Wednesday, May 07, 2008

WHORNZ NOT HORNS and FAME

The band we're (0DFx, that is) playing with on Friday at Square Records in Akron is Whornz not Horns as I previously stated. In their flier they correctly state that we were punk rock when the lizard me ruled. Damn lizard men. Such a pain in the ass they were.

Yesterday I started writing two new articles. One for Suicide Girls was about porn (again, sigh). That'll go up on May 26th. The other one is about being famous. I'll probably try and place that in a magazine. If I'm successful, I'll let you know where it shows up.

I'll paraphrase the second one briefly. When 0DFx played Pat's in the Flats last weekend, this drunk guy came up to me in the toilet going, "You're Brad Warner aren't you? You're famous!" He seemed angry about this. "I should be famous!" I thought he might try to piss on me, but he didn't. "What's it like being famous?" he sneered. I was tempted to say, it's like having some drunk guy harass you in the toilet in a bar.

To the extent that I'm famous, which is not very much, it's generally a pain in the ass (like those lizard men). People you thought were your friends suddenly turn on you. I had one "dharma brother" tell me, “I wonder what you have been up to on your tour of TV shows and magazine articles as a minor celebrity over there in the US, sitting around in your bright golden robe and waving your stick around.” Another one said he was going to, “go public with every resource I have privately and on the internet to make you a laughingstock, to tell folks what I think of you, to embarrass you. I will speak out, you embarrassment to yourself, our teacher, (and) all of us associated with this.” Jealousy is fun stuff.

Yet jealousy never makes any sense. It's the idea that I ought to have what he's got. But that's never true. Whatever someone has achieved they've achieved, not through random chance or through the unfairness of life, but through their own efforts. Not only that, but they now have to deal with whatever it is they've achieved. And you probably couldn't deal with it.

This whole "I'm going to expose the truth about you" thing is a recurring theme. Considering that I've made a career out of exposing the very worst of my self to public scrutiny I really have to wonder. I mean, did my "dharma brother" (drama brother, more like) think he could do a better job of turning me into a laughing stock than I'm already doing? Go ahead and try.

So far I've gotten all of the downside of being famous without any of the perks. I'm not rich, I don't get offered good seats in restaurants, no one yet has thrown a pair of panties at me during a book signing or lecture. Yet all kinds of people expect me to live up to whatever image they've created in their minds about what I ought to be. That's what it's like being famous.

Buddha and Dogen both cautioned against pursuing fame and wealth. Some people think this attitude of caution was born of some profound and mystical insight into the hidden nature of reality. But actually both Buddha and Dogen were celebrities in their day and I'm certain they were speaking from personal experience. Fame and wealth are held up by society as some kind of panacea that will cure everything that's wrong with you. People pursue them thinking that once they achieve the proper degree of notoriety and money everything will be solved. Ain't gonna happen.

Anyway, that's the general thrust of the article. I'll let you know when it gets published.

Here's the remaining gigs:

On Friday May 9th Zero Defex will play an in-store show at Square Records in Akron's Highland Square with Whornz. Starts at 7:00.

Saturday May 10th at 7 PM I'll do a book signing and talk at Visible Voice Books in Cleveland, Ohio’s Tremont neighborhood.

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.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

Zen is indeed useless it seems. Brad's dharma brothers are all pissing at him like petulant 5 year olds. So this is is what 20 years of hard practice leads to? Or wait...maybe not. Maybe just maybe something that has survived 2500 years means something more than Punk drivel. Do not squander your one and precious life. Or stay here for 20 years and piss away.

Yudo said...

Robert Pirsig, the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (who REALLY read it, anyway?), in his second book Lila, wrote at one point: "One day, during a sesshin in which I was, the Zen Master said, 'Do not become too famous or you'll go straight into hell'. "

Mxl

Jules said...

anonymous wrote: Zen is indeed useless it seems.

If you really believe that, why don't you go away?

oxeye said...

Hi Brad.. I'm curious as to why you decided to perform with your band dressed in your robes. I was under the impression that you liked the separation of your zen activities and your artistic endeavers. Is fame making that impossible now?

Anonymous said...

"no one yet has thrown a pair of panties at me during a book signing or lecture."

How about during retreat? OK, all you ladies, next retreat brad conducts please hurl your soiled panties at him during his dharma talk. It'd make a great article for SG.

It's hard to know other's motivations. Maybe it's jealousy like you say. It could be they're identified with / attached to buddhism or your lineage and don't like the way you reflect upon it. If you make the sect or teacher look bad (to them) it makes them look bad too. Gets back to that whole ego thing, ya know.

In any case, it's hard to sort out motives since there's a strong tendency to project what we imagine we would think or feel in their situation. Classic paranoia, as when you despise or are jealous of others and instead of facing that, project it onto others and imagine the world is out to get you or is jealous of you instead. Just something to look at.

Mysterion said...

Zen is not useless.

Zen is about "grounding." And I suspect Bad gets it:

Q: "What's it like being famous?"

A: "...it's like having some drunk guy harass you in the toilet in a bar."

Zen is about living in the moment - THIS moment. No more, no less.

There is nothing more sacred than THIS moment - whatever it is...

David said...

"Not only that, but they now have to deal with whatever it is they've achieved. And you probably couldn't deal with it." -bw


It's lines like this that give me a chuckle and remind me why I enjoy reading your stuff.

David said...

"There is nothing more sacred than THIS moment - whatever it is..." -myst.


props

Vent said...

RE being famous: In one of the books, I think you stated something to the effect that you knew you would sacrifice part of your anonymity in bringing something you felt was worthwhile to a community that could most benefit from it - the punk scene. (or maybe I said that once in describing your style, I don't know...) Regardless, there's no way around it. Unless you become like Zen Buckethead or something... that'd be pretty stupid. It's a noble cause.

Roman G. said...

I suppose fame is what you make of it: Britney Spears fell apart. Gene Simmons made himself rich. Both are equally praised and reviled.

Anonymous said...

You have something that your dharma brother would be jealous of.. If he could ever admit it I would respect him for it.

Matt said...

I was thinking about hurling my undies at him the next time that he comes up here to the bay area LOL

Rōren - no, that's not my real name, but my 'real' name is not my reality either. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rōren - no, that's not my real name, but my 'real' name is not my reality either. said...

Famous... whatever. I hang around 'cause Brad wrote a book that literally changed my life (at least for last 4 months or so). It was his book I happened to pick up (out of all the available at B&N) and found so accessible to my way of thinking. I wish he weren't quite so famous/busy/shy-to-teach-electronically 'cause I'm still dying for a direct email I can print out and paste in my diary!

Hanging out here I've found other peeps of interest...Myst, Harry, Peter, Nishijima-sensei, etc...

So even if Brad is some arrogant, pantie sucking, stick waving Zen prig (not to say he is, and not that there's anything wrong with that), he's done me some good....Thanks.

clyde said...

Brad;

You wrote, “Buddha and Dogen both cautioned against pursuing fame and wealth.” Some people do pursue fame and wealth. And that’s OK. Some people don’t. And that’s also OK. You don’t seem to be one who pursued fame or wealth. It seems that you have achieved some fame and little wealth. I guess that’s OK, if it’s OK with you, which it seems to be.

But you also wrote, “Whatever someone has achieved they've achieved, not through random chance or through the unfairness of life, but through their own efforts.” My experience is that what we achieve is not entirely based on our efforts. There is a great big universe that played a great big part in my achieving (and is “achieving” actually possible?) anything. I helped (or hindered, as the case may be), but I was never alone.

clyde

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

Jesus, could you try and be more of an asshole, Brad?

HezB said...

Interesting blog entry, Brad. Thank-you very much.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

Why do assume that people criticise you out of jealousy? Why jump to that conclusion? That seems like an arriational, and childish response to me. Question everything.

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

“Whatever someone has achieved they've achieved, not through random chance or through the unfairness of life, but through their own efforts.”

Wow. Would celebrities like Jane Fonda, Kiefer Sutherland, etc have been famous without their famous parents? Howard Hughes inherited millions from his dad. Would he have been the world's richest man (at the time) if he'd been a sharecropper's son? Bill Gates was a computer geek at just the right time, if he were starting out now would he have built the equivalent of microsoft? With all their talent, would the Beatles have amounted to much if they had lived in the 13th century?

Seems like a lot of random chance involved to me. Whether it is unfair or not is a question of opinion or depending upon who's point of view.

Are we pushed around by the Universe? (fate / random chance) Or do we push the Universe around? (self-effort / willpower)

Both views are deluded. We are not a victim of circumstances, good or bad. Nor is our life the result of 'our own efforts'.

Is the enlightened man (person) subject to or not subject to karma?
If you say that your achievments (or lack thereof)are due to outside circumstance, random chance or unfairness of life, you will be reborn 500 lifetimes as a fox.

If you say that your achievments are due to your own efforts, you will still be reborn as a fox for 500 lifetimes.

Rat

Mysterion said...

someone somewhere sed:

"Are we pushed around by the Universe? (fate / random chance) Or do we push the Universe around?"

There is an old Buddhist proverb:

Sodé no furi-awasé mo tashô no en

"Even the touching of sleeves in passing is caused by some affinity operating from former lives."
source

also translated:

Even the touching of sleeves in passing is caused by some relation in a former life.
source

Japanese Buddhist Proverbs

Anonymous said...

23 is a good number.

To a horse or an in-breath, I am just as famous as you and Paul McCartney!

Anonymous said...

Jesus, could you try and be more self-important, mysterion?

Anonymous said...

"Even the touching of sleeves in passing is caused by some affinity operating from former lives."

So Mysterion, are you suggesting there really are past lives for each individual person? If I am famous today due to seemingly random circumstances (famous mom, right place at right time) it is really because in a past life I 'earned it' through my own effort.

Most popular Buddhism in the east seems to embrace this idea to some extent. It has led to the view that if I see an old woman suffering from disease and starvation in the street, she is in her present situation due to her own past (bad) karma. Since it's her own fault, I shouldn't interfere. This idea was common in prewar japan too. Social stratification and economic inequality were all explained by invoking past life karma.

Therefore any effort to change the society or help the poor was simply trying to go against karma.
If poeple die in a train crash, ti's because of their collective karma. Nothing to do with the railway co. not repairing the tracks. Conservative governments and big corporations love this pov since it justifies the status quo.

Sorry, I don't subscribe to such views. I may be mistaken, but I doubt Brad does either.

Rat

anonymous said...

I recently read the Wikipedia entry on rebirth. I was surprised how precise it is.

Wikipedia Rebirth

I highly recommend this article.

Both, determinism and non-determinism lead to suffering.

Anonymous said...

i have a huge crush on mysterion.

....(((sigh)))

berto said...

Ive read a lot of these blogs about this heavy eqipments. Im looking for a bundle package of heavy equipment and i found in the site komatpillar.com. I wish i could go to the philippines to buy those equipment but on my situation right now I cant go there.

Anonymous said...

"Ive read a lot of these blogs about this heavy eqipments. Im looking for a bundle package of heavy equipment and i found in the site komatpillar.com. I wish i could go to the philippines to buy those equipment but on my situation right now I cant go there."

Uhhh. Master Berto. Is this like one of those koans or something?
I don't have any heavy equipment for sale. Would you like to buy a 9 pound robe though? Made it myself.

Yudo said...

Rat wrote:
"Most popular Buddhism in the east seems to embrace this idea to some extent. It has led to the view that if I see an old woman suffering from disease and starvation in the street, she is in her present situation due to her own past (bad) karma. Since it's her own fault, I shouldn't interfere. This idea was common in prewar japan too. Social stratification and economic inequality were all explained by invoking past life karma.

"Therefore any effort to change the society or help the poor was simply trying to go against karma.
If poeple die in a train crash, ti's because of their collective karma. Nothing to do with the railway co. not repairing the tracks. Conservative governments and big corporations love this pov since it justifies the status quo."

Crap. Even though someone is in trouble because of his/her own contrivance, it is a fault not to help. By not helping, you are creating yourself bad causes and will eventually suffer from them.

Mysterion said...

Rat sed:

"Sorry, I don't subscribe to such views. I may be mistaken, but I doubt Brad does either."

I did not ask - nor would I ask - for you to subscribe to ANY view of mine.

I also recall Brad having a disagreement about rebirths. Brad and I are hardly birds of a feather. I appreciate what he is going for the greater sangha.

Like the constipated accountant with the pencil, you have to work it out for yourself.

"Be islands unto yourselves, Ananda: Be a refuge to yourselves; do not take to yourselves any other refuge. See Truth as an island, See Truth as a refuge, Do not seek refuge in anyone but yourselves.

"...Work out your own salvation, with diligence."
Mahaparinibbana Sutta source

Anonymous said...

"Crap. Even though someone is in trouble because of his/her own contrivance, it is a fault not to help. By not helping, you are creating yourself bad causes and will eventually suffer from them."

Crap. I agree. Such views and conclusions based upon them are crap. Please note, I didn't say I embraced such logic, only that others have.

"I vividly recall a conversation with a senior Thai monk during the 2001 conference of the International Association of Buddhist Studies in Bangkok. I asked the Venerable, “Why don’t Thai Buddhist leaders speak out against the rampant sexual slavery imposed on children in Bangkok and other Thai cities?”

He replied, “You must understand that these girls did something evil in their past lives, perhaps committing adultery. That is why they ended up as prostitutes in this life. Of course, there is hope for them in their future lives.”---Brian Victoria /karma, war and inequality in 2oth century japan

"No, the doctrine of karma certainly must not be understood to explain the cause of our social and economical imperfections. The region where the law of karma is made to work supreme is our moral world, and cannot be made to extend also over our economic field. Poverty is not necessarily the consequence of evil deeds, nor is plenitude that of good acts. Whether a person is affluent or needy is mostly determined by the principle of economy as far as our present social system is concerned."---D.T. Suzuki

Rat

Mysterion said...

Buddhist idealists accept two carriers of individual karma - mental and material.

Eternalism has an eternal self reborn through transmigration. Annihilationism has the self ceasing to exist at the end of a single lifetime. Buddhism is a middle path between these two extremes - without choosing sides.

Thru Rinzai there are conceptual and figurative karma. Conceptually your material karma is no karma. Figuratively your mental karma is a problem to be considered so that you might be compassionate toward the less informed, the less able, and those denied opportunity (for whatever reason).

That feeble 2¢ explanation is approximately as I remember it being explained to me perhaps 8 or 9 years ago.

Moon Face Buddha said...

Brad, why do you assume that your 'Dharma Brothers' were motivated by jealousy?

Anonymous said...

You might be getting a little paranoid Brad.. It's probably due to all power struggles within DSI.
But, if your dharma bros are really out to get you.. Maybe you should hire mysterion as your food taster..

Anonymous said...

Such a dismissive and petulant attitude; that your Dhamra bros should be jealous of you? Laughable really. This remark diminishes you, and considering it is directed at those who have been sincerely practicing and studying Dogen's Buddhism (with N Roshi) for far longer, and arguably more sincerely than you. What makes you think that they would want what you have?

Anonymous said...

"What makes you think that they would want what you have?"

Easy. Brad wrote two books, travels around giving lectures and interviews, is a regular fixture on Suicide Girls, is head of Dogen Sangha, plays guitar with a (punk) rock band, has videos on UTube plus a lot of doe-eyed followers. What's not to be jealous of?

rokrok said...

He replied, “You must understand that these girls did something evil in their past lives, perhaps committing adultery. That is why they ended up as prostitutes in this life. Of course, there is hope for them in their future lives.”

What did THEY do in THEIR past lives? Buddhism teaches that there is no continuous personality, so what BAD can I (WHO?) have done that I get punished in MY (?) current existence.

My Buddhist teachers always told me that that very attitude is severely wrong.

There is no FORMER individual life.
There is no FUTURE individual life.

Just because there is no CURRENT individual life after all. You are connected. You ARE the molested child.

Yes, you can "see" your former lives once your practice matures. Magic, uh-uh?
But these are no INDIVIDUAL lives, it's the unlimited relationships that form each other. You get awareness of how patterns of behavior create the world like it is. How interconnected we are.

Cause and effect does never mean someone DESERVES what he/she gets. It only reminds us that there is always some reason that we might not know about. As Boddhisattvas, we are still urged to save them, no matter what they have done. Without saving a single one at all.

Anonymous said...

"Cause and effect does never mean someone DESERVES what he/she gets. It only reminds us that there is always some reason that we might not know about."

Rokrok, I agree 100% with all you wrote. That's why I disagreed with Brad's statement here:

“Whatever someone has achieved they've achieved, not through random chance or through the unfairness of life, but through their own efforts.”

We could ask;
Who is this someone? or whose own efforts?

Rat

ellen said...

this whole thing is bizarre. Brad seems like a normal guy with with a good writing and music career.

And "fame"? As someone who books a variety of pretty well-known Buddhist teachers, many of whom are authors (it's not that unusual a combo) for lectures, etc., I gotta reveal the awful truth - they ain't traveling P. Diddy-style. Haven't had to deal with any requests for Cristal or Hummer limos yet.

also, I misread the blog title on first look. But WHORZ NOT HORNS could be a good girl band name.

PunkLol said...

Whatever someone has achieved they've achieved, not through random chance or through the unfairness of life, but through their own efforts.

Yeah, and the starving girl from South East Asia could have been a dotCom billionaire IF SHE ONLY REALLY TRIED.

And that guy who was at Harvard who died during some car accident, he indeed didn't try hard enough.

Effort is a MAJOR illusion. Check the Diamond Sutra again if you forgot it.

Something happens through the millions causes THROUGH me and instead of being humble, being thankful we tend to make it OUR personal success.

I know so many people who explain their life retroactively with "I always wanted this", "I know what I want". If you keep with them and observe during the years you can see how they bullshit themselves.

What happened to me just happened to me. It could have been worse, but I know that cancer chance is random and not related because I have been a naughty guy 7398 years ago.

As long as you think YOU have achieved something you will compare yourself to others and be jealous yourself, or defend yourself, or attack other people. It's better to not only not care about what others do but also not what I do *compared* to others.

Very, very unreflected statement. I am sorry, Brad.

Rich said...

My past actions (I could say efforts because of great faith, courage and sincerity) created the conditions of my present moment. being alive is quite an achievment and getting sick and dying is just a matter of time.

ursus said...

There is nothing wrong in being famous. Or rich. Or whatever. It's what you use it for.

David Chapman said...

I belong to a small Tibetan lineage (Aro) that gets a lot of flak from about six people who keep "exposing the truth" on the internet that we are the cult from hell. It's pretty mysterious why, but a big part of it seems to be jealousy of the lineage head. He's a white guy, and some of his former "vajra brothers" can't cope with the idea that he's "more successful" than they have been. This "success" is, hmm, highly relative. The things they say would be funny if it weren't for the fact that newcomers to Buddhism sometimes take them seriously.

lotto said...

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