Wednesday, April 02, 2008


I just got the following e-mail from Peter Rocca, one of Nishijima Sensei’s Dharma heirs and the guy who took over for me doing the Saturday afternoon lectures at Tokyo University’s Young Buddhists Association.

Dear Peter-san,

I just informed by Yanagimoto-san, the organizer of Dogen Sangha's Japanese class of that Nishijima Roshi left the hospital on April 1. He had suffered from anemia and cured by blood transfusion remedy in the hospital, I am told.

I hasten to let you know of the good news.

With best wishes.

SAITO Harumi

He also posted something about his return on his blog. So it looks like he’s OK. Good. I don’t know if I’ll get to speak to him or not before I head off for Tassajara tomorrow. But I’ll try.

Anyway, I just had some thoughts before running off to the mountains about the whole concept of keeping informed. I am totally under-informed and glad of it. People these days seem proud to declare themselves news or information junkies. But I’m not convinced that’s the healthiest way to live. I can’t understand, for example, why anyone would need one of those RSS feeds (or whatever they’re called) so they can instantly know when I’ve updated the drivel on this page.

The other day I got interviewed and the guy asked me my thoughts about the upcoming election. I just didn’t have any. I mean, it looks to me like Obama’s going to win. But who knows what could happen by November? In any case I don’t have any useful thoughts on Obama or Hillary or whoever the Republicans are running. Is it McCain? I used to live in Kenya and Obama's dad is from Kenya, so maybe I should vote for him on that basis.

At Tassajara there are no regular sources of information about the outside world save for the gossip you get from new people coming in. There’s no newspapers, no TV, no radio, no Internet and access to the single telephone in the place is strictly limited. You can write and receive mail, but I don’t think it gets delivered and picked up daily. That’s “snail mail,” by the way, what we in the olden days used to call postal mail.

News Junkie types seem to believe that you’re either stuffed with every fact and opinion being thrown about in the sea of information or you’re just a mindless, ignorant sheep being led to slaughter by the powers that be. But I don’t think it’s all that vital to know every detail of what’s going on in the world. Blissful ignorance isn’t the proper antidote either. The best course is somewhere in between.

Me, I get the LA Times every day. I don’t subscribe, by the way. It just shows up. I assume I’m still on the list because of a former tenant here who subscribed. If it stops coming I probably won’t subscribe. But I might just so I can keep up with LIO. I get enough info by just scanning the headlines. I’m confident that if something really vital to my existence happens, I’ll find out about it.

By the way, it looks like I probably will attend the all-day Zazen at Hill Street Center on April 19th. But I will not be able to accept anyone's reservations by e-mail. Please send your reservation requests to Yuka at yukster1999(at)yahoo(dot)com. OK?

Here are the plugs:

April 25 - 27 I'll be leading a retreat at Southern Dharma Retreat Center in North Carolina. So don't y'all forget about that.

And on on May 3rd 0DFx will play at the Spitfire Saloon in Cleveland and on May 4th, we'll play at the Kent Stage in Kent, Ohio in commemoration of the 38th anniversary of the infamous shootings by the National Guard

On May 17th and 18th I'll be leading a 2-day retreat at the Milwaukee Zen Center. So all cheese heads are ordered to attend.

I'll be one of the teachers at this year's Great Sky Zen Sesshin August 9-16. Check out their webpage for details.

The annual Dogen Sangha retreat in Shizuoka, Japan is scheduled for September 20-23.

Gotta go pack now. See ya in a couple weeks.


muddy elephant said...
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Mark Twain said...

If you do not read the news you are uninformed,
If you do read the news you are misinformed.

courtesy flush said...

Glad to hear about Nishijima.

Good luck at Tassajara!

Anonymous said...

Obama or Hillary or whoever the Republicans are running. Is it McCain?

Don't be a sucker; take the red pill.

buddha-builder said...

I remember after doing a 90-day retreat, how odd and irrelevant the news seemed...compared to the striking brilliance of the trees, sky, friends, strangers...

Mysterion said...
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Roman G. said...

Your recent post reminds me of the first Sherlock Holmes story, "A Study In Scarlet." In it, Dr. Watson is astounded, upon meeting Holmes for the first time, that he knew nothing of astronomy or the solar system:

An excerpt from "A Study In Scarlet"
by Arthur Conan Doyle

"My surprise reached a climax, however, when I found incidentally that he was ignorant of the Copernican Theory and of the composition of the Solar System. That any civilized human being in this nineteenth century should not be aware that the earth travelled round the sun appeared to me to be such an extraordinary fact that I could hardly realize it.

"You appear to be astonished," he said, smiling at my expression of surprise. "Now that I do know it I shall do my best to forget it."

"To forget it!"

"You see," he explained, "I consider that a man's brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose. A fool takes in all the lumber of every sort that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be useful to him gets crowded out, or at best is jumbled up with a lot of other things, so that he has a difficulty in laying his hands upon it. Now the skillful workman is very careful indeed as to what he takes into his brain-attic. He will have nothing but the tools which may help him in doing his work, but of these he has a large assortment, and all in the most perfect order. It is a mistake to think that that little room has elastic walls and can distend to any extent. Depend upon it there comes a time when for every addition of knowledge you forget something that you knew before. It is of the highest importance, therefore, not to have useless facts elbowing out the useful ones."

"But the Solar System!" I protested.

"What the deuce is it to me?" he interrupted impatiently: "you say that we go round the sun. If we went round the moon it would not make a pennyworth of difference to me or to my work."

In short, knowledge (and news) is only worthwhile if you can make use of it.

Anonymous said...


Seems the link to "his blog" is broken (URL stars with a funny character).

Good news anyway !

Kozan Bob said...

The correct links is, but it's also in the column to the left; really it just says he's back from the hospital and writing again.. which is very good, of course.

Blake said...

I see nothing wrong with following the news... I think it's the "junky" part. Also the ego-stroking part.

I mean, being a junky for not following the news is really no different than being a junky for following the news. It's like a crack-head calling the meth-head an "addict."

Anonymous said...

It's more like someone addicted to NOT smoking crack calling a crack head an addict.

Random Non Sequitur said...

I am sucked into these conversations all of the time and am very careful to not be this guy:

But truth be told, I was brought up in a house with no TV, and when I do see most TV- or magazines or newspaper- my first impression is usually "okay- so nothings changed too much" and my second are feelings of doubt and scepticism. I exist as harmoniously as I am capable (which usually isn't very, but I do try) despite what is going on in the rest of the world, and frankly in the election process I feel like one of the citizens of Whoville- a tiny, insignificant speck facing a large, secretive and manipulative cumbersome giant that generally ignores my tiny voice and does what it and the other giants want. I'm voting for Horton.

When it comes to the media, my feeling is that whatever it is that they think they are selling, I'm not really in the market for that. I know what I see, and I think with my head and can put two and two together pretty clearly. I sometimes have to wonder their motivations by informing me of certain pieces of "news" and omitting others. But whatever- in the long run none of it seems to amount to much.

I did like the Sopranos, however- I am human, after all- and have watched the entire set on my laptop, seasons one through six in their entirety.

Random Non Sequitur said...

I'm a technological dwarf.

I was trying to link this Onion article (Where I keep up on the news! The best source of the unvarnished truth ever!):

Area Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn't Own A Television

CHAPEL HILL, NC–Area resident Jonathan Green does not own a television, a fact he repeatedly points out to friends, family, and coworkers–as well as to his mailman, neighborhood convenience-store clerks, and the man who cleans the hallways in his apartment building.

"I, personally, would rather spend my time doing something useful than watch television," Green told a random woman Monday at the Suds 'N' Duds Laundromat, noticing the establishment's wall-mounted TV. "I don't even ownone."

According to Melinda Elkins, a coworker of Green's at The Frame Job, a Chapel Hill picture-frame shop, Green steers the conversation toward television whenever possible, just so he can mention not owning one.

"A few days ago, [store manager] Annette [Haig] was saying her new contacts were bothering her," Elkins said. "The second she said that, I knew Jonathan would pounce. He was like, 'I didn't know you had contacts, Annette. Are your eyes bad? That a shame. I'm really lucky to have almost perfect vision. I'm guessing it's because I don't watch TV. In fact, I don't even own one."

According to Elkins, "idiot box" is Green's favorite derogatory term for television.

"He uses that one a lot," she said. "But he's got other ones, too, like 'boob tube' and 'electronic babysitter.'"

Elkins said Green always makes sure to read the copies of Entertainment Weekly and People lying around the shop's break room, "just so he can point out all the stars and shows he's never heard of."

"Last week, in one of the magazines, there was a picture of Calista Flockhart," Elkins said, "and Jonathan announced, 'I have absolutely no idea who this woman is. Calista who? Am I supposed to have heard of her? I'm sorry, but I haven't.'"

Tony Gerela, who lives in the apartment directly below Green's and occasionally chats with the 37-year-old by the mailboxes, is well aware of his neighbor's disdain for television.

"About a week after I met him, we were talking, and I made some kind of Simpsons reference," Gerela said. "He asked me what I was talking about, and when I told him it was from a TV show, he just went off, saying how the last show he watched was some episode of Cheers, and even then, he could only watch for about two minutes before having to shut it off because it insulted his intelligence so terribly."

Added Gerela: "Once, I made the mistake of saying I saw something on the news, and he started in with, 'Saw the news? I don't know about you, but I read the news."

Green has lived without television since 1989, when his then-girlfriend moved out and took her set with her.

"When Claudia went, the TV went with her," Green said. "But instead of just going out and buying another one–which I certainly could have afforded, that wasn't the issue–I decided to stand up to the glass teat."

"I'm not an elitist," Green said. "It's just that I'd much rather sculpt or write in my journal or read Proust than sit there passively staring at some phosphorescent screen."

"If I need a fix of passive audio-visual stimulation, I'll go to catch a Bergman or Truffaut film down at the university," Green said. "I certainly wouldn't waste my time watching the so-called Learning Channel or, God forbid, any of the mind sewage the major networks pump out."

Continued Green: "People don't realize just how much time their TV-watching habit–or, shall I say, addiction–eats up. Four hours of television a day, over the course of a month, adds up to 120 hours. That's five entire days! Why not spend that time living your own life, instead of watching fictional people live theirs? I can't begin to tell you how happy I am not to own a television."

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...


Zen Clock LINK for 'materialists' who 'became attached' to the concept... (not to label those of you with a sense of humor as twisted as my own).


Alan A. said...

So the difference between half-lotus and seiza is important.

But the difference between Democrats and Republicans is unimportant.

As unimportant as it was in 2000?

Sorry -- I understand the viewpoint but disengaged Buddhism ain't doing it for me.

esmerelda_verde said...

Being overly into anything is probably bad. But there is a difference between knowing the latest about celebs in rehab and understanding the issues in a Presidential Election. It should be pretty obvious that who ever wins this election will have an effect on a lot people's lives. Perhaps on the fate of the planet.

This selfish focus on one's own spirtual development is all too common in American Buddhist circles. I am quite sure the Tibetans and Burmese who are protesting would die for a chance to vote, wait they already are!

It is simple self centered laziness. It's all very well being one with the universe but you are part of a community and have obligations. Everytime you fail to participate you are increasing the value of the votes of those you do not agree with. I amazes me, Americans are so lucky and so unaware of the value of what we have.

Rich said...

I am a Barack Obama donor and proud of it. thank you Esmeralda for saying what I was thinking.

Mysterion said...
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alan a. said...

Yes, Mysterion -- but right now there are some choices to be made *within* the Democratic Party.

Maybe "most buddhists" would do well to look directly at candidates and issues and policies, as opposed to labels and concepts.

If, that is, there's such a thing as "most buddhists."

My $.02.

Rich said...

I would not say that the republicans are corrupt or that the Democrats are corrupt. I would say that those that serve us in government need to listen deeply to our needs and concerns. they also need to listen to our adversaries needs and concerns.

Mysterion said...
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Random Non Sequitur said...

Sorry- it surely is I who must be naive.

DJ Voton said...

"To be attached to one thing (a certain view) and to look down upon other things (views) as inferior -- this the wise men call a fetter."
--the Buddha, Suttanipata, quoted by Walpola Rahula

"Engaged Buddhism" is an oxymoron.

Anonymous said...

"For example, given a couple of hours on two non-consecutive days in one week, I could move "most buddhists" away from eating flesh foods - or at least reduce their consumption of the same."

Dear holy hypno-magician, collect more merit.

Blake said...

I am kind of on the side of being knowledgeable in news and pop-culture. Of course I don't believe that either should take the place of living a "real" life, but there is no inherent harm in it and there are definitely some advantages. Kinda like being all studied up on Buddhist texts vs. meditating. Ain't nothing wrong with the first as long as you don't sacrifice the later.

But if you are talking about being a smart ass because you know all about pop-culture vs. being a pompous hipster because you don't care about pop-culture? I see no difference.

UncaDan said...

Hi Brad (and commenting folks) Guitar playing dinosaur picture guy here.

I see you will be in Milwaukee where I live. If you have any free time before of after your retreat I would like to invite you down to my basement studio to make some music. I won't be hurt if you say no, I know you are busy, I'm just offering you a diversion of sorts. Sorry I can not do the retreat but I hope it goes well.

If you would like to preview my work you can check out my myspace page at (comments welcome). I sent an e-mail recently with a similar offer but I know you get alot of mail and it takes time to get through it all.

All paths
No Paths
Let go
Just be

Mysterion said...
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Rich said...

This will be brief. For someone like Brad who is in the spiritual teaching business (or you can say activity if business is too negative for you), he would be more interested and aware of info in that space. Regular news from TV, newspapers may not be necessary for his job. For myself being in the housing activity space, I value financial news, local news and I get it mostly from TV and newspapers. The same principle for the political space which I'm also interested in.

Taking refuge at Tassala??? would be nice.

Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

In my experience as a vegetarian, I've found that lecturing meateaters about meat has pretty much the same effect as the Onion's fictional Jonathan Green lecturing coworkers about TV.

Maybe it's easier to convert a self-selecting sample of Buddhists. I simply don't know how it could be done without coming across as judgmental.

Anonymous said...

There are newspapers at Tassajara. They come in a day or two after publication, a couple times a week. People subscribe to magazines and there are usually many recent issues of The New Yorker around. But Brad has probably noticed that today.

Anonymous said...

Well, out of respect for all living beings I only eat dead ones.

It's a compromise. It means a few vegetables go on to lead happier lives.

Mike Rutschky said...

Couldn't agree more about the News Junkie-ism thing. As a journalist student I really have become the cliche information junkie, totally immersed in the media and the news and web 2.0 and everything else. Now I'm starting to feel like i've kind of trapped myself. I neglect my blog, ignore my feed reader, silence my twitter tweets, run in terror from an email inbox stuffed to the brim with YouTube video messages. Recently I spent some time in rural Tennessee away from all of these things and I'm having a hard time with the idea that I have to get back to it all.

Same with politics. Started the semester by really engrossing myself in it and now I could care less. I'm not saying I'm apathetic or that I won't vote. Just that I got tired of being riled up by all the arguments and hate and shit. I'll vote for the guy I like and leave it at that.

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

40 years ago yesterday, 4 April 1968,
Martin Luther King was murdered by
people working for the US government.

Anonymous said...

And, of course, on 5 June 1968,
so too was Robert F. Kennedy.

Anonymous said...

And in other news...

Watch what you say: Dissenters will no
longer be able to find refuge in Canada.
The puppet masters are preparing
to tighten the reins.

Does anyone see a conflict of interest
when most of the Bush gang...

Paul Wolfowitz
Richard Perle
Douglas Feith,
Michael Chertoff
George Tenet
Elliot Abrams
Donald Kagan
Richard Haas
Kenneth Adelman
Edward Luttwak
Robert Satioff
Dov Zakheim
David Frum
David Wurmser
Steve Goldsmith
Marc Grossman

have dual-citizenship and
are Israeli passport holders?

Anonymous said...

Yikes! The agents are everywhere!

Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

mysterion said...
> For those of you who wonder who shot JFK

By owning the American State and Media,
the Israelofascists aspire to control
the American public more effectively than
the Nazis controlled the German public.

BTW, I'm a Jew, so if anyone decides to
start lynching Israelofascists, please
remember to make the distinction
between what some individuals ARE
-- Jewish, like me --
and what other individuals DO
-- Israelofascist nastiness, not like me.

Also, I wonder if stuff like this will ever
make it into high school history books:
4/4/08 NPR on MLK

Nah, probably not.

Anonymous said...

"unflinching, unswerving, fierce
intellectual determination, as citizens,
to define the real truth of our lives
and our societies is a crucial obligation
which devolves upon us all.
It is in fact mandatory."
--Harold Pinter, Nobel Laureate

Take a good, close look.

Anonymous said...

I need more news!
Give me that RSS feed
straight in the jugular, please!

Anonymous said...

More news? OK, this just in:

Biologist Richard Dawkins points out the

1) There is an extremely high probability that
'God' does not exist
-- and if he/she/it does exist, he/she/it
is a MAJOR fucking asshole.

(Of course, Brad believes in 'God'
and other Buddhists believe in Reincarnation;
if you accidentally swallow either belief,
take ipecac immediately.)

2) "When you think about how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been, though, in fact, they are less numerous I am told -- religious Jews anyway -- than atheists and [yet they] more or less monopolize American foreign policy as far as many people can see. So if atheists could achieve a small fraction of that influence, the world would be a better place."
--Richard Dawkins

(Of course, Israeli lobby would more accurate.)

Anonymous said...

Of course, Richard Dawkins is a also major fucking asshole; So, if God does exist, he'd be in good company. Let's not get started about that fucktard Christopher Hichens. . . .

Anonymous said...

Brad implies that you have to be a ignorant quetistic jerk if you are a Buddhist zen master with the Nishijima Seal of Approval.

You don't have to. Some bother about politics. Some decide because of their holidays. Some read newspapers. Some don't.

icebucket said...

Wow, Zionist world conspiracy Nazi shit on this nice blog. Delete it, I say.


Anonymous said...

"Of course, Richard Dawkins is a also major fucking asshole.."

Exactly how do you know this? Do you know him personally? Have you formed this conclusion from reading his books or hearing his lectures? I have a high regard for both he and Sam Harris based upon the talks I've heard and books I've read...The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker and The God Delusion. He's also good friends with long-time zen practitioner Sue Blackmore and he has a favorable view of buddhism.


Anonymous said...

Ratboy, thanks for the Susan Blackmore plug.
It's nice to see someone who practices zazen
*and* can talk about drugs rationally.

Jinzang said...

Biologist Richard Dawkins points out the
obvious... There is an extremely high probability that
'God' does not exist

Dawkins' argument doesn't hold up under scrutiny. If you want an argument against the existence of God, the argument from the problem of evil is quite sufficient.

-- and if he/she/it does exist, he/she/it
is a MAJOR fucking asshole.

Only if you accept the Biblical account of his doings. Or is this the problem of evil argument in another guise?

Richard Dawkins is a also major fucking asshole

Let's just say that modesty and humility are not his strong suits.

Rich said...

Emptiness is filled with news.
News is filled with emptiness.

The 911 twin tower collapse story and the Israel JFK assassination story were interesting but the question is still 'what do we do now?'

I'm curious about richard dawkins.

Anonymous said...

rich said...
'what do we do now?'

Easy. Same answer as ever.



Anonymous said...

Speaking of memes, I agree with
the commenter above that while the
antisemitism meme is definitely harmful,
the awareness-of-'Israelofascism' meme
(or corporate-fascism
or fundamentalist-fascism
or any other kind of fascism infiltrating
US government and society)
is a helpful meme.

My two cents regarding the insanity of
US governmental policy is that it's just the
Military-Industrial Complex (Guns and Oil)
engaged in a clusterfuck-blood-orgy
with Israel and Illegal Drugs and Big Media,
with gobs of black-market-profit cash flying
all over the place, especially into the pockets
of Congress and the Supreme Court.

I'll take boring, old zazen
over that ugliness
any day.

Anonymous said...

"Dawkins' argument doesn't hold up under scrutiny."

Prof. Dawkins does not put forward any specific personal argument in The God Delusion. He examines most of the major traditional arguments for God's existence and refutes them. None of this he claims to be new or original, btw. I assume you've actually read the book?

"If you want an argument against the existence of God, the argument from the problem of evil is quite sufficient."

Actually the problem of evil does not disprove the existence of god(s) at all. It merely attempts to show that if a god exists, it / he is not all-knowing and benevolent. God might exist and be evil.

"Only if you accept the Biblical account of his doings."

This gets to the question of "which" god does or doesn't exist. Prof. Dawkins makes it clear in his book that he has no problem with the pantheistic / spinoza / einsteinian god. He specifically targets his critique toward a personal god that intervenes in human affairs with miracles, prophecy, etc. such as yahweh or allah.

"Let's just say that modesty and humility are not his strong suits."

While he makes no great show of being humble, I don't find he is unusually arrogant either. In fact, from reading many of Brad's writings you could as easily describe him as arrogant ...though those of you that actually know him are emphatic that he's a nice guy.

I don't know, but suspect that your own feelings / assumptions about Mr. Dawkins are colored by his strong criticism of homeopathy and other new-age teachings. Astrologers and phrenologists probably think he's arrogant and dislike him too.


Fuke said...

I agree with Blake's statement.

I think being informed is a part of being a good citizen; people shouldn't just trash the notion. As for finding a good source of news, the LA Times isn't bad. I personally just stick to NPR and the occaisional AP article. A good monthly that has quality short and long essays is also a decent way to stay sharp (New York Review of Books is a great example of thoughtful and diverse essayists).

It's work, and certainly anxiety inducing to read today's news, but let's face it: education didn't end with formal schooling or zen training. Either you keep up with other good brains out there, people who challenge you, are you atrophy.

Anonymous said...

I have to say, for a period of time (15 - 20 years) I was a news user. I thought it was important 'to be informed.' It was interesting on sesshins to have to white knuckle my 'need to know.'
I don't know when, or how, but I don't--at least not in the same way or anywhere near the extent.
It's actually quite lovely to have a co-worker or someone on the street say something and when I draw a blank, they fill me in with the particulars--I can tell they want me to be up on the current event, and I appreciate it.
I used to listen first thing in the AM and last thing in the PM.
I can't really say I knew any more about reality, but I could do ok on a current events quiz.
I can't say I was 'better' informed, I just had some 'facts' I could spit back.
It was a way to occupy time.
I'm not so inclined now. Can't really say what I do with time, I blink and it flies.
I don't think being up on the news was harmful, but I don't think it was helpful either.
These days: I don't think being removed from 'the news' is harmful rather it has been of benefit to me in ways I would have found unfathomable when I was a news-er.
Who knows, maybe I'll go back to being an avid listener/reader. Certainly it's ok--days full of news and days with no news.
As far as knowing what is happening in the world goes--I don't even know what is happening in my neighborhood, let alone my city, my state, my country--the world too? why stop there? What's happening in my galaxy? My universe?
What's happening in my refrigerator?
News is stories and I'm entertained/edu-tained in other ways at this time.

Random Non Sequitur said...

I don't feel that being informed does me a whole lot of good when I don't trust the source of the news itself.

I get by just the same, and try to be a decent person.

Aloha- Toby

Anonymous said...

As an aside(or maybe it fits with the general gist of being educated about the news and, by extension, history): what's with all the bizarre conspiracy theorist postings?

Rich said...

anonymous said:
"rich said...
'what do we do now?'

Easy. Same answer as ever.



Then reading the news is just reading the news. but watching a car chase from a helicopter on CNN or MSN, now that's something special -)
Sitting zazen and watching that could be an enlightening experience.;)

Anonymous said...

Dawkins describes himself as uncompromising, but not unfriendly. Interesting way to look at it.

He may win a debate by labeling his opponents ignorant and willingly self-delusional (i.e., the famous "Lions 10, Christians 0" debate). But when he appears more interested in winning than in communicating, he risks sounding like just another angry old crank.

Perhaps the same fate is shared by those arguing for conspiracy theories. One of you may be right. But it's hard to know who is legit amongst the shrill and the loud.

Anonymous said...

> rich said...
>> 'what do we do now?'

In addition to more zazen, you might
want to try to inform any friends
you have in the police or military
about what's really going on, so
that after the next false-flag
terror attack, when war with Iran
and martial law are declared,
American soldiers and police will
refuse to follow orders and instead
bring the *real* perps to justice,
even if they have to be apprehended
in Israel or Paraguay.

Jinzang said...

Prof. Dawkins does not put forward any specific personal argument in The God Delusion.

His argument is that if the existence of order in the universe is improbable, then the existence of a creator of the universe is even more improbable.

Criticism of this argument is left as exercise for the reader.

Alan A. said...

>DJ Votton said --
>"Engaged Buddhism" is an oxymoron.

Uh, yeah, kinda. Except that down here in Samsaraworld, disengagement is a kind of engagement (cf. Shunryu Suzuki, who pointed out that not doing is a form of doing). As witness this pathetic thread. I mean, here's Brad, off at Tassajara in the nice retreat space, because after all, all you have to do is sit, and ethics and enlightenemnt and all good things will follow. While meanwhile, the thread, which he can't be bothered to moderate, is filling up with Zionist Global Conspiracy shite.

But we wouldn't want him deleting commments, no, because that wouldn't be sufficiently detached.

No, let's just sit (but only in the right posture -- that's what matters) and be tolerant of intolerance, and let the little words fester into real ugliness...


Anonymous said...

"Biologist Richard Dawkins points out the
obvious... There is an extremely high probability that
'God' does not exist"

It's fairly easy to deny without defining first. Sure, you can go with the popular anthropomorphic image of God, a misconception imho. Or you take the Commandments rather as guidance in "non-thinking". Your choice.

I am the "I am".

Anonymous said...

"His argument is that if the existence of order in the universe is improbable, then the existence of a creator of the universe is even more improbable."

That is not exactly the way the argument / refutation from complexity goes.

If the existence of order and complexity implies the existence of a Creator, then this argument should also apply to that Creator. An intelligent Creator would of necessity be very orderly and complex in some sense. So if we must posit a creator to explain order, then another 'higher' creator must be posited to explain god and so on in infinite regress. Attempts are usually made to simply assert that the divine Creator is "exempt" from this requirement by His nature. The same could be said of any part of the chain. I can assert that the universe itself is exempt. Or that a giant bunny rabbit is exempt, a bird layed a giant egg and it became the universe. Where did the bird come from? Oh, it has no need for a beginning...the Bird is infinite and has always existed so the laws of nature do not apply.


Rich said...

Anonymous said...
"> rich said...
>> 'what do we do now?'

In addition to more zazen, you might
want to try to inform any friends
you have in the police or military
about what's really going on....."

This is what I'm going to do.
1. Sit zazen at least twice a day.
2. Try to keep don't know mindfulness 24 by 7.
3. Write a letter to President Bush.

I was not successful understanding God using logic and conceptual thinking.

Anonymous said...

"It's fairly easy to deny without defining first. Sure, you can go with the popular anthropomorphic image of God, a misconception imho."

In The God Delusion, Mr. Dawkins does this. He clearly defines what type of god he denies (anthropomorphic being that intervenes in history and hears and answers prayers) and what type (spinozan) he does not refute.

I realize many seem to regard only master Dogen's writings as some sort of authority, but nearly all mahayana sects regard the Lankavatara sutra as an excellent source of teaching...whether it was actually spoken by the Buddha or not. Here's a selection from that sutra (said to be the favored sutra of master Bodhidharma) regarding a creator god and other such concepts. Note that the speaker / writer identifies his opponents as ignorant and simple-minded. But that probably just means he is arrogant and trying to win a debate.

Again, Mahamati, there has always been an eternally-abiding Reality. The "substance" of Truth (dharmadhatu) abides forever whether a Tathagata appears in the world or not. So does the Reason of all things (dharmata) eternally abide; so does Reality (paramartha) abide and keep its order. What has been realised by myself and all other Tathagatas is this Reality (Dharmakaya), the eternally-abiding self-orderliness of Reality;

Because of the folly they do not understand that all things are like maya, like the reflection of the moon in water, that there is no self-substance to be imagined as an ego-soul and its belongings, and that all their definitive ideas rise from their false discriminations of what exists only as it is seen of the mind itself.

They do not realise that things have nothing to do with qualified and qualifying, nor with the course of birth, abiding and destruction, and instead they assert that they are born of a creator, of time, of atoms, of some celestial spirit.

It is because the ignorant are given up to discrimination that they move along with the stream of appearances, but it is not so with the wise.

All such notions as causation, succession, atoms, primary elements that make up personality, Personal Soul, Supreme Spirit, Sovereign God,Creator - are all figments of imagination, and manifestations of the mind.
--Lankavatara Sutra


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

alan a. said...
"filling up with Zionist Global Conspiracy shite."

Michael Chertoff is head of US domestic security,
and he holds a foreign passport.

Dov Zakheim was chief financial officer
at the Department of Defense on 9/11,
and he holds a foreign passport.

Over a dozen other high-ranking US government
officials who significantly influence US foreign
policy hold foreign passports to the very
same country as Chertoff and Zakheim.

Now, let's say, for the sake of argument, that
the foreign country in question was Sweden and
that the US was currently spending over a
trillion dollars on a war that benefitted Sweden.

Would you then accuse the people who point
out these facts guilty of promoting
"Swedish Global Conspiracy Crap"?

Anonymous said...

Oh my God!
News overload!
I started following some of the links
above, and now I've spent the last 6 hours
reading and viewing a bunch of 9/11 tripe.
I can't believe I swallowed it all.

I'm not feeling too good.

In fact, I just took some ipecac,
and now I'm really not feeling good.


Uh oh...
stand back...
here it comes...


"It can't happen here."

World Trade Center Building 7 collapsed on 9/11
at 5:20 in the afternoon:

Why is this particular video never shown on American TV?

Unreacted thermite found in four different samples
of WTC dust:

Americans appear to be having a Constitutional

Here are some attempting "to support and defend
the Constitution of the United States against
all enemies, foreign and domestic":

The Physics and Chemistry and Biology of 9/11:

"9/11 Mysteries" (best introduction):

Kevin Ryan (formerly of Underwriters Laboratories)
Discusses The NIST WTC Report:

Numerous reports of molten steel:

Thermite/thermate by-products found in WTC dust:

Physicist Steven Jones (around 69:25 in the following video):

In a New York Magazine interview in March 2006, Dr. Shyam Sunder,
NIST's lead WTC disaster investigator admitted that they were having
"trouble getting a handle on Building No. 7."

NIST has postponed publication of its report several times,
attributing the delays to reassignment of investigators to
other tasks...

The BBC refuses to release the name of its
WTC7 news source for this video clip:

(fast-forward to 14:49 for the really weird part)

Burning Buildings:

Falling Buildings:

Professor Steven Jones:

More Photos:

Once again, in a nutshell:

(from the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
during the Reagan Administration)

Can you spot the Boeing 757 that hit the Pentagon
in these photos?

Former Air Force fighter pilot Russ Wittenberg
previously flew two of the actual airplanes that
were allegedly hijacked on 9/11 (United Airlines
Flights 175 & 93):

Who told Giuliani that the WTC was going to collapse?

Mainstream Media:


"There's really five companies that control 90 percent of
what we read, see and hear." --Ted Turner, founder of CNN

"The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance
in the major media." --William Colby, Former Director of the CIA

NIST Engineer John Gross speaking at the
Ferguson Structural Engineering Laboratory
at The University of Texas at Austin on 10/18/06:

Criminal negligence or outright fraud?


Connecting the Dots in the Mainstream Media:

False Flags and Low Intensity Operations:


"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people
will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained
only for such time as the state can shield the people from
the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie
... The truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by
extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the state."
--Joseph Goebbels, minister of propaganda in Nazi Germany, 1933-1945

"A steel structure, generally speaking, does not suddenly collapse
when attacked by fire. There are unmistakable warning signs, namely,
large deformations." --"Multi-Storey Buildings in Steel" by
F. Hart, W. Henn, H. Sontag, C. Van Amerongen, and G.B. Godfrey

Nafeez Ahmed:

David Ray Griffin:

Dancing Israelis:

Enough already:

Reported by London's Sunday Times:

Practically ignored by the major US news media:

You'd think that a VERIFIABLE story about NUCLEAR WEAPONS TREASON

If you do not think that something is very seriously wrong in the US,
with both the State and the Press, then think again:

For more information on the people named above, just type their names into
the search field at:


Excuse me.
I'm so sorry.
I hope those weren't expensive shoes.

Anonymous said...

This blog is making me depressed.

Anonymous said...

in our own
mind's net
Indra's! now that's a net for you
and JS Giguere: a real net minder!

Anonymous said...

we are each responsible for what we post on this blog.
I don't think it necessary to go on and on with certain topics. Lordy! Once is fine. Succinct,
Inundation is just another form of bogartery (apologies to Humphrey).
I'm glad Brad lets the blog be the blog in whatever way it shapes itself.
It let's itself show itself as it it is, which is as each of us participating here is--
waiter, more strait jackets at this table, please--and no more laptops for the large party at the table in the corner!

Anonymous said...

Some people just have ever-grinding minds.
Minds needing something to chew on.
This is what koans are for: to keep such minds occupied.
Consider that in life koans naturally arise--and your personal koan is going to be what keeps returning to your mind,
We've all got our work cut out for us--and our mind's are chewing on it right now!

Some of us here, it would appear, have got a lot of chewing to do--but that's ok because the mind never bites off more than it can chew, and if it does, why just spit it out.
(Spit, I say spit sir, not spew!)

esmerelda_verde said...

Thanks ever grinding post Anon. who ever you are well said

Moon Face Buddha said...

Watch the daily Fnordcast :)

Anonymous said...

What's new in the news?
What's new for the newsers?

Happened to be soaking in the tub after getting cold on the way home, a snippet of Uji (chapter in Dogen's Shobogenzo:

I can't say that I understand it, mind you, but I can say that from it I got that there isn't anything that isn't news--it's all equally news--the cashier brushing the hair out of her eyes and though tired, smiling at you as you exchange wishes for a good night. The chapter is about time-being, existence/time.
And from it I got that 'news' is an intersection of time and being, time and existence. I got too hot in the bath and had to get out.
My little thought won't make headlines, but it did make the blog.
Have a good night!

dan said...

I checked my RSS-Reader...

"...I can’t understand, for example, why anyone would need one of those RSS feeds (or whatever they’re called)..."

...and laughed out loud :-)

Good to hear that Nishijimas fine btw.

80 said...


Anonymous said...

Dude, what happened to your shoes?!!
And what's that smell?

Anonymous said...

Just make sure that the news you listen to is
fair and balanced.

Anonymous said...

anonymous said...
> "Swedish Global Conspiracy"

Ha! I knew it! All along it was those
godless Swedes!

84 said...


Anonymous said...

so we should all just do our best here on the blog
pretty much like we've been doing
It's a strange mirror--this blog--but just like Bodhidharma's 'wall gazing' it's another way to study the self
so I haven't done it before, but I want to thank you all
together we are quite the self!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

rich said...
"This is what I'm going to do...
3. Write a letter to President Bush."

Unless you are an exceptionally
good letter writer, don't bother.
The Dalai Lama already wrote one;
it got ignored:

"The US must examine the factors that breed and give rise to terrorism. I have written to President Bush urging him to exercise restraint and not to seek a brutal revenge for the 11th September attacks. I expressed my sympathy but I suggested that responding to violence with more violence might not be the answer. I would also like to point out that to talk of nonviolence when things are going smoothly is not of much relevance. It is precisely when things become really difficult, urgent and critical that we should think and act nonviolently." --The Dalai Lama

Bush will not read your letter,
but the Secret Service will.
Then, the next time you go
through airport security,
you'll be "randomly" selected
for a "routine" body cavity search.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad that His Holiness is
not familiar with the history of
false flag terror.

Anonymous said...

"No matter how paranoid or
conspiracy-minded you are,
what the government is actually doing
is worse than you imagine."
--William Blum

Anonymous said...

In 1980, former CIA agent
John Stockwell said:

"If the Soviet Union were to
disappear off the face of the map,
the United States would quickly
seek out new enemies to justify
its own military-industrial complex."

Too bad all that taxpayer money
couldn't have been spent on a
Sustainable Energy Research Program.

Rich said...

President Bush has Buddha Nature. This keeps me hopeful and positive.

We are fortunate we don't have to eat dirt cookies like the people in Haiti.

くれくれ厨 said...

金持ちってスゲー( ゚д゚)ポカーン

くれくれ厨 said...

金持ちってスゲー( ゚д゚)ポカーン

Tor Hershman said...

There's no ism like Showism

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

Smoggyrob said...
Did ya'll know there are instructions for being a punk?

There are also instructions for
not being a punk

--i.e., how to avoid torture in the USA.

Doesn't your Constitution prohibit torture
aka "cruel and unusual punishment"?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

> Military-Industrial Complex (Guns and Oil)
> engaged in a clusterfuck-blood-orgy...

"...for the benefit of the very few,
at the expense of the very many.
Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

from War is a Racket by
U.S. Marine Corps Major General
Smedley Butler

Anonymous said...

take a stand
now what? what do you do now

alrighty then
grab onto something
and hold on tight

you and the ground you are standing on
you and the thing you've got that hold on
are falling

into space

no matter what stand you take

that fence you are sitting on
and the greener grass on either side
all of it

political 'facts' and fictions
no matter what it appears they add up to
are all falling too

what if it's all true?

what if it's all falsehoods and chicanery?

what if its all falling?

where does all this falling fall to?

later is already here and gone

do not desire too much

Loud Harper said...

Torture? Not in the good ol' USA!

"In 1968, the UN General Assembly eliminated the statutory limitations on War Crimes... outlawed torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment." SOURCE


Anonymous said...

See, when you have some idea what's going on in the world, it helps you keep a healthy distrust of authority. So when, say, a Zen priest tells you that the essence of the three treasures is loyalty to the Emperor and it's time to attack China, you might have some basis for saying "Hmm, yeah, I'm not sure that us attacking China makes any sense". Sitting zazen apparently doesn't help much with that on its own. I do find it hilarious that Brad thinks people should subscribe to porn sites, but not news sites. Says a lot, don't it?

Anonymous said...

anonymous said...
do not desire too much

I desire that ALL sentient beings
be free of suffering.
Is that too much to desire?

If you "fell" all the way to the bottom,
into an American prison, or into a
CIA-funded torture scenario,

would you put up a fight
to protect yourself?

would you submissively
take it in the mouth
and up the ass?

falling... falling... falling...
suicide is painless

No one is free if any one is oppressed.

Anonymous said...

Who is Eckhart Tollie. Is he Buddhist or? Anyone know any back ground on this man? Thank you

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


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

"I desire that ALL sentient beings
be free of suffering.
Is that too much to desire?"

The english word 'desire' can have several shades of meaning. It can mean mere intent. It can mean simple physical craving as in desire for food or drink. It is unfortunate that the pali word 'tanha' nearly always seems to be rendered as desire. This leads some people, even some buddhists, to think mere intent is the cause of suffering. Tanha is best translated as 'selfish craving' imo. If you read the suttas, it's pretty clear the Buddha was not referring to these other meanings of our word 'desire'.

So if your desire to save all beings is rooted in some sort of selfish egotism... Maybe the intent makes me feel better about myself, distracts me from actual suffering beings right in front of me by focusing on saving all beings as an abstract concept or makes me feel holier than thou...then yes, that is too much desire. But it's not actually a matter of too much so much as selfish, ego-driven desire. And that leads to suffering. If none of this applies, then no.

A similar critique is applicable to the 'desire' for enlightenment. Simple intent to understand the nature of reality here and now (as the Buddha presumably 'desired' during his own quest, is not a problem. The craving for some special experience, blissful states or desire for some insight in order to feel superior to others and feed ego is a problem.


Mysterion said...

The word 'desire' is not a felicitous translation of tanha.

"I would prefer that sentient beings
be free of suffering."

We could split hairs about "want" and "wanton" all day - but to no avail. So to is 'selfish desire' emotionally separated from the 'possession of a want.'

All we are speaking of is the emotional modulation of a perception. If that modulation is great of small is merely an errant matter reflecting the emergence of 'self' through the smoke.

papa joe ratz said...

at least we don't have $8.6 billion in sales - and daddy is coming over to promote the product

Anonymous said...

I heard as a child Erchart Tollie was raised in the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh commune.

Anonymous said...

guru gunther said...

your Pain Body

This is too weird.

Anonymous said...

I do see a similarity with Rajneesh but Bhagwan was funnier.

Mypainbody said...

yellow dragon said...

can we compare

1) meditation
2) Cowboys


dancing pain bodies said...

Fistful of Dollars

copied (conscious adaptation)


3 coffins


abby normal said...

The guru who changed his name

Self-help author condenses wisdom of the ages...

wow... the pattern

simple question - simple answer
simple question - simple answer
simple question - simple answer

Shades of a "Character Optimization" Cult

critical thinkers need not apply - leave your brain in a jar at the door

dalco said...


Kim Eng


25¢ dialogue

NY Times

But please see THIS

In his day, Manley Palmer Hall WAS the 'wisdom of all ages' guru and your local masonic club was where you could hear him lecture.

To his credit, he also introduced Buddhism to the masonic boys.

Before Hall, Albert Pike was the guru. This is his work and covers the Hindoos and Zoroastrians as well as the Xtians and Hebrews.

Old boys in New Zealand

al said...

message for the ages:

"The fact that different scholars should differ in their interpretations, or that the same scholar should reject his former translation, and adopt a new one that possibly may have to be surrendered again as soon as new light can be thrown on points hitherto doubtful and obscure—all this, which, in the hands of those who argue for victory and not for truth, constitutes so formidable a weapon, and appeals so strongly to the prejudices of the many, produces very little effect in the minds of those who understand the reason of these changes, and to whom each new change represents but a new step in the advance of the discovery of truth."

Anonymous said...

Is Eckhart Tolle really totally enlightened?

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

Is this Buddhist?

19) The first form is emptiness, the second desire, the third ignorance, the fourth is the fear of death, the fifth is lust, the sixth is hedonism, the seventh is wrath. These are the seven powers of mara.

24) From this time on will I attain to the rest of the time, of the season, of the aeon, in silence. (nirbana)

Anonymous said...

mysterion, are you using Gort as your avatar?

Anonymous said...

is Brad Warner going to be on Oprah?

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

english is such a german language

Anonymous said...

Carlo Lio & The Junkies - Last Days (Original Mix)

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