Thursday, May 01, 2008

Akron, Akron, Akron...


I'm in Akron today. I'll be here for about ten days. Ten days in Akron! Bliss, I tell ya!

It's weird how I was so eager to get out of this place 15 years ago that I packed up my entire life and flew halfway around the world. Now when I get back here I'm practically kissing the soil. I had no idea how bee-you-tee-ful Akron, Ohio really was. I dreamed of Tokyo and of California instead. Hilarious.

Yet I don't regret at all what I did and where I went. It's just funny, that's all.

I've spent the morning re-learning the Zero Defex set and cursing my 18 year old self for coming up with bass lines my 44 year old self has trouble playing. I think I got 'em all now.

The new Zero Defex CD is on sale now. Only I haven't figured out how you can order it on-line yet. Supposedly CD Baby has it, but I'll be dog-goned if I can locate it there.You can get the download version of it here though. And you can hear samples of it on our MySpace page. The actual CD has very cool artwork and packaging by Vince Rancid, so I'd recommend that over the download. I'll post the ordering info as soon as I get it.

I read a few of the replies to the previous post. I really feel bad about describing Patricia as a transvestite rather than a trans-sexual. These distinctions come hard (heh-heh, I said come hard) for a guy raised in rural Ohio in the Seventies. Plus I know it hurts to be mis-identified genderwise. Shit even yesterday at the airport in Knoxville I was referred to as "ma'am" by the TSA guy. This happens all the time. Is the face stubble not enough of a give-away? I'm sad Patricia left. She seemed nice and I wanted to see if I could help her with the hard time she was so obviously having.

But I say (and not just to her, by the way), "Know Before You Go." I must accept most of the blame here because I didn't post the schedule. I didn't even make the schedule until a couple hours before the thing started. Still, I tend to assume that folks who sign up for a Zen retreat have some idea what's involved. The ones I run are pretty standard, and, in fact, tend to skew towards the "easy-peasy" end of the spectrum. There must be a zillion places on-line that post their schedules. Patricia's case is certainly not at all unique. I would not be writing this in a public forum if it were. Lots of folks show up to these things with no idea what to expect and I'm sorry but I just can't understand why that happens anymore.

Please. Before you attend a Zen retreat, read up about them. OK? Thanks.

And what's up with all the trolls posting "Brad thinks World War II never happened" bullshit? Hey -- Japan did really, really bad stuff in World War II. I know that. Everybody knows that. We nice White guys with nothing to atone for also dropped some big ol' bombs on them, too. Some Japanese guys in Buddhist robes went "yay" for the Emperor. I just don't see any compelling evidence that Kodo Sawaki fanned the flames. Here's a quote I recently discovered by Mr. Sawaki at the Tassajara library, "During the war in China I kept my hands in gassho (folded) wherever I went. When you do gassho whoever you meet does gassho to automatically. If I had raised my fist or brandished a revolver it wouldn't have happened the same way. Walking in gassho means not shooting anyone anymore." Brian Victoria's Sawaki quotes are so incredibly at odds with so many other quotes and personal memories of those who knew the man I just cannot accept them as accurate. Funnily enough Sawaki doesn't even get mentioned in Victoria's second book about Zen war mongers. You'd think he would since he's presented in the first one as such a champion of the cause. Victoria's book was important in going a long way towards humanizing Zen teachers for Westerners who saw them as Gods or mystical beings. Kudos to him for that. But when it comes to Sawaki, I'm afraid I still have to maintain my doubts about his assessment of his war-mongering-ness.

Gotta go.

11 comments:

Mysterion said...

Zero Defects

"10. Eliminate exhortations
Eliminate the use of slogans, posters and exhortations for the work force, demanding Zero Defects and new levels of productivity, without providing methods."

That zero defects poster you found at the tire factory was proof that "they didn't get it."

Mt. Equity Zendo said...

Sawaki Kodo

Wherever it goes,
The snail is at home when it dies.
There is no world outside the kesa.
see

spice said...

thanks for letting us know that you're thinking more about trans issues & how you wrote about Patricia.

element said...

Here is an email exchange between Muho from Antaiji and Mr. Victoria, concerning Kodo Sawaki.

To read it scroll down circa 1/3 of the page.
http://antaiji.dogen-zen.de/eng/200801.shtml

George James said...

Chicago needs you!

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
salvador dali parton said...

all my cabbie pals use to call flat tires
"Akron Pancakes", brad.

Harvey Firestone said...

Akron was, at one time, Firestone HQ.

Tires

racing tires

oops

coast-to-coast at 30 mph!

Patricia D. said...

Brad,
Thank you for your comments. I feel sad too that I missed your lectures as I am sure that they were as good as your books. I had to go, though, I just had to. I don't want you to feel too badly about getting the trasvestite/transsexual thing messed up as that happens almost every day. At least now you know.
I just want to make sure that you know that you had nothing to do with my early departure from the retreat. Also, I bear some of the blame for not researching what a
"retreat" was all about. I did not do any real research on it as I wanted to go into with a "clean slate mind" and have no pre-conceived ideas about what was to happen during the course of the thing. At least now I know. Have I given up on Buddhism? No Way!! Will I ever attend another retreat?
Yes, but I feel that I need to educate myself more before trying another one anywhere. I will continue to keep up with your websites and read your books until such time as I feel that I can attend another retreat and it most likely will be one of your retreats too. My world, like for so many others, is a tough place to be in sometimes. Thanks for being there for me in your printed words at least. It helps and it heals.
Hugs,
Patricia

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