Friday, May 16, 2008

Fuck Institutionalized Zen

I picked up a little newsletter from the magazine rack at a Zen center I visited, a publication put out by the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center in San Francisco. And there was an article in there that, to me, spelled out why institutionalized Zen sucks dead donkey puds.

The article was by a European Zen monk who tells how he got invited to participate in the 2007 Sotoshu Ango in Europe. What on God’s green Earth is an ango, you may ask. I did. I had to go look it up. Turns out an ango is an intensive 90-day Zen training period. In this case it was a very special training period organized by the Soto Sect’s central governing body (Sotoshu) in Japan to be its very first official duly licensed training period in Europe. That’s Soto Zen®, to you buster! So basically we’re talking about the Zen equivalent of a tractor and farm implements trade show or an annual meeting of the Midwestern Nabisco Cookie Company sales reps.

The guy writes that just before he got the invitation, “my 72 year old father was diagnosed with spreading colon cancer.” Nonetheless he elected to go to Soto-shu’s big party. “I wished my father a peaceful death and went on my way,” he says. His dad died the first day of the big to-do. Our friend did not leave the festivities to attend the funeral. All along, he says, he asked himself, “what importance do I give my greatest desire of simply living a religious life, and how is this deep desire obscured, pushed away in a far away corner by some idealistic or romantic desires that disperse my attention and bring along so much suffering and frustration in this life, in this society?” Like maybe the frustration of a dying parent? God I hate it when that happens. It’s worse than hangnails.

Now look. Pay attention to what I’m about to say, Internet trolls. I am not addressing this blog entry to the guy who wrote that article. If I wanted to communicate with him I’d write him a letter. You’ll notice I haven’t named the gentleman in question. Nor do I have any reason to believe he reads this blog. What I am addressing here is the presence of an article like this in an official publication of the Soto organization and the utterly fucked message it sends. Got that? I know some of you don’t. But I’ll keep going anyway.

I have no idea what this guy’s relationship to his dad was. For all I know maybe dad beat him with a coat hanger every day until he was big enough to hit back, and that’s the real reason he skipped out on him during his last moments on Earth. But even if that was the case, all of us have a far bigger commitment to our families — our real families not our fake “spiritual families” — than to some big corporate religious institution that’s throwing a jamboree.

The article makes it sound as though our friend was so dazzled to be one of the elite few allowed by the Masters in far off and oh-so-truly-Zen Japan to participate in the event that he lost sight of his real duties. The Soto organization seems to want to promote the idea that we should run away from the suffering and frustration of our real lives and hide in the warm and protective bosom of big mama Sotoshu. This is what whacked out religious cults do. There is no place for this kind of nonsense in Buddhism. If only this were the only instance where the Sotoshu acted this way…

And just FYI, the folks in most Western Zen institutions have Yellow Fever so bad they need high dosage antibiotics stat. Whenever someone from the magical land of Japan steps into the room they’re all ready to slaughter each other to be the first to stick their tongues up his ass. Look, I lived in Japan for eleven years. I’ve seen more homeless guys in stolen black robes collecting spare change for booze money in train stations than I can count, and more “real” Buddhist monks in flashy imported cars bought with the money they charge to give peoples’ dead relatives Dharma names in Heaven than I could possibly vomit over. Get over it, people. But I digress…

The ancient Buddhist teachers often talked about leaving home and family for the religious life. Fine. But this is not an example of “leaving home and family.” As presented, the story given in this article is an example of getting sucked into the power games of a corporate elite with a vested interest in expanding their authority and control. “Leaving home and family” means switching your focus from trivial materialistic entanglements towards a larger more universal purpose. It doesn’t mean skipping out on your dying dad because you might miss the opportunity to kiss the asses of the higher ups in your cult. And this is sure as heck what the article seems to be promoting. Once again, trust me, I know there are a lot of legitimate reasons people might want to miss out on the death of a parent. I’ve heard stories that would curl your toenails. But getting invited to a big pow-wow by the sect bosses is not one of them. Never. No.

The guy goes on to gush about how the experience of the ango promoted the development of compassion and wisdom towards oneself and towards others. Huh? Compassion and wisdom is when you tell the big guys at the home office in Japan to stuff their party invitation, your dad is dying. Again (again), as much as it might seem like it, I am not, not, not addressing the guy who wrote the article. He gives hints that other factors were involved in his decision. But if the editors of the magazine did not want to send the message that cult activities take precedence over dying parents they should have asked for a rewrite. They didn’t.

Organized religion can bite me. The Sotoshu can bite me. I’ll go to their clambakes from time to time just to see how much distance I need to put between me and them. That is, if I ever get invited to one again. But more and more I’m seeing just how great the gap really is between the kind of Buddhism I learned and now teach and the stuff the higher ups in the Soto Organization World HQ want to spread. I remain a card-carrying member of the cult for now. But, man-o-man do I regret it sometimes.

103 comments:

DB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
C said...

Hi Brad,

Really great post. Thank you.

One criticism, though (yeah, I know, everyone's a critic). I do mean it to be constructive:

When you write something like this and publish it on the internet, you are writing to that one guy, whether you like it or not. That doesn't mean you shouldn't be doing it, but you should understand that that is what you're doing. Your intention isn't the point. It's like posting a message about someone on a board in the local coffee shop, or publishing an editorial about them in your town newspaper, and adding the disclaimer: "This isn't written for the person I'm writing it about." But it is, even though it's written for everyone else as well. Your audience here is everybody. You're addressing everyone. That one guy too.

Also, a request. You wrote: "The ancient Buddhist teachers often talked about leaving home and family for the religious life. Fine."

If you have time at some point, could you write about this? You say 'fine', but is it really fine? It's very much in tension with our modern notions of responsibility and obligation (which, of course, doesn't mean it's wrong). I understand you think that the case you wrote about in this post isn't an example of this kind of leaving home, but what about the real thing? Why is my own quest for truth more important than my family's expectations that they can rely on me? Buddha leaving behind an infant son, for example, seems problematic. What do you think about this?

internet troll said...

So quit Soto-org why don't you? That would be better than hearing you bitch about them all the time. I don't think you have enough information to have anything relevant to say about this guy's situation .. Maybe he wouldn't have walked across the street to attend the funeral. That big commitment you mentioned should have been mostly on Dad's side. If it wasn't there growing up, it could have seemed more like a big unwanted attachment to the son. Dude probably didn't like dad all that much. And he had other things going on. I would tend to give him the benefit of the doubt, Doubtboy. Unless you want to tell us why he should have gone instead of just telling us it was his frigging civilized human duty. And, as the above poster pointed out, dude skipping out on dad's death scene seems no worse than the Buddha abandoning his infant son.

Anonymous said...

"Rahula, develop a mind that is like the four great elements (earth, water, fire and air) because if you do this, pleasant or unpleasant sensory impressions that have arisen and taken hold of the mind will not persist. Just as when people throw faeces, urine, spittle, pus or blood on the earth or in the water, in a fire or the air, the earth, the water, the fire or the air is not troubled, worried or disturbed. So too, develop a mind that is like the four great elements. Develop love, Rahula, for by doing so ill-will will be got rid of. Develop compassion, for by doing so the desire to harm will be got rid of. Develop sympathetic joy, for by doing so, dislike will be got rid of. Develop equanimity, for by doing so sensory reaction will be got rid of. Develop the perception of the foul for by doing so, attachment will be got rid of. Develop the perception of impermanence for by doing so, the conceit, 'I am', will be got rid of. Develop mindfulness of breathing for it is of great benefit and advantage."

Rob said...

Dear Mr. Troll:

As guy married to a medical student I have a different perspective. Yes, Soto shu sucks. Most giant organizations suck Its because they are made up of people, who, shockingly, also suck. And they do crummy things. But they also often serve useful purposes. Like accredation. Doctors generally belong to all kinds of crooked groups, have to in fact. This is to prove they have met the qualifications necessary to do their jobs. This is also a function of Soto shu.

As far as the Buddha leaving his wife and Rahula, well I think that was a douche-y thing to do. And the fact that the first thing he did after sitting under his tree was go back and apologize to Rahula and the old ball and chain suggests he realized it too.

IMO. I am not even a Zen Buddhist, just one of those culty Pureland guys Dogen and the gang didn't like all that much, much less a teacher. But I it doesn't take a genius to know somebody is being an asshole.

buddha-builder said...

Big smile coming from over here...

Bravo, Brad. (this coming from a sweet elderly lady that couldn't agree more).

Jules said...

internet troll said... So quit Soto-org why don't you? That would be better than hearing you bitch about them all the time.

Nobody's forcing you to read it. OR ARE THEY??? (dum dum DUM?)

grisom said...

Dear Mr. Troll,

You wrote:

Dude probably didn't like dad all that much. And he had other things going on. I would tend to give him the benefit of the doubt, Doubtboy.

I think you've misread Brad's post here. He emphasizes several times that he's not complaining about the fact that the guy missed his dad's funeral. What he's complaining about is that whatever the guy's actual, and possibly legitimate, reasons for doing that actually were, the article (apparently) presents the reason as being that Zen retreats are way more important than parents.

I am not addressing this blog entry to the guy who wrote that article. ... What I am addressing here is the presence of an article like this in an official publication of the Soto organization and the utterly fucked message it sends.
...
Once again, trust me, I know there are a lot of legitimate reasons people might want to miss out on the death of a parent.
...
Again (again), as much as it might seem like it, I am not, not, not addressing the guy who wrote the article. He gives hints that other factors were involved in his decision. But if the editors of the magazine did not want to send the message that cult activities take precedence over dying parents they should have asked for a rewrite.

HezB said...

Isn't 'Soto' just African-American for 'sore toe'?

Regards,

Confused.

HezB said...

Sore Toe Zen needs to return to its roots and regain its sole.

Regards,

Elated.

HezB said...

Here's a cheery little ditty about organised religion from a band called "Crass" who were from a place and time when Punk, if it ever happened, really happened. Workers at the record printing plant refused to print it, so the band set up their own label:

Reality Asylum
--------------
I am no feeble Christ, not me
He hangs in glib delight upon his cross, upon his cross,
Above my body, lowly me
Christ forgive, forgive?
Holy He, He holy, He holy?
Shit He forgives, Forgive? Forgive?
I? I? Me? I? I vomit for you Jesu
Christy Christus
Puke upon your papal throne
Wrapped I am in the muddy cloud
Of hellish genocide
Petulant child
I have suffered for you
Where you have never known me
I too must die
Will you be shadowed in the arrogance of my death?
Your valley truth
What light pass those pious heights?
What passing bells for these in their trucks?
For you lord.
You are the flag-bearer of these nations
One against the other that die in the mud
No piety. No deity
Is that your forgiveness?
Saint. Martyr. Goat. Billy.
Forgive? Shit he forgives
He hangs upon his cross
In self-righteous judgment
Hangs in crucified delight
Nailed to the extend of His vision
His cross. His manhood. His violence. Guilt. Sin.
He would nail my body upon his cross
As if I might have waited for him in the garden
As if I might have perfumed His body
Washed those bloody feet
This woman that he seeks
Suicide visionary. Death reveller. Rake. Rapist.
Gravedigger. Earthmover. Lifefucker. Jesu.
You scooped the pits of Auschwitz
The soil of Treblinka is rich in your guilt
The sorrow of your tradition
Your stupid humility is the crown of thorn we all must wear.
For you. Ha. Master. Master of gore. Enigma. Stigma. Stigmata. Errata. Eraser.
The cross is the mast of our oppression.
You fly there, vain flag.
You carry it, wear it on your back, Lord. Your back.
Enola is your gaiety.
Suffer little children (to come unto me)
Suffer in that horror. Hirohorror. Hirrohiro. Hiroshimmer. Shimmerhiro.
Hiroshima. Hiroshima. Hiroshima. Hiroshima.
The bodies are your delight
The incandescent flame is the spirit of it
They come to you Jesu. To you
The nails are the only trinity
Hold them in your corpsey gracelessness
The image that I have had to suffer
These nails at my temple
The cross is the virgin body of womanhood
That you defile
In your guilt you turn your back
Nailed to that body
Lame-arse Jesus calls me sister
There are no words for my contempt
Every woman is a cross in filthy theology
He turns His back on me in His fear
His vain delight is that pain I bear
Alone He hangs. His choice. His choice
Alone. Alone. His voice. His voice
He shares nothing, this Christ
Sterile. Impotent. Fucklove prophet of death
He's the ultimate pornography
He. He. Hear us Jesus
You sigh alone in your cockfear
You lie alone in your c*ntfear.
You cry alone in your womanfear.
You die alone in you manfear.
Alone Jesu, alone
In your cockfear. C*ntfear. Womanfear. Manfear.
Alone in your fear. Alone in your fear. Alone in your fear.
Your fear. Your fear. Your fear. Your fear. Your fear. Your fear. Your fear.
Warfare. Warfare. Warfare. Warfare. Warfare.
Jesus died for his own sins. Not mine. (End)

It was written by a woman as you may have discerned.

I am not a Christian, but I was raised with some observance of Christian ritual and culture. This piece deeply effects me for reasons I can't even remember or consciously observe. There's so much fear and anger tied up with the religion many of us carry, no?

The wikipedia article about 'Crass' is quite interesting.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else find it amusing that Zen Master Brad has to look up basic Zen terms?

Nice education in Buddhism, ya got there, Brad.

Of course, coming from a lineage that throws everything out of Buddhism but one thing (doesn't read sutras nor engage in any other actual Zen practices), I'm not surprised.

HezB said...

Annonymouth,

I find it amusing, but in an endearing way... funny old world.

Regards,

H.

fourth said...

I wish I didn't miss my dad's funeral several years ago...

Jordan said...

Harry,
Crass was one of my favorite bands when I was in high school. Of course they were "Classic" then, which makes them oldies punk now. Scarry eh? thanks for the blast of nostalgia.

Take care,
Jordan

Anonymous said...

I love that because people, you know, occasionally call Brad on his shit (and those instances are far outweighed by all the people who kiss his ass), he has to act all indignant and frustrated when posting now. Gee, tons of criticism isn't as fun when you're the object instead of the subject, is it Brad-san?

Anonymous said...

Call 'em as you see 'em dog :-)

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Dearest Brad Sensei,
I am 6 ft. 3 and 250 lbs. Please, oh Brad please, hook me up with this guy's IP. I will KICK HIS MOTHER FUCKING ASS!!!!!!!! ROLLINS STYLE!!!!!

“I wished my father a peaceful death and went on my way,”

FUCK HIM.

-PHIL

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

Brad:

You will do as we say...

We have ways of dealing with strays...

We will market the Soto Zen Product in packages with uniform labels.

Rob said...

You know the dude doesn't have to go to his dad's funeral or be there at his death bed if has a good reason. I am not sure there are compelling reasons to abandon your kid as the Buddha did, but we are lucky he did I guess. We might all be scientologists now instead.


And as far as Brad's education goes: Brad seems to make sense. Alot of guys who know alot of Buddhist words come off as arrogant dicks or airy fairy farts. So cut the man some slack. If you want to bust for something, bsut him for making psychedelic rock albums. If I ran the world that'd be illegal!

kirkmc said...

Good points, but why so much anger?

Regina said...

Dear all,

some days ago I had the chance to meet Kazuaki Tanahashi, a calligrapher, peace-activist and zen-master, who intends to hold a workshop here in Frankfurt.

When I looked up his international schedule I noticed a place called Tassajara and remembered that Brad had mentioned this place in his blog. If anybody is interested in some calligraphy art-work I can highly recommend this "Brush mind" retreat at Tassajara's.

Regards
Regina

Moon Face Buddha said...

Interesting article Brad.

1) I have not read the article in question.

2) We cannot know the many factors that the author considered before deciding to attend the study group rather than the passing of his father.

When I first 'got into' Buddhism there was a certain pull towards the 'authentic' tradition/organisations. Fortunately there was also an innate suspicion of organisations.

The more I have read the more it seems to me that looking for the 100% official teaching of the Buddha is a fruitless quest. Rather we need to discover and explore OUR buddha nature and not try and fit into some imposed buddhist mould.

Ordinary Extraordinary said...

Hi Brad,

I'm involved in the same organisation as the European monk in question.

And (for a change) I agree with pretty much everything you said 100%.

Stratus said...

Hey O/E - i'm involved in the same group.. but I can't say I either agree or disagree with what Brad says. As Brad himself states.. none of us know his circumstances - none of us know if his dad beat him daily with a coat hanger.. or whatever.. maybe the Ango was just a convenient excuse to use instead of.. "oh gee dad.. i'd like to hang out with you while you die.. but um.. I have to wash my hair"

Anyway.. I don't think Brad's point was to criticise the organisation, or even the monk in question so much... my suspicion was that Brad, (correct me if i'm wrong here brad) is using skill-full means to make a point about doing stuff for prestige or "brownie points" with "the grand and good of the world".. which in the end ... doesn't mean shit right... and is the opposite of a mind that seeks no profit or goal.

of course.. done with brad's own unique style of hostility and anger - a nice persona that makes your teachings accessible to a whole new crowd of angst-ridden dharma seekers.. - and hey.. you know.. fight the man!

stratus

Bankei said...

Could someone [brad or otherwise] please explain just what is the problem with not being a physical witness to a parents death and/or funeral? Brad just seems to assume that since he finds the thought of this distasteful that it must, in fact, be so.

As to owing our biological families some special duties, this seems to be an irrational sort of unreflectively accepted cultural and evolutionary norm. There is nothing which fundamentally separates us or unites us with our families in some way which we aren't already with the totality of Being(s).

I want to like Brad's writing and try to give him the benefit of the doubt, but he continually demonstrates that in place of real practice and understanding he merely has turned zazen into a fetish. He, of course, on some level must realize this, which most likely accounts for his defensive and juvenile behavior.

wes said...

Seems to me the real point of what Brad is saying is not so much this one guy's situation, but rather the role we allow institutional religion to play in each of our lives. On this point, Brad I think you are absolutely correct. Recently I returned to a Tibetan Buddhist Center I helped form back in the '70's and almost puked at all the Tibetan lama cloned zombie wanna-bes! Lots of slobbering devotion to the structure but not a whole lot of facing up to Reality. Just a big fantasy trip as far as I could see.

Anyway, my point is that the guy and his dead dad are only a pointing towards our need to face similar symptoms in ourselves. The story is just that, a story. I appreciate Brad's pointing towards the sickness.

petting zoo said...

Brad, I keep your blog in my bloglines, alongside BoingBoing and UnusualChurches, purely for the train wreck aspect. You didn't disappoint this time.

I won't comment more on your content, because last time I did you picked on your readers in your next blog for not paying close enough attention. Pretty funny ... hanging on on your every word.

Still haven't bought any of your books. If I wanted more bitterness in my life, I'll think about W.

Rōren - no, that's not my real name, but my 'real' name is not my reality either. said...

What does the world look like if everyone realizes their B-nature on the same day?...

No... It ain't going to happen. The benefit of Zen is to see the stinking pile of sh*t your foot is in as a stinking pile of sh*t your foot is in, and then taking the next step.

You may loose your differentiation with the universe, but there's still going to be crap out there. Enjoy it, walk through it with hope, but if you think you can join a group where it all goes away you have become insane.

As a *general rule* it is important to know that the death of a parent is a big deal. Glorifying the leaving without careful analysis of what's really up IS a confused message.

Without very careful framing, any org saying leave the world and come find peace, is up to no good.

We are all in the world, we are all in the sh*t, NOW find/see the flowers and know that "you" can come to no harm.

Anonymous said...

Here is another thing to consider.

People who are willing to leave a group and its power games in order to sit with a loved one who is sick or dying, are capable of setting limits on how far they will go in obeying that group and its leaders.

The capacity to be with a dying parent often ties in which the quality of life you've had with your family and this in turn can assist a person to set limits if a group goes haywire.

Someone so estranged from a parent who is unwilling to be with that dying parent may well have had such a horrid relationship with the family that they're willing to surrender their autonomy to some group or leader.

(Note: this is not an excuse, just a possible tracing of cause-and effect)

Someone who is in a condition where he or she would choose to serve a group and its leaders rather than leave to care for a dying or suffering loved one is someone who could, at a future date, be selected by the leadership to do things later on that are morally hazardous.

A person who demonstrates that kind of estrangement from family of origin is someone who may be at grave risk of later being asked to do morally questionable things and it may begin by being invited, in flattering terms, to join the leaders entourage, where the leader will act like Ideal Daddy. Then, months or years later, one may be asked to commit some violation of the precepts in order to serve this surrogate Daddy--and obey.

For when a group goes bad, often we find that the harmful leader hand selected a supportive and collusive entourage by picking those persons who were estranged enough from their families that they demonstredthat they had been willing to cut ties to their outside lives and put the group first. These were the folks who had no lives or interests outside of the group, didnt go visit family for holidays or vacations, didnt visit friends or family members in the hospital, etc.

Others who were capable of putting their families (or their own moral standards) ahead of a group would not have been selected by the leader to do naughty stuff.

z0tl said...

everyone talkin' about what that dude from the article should or shouldn't have done - which is the realm of idiots.

the crux i saw in brad's blurb is this:

Whenever someone from the magical land of Japan steps into the room they’re all ready to slaughter each other to be the first to stick their tongues up his ass. Look, I lived in Japan for eleven years...

the east flocks to the west, the west flocks to the east, all have missed it...

Wolf said...

Hey Brad.
That was a really good one. Thanks.
I'm sometimes really asking me if some people here purposely misunderstand you.
To clearify in one sentence what was meant: Soto is bad for making it look like a retreat is more important than a dying parent.

Have a nice day
Wolf

CJ said...

This posting reminds me of an article I saw a couple weeks ago in the SF Weekly entitled, "Punk Family Values"

http://www.sfweekly.com/2008-05-07/news/punk-family-values

Brad is punk. Brad just wrote about family values. I'd like to see some thoughts from Brad about what he thinks punk family values would be to help incorporate practice into everyday family life.

Peace

PA said...

I think whether the author was right or wrong was not really the point of the post but rather an attempt to illustrate that Zen shouldn't stop you from being totally involved in the world and your responsibilities.
Which makes sense to me.
(note to self: stop reading the comments section of this blog. It's a complete waste of time.)

Anonymous said...

"You may loose your differentiation with the universe, but there's still going to be crap out there."

I get what you're saying here, but what would someone actually be like if they lost their differentiation with the universe? Would you scream in pain when someone hit a nail with a hammer? When the dr. called your name in the waiting room, would you know to get up? Would you eat your own arm when hungry?

Matter and energy are clearly and easily differentiated, yet they are two forms of one underlying 'stuff'. You can easily differentiate between water, ice and steam even though they too are forms of one substance.

As I see it, it's the same with self and other or I and universe. Clearly and easily differentiated, but both spring from the same root.

Ordinary Extraordinary said...

On second thoughts, although this monk's decision sounds like poor judgement (and potentially inspired by misguided religious zeal) and the inclusion of his story by Sotoshu also sounds like poor judgement, I don't think this one minor incident shows that the organisation 'sucks dead donkey puds' or anything similar.

David Chapman said...

The Tibetans have this idea of "let's get everything and everyone tidied up and nailed down and in line with the hierarchy" too. But there has been a thousand years of resistance to it -- maybe more than has been possible in Zen.

I come from the Nyingma tradition, which is the "left wing" of Tibetan Buddhism. The Nyingma have mostly had an attitude of "let a thousand flowers bloom" and "leave everyone alone to get on with their own thing". And the Nyingma have a nifty tradition of "terma" or "revelations". That produces religious innovations that keeps the tradition from sliding into dead rigid institutional worship of ancient texts that no one actually practices.

The Tibetan right wing is dead set against that -- they want purity and certification and no surprises. I think this is mostly just power politics. Tiresome nonsense. Unfortunately this is still going even in the West.

It's funny that one of the major criticisms of the Nyingma tradition is that Dzogchen, our central doctrine, is dangerously similar to Soto Zen. Oh no!

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

Hello Brad,

I'm somewhat new at Blogger and I've tried to find a way to send you a personal e-mail, but this is all I can do at the moment. My name is Laura. I'm an (intellectual Christ-follower) Christian living in New York City. My boyfriend Andrew isn't a Christian; he is exploring his life right now. I am excited for him asking all these eternal questions! It's never boring. Anyway, I have given him a book The Joyful Christian by CS Lewis and he gave me your book Hardcore Zen. He hasn't given himself over to a certain practice/religion/way of life yet, but I've encouraged him to explore all of these things through. I do believe in the God of the Holy Bible, but I don't want him to feel like he's alone in his 'exploration'. For instance, there are many things that I ask about Christianity, but haven't until now really explored. I am fascinated by other religions, and am eager to learn about Zen/Buddhism. Could you ,graciously, in your spare time please explain to me what you believe about our purpose here? Thanks very much!

Respectfully,
Laura

Anonymous said...

pa said...
"Zen shouldn't stop you from being
totally involved in the world and
your responsibilities."


Harvard-trained Buddhist scholar
Graeme MacQueen also says
"Fuck Institutionalized Zen":

in a lecture at the
Zen Temple in Ann Arbor, MI,

in a lecture at a conference in
Vancouver,

in an interview with
American Buddhist Net News,

and in a lecture at the
University of Waterloo
(along with mathematician
A.K. Dewdney, whose column
you may have read in
Scientific American).

Anonymous said...

Questioning Christianity?

Roman G. said...

I think most of you are missing the point.

If you are sitting zazen on your cushion when your house is on fire, you aren't practicing zen because you aren't paying attention to the here and now.

It isn't about one man missing a funeral. It's about the Sotoshu reinforcing its own orthodoxy, via an official newsletter, over the true heart of zen: the here and now.

Papa Joe said...

Yes Laura, there is a Buddha.

Some Buddhists hold a natural sympathy for Christians who are, after all, merely considered as being somewhat misguided students of the Buddha. Why Constantine and Byzantium needed to misguide the followers of Buddha is not exactly clear but then the structure of the Mithraic Cult was morphed with the words of Buddha and somewhat later transported to Rome.

babbles said...

I think this was a very good article and I couldn't agree more with it.

I have always thought that it is reasonable to assume that a typical Buddhist stance is to question authority, yet the very nature of these institutionalized Buddhist organization seem to be in fact quite contrary to such thought. Then again what the hell do I know.

I think it is quite a shame that so many people who comment on this blog appear to intentionally disregard what Mr. Warner writes. It's somewhat amazing that regardless of how Brad attempts to be as specific as he can about his stance, there are those that continuously choose to take Brad's words, warp it with their own mis-aligned perspective and create some sort of conflict of thoughts where there need not be any. If Mr. Warner was to support institutionalized organized religion, he would be burned at the stake. When he derides it, he is still persecuted; damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Mountaintop Rebel said...

I actually agree with Brad almost completely here. I think his whole silly-ass persecution complex because he gets a handful of comments disagreeing with him is cause for eye-rolling; but he's on target with his basic premise.

I would just leave this as a solid agreement but I take exception to the idea that there's just an army of people out to twist Brad's words. Brad gets a bit of disagreement because he goes out there and talks a lot of shit. He also contradicts himself a lot and can be a real asshole. Considering how many fawning tools show up and act like every word he says is that of a god, I don't see anything wrong with a few people speaking up and saying no. I'm sorry Brad can't handle that and acts like a petulant little bitch who's above reproach.

Moon Face Buddha said...

Laura,

It is not my place to answer for Brad. Instead I will use the following story to illustrate the meaning (for me) of the teaching of the Buddha.


One day Nasrudin was walking along a deserted road Night was falling as he spied a troop of horsemen coming toward him. His imagination began to work, and he feared that they might rob him, or impress him into the army. So strong did this fear become that he leaped over a wall and found himself in a graveyard. The other travelers, innocent of any such motive as had been assumed by Nasrudin, became curious and pursued him.
When they came upon him lying motionless, one said, “Can we help you — why are you here in this position?”
Nasrudin, realizing his mistake, said, “It is more complicated than you assume. You see, I am here because of you; and you, you are here because of me.”

Anonymous said...

From Master Gido Nishijima's translation of Master's Dogen's Shobogenzo - Shukke Kudoku

[83] SHUKKE
Leaving Family Life

It was the custom in ancient India that people who wanted to pursue the truth left their family, and this custom was retained in Buddhist orders. First of all, it is said that Gautama Buddha originally left his family life and began the life of a monk when he was 29 years old. Therefore, in the Buddhist order, people highly revere transcendence of family life in order to pursue the truth. This chapter explains the custom.


I wonder who is right? Dogen, Soto, the Monk at the Ango and Nishijima Roshi ... or Brad

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, that was introduction to Shukke, almost same subject. This is Shukke Kudoku. Both are Nishijima Roshi's words, by the way, summarizing Dogen teaching

SHUKKE-KUDOKU
The Merit of Leaving Family Life

Shutsu means "to get out of" or "to transcend." Ke means "house," "home" or "family life." Kudoku means "merit." So shukke kudoku means the merit of transcending family life. In this chapter Master Dogen praised and emphasized the merit of transcending family life. We human beings are generally brought up in families, and so we can say that the influence that our family has on us is incredibly strong. The aim of studying Buddhism is to get the truth. So if we would like to get the truth it is necessary for us to transcend our family life, because when we are accustomed to family life, we are sometimes influenced by family life and cannot discriminate what the truth is. Therefore the merit of transcending family life is much revered in Buddhism, and Master Dogen explained the merit of transcending family life, following the Buddhist tradition.

Anonymous said...

Also, Master Dogen wrote next words in Shobogenzo "Ango" (the word you don't know)

Accordingly, the ninety-day summer sitting is the ancient turning of the Wheel of Dharma and it is the ancient practice of the Buddhas and Ancestors. In the present account, there is the phrase, "At that time, he was intent on performing a pure summer retreat." Keep in mind that what the Buddha practised was ninety days of sitting in Ango summer retreat. Those who try to evade this are non-Buddhists"

Rōren - no, that's not my real name, but my 'real' name is not my reality either. said...

Anon said...
"Matter and energy are clearly and easily differentiated, yet they are two forms of one underlying 'stuff'. You can easily differentiate between water, ice and steam even though they too are forms of one substance."

Of course you're right. I'm new to this path so I don't have the words quite right, and I'm sure I'll have a modified view in 6 months if I keep open, but maybe I really did mean "'You' loose 'your' differentiation with the universe" Which is not to say you are not differentiated in the "eyes of the universe." (I hope those negations came out right).

Every dog (and here I presume dogs live in their Buddha-nature always) answers to its name, and every enlightened Buddhist master still gets mail delivered to his address.

Rōren - no, that's not my real name, but my 'real' name is not my reality either. said...

"Shutsu", in Shukke Kudoku is not necessarily "shun" (as in the Amish shun). Reading the translation of ShoBo 82 (@shastaabbey), it seems Dogen saw *merit* in shukke kudoku but not that it was the only path. Culturally it is not clear (for me) that Monks would ignore family entirely, particularly death. It seems more a goal to transcend entanglement in family life.

As other's have said "to be in the world but not of the world."

Compassion should never be absent.

babbles said...

"I wonder who is right? Dogen, Soto, the Monk at the Ango and Nishijima Roshi ... or Brad"
Gautama Buddha also did eventually return to his family after experiencing the Big E. The death of a family member is pretty much a one-way trip; nobody is going to be able to return back to them.

I think it would be safe to say that the concept of compassion is something that Buddhist should be aware of - the definition of what is compassionate, though, can be hotly debated. Therefore I think to be with one who is about to die would be more compassionate than to indulge oneself in a special opportunity to go to a special Buddhist training period. To abandon the dying to pursue one's own needs, in my opinion, would be essentially anti-Buddhist and sure as hell not the actions of a Bodhisattva.


Anyhow. . .

Laura,

If you want to learn about Buddhism, I do think Hardcore Zen is a pretty decent primer for information. I am sure others may disagree but since you have that book, you might as well read it. By the way of background, I was half-ass practicing Buddhism before I read Brad's book and it was also in the Rinzai tradition. I mention this so as to state that I didn't learn via Brad's book, but rather in other ways but I still think his book is a good place to start.

I think everybody has some particular Sutra, koan, or other Buddhist story that they particularly identify with.

Even though it is very Zen Buddhist cliche, I readily identify with this:
"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."
- Shakyamuni Buddha

Noiret Sym Laden said...

Science of Zen Koans
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDuCB_6qEHI

Anonymous said...

I've heard (indirectly) about the opposite: an elderly senile Japanese roshi, Soto lineage, who gave his life to practice, his life's work teaching zazen with no one to care for him in the end.
He had a brother who didn't take care of him, his students did the best they could until the illness (senility) became too much for them to manage, caring for him in their homes (these were lay practitioner/students who had jobs and families too).
A roshi who loses his mind, isn't able to function as a zen master, as a zen teacher.
What do you do about an abbot who went his own way? Who left Japan and came to the US to teach? He established a temple, had has dharma heirs and after many years 'retired.' ( but kept teaching). He visited the head temple in Japan (Soji-ji), but never returned.
I wasn't with him when he died. I had moved away from the area years before his illness. One of his senior students told me about how difficult it was, in the beginning stages of his senility, to know if he was just being a 'keen eyed zen master' or if he was out of his gourd.
He had no 'retirement plan.'
I don't know if Soji-ji kept him afloat--I think he had sent money to Soji-ji over the years to remain an affiliate, but I don't know the particulars.

After hearing about his sad demise, and taking responsibility for my ignorance: I had not kept in touch with him/the zen temple, I now knew not to postpone thankfulness. I never thought to thank him or tell him how much he had given to me in his teaching, in his making zazen available to anyone seeking it: in his home being the zendo, in his encouragement of daily practice--in his encouragement of my practice. Since learning of his death this deathwithoutmyhavingthankedhim has made me much more aware of the fleetingness of the opportunity to express gratitude (seems like there's always enough time to express crapitude!) While I cannot thank my deceased teacher, and surely I would never be able to thank him enough (like a parent) I make sure, each place I've sat since, to do my best to support this practice: this is ultimately my only way to repay what can never be repaid: continue to practice.


Where was the institution when he had needs? Had he slipped out of the grasp of institutionalized zen?
That means he freed us (his students) from the grasp of institutionalized zen, but then where were we when he needed someone? Some did take him into their homes, but that worked only to a point. Truly, what can be done with anyone when their mind is lost--even if they were a long time great teacher?

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

I'm sorry Brad can't handle that and acts like a petulant little bitch who's above reproach.

It's not that people disagree with him. It's that people who do disagree with him usually do so with an arrogant, derisive, disrespectful attitude and language. That would make any normal human being defensive.

A lot of people think that if you strongly disagree with someone you have the right to be rude. You don't. No one does.

Mysterion disagrees with Brad all the time and manages to be respectful about it. It's too bad that others seem incapable of following his example.

DJ Voton said...

Thanks, Brad, for, as usual, making a serious point and making me giggle like hell at the same time.
Brad's New Koan
"Master Brad, why did Bodhidharma come from the West?"
"To suck dead donkey puds. Now stick your tongue up my ass."

july4 said...

The Pali Canon has myriads of stories where both, men and women leave all behind instantly to join Mr Gotama's cult.

Do I object? Indeed I should.

I always found his own behavior (leaving wife and kid because he was such a cool seeker) distracting to start with.

What he taught and found out is right. The lifestyles involved, well...

Milan Davidovic said...

So, Brad got this story from a Soto newsletter article. He has his take on the story, but what was the conclusion of the writer of the article? Was it supportive of the European monk's actions and attitude?

Just wondering...

grisom said...

Even though it is very Zen Buddhist cliche, I readily identify with this:

"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it.[...]
- Shakyamuni Buddha


I love that passage too. Interestingly, when people quote it they often leave out a large (and important!) chunk of it. In the original, about half of the "do not believe" list amounts to "do not believe what other people tell you"; but there's another half to it, which says "do not believe what you tell yourself, either":

Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias toward a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.' Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them.

Kalamasutta

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Mountaintop Rebel said...

"It's that people who do disagree with him usually do so with an arrogant, derisive, disrespectful attitude and language."

So, what, are we stealing his thunder or something? Is it okay when he calls other people (including other dharma teachers sometimes), "assholes", "pricks", "idiots", "Scam artists", etc? Those are just a few I remember offhand.

"A lot of people think that if you strongly disagree with someone you have the right to be rude. You don't. No one does."

Right, except Brad of course. And maybe Nishijima.

"Mysterion disagrees with Brad all the time and manages to be respectful about it."

Mysterion is pretty obviously on drugs half the time.

"It's too bad that others seem incapable of following his example."

Wow, you're a sanctimonious prick. Good luck with that.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Random Non Sequitur said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Random Non Sequitur said...

You know when we start quoting Crass (again- what is this- like five generations of 'punk' later? Ten?) we're really running out of material! (I liked them also- back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth. They were obnoxious enough for my taste.)

I don't belong to any church, I don't have a teacher anymore, when I did I was a terrible student, I am easily distracted and sit there anyhow. I meditate. I eat healthy stuff (mostly)and don't drink (total alcoholic) and all the obvious stuff, read books on all types of topics (including a lot focusing on zen among other topics) and I'm pretty happy. I attempt to interpret what I've learned and live how I feel is right. Some of the stuff I've read works for me- some I've had to decline using. It's that easy. I've thought about going someplace like Zen center or one of those, but anytime I've ever seen a small grass roots organization turn into a big moneymaking organization with a board and rules and all that, it's always turned into a bit of a shadow of what it once was (read: clusterfuck.) Plus froo-froo existentialist yuppies annoy the ever-loving shit out of me (I get along better with dogs, cats, kids and old people). I'm not Zen. I do my thing. Life goes on. I'm happy.

Moon Face Buddha said...

So, what, are we stealing his thunder or something? Is it okay when he calls other people (including other dharma teachers sometimes), "assholes", "pricks", "idiots", "Scam artists", etc? Those are just a few I remember offhand.

The 'anger' in some of the comments does seem to be a reflection of the 'anger' in Brad's original posts.

I suggest that people new to the 'punk buddhist' scene take a look at the DharmaPunx site as well as this blog as they will (hopefully) see that punk + buddhism can be something more than is often found here.

Happy Programmer said...

Now you are talking. I have been seeing your posts and rolling my eyes often but I see through the all caps, seeing in you someone who is deeper than the all caps.

Alan Watts understood Zen well and he concluded that it just wasn't his cup of tea, with its "sit like this, stand like that and fold your legs this way".. And strict guidelines for behavior, everyone was so stiff and no one speaks up, it's very Japanese for sure.

"reality" does not exist in Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, XYZism, any one belief system really. I choose not to subscribe to any one belief system, instead choosing to learn from all of them.

Kierkegaard said, "Once you label me you negate me." That is what you do when you say you are a Zen master, a Taoist master, a plumber, a software engineer, a XYZ. There is attachment to self(ego), attachment to a group(religious group), attachment to country(nationalism), attachment to all of mankind.

The evolution of thought process is attachment to all of mankind. Buddhism has amazing thoughts at its core. I talk to Zen masters who don't know about yogacara or any of the old Buddhism taught centuries ago - they only know their version of it. Go real deep into Buddhism because what you think is Buddhism is not Buddhism. Even these statues we see of Buddha? I throw them away, Buddha didn't want statues of himself, he wanted Buddhism to be represented by the wheel.

What I'm saying is, you show that you are on a great quest by even learning about Zen Buddhism. But, don't label yourself. Keep an open mind to everything and everyone. Everyone has their view, but don't make their view your view. The more you subscribe to group consciousness( aka tribalism), the more you limit yourself. Someone attacks your group and you get offended.

Ideally there is no reason to be offended. You have control over your thoughts, not a group or what you call 'self'. Someone attacks your 'self', what are they attacking? There is no self to attack.

Buddhism has a lot to say. In fact there are 1,000+ schools of Buddhism over Buddhist history. What we know today, Zen, Theravada, Tibetan Buddhism, didn't just come from nowhere, people argued over things, many of them dumb things, many interesting things, forking Buddhism, poo poo ing ideas, creating new ideas. So the Buddhism we see is an illusion. Pick up an encyclopedia of Buddhism and see why we have the Buddhism we have today. Even 2,000 years ago many Buddhists did things which didn't seem very Buddhist-like. Many other forms of Buddhism were interesting and insightful.

Theravada Buddhists will say only the Pali Canon is a true Buddhist scripture, while Mahayana Buddhists(Zen) ridicule them as simpletons, then we have diamond vehicle Buddhists ridiculing everyone, thinking they are the most evolved. Behind all these warring factions is a piece of truth into Buddhism at its core, you will see that they each add their own insights.

Once you have reached a certain level you will look back on a post such as "fuck institutionalized zen" and laugh. Be thankful for knowing Zen and open your mind even more. Zen has its own insights, separate the people from the religion. Be the change you want to be - if you don't like Zen, be it, encapsulate the teachings you want to encapsulate. As the Peace Pilgrim said, be careful that you do not offend, not that you are offended.

When you are truly enlightened you are neither angry nor overly happy, both of those extremes clog up the mind. You are simply at a stage of "bliss". There is no need to attack or defend. You see the beauty and goodness in everything and everyone. The concept of 'enemy' doesn't exist.

At that level, you criticize Zen and they will thank you for it. If you say, "Zen is crap, etc", the Zen tribe will reflexively ball up and defend itself and you will get nowhere.

At the level I am talking about, life is easier. No more enemies and the love you have for everyone comes right back to you.

number said...

Nice blog. Thats all.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Dharmapunx.com

Serious Dharma teaching with some fire to it, and a real punk not a poser

Anonymous said...

Happy Programmer:
Wow. Great comment. Ditto to all you said. Give Brad time, his true potential may yet unfold.

radicalreader said...

Brad,

Didn't you express the "Best Teacher Of All" / "Best Teaching Of All" attitude quite often in the past?

Didn't you even say it were REQUIRED for a real spiritual path?

Couldn't it just be that you are disappointed by your illicit expectation and projections you put into Zen/Buddhism in general?

You created yet another club, even if it is the alleged "Non-Club". Provisionally, it might be necessary. But it's the same shit over and over again.

After all, you ARE the Dalai Lama, and you know that.

Inside / outside of the doctrine - you decide / you cannot decide.

Take care,
Some radical reader

Blake said...

First Rule of Zen Club: Zen Club is NOT Zen.

Second Rule of Zen Club: living your daily life IS Zen.

Third Rule of Zen Club: Zen Club should never take precedence over your daily life.

Fourth Rule of Zen Club: Buddhist Rags should not publish an article that suggests Zen Club should take precedence over daily life in the name of "Zen."

Anonymous said...

"I talk to Zen masters who don't know about yogacara ..."
SDSU ch. 19 p. 195
"mind only"

Anonymous said...

Excerpt from intro to "Nature" from Ralph Waldo Emerson- which boils "tradition" down nicely:

Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchers of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines to-day also. There is more wool and flax in the fields. There are new lands, new men, new thoughts. Let us demand our own works and laws and worship.

I say Soto Zen Revolution! Institutions are good, but they also have the tendency to become near-sided after a long period of not being challenged. May be we are in labor with a new branch of the SOTO teaching: Punk-Soto! Let the Zeitgeist speak :))

Al said...

Tibetan Buddhists posting here is kind of amusing as well. Brad has said before that, as far as he and his teacher are concerned, Vajrayana practitioners are not Buddhists. Of course, he says the same thing about Theravadan practitioners, most schools of Zen, Pure Land, Shingon, etc. Only the limited form of Zen Buddhism, which is sitting only with no sutra or other study or any other practices, is real Buddhism according to Brad.

Why are people surprised when he attacks other groups or teachers or when he expresses his ignorance of Buddhist thought, traditions, or philosophy? This is the "Sit down and Shut Up" dude, after all, not a real teacher.

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

Brad,

I love your aaannnnngry Punk rocker/Zen Master act!

Damn you're tough!

......(yawn).............

Red neck said...

I stopped reading this blog a while ago because it's always the same crap. It's good to see things don't change. I'll check back in a year or two.

Anonymous said...

I do feel that Brad should find a cognitive therapist.
Or at least a good editor.

Anonymous said...

Fuck Institutionalized Zen! is a good start.

Next step is:
Fuck Sectarian Zen!

and

Fuck Authoritarian Zen!

Then Brad might finally be getting free of his conditioning.

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

mysterion,

Jack Kerouac could write. It took years to complete The Road contrary to the belief that Kerouac was just a typer. There was craft. There was time spent. It was artful. Sit up and shut up is basically people magazine for the spiritual new age , targeting the youth culture very carefully with his publisher. Same publisher as Eckart Tolle.

Anonymous said...

Mysterion is a staff employee of Brad's publisher.

Zazenkai said...

I was so disappointed to read this article. Twenty years ago I read something similar after getting intersetd in Zen, a form of buddhism I felt was faithful and free of any 'fluff'. The article I read hinted how Zen ultimately leads to such a detachment that you become cold and unfeeling. I left Zen behind bacause of this and its only twenty years later that I have re-descovered Zen for what it realy is. Articles and this twit who feels he is so clever leaving his Father in his dying moments do untold damage.

Anonymous said...

Agreed: any approach making it seem that somewhere else is 'better,' than whatever it is you're in the middle of takes you on a detour. Scenic, no doubt.

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

I think he meant Eckhart and Brad have the same publisher

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

any discourse that fetches 80+ responses is a good discourse.

Al said...

Oh, so if Brad posted white power rhetoric here, it would be good discourse?

Controversial is not the same as good.

Brad is an asshole who has made a name being an asshole with a Zen hat. Maybe he knows and doesn't care or maybe he is simply blind to the way his behavior comes across. I suspect the former though. If he wasn't the "asshole Zen guy", why would anyone ask him to write columns for their porn site or publish his books? It isn't like he can make it on actual content *without* the attitude.

babbles said...

What exactly did Brad post in his article that made him such an asshole. I gathered that he was railing against institutionalized and organized religion. Does that make him an asshole?

Roman G. said...

Mountaintop Rebel said...
Wow. You're a sanctimonious prick. Good luck with that.

And, wow, you're just like everyone else -- unable to disagree without being insulting and disrespectful. Thanks for proving my point.

Al said...

Roman,

Are you serious? Look at Brad's post (or previous posts). "Insulting and disrespectful" are the rule of the day here, beginning with Brad.

Anonymous said...

ROMAN "Insulting and disrespectful" are the rule of the day here, beginning with Brad.

Something must make you come back and read the "crap" this zen-ass of is writting. And not enough with that, you feel the need to blog on his Site.
Do you like get off on feeling angry perhaps?

Ah the absurdity of life, ENJOY, eve if you don't.

Mountaintop Rebel said...

Roman G
Did you actually read my points? No, of course not. Defending Brad at all costs, no matter how much it requires in the way of mental gymnastics, is always the priority with you self-righteous little helper monkeys.

Happy Programmer said...

Let go of the need to be right. Is it more important to argue or to have peace. Peace is the most important thing so the most important thing you can do right now is say, "Yes, you are right" and move on from the trivial and focus on what is important.

When you say, "this person said something negative about someone I agree with, so I just responded because I don't like him, and he responded with anger....", this is the same thing wars are made of. How can you expect peace if you don't have it yourself? Be the change you want to be, if you want peace, be peace.

The problems we have are because we think "I" is different from "you" but we are one and the differences we see are only what we see. We put people into the zen camp, theravada camp, mahayana camp, christian camp, and then we attack the other side to make sure we(ego applied to you or the group) are right. These are all labels that serve no purpose other than organizing thoughts. Otherwise using them for tribal warfare is going against their teachings.

This is Zen Buddhism. There is no self to attack and no self to be offended.

Regarding Tolle, an author I have been interested in for a number of years. Recently he has gotten press thanks to Oprah. He says some things I find interesting, other things I'm not sure of yet, but I can only applaud if his message, which combines Buddhism with his own beliefs applied to modern times, becomes a best seller. Sell more Oprah, may many people consume his words, worst case is it's a starting point for reflection which isn't bad at all. Turning mass culture into something positive is something I can only agree with.

Zen is part of the bigger puzzle. Everything is part of the bigger puzzle which is why I can't criticize... at all, I can only smile at all the mysteries around me. Then I do my bills and still I manage to smile.

When you live at this higher level, which I have not yet experienced, there are no problems, no ruffling of feathers, no offenses, no attacks, no defending. Attackers are turned into friends and there is only peace, joy, harmony, love. I would say the Peace Pilgrim has gotten to this level, Buddha himself as well. Jesus. There are many more.

Secretly we are all at this level, but many don't know it. Practice 'be the change you want to be.' If you want to be at this level of blissful peace, be it, live it, practice it on the internet, at home, at work, everywhere, every day.

gh0st said...

Somehow, this story has reminded me of a scene in a cartoon that once showed on MTV's Liquid Television. It was kind of like an anime short, but "western", I think. There was once scene where one of the characters was walking through a dark, beat-up looking area in a nearly "Bladerunner-esque" city. There was a poster on the wall, it read "My karma ran over your dogma."

Recalled this as closely as it seems, in the memory, probably accurate.thought it might be humorous.

Have you ever read Hakuin?

Recently, I happened to be reading "The Essentaial Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin" [Shambala pub.], recently purchased -- amazon.com & all that fun "eshtore" shytte. Anyway, I mean, there are some sections in that writing where Hakuin staunchly criticizes the Zen contemporaries of his era. It seemed worth mentioning, I thought -- this "historic precedent", so reminiscent of the (clearly justified) statements you raise, which just happen to be statements in criticism ;^)>

So has anyone set up any monasteries in Harlem? Compton? Mean streets of Atlanta? Just a thought, dunno the weight of it, but wtf is "Street Zen" supposed to mean, I wondered....

David said...

it's good you are in soto inc. u can beat them from the inside-out.

i feel sorry for the father-ditching guy... how unclear his mind!

David said...

Blogger Wolf said...

Hey Brad.
That was a really good one. Thanks.
I'm sometimes really asking me if some people here purposely misunderstand you.
To clearify in one sentence what was meant: Soto is bad for making it look like a retreat is more important than a dying parent.

Have a nice day
Wolf


BUMP. u nailed it.

Anonymous said...

TOLLE sucks. Just because he teamed up with Oprah means nothing else then, he a smart business man. Just look at the audience of Oprah, palease. That he is a bestseller doesn't mean he is a good spritual teacher! People make that mistake all the time:
If 500.000.000 people agree on a stupid thing, it's still a stupid thing (Apolonaris)
It only means people are attracted to spiritual BullShit instead of the "real" thing and doing some "work". If you want to get it, there is no way around of planting you butt on a cushion. Period.
All this Tolles out there makes my toenails curl.
Get real, stop reading books about how to get it and get to it.
Instead of teaching algebra, meditation should be part of the curriculum in all schools. Let's see how much that would change our way of looking at life and what it is about. Would save us a heck of therapy cost and we would spend our money on more meaningfully books then Tolle...

Anonymous said...

Sit Down and Shut Up

All of You.

Anonymous said...

And this article is why I love you so much. You fucking rock.