Friday, August 22, 2008

CNN Appearance and More Great Sky Photos


I will be on CNN Newsroom Sunday on Sunday August 24, 2008 during their Faces of Faith segment at 7AM. I don't imagine they're gonna do the whole show just on me. So I'll be on sometime around 7-ish. I also don't know if that's 7AM throughout the country or just 7AM Eastern Standard Time, which'd make it 6 Central, 5 Mountain and 4 over here on the West Coast. Maybe they have some system in place so that it runs at 7 across the country. Check your local listings as they say. I don't have cable TV so I won't see this myself. If anyone can tape it for me that'd be really sweet.

The show tapes at 9AM on Saturday, which means I'll be late for zazen at Hill Street Center. But I got people taking care of that and I will be there after the interview is done. Oh! And pleeeease don't just show up for zazen tomorrow without notifying us first (see link to your left). Drop ins are fine at the normal Saturday morning zazen things. But once a month we do an all-day thing with an oryoki meal. If you just drop in on those days we can't guarantee you'll get fed.

I have no idea what the CNN people ask or what I'll say. I'm hoping it isn't the same old thing as always. But given that this will be an introduction for most viewers, I imagine I'll end up doing the usual, "I was into punk and then I found out Zen was more punk than punk" thing.

Maybe I can get a plug in for my third book which, I've just been told, will hit the shelves of a bookstore near you in February, 2009. New World Library is, once again, my publisher. It'll be called Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate. It's a chronicle of the year 2007 in which my mom died, my grandma died, I lost my job, my wife decided she didn't wanna be my wife anymore, I did a million talks about Zen all over the country, sat a bunch of sesshins, smoked pot for the first time in twenty-odd years (and hated it), got attacked in public by some of my so-called "Dharma Brothers," plus did a couple other naughty things I'm not even gonna go into here. The moral of the story? Well, you'll just have to get the book to find out. I'm just writing this to whet your appetite. Like I told you, I won't whore out Zen but I'll whore out myself as a writer like nobody's business. Anyway, I just figured if someone was gonna write a Shoes Outside the Door about me, it was damn well going to be me. Not you.

I've read all those books too, y'know. Even Natalie Goldberg's The Great Failure: My Unexpected Path to Truth. Katagiri Roshi had sex!! Oh. My. God. The Dharma is ruined! Ugh! I agree it's high time we thoroughly trashed the image of the Eastern holy person. In case you don't think anybody buys that shit anymore here's a link to a story you should read. The easiest way to trash the idea of the infallible incarnation of God on Earth was to trash myself. If you can read this book and still believe Brad's a guru there's no hope for you. I hope that a few readers will draw the inference that it's not just me I'm talking about and that maybe there are no spiritual supermen at all and never ever were. Never. Nobody. But I'm guessing the majority will just think it's all about how I, personally, am not The Guy and won't give up their quest for the ever and always elusive True Holy Man with divine light shining out his lotus asshole. Good luck.

Speaking of which, I got an e-mail just the other day asking me:

Your Sengawa Bridge experience......

I know it doesn't matter, but what does it mean? What IS it?

Your Universe glimpse....

Again... what IS it?

Is the Universe the delusional one, and the Sengawa the glimpse? Are you able to understand them better now, or perhaps tell them apart?


This is a reference to some stuff I wrote in my first book, Hardcore Zen (link on your left). I get asked about this a lot. But the answer is stated in the question: it doesn't matter.

Look. Anyone can tell you a pretty story and say they had Enlightenment. Anyone. Even me. Stories are just stories. Story-tellers are just story-tellers. J.R.R. Tolkien could make you believe in Middle Earth. Doesn't mean you can go there. And you can't go any of the places your favorite "spiritual" authors describe to you either. If you do, it only proves you've entered their imaginations. So what? A journey to the Fourth Level of the Bardo (or whatever) that sounds just like the one in the Tibetan Book of the Dead is no more real than a journey to Middle Earth for a chat with Bilbo Baggins.

Don't believe what you read. I try to write as honestly as I possibly can. But the act of describing something is always the act of lying about it. Can't be any other way.

As for "what IS it," it's a story in a book. Both of them. That's all.

P.S. So are all the stories in all the other books.

Rock on.

55 comments:

Harry said...

I look forward to this book, Brad. It may be a milestone in the development in whatever the hell Zen is in the Western world... that or a boil on its ass!

Something tells me, if you've hit the spot as I suspect you can, it'll be both :-)

Regards,

Harry.

Harry said...

oh and...

2!!!

H.

Rich said...

Man, those sesshins really made your mind clear like space, or is it me? Very informative and enjoyable article. Thanks.

Precious Metal Blog said...

Hey Brad, thanks for linking Danny Fisher's page in reference to the Edo Shonin article he posted. I'm the guy that Edo is trying to intimidate and get me to take the articles mentioning him off my blog. So we all appreciate the plug!

Gassho!

Chopper.T.Shite said...

2 years on it makes me sad the whole Senagawa river thing - that was the "story" that first got me to cross my legs and and sit on a rolled up towel!

Don't suppose it really matters, whatever it is that moves/propels one towards the Dharma cannot be bad. That was Brad's experience and high five for sharing. You don't walk through the gateless gate holding hands with anyone. "It aint nothing but nothing". to quote an old alcoholic I used to room with lol.
(P.S. Sorry about the gay vampire thing - was meant to be a JOKE!)

Vlad the Dragon said...

Sweet, it'll be cool to see you on TV, Brad. I too am looking forward to your 3rd book; sounds like you're at a place in your life that it'll be quite different from the first two, and hopefully even better.

All the best,

- Jase

At The Moment said...

Looking fwd to your new book.

BTW, "Katagiri Roshi had sex!! "
LOL. Well. If you read "Crooked Cucumber", even before S. Suzuki died, other folks were indulging in being human. No. I am not referring to Suzuki. Read the book!

mysteriondan said...

"Don't believe what you read. I try to write as honestly as I possibly can. But the act of describing something is always the act of lying about it. Can't be any other way."

I think maybe lying is overstating it a bit. maybe misrepresenting yourself for the sake for the story. exaggeration makes for a good story.

Lone Wolf said...

Looking forward to the new book Brad. 2007 was a rough year for you (Didn't know your wife stopped wanting to be your wife. Sorry to hear that). But you kept sitting and helping others through all those trials and tribulations. I had a pretty decent year, yet my lazy fat ass couldn't keep up with my daily sitting. I haven't sit Zazen for so long I forget what it's like. And speaking of faith, I'm not sure what I have faith in or believe in anymore. I won't even make another vow to start sitting everyday. I've made that vow and broke it so many times, there is no substance to my mere words.

Hope things are currently going well for you.

Mtroll said...

Great article, brad. Sorry for your troubles. 2007 was a rough year for me too. My mom died of cancer, my aunt dropped dead suddenly and 3 months later my adult daughter got strung out on crank and all but severed her relationship with my wife and I. Then announced she was moving away (she lives next door) with our grandchildren.

The pot thing...I did the same thing. Didn't smoke for 20 years and tried it once about 12 years ago. Same as I remembered, but found I had no use for it anymore.

Hope this year is better for you. Looking forward to the cnn interview. Take care of yourself.

michael bardan said...

get drunk coz I agree with the rich cat on this 1...

michael bardan said...

get drunk coz I agree with the rich cat on this 1...

michael bardan said...

yep you're drunk an seeing IT triple...

anyhoo nooz to me your wifey had enough suicide grrl competition and called it quit:z!

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Even "enlightened zen masters" can have a mid-life crisis.

Wolf said...

Hey Brad, sorry to hear that 2007 was a hard year for you. You'll be happy about the fact that I came around to buy your books, that at least should bring you some money. Okay, I bought them because I wanted to read them and not in order to make you rich, I admit it. You won't be needing that money anyway, after becoming really famous. After being on CNN you can't deny it anymore.
Just don't take on airs, people will notice when you start acting all enlightened (as if you would).

Wolf

Mberenis said...

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jundo cohen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

CNN?

I hope you're not going to come out and tell us you're a republican!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

jundo cohen said...

... got attacked in public by some of my so-called "Dharma Brothers," ...

Yeah, I'm looking forward to it too! :-)

Gassho, Jundo

Moon Face Buddha said...

Someone should write a book on the history of in-fighting within buddhist groups from Gotama to the present day :)

No wonder so many guys n gals hid out in a cave to escape the bs :p

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what the CNN people will ask
or what I'll say.


Tell those muthafuckin assholes at CNN:

"Enough is enough!
I have had it with these muthafuckin snakes
on this muthafuckin plane!"

Anonymous said...

Yeah, dude.

Shyam Sunder of NIST is a traitor to science
and to his country.

Open some muthafuckin windows.

Mika said...

If someone can indeed tape the CNN stuff and perhaps put it on youtube or googlevideo or something that would be much appreciated. So if you do, please share the link here.

Anonymous said...

'the act of describing something is always the act of lying about it.'

perhaps, but it is the act of lying about it as accurately, as faithfully as possible

Bob Wilson's Ghost said...

Every morning I have been looking at CNN to see if there is any reason for hope. I see a few large and impressive peace protests here and there around the world, but mostly I see empty robot faces monotonously reciting the magic incantations, "We must support the President" and "We must support our troops". both of which mean the killing must continue.

Bob Wilson's Ghost said...

I have never experienced another human being. I have experienced my impressions of them.

diarmuid said...

"...my third book which, I've just been told, will hit the shelves of a bookstore near you in February, 2009."

What, no preorder?

Anonymous said...

experiencing another human being will just keep you entertained exponentially more but still unable to free your ass from the formless realms. carry 0n, asurass and deva:z.

Anonymous said...

what no free PDF emailed free to all faithfool:z?

Anonymous said...

hopefully someone will upload the cnn segment on youtube

Mysterion said...

Sorry to hear about Yuka...

now a solo trek.

Take care, weedhopper, it ain't over until the fat lady sings...

ga-sho-nuff
o-cha-ryu

Anonymous said...

I suspect the shoe is about to drop. I have a bad feeling about this.

Anonymous said...

hehehe.. mysterion called Brad Grasshopper.

hermit01 said...

This entire interview is based on the misapprehension that Zen is a religion in the same sense that Christianity is. IT IS NOT. It is closer, in the Western sense, to psychotherapy. Thus, no object of worship and the process of affirmation, paradoxically, through negation.

racetoinfinity said...

I just saw you on CNN (It took a minute for my DVD recorder to wake up and activate to record it [all digital life is not lightspeed fast, thank Spirit], so I missed recording the first minute).

Well, the most important part of the very short segment they presented was informing me of this blog (and you). You are now my blog flavor of the year or maybe decade - looks promising! I wish blogs had indexes, because I haven't read any of your books yet, or any of this blog, but already I want to know if you've read Ken Wilber, and if you have any thoughts about him and his work. Till soon, Don H aka racetoinfinity aka racetoeternity aka imageplanet24 (all blog names).

Anonymous said...

"..my wife decided she didn't wanna be my wife anymore.." When I wrote on this many months ago all you zen groupies "no! no!'d" to death; "not true!" you shouted. Zen has been around 2500 years. It works. This isn't it. You are wasting your one and precious life. I now return you to the Bite Me Rootin' Tootin' Real Zen fan club. Sheesh.

Anonymous said...

"but already I want to know if you've read Ken Wilber, and if you have any thoughts about him and his work."

If you're a fan of Wilber you'll probably be disappointed with Brad's opinion of him. He writes about him elsewhere on this blog. Brad believes Ken is deluded and has less than nice things to say about his views.

Of course this isn't unusual for Mr. Warner. He has a tendency to compare himself with other teachers, and if they disagree or teach a different approach..he trashes them as a way to build his own ego. Ken is too eclectic for Brad's tastes. According to Wilber (who used to practice zen but went on to tibetan buddhism) there are many different ways to uncover the truth. According to Brad, there's only one way...his.

Anonymous said...

Of course there are many paths/truths 1 per billionth and they all lead to Jesus.

Or this 1: not all roads lead to God, so make sure you hitch wisely.

Jesus take the goddam zen wheel for a second while we deal with the CNN retards asking of kenny wilbo baggin:z!

Anonymous said...

anony who wants "I told you so!" credit, go get a corporate gig, zen ain't for ju!

Thing 2 said...

But the act of describing something is always the act of lying about it. Can't be any other way.

Not that the deception is intention. Not that the deception is deception. It's just a fact that words can't capture the 'all' of any moment. Perhaps even the organizing intellect can't perceive the 'all' of any moment regardless of whether the intellect is trying to craft words or just engage in internal monologue.

Sitting in the stream. All is still around me. But the bank goes rushing by. Rocks arise and submerge. The surface erupts in waves and foam. But I am headed nowhere.

Lauren said...

Thanks for the Oryoki link. It all seems much easier now!
-Lauren

Anonymous said...

jason mraz is more zen than you.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l0w_BTYQQL8

Mike H said...

Is it me or is Zen looking more and more geekish as the years tick by.

Watching the CNN clip posted by Anon I just keept seeing Brad in his robes with some role in Stargate Atlantis - maybe as soom alien genius operating some Ancient technology.

If he could learn to say something like "We need to reverse the positronic flow on the ZPM to maximise shield power" with a straight face he'd be a shoe-in for a Rodney McKay replacement - but mellow as opposed to frantic.

Mike H said...

I mean Brad not Zen of course in first sentence.

Tired....

Smoggyrob said...

Hi everyone:

Amazon has a page for "Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate." You can pre-order it there for $10.17.

Oddly, the title on the picture of the cover is "Zen Wrapped in Karma and Dipped in Chocolate."

Rob

Anonymous said...

Master Warner runs down the street wildly, his arms stuck out to the side and wallops his wife, his job, the zen community and I suspect any friends. Then he writes a book about the enobling process.

Anonymous said...

oh pullease gniz..

michael bardan said...

right, I'm beginning to understand why I like braddy-chan, he's in the section where they strip him of everything, they kick him when he's at his lowest, he finds out those he thought friends are enemies, those he thought loved ones are chickenshits like all the rest, ahhhh it's a beautifool ride if you get on... alternatively, you can SIT back and let IT ride... bl@h

Anonymous said...

Brad, I had no idea youd been through all that.

And as for stories of enlightenment, I have had a few episodes that, with some PR and proper massaging, could have been used to support my claim to be a guru.

But I still have problems and dont have any right to tell others what to do. Plus the idea of facing audiences and a microphone makes me ill.

If you want to read a radical book about someone who has been through horrible things and DONE horrible things and then faced up to it, all of you, Brad et all, get a copy of John Callahan's autobiography, Dont Worry, He Wont Get Far on Foot.

The guy was adopted, fucked himself up on drugs and alcohol, was a Teen Mutant from Hell, ended up quadraplegic in a car wreck, describes the joys of rehab...and though he doesnt call it Zen and it isnt officially Zen, faced his own personal wall and became an artist.

And bravely faced and apologized to all the people he had fucked over.

Sounds grim? You will laugh your heads off--or you'll so hate him for being un PC that you'll want to throw the book across the room.

A friend and I heard a rumor that Callhan might run for public office.

'He oughta try it' we agreed. 'There is no way anyone can expose dirt on him, because in his book, he's already blown the whistle on himself!'

(Among his other achievements was stopping smoking cold turkey. He had had a 3 pack a day habit. He would smoke one handed while taking his morning shower. As he put it, 'It takes imagination to support a three pack a day habit.')

Anonymous said...

Brad, I had no idea youd been through all that.

And as for stories of enlightenment, I have had a few episodes that, with some PR and proper massaging, could have been used to support my claim to be a guru.

But I still have problems and dont have any right to tell others what to do. Plus the idea of facing audiences and a microphone makes me ill.

If you want to read a radical book about someone who has been through horrible things and DONE horrible things and then faced up to it, all of you, Brad et all, get a copy of John Callahan's autobiography, Dont Worry, He Wont Get Far on Foot.

The guy was adopted, fucked himself up on drugs and alcohol, was a Teen Mutant from Hell, ended up quadraplegic in a car wreck, describes the joys of rehab...and though he doesnt call it Zen and it isnt officially Zen, faced his own personal wall and became an artist.

And bravely faced and apologized to all the people he had fucked over.

Sounds grim? You will laugh your heads off--or you'll so hate him for being un PC that you'll want to throw the book across the room.

A friend and I heard a rumor that Callhan might run for public office.

'He oughta try it' we agreed. 'There is no way anyone can expose dirt on him, because in his book, he's already blown the whistle on himself!'

(Among his other achievements was stopping smoking cold turkey. He had had a 3 pack a day habit. He would smoke one handed while taking his morning shower. As he put it, 'It takes imagination to support a three pack a day habit.')

Anonymous said...

PS If anyone does have problems with ass pimples doing zazen or other things here is a cure:

Purell or any alcohol gel hand wash sanitizer. Rub it on your buns 2 to 3 times a day.

No more Dalmatian Butt.

Anonymous said...

"Speaking of which, I got an e-mail just the other day asking me:

Your Sengawa Bridge experience......

I know it doesn't matter, but what does it mean? What IS it?"

i bet ted wrote that. YES YOU TED!

Stephanie said...

I honestly was left a bit cold by the last book, Brad, but this one sounds very promising. I think honesty about experiencing and engaging with the pain and blues that a lot of people want to believe magically disappears when one becomes a 'spiritual person' is incredibly important.

Interesting that you've already been so candid about so much of what you share about your experience in 2007 above, except for the departure of your wife. I sort of just assumed that one from the absence of mentions of her in your writing, as she went from being frequently mentioned to... not at all.

Sorry to hear about all you've gone through and deep respect to you for being willing and interested in talking about it in the context of a life of Zen practice.

As for anyone who thinks that going through troubled times is a sign of not being 'spiritual' or 'enlightened' enough--flaunt that spiritual pride all you like; one day it will blow up in your face. No one is exempt from loss and suffering; it's a fact of life; it's right there at the heart of the Buddha's teaching. The only difference practice can make is how you experience it, how you deal with it.

As to Natalie Goldberg's 'The Great Failure'--I hated that book. I thought it could have been an interesting meditation on disillusionment as a step along the spiritual path, but instead, it was full of whining and blaming. You could tell she wanted her audience to hate or condemn Katagiri Roshi for the sin of... enjoying sex?!? Sheesh.

babbles said...

I appreciate you posting your life like this. You being a student of Buddhism who puts his life out in a relatively candid way makes, in my opinion, a very "real" approach to Zen Buddhism. In other words regardless of how much one may study Buddhism - or anything - there will always be very unfortunate circumstances one has to face in life.

Also eagerly looking forward to your next book.