Sunday, July 06, 2008

UGH!

Man. I'm listening to some dude give an explanation of a "Zen style walking meditation." He's telling folks that when you move one foot forward this represents that foot coming into fullness, while the foot behind is in emptiness, and then the other foot comes forward from emptiness into fullness, and so on. Where do people get this garbage? Kinhin, a.k.a. "Zen style walking meditation," is how you get your circulation back into your legs after sitting. That's it. Feet moving into fullness? Give me a break!

The church next door is having a big celebration of same-sex marriage to-do today. In conjunction with that I heard some passerby say that the number one supporters of same-sex marriage are the Buddhists, number two are the Catholics. His friend replied, "I understand about the Buddhists. But why the Catholics?"

Everyone around here seems to like to think of Buddhism as equivalent to comfortable socio-political liberalism. But the Dalai Lama is a stronger critic of homosexuality than the Pope. Me, I don't really care who anybody marries or screws. I'd officiate a same-sex union as quickly as a heterosexual one (i.e. once in a blue moon and only if I knew the people very well). But the idea that all Buddhists would, of course, support same-sex marriage is a narrow minded and confused fantasy. This November there'll even be Buddhists out there voting for — gasp! — John McCain! Deal with it. It's a real shame how so many American Buddhist organizations marginalize or even exclude people of certain political views. It's no better when liberals do this than it is when conservatives do.

Whatever.

For those of you who like that sort of thing, Sue Slater, a New Zealander who lives in Japan and attends the retreats I lead each Fall at Tokei-in temple in Shizuoka, posted some videos of my talks there on YouTube. My Internet connection is so lousy I can't get so much as a single second of one of these videos to play. So I have no idea in the world what they're like. I look dorky as usual in the stills. The talks probably suck ass. But if you're into looking at me talking, there you go.

I've been thinking hard about what needs done at the weekly Zazen things I host in Santa Monica. Seems a lot of people were confused when I said I wouldn't do "Dharma Talks" for a while. That doesn't mean I won't talk or that we just Zen away until it's time to go. I'm just starting to doubt the efficacy of me being the featured entertainer of the morning. The focus is getting to be too much on everyone staring at me waiting for Words of Wisdom that will never come than on the practice. One of the guys who attends regularly wanted me to start doing this stuff 3 or 4 times a week! Gak! I hate being stared at. It's hard work. My typical Saturday involves me collapsing into a heap as soon as everyone leaves. No wonder Brittany Spears went crazy.

Anyway. I'm trying to continue the non-monastic Zen tradition I received from my teachers. I've been watching some of what's happened to the folks suddenly forced out of Tassajara by the fires. Many of them are having great difficulty finding ways to practice in the "surface world" (that's a term I coined, sometimes when you're there it feels like being in a Zen submarine). Monastic practice is a beautiful thing. Long may it survive! Go try some monastic Zen practice! Brad sez: "Monastic practice = good." Got it? (Can you believe people actually quote me sometimes? Then again, I often quote Curly Howard of the Three Stooges.)

But monastic practice is also extremely fragile. The road into Tassajara is a single lane 15 miles long through steep unpaved slopes. You reach the beginning of this road after traveling almost an hour from the nearest town. In order to qualify for a practice period you have to spend the first 5 days in non-stop Zazen from 5 AM till 9 at night with breaks only to use the toilet and eat. It's called tangaryo, and I've never done it nor do I have any intention of doing it. Nobody's there who doesn't really, really want to be. There are strict rules about how to conduct yourself in the valley in order to maximize the effectiveness of practice. Even making unnecessary eye contact is frowned upon.

The rest of the world does not operate by these rules. The practice I learned was based on how to lead a Zen life while continuously dealing with people who were not now and would never become practitioners. As tough as tangaryo is, sitting day after day through business meetings wherein you are the only one who knows exactly how silly the whole thing really is — yet still being a meaningful and situationally appropriate contributor to said meetings is also tough Zen practice.

It's hard to teach this stuff because there are no rules at all and no techniques. Every situation in a monastery is clearly defined. There are explicit rules to govern all social inteactions. The situations we face in life are not like that at all. It's this wild and wooly kind of practice that people like my teachers tried to impart. I have no idea how to do this.

But in terms of the whole Dharma Talks deal, I just felt like me sitting up in front of a bunch of people telling them about my supposed insights into some koan wasn't getting it. It's fun to know the koans. But there are a mountain of books, some good, most awful, that can tell you all you need to know about those. It's something else that's necessary here and now.

129 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Even making unnecessary eye contact is frowned upon."

Ugly. Ugly.

Kenneth said...

I get it. We make up our own meaning. So, if we believe that our feet are moving from fullness to emptiness and back again during kinhin, then they are. But the fullness/emptiness thing isn't true because some Zen muckety-muck tells you so.

This one is a pretty harmless belief. I often question, what is it about me that seeks to avoid living through the rationalization of beliefs, anyway? And I see that some of my cherished beliefs have caused real damage.

outcastspice said...

re dharma talks, maybe you could open it up to discussion and having other people lead those talks? maybe if someone was interested in teaching about something or leading a discussion on a certain topic you could meet with them beforehand to help them write it? that'd be a good way for them to learn, and it'd teach the other attendees that they can learn about buddhism from lay people, and that they can teach each other.

z0tl said...

lauren, if you're serious about practice (ie, figuring out who/how you are), everyone you meet is your master.

right now your master is the [em]phatic poster.

next time, try clicking on a number, maybe then it becomes more [em]pathic[ally] clear.

brad isn't senior in anything, other than still wondering whether he should stoop down to troll level by manifesting the mighty power of deleting comments.

z0tl said...

brad-chan, a master can take 1 look at the way you do 1 prostration and KNOW you are full of shit.

same goes for the way you walk with your head, not with your feet while kinhinin' around.

i would fukken take it a bit easier with thinking you know jackshit about kinhin, because the way you walk it, might as well use that moron's explanation about 1 foot being empty and the other 1 full (of itself).

Justin said...

He's telling folks that when you move one foot forward this represents that foot coming into fullness, while the foot behind is in emptiness, and then the other foot comes forward from emptiness into fullness, and so on. Where do people get this garbage?

It's just a metaphor. And I'm not sure how garbled it got as it passed through Brad. Anything can be a metaphor. Koans are metaphors. Actually everything we say and think is a sort of metaphor for reality.

Anonymous said...

I also find that kinhin and prostrations work best when I try to judge to what extent my fellow practitioners are doing it right or wrong.

Justin said...

Well judging other people and situations as right and wrong, good and bad has always been essential to a true understanding of The Way. That's why Sosan wrote:

The Great Way is not difficult
for those not attached to preferences.
When neither love nor hate arises,
all is clear and undisguised.
Separate by the smallest amount, however,
and you are as far from it as heaven is from earth.

cometboy said...

Brad,

Thanks for clarifying your current attitude towards so called dharma talks. I was afraid from your previous post that you were going to swear off them forever.

Personally, I like when the post sitting talks (call them zenshit sessions if you want) involve some give and take, questions and answers or monologues. It doesn't really matter to me.

Just so it doesn't sound canned.

I'm also sorry that doing the darned things was taking so much out of you.

But really, how seriously are we supposed to take some guy who adores movies of grown men prancing around in rubber suits knocking down little model cities?

Anonymous said...

"judging other people and situations as right and wrong, good and bad has always been essential to a true understanding."

"The Great Way is not difficult
for those not attached to preferences."

??..

Mike H said...

Brad:

"....He's telling folks that when you move one foot forward this represents that foot coming into fullness, while the foot behind is in emptiness, and then the other foot comes forward from emptiness into fullness, and so on. Where do people get this garbage? ..."

It sounds like a bastardisation of how Tai Chi exercises are taught for martial applications. There is the concept of moving body and moving attention together so that the body part that is leading (i.e. having weight/power) applied is where your attention goes and the foot that is being lifted has attention withdrawn from it. [I haven't explained it very well.]

It's kinda moving awareness around so that awareness (and therefore power) can be consciously controlled.

I've done walking exercises that would match that rough description.

In Tai Chi there is always a movement from hard to soft between different sides of the body. Soft/Empty is yielding and hard/full is powerful. It's an extremely useful skill for sparring - to yield and fold yourself away from a kick rather than blocking it or pushing another person away by transferring momentum and attention into their body.

Not many teachers teach Tai Chi fully and these concepts come from a fuller teaching of the subject.

It's not necessary for Kinchin, it's a specific training for martial applications.

Of course, once you can move your attention around into particular parts of the body then it can also be a marital art ;-)

Mike.

z0tl said...

in every context there is a clear cut right and wrong action.

when outside that context, right and wrong do not exist at all.

you act from outside any context.

but fuck me, at all times you are so attached to a context (usually one that is different than the one you think you're acting in), that right and wrong lose any and all meaning and are replaced to being fucking deluded.

which is where brad is at. most of the time.

except when he puts on the rubber godzilla suit and stomps on carton buildings.

Plaudertasche said...

"Don't mistake the finger pointing at the moon for the moon"

By the comments here I can tell a lot of people are hung up on the finger after all.
We all know what finger Brad is using to point at the moon... I personally find that a very refreshing way to look at some dusty traditions.

z0tl said...

ps: i wanna do 16 moves short wu style w/ mike_h. in the pool. for better slo-mo effect & increased awareness of bubble movement.

pps: anyone have a link for that dolphin blowing air rings youtube?

z0tl said...

oh yeh, okay it's the

Middle Finger

by Brad Warner now,

fuck the Middle Way altogether, because killing the Buddha when you meet him is done w/ a blog...

Lauren said...

zOtl

No one is my master unless I enslave myself to them (sounds like a bad idea, but known to happen for this or that topic).

No one can be my teacher unless they know me and the "object" and have insights on how to get me across the gap(s). (So strangers are out).

I can learn from anyone I encounter struggling in a way I recognize as like mine. (perhaps some, but not all strangers - I can't learn ballet by watching a fish monger)

I might give "clicking on a number" a go if I knew what that meant!

Cheers,
-Lauren

Yudo said...

I feel it's a good thing to lead discussion groups, being ready to moderate things and keep them in the same direction. This allows people to tell how their practice relates to their everyday life. Since it's not very directive, it helps people develop some autonomy.

Anonymous said...

"everything we say and think is a sort of metaphor for reality."

I like this sentence, but it has me thinking. Isn't everything always reality itself. Isn't everything about this comment reality? Does reality stop and start? Can reality even not be something?

z0tl said...

lauren,

you take things literally when you need to take them metaphorically and the other way around.

click on a number means go back to those posts you wanted deleted and notice most of them are links to some picture you haven't seen before, usually one that will make you smile.

lemme ask you this, when was the last time a comment made you smile?

wait for your # master (and here is the time to not think about S&M bondage) to post and smile.

Lauren said...

ZOtl,

You got me confused with "anonymous".

I wasn't the one talking about wanting number-posts deleted. I was the one saying I was jealous because *that* "anonymous" had an email from Brad.

Posts here often make me smile. I'm smiling now.

-L

z0tl said...

you're the only one here, wtf are you talking about?

Anonymous said...

Maybe instead of Dharma Talks you could start having Show and Tell.

Smile! said...

23 !!!

Jinzang said...

The Great Way is not difficult
for those not attached to preferences.
When neither love nor hate arises,
all is clear and undisguised.


I think this is talking about preferences, likes and dislikes, and not right and wrong. In my opinion, it's very much a teacher's responsibility to point out the difference between right and wrong. What's the difference? Trungpa Rinpoche once said it's like parting your hair. You don't have a preference between one side or the other, but you still make the distinction.

It sounds like a bastardisation of how Tai Chi exercises are taught.

I hadn't thought of that. Yes, avoiding double weighting is one of the principles of tai chi.

If not that, then I'm a little puzzled by this emptiness fullness remark. The emptiness is clear, but what is fullness?

Rich said...

I'm smiling cause this blog is one of the funny entertaining parts of my practice.

Brad, Please package all your recorded and video'd talks into one place so people who have never met you can learn from you. That would be more real than a book.

Count me in! said...

that's a great idea! how about a video block in the sidebar with the links?

Mysterion said...

Nah... it's waking from the Sleep into Zen and then being thrown into the Matrix - wide awake. How rude.

Tassajara is profane - outside of the Temple. SFZC is profane - outside of the Temple. Hill Street Center is profane - outside of the Temple.

Each and every one of you reading this can never be profane for each of you dwell within the temple - the very vehicle that may just carry you to enlightenment during this cycle. When you visit Tassajara or SFZC or Hill Street Center, you bring the temple with you. You cannot be separated from the temple even by death - the cycles of births and deaths turn as long as there are rains in the spring and desire in your heart.

My 2¢

batteries not included

David D said...

"It sounds like a bastardisation of how Tai Chi exercises are taught for martial applications."

Actually its a nice Taiji Exercise for clearing the old noggin and its good stability training and a bit of a leg workout. I know Ken Cohen and several others seems to enjoy it.

Hot Badger Deluxe said...

It's hard to teach this stuff because there are no rules at all and no techniques.

I love that line.

Mike H said...

jinzang:

The fullness part also makes sense.

Imagine that your attention/consciousness fills your body like a jug of water. When you move it around then one part of the jug becomes empty and another part full.

With something like "Kick to the right" or "Push" or any of the forward/aggressive moves there is the movement of attention focus from the back of the body (which is going light) into the front of the body and then outwards into your 'opponent' so from fullness there is an outflowing/projection of Chi.

With the opposite - making the body empty - there is a conscious drawing in of chi from the 'opponent'.

I've no idea how much of this stuff is visualisation and how much of this stuff has any actual inherrent existence but I have found the exercises to be useful - both in practical terms and in meditation terms.

These days it just helps me with my dancing - where weight distribution matters hugely and moving around of awareness gives a very strong lead or a powerful spin to a woman or whatever.

In fact when both partners in a dance can dance with that level of awareness things go very smoothly - as if one person was dancing with four legs.....

Tai Chi has roots in Taoism, but I learnt from a Shaolin Monk which of course is Chan (Zen) and so "A Zen walking exercise" is also an accurate description. It's a walking meditation...

Mike H said...

One key aspect of this Tai Chi style of training is to treat the whole body as a single thing rather than "front leg and back leg and nose and ......." and also to treat your "opponent" as part of that same single thing.

There is an exercise of Chi Sau (Sticky hands) which is in Wing Chun which uses all of these things to great effect. The nickname for it is "Phone-box fighting". YouTube clip.

Anonymous said...

Brad … did you really mean you are voting for
McCain ?

babbles said...

Hmm, I consider myself a (half-ass) practicing Buddhist and I intend on voting for McCain.

Justin said...

I like this sentence, but it has me thinking. Isn't everything always reality itself. Isn't everything about this comment reality? Does reality stop and start? Can reality even not be something?
Yes that too. Everything is always reality, but we get confused about reality. We talk and think about reality as if it consisted of distinct and continuous things and in terms of dualities. In reality there are none.

Justin said...

I think this is talking about preferences, likes and dislikes, and not right and wrong. In my opinion, it's very much a teacher's responsibility to point out the difference between right and wrong. What's the difference? Trungpa Rinpoche once said it's like parting your hair. You don't have a preference between one side or the other, but you still make the distinction.
Interesting. But I would make a distinction between simply making a distinction and making a distinction and having a preference for one side over the other. Sosan is talking about having a preference - I don't think morality is excluded.

Anonymous said...

"It's a real shame how so many American Buddhist organizations marginalize or even exclude people of certain political views."

Yeah, Nazis and Ku Klux Klan wizards
are people too, and they have spiffy
uniforms just like Buddhists.

It's a real shame how so many Buddhists
marginalize or even exclude people who
want to gas kikes or lynch niggers.

Let's torture some ragheads
for the next hundred years!
Bomb-Bomb-Bomb, Bomb-Bomb-Iran

-----

"how you get your circulation
back into your legs after sitting"


Excellent commentary on kinhin,
but when it comes to politics,
Brad, you are a fuckin idiot.

a said...

Sosan is talking about attachment to preferences.

If we're to have no preferences at all, that is insanity.

For example - Ill have this nice pile of glass for breakfast instead of coffee and toast.

38 said...

ugly...
We make up our own meaning...
open it up to discussion...
try clicking on a number...
fukken take it a bit easier with thinking...
It's just a metaphor...
I try to judge...
has always been essential...
Just so it doesn't sound canned...
The Great Way is not difficult...
It sounds like a bastardisation...
you act from outside any context...
hung up on the finger after all...
better slo-mo effect...
fuck the Middle Way altogether...
I can learn from anyone I encounter...
it's not very directive...
Can reality even not be something...
wait for your # master...
I wasn't the one talking about...
you're the only one here...
instead of Dharma Talks...
23 !!!
I think this is talking about preferences...
I'm smiling cause this blog...
how about a video block...
Nah...
Actually its a nice Taiji Exercise...
I love that line...
The fullness part also makes sense...
There is an exercise of Chi Sau...
voting for McCain...
Everything is always reality...
Sosan is talking about...
Let's torture some ragheads...
Ill have this nice pile of glass...
38 !!!

Justin said...

Sosan is talking about attachment to preferences.
If we're to have no preferences at all, that is insanity.


Yes

Mike H said...

Brad:

"It's hard to teach this stuff because there are no rules at all and no techniques. "

Some techniques exist but that involves the "M" word. Instead here's a couple of non-M-word alternatives tht I've used.

Sit Zazen with a radio on in the backgroud or traffic noise. Practice until it no longer distracts you.

Then you can sit with a TV on (within peripheral vision) until that no longer distracts you.

Then you can go and sit Zazen in Starbucks until the people and the noise don't distract you.

Then .... well by then you should be getting how to create your own scenarios.

Master Dogen talked about taking Zazen into everything that you do. That's how you train....

NellaLou said...

There are preferences and there is attachment to preferences. In the quote presented it is the latter that is being referred to. As for eating glass...there is a difference also between ignorance and stupidity. Ignorance is doing something because you don't know better and stupidity is doing something in spite of knowing better

Anonymous said...

@Mike h

Oh no, no, no that's completely wrong!!!

or,

watch your mind right now, are you training to the noise of this radio?

Jules said...

I'm also surprised there is support for same-sex unions among the Catholics given what the Pope has said in the past. Maybe they've decided it's a good idea to provide an "acceptable" gay lifestyle other than joining the clergy.

I know the Episcopalians and the United Church of Christ are pretty liberal about same-sex relationships, far more than most of the Catholics, anyway. Of course, the Unitarians are too, but those guys are liberal about EVERYTHING.

Anonymous said...

"Trungpa Rinpoche once said it's like parting your hair. You don't have a preference between one side or the other, but you still make the distinction."

If you really truly didn't have a preference, you wouldn't part your hair, you'd shave your head.

Jinzang said...

The fullness part also makes sense.

Yes, empty and full make sense in martial arts terms. In Buddhist philosophy empty makes sense, fullness not so much. Or at least I don't understand what it means.

It's good to hear from someone enthusiastic about martial arts.

Anonymous said...

it's all so full 'cause it's also empty

DJ Voton said...

Deal with it. It's a real shame how so many American Buddhist organizations marginalize or even exclude people of certain political views. It's no better when liberals do this than it is when conservatives do.
Thank you! Never have I met a more intolerant, closed-minded group than liberal American Buddhists, which, of course, is nearly all of them. Angry, rude and hateful people. That's why I only attend silent retreats: I'm tired of their deluxe, Corinthian-leather-bound bullshit.
I'm hoping Obama's elected, because you're all going to have nothing to whine and stomp your little feet about. You're really going to miss that.

Anonymous said...

My neighbor has a bumper sticker that says 'Somewhere in Texas a village is missing its idiot'. I don't believe Mr. Bush is an idiot any more than I believe he is a genius, but that bumper sticker makes me smile every time I see it.

Anonymous said...

It's a goddamn chore to watch those youtube clips mate. Aren't you supposed to be a rock-star Brad? Get rid of that nerdiness, grow your hair long, and speak with volume, it tends to drop down when you make a joke or something.

I'll punch your nose if you make another clip like that

Anonymous said...

I didn't know monastery life was in fact TORTURE. I was contemplating on joining Tekishin, which was supposed to Internationally oriented and thus a bit milder than others.

So now I'm left stranded doing zazen on my own, with a few commercial assholes who want cash for every time they utter a word (is it a coincidence they have ties with the guys in America who're doing the Big Mind thing?).

I swear, one of my aims is to get up a centre where nobody has to pay anything for some good old leghurting. But before i do that I should get ordained or something.

z0tl said...

before you do that you should get money, fukken ordained won't build a zendo.

z0tl said...

take 2: i hear ordained is shittier than bricks and you want wood anyway [preferrably chopped with your own hands] when it comes to building a zendo.

alternatively, you can do like that guy baker via suzuki roshi who bought the whole goddam thing from japan and when they shipped it over, they included white gloves in the crates for whoever was next to handle the pieces.

or was that for teaware?

shit, that rikyu movie bored me to death. then again, they say there's 90 of those per ksana and 4500 of those in a second?

i forgot my quantic buddhistology now, all i'm saying is 38 wins wins the race, you had me at 23.

Renee said...

z0tl, you had me at hello!

Keith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Keith said...

Hey Brad,

As with your books, I enjoyed your talks on YouTube. I found them very helpful to my practice. Thanks to Sue for posting them.

I'm also with you on kinhin.

Best,
Keith

Mysterion said...

A vote for McCain is a vote for death. Perhaps not YOUR immediate death, but the unnecessary deaths of many hapless folks in various and sundry god-forsaken places.

Your karma will then see YOU born into a place where your subsequent death is the result of your own hapless condition and the dotage of an old fart Manchurian Candidate turned politician.

I have nothing against Manchurians, it's politicians that I can do without.

Read "Life before Life." There is nothing Buddist about it.

z0tl said...

julie, lay off the paper cup mai tais and i'll recommend your hard way for the oprah book club.

touché said...

58 !!!

Mysterion said...

Sorry, Jim Tucker, M.D. "Life Before Life" not the other one.

2,500 cases of reincarnation investigated by medical doctors... 1,100 cataloged case studies - some published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Not the kind of stuff they teach over at at Loma Linda University. (Where baboons dare not roam).

z0tl said...

SH!7 fifty fukken eight

that is fukken impressive.

i'm sorry i have to go like teh buddha here and cuss trice unto myself, holy fukken synchronicity!

which branch of anuttara-yoga-tantra did you manifest to pull this off?

oh wait, it was just plain ole yin intuition beats all.

yang

Joe Ratz said...

hey z0tl, check THIS out.

Anonymous said...

"Seeing this drawback to the miracle of psychic power, Kevatta, I feel horrified, humiliated, and disgusted with the miracle of psychic power."


Jesus was not Buddha.

alvin said...

can't be! i had dinner w/ hayzooz at the aventine in la jolla and he swore the buddha was played by brahma and both anyway were cradled (and rocked to dreamless sleep) by allah.

wtf [put a comma here if you want] do i look like, your mommy?

old man 58 said...

couldn't have done'r widdout u, mr. z :-)

z0tl said...

always a tool, i tell you, daddy king i can believe, but why you had to bring teh monkey in the equazhion, i can't say.

J_F_C said...

Catholic Saint Buddha

"The story is a Christianized version of one of the legends of Buddha, as even the name Josaphat would seem to show. This is said to be a corruption of the original Joasaph, which is again corrupted from the middle Persian Budasif (Budsaif=Bodhisattva)."
source

ben franklin said...

". . . Some books against Deism fell into my hands. . . It happened that they wrought an effect on my quite contrary to what was intended by them; for the arguments of the Deists, which were quoted to be refuted, appeared to me much stronger than the refutations; in short, I soon became a through Deist."

your daddy said...

"As the Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Musselmen; and as the said States never have entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mehomitan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

in_hoc_4_jesus said...

beware the one-eyed trouser snake.

CYA in church.

70 said...

70 !!!

my time has come
my work is done
I was the original number guy
it is finished for me

viññanam anidassanam said...

fuck, can't type ALT-255 on a macbook.

seventy_two said...

The first Christian Cabalist Pico wrote 900 conclusions that contain 47 Cabalist conclusions and the 72 derivative theorems thereof.

73 said...

37¢

nobody said...

Brad said:
"Feet moving into fullness."

And we, the humble yet loyal followers searched for some deeper truth.

Foot -----> Fullness

Foot -----> Fullness

And the truth is here

Form is emptiness.

and visa versa

Anonymous said...

July 9, 2008 Buddhists, don't think about this..

Russia threatened to retaliate by military means after a deal with the Czech Republic brought the US missile defense system in Europe a step closer.

The threat followed quickly on from the announcement that Condoleezza Rice signed a formal agreement with the Czech Republic to host the radar for the controversial project.

Moscow argues that the missile shield would severely undermine the balance of European security and regards the proposed missile shield based in two former Communist countries as a hostile move.

“We will be forced to react not with diplomatic, but with military methods,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Thing1 said...

Is it "okay" to yawn during zazen at a sesshin?

thing2 said...

Did Kodo Sawaki have a teacher as un-zen-conventional as he was?

David said...

I've been inside intense monastic environments, and here's what I have to say: it's interesting.

But so is "regular" life. (You know what I mean.)


One other thing: kinhin can be an excellent meditation practice.

I've done a lot of it as a sole means for meditation when my knee was injured and I got tired of sitting in a chair all the time.

(ps: in case you don't know, sitting in a chair for long meditation retreats is way harder than doing it cross legged, so don't get all uppity if you see someone sitting in a chair, thinking they're taking the easy way out. It's actually a lot more painful.)

David

Anonymous said...

vis a vis the foot moving from emptiness into fullness
I have the thought that a teacher, a zen master might very well have said this and for that teacher, that zen master it might very well have been the truth
when that teacher/zen master walked it may very well have been from emptiness to fullness with each step.

But that teacher/zen master's truth with every step is his own and his alone.

but I can see how a student, might hear these words and then repeat them as if they were a generalizable fact and not a specific truth for that teacher, that zen master.

Like the story of the boy who showed visitors the 'digit indicating the celestial orb' of his zen master/teacher and when the zen master/teacher heard about this he had the boy show him what he had shown the visitors and when the boy raised his digit to indicate the celestial orb the zen master cut of his digit.
Because the master's truth is the master's truth.
Repeating words is just repeating words and imitating gestures is just imitating gestures

so with the cutting off of his digit by the master the boy became enlightened (as the story goes) with his own truth, and not just the imitation of the gesture of the master, but his very own truth

A better instruction for kinhin would be:" when walking just walk"
The best instruction to give:is one where there is no chance for any lie or falsehood to enter.
To say 'when you move your foot forward you are moving from emptiness to fullness' may be true for one specific person, (maybe in the world this would be true for a handful of people)
but for the rest of us it's just words and if we apply them to ourselves when this is not our experience, it's a lie
better to say "When zen master so and so walked kinhin each step was from emptiness to fullness"
Then I get to think about the livingness of zen master so and so and his personal living experience.

I think this is the problem with some of this stuff.
A student heard a teacher say something and then repeats what was said
but now what was said is out of context, coming out of a different mouth in a different set of circumstances.
It's a statement, but a true statement?

Each of us finding our own truth
It's like being a flower
coming out of the whole of it
the flower is the Big Bang and whatever came before
What we can impart is a fragrance.
Maybe there will be seeds
Maybe these seeds will germinate
but even if they do, it is not my fragrance they will exude: it will be their own

Metaphors be with you! (my favorite bumper sticker of all time)

Anonymous said...

2,500 cases of reincarnation investigated by medical doctors...

YAWN, so what is reborn?

A fixed personality?

The memory?

The body?

The "soul"? *LOL*



BIG NEWS: The world of our perceptions is not the real world. The world beyond our perceptions cannot be known, speculation is futile, so SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Really, stop your history revisionism/conspiracy/alien/rebirth shit for good, mate, it's hilarious at best and (very often) actually dangerous. Delude yourself, fine, wait for the coffin and pray for physical rebirth, but do not share your weird outflow. Ph. D. my ass.

Mike H said...

Anon:

"...To say 'when you move your foot forward you are moving from emptiness to fullness' may be true for one specific person, (maybe in the world this would be true for a handful of people)..."

The problem with this idea is that this walking exercise is one of the first exercises that is taught in Tai Chi.

It is something that a student learns to do over time - 6m to 1yr is the typical (and traditional) time taken.

It is something that most people seem able to learn given practice and patience.

A lot of these more 'esoteric' exercises sound mad and impossible until you stay with them and train.

It's often the easiest of things to say "x is impossible" or "I could never do x" or "only a few talented people could do x" - it saves you from the risk of failure and perhaps avoids hard work.

At the moment I am lerning to draw. I've never done it before. I'm middle-aged. My drawings are crap. I'm studying and practicing. My latest drawings are less crap than the earlier ones. I'm also colourblind but I seem to be slowly learning how not to be....

So "I cannot draw" is not the whole truth, neither is "I will never be able to draw". "I might be able to draw one day if I keep practicing and studying" is probably more true.

So, I draw without thinking of good or bad, without getting hooked on results, just accepting that the first x00 drawings will be not very good. Slowly I learn how to hold a pencil, control colour intensity, line thickness, depth perception, depth portrayal - all these concepts reduce down to the physical act of a pencil-paper-me.

All that said, I agree with your general point - about blindly repeating the teachings of another. That however is really no different from blindly rejecting the teachings of anothe. Both fall short of what Buddha taught of "Test everything".

Mike

Lauren said...

When I was 3 I could draw - get lines mostly on the page.

When I was 8 I could draw - get lines on a page that look like something.

When I was 16 I could draw - represent an object I was looking at with lines on a page.

When I was 42 I could draw - make lines on a page that look very much like what I am looking at.

I tried to draw an ocean today, but the page did not get wet....I can not draw.

-?

z0tl said...

>> watch your mind right now, are you training to the noise of this radio? <<

do not share your inability to see there's nothing more than this?

whyever not? him telling you about the russians' being able to take you out tomorrow is equivalent to your telling him back to never again share with you that bullshit.

when i do sesshin with you, i will yawn at you a helluva lot. while you're thinking about the un-conventionality of that yawn, i will be yawning still.

who gives a flyin' tofu if or not wtc was brought down with walker's joystick?

not i.

with 9 bows [and megadeath in the background],
mB)

Anonymous said...

Now I am training to your station, thank you :-)

z0tl said...

ps: folk who laugh at chair sitting show their immaturity in practice even faster than those who believe kinhin is for blood circulation.

motherfucking crimson nails in between your wings during a 7-days you're forced in a chair non-stop only jesus can talk about that kind of pain and that's if you listen carefully at what he has to say after the 4th day on that cross.

Anonymous said...

Now you sound like old Simon!

Anonymous said...

COME ON! Don't be surprised.

Brad's practice is utterly materialistic, no secret if you stay with this blog.

He actually told us about "techniques" how stand people who are angry and such. YEAH SURE, THAT'S THE REAL DHARMA!

I do think that his teacher is a pretty descent one but he seems to excuse his inability to get some proper successors by prematurely giving transmission to a couple of geeks who are somewhere lost in ox herd picture 4 to 6. On the other hand, Nishi-san is old and better to spread some half-cooked wisdom (that will prolly mature in a couple of decades) than to let die a lineage. I see his point.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think that those guys and Brad especially are actually bad people. I just think he shouldn't be teaching Zen.


You don't need any new Dharma talks. Simplified overview of Mr. Warner's so-called teaching:

Zazen?
GOOD, GOOD, MADE ME UNDERSTAND

Kinhin?
HAVE TO DO

Monastic practice?
BAD, BAD, DON'T KNOW IT, BUT BAD, YES

Soto lineage?
OKAY, BUT NOT SO GOOD SOMETIMES

Teacher's lineage?
BEST THERE IS, HE IS VERY GOOD

Dogen?
VERY GOOD, EVEN I DONT UNDERSTAND, VERY GOOD, TEACHERS LOVES HIM, MUST BE GOOD

Heart Sutra?
GOOD, MADE PUNK BOY CRY

Other Sutras?
NEXT QUESTION, PLS

Other Buddhism?
DON'T KNOW SHIT, HUHU, PAPA'S SOTO ZEN ONLY

Other religions?
SHIT, BUT SOME CHRISTIAN STUFF IS OKAY, DUNNO WHY

Sex?
GOOD, GOOD, GAY AND TRANNY JOKES OKAY, TOO!

Meat?
VERY EVIL, STOP IT!

Alcohol?
DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT!

Swearing?
VERY OKAY, SHOWS ME VERY LIBERATED, YOU KNOW!

Punk?
VERY HONEST MUSIC, VERY INTROSPECTIVE AND GENTLE

etc. pp.

*sigh*

/mr.fade

best foot forward said...

I kind of like the thought that each step (kinhin and otherwise) is one step closer to my death
I guess I could also say each step I take is one less step to take (in life)
maybe it's a foot step that's half full vs. a foot step that's half empty!

Harry said...

Funny times when human beings need a philosophy to help them walk.

When walking is meditation I think the mountains aren't sure what to do and so they just wobble a bit.

Regards,

Harry.

ellen said...

"As tough as tangaryo is, sitting day after day through business meetings wherein you are the only one who knows exactly how silly the whole thing really is — yet still being a meaningful and situationally appropriate contributor to said meetings is also tough Zen practice.

It's hard to teach this stuff because there are no rules at all and no techniques. Every situation in a monastery is clearly defined. There are explicit rules to govern all social inteactions. The situations we face in life are not like that at all. It's this wild and wooly kind of practice that people like my teachers tried to impart."

this is my practice. it's hard. it's what it is. it helps to hear about other people who are doing it, too.

btw: saw Dengue Fever at Central Park Summerstage in nyc on Saturday. They were FANTASTIC.

lotusinyournose said...

Did Brad write this or is someone just putting his name on it? Its a pdf I found. Its called Pissing off the Buddhists. The url is in the comment name here

z0tl said...

ok that was good and we know brad's view on what unskilled (i don't like that, wah-wah) means.

but i have a simple question to brad-chan.

once he's done writing that, how can he possibly write a blog post wondering whether or not he should delete a blog some troll wrote?

and how can he not see past his nose that his calling someone a troll=someone he so despises calling him unskilled?

z0tl said...

here's the problem with the wobbly mountains, harry, we forget and cannot relate anymore.

it took me a very long time (of beating myself over the head daily) to understand:

"there is a difference between awakening and deliverance: the former is sudden (and occurs outside space-time anyway), thereafter deliverance is gradual.

i'm still delivering you.

Nick Engelen said...

Anonymous Thing1 said...
"Is it "okay" to yawn during zazen at a sesshin?"

Yes. "Sometimes Zazen is the sound of a fart and the smell of shit."

papa said...

Blogger z0tl said...
"there is a difference between awakening and deliverance"

"The poor coppers of this widow
To all purpose are more worth
Than all the treasures of the oceans
And the wealth of the broad earth.
"As an act of pure devotion
She has done a pious deed;
She has attained salvation (deliverance),
Being free from selfish greed."
SOURCE

Vespasian waited for a year instead of proceeding against Jerusalem. He preferred to let the Jews die in internal strife while he sent his resources to various surrounding districts instead of entering Jerusalem. Vespasian eventually sent Titus to Jerusalem.

Inside Jerusalem, three deadly factions were raging endless wars. Eleazar, son of Simon, who led the Zealots, John of Gischala, and Simon, son of Gioras. Thus Eleazar, John and Simon each led a band in constant bloody fights. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, died - not at the hands of Romans, but at the hands of internal factions.

Titus went to view the city when a multitude greeted him. He had neither helmet nor breastplate, but was unhurt. He was welcomed, not attacked. The story of Jesus entering Jerusalem is, in fact, a retelling of this triumph of Titus.

Titus was the answer for Jerusalem citizenry when it came to ending these internal wars. But that's not the overt fable, it is the covert story somewhat obviously hidden just under the surface.

Your Jesus fellow isn't even one or two people - he is an invention based upon many.

Jules said...

And finally the age-old question is answered -- when you put a million monkeys in front of a million typewriters, they eventually produce the comments section of this blog.

THREE_MONK-IES said...

cute japanese-like girl wants to meet YOU, joe.

she may not really be japanese at all.

and she may not be a girl, either.

you know, sometimes things aren't what they seem.

Two traveling monks stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the monks stay in the mansion's guest room. Instead the monks were given a space in the cold basement. As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older monk saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, "Things aren't always what they seem."

The next night the monks came to rest at the house of a very poor, but very hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had, the couple let the monks sleep in their beds, where they could have a good night's rest. When the sun came up the next morning the farmer and his wife were in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been the source of their yogurt, was dead in the field.

The younger monk was infuriated and asked the older monk, "How could this happen? The first man had everything, yet you helped him." "The second family had little but was willing to share everything and their cow died."

"Things aren't always what they seem," the older monk replied. "When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold just beneith that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn't find it. Then last night as we slept in the farmer's bed, death came for his wife. I convinced death to take the cow instead. Things aren't always what they seem."

LeTigre74 said...

Not claiming to know anything about Buddhism (or really anything about anything), but just wanted to say thanks to Brad for reminding me to be careful of making assumptions. It's easy to assume things are a certain way because I think they should be rather than see them for what they really are. I'm often struck by that thought after zazen. I guess it's important to realize it throughout the day, too.

Jinzang said...

Did Brad write this or is someone just putting his name on it? Its a pdf I found. Its called Pissing off the Buddhists.

Yes, Brad wrote it. It used to be on his Sit Down and Shut Up! site, but it got eliminated when he revised the site. Which, I guess, means the article no longer represents what he thinks. Brad's never been fond of love and light practitioners of Eastern religions and that comes through rather strongly in the article, obscuring the good point he makes toward the end.

coburn said...

If one can't maintain a practice in the "surface world," (i.e. the world as it IS) what's the point? If you meet a Practice on the road, kill it! But, I sympathize. It must be a fairly abrupt change of beat for those folks, I'm sure they're adapting.

mountaintwerp bubble said...

" in case you don't know, sitting in a chair for long meditation retreats is way harder than doing it cross legged, so don't get all uppity if you see someone sitting in a chair, thinking they're taking the easy way out. It's actually a lot more painful."

You must be new here. For Brad and Nishijima, only zazen done in full or half lotus posture with back straight, hands in approved mudra and eyes open and focused is considered real zazen. If you can't manage the correct posture, have scoliosis, are blind, have severe arthritis, etc....you're not doing real zen. The apologists for this view here will tell you zen is like a sport, you must have proper form and technique. The rinzai folks make a fetish out of their koans and special experiences. These soto folks do the same with their Dogen quotes and special posture.

Anonymous said...

The reason why specific instructions for things like kin hin "when walking, take half steps at about the pace of a full breath"
or for the rest of us the rest of the time 'when walking just walk'
is superior instruction is that it holds true for everyone regardless of any training or level of training in any martial arts program, regardless of what metaphor they wish to use.
We are left with just walking when it is time to walk and not hung up on conceptualizations.

I will say that all lunch time as I was out and about in the sunshine there was a recurring thought about this emptiness to fullness stuff.

It was fun and I thank you.

Anonymous said...

The reason why specific instructions for things like kin hin "when walking, take half steps at about the pace of a full breath"
or for the rest of us the rest of the time 'when walking just walk'
is superior instruction is that it holds true for everyone regardless of any training or level of training in any martial arts program, regardless of what metaphor they wish to use.
We are left with just walking when it is time to walk and not hung up on conceptualizations.

I will say that all lunch time as I was out and about in the sunshine there was a recurring thought about this emptiness to fullness stuff.

It was fun and I thank you.

Anna said...

Oh Jules, like you're any better. Seriously, if you were any further up Brad's ass it would take a team of spelunkers to find you.

Anonymous said...

Brad said, " It's a real shame how so many American Buddhist organizations marginalize or even exclude people of certain political views. It's no better when liberals do this than it is when conservatives do."

Yes, yes and yes, liberal intolerance is no prettier than any other kind of close-mindedness.

and then Brad said, " sitting day after day through business meetings wherein you are the only one who knows exactly how silly the whole thing really is — yet still being a meaningful and situationally appropriate contributor to said meetings is also tough Zen practice."

Please tell me you're writing more about this in the upcoming book? I have almost zero interest in monastary life. I have a lot of interest in how to swim in the sea of humanity in what you call the surface world.

Justin said...

Kinhin is moving with awareness. It's not just getting the circulation going in your legs while in Mindlessness™. If it was just circulation then why not just have a stretch, open a Pepsi, have a chat to your neighbour or watch some TV? What is Nishijima teaching his students?

Paying attention isn't just for the 5% of you life spent doing zazen, but for your whole life, as much as you can manage. As well as circulation, kinhin is to help bringing zazen awareness into activity. Some people even use it as a metaphor for the relationship between emptiness and phenomena and such stuff.

Smoggyrob said...

Hi everyone:

Brad wrote that kinhin, "is how you get your circulation back into your legs after sitting. That's it." He has also told his students that kinhin and samu are meditation, and that one should continue their meditation while walking and working.

And to those folks who seem to think Brad's some zen fascist about zazen and posture, remember that the statements you're reacting to were made while he was writing about his practice, or answering a question about his practice. I've seen people sit with Brad in lotus, half-lotus, half-assed lotus (Burmese), and seiza. One of his regulars sits in a metal folding chair. Another sat on a giant yellow ball while healing from an injury. I've not witnessed any "improper posture beatings."

Most of the time I see people going off on Brad in this comment section, they seem to be reacting to a Brad I've never met. Before someone says, "That's how he writes!" let me say that I don't react to his writing that way, and that was true before I ever met him. I think that it's understandable that, if you say some something publicly, some people will get your point and others will misunderstand you. In my experience, unless presented with strong evidence to the contrary, I find assuming good faith in people a good practice.

Rob

Alphonzen said...

Paying attention isn't just for the 5% of you life spent doing zazen, but for your whole life, as much as you can manage.


Oh really?
I find it funny how people use the comments section of the blog to show how amazingly extensive their knowledge of the dharma is.

Anonymous said...

"In Tai Chi there is always a movement from hard to soft between different sides of the body. Soft/Empty is yielding and hard/full is powerful. It's an extremely useful skill for sparring - to yield and fold yourself away from a kick rather than blocking it or pushing another person away by transferring momentum and attention into their body."



I've never heard of tai chi practioners who actually spa with eachother. Normally they just do a funny slow motion pretend fight thing where every punch is conveniently blocked in just the right way.

Justin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Challah Back Girls said...

The Challah Back Girls are the best band you will hear that have the word 'challah' in their name. Listen to them here!

Jinzang said...

What I find strange and puzzling is the snarky tone of many of the comments on this blog. If this comment section was my only knowledge of Zen practitioners, I'd run screaming in the other direction.

Jinzang said...

I've never heard of tai chi practioners who actually spar with each other

Push hands is a big part of tai chi. It's not fighting, but can be competitive. There are fighting drills, that is, set application of tai chi principles that are practiced over and over.

Sparring is sparring and you do what you have to, applying whatever principles and drills you have mastered, and these definitely can be taken from the internal styles.

Rich said...

"Oh really?
I find it funny how people use the comments section of the blog to show how amazingly extensive their knowledge of the dharma is. "

I think the dharma is so extensive that the expression of any knowledge or experience in the comments of this blog is permitted.

Thinking, feeling, coming and going.
Holding on, letting go.
Who makes buddha nature?
eeeeahhh

mysteriondan said...

"What I find strange and puzzling is the snarky tone of many of the comments on this blog."

maybe some people read what Brad has to say here, miss all of his intended points, and then only manage to imitate the manner in which he says it.

marty_o said...

I knew a sweet little old 90-year-old lady from Nanjing who had practiced tai chi since she was a little kid. She could absolutely kick ass. Back in the day people learned tai chi for self defense. (As a young lady, she went on the run after she cured a Japanese soldier of his roving eye by kicking it in.)

And as a bonus, everybody knew tai chi was good exercise too.

When she came to the States to visit her grandson (my college roommate) she was so surprised that over here tai chi is a happy little stretching thing you do at the spa.

(I suspect we often do the same to anything foreign-- take the part we can sell and promote that. Zen in particular is a good example.)

Anonymous said...

still it leads to the question. if tai chi is such a good fighting form why does no one use it in UFC etc?

Mysterion said...

Marty sed:
"I suspect we often do the same to anything foreign-- take the part we can sell and promote that."

I think so too.

Last night I had dinner with a reporter from the LA Times - who wrote Alan Watts obit BTW - and he explained that the coroner thought Watts, who was actually 58, was in his late 80s when he died.

Watts, who was an Anglican Priest, sold Zen (and other matters) for whatever the market would bear and he died a wealthy man. Although hiding assets during a divorce is both illegal and unethical, Watts had no trouble doing it - in spades.

Jinzang said...

if tai chi is such a good fighting form why does no one use it in UFC etc?

The tai chi form is taught so that you can master the tai chi principles, which definitely have an application to sparring. You wouldn't necessarily know of someone was using them. Mixed martial arts is dominated by ju jitsu practitioners because of the way the contests are structured. Submission holds and chokes are easier than knockouts. You should read Robert Smith, who came from a judo background, but definitely had an appreciation for internal styles.

z0tl said...

jinzang, better run as fast as you can from this blog altogether then, because all braddy-chan does day in day out is snarky zen.

& so to help wake the snarkiest of us all up a jiggle, wtf is there to do but reflect the snarky back?

when buddhas walk through hells, they don't wake folk up by speaking of love and light and acting all politically compassionate.

they cuss and burn the shit out of everything there is left burning in the cauldrons.

mofo brad here is just getting a taste of his upcoming book talked back at him in here, that is all.

Anonymous said...

MMA is dominated by Muay Thai also. If you ever actually watched the sport a good number of them end in knockouts, especially in the 2 heavyweight divisions.

Many champs in the sport never use submissions, especially in the 2 heavyweight divisions.

Id estimate 1/3 of fights end in knockouts, 1/3 in submissions, and 1/3 by decisions.

So if Tai Chi is a great fighting style, it should be able to compete in MMA, especially if the person spent a few years developing a ground game

z0tl said...

who has the bigger dick?

tai chi or muay thai

rinzai or soto

tao or atman

can we go beyond the speed of light in a flawed concept called space-time?

what the fuck hope is there for anyone on this godforsaken planet?

gravity will keep your muons of consciousness wrapped around this ball of nothing until the end of eternity and you will still go round and round measuring your dicks.

i'm gonna go away and spend time photosynthesizing my way out of this mess and propose that the shit generating animal species is in fact an inferior goddam vehicle and will never result in any fucking liberation beyond that of inventing new ways to keep to measure their superiority over everything.

you know why you fuckers are enslaved here?

not because you kill the green which gives you life (and the method) through breathing to free yourselves.

you are enslaved because you fuck around with electric power.

that is right.

blame it all on edison.

sincerely,
the enslaved electron:z

z0tl said...

from the ministry of philosophical disinformation via jod da'ath,
lifted without permission off the intergalactic alt.zen. begin trance:

the weaknesses of this species are clear.

first weakness: their need to belong. they feel safe in numbers.
they assume that many voices are better and stronger than one and
yet fail to realize that the many voices are expressing a single
voice.

second weakness: they have a permission complex. they need permission
for everything. they do not know and they are denied the information
thus seeking validation in higher and lower forms but never their own.
this is due to generations of control through the utilization of religion,
pseudo science, and superstition.

third weakness: the persecution of individuality based on loose knowledge
of the tao nature of beauty (as an example). red is a reference
point but not the same color to each eye that sees it. thus, beauty,
love, pain, etc are different things to different people thus the
conformed view is inferior. these things are an unfolding not a
natural or permanent state. there is no end to this view.

consider that the control of information and intelligence, knowledge
and education is what distracts you from this point and thus, as is
the nature of this world, you are being set up as slaves blinded by
your pointed rightness created by the mass opinion.

am i the first or last with this message? no, but the point is clear.
the range between now and the next is thousands of years of which
many generations will be consumed and cast into slavery before
such a chance will be delivered again.

a dream is the experience of the objective self. end trance.

what to do? what to do? *twiddles thumbs*

Mike H said...

Anon et al:

Tai Chi forms are taught in Slo-mo because historically that seems to be the best way to learn the moves. The principle is that learning slowly embeds it into muscle-memory and allows the forms to be learnt softly and accurately rather than aggressively and inaccurately.

Relaxed muscles respond a lot faster than muscles that are tense since tense muscles are opposing each other and so slow the whole thing down (Physiology 101). This is why in part so many advanced MAs move so damn fast - their bodies stay relaxed.

I've found that although the forms are learnt at very slow speeds you spend so much time doing them that they actually get learnt and forgotten so that when you are sparring they just get used automatically without thinking.

As an observer you tend not to recognise the techniques when used in sparring because it looks like just another punch/kick/block etc. What you tend not to notice is that it a whole-body-mind-movement that is going on and that the muscles are relaxed rather than tense.

A classic MA block for a kick is to stick something hard - like an arm or a leg in the way. The Tai Chi approach to the same thing is to stick something in the way to slow the kick/punch down by absorbing power rather than a full-on-block - so there is a collapsing away under pressure rather than a brick-wall-resistance.

The more advanced applications of Tai Chi are very subtle in application and so tend to go unnoticed anyway. It's said that Tai Chi moves start with big circles and move to smaller and smaller circles as more and more of the move is internalised into 'chi flow' rather than body movement. [No idea if chi is real, I think it's a usable metaphor].

In sparring in the past I've found that I tended to use Tai Chi techniques more than Kung Fu techniques because I seem to have learnt the Tai Chi ones much better. The heart of Tai Chi (and Wing Chung and Kung Fu and Aikido and Judo) is using body-mind as one thing with every movement being a coordinated effort with body-mind. The goal of Kung Fu training is really fighting-as-meditation.


There are teachers around in the west who can teach this stuff 'properly' - so that the internal stuff is learnt and practiced. There are plenty of people around who can recognise it in action.
IIt looks different and it is faster.

There is also a reasonable amout of literature around (usually translated from Chinese) that explains all the internal stuff in chinese terms in great detail and explains what each exercise and/or form is doing.


These days I tend to just take what I've learnt from Tai Chi and apply it to dancing.

In dancing you learn the moves at very slow speeds and then dancing at much greater speeds. I've chosen to learn to dance in the same way that I learnt Tai Chi - so that the individual moves are forgotten and everything just flows.

In practice I've found that the same 'internal' skills that you would use in Aikido or TaiChi work very well in dancing. It allows you to dance quickly and smoothly and respond to any little changes that your partner might make.

This has been a bit of a rambling post and thread but the point I wish to make absolutely clear is that Zazen-with-wall is about the simplest exercise that you can do for "dropping off of body and mind" or "mind-body integration" and there are literally thousands of other exercises and techniques that have the same express aim and have the intent of achieving very high levels of coordination/integration that are available for use under any conditions whatsoever.

OBTW #1: I learnt Kinhin as a walking meditation with full attenion being paid to body position and transfer of weight from one foot to the other - as a continually flowing meditation. I wasn't taught it as a break from Zazen but instead as a continuation of Zazen whilst you also get blood circulating in your legs again.

OBTW #2 when I started learning about and training in this stuff I thought it was all utter bollocks. The fact that results happenned regardless of what I thought convinced me that there was something in it. Like Zazen in fact.

So "this garbage" has at least 2000 years of chinese practice and experience behind it.

None of this stuff is any way essential for the practice of Buddhism but many people find the pratices useful.

For me it's all the same. It's just different ways of meditating and different ways of working on body-mind integration.

I haven't done MA for several years now, I can use dancing for the same purpose and dancing with women is more fun for me than 'dancing' with men. YMMV.

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dan said...

Zotl,

You know which kinds of humans really piss me off? The ones who use 'they' instead of 'we' when referring to humans. dickheads the lot of them.

Mountain Top Rebel said...

To throw myself into this budding martial arts debate:

mike h, where is the tai chi form for what to do if someone runs up and grabs your legs and doesn't let go until you fall over?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z43Bgs5QnEc

z0tl said...

dan, the reason that pisses you off so is only because you have never experienced the fact that all those humans you speaketh of (including your bloody SELF) are in fact OBJECTS in your friggin' (split)mind, which is the only thing that can get pissed off, btw...

carry on and try seeing how that pissed offedness makes you feel, physically, then come back to me with another lecture about how my being a dickhead is oh so vile...

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