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.