Friday, May 02, 2008

STILL IN AKRON

Man my left bicep ached all yesterday afternoon just from trying to play those Zero Defex songs. We had a rehearsal yesterday and got back into shape for tomorrow night's gig at Pat's in the Flats. It should be good. We're debuting two new songs, the first new songs from Zero Defex in over 20 years. One is by our first guitarist and chief songwriter back in the day Tommy Strange. The other one I wrote. If we get it together we'll also do Mickey X-Nelson's tribute to Tommy, "Hey Tommy Strange!" which appears on our new CD (still waiting for it to show up on CD Baby).

Thanks to Element for providing this link to a page about Kodo Sawaki's quotes from Brian Victoria's book Zen At War. I haven't made it through the original Japanese versions of the quoted material, which are provided on the page. But it seems that some of the quotations come from from a dubious "autobiography" of Sawaki written after Sawaki's death by someone else in first person as if Sawaki wrote it. In the quote in which Sawaki is said to have stated that "we gorged ourselves on killing" the phrase "hara ippai" is translated as "gorged." Anyone who'd been in Japan as long as Victoria would know full well that "hara ippai" carries more a sense of being fed up with something than having gorged on it. That's just inexcusable. And I say that as a guy who spent a decade in Japan often deliberately mistranslating stuff in this same fashion, though my intention was usually to make people sound less stupid than they actually did rather than to trash someone's reputation. Makes me wonder about the rest of the book... (though, yes, it is certainly true some people in the Japanese Zen establishment did pimp for the Emperor during the war).

Gotta go. Here's the gig list yet again...

Saturday May 3rd at 3PM you can see my movie Cleveland's Screaming at Last Exit Books in Kent, Ohio.

Also on May 3rd my band 0DFx will play at Pat’s in the Flats in Cleveland with This Moment in Black History.

And on May 4th, 0DFx will play at the Kent Stage in Kent, Ohio in commemoration of the 38th anniversary of the infamous shootings by the National Guard.

On Friday May 10th we'll play an in-store show at Square Records in Akron's Highland Square. Starts at 7:30.

Saturday May 10th at 7 PM (or maybe 6, they need to decide yet, call before you go) I'll do a book signing and talk at Visible Voice Books in Cleveland, Ohio’s Tremont neighborhood. I think we're showing my movie Cleveland's Screaming! afterwards.

On May 17th and 18th I'll lead a 2-day retreat at the Milwaukee Zen Center.

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 will be September 20-23.

16 comments:

rabbit said...

Even if Kodo Sawaki was Hitler's missing step-brother I doubt it would change anything what I think about Zen.

Do not defend strangers. Ever.

Jules said...

Do not defend strangers. Ever.

In Germany, the Nazis first came for the communists, and I did not speak up, because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak up, because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak up, because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I did not speak up, because I was not a Catholic. Then they came for me... and by that time, there was no one to speak up for anyone.

-- Martin Niemoeller, Pastor,
German Evangelical (Lutheran) Church

Yudo said...

I think this comes from our flawed view that Zen Masters should be granted what we refuse to the Pope: that is, infallibility. Let's view them as human beings, with their flaws, and we'll see that what good they taught remains good, and what stupidity they said or did is not to be copied.
I've been on Muho's site (the abbott of Antaiji) where he translates correctly what is quoted, and puts some facts back into place. I'm afraid Brian Victoria is gone on a line which doesn't allow any faults.
As a youth, and as an adult as well, I did a lot of pretty stupid things. I still manage to do some. This attitude (of Brian V.) means therefore that nothing that I may say or teach has any value whatoever, doesn't it?

Mxl

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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George James said...

CHICAGO.

grisom said...
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Mysterion said...
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Smoggyrob said...

Hi everyone:

My grandfather was a racist. I only knew it from a few jokes and comments, as he died when I was 14, but I believe he was in the KKK. He was also kind and funny, a hard worker who built his own home, and wise about many things. He taught me what little discipline I possess, and taught me the value of honesty. He taught me that a strong man is the stronger for being a kind man. To throw in a little confusion, his best friend when I remember him most was his black neighbor.

If you're in the LA area tomorrow (Sat May 3, 2008, 0930) please feel free to come sit zazen with us at Hill Street Center. We'll probably do three thirty minute periods, have some tea and a snack, and talk a little. We usually go and get some lunch. And bring your suit and towel, we may hit the beach afterwards.

Rob

Anonymous said...

Yudo and smoggy, where do you draw the line though? Is torturing and killing innocent people simply a vice or fault? Does it mean you're just a flawed human?

"Sure Charlie Manson had a few people knocked-off, but he had a great smile and his music was really good."

"Uncle Heinrich was always kind to us and gave us toys on xmas. He was a hard worker and knew the meaning of discipline. Whatever mistakes he made as Reichsfuhrer just proves he was human and imperfect like the rest of us."

"My master practiced regular zazen and spent long hours teaching his students. He was a devoted father and husband too. His active participation in the rape of Nanking and a few beheadings of allied prisoners just shows that zen monks are just human with all of our frailties."

In the above cases and those like them, there was obviously some good in the people. Even Hitler likely had some good qualities. But if practicing zen (often for decades) makes one no less likely to fall into delusive ideologies that involve emperor worship and wanton killing in the name of national honor or prestige,(or the delusion of 'my way is better than all others') what is the point of zen practice?

Soto zen tries to be really cute about this (too cute imo) and suggest there simply is no point and zazen is simply the expression of buddha nature. If a person can be a fully acknowledged and respected zen master and yet hold such deep delusions, then despite all the cute answers, zen (at least as these people have practiced it) is worthless and one could as well spend that time masturbating or reading books while declaring such activity is the manifestation of buddha nature.

Smoggyrob, my father-in-law was also KKK. His children insist he was kind and loving and very hard-working. I'm sure their perception is true as far as it goes. But he was also the leader of the local KKK. Yet, they (including my wife) insist 'our' local KKK never did any of those nasty lynchings or killings. They simply refuse to acknowlege that their loving father could do such things. But as leader of the local Klan back in the 50's and 60's, chances are pretty high he took part in and likely ordered all sorts of horrible acts.

My father is different.
My nation is different. ("The U.S. doesn't torture!"-GW Bush)
My religion is different.
My sect is different.
My teacher is different.

Anonymous said...

everyone's racist.. except me!

Yudo said...

Another onymous wrote:

"Yudo and smoggy, where do you draw the line though? Is torturing and killing innocent people simply a vice or fault? Does it mean you're just a flawed human?"

Please read
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/hecker/wheel312.html
What Muho of Antaiji was pointing out is that, in his opinion, Sawaki as a youth might have been a courageous soldier, but as an older man been fed up with what happened at that time.
The line is that people are not simple and that Smoggyrob's perception of his grandfather is that of a good man. Now, he also happens to know that he was probably KKK. That is a bad thing. But it does not make what good he did less good.
In France, the extreme right leader, Jean-Marie le Pen is just nauseating. However, the general tendency is to dismiss utterly everything he would say, thus forgetting that lies need the truth to base themselves upon. If a bad person addresses true issues in a wrong manner, should we just say that those issues ought not be addressed?
Please re-read (or read if you never did it in the first place) "If that is a man" (or whatever the English title) by Primo Levi. How he met humanity in some of his jailors, and utter inhumanity in some of his fellow deportees.
It is all very reassuring to classify people into boxes and have some black boxes and some white boxes.

All those "Uncle Heinrich was always kind to us and gave us toys on xmas. He was a hard worker and knew the meaning of discipline. Whatever mistakes he made as Reichsfuhrer just proves he was human and imperfect like the rest of us." only mean that the worst is possible even in you and me, whatever the worth of our intentions. If we dismiss the possibility, it is then that it is most likely to happen. Never underestimate the beast which is asleep (and yet so lightly) under that surface of civilisation.

Yudo said...

Sorry. The quote is that of the story of Angulimala, Finger Garland. He gets saved by the Buddha, but that doesn't mean he can get away with the consequences of what he did.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/
authors/hecker/wheel312.html

Mxl

金太郎 said...

まさか家のエレベーターでフ ェ ラされるなんて思ってなかったよ。。ww
「ここでフ ェ ラさせてくれたらもっと報 酬あげるよ♪」
って言葉に負けましたwww
途中で扉が開いた時は焦ったけど、おかげでもっとオッキしたwww
http://pak3.net/yutori/

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berto said...

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