Thursday, June 05, 2008

"IN THE MOMENT" and DHARMA TALKS and MY NEPHEW

My nephew Ben is out here visiting me from Knoxville, Tennessee. He just graduated high school and his mom (my sister) gave him a trip out to sunny Santa Monica to visit his groovy uncle as a graduation present. What do you do with an 18 year old? Some of the Suicide Girls offered to take him swimming with them on Saturday. So that should be fun for him. But what do I do till then?

In any case, I'm not able to blog much with him hanging around. But I did want to take a moment to skewer yet another phrase I'm sick to death of hearing. And that phrase is the ever-popular, "in the moment." No one is allowed to ever say the words "in the moment" again from this day forward. I have declared it. It's yet another of those phrases that I doubt ever had any real usefulness and by now has become completely without meaning or merit. So just stop saying it. OK?

I'm also thinking I'm gonna stop doing so-called "Dharma talks." Maybe for good. Maybe just for now. I've just started to notice that anytime I talk what people stereotypically think of as "Buddhist stuff" I end up being kind of like a tamboura. You know what those are? It's an Indian instrument that makes a droning, buzzing sound. Listen to the beginning of Tomorrow Never Knows by The Beatles. That's a tamboura. It's a really beautiful sound, very hypnotic and lulling.

Sometimes I'm talking and I look out and I see people get all glassy-eyed and start nodding whenever they hear certain buzzwords. I've seen this happen to other speakers as well. It's almost as if you could just stand in front of people and literally go, "Buzz buzz buzz buzz DHARMA buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz buzz MINDFUL buzz buzz buzz buzz SKILLFUL MEANS buzz buzz buzz buzz YOU ARE NOT WHAT YOU THINK YOU ARE" and they'd go away all blissed out and satisfied. So, at least for now I'm giving up on the so-called "Dharma talk" business.

Some folks who come to my Zen things on Saturdays have been complaining I'm not giving what they consider to be proper "Dharma talks" anymore. I just don't think they've been ever paying attention in the first place.

Anyhow, if I'm invited somewhere specifically to give a talk, I'll give one. A damn good one. With jokes and stories and whatever insights I can muster. And, of course, I'll do promotional stuff for my books and whatever. That's fine. But no more droning on about stuff that people want to sleep to.

Here's my new favorite comedian Eddie Pepitone.

51 comments:

cometboy said...

Dammit Brad, you can't have any idea what I'm (or anyone else is)taking away from one of your dharma talks. Some stuff I think I get, some stuff goes in on ear and out the other, some I just don't find interesting.

That given, you obviously have the right to do whatever you want at this things. You are running them, so you call the shots.

Still, I don't know if I want to drive all the way down to Santa Monica just to stare at a wall. Dharma talks were part of the package that I enjoyed and found useful.

Just staring at a wall I can do just fine here at home. Giving myself dharma talks wouldn't work at all. Too close to crazy.

Oh, well, there is still Kevin.

salvador dali parton said...

just do it as a q & a with yourself.

you know, like colbert's
"Formidable Opponent" segments

you could use one of those funky dressing room
mirrors at j.c. penny

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

What should be talked about. What's useful? What's not schwagy? What's not a bunch of 'insider' words full of fluff and furry, signifying nothing?

What I love to read is 'map' information give from the real point of view...e.g., I used to be a jerk, now I'm still a jerk, but I like to sit. When I sit, I'm not so jerky.

Real life info on what has happened to you, what you got wrong or really fucked up. What seems to be BS.

Every now and then I like some sort of cultural translation of common and cliche' buddhist terms so I can muddle through older books that insist on using them.

Keep the discussion uncomfortable and in the dirt, then it seems it is being more authentic.

I guess...

Hope to hear your buzz-buzz-dharma in person sometime. I'm getting a bit weary of all my iRoshi's.

Hey, there's an idea. Why not set up a Zen center in 2nd Life. We can all avatar ourselves and explore the analogies of the fake world of 2nd Life and the fake perceptions we have here...and skillfully realize we are not what we think we are.

Anonymous said...

This blog is so fresh with the truth
Brad I love you more than ever
I don't think there is a zen teacher out there who doesn't benefit directly from your work (except maybe the droney schwaggy robed ones).
I just love Love LOVE you
You are scary in a very safe and sane way: I don't want my illusions unmasked but you do it thank you. I mean it

Dharma_Eye said...

The real issue with 'in the moment' is that it asks an impossible task from a non-existing entity.

Their is no self to be in or out of any moment, nor are there self-contained 'moments' fully distinct from other 'moments'.

This is a basic entailment of the teachings of Anatman and Dependent Origination as well as the Mahayana teaching of Sunyata.

As to 'Dharma Talk', the issue is similar to that exposed in the first part of the Tao Te Ching; the Dharma that is put into words is not the full or real Dharma, that which incorporates and transcends the first sense of the word into the second.

We can only hear, read and think the Dharma-as-teaching whereas we can fully realize and experience the Dharma-as-such.

Its the differences between just having the food and a recipe for a tasty dinner and actually making and eating that dinner. Or like the difference between talking and thinking about a person you love and actually being with them and touching them.

There is no inherent problem with the first part of those comparisons, but they shouldn't keep the second parts from happening.

Anonymous said...

Actually it is the 'droney schwaggy robed' teachers who would benefit the most: imagine the great release/relief when the pretense drops!

Anonymous said...

As long as we're getting some useless words out of the discussion, one thats been bothering me for some time, and I see a lot in Buddhist stuff, is "Spiritual".
I hear it all over the place, but to my understanding this makes no sense. Do you have a spirit? a soul?
I dont. I must have missed that line.
If you dont have a spirit, an eternal "you" then how can we talk about anything that is "spiritual"
What do think Brad? Can you declare a ban on this one too?

18 years old, in santa monica, swimming with the Sg's!!I dont think he can ask for anything more!

Stephanie said...

anonymous - I agree. One sentence I've heard far too many times is, "I'm spiritual, but not religious." People take for granted what that means, and perhaps the phrase has utility for some, but I find it to be complete nonsense. I far prefer the term "religion" (which means "re-linking") to "spirituality," which I find to be a completely fuzzy nonsense word.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Hey Brad,
I got some good ideas for what ya' could do with your nephew. The summer I graduated('91), I got to see the Ramones, Guns 'n' Roses(premiering songs months before the release of the 'Use Your Illusion' cds), and I got laid.

So take your nephew to some cool shows that maybe he could only see in L.A., and defiantly drive him out to Nevada, only if the SUICIDE GALS won't give it up for him!

I've never been further west than Texas, but I bet there are tons of natural landmarks he would like to see.

Anonymous said...

While we're getting rid of words, I think it may have been master Yunmen who asked; "Zen (chan)...can we get rid of that word?"

And Buddhism. That is so totally overused and it means nothing anymore. Buddhist shmoodist...every freakinbody is a boodaist now days.

And teacher. People have so many ideas about what a teacher is or isn't and so many expectations. Can we just drop that one too. Dude, we're all teachers anyway. I teach you, you teach me, we're a happy family.

We could all just sit down and shut up completely and eliminate words.

But isn't this all kinda like covering up our ears to steal the bell?

Anonymous said...

Anyhow, if I'm invited somewhere specifically to give a talk, I'll give one.

Like at a temple where everyone just comes to be entertained?

Anonymous said...

Not really trying to eliminate words per se. Its just that some words get so misused, that the way in which they are used becomes meaningless.
I hear references all the time to "spiritual" in Buddhist context. And to my understanding, one of the fundamental points of Buddhist thought is the absence of the "eternal self" "soul" "spirit" or what ever you want to call it.
So, it no "spirit" exists, what can we ever say about something which is noexistant.

Anoushka said...

No offense Brad but your articles have become plain boring and pointless.

I do like the books though, so keep em coming.

mysteriondan said...

I wish my uncle hung around with a bunch of tattooed half nekid girls when I was 18. sigh.. sorry, I left the moment for a few seconds there.

Urban Bodhisattva said...

When someone is pointing at the moon - don't break their finger.

Urban Bodhisattva said...

One sentence I've heard far too many times is, "I'm spiritual, but not religious." People take for granted what that means, and perhaps the phrase has utility for some, but I find it to be complete nonsense. I far prefer the term "religion" (which means "re-linking") to "spirituality," which I find to be a completely fuzzy nonsense word.
Religion has connotations of dogma and ritual which people these days are fed up with. So they prefer the more free-form and undefined term 'spirituality'.

Urban Bodhisattva said...

Hardcore Whinging

At The Moment said...

Well. If you are ever tired of Califas, come to South Padre Islan, Texas, give a dharma talk in the land of the mesquite, and promote your books to the dharma starved ( ;) ) massed in McAllen, Texas.

Anonymous said...

"Hardcore Zen" or "Dharma Punx"
(or whatever the fuck you wanna
call it) is quickly becoming a
tiresome cliche.

Keep it fresh. Start something new.

How about "Pirate Zen"?
Instead of Dharma talks, each week
you could tell a new pirate joke.
Avast, ye mateys! Shiver me timbers!
ARRR!!!

BTW, can I be your nephew too?
In my sorry life there's a
depressing absence of Suicide Girls
to swim with.

Bobby Byrd said...

Brad, I visited last week and sat with you guys. Thanks for the sit. I was the old guy with the hat. I wrote something on my blog: http://whitepantiesanddeadfriends.blogspot.com/
I was paying attention but I wasn't really interested in if or how you and "the usual ten people" were going to expand the operation. 10 people is cool. You had 3 extra that day. That's good too, I guess. I look forward to your book.
Bobby

Mysterion said...

I have declared it.

Hmmm...

Why don't I send you a videoconferencing unit and then I can do the Darma Talks from here - in the affordable East Bay? Dharma Talks on TV ? Nahhh... nevermind - people are programmed to zone out which is why face-to-face classroom instruction is far superior to 'distance education.'

All you need is a high-speed $10 aDSL line and a Win XP Computer running better than a 1G CPU.

Jules said...

Stephanie said... One sentence I've heard far too many times is, "I'm spiritual, but not religious." People take for granted what that means, and perhaps the phrase has utility for some, but I find it to be complete nonsense. I far prefer the term "religion" (which means "re-linking") to "spirituality," which I find to be a completely fuzzy nonsense word.

Hi Stephanie. For me, the word "religious" implies attendance at a church, sangha, or other group, and the dogmatic groupthink (and sometimes sanctimoniousness) that often accompanies such attendance. I find myself uncomfortable in groups which assume conformity with any dogma, even nonviolence. And if anyone gives me any shit about that, I will kick their asses. Kidding.

I agree with you about "spirituality," it's a pretty useless word. But I've decided that I prefer to be less structured in my relationship with the Universe, since I haven't found any dogmatic structure that works for me. Not even Buddhism. Maybe reality is just fuzzy and nonsensical. Or maybe it's just me.

Mountaintop Rebel said...

'"Hardcore Zen" or "Dharma Punx"'

(this departs anonymous' comment significantly, it's just something I wanna harp on)

People always bring these things up in conjunction, but they have pretty much zero to do with each other. I've met Noah Levine, for whatever it's worth, and he's a very cool guy. I've been told Brad is a nice guy in person, but I wouldn't know. Since Noah seems to have kind of cleared up his whole syncretic "spiritual" thing and become a practicing Theravada Buddhist, I think he's said/done some useful stuff. Brad has also said some things that needed to be said. But that's where the similarity ends; the life stories, backgrounds, motivations, and methods of both men, as they present them, seem to be pretty far apart. And that's cool, it doesn;t invalidate what either are doing.

I've been involved with punk rock in some form or another for only about 15 years; I did all the cliche shit, walked around in ugly clothes with a funny haircut, fought with skinheads, did Food Not Bombs, had some knee jerk lefty politics, lived with scumbugs in crumbling houses, broke a toe in the pit once, etc etc. I'm not sure I'd really equate any of it with Buddhism. My life was never a hellish nightmare of drugs and crime like Levine's, nor was it a brief period in a couple bands and then college, like Brad's. Sort of in between somewhere maybe? There is an iconoclastic side to Buddha Dharma, and it's important to me, but I'm leery of reading too much of a similarity to punk into it. If anything, as much as I'm sure a lot of Brad's homies will sneer at this, I probably relate my own understanding more to Gary Snyder's 1961 piece "Buddhist Anarchism" http://www.bopsecrets.org/CF/garysnyder.htm

Punk is punk. Zen is zen. I'm not sure they cross over very well. That doesn't bother me. Jazz is jazz, and cooking is cooking. I can listen to Coltrane while I make pizza, but it doesn't mean the two activities are intrinsically linked. Noah seems like he's kind of related to the more superficial scenester punk side of things, and those guys as a whole generally aren't going to be asking a lot of deep questions. Brad really doesn't seem to have much connection to punk rock as it is now, which is cool (mine is rapidly atrophying) but it makes his whole punk identity bit seem kind of weird, not unlike the old dude in the Ramones shirt who brags to you about all the shows he went and saw 15 years ago and has to go back to work at the bank in the morning. I mean, citing Dave Dictor's love of his old band is pretty telling; the reason it carries weight is because Dave is still out there playing shows, living a pretty punk rock lifestyle, fighting for causes like animal rights without the benefit of a porn connection, railing against the cops, etc. When you carry water for a teacher who muses about how great a global police force will be, have a yuppie lifestyle, and are doing 20 year reunion shows with your buds from back in the day, maybe it's time to drop the whole punk/anarchy angle. Just a thought.

At any rate though, yeah "Hardcore Zen" and "Sit Down and Shut Up" have kind of become self-parodying catchphrases. At least as much as "mindfulness" or whatever phrase Brad wants abolished this week. As someone else pointed out, Brad fans love to try and win arguments by just saying "Sit down and shut up". As if that somehow puts them above it all, or as if anyone says it to Brad when he's on his latest screed. And frankly, it's just sloppy advice. Reducing everything down to "If you do this specific sitting practice all the time, and nothing else, you'll know what's going on." I do zuochan myself, and it is helpful, but it's misleading and maybe even a bit dangerous to expect it to clarify everything for you. I've met people who have been sitting for 20 years and they're still jackasses.

Peace out.

Jules said...

Mountaintop Rebel's post, condensed into three sentences:

Why are you guys still here? I'm way cooler than Brad. Howcome nobody's reading my blog?

Mysterion said...

Brad: you know, sometimes words have two meanings. The other times words have three or more meanings.

Dhamma (Pāli: धम्म) (Sanskrit: धर्म) means at least 2 things:
* the teachings of the Buddha
* the experienced world
(wikipedia)

So talk about ANYTHING... reflect upon that lunch yesterday of the walk along the street.

gniz said...

" I've met people who have been sitting for 20 years and they're still jackasses."

^^Amen.

You can do anything for 20 years and be a jackass. Including Zen.

This is a good practice, imo, with limited application just like everything else in life. Sadly, it seems natural to want to make it solve everything and make us KNOW what is right.

But by just looking around for say, 5 or 10 minutes, at people who've practiced for years and years, you can clearly see that meditation is useful but will not make anybody all-knowing, all-wise, or even a very nice person.

gniz said...

" I've met people who have been sitting for 20 years and they're still jackasses."

^^Amen.

You can do anything for 20 years and be a jackass. Including Zen.

This is a good practice, imo, with limited application just like everything else in life. Sadly, it seems natural to want to make it solve everything and make us KNOW what is right.

But by just looking around for say, 5 or 10 minutes, at people who've practiced for years and years, you can clearly see that meditation is useful but will not make anybody all-knowing, all-wise, or even a very nice person.

Mountaintop Rebel said...

"Why are you guys still here?"

I'm still here, why would I say that?

" I'm way cooler than Brad."

I'm really unclear on where you got that.

"Howcome nobody's reading my blog?"

Try clicking on my name, and see if it takes you to a blog.

Jinzang said...

Personally, I find Brad's posts funny and I don't take the posturing in them all that seriously. But I regret that they make some people angry. I think there's something in what he has to say, behind the posturing, if you take the trouble to look for it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to mountaintop rebel for
recommending Gary Snyder's
wonderful little essay
"Buddhist Anarchism":

"... Consequently the major concern of Buddhist philosophy is epistemology and 'psychology' with no attention paid to historical or sociological problems.
...
Institutional Buddhism has been conspicuously ready to accept or ignore the inequalities and tyrannies of whatever political system it found itself under. This can be death to Buddhism, because it is death to any meaningful function of compassion.
...
No one today can afford to be innocent, or indulge himself in ignorance of the nature of contemporary governments, politics and social orders. The national polities of the modern world maintain their existence by deliberately fostered craving and fear: monstrous protection rackets."


Happy 40th Anniversary
RFK Assassination Day!


"...led to a deep concern with the need for radical social change through a variety of hopefully non-violent means.
...
The mercy of the West has been social revolution; the mercy of the East has been individual insight into the basic self/void. We need both. They are both contained in the traditional three aspects of the Dharma path: wisdom (prajna), meditation (dhyana), and morality (sila). Wisdom is intuitive knowledge of the mind of love and clarity that lies beneath one’s ego-driven anxieties and aggressions. Meditation is going into the mind to see this for yourself — over and over again, until it becomes the mind you live in. Morality is bringing it back out in the way you live, through personal example and responsible action, ultimately toward the true community (sangha) of 'all beings'.
...
affirming the widest possible spectrum of non-harmful individual behavior — defending the right of individuals to smoke hemp, eat peyote, be polygynous, polyandrous or homosexual. Worlds of behavior and custom long banned by the Judaeo-Capitalist-Christian-Marxist West.
..."


Sounds like Gary Snyder is a buddhist-libertarian.

andronymous said...

"Some folks who come to my Zen things on Saturdays have been complaining I'm not giving what they consider to be proper "Dharma talks" anymore. I just don't think they've been ever paying attention in the first place."

They are probably unskillful at staying mindful in the present moment.

Mysterion said...

ROFLMOA

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

My balls tend to flop in boxer shorts.

Does anyone on this blog get the FUCK out of "mind" and pay attention.

God Damn!

I cherish swearing.

- Philip P.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

'Ol Townes said it best:



by Townes Van Zandt

"Sometimes I don't know where
this dirty road is taking me
sometimes I can't even see the reason why
I guess I keep a-gamblin'
lots of booze and lots of ramblin'
it's easier than just waitin' around to die"


"One time, friends, I had a ma
I even had a pa
he beat her with a belt once 'cause she cried
She told him to take care of me
headed down to Tennessee
it's easier than just waitin' around to die"


"I came of age and I found a girl
in a Tuscaloosa bar
She cleaned me out and hit in on the sly
I tried to kill the pain, bought some wine
and hopped a train
seemed easier than just waitin' around to die"


"A friend said he knew
where some easy money was
we robbed a man, and brother did we fly
the posse caught up with me
and drug me back to Muskogee
it's two long years I've been waitin' around to die"


"Now I'm out of prison
I got me a friend at last
he don't drink or steal or cheat or lie
His name's Codine
he's the nicest thing I've seen
together we're gonna wait around and die
together we're gonna wait around and die"

Ted Biringer said...

Come on Brad, don't be such a lightweight!

Mindfulness? Skillful Means? In The Moment?

You would be lucky to get a few ounces of blood out of all three of them. Those barriers could easily be squashed by a child of 5!

If you are going to kill something, at least choose something that spews blood and guts! It would be easy enough to outdo Nansen (who cut the cat in two) by opening your "dharma talk" with a demonstration of how Nansen could have gotten more mileage if he had used a lawnmower...

But hell, cats don't bleed enough either...

I know! Hold up a "certified" "Dharma-Heir", if nobody can say a word, chop of his head.

Naw, that's probably been done... I know, take a chainsaw to your own Roshi! No... Take a chainsaw to Jesus Christ... Oh wait, Mel Gibson already did that...

The Buddha! The Bodhisattvas! Enlightenment! Zazen! Oh yeah... Lin-chi (Rinzai) did that. What was it he said?

Oh yes:

"The way I see it, we should cut off the heads of the Bliss-body and Transformation-body buddhas. Those who have fulfilled the ten stages of bodhisattva practice are no better than hired field hands; those who have attained the enlightenment of the fifty-first and fifty-second stages are prisoners shackled and bound; arhats and pratyekabuddhas are so much filth in the latrine, bodhi and nirvana are hitching posts for donkeys. Why do I speak of them like this? Because you followers of the Way fail to realize that this journey to enlightenment that takes three asmkhya kalpas to accomplish is meaningless. So these things become obstacles in your way. If you were proper men of the Way, you would never let that happen."
~Lin-chi, The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-chi, p.26 (Watson, Burton, trans)

So, any "proper men of the Way" around here? Get me an axe!

Take good care,

Ted Biringer

Urban Bodhisattva said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Urban Bodhisattva said...

What a great quote!

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

stop dharma talking
start dharma singing?

Anonymous said...

From Monkeymindonline

MONDAY, MAY 19, 2008
Two Zen Traps on the Zen Way
The Zen way has proven to be the cleanest path toward depth I've stumbled upon in the course of my life. It is the essence of practical mysticism, providing clear pointers to the goal of nondual experience, simple precepts for maintaining a harmonious life, and with shikantaza and koans provides two of the most effective spiritual disciplines I've ever found.

And the Zen way has numerous problematic elements.

I suspect that the foremost of these problematic elements is the Zen teacher.

Now, I think guides upon the great way are of incredible importance, for most of us probably essential. Linji famously warned, "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him." He wasn't actually talking about the great teacher you encounter on your way to Boston, but the "buddha" that calls himself, calls herself "me." The worst teacher, the one most inclined to abuse of sex or power or, well that list is very, very long, is the one inside our skulls. Sadly, that monster is very seductive and whispers enticements all the time...

So, we need teachers, most all of us, people who know us, who understand the traps, and guide us toward our own experience. We need people who can say, "You know, that's probably not so..." At least that's my observation. And, I believe, the Zen path has created a pretty good school of spiritual direction. And, I hope, I'm underscoring, teachers have proven to be pretty important...

Sadly, the mythic structures of Zen have overstated what a teacher is, implying and sometimes stating straight out that once awakened somehow everything the Zen teacher does is a pointer on the way. Here's a little truth statement: It isn't so... Both students and teachers have been misled by this romance and have found themselves over their heads in the weeds. Too often...

But, as I've suggested, nonetheless, we need teachers, we need guides, we need friends who have walked the way before us. I believe we need to reframe the teacher a little, take her down a peg, let him be a little more human and a lot more fallible. And from there take a little more personal responsibility.

One possibly useful way to get a handle on this is to look to the differences between the understanding of Catholic and Anglican priesthoods. The former creates a story of grand and magical proportions where the priest stands in a line of contact that traces back to Jesus himself. Unbroken and containing charisms that give life eternal. The Anglican, for the most part, view takes the same story and sees it as a useful myth. I think Zen teachers and practitioners would both be much better off holding the teacher just as lightly as the wisest Anglicans hold their priesthood...

The second problematic issue is how we hold the practices themselves. I've written of koans elsewhere. And no doubt will return to that subject. Here I'm thinking of shikantaza, "just sitting," or "silent illumination."

Bottom line the practice is "sit down, shut up and pay attention."

I believe from the depths of my being this is the universal solvent. It is the gateway to genuine wisdom.

And, sadly this practice is constantly fetishized within Zen circles.

Some people, including the masters of old, have gotten off the track and make the practice about posture. Here's another little hint on the way: one need not overly worry about posture. Following the traditional guidelines is good, but, here's the bottom line: not necessary.

Sit down, shut up and pay attention.

Need a commentary on this? Consistent and regular practice and occasional retreats are the ideal rhythm of practice.

If you can't sit down, well just shut up and pay attention. That's enough. Really...

And, if you can't sit down or shut up, well, it's going to be harder, but still: pay attention.

And, you know, it'll turn out that's enough.

One of my Western spiritual guides Henry David Thoreau had a thought or two on this subject, written long before anyone in the West had heard of shikantaza or got tangled in literalist interpretations of what it was about.

"We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake, not by mechanical aids, but by an infinite expectation of the dawn, which does not forsake us even in our soundest sleep. I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts."

So, my encouraging words this morning.

Pay attention.

That's enough...
Posted by James at 7:14 AM

rokrok said...

Brad is just a Buddha picking his nose. MINDFULLY PICKING HIS NOSE!

Seriously, continue to teach, you vowed to save all beings, so continue to break through ignorance. They save your ass afterwards, too...

@James/monkeymindonly: Two thumbs up!

Chris said...

great, now i need a replacement phrase...

Anonymous said...

I've read both you books and enjoyed them. Hardcore Zen finally convinced me to sit and I've been doing it faithfully for over a year. When your next book comes out I intend to buy it, but your cussing and whining is old. If you find everything such a turn-off why don't you consider going away and do your movie and bass playing gigs?

Anonymous said...

James, really nice post, some very good insights. And I hate to nit pic on a post with so many good points.
Especially "pay attention"

But I just cant help myself.

"simple precepts for maintaining a harmonious life, and with shikantaza and koans provides two of the most effective spiritual disciplines I've ever found."

How are any spirits involved with shikantaza or koans? I believe both to be ultimately about reality. not spirits, ghosts, demons or souls.

and

"One of my Western spiritual guides Henry David Thoreau "

I dont think that Thoreau taught much about spirits. Mostly about true reality.

I dont mean to tear up your post or bash anyone. I just want to point out how easily this term gets misused.

Im sure you didnt mean that HDT taught us about ghosts, or that zazen is about our soul, but it slides into our conversation so easily that it concerns me, as I try to pay attention, and speak and write clearly and precisely.

just my 0.02

MJ

Anonymous said...

philbob-squarehead said...
> Does anyone on this blog get
> the FUCK out of "mind"...
> 'Ol Townes said it best

Dude, if you're dwelling on the
words, you're still stuck in
your mind.

Sure, Townes wrote some good
lyrics, but it was the chords
and melodies that sent those
songs into the stratosphere.
Try listening to just the music.

Anonymous said...

Wow. Some of the comments here
are far more useful than Brad's
original uninspired riff -- some
great spicing up of some bland
soup here. Thanks to all.

DJ Voton said...

Ah, yes, Dharma Drones. I'll never forget the Dharma Drone I heard about the last episode of The Sopranos. The Dharma Droner NEVER watches TV, and, of course, HADN'T EVER seen this particular televisual entertainment series, but since just EVERYBODY was TALKING ABOUT IT, she was all curious, and rented it from one of those DVD-renty-maily places, and it reminded her of something Hakuin once said about getting whacked...and I was off to upright dreamland before I ascertained what her point was. Then there's the other zendo who download and play a recording of someone else's Dharma Drone at their zazenkai! How spontaneous!
Actually, yours are actually edifying, Brad. But shutting the fuck up is setting a good example.

David said...

You're great, Brad. This is a fine blog.

Anonymous said...

anyone remember those "motivational" speakers and the likes growing up.. the big "talks" in front of your school at gymnassiums and what have you?

These guys are typically tossing out attention grabbers.. joking.. handstands.. trying to stay entertaining and keep your attention.. to really get the word across..

but we are jaded.. we feel we are being hawked too.. sold somthing.. and sometimes we are. nevermind that the person speaking is commited, or should be.

perhaps it'll get through to those it was intended for.. perhaps not

someone recently misscomunicated to me that realists were defeatists..

and perhaps.. far enough down the line.. in some light.. that is our final conclusion.. maybe some of us just give up with all of the recursive thought.. there is nothing one can do that doesn't sacrafice something else.. give and take...

NeophyteInBlountCOTN said...

I am newly aware of the buddha-dharma so forgive me if I step on my tongue. I just wanted to say something about 'sprituality'. I take a native american (as if there is only one) interpretation of spirit which is breath. I don't like religiosity and I am so happy to find a spirituality which does not involve a god.

sex life said...

It can't really have effect, I think this way.