Wednesday, August 29, 2007

PSYCHO KITTY Q'EST QUE C'EST?


First off, I’m in Montreal now at a Second Cup coffee shop listening to cute accordian music. If you’re anywhere on the East Coast of Canada from St. John's, Quebec on down to South Florida, please remember attendance is mandatory for the gig tomorrow. Here’s the info:

August 30, 2007 at 7 PM at McGill University’s Education/Counselling Psychology Department 3700 Rue McTavish Room 233

And don’t forget, there will be Zazen at Hill Street Center on Saturday Sept. 1st as regularly scheduled. But I won’t be there.

My very first Zen talks in New York City are done. Thanks to everyone who showed up. I think I spotted Aum Eye in the audience at the Interdependence Project thing on Monday night. Are you the one who asked a bunch of Yoga questions? A couple other readers of this here blog introduced themselves to me after the talk. Thank you for showing up!

The best of the three live gigs and two radio shows was definitely the Interdependence Project, although all of them were very cool. A couple of fellow Ohioans showed up at Bluestockings Radical Books in Soho and took me to a good place for Vietnamese sandwiches after. Thanks. One of Noah’s Dharma Punx showed me a great place to hang out and drink lemonade after the talk at the Interdependence Project. How come Noah never answers my e-mails? Granted I only wrote one and that was ages ago. But still. I woulda answered if he wrote me. Marc of Renagade Nation TV was also really friendly and showed me around town including a tour of the famous spots of Greenwich Village and his own very groovy office.

Anyway, it’s always really nice when people do stuff like this. I travel alone to these out of town gigs. No roadies, no drummer to pal around with. So it’s good to have somebody to talk to.

The Joey Reynolds Show on WOR was interesting, but I was sooooo sleepy I don’t think I was as “on” as I shoulda been for a show like that. The other show, "Soundcheck" on WNYC is already on line. Listen to it by clicking on this bunch of words here.

At the Greenwich Village Barnes and Noble the Q&A at the end was briefly hijacked by some Christians who wanted to make some points of their own. That was a bit odd. One guy was definitely there to speak up for Jesus. The woman near him was either trying to be nice to him or was also there for Christ. It was hard to tell. Neither of them were rude or anything. But that’s the first time I’ve encountered anything like that.

The only downside of the New York City gig was the vicious killer cat I had to share an apartment with. Now don’t get me wrong. I am very grateful to the woman who let me stay at her place. But man-o-man her cat was a total psycho. She was gone, so for the first night it was just me and kitty. He attacked me twice without the slightest provocation. But I could deal with that by just keeping a safe distance. The trouble came at night when he’d station himself outside the bedroom door and growl and hiss at me when I tried to make my way to the toilet. Because I drink about 12,000 liters of water a day this is a frequent occurrence.

The first night I managed to chase him away long enough to get into the toilet. But then he waited outside for me. I grabbed a plunger and jousted at him to hold him at bay long enough to get back to bed. The plunger worked OK that night. But the second night some other house guests showed up. Rather than risk several noisy cat confrontations each night I resorted to peeing into an empty water bottle. From this experience I learned that I can pee out 500 ml of nearly crystal clear piss over the course of a night. I think it’s sposta be a good sign if your pee is pretty colorless.

The third night I’d had enough of that. So I set up a barricade to keep the cat out of the area between the bedroom and the toilet. This would keep him away from his food dish for the night. But since I arrived back at midnight and planned to leave at five AM, I figured he’d survive the intervening five hours without dying of starvation. However my host’s other house guests (who I assumed were out that night) got very, very, very upset at the idea that the poor kitty cat might be deprived of food for an entire night and called the host to complain. I was kicked out for my cruel abuse of the sweet, darling, helpless, little fuzzy-wuzzy animal. Fortunately, the woman who’d set up my gig at the Interdependence Project lived down the hall and I was allowed to use her couch for the night.

Look. I like cats. I had a cat of my own named Shithead who cost me hundreds of dollars in vet’s bills and special food due to repeated kidney infections at a time when I was making about $200 a month at shitty Dimentia 13 gigs and temp work for Kelly Services (I exaggerate not, I swear). When I moved into Tim McCarthy’s Kent Zendo there were five cats in the place among the various members of the house. I even get along with my friend Nina’s cat Lilly who is also famous for attacking visitors but who seems to love me.

Whatever. As my publicist says, onward and upward!

I’m enjoying all the posture debate. As Smoggy Rob said, I never stop anyone from sitting in weird fucked up ways — including people who slump over like the Hunchback of Notre Dame after I've told them the point is to sit up straight and people who close their eyes even when I've said that in Zazen we keep them open and people who insist on putting their hands in bad imitations of gurus they've seen on TV after I've told them the right way to put their hands. Though I do discourage the use of chairs. Someone in NYC told me she went to a local Zendo there while eight months pregnant, and asked if she could sit in a modified posture or use a chair. They said, “No.” Just “No.” Not a word more. I don’t do that kind of stuff. But, seriously, 90% or more of the folks I see using chairs and seiza benches are just plain fuckin’ lazy. If you are really in a bad way and you sincerely want to sit somehow, accommodations can be made. But if you’re just a lazy sod, go someplace else. OK?

Friday, August 24, 2007

NEW YORK RADIO — updated (again) edition

Check out this new interview on the Busted Halo website.

I'm going to New York next week. I'll re-post the dates here. But while I'm there I'll be doing some radio. Here's the info.

Monday Aug. 27 (or Tuesday Aug. 28, if you want to think of it that way) at 2 AM I'll be on the Joey Reynolads Show on WOR radio AM 710 in New York. More info about the show is here:

CLICK HERE FOR JOEY REYNOLDS SHOW INFO

At 1:45 PM on Aug. 28 (Tuesday) he'll be on the radio show "Soundcheck" on New York's WNYC

more info about that is at:

CLICK HERE FOR "SOUNDCHECK" INFO

Here's the previous gig list (remember, attendance is mandatory, any of you who think I already get plenty of butts in seats at these things, think again):

New York City, New York:
• August 27, 2007 at 7 PM at The Interdepedence Project at Lila Center 302 Bowery at Houston (this will be the most like a formal lecture among all the NYC appearances) RSVP soon, space is limited.
• August 28, 2007 at 7:30 PM Barnes & Noble in Greenwich Village 396 Ave of the Americas at 8th Street, New York, NY 10011

Montreal, Quebec:
• August 30, 2007 at 7 PM at McGill University’s Education/Counselling Psychology Department 3700 Rue McTavish Room 233

Boulder & Ft. Collins, Colorado:
• Monday September 10, 2007 - 7:30 pm Boulder Bookstore 1107 Pearl Street - Author Event

• Tuesday September 11, 2007 Noon - Colorado State University Bookstore - The Lory Student Center at CSU Ft. Collins, CO

• Tuesday September 11, 2007 7 PM - CSU Anthropology Club The Lory Student Center at CSU, Ft. Collins - Author Event

• Wednesday, September 12, 2007 Interview for Elevision TV show. Be part of the live in-studio audience! Doors close at 7pm. The show will be at Trilogy, 2017 13th St. in downtown Boulder

Shizuoka, Japan
• September 22 to 25, 2007, Tokei-in Temple, 1840 Hatori, Shizuoka City, 421-12 (Prior registration is required. See http://www.dogensangha.org/sesshin.htm for details)

Cleveland, Ohio
• Oct. 6, 9:15 PM - my movie "Cleveland's Screaming" will have its Cleveland priemier at the Cleveland Institute of Art's Cinematheque
(I may not make this showing personally, but I'm gonna try. Be there anyway!!!)

Akron, Ohio:
•November 7,2007 at the Akron Public Library I think I'm on at 7PM. I'm certain it's either at 7 or 8 PM. More details later...

Cleveland, Ohio
•November 9, 2007 "Cleveland's Screaming" movie showing at the Beachland Tavern along with live performance by 0DFx!

A little thought on Zazen posture for the day -- the reason 1/2 lotus, full lotus or Burmese posture are Zazen and sitting in a chair or on a seiza bench are not the same thing is because when you sit in these postures your weight is distributed among three points, like a tripod. On a seiza bench or chair the best you can hope for is to try & balance on one point -- your butt. In fact, most folks I see doing it in chairs just sorta lounge and rest their back on the chair providing absolutely no balance whatsoever. For people with leg troubles, try a higher cushion or put cushions under the knees. Yoga exercizes are also good. Visit your local McYoga, take the free sample lesson, and ask the teacher about this at the end (don't tell me there's no yoga studio near you unless you're writing from Antarctica). Then be nice & go back for a few more lessons.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

HOW I SPENT MY SUMMER VACATION

I kept imagining I'd sit down one day and write up my impressions of my stay at the Great Sky Zen Sesshin in a nice, concise fashion. Y'know, like the kind of thing a professional writer might do. But I seem to be incapable of that. Or really there's just too much piled up work for me to spend that much time. So here are my general impressions wrote down directly into the Blogger template without spell-checking 'em or nuthin'.

Hokyoji monastery is wayyyyy the Hell out in the middle of nowhere. First you fly into La Crosse airport in La Crosse Wisconsin, which looks more like a bus stop than an airport. Makes Akron's tiny airport look like La Guardia. Then you gotta drive about an hour through the rolling hills alongside the Mississippi, passing briefly through Iowa and on into Minnesota. Officially Hokyoji is in Eitzen, Minesotta. But the actual nearest town is a little hamlet in Iowa whose name I've forgotten, population 200. Though I can't recall the name of the town I can recall the name of the guy who's been working the gas station for 40 years. It's Jug Darling. I kid you not. For real kicks you can drive about another 45 minutes into Iowa and visit another town whose name I've also forgotten, but whose poulation is a whopping 2000.

But we didn't go to any of those places during the week of the sesshin. For seven days we were to be residents of Hokyoji, eating Hokyoji food and shitting Hokyoji shit, to paraphrase an old Zen poem. The monastery consists of four main buildings spread out over a couple acres of cleared woodland at the end of a mile long driveway. The main building for us was the 30-seater Zendo near the center. Apart from that was a building they called "the cabin" because it once had been a real one-room cabin with no electricity or running water when they first established the place. Now it's a house with electricity and running water, thank you Jesus. But I didn't crash there. They put me in another building they called "the workshop" way down at the ass end of the place. This had once been, as the name suggests, a workshop for sawing wood and doing the other stuff they needed to do to build the other buildings on the property. Now the upstairs has been converted to fairly spartan living quarters. No running water here, but at least we had electricity. The other building is called "the tea house." It stands near the Zendo and, besides having a little tea room, also has showers that spray a fine mist of water on your head in your choice of either lukewarm or boiling hot. I never worked out how to get the water down to my feet efficiently.

There were 9 forty-minute periods of Zazen each day beginning at 5 AM and ending at 10 till 9 PM. Wake up bell was at 4:30. This is pretty standard. But Nishijima's retreats are a tad bit easier on the amount of Zazen. I was concerned for the health of my knees. But I'm happy to say that I made it thru the whole thing with no discernable damage. Zazen periods are broken up by first a service at which the Heart Sutra is chanted, then breakfast oryoki style, a short break, a Dharma talk, another service at which Dogens Jijuyu Zanmai (Samadhi of Recieving and Using the Self) is chanted, lunch, a very long break and work period (more on that later), another God damned service at which Dai Shin Darani is chanted, and a final service at which Dogen's Fukanzazengi (Universal Recommendation to Practice Zazen) is chanted. Between each of these things is all either sitting staring at walls or doing kinhin (walking Zazen). Or these things come between Zazen periods. Take your pick.

Some of this was new to me. Nishijima's retreats feature no services or chanting of any kind. So I knew none of the chants. Also work periods at his to-do's usually just means cleaning the toilets or sweeping out the sleeping rooms. At Great Sky they have you doing hard labor. This is necessary because, even after some 30 or 40 years in operation the place is still largely unfinished. So we worked mostly on making the gardens presentable and fixing stuff that needed fixing around the place. Oh, and chasing wasps out of the sleeping rooms. I was exhausted by the end of each work period. But it was good, too. It definitely got your legs moving again after all that sitting. Plus you got some decent exersize which is hard to come by at some Zen retreats.

About 30 people attended including five (count 'em) Zen teachers. Let's see how many I can remember. There was Tonen O'Connor of the Milwaukee Zen Center, Zuiko Redding of Cedar Rapids Zen Center, Dokai Georgesen of Hokyokji itself, Rosan Yoshida of some place in Iowa, I think, Genmyo Smith of I can't remember where and me. I could go look up all this info I'm forgetting but that's kinda not the point of the spontaneousness of this post. Tonen and Zuiko are womenfolk and the rest of us teachers were dudes. I was really impressed with Zuiko. She studied with the same strict-as-Hell Zen Master (also female) as Taijun Saito a female monk who studied with Nishijima. Both of them had been drilled on the Zen routines so well they knew 'em backwards and forwards. Me, I don't know shit about the rituals. I don't have any kind of contempt for those who do. I just don't. And it's not likely I'm ever gonna because, to be honest with you, I'm just not very interested. Still it's interesting to see and learn a bit from people who do.

What else can I tell ya? A lot actually. And I probably will in upcoming postings. But I want to be brief here.

What did I learn? OK. I learned that it doesn't fucking matter what you think while sitting. I knew that. But on the 4th day I got that in a big way. There I was, as I often am, getting a little cranky and achy and also thinking, "Man the wheels are just spinning away up there, how come they don't just stop some time?" I should back up & tell you that a huge lot of stuff was dumped on me just before the sesshin. Not the least of which was the bombshell that the company I work for decided top close its Los Angeles Office. The Los Angeles Office is me. More on this later. But suffice it to say that, along with about a couple dozen other things would have to be dealt with when the sesshin was done. Which I'm sorta doing now, which is why this piece is short and spontaneous.

ANYWAY stuff was just churning and churning and churning up there. Set in motion, it wasn't gonna quit till it ran out of energy. And all at once I just noticed that it didn't fucking matter. Thinking was just something going on during practice. Yet the practice was still completely valid. This wasn't an idea, mind you. This came as a real experience. There's an old koan about a monk who says, "If a clear mind comes let it come, if a cloudy mind comes let it come." The master asks him, "What if neither a clear mind nor a cloudy mind comes?" And the monk says something like, "I hear they're having a sale on underwear at JC Pennys." That's kinda what it was like. Cool.

It's funny how this stuff works. I'd known, forgotten and relearned this same lesson dozens of times. And I'm sure I'll learn it again a couple dozen more before they burn me up and scatter my ashes behind JB's Down in Kent, Ohio.

Ummmmmm... What else? I did a dharma talk. All the other teachers did Zen talks and mine was like a Krusty the Klown routine. Such is life. I rutted up the yard trying to figure out reverse gear in the monastery's pick-up. I did other stuff.

But now I gotta go. Sorry. More later! Ask me stuff. Maybe it'll jog my memory...

Monday, August 20, 2007

NEW INTERVIEW

I'm back from the Great Sky Sesshin in Eitzen, Minesotta. No time to write. Too many things to clean up. But a few things I gotta announce.

One is a NEW RADIO SHOW YOU CAN LISTEN TO ON LINE with me as a guest. So go listen.

Also, starting in a couple weeks my Suicide Girls things will appear on Mondays instead of Saturdays. But it'll be bi-weekly instead of weekly.

Also, remember the upcoming gigs listed below and show up to all of them OR BE SENT TO HELL FOREVER!!!!!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

GREAT SCOTT! GREAT SKY!!!

OK. kids. I'm off to the Great Sky sesshin somewhere way the hell out in Minnesota. I won't be in the reach of Internets or 9/11 conspiracy theorists for a week. So y'all enjoy yourselves! On Saturday the 18th there's s'posta be an interview with me on a show called Coffee, Cigarettes and Gnosis. So go there and see if it really shows up. The list of forthcoming appearances is below. Also note that on Sept. 12th I'm doing some kinda TV show called Elevision in downtown Boulder and they want folks to show up by 7 to be in the audience. It's at Trilogy, 2017 13th St. in downtown Boulder.

Show up at all of the appearances you lazy bums!

That's it. I'm outta here till I'm back....

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

AFTER THE GIG LIST MORE BITCHING ABOUT INSTANT ENLIGHTENMENT

First off, note that I now have a link (on your left) to a very crappy looking page of links to all my on-line interviews. Now here's an updated gig list:

North Hollywood, California:
• Thursday August 9th, 7PM at Many Paths Bookstore, 5152A Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood Arts District, cross-streets are Lankershim and Magnolia Boulevards

New York City, New York:
• Sunday August 26, 2007- 7 PM at Bluestockings Radical Books on the Lower East Side 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington - 1 block south of Houston and 1st Avenue.
• August 27, 2007 at 7 PM at The Interdepedence Project at Lila Center 302 Bowery at Houston (this will be the most like a formal lecture among all the NYC appearances) RSVP soon, space is limited.
• August 28, 2007 at 7:30 PM Barnes & Noble in Greenwich Village 396 Ave of the Americas at 8th Street, New York, NY 10011

Montreal, Quebec:
• August 30, 2007 at 7 PM at McGill University’s Education/Counselling Psychology Department 3700 Rue McTavish Room 233

Boulder & Ft. Collins, Colorado:
• Monday September 10, 2007 - 7:30 pm Boulder Bookstore 1107 Pearl Street - Author Event

• Tuesday September 11, 2007 Noon - Colorado State University Bookstore - The Lory Student Center at CSU Ft. Collins, CO

• Tuesday September 11, 2007 7 PM - CSU Anthropology Club The Lory Student Center at CSU, Ft. Collins - Author Event

Shizuoka, Japan
• September 22 to 25, 2007, Tokei-in Temple, 1840 Hatori, Shizuoka City, 421-12 (Prior registration is required. See http://www.dogensangha.org/sesshin.htm for details)

Akron, Ohio:
November 7,2007 at the Akron Public Library

OK, so last night a friend of mine needed a ride to meet a friend of hers. Let's call the first friend Sally and the second friend Tabitha. Tabitha had invited Sally to a Network Marketing thing out in Silverlake. Silverlake is a hipster area of Los Angeles.

This was my first chance to see a Network Marketing event. Network Marketing is like Amway or Herbalife or maybe Avon. There are these companies that don't do advertising. They just throw fake parties where they try to get you to buy their stuff. But they don't just want you to buy the stuff. They want you to beocme a salesperson for their stuff.

The atmosphere was pretty much like what you get at a religious cult gathering. A number of people are planted throughout the audience who are already converts. Their job is to yell, "Woo-hooo!" at certain scripted points in the presentation. Or sometimes they get more subtle and just say things like, "Wow!" or, "Unbelievable!" on cue as if they just happen to be there and are impressed with the Power Point presentation.

At the end of the presentation converts walk around and ask newbies, "What did you like?" I got asked this three times by people who apparently didn't realize how fucking obvious they were being. I said, "It's a nice house." Because it was. That left every one of them stupified. Get a little more creative people!! At least say, "Yes and this house was bought by money earned from being a member." Shit. Even I could've done that. Don't just stand there slack jawed because I didn't say something about the stupid presentation. Dipshits.

ANYWAY this particular scam -- er, scheme -- was some kind of cheap vacation deal. The idea was they form a big group who can buy bulk and reduce the prices of vacations for their members (oops! I wasn't supposed to say that, they told us so at the end of the presentation). Nice, I guess, if you want to go on generic vacations with a bunch of zombies from their group.

As I watched this thing unfold I realized I'd seen exactly the same thing twice before. Once was on the video of The Secret and the other was on the You Tube clips of Gempo Roshi's Big Mind® seminars. As I said, it's a religious cult type atmosphere at these marketing events. All the folks from The Secret and Big Mind® have done is apply the network marketing philosophy and techniques to so-called "spiritual" practices. Which, in itself, were reverse engineered by profit seekers from religious cult techniques. Clever, really. But in the end valueless.

This is why Genpo Roshi ought to be kicked in the ass very, very hard. In the case of The Secret, the whole thing is a load of horseshit right to its core. There's not a smidge of value to be had in it at all. It's not even as useful as Herbalife or cheap zombie vacations. But Genpo is trying the same bullshit with Zen which, at its core is the most practical and useful philosophy and practice to be found. Like I've said before, if you wanna go attend one of Genpo's idiot conventions, be my guest. But that is not Buddhism and anyone who says it is ought to have his butt thoroughly booted.

The entire network marketing thing -- of which Big Mind® and The Secret are examples -- is based on two ideas. One is that what you really want out of life is OVER THERE somewhere. Not here. The other is that the dude running the show has what you need and can sell it to you. It's pure confusion created and sustained by collective thought.

Also, interestingly, both the network marketing scams and Big Mind® espouse the same idea that this stuff used to take a lot of time, effort and energy, but now a new technique has been developed that'll give you the same effect right away without all the muss and fuss. In the case of the network marketers the goal getting rich, in the case of Genpo and all the rest of them it's getting enlightenment. Believe whatever you want, suckers.

Listen. I'm just telling you what I can see. I don't give a shit if you believe it or not. I'm not trying to convince you I'm right. But I do think there's some value in expressing this point of view even if nobody pays much attention. So there.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

RSVP NYC

I just got word from the people at the Interdependance Project in New York that the room in which I'm speaking holds 80 and they've already received 40 RSVPs. Pretty cool. So any of you "back East" (as they say here on the Left Coast) who plan on seeing the talk better RSVP PDQ. OK? Otherwise you'll be SOL and standing out on the street trying to wave at my passing limo like Beatle-fans in those old films. (Not that I'll have a limo, some people take things way to freakin' literally)

All the relevant info is in the post below this one.

Saw The Simpsons Movie yesterday. Liked it. But all that stuff where the critics are saying they laughed until they puked and they wanna see it 20 more times? Give me a break! How much do they get paid to say that stuff? And how can I get paid to say stuff like that?

I also saw my friends Pet Stove perform their very first ever show at the Airliner Club in Los Angeles last Saturday. Pet Stove is the future of rock and roll! They're playing at the Airliner again on the 19th. Go see 'em! They rock. Two of the members are also regular attendees at my Zazen classes in Santa Monica. Which shows what Zazen will do for you! IT'LL MAKE YOU ROCK! That's what.

AND from August 11 thru 18 I'll be sitting and sitting and sitting at the Great Sky Zen Sesshin somewhere in the middle of the woods in Minnesota. So don't try and write or call cuz I won't be in range of Internets or Cell Phones. I will regale you with tales of my great revelations afterwards.

AND I just got the re-issue of all the early Max Fleischer Popeye cartoon. Blow me down! It's amazing stuff.

OH YEAH!~ And in my continuing efforts to improve this page I have added a page of audio interviews I've done. It's on your left there. It says "INTERVIEWS I'VE DONE" or something like that. ANYONE WHO WANTS TO HELP ME DESIGN AND MAINTAIN A "REAL" WEBPAGE and is serious aboput it, please write me at doubtboy@mac.com

Oh, and just to encourage some comments: Everybody sucks! Porn rules! Instant Enlightenment Zen is for pussies! Tich Nhat Hahn has a funny looking hat! The Dalai Lama can bite me! And Dogen totally rules, OK?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

MANY PATHS BOOKSTORE AUGUST 9 at 7:30 PM

I almost forgot! Next week, I'll be doing a talk and book signing at the Many Paths Bookstore in North Hollywood. Just click on those discolored words in the previous sentence or on the title of this article for all the details.

Just cuz I don't have to pack to go to this one doesn't mean it's gonna be less of a show. I'll be wearing my trademark kabuki style make-up, 8-inch platform heels, I'll be spitting blood and breathing fire and playing all my hits like "God of the Tundra" and "I Wanna Chew on Blubber All Night and Hunt Seal Every Day" -- oh wait! That's for my appearance later in the all eskimo KISS tribute band. Um, this'll be a book signing. But it'll be a damned cool one!

And all you folks in Akron, mark your calendars. I'll be speaking at the Akron Public Library on November 7th. More details as this story develops...

Before that I’ll be in New York City August 26-28 at the following locations:

• Sunday August 26, 2007- 7 PM at Bluestockings Radical Books on the Lower East Side
• August 27, 2007 at 7 PM at The Interdepedence Project at Lila Center 302 Bowery at Houston (this will be the most like a formal lecture among all the NYC appearances)
• August 28, 2007 at 7:30 PM Barnes & Noble in Greenwich Village

Then I’ll be in Montreal on August 30, 2007 at 7 PM at McGill University’s Education/Counselling Psychology Department 3700 Rue McTavish Room 233

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

DON'T VIEW BIG FISH


Some anonymous person left this behind in the comments:

The Fifth Training: Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well being, and joy in my body, in my consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family and society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant or to ingest foods or other items that contain toxins, such as certain TV programs, magazines, books, films and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body and my consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger and confusion in myself and in society by practicing a diet for myself and for society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial for self transformation and the transformation of society

He (or she, but I'll assume he) said it was odd a Zen teacher would encourage this. I guess that means "encourage people to go look at porn." So I thought I ought to clarify a little. But I am well aware that no matter how many times I clarify my statements you can never satisfy everybody. In any case, though, I find this interesting.

First, I'm not encouraging you guys to look at porn. I don't really give a shit whether you do or don't. It's none of my fucking business. I also think maybe I put too much emphasis on the monetary side of what I do for Suicide Girls. Though I could hardly make a living off writing for them or writing books, I have another job, so I ain't poor. Ain't rich either. But I don't write for SG for the cash. I do it mainly to annoy pious Buddhists!

That's a joke. Jesus!

SG provides a forum wherein what I say can reach a tremendous number of people. I could probably make as much, if not more, by taking PayPal donations at this blog. But then I'm just preaching to the choir. I find preaching to the SG readers to be much more of a challenge. It's like a weird little sociological experiement. I've always believed Buddhism was good for anybody anywhere. I'm testing to see if that's true.

But in response to the quote above, this is something I've heard a few variations on. I'm not quite certain who it comes from (though I can make a guess). One thing I do want to point out, in case it's not obvious, is that this is not from any traditional ancient Buddhist source. It is a contemporary interpretation.

I would not go so far as to say it's wrong or to condemn this approach. But it's not the approach in which I was trained, nor is it the approach I want to teach.

Obviously there's a lot of stimulation available in today's culture, which can be highly distracting to practice. When you sit on your cushion all the stuff you've shoved into your brain starts to bubble out. The less stuff you shove in there, the easier it is to reach a calm, nice state in Zazen. However, Dogen cautioned that reaching calm, nice, serene states of mind wasn't really the goal of our practice. It can be a nice side benefit. But it's not why we do it.

I don't condemn the approach our anonymous friend suggests. I mean, eating right is very good. Not spending hours and hours and hours machine gunning virtual bad guys at the video arcade, also good. Being aware how these kinds of stimulation affect body and mind = very, very, very good indeed. Yet it does no good to try and shut reality out, covering our ears and eyes and shouting, "Na! Na! I can't hear you!"

Dogen said, "By eliminating disturbances we redouble the disease... Intellectual excluding now adds to the disease and augments the disease. The very moment itself of eliminating is inevitably disturbance. They are simultaneous and are beyond simultaneousness. Disturbances always include the fact of [trying to] eliminate them.”

This is a key point in the teaching I've learned from Dogen's lineage and that I want to try to convey. How you actually put this into action is up to the individual. I wouldn't go as far as the writer who made up this rule as to try and list "poisonous activities." That seems to be going a bit too far. In indiviual one-to-one talks, I've been known to make suggestions, some of which resemble what he's saying. But it may be more useful to discover how to remain balanced in the face of any kind of stimulation. This is a trickier path to follow. In the end, though, I really think it's the only way that makes sense.

Sorry.