassion one.

My pet parrot plays with cat toys, people usually just think he is weird.

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

you must be itching all the time..

Mr. Burke did a job good being with the interview. He didn't resort to cheap shots and didn't claim to be something he wasn't. there are enlightened christians and ignorant buddhists in this world as is apparent to any reader of this blog..

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

Guys, is it just me, or does anybody else think it's about time that "Dr." Mysterion (ahhhahahaha) start his OWN creepy cult?

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

Ahahahhahaa you're sooo mysterious ahahhaha. You Googling retard gimme a bagjob.

Anonymous said...

How do you spell "First-Class Ass Hat?" Hint: It starts with an "M"...and ends with an..."ysterion" (!) ahahahhaha slurp it dumm dumm

Anonymous said...

Deleting your comments won't salvage any respect for you on this blog. sorry.

Anonymous said...

Seriously. If you're gonna post something all shitassed, fucked up and *tard-a-licious, you mysterious prick, at least have the good sense to do it anonymously. Shit.

ramsey said...

Brad - that was a good read. The guy asked some decent questions. Unless it was edited, it probably only took you guys a few minutes to do. I would love to read a long, in-depth PLAYBOY style interview. :)

bovverbhoy said...

Thought the interview was quite good... considering the publication. I had a different expectation on the way it would be presented. Nice surprise.
Your eBay stuff is even more impressive though!

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

"Thus, it has been demonstrated: the Abrahamic religions are contrived vehicles for the enslavement of the Mind. Void of reason, one resorts to anger - devoid of thought.

Buddhism alone liberates the mind and exposes fear to daylight."

Lol, that sounds exactly like something the Buddha would say.

Oh, wait...

Monkey in the Bushes said...

Did that dude erase his earlier posts? So he wouldn't look so much like an asshole? Note the (not so) subtle disrespect and anger in that *mysterious post decrying anger. Hoist to your own dumpy petard again, after all these years. tee hee.

LaserJack said...

mysterion, but what IS your opinion on/attitude towards other religious pratices, other "ways"?

a) Different stuff works for different people (you were insulting me for assuming that this statement was Buddhist spirit).

b) Different stuff might work, but Buddhism is the best (and actually everything else is only some ancient rip-off of Buddhism, and you prove this with some quirky historic revisionism).

c) Only Buddhism works.

d) Only my special lineage and combination of pratices work.

e) I don't know, but I don't manage to keep quiet on these issues.

I would really like to know.

Thanks!

dan said...

Define 'works'

LaserJack said...

Your interpretation is what I mean.

Mark said...

I hear religion was invented as a tool to spearate man against man.

vinegar said...

Is my suggestion to at least ignore or perhaps ban anonymous started to warm the cockles of anyones heart yet?

The current posts are just more reason to ban or ignore them.

The hairy troll is in the house!

vinegar said...

That is ban anonymous posting.

Every time someone posts anonymously without a signature it's like they're shiting all over the thread.

Mysterion said...

religions were invented:

1) as bedtime stories for children - classical folklore 'Childern's and Household Fables.'
2) to explain the patterns of stars in the sky (including the Great Ages like 'Adam & Eve' = Gemeni, etc.)
3) for an elite Priestly Class to claim power over 'mere mortals' (Buddha rejected the Brahmas)

By far my favorite is M44. The whole story of Jupiter (Dios P'ter - Heavenly Father) seeding the manger of Jesus Xmas fame is there...

To me religions are half astrology.

Is anonymous a.k.a.'Asellus Australis'? (drum roll, rumshot)

See also: HERE

Religions, like vampires, can't tolerate the light of day.

Dan said...

"Every time someone posts anonymously without a signature it's like they're shiting all over the thread."

No offense mate but I think you need to chill with the anti-anonymous posting thing. Just don't read them if they annoy you that much.

Mark said...

How would one define Zen in the context of religion and how it relates to religion?
Mark

Chris said...

Hi all--

Very cool (and quintessentially American) blog. I hope the following will be of some help: James' "Varieties of Religious Experience" provides an interesting introduction to pragmatism, going into why some may prefer particular paths. But it runs the whole gamut--and the answers we get depend largely on not only who, when and where we are (in all senses of the word), but upon the language(s) we have learned, the questions we are able personally at this point to ask within this bounded language, and on where we focus: the social, the economic, the family, the individual, the nation-state...historically, sociologically, psychologically, biologically, in terms of area, textual studies, rituals, and so forth. And then of course there are the epistemological questions--what can we know about, well, anything? For those of you with access to journals, check out jstor and others...there's more serious dialog (academia is like an awesome superblog, with peer review) than could be read in a lifetime. One can't possibly, of course, even begin to summarize it in this format, though I imagine I just attempted...

The Buddha was not as interested in those questions as he was interested in the causes of true happiness--in suffering (personal, mental, suffering) and the end of suffering. These require us to focus in different ways than the normal, untrained person--we see things in terms of the three characteristics (things--dharmas, emotions--being shot through with emptiness) and the four noble truths. The more this is done, the more the dharmas become transparent, and the more we can see...well, the more we see. I hope this has been helpful. It's just a matter of practicing as honestly as one can, and I hope I haven't appeared arrogant or anything; I'm not any sort of lineage holder, I just really appreciate a group of people impelled toward truth.

Best,

Chris

LaserJack said...

"religions were invented:"

I knew you wouldn't answer, old wise man, keeping cour secrets. We all just keep babbling. It all ends in a coffin.

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

"In my mind, Buddhism is NOT a narrow religion but rather a broad philosophy upon which some traditions have built religions. I adhere to no tradition (or religion) but rather question them all."

Mysterion -- if you visited a nearby synagogue, you'd meet some people who are tradition- and culture-bound. And you'd find others who understand that underlying the ten thousand things is one thing (ehad), and that existence is impermancence (eyeh-asher-eyeh, "I am/will be/am becoming whatsover I am/will be/am becoming." And that everything is to be questioned and examined. And that reason is a supreme faculty.

And if you visted your local zendo, you might find all those insights. And you might find people who are tradition- and culture-bound.

So is it really your way or the highway?

And are you as progressive as you'd like to think?

Or is your devotion to no-faith sort of a faith?

Please expand/explain.

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

Alan sed:
"So is it really your way or the highway?"


No. It is not about my way.

It is up to YOU to find your own way - whatever that may be.

"And are you as progressive as you'd like to think?"

No, I am what I am (and NOT what I think). Traditionally I am told I error toward Jodo Shu - conservative.

"Or is your devotion to no-faith sort of a faith?

Devotion is a hollow straw man. I read everything but believe nothing. The Secret Initiations of the Alawi on one hand or the Druze on the other - might come to mind. Druze test for knowledge of Egyptian mysticism, of which the Druze claim to be the guardians.

So too, Soto Zen be the guardians of Buddhism. I do not know.

esmerelda_verde said...

Soto Zen Buddhism is a very stripped down efficient practical philosophy. Brad's version is even leaner than most. If you want to tie red ribbons on it and chant a lot you can make it a religion but at the core it's not one.

dood said...

"As a recovering Catholic,..."

that line right there is golden, I love it and would like to use it myself - thanks!

take care,
dood

Marty_O said...

I'm not sure I follow you, Mr. Mysterion. I thought you were about to call me out, but then you went all off topic on us.

You said that the Hebrew language "completely disappeared at least TWICE." (BTW, how can something "completely disappear" twice?)

That's simply not true.

(I so wanted to just explain my point, provide factual evidence, and stop right there. But I can't. Mr. Warner, if you read this, all I can say is that I was also born in Hamilton-- where we learn early on not to take shit.)

Mysterion:

*You're not the only one who wrote a dissertation.

*If you're going to cite evidence, make it relevant. What the hell does theistic evolution have to do with the Hebrew language?

*Don't cite theories that were laughed out of scholarly circles sixty years ago. Such as theistic evolution.

*If said theories concern Sir Frazier, then at least link to his work and not some poorly researched internet imitation.

*But read Wittgenstein first and learn why nobody quotes Frazier.

*I said you're wrong to say that Hebrew disappeared. I didn't ask you how many bricks there are in my neighbor's garage. And I sure as all hell didn't ask for your manifesto.

*In fact, I'm not sure who did.

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

Mouths are flapping.

Anonymous said...

Once again it's on! Smack that coffeeshop philosopher down, Marty my man!

Mysterion said...

To help would-be speakers and readers of Hebrew, Ben-Yehuda began to compile a dictionary. Actually, he started the dictionary as an aid for himself when he was still in Paris, and at first it contained simply a short bilingual list in Hebrew and French written in the back of the notebook he used to write down his grocery lists.
HERE

Marty_O said...

oh, Mysterion.

Your first link is about the revival of Hebrew as a spoken language. That's a direct quote from the article.

"Spoken language" does not imply that no other form of the language is extant.

Hebrew has been read extensively for centuries. Some people read it as though their salvation depended on it.

Your second link doesn't work.

In any case, I know you're not actually going to look into this. You've already made up your mind.

That squawking you hear is the sound of people offended by willful ignorance.

After all, don't you squawk about the willful ignorance of the religious?

Marty_O said...

What was Ben-Yehuda reading when he compiled his dictionary?

Oh, right, he was reading Hebrew.

The dictionary helped other
people understand that Hebrew that he was reading. You know, that Hebrew that existed. The Hebrew that didn't disappear completely in 36 CE.

But I still don't understand what theistic evolution has to do with any of this.

Mysterion said...

This first paragraph is well off subject (ZEN)... The second attempts to restore focus.

If you were to go back and follow all my links, you too might learn that your scholars were looking at 'written hebrew' and making assumptions that turned out to be much less than accurate (e.g. a name place Bashan is NOT a serpent, viper.)
HERE
Idiomatic Yiddish, even when written in the Hebrew alphabet is not biblical.

In the spirit of this blog, me post was SPECIFICALLY about the loss of cognitive equivalents IN BUDDHISM through distortions of dialect, jargon, idioms, slang, and time. It turns out that Jedeo-Xtian scholars are painfully (albeit recently) aware of these common barriers and using this parlance was light support for the underlying problem with BUDDHIST writing.

PAX und LUX,
Chas

Yudo said...

You don't get it. The fact that Hebrew kept being read by the learned doesn't mean that the language was still used. Like Latin some decades ago, people read it, but almost no one actually used it for normal everyday communication. That's what is meant here. At the time of Herod, and of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Yossef (jesus) no one used Hebrew in Palestine. They only spoke Aramaic. Which doesn't mean no one knew Hebrew. Some knew it. But it wasn't everyday use.

Yudo

Anonymous said...

If you guys keep this up I'm thinking that Mysterion will attack you on the astral with the other mysterious Rosicrucian Mail-Order Ph.D.s...just a warning. Do what thou wilt ahahahaa

Marty_O said...

Mysterion, you spent a lot of effort defending something that you didn't intend.

So if this was all an ironic illustration of the difficulties of intent and translation, then I salute you.

Otherwise, don't act all hurt and wounded when someone calls you out for defending an obvious factual. I hope you didn't do that at your dissertation defense.

Anonymous said...

Yudo, what?,,the language is used but not used.
i would be careful. marty_o and mysterion are on a warpath. so hey everybody, how bout them Patriots.

Mysterion said...

Anonymous Yudo said...
"At the time of Herod..."

Caesarea: Ceaserea was built upon a Phoenician port called Strabo's Tower. After King Herod acquired it, Caesarea became the capital of Judaea. (Not Jerusalem? Another myth bites the dust.)

And the biblical account of Stonehenge?

Enough folklore for the tenth month - December.

BTW, RosieCrossers are like a lot of other religions - many could benefit from going on a diet and getting a little more exercise.

Mysterion said...

Ollie really looks like Spencer Lewis to me!

Have a quiet weekend.

Anonymous said...

haha there IS a resemblance...:)

Anonymous said...

Four Zen monks were meditating in a monastery. All of a sudden the prayer flag on the roof started flapping. The younger monk came out of his meditation and said: "Flag is flapping" A more experienced monk said: "Wind is flapping" A third monk who had been there for more than 20 years said: "Mind is flapping." The fourth monk who was the eldest said, visibly annoyed: "Mouths are flapping!"

LaserJack said...

"Don't become a member of the generation with instant gratification as a psychological need, learn to wait a time with patience."

It's sad to see how you limit yourself. Old people tend to act like that, we know it, we all have parents.

Always good to know, that you know so much about other people. Idolize my mysterion.

LaserJack said...

"I apologize if that seems like an evasive answer. I had no intention of being evasive but have no other words to apply to point to the point."

No intention? You did disagree with my statement concerning allowing different ways to different people. Evasive, yes. Explain intolerance with self-denial... I regret I was so selfish really caring about what you said.

Anonymous said...

SHUT UP AND SIT DOWN!!! Or we will banned the comments for a while.

MEMORIES OF SHUNRYU SUZUKI ROSHI

AMY SIMPSON

Suzuki Roshi came to my house in Redwood City for meetings for a few months. On one occasion, he left his small emblematic stick. I thought that he might want it before the Sunday meeting in San Francisco, so I stopped by the Temple (then on Bush Street) to leave it.

He was there and when I handed it to him, I asked what the Japanese characters on it meant. "WHATEVER YOU SAY IS NOT THE TRUTH," he replied. Thinking that he had misunderstood me, I repeated the question, with the same result. I thought, silently, how true that is.

Anonymous said...

Shut up and Sit Down? Isn't it a bit ironic that nobody on this blog, including the author of that book, seem very interested in following that advice? Since Brad chose the title, I'm thinking he might have been giving some pretty good advice to himself (that he just couldn't take, said Alanis).

Also, I can't figure out if Mysterion is a reincarnation of Heidegger or Yeats with all that imponderable, thoroughly obfuscated non-sequituresque obsidian. Maybe we should ask our man The D-Lama... Anybody have any ideas?

Anonymous said...

"Shut up and Sit Down? Isn't it a bit ironic that nobody on this blog, including the author of that book, seem very interested in following that advice?"

there might be thousands of readers of this blog who just sit and watch the idiots without comment.

Anonymous said...

wowzers you're "right"! And i guess you and I can't count ourselves among them...

Anonymous said...

what i meant is that assfaces like yourself deliberately refuse to see others' points. I made a point that the fans and authors of a book called sit down and shut up were interested in anything but, and you studiously ignored my point. instead, you made a retardo-matic comment like a flunked-out community college loser. boy, it's a good thing we're both anonymouses standing up and screaming. Get it now puckerface?

Anonymous said...

THIS IS NOT TRUE :-)

Jared said...

I haven't read any of the comments on this post and I don't have time to right now so I apologize if this has already been mentioned:

Buddhist fashion show! Come on kids, buddhism is cool!

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/12/15/monks.fashion.ap/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

shirley knott said...

More buddhist punk fashion

Brad, Did you ever think about becoming a fashion designer? Lots of money, lots of hot chicks. You might not think much about fashion, but you dress with high style.

Dan said...

"I made a point that the fans and authors of a book called sit down and shut up were interested in anything but,"

It doesn't mean sit down and shut up 24 hours a day. it means sit down and shut up for 20mins to 45mins twice a day.

Anonymous said...

and ALSO...Mysterion and I are a little tired of you new kids dressing us down...why don't you dress us up instead! A nice pair of hose for a nice pair of ho's... (!)

jb said...

Anyone recognize the bartender the bartender in this clip?

Anonymous said...

Nobody gets it.
Maybe Brad's rants are sped arrows
Held anger released.

Anonymous said...

i hope nobody thinks that last anonymous is me...that's some weird shit right there. how embarrassing.

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

I just moved across the border from Ohio to Indiana, put my two weeks notice in at the shitty factory job I had been working at for years, and just finished fall the craziest fall semester I have ever had. I just hope I passed Japanese class, it was the most difficult class I have ever taken.

Everything is changing. And like The Jeffersons, I'ma movin' on up.

Now I'll go check out this interview.

11:53 PM

gunderloy said...

"i hope nobody thinks that last anonymous is me...that's some weird shit right there. how embarrassing."

How could you ever be mistaken for someone else..

Dan said...

That's hilarious, an anonymous poster worrying that he's going to be mistaken for another anonymous poster.

Jinzang said...

Everything is changing. And like The Jeffersons, I'ma movin' on up.

Glad to hear it. Hope things continue to go well, Keep us informed.

Rich said...

When I was in junior high school I believed I was the reincarnation of Alexander the great. I don't believe that anymore but I might have a tad of his DNA -)

I knew a lot about Alex and could tell you whatever you wanted to know about him (based on my reincarnated memories and the books and movies I saw).

The truth is I don't really know anything about Alex. Most of the subject matter of this thread doesn't interest me but the exchanges between participants and the way people communicate is interesting.
thank you

Anonymous said...

Thank you Rich. Yes, many people are amazed by the ghostly 'me.' However, I'm not so much the Grand Poobah as I am the Grand Poopbah.

Anonymous said...

Geez, I spent almost two minutes creating that "sped arrow" haiku.

So glad I killed my ego this past year or I would have been hurt or something.

Anonymous acts
like a ninja wordsmithee
Slaying with verbage.

Oops I did it again.

Anonymous said...

Just so everybody knows, that wasn't me either...

Dan said...

How about this:

Haiku's are dumb
They don't sound good in English
Get over it, fool.



(with thanks to south park)

Anonymous said...

as if i would stop
you freaking pendejo punk
show yourself puta