Thursday, July 10, 2008

Rest In Peace, Janwillem van de Wetering

I just got the following news from my publishers: 

Dutch crime writer Janwillem van de Wetering, 77, died on July 4, 2008,
following a struggle with cancer. Best-known for his Amsterdam Cops series,
Soho Press will be reissuing all 14 of van de Wetering's Soho Crime novels
in paperback, beginning this fall.


Janwillem van de Wetering is probably better known to Zen fans as the author of The Empty Mirror, A Glimpse of Nothingness and After Zen,three of the finest accounts of the Zen life I've ever read. Van de Wetering was also an early champion of my work and was helpful in getting Hardcore Zen and Sit Down And Shut Up into print. He was the only well known author to submit a blurb for my first book. We corresponded some when that was going on, but I'd lost touch with him a couple years ago. He told me, though, that reading the galleys of Hardcore Zen got him back into Zen practice after a lay off of several years. His disillusion with Zen is devastatingly well documented in his book After Zen.

I'd always hoped to meet him some day. He lived in Maine, last I heard, and said I could stop by his place anytime I liked and stay as long as I pleased. Too bad I never got the chance. I want to try reading some of his crime novels. He was a terrific writer and highly recommended.

BY THE WAY: There will be a Hill Street Center Parking Lot Sale in the HSC parking lot (where else?) on Saturday July 12th starting at 8:30 AM. You won't be able to park there on Saturday. So be aware.

Anyone who wishes to volunteer to help out or who wants to donate is welcome. I shoulda mentioned this earlier. But donations will be taken all the way till the sale is underway on Sat. morning. I've seen some of the stuff being donated & it is of higher quality & greater interest than your usual yard sale fare.

You're welcome to show up earlier to shop. Just be aware I'm not opening the center doors any earlier than usual (around 9:30). Gotta take my shower and eat my cereal and all that, you know.


ALSO BY THE WAY:
It looks like Tassajara has survived the fire mostly in tact. It finally entered the valley and burned up pretty much everything it could down there. Tassajara lost 3 or 4 smaller and non-crucial buildings around the perimeter (one cabin, the compost shed, one of the bathrooms...). The Zendo, dining hall, kitchen, guest and student cabins and stuff like that survived. Looks like the fire is now out of fuel so it's unlikely any more buildings will burn. The road is still impassable. More info is at Sitting With Fire.

64 comments:

z0tl said...

this is true, his books rock and you're an idiot for never saying hi while he was here.

where did he go?

Mtroll said...

Sad to hear this. He was a great writer. I read Empty Mirror and Glimpse many years ago. Afterzen is a sad tale of utter disillusionment with zen. Janwillem seemed to have a some distorted ideas about zen though. I get the feeling he saw the purpose of zen as literal detachment from the world and indifference to everything...very nihilistic too. Probably a result of the Beat Zen attitudes common when he first started training. I'd hoped he would eventually discover that zen has nothing to do with withdrawing or not caring.

Brad, from your correspondence with him, did you get an idea whether he'd changed any of his notions about zen or did he still think it was about reaching some state where 'nothing matters'?

NellaLou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lauren said...

I am saddened to hear of Mr. Van de Wetering's passing.

Late in life I found out I had 3 brother's I never new of, and only 1 still alive. I talked to him a couple times on the phone. He was so angry he scared me. I didn't like talking to him. He drank himself to death a few years ago. I still regret not talking to him more.

It must be that thousands of people died today, "before their time", if I had met any of them, I'm sure I would regret their death and wish I had known them better.

The other day on a nature show I learned of a bat guano pile 100 feet high in a cave. Every cubic foot had hundreds of beetles in it 'designed' just for that guano. In that pile there must be thousands of beetles dying and arising every hour.

What is all this coming and going?

I'm just about at, or well past, the possible halfway mark of my life. I don't want to go.

I hope Mr. Van de Wetering was "at peace"

-L

Anonymous said...

just, wow, z0tl...

Anonymous said...

z0tl.. your last comment was ignorant. it erases everything intelligent you've ever written here. now you go back to go.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you never got the chance to meet each other in person--it would really truly have been a shame had you never encountered each other's writing...

Lately I've been eyes to the brim not with tears as much as with feeling. I can't name this feeling, it just fills me and fills my eyes and being.
Everything just so....just so...IS

Anonymous said...

I read a lot of Van de Wetering when I was a child (yeah, about 8 or 9). My mum was reading those books and didn't keep me from reading them.
I was shocked by the graphic value indeed, but I think it was also very important for my development.

I never read his Zen book, just browsed through it and thought that it is probably very good.

--IceBucket

Anonymous said...

Janwillem van de Wetering's 'The empty mirror'was THE book that got me into Zen practice after I picked up a copy in a secondhand bookstore. I love that book,second only to 'Hardcore Zen'. A sad day, thankyou Mr van de Wetering fot all your help - even though you never knew it..........

PA said...

Ah, that's sad news.
I read Empty Mirror back whilst living in Japan and found it to be very insighful, funny, heartwarming, and intelligent. I had a great time reading and re-reading it.
Hope he died peacefully.

babbles said...

I've heard of Janwillem van de Wetering but never had a chance to read his works. After I clear off my current pile of books, I may try to squeeze some of his stuff in.

In regards to z0tl's post: this is an example of people who seem to show no desire in attacking the concepts that Brad talks about, but rather the purpose of which is to simply attack Brad just for the sake of doing so (case in point).

Such a shame because up until a few months ago there did use to exist some very interesting posts on this blog.

Anonymous said...

zotl
That was a dick comment.

Anonymous said...

absolute zero 'incorrect' or 'correct' with zotel

fkwan said...

Yo, Brad,

Couldn't agree more. Afterzen was one of the most fantastic books I ever read. Crime books have the same true bleak arresting style as the Zen books. Too bad you never got to meet him but at least you corresponded, but hey, you never know what you got till its gone. :(

Thanks for letting me know about this, since I can't stand to read the news anymore I would have missed it.

f

alphonzen said...

Surely you guys realised that z0tl was a troll with an agenda?

z0tl said...

oh yeh, my agenda is to help you stop putting your teacher on a pedestal.

that way you'll spare yourself the disappointment when you not only have to yank the pedestal from underneath their golden ass, but also realize there was never a teacher to begin with.

i still have a grudge on santa claus for not being real and i can never forgive my father for not allowing me to persist with the delusion past the age of 8.

what the fuck is wrong with you guys?

i'm just a troll, not some transmitted dharma dude who portends to set buddhism str8 all across the americas to kyoto and the beyond.

as far as the cumming and going freely part, ask your neighborhood suicide girl, don't look in my general direction.

happy to disappoint,
mB)

Anonymous said...

how come people get to call zotl an idiot when chastising him for calling Brad an idiot?

Vicki said...

Thanks for letting us know about Janwillem van de Wetering ... I enjoyed his books very much. RIP.

Anonymous said...

I just got word that the fire has passed through Tassahara, all five who stayed reported to be fine--thanks Brad for updating the blog with this info

Anonymous said...

So z0tl is sort of like a Brad stalker? Jumps on everything he says. Like totally obsessed. Gotta get the first comment in etc. like he monitors this site all day and night.

Thinks its his responsibility to help all of us think for ourselves by thinking like him. Why does z0tl think we would listen to him or Brad? Both are kind of arrogant in writing. Don't know either personally nor do I care if I ever do.

But z0tl has never said anything here that I have personally found useful either in my practice or in my life. He rambles like a crack head. Unlike many of the other commenters, either for or against what Brad says.

Am a commenter here also sometimes but going the anonymous route as I don't need this kind of crap on my blog.

z0tl said...

dear brad/nishijima, inc:

can you possibly please i beg you give a dharma talk teisho whatever you guys do and for the love of all gawds and daemons of N directions tell all your followers to try every now and again to speak for themselves, rather than try acting all lawyery (defend/accuse/expound) for you?

tell them all that you are mature enough to at least fend for yourselves [if really you must do that] in the stormy illuminated waters of your murky selves.

next, it would be nice if you addressed at least 1 or 2 of the serious questions/concerns that are pointed out to you under the apparent disguise of 'ad hominem' troll-pa rin-poke z0tl.

how could there possibly exist such a thing as 'ad hominem' against a zen master? daft!

in 'shoes outside the door' suzuki sensei (who only went roshi because the westerners needed the fancy title in order to ooo and aaa over their teacher), prior to shipping baker-san to japan for training, says: "i only know about 6 people in this world who TRULY KNOW zen."

i'm pretty sure he wasn't pointing to you/nishijima and please chastise me further if i mangled you two into one transmitted ball of mud, because i ain't throwing it atcha, str8 to dogen it should go if really you guys trace yourselves into that lineage.

i am so fucking confused. the rinzai ones go around telling folk transmission has no meaning in soto anyway, because you guys have all had insight into your original milk before you suckled at your momma's teat, so what gives?

nevertheless there is some anony trawllin' in here that penetrates like the arrow, painfully naked truth, with no room left for doubt.

which is why i am here for, the commenting, not the expounding of your crooked cucumber.

z0tl said...

here's some help with your practice from a crack head.

1. if a blog/anonymous text can bring you down to tears, how's it going IRL for you?

2. if you don't give a shit about either brad or z0tl IRL, why do you tangle with either of them AT ALL?

3. when you get all up in arms about a bunch of text, try remembering to take a long, EXTENDED outbreath, with your awareness into your HARA and FEEL exactly what this amazing anger translates into your body as?

The five skhandas are:

* Rupa (matter),
* Vedana (feeling),
* Sanjna (ideation);
* Samskara (forces or drives)
* Vijnana (consciousness or sensation).

Group, heap, aggregate; the five constituents of the personality; form, feeling, perception, impulses, consciousness; the five factors constituting the individual person.

Screw that shit. Here's in plain language for you:

you hear/ears, smell/nose, feel/skin, taste/mouth, see/eyes, think/brain.

for some mystical reason, the western mind believes that 6th ability, TO THINK, which is a function of your brain, is so much more magical than the other 5 senses.

news to you, when this text pisses you off, that is no different than your tongue tasting some vinegar.

this is why if you can make your ass (by that i mean Mind) perceive THE HEARING, not the stupid sound you think you hear, you're done.

any one of the 6 senses you can reverse your Mind on and get to the source of who is it that hears, tastes, etc...

YOU ARE DONE.

then you can come to z0tl and say, turn me the fuck over, see if i give a shit.

however, because you've never reverted anything in your fucking life, except churn your thoughts from left to right, down and up, and round about again, you get all worried about crack heads polluting your valuable blog.

anyway, maybe you're a math guy. your hara is the center of your being. now collapse your being into it (USING THE FELT SENSES, not your THINKING mind) and see if you can once look at your inside and realize that in fact that is the outside.

then you can work on obliterating the inside/outside altogether and then you'll laugh hysterically for 1/2 day guaranteed.

after that, maybe you get to sit sesshins without feeling like they're a DRAG, like braddy-chan over here.

another secret agenda of mine: to get to 1 of the 8.

Anonymous said...

painfully naked truth, with no room left for doubt.

when you can truly feel the pain without splintering the mirror, compassion naturally follows. why would I want to add once ounce of difficulty to the other's confusion? until then, best to bear the charge within.

Anonymous said...

I also aspire to at least 1 of 8 before this horse falls over. so I really should be walking away from this casino forever.

summit confederate said...

I find zotl's posts informative and useful. Please keep posting.

Mysterion said...

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits and
Are vanished into air, into thin air;
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on, and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
The Tempest

Anonymous said...

splendid!

derkaderka said...

nothing to ponder or pretend to be deep about...zotl is annoying as fuck. now respond to that in your usual annoying way.

Mysterion said...

Blogger z0tl said...
"oh yeh, my agenda is to help you stop putting your teacher on a pedestal."

J. Duncan M. Derrett wrote: "For about 150 years scholars of unusual temerity have asserted that themes found in Buddhist texts, many of them celebrated in surviving Buddhist sculpture, can be found in the New Testament in more or less recognizable forms."

now which teacher is on a pedestal?

Buddha?
Jesus?

z0tl said...

z0tl - the fantasy

for the ReaLitY, click on his highlighted name

Lone Wolf said...

The link below is a podcast with Dzogsar Khyentse Rinpoche (Director of The Cup and Travelers & Magicians) giving a talk about Zen Buddhism while in Japan. After speaking and sitting with a Zen Monk and doing some reading on Zen, Dzongsar talks about his admiration for "Sitting" and advocating people to practice the "method of no method."

Check it out:

http://www.siddharthasintent.org/podcast/

alphonzen said...

z0tl- you have no point to make. You are a compulsive attention seeker, hense the tendency for provocation.

You might need to look at yourself before you criticise others.

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia has an interesting bio on Janwillem.

z0tl said...

master #, cute 1.

your work begins again ;)

z0tl faq:

1. my method, thus far, is susokkan (or sus'sokkan, methinks, whichever elitist 5p3ll!ng you prefer).

2. it appears i bite a lot, in fact i bark, mostly.

3. in reversing Mind, there is nothing like the sonic boom of a keisaku (kyosaku in soto) on your shoulder. in rinzai, you get hit when you ask, in soto, you get hit from behind when your posture sux?

4. the w0rds that describe advancing the method i practice are here.

5. shikantaza (which i believe brad tries to practice) is a more advanced practice than sussok'kan, who cares where the apostrhophe goes, the japanese grammar nazi.

6. anyone can tell by taking one look at him and even by listening to his w0rds that his personality is rinzai (because he is an asshole), yet his level of practice is even below the shit i'm doing with a practice that still uses breath for a crutch.

7. i know it looks out there like i'm this patronizing SOB who's out to point out every1 else is stupid.

8. if you can get the fuck over your mountainous ego and actually try to understand what i say, you'll see all i try to do is help and while at it find folks i can learn from, IRL of course. fucking around on this blog interests me as much as master santa claus.

Lauren said...

...is sort of like a Brad stalker? Jumps on everything he says. Like totally obsessed. Gotta get the first comment in etc. like he monitors this site all day and night

I'm glad that's Zootle, I thought it was me.

z0tl,
Enjoyed your last 2 long posts.

I think you could put Dr. Bonner's out of business...at least the soap label business...I wonder if you're any good at making soap?

[was going to try a quip about fat & lie, but truly I came to "praise Caeser, not to bury him"].

sum total said...

what's happening?!

Anonymous said...

"if you can get the fuck over your mountainous ego."

Now That, was funny.

alphonzen said...

wow z0tl, you are amazing! So great, you surpass all gods that have existed. May I worship your phallic instrument, should that improve my lowly human status?

Don't listen to anyone else. Your zazen beats everyone hands down.

z0tl said...

i don't do zazen anymore, i do taoist water method of inner dissolving as taught by bruce frantzis in his book 'the great stillness' also his wu style tai-chi. http://energyarts.com

yep, he's commercial, but at this point his shit works better for me than the bullshit sold as zazen in this country.

finally, here's the one and only book you will ever need (because huang po's ch'an talk on transmission of mind is too much for you):

posthumous notices (wei wu wei)

with that, my work here is done.

i'm sure i'll run into some of you fuckers IRL, because i sit with braddy-chan in his future, it's in my karmic cards, can't go around that.

alphonzen said...

"taoist water method of inner dissolving"

That tao meditation sounds irrestible. Especially if you are representative of your practice. We need more excellent ambassadors; like that mike cross guy who is a excellent example for the effects of the alexander technique.

Anonymous said...

zotls taoist water method is no more tainted by his rants than zazen is by brad's. if I judged the effects of zazen by what brad writes I'd run as far from the practice as possible.

Matt said...

Re: Sum Total--

NO IDEA!!!

I miss like, discussions about zen and stuff....

Matt said...

P.S., Brad, sorry to hear about your friend. That got lost really quick as I went through the comments...

peace
matt

Steffie Nelson said...

“All followers who offer to adorn and deify their teachers set up a
false condition,” Hall wrote in a 1942 essay. “Human beings,
experience has proved, make better humans than they do gods.”

liquid shit said...

z0tl said...
"i don't do zazen anymore, i do taoist water method of inner dissolving"

Oh my god in heaven (Thor)!

An enima addict!

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Lemmy (Motorhead) said:

If you squeeze my lizard
I´ll put my snake on you
I´m a romantic adventure
And I´m a reptile too

CHORUS:
But it don´t make no difference
´cos I ain´t gonna be, easy, easy
the only time I´m easy´s when I´m
Killed by death *4

I´m a lone wolf ligger
But I ain´t no pretty boy
I´m a backbone shiver
and I´m a bundle of joy

CHORUS

But it don´t make no difference
´cos I ain´t gonna be, easy, easy
the only time I´m easy´s when I´m
Killed by death
Killed by death
Killed by death
Killed by death

There you go zOtl, that's all the dharma you need.

- Philip

Mike H said...

z0tl:
I cannot really work out if you are a troll or just some angry kid who knows very little.

I own Brunce Frantzis' "Opening the Energy Gates of your body"
and also some of his internal MA books.


I've made a lot of use of the fire meditations - small/large microcosm orbit and "skin breathing" but was actually mainly taught Nei Gung (Water Method) exercises/meditation as part of my Kung Fu and Tai Chi training. [Fire and Water fit nicely together and help balance each other].

I also once got into trouble [Kundalini] doing Small Microcosm and needed my teacher to bail me out - using techniques to manage it that were not in any book.

You can learn some of these things from books but it's not a bright idea. Some things are best learnt from a teacher.

Amongst all of this I considered Zazen something that was of use in addition to these exercises. Often they only appear to be different... If you are in the same town as Brad then go sit in on one of his sessions. Meet the guy not the blog before you condemn him too much. [I've never met him].

If you feel the need to prove that your method is 'better' than another or that your skills are more 'advanced' than another's then there must be something lacking in you. Certainly it would suggest that an ego is nice and active.

My teacher (a Shaolin Monk) repeatedly emphasised the value of Zazen as an essential part of what he taught even though he taught many other things and he emphasised it is a Chi-building meditation. It relaxes and opens the internal Chi pathways.



If you want to really read about what you claim to know then the classic book is "Muscle/Tendon Changing and Marrow/Brainwashing Chi Kung - The secret of youth" y Dr Yang Jwing-Ming. It's based on some of the original texts and I don't think is in print anymore but it is available for a price in various places.

I picked up Brad on a specific point - when he started to condemn another teacher for teaching something he thought was invalid rather than not recognised.

You are ranting at Brad and doing just what he did - condemning Zazen without actually understanding it and also without actually understanding Nei Gung either. Zazen fits into Nei Gung as part of the practice.

The simple fact is that different people find different methods beneficial at different times and that does not mean that one method is better than another. At times I've spent many hours doing Tai Chi 24, at other times I've done lots of Zazen or "Stand like a Tree" or other Tai Chi exercises.

There was a time when I would regularly do small microcosm orbit before going dancing since I've found Nei Gung to be very useful during dancing and in fact do often practice Nei Gung techniques as part of dancing - it makes everything go noticably smoother and seems to stop women trying to lead.

I'm conscious that it is very easy to venerate or despise methods and teachings when you have very little experience of them. I'm also conscious that some of the methods I've found must useful are also the very ones that I thought were the most moronic/ridiculous. Many a conversation with my Kung Fu teacher was preceded by me giving him an "are you completely fucking mad" paddington-bear look. But I did the exercises and found them to be useful.

If I'd ignored all the stuff that I wanted to condemn before trying it I wouldn't be where I am today.


At the moment I'm reading some of Ken Wilber's stuff on Integral Vision. I think I disagree with him on some points but want to read his actual texts and visions before I go and make up my mind. There's always a chance I miht learn something.


Links:
Nei Gung


"http://www.amazon.com/Opening-Energy-Gates-Your-Body/dp/1556431643">Opening the energy gates of your body

QiGong [Less good than the original]

Mike H said...

z0tl:

"If I'd ignored all the stuff that I wanted to condemn before trying it I wouldn't be where I am today. "

I want to elaborate on this. I know you said that you tried Zazen before ditching it.

Maybe you didn't stick with it very long.

Many meditation methods take many months of regular practice before you know whether or not they may be of benefit.

It certainly took me a long time to understand what Zazen was all about. If I had not reached that understaning I would probably have condemned it as useless.

As it is, it's probably the only method I advocate for most people even if I know all these other things. In fact when I was blogging I'd repeatedly stress Zazen as an excellent and safe exercise.

I think I'd quite like to return to it myself (for Chi building) but It's not a healthy thing for me to do at the moment for various reasons.

[Incidentally I'm not a teacher or anything]

z0tl said...

Will the rear z0tl please stand up.

Mike H said...

z0tl #1 & #2

There is only one Blogger z0tl:

http://www.blogger.com/profile/14262824070986504035
http://www.blogger.com/profile/14262824070986504035
http://www.blogger.com/profile/14262824070986504035
http://www.blogger.com/profile/14262824070986504035
http://www.blogger.com/profile/14262824070986504035
http://www.blogger.com/profile/14262824070986504035

Anony z0tl may or may not be the same guy.

z0tl said...

oh dear lordy goodness,

my efforts are in vain.

you 1 ksana (small kalpa) ago might as well have been z0tl #878123741^871143 + N to the power of ignorance.

this is the source of all misunderstandings, methinks, because w'all think that getting pissed off at a "someone" who has wronged us 5.8 years ago isn't the same kind of ineptitude as believing what we ourselves said 5.8 seconds ago had in fact any kind of value at all.

sit tight, master kung fu panda.

& try to observe.

now, here we go, attention in your belly, ouuuuuuuut we go with that outbreath.

and still some more when i tell you there is no blog and no z0tl. there is but this one comment that you happen to read.

finish your outbreath without losing your focus which, as all good kids know, should be in the center of your being, teh hara.

now then, step back a few posts and read everything teh z0tl has ever said and if you can find one place where he has said zazen is bad practice, you can give yourself a brownie.

are you still on the inbreath now?

and if so, are you expanding the belly like it's a cylinder, ie pressing against the back/mingmen with an equal force you press on the 1/2 way between belly button and groin skin/still not hara, but that axis that goes through the tan'tien/hara?

if you say you own the energy gates and are familiar with water dissolving, why must i do this with your advanced kung fu ass?

now when that ring of chi expands beautifully (because w'all know right we don't fucking breathe air in, we move teh chi in and out) in and out sourcing from your tan'tien/hara, where may i ask on the fucksface planet of this 3rd rock is teh assholy z0tl?

other than in the misty fog of memory, along with your remaining trailing thoughts which along with that chirping bird and that sent of your own fart you passed 5 minutes ago, are all fukken not there at all whatsoever, never were (except ideas of them you manufactured) and so it goes?

settle down, mikey, i don't sit in order to wake up (which is a hindrance to your practice anyway), i sit because i've got nuttin else to do here.

thusly, i lied to you, i still zazen my ass, usually 2 hours a day in the mornings 6am-8am, but i also wu style tai chi / meditate my ass, usually in the pool (like i have told you directly before), during the golden hour, most days, 5:30pm-6:30pm.

don't give up on me now, i'm not as angry as you think i sound ;)

Anonymous said...

"thusly, i lied to you."

Thusly, That is all one needs to know about you.

one more for ol' times sake :-) said...

53 !!!

form fkers said...

54 !!!

Anonymous said...

"thusly, i lied to you."

Thusly, That is all one needs to know about you.

Zot, my apologies, you didn't deserve that. that was a completely unconscious blog entry. had i taken a moment, i might not have insulted you thusly.

Justin said...

I'm sorry to hear that Janwillem van de Wetering has died. And it isn't nice to lose touch with someone and then to find out that they are dying/have died. It happened to me with a friend of mine quite recently. I try to avoid losing touch with people now.

Mike H said...

z0tl:

I always consider it a shame that Gniz didn't train any successors.

If you are serious you should seek him out. He can teach you how to troll.

I'm more dancing hippo than Kung Fu Panda.

The question you need to ask is have I been trolling you? ;-)

Anonymous said...

I love the way that zotl conciously makes the effort to spell his name with a '0' everytime he uses it.

z0tl said...

i don't seek any1, they're all in front of me when i need 'em.

apologizing to me is on the same plane with insulting me, i'm vulnerable to neither.

carry on everybody/mind.

Anonymous said...

It's always nice to put a face to the name.

z0tl said...

oh yeh, the original conehead.

mike_h-san, i already sat w/ braddy-chan once and the bodhisattva perceiver of the world's sound deemed it funny to hand me his 3-bowls oryoki set.

master brad politely asked for it back, apparently indigestion is the certain effect of eating from an unknown set of bowls.

Anonymous said...

Jan-Willem went through a lot of hell in early life. He survived the Nazi occupation of Holland, and during that time, Jewish schoolmates of his were taken away and killed.

After the occupation, when Jan Willem was still in high school, one of the faculty committed suicide.

And, when Jan Willem decided to investigate Zen, this was around 1958. The only guidebook he had was DT Suzuki, who was Rinzai and a non monastic practitioner. And the monastery where Jan Willem stayed for a year in Japan was Daitoku-Ji, also a Rinzai monastery.

All he was told about was zazen and koans, but all through his books, there appears little about how the Bodhisattva ethical precepts are also essential to Zen.

Its interesting. Ever notice that even today, we see all sorts of adverts for learning meditation, but never see one for 'An Exciting Evening on Buddhist Ethics'?

Never forget that Jan Willem was pretty much in the pioneer cohort. Imagine trying to learn Zen practice, in Japan, in 1958.

Uncharted territory.

Anonymous said...

last anon:
Maybe it wasn't meant like that, but it sounds like you are laying off any of Janwillem's deficiencies in understanding of zen to the fact that he practiced Rinzai instead of Soto. He maintained high regard for his old teacher in japan, just didn't think much of the american 'master'.

Blaming Rinzai zen for his or his teacher's faults is no different than blaming Soto zen for Baker roshi's trainwreck back in the 80's. Though I'm in substantial agreement with all your other points, including DT Suzuki being part of the problem. His take on zen seemed pretty divorced from ethics and buddhism too. He talked about how there could be zen-anarchism, zen-communism, zen-nazism, etc.

64 said...

64 !!!