Tuesday, August 26, 2008

NO YOUNG BUDDHISTS RETREAT (and PRECEPTS STUFF)

I just got word today that the Young Buddhists Retreat in Montague, Massachusetts has been re-scheduled to March, 2009. So I'll be in Santa Monica this Saturday. I think a couple people wrote inquiring if I would and I said I would not. Now I can't remember who wrote. I'm sorry. So if you were one of them, I told you wrong. Precept breaker that I am!

I've spent the whole day today trying to sort out some weird bank shit. I am no good at this. If there was some kind of Enlightenment that fixed all your banking shit forever you bet I'd sign up in a heartbeat! But I'm afraid there isn't. I'm on hold right now listening to an instrumental version of the old Carpenter's hit Top Of The World. Oh God! It ended and now the very same version of the very same song is playing again!

... Right after I wrote that someone finally picked up the phone. I have to do my banking shit in Japanese, by the way. Just to make life more absurd and complicated. I was multi-tasking there just then. Something I've heard Tich Naht Hanh (however you spell it, extra h's in every name) never does. I also find multi-tasking to be largely unnecessary. We live in a world where people will try and make you think it's something you have to do. But it's really not. So get the frickin' iPod buds out of your ears and take off that stupid hands-free cell phone thing that makes you look like a slave of the Borg Empire. I multi-task sometimes. But it just turns each of the things I'm doing at the same time into pure slop. You're always better off doing one thing at a time.

And speaking of precept breaking, I was just going over this article I wrote to try and submit to one of the Buddhist rag-o-zines. It's about how the Buddhist Precepts are like koans -- you know, those absurd questions like "What's the sound of one hand clapping?". Morality is a very key part of Buddhist practice. But teachers in the Zen school don't talk about it in a lot of detail. That's because morality is very subjective. When you try and turn the precepts into a code of rules you're just back into the same sick game every religion plays. The Buddhist Precepts are vague and, when you get right down to it, absolutely impossible to follow. Yet we follow them anyhow. That's why they're like koans.

It's also absolutely un-Buddhist to point at another person and say that person is breaking the precepts. You cannot know what the precepts are to someone else. Trying to insist that others live up to your interpretation of the precepts is a recipe for misery anyway. They never will. I guess it's a good way to make yourself feel morally superior for a few seconds. But that never really lasts. Might as well give up the game.

Anyway, that was the gist of the piece. Maybe one day I'll finish it up and send it off.

Here's a quote from Nishijima's little pamphlet on the precepts. I use this in my third book (in stores Feb. 2009):

Q: If we’re afraid we won’t be able to keep the precepts what should we do? Does that mean we can’t become Buddhists?

A: To answer your question we should consider the intent or purpose of the precepts. In most religions, precepts are considered to be commandments or laws of God. They form the basis of the religion itself and they must be adhered to strictly. But in Buddhism the precepts are fundamentally different. Keeping the precepts is not the aim of Buddhist life. Perhaps this sounds strange to you but it is the fact in Buddhism. Master Dogen said that following the precepts is only the custom of Buddhists; it is not their aim. He felt that the precepts were only standards by which to judge our behavior. As such they are very useful to us, but we should be careful not to make them the aim of our life.

The precepts have been described as a fence that surrounds a very wide, beautiful meadow. We are the cows in that meadow. As long as we stay within the fence our life is safe and serene and we can play freely in the meadow. But when we step outside the fence we find ourselves on shaky ground. We have entered a dangerous situation and we should return to the pasture. When we do, our life becomes safe and manageable again.

So to return to your question, as Buddhists we realize that in our long life there will be many situations in which we will be unable to keep the precepts. This should not prevent us from receiving the precepts. We receive the precepts sincerely, recognizing their value and purpose in our life. We esteem the precepts but we don’t worry about them. This is Master Dogen’s theory. It is our way.

Q: You mentioned that the moral code of most religions is based on the word of God. What is the basis of the Buddhist moral code?

A: The basis of Buddhist morality is reality itself. It is the order of the Universe itself. It is the facts of life, which are facing us at every moment. In Buddhist theory the most important thing to see is what there is. Buddhist morality is here.

In other words, Buddhist morality has no basis other than Buddhist morality itself. To understand this point we must realize that morality is not a theoretical or intellectual problem. Morality is a practical problem — a real problem. What to do here and now is the problem and the answer is contained in the situation itself. This is the fact, and facts are the basis of Buddhist morality itself.

Q: So what is the relationship between the precepts and morality?

A: The precepts guide us in our life. They have come from the experience of the truth in the past, so we can say they are based on reality. But our lives are tremendously complex and varied. If we try to apply the precepts too strictly we may lose the freedom to act. We are living here and now so we must find rules that can be used here and now. We must find our precepts are every moment. Reality is changeable so our rules must also be changeable. True rules must work in the real world. True precepts are changeable and at the same time unchangeable. This is the nature of Buddhist precepts. They help us live correctly. They provide a framework which is exact and rather narrow. And yet we are free to act in the moment by moment situation of our life.

A Chinese priest once said, “No rule is our rule.” This statement expresses the Buddhist attitude precisely. The precepts are valuable to us. They can help us before and after we act. But in the moment of the present we cannot rely on any rule. We must make our decisions directly. At the moment of the present to be without precepts is our precept. No rule is our rule.

Q: So is it important to keep the precepts or not?

A: It is important to keep the precepts.

82 comments:

Deviak said...

What is to stop people ("zen masters" included) from drinking, fighting, and fucking if the rules aren't set in stone?

P.S.- 1

Lone Wolf said...

"If we try to apply the precepts too strictly we may lose the freedom to act."

I experienced this before. I felt like I couldn't act or think for myself at all. Creativity seemed to be non-existent in my life. It sucked big donkey balls.

Brad - Could you speak about how practicing Zazen is the best way to maintain ones morality and the precepts?

Anonymous said...

The trouble with things written in stone is they're written in stone.

Maintain morality, stop all fucking and drinking and fighting? This sounds like super-egos taking over.

Lone Wolf said...

What's wrong with fucking?

salvador dali parton said...

what's wrong with eating a whiskey soaked rare steak
while having a good hump and then lying about it?

I'M GOIN TO THE BAR.

Deviak said...

"what's wrong with eating a whiskey soaked rare steak
while having a good hump and then lying about it?"
Nothing...unless you're a zen master and your good humpee is someone other than your wife. Doesn't the public have the right to expect more from an ordained person?
In a way it's refreshing that you can find numerous examples of buddhist teachers who are drunks, adulterers, and all other manner of precept-breakers, and in a way it makes buddhism seem like a waste of time.

Justin said...

I would add that as well as it being important not to be rigid about the precepts, to counter-balance that it's important to take them seriously and not re-interpret them according to your egotistical and ideological biases and preconceptions. Giving people licence to interpret morality as they see fit can be a licence to place their own beliefs and other distortions on them. Do not kill means you shouldn't kill. Do not fall into such Orwellian delusions as Kodo Sawaki did:

"It is just to punish those who disturb the public order. Whether one kills or does not kill, the precept forbidding killing [is preserved]. It is the precept forbidding killing that wields the sword. It is the precept that throws the bomb."

I'd be interested to hear Brad's personal interpretation of the precept 'DO NOT CRITICISE OTHERS'. It must be an interpretation that includes calling other Buddhists 'asswipes', 'butt buddies' and so forth.

Anonymous said...

Teachers of the True Dharma are down to a precious two -- Brad and Gudo. In Bite Me dharma -- sex is good!, expecially when you are married and it is with someone else. Why do you groupies living in your mother's basement dreaming of naked Suicide Girls think the Mrs. couldn't stomach any more of Master Brad?

Mike H said...

Justin:

morality doesn't in fact exist. It's a concept that varies from culture to culture.

It is fair to say that humans are pre-wired in a certain way so that some concepts which could be considered moral (such as collaboration, getting a long, raising a family, community-building and enforcement etc) are our natural state.

It's also true that some things that might be considered immoral are also hard-wired

- such as killing to protect your family, hunting for food (maybe legged food), alcohol even!

As for not criticising others. Sometimes it's necessary.

George W. said...

I love this.....

"A Chinese priest once said, “No rule is our rule.” This statement expresses the Buddhist attitude precisely. The precepts are valuable to us. They can help us before and after we act. But in the moment of the present we cannot rely on any rule. We must make our decisions directly. At the moment of the present to be without precepts is our precept. No rule is our rule.

Q: So is it important to keep the precepts or not?

A: It is important to keep the precepts."

Harry said...

Doing anything is multi-tasking.

Eating a piece of orange to feel oh-so-mindful-and-buddhisty relies on myriad connections and movements... we just *think* its doing 'one thing'.

Dogen Zenji picked up on this fact and talked of doing things from many different perspectives; from our perspective, from the orange's perspective, from the perspective of us as the orange etc. etc...

Maybe better to do whatever you are doing, whatever needs to be done, with an open and embracing mind.

Regards,

Harry.

yudo said...

Harry said...

"Doing anything is multi-tasking."

It being so, it also means that a single task already being that complex, one ought not get into too many at a time...

Deviak said...

" "what's wrong with (...)"
" Nothing...unless you're a zen master and your good humpee is someone other than your wife. Doesn't the public have the right to expect more from an ordained person?"

I don't think Bard ever said anything to the contrary. One of the fundamental meanings of the precepts is "not doing wrong". The other being "doing good for other beings"
It seems fairly obvious that fucking someone else's partneris likely to induce some wrong. It is less obvious that having a sex partner will induce wrong, anyhow, because of the expectations and illusions that such partnerships imply.

While driving, you are not to cross the double line (simple in Europe) that divides the road. But if you find out that someone's lying on your path, and the only way to avoid hitting the person is to cross the line, you'll do it.

What often happens with people that have an overly rigid view of that rule, is that, having done that once, and finding out that they haven't been instantly thunderstruck, they tend to believe that their former observance was stupid, and they no longer respect the rule. But an intelligent person, knowing they had no choice, will resume their normal behaviour as soon as the emergency is over.

andro said...

Justin sed: "It must be an interpretation that includes calling other Buddhists 'asswipes', 'butt buddies' and so forth."

Here we go again.. When poor Justin is an old man he will still be shocked when he thinks of Brad's naughty language on this blog. I wonder if he imagines his own passive/aggressive criticisms to be somehow more moral than Brad's less veiled? Could his persistent anger be about Brad not living up to his fantasies of how a Real zen master should behave? Let it go already..

Blake said...

To talk about ethics without a situation to apply them to is pure fantasy. Neither exists outside of a situation in which a decision is to be made.

What is to stop people ("zen masters" included) from drinking, fighting, and fucking if the rules aren't set in stone?

Who is drinking, fighting, fucking?

Justin said...

morality doesn't in fact exist. It's a concept that varies from culture to culture.

It exists as a concept that varies from culture to culture (as well as innate tendencies). Morality is about negotiation of what is acceptable and agreeing on universalisable principles. It's a pragmatic matter. Whatever 'morality doesn't exist' headtrip we might like to go on, when we get back we still have to organise the cleaning rota.

It is fair to say that humans are pre-wired in a certain way so that some concepts which could be considered moral ... are our natural state.
It's also true that some things that might be considered immoral are also hard-wired


What's your point?

As for not criticising others. Sometimes it's necessary.

Yes. Which is why I sometimes criticise other people, including Brad or Kodo Sawaki on occasion.

Rich said...

deviak said
What is to stop people ("zen masters" included) from drinking, fighting, and fucking if the rules aren't set in stone?"

Gudo's explanation of the precepts is very clear and one of the best I have read. Drinking, fighting, fucking (unwanted pregnancy, unwanted disease) can be very dangerous to yourself and others. If you ask me to tell you what the precepts are I can't recite them, but I know from experience and insight what to do and not to do some of the time in order to help everyone continue healthful life. Having rules helps the rest of the time even though in my case they are not set in stone.

Justin said...

I wonder if he imagines his own passive/aggressive criticisms to be somehow more moral than Brad's less veiled?

Speculation.

Could his persistent anger be about Brad not living up to his fantasies of how a Real zen master should behave? Let it go already..

Double-standards again. Once more, Brad's anger and criticism is justifiable. But not that of someone who disagrees. My criticisms are far milder and more reasonable than those he has made himself. Are mine beyond what is acceptable while Brad's are OK? You just can't bear to hear it. Why? It's simple bias on your part. What about your fantasies about how people in Brad's comments section should behave? You let it go. Don't worry about me.

muddy elephant said...

Master Dogen/Master Shmogen,
Nishijima/Shmisijima, Brad/Shmad

Thanks for the fence post Brad.

michael bardan said...

I'm impressed with your non-linearity in the first half before you derailed again into quoting scripture bullshit. You're funny and sharp when you do your own banking, but as soon as you start the broken record about the bullshit your lineage spewed before you, oh man oh woman, crocodile tears laced with maraskino:z!

Stay cool and don't ever try to explain your xwife's chckenshitheadedness. I know you truly loved her and I know you couldn't help her see clearlier. Heh. Crap soulmate concept needs to go outta window too.

As far as fucking someone's wife, what happened to the other side of the coin, where your woman is a whore wanting zen dick because you never had it in you to sit until your tantric wisdom sunk into your ball:z?

I get it, your dick is mighty here on this blog, but when the woman shows you what a fuckup limp whino you truly are, then she's a whore.

Mighty zen kibitzing here yet again.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

MIKE H. - "It is fair to say that humans are pre-wired in a certain way so that some concepts which could be considered moral ... are our natural state.
It's also true that some things that might be considered immoral are also hard-wired "

JUSTIN - "What's your point?"

You already know what to do in any given moral dilemma. Your inborn intuition guides you. If you go against intuition, then you're just falsely trying to rationalize your choices.

EXAMPLE - My instinct tells me that I should not take this blotter ACID, but I may find out the secrets of the universe at the expense of my mental well-being. So what the hell!!!

Get it now? Did EXAMPLE really need a precept, commandment, govt. ordered law to guide him?

This is why the Libertarian's dream of limited govt. interference will never happen. MOTHERFUCKERS just WON'T, not can't, think for themselves.

Apologies for the double negatives.

andro said...

"Are mine beyond what is acceptable while Brad's are OK? You just can't bear to hear it. Why? It's simple bias on your part. "

Don't worry Justin, I think can bear it. I am not as biased as I am weary of your never ending fascination with something said months and months ago. If things quiet down too much here you will religiously re-enter this into the conversation. Brad might be the biggest a-hole in the world for all I know but this subject is getting kind of old for everyone but you and a few other trolls.

Lauren said...

It seems that the value of precepts is well expressed in that other religion when its book speaks of logs and splinters..."how can your remove a splinter from your brother's eye with a log in your own" (or there abouts).

If you take precepts and apply them to yourself to guide yourself that is the good way. If you take precepts as a ruler to other people's behavior, your are off the path.

That is not to say one should not speak out against wrong doing (I think...)

I also like to think of precepts as indicators, not rules. If I find I am following the precepts (e.g. in hindsight), I am/was probably acting "in the moment" according to what is/was before me now/then.

The famed, (though likely errant) story of JC and Mary M. is like this - don't take action because of moral "laws"/"rules", take action because of the situation in front of you now...who cares if there was a law regarding adultery, it was actually improper to stone Mary M. to death on that day, in that case.

If you're criticizing others, you're wasting your time. If you're "exploring ideas" with others, maybe not. If you're stopping impending bad actions, maybe not. But it all is *supposed* to be clear in the moment that the actual situation arises.

I don't live in that space all the time myself. Sometimes I find I have kept the precepts and feel good about that. I fall short of the mark often.

ellen said...

too bad bout the young buddhists retreat.

maybe I can make it in March, tho' - this date didn't work for me.

and if you're a young buddhist? . . . i am too, I guess

Moon Face Buddha said...

Brad wrote "It's also absolutely un-Buddhist to point at another person and say that person is breaking the precepts. You cannot know what the precepts are to someone else. Trying to insist that others live up to your interpretation of the precepts is a recipe for misery anyway. They never will. I guess it's a good way to make yourself feel morally superior for a few seconds. But that never really lasts. Might as well give up the game."

I nod in agreement.

Justin said...

You already know what to do in any given moral dilemma. Your inborn intuition guides you. If you go against intuition, then you're just falsely trying to rationalize your choices.

Ah but this is just a value judgement - giving intuition a higher value than morality. (Plus socially conditioned morality becomes internalised and intuitive so there is no clear division.)When all of us act there are emotional and rational factors - what of it? Zen is not a philosophy that is against either reason or socially accepted value systems. As I see it Zen is just things as they are without adding or excluding anything. Zen is not against thought - it is about seeing thought as it is.

Get it now? Did EXAMPLE really need a precept, commandment, govt. ordered law to guide him?

Well, most judgments are based on experience and emotion rather than abstract moral philosophy. But the latter is the way in which we negotiate acceptable vs unacceptable socially. If your example was about free speech, abortion or slavery or then it would be limiting and naive not to consider abstract moral principles.

This is why the Libertarian's dream of limited govt. interference will never happen. MOTHERFUCKERS just WON'T, not can't, think for themselves.

I always reckoned the main problem was that some people will always exploit others if they can. A libertarian or anarchist state would be a tyranny of thugs - look at any destabilised state.

Justin said...

Don't worry Justin, I think can bear it.... but this subject is getting kind of old for everyone but you and a few other trolls.

If you feel wearied of it, its up to you to investigate what bothers you about it, it's not up to me to keep quiet so that you don't get upset. If you want to debate then debate, but you can't silence me by showing that you don't like to hear Brad criticised in a reasonable way.

The numerous 'asswipe' and 'butt-buddy' type comments are important because it shows how Brad actually interprets the precepts in practice. Brad hasn't changed his position or retracted these comments AFAIK. If the 'do not criticise' precept includes verbally abusing others then what does it actually exclude? Doesn't this meake it meaningless? What's the point of it? To make ourselves feel important and profound?

My mild and trying-to-be-constructive criticism is well within the range of what Brad does. You should be pleased. Or is it because I'm criticising in a reasonable that you're bothered? Do you think that's somehow morally 'worse'? The consequences of freely expressed hostility are surely far more severe than cool, diplomatic debate. Is it because I'm saying it and not Brad that upsets you? Or is it because I'm saying it about your hero? None of these are valid reasons.

On the other hand, I've not seen so much of this sort of thing from him lately, so maybe he has reassessed.

I would say (agreeing with the Chinese priest) that it is important to keep the precepts and not to reinterpret them so much that they lose all meaning.

Anonymous said...

emperor without clothes, Justinian,

intuition (which evidently you do not understand beyond the stupid, rational definition at dictionary.com combined with some other conceptual definition you currently use based on the daily father figure you choose, let's call it braddy-chan) operates at a way way way deeper level than your puny part of the mind that plays rational tricks on you.

you, my friend, have intellectualized yourself into such bullshit levels on wisdomatically sounding bits of nothing that I expect you go through meadows amidst sequoia woods explaining to your unsuspecting hiking buddy all there is to know about the deer precept that says thou shall not place antler up my ass while grazing.

I feel for the pain those around you must feel when you inflict upon them your dharmatizing. it's me mikey see too lazy to iFinger my holy user me me me...

Justin said...

Stop reasoning with me (and yourself) if you're *against* reason. You cannot open your mouth or construct a sentence without entering the world of reason and convention. To value one thing over another is conventional. Deep/shallow, clever/stupid - all conventional. To say that my way is stupid and your way is clever is a conventional construct as well as operating in the domain of reason and value judgements. Intuition works deeper than any of us can truly understand. So don't fool youself.

I was once in a place similar to the one you're in. Maybe it sounds arrogant, but if I read you right it's true. You've tasted emptiness but you're stuck in an idea of emptiness in the conventional realm.

I don't have much use for your post-modernist, dada-zen with its (your) preferences, biases and rationalisations hidden just beneath the surface. I'd rather have everything up-front where I can see it.

Justin said...

Did I say I used to be there? Sometimes I still am.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Justin,
It seems you may be thinking morality as a set of rules imposed on you. I interpret morals as my own personal rules of conduct.
But I do agree that experience may factor in making appropriate choices in life. Maybe experience sculpts one's intuition.

Anonymous said...

you want to see it with your eyes or perceive it with your 3rd advaita boring eye?

the only place you were once stuck like me is your mama's womb. there and once we met by coming out of the same hole, the similarities between us stop.

I am not of your stupid we're all one school nor do I pledge allegiance to the flag of the current vehicle I happen to employ at the time.

anyway, I have no clue why you would think I give a shit what use you have of anything, gaga as you go at each turn or not.

ps: as far as emptiness talk goes, you little disrespectful fuck, did I not explain to you already that while Im Einstein's bitch in this gravity well my practice to get out was:

time is space and space is time.

why then you little thworp feeder of mu-dog which you conceptualized as Lucy you wanna tell me about emptiness I may have tasted?

Harry said...

Is the 'freedom' that Buddhism offers really the 'freedom' to be a some sort of mentally constructed one-thing-at-a-time automatron?

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

"It's also absolutely un-Buddhist to point at another person and say that person is breaking the precepts. You cannot know what the precepts are to someone else"

Isn't it about the same as pointing at another person and saying that person is...'unbuddhist'?

Surely Brad is not saying this because Jundo and others have pointed this out to him. Nahh!

Anonymous said...

"It's also absolutely un-Buddhist to point at another person and say that person is breaking the precepts. You cannot know what the precepts are to someone else"

Isn't it about the same as pointing at another person and saying that person is...'unbuddhist'?

Surely Brad is not saying this because Jundo and others have pointed this out to him. Nahh!

Mike H said...

Justin:

My point?

I'm not sure!!!

I guess that morality is maybe a natural choice to some extent but the moment you start to pick one set of rules/guidelines over another than I think there could be a problem.

When you go down the route of Precepts-Good, Commmandments-Bad, Islamic Law-Bad or whatever then there could be an issue.

But really I don't think I have a point. I don't worry about precepts.

Wolf said...

Quite a fun thing that is going on here.

So, first question, what is it that we should do, stick to the precepts or listen to our intuition?
If I sit in the Zendo and I have the intuitive urge to laugh out loud, should I do it? Probably not. Have I broken any precepts by doing so? One can rationalize it one way or the other, it will depend on the circumstances.
So what's the point? Again I can only advocate a middle way: Intution and thought should both have their place in our lives and act in a way that lets us function well within our circumstances. Meditation can help to provide such equilibrium.

So, next point of the discussion: How important are the precepts? In the end the last question in Brad's article is a koan by itself: "Is it important that we keep the precepts?" "Yes it is." If we are all empty, all our thoughts are illusions, everything remains naked when confronted with pure reality, why then even bother? Because there is also the second half of zen. Brad probably would refer to it as the more important half od zen: Everything is true. Just like in the good old "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form", that's the second half. Everything is true, so keeping the precepts is important, because they are a good guideline to minimize suffering. Just so simple.

@Justin:
Brad said that it doesn't make sense to criticize other people breaking the precepts. I think normally he doesn't do that. He just calls them names. I think that's okay. ;)

michael bardan said...

let us recap before another round of 5AM bell:z come, along with jod da'ath weekness of teh humAn species teisho study...

i am here patiently waiting for braddy-chan to realize he ain't buddhist.

to say you're buddhist is to say i am a firm believer in santa claus.

however, to don godzilla suit while zero defecting the dharma conditioned upon you and do your thing, like nike's logo always maintained in no more than 3 w0rds, which like the infinite trifecta, Father, Son, & Holy Ghost is more than enough to take care of the many wxrld:z interpretation of [foamy at the mouth] quantum reality - yeh, yeh, bohr and schroedinger will go down as much bigger dicked than einstein when all is said and done for this blue ball of water and blood shitsacks.

am i disjointed enough in my dadaistic zenholy practice to spell it out further for you?

i pee on your "conventional reality" and your systems of measurement. none apply in my head where y'all exist exactly the way i make you. & before justin the shaved intellectual proceeds to rationalize my ass into solipsism or hell knows what kind of nihilistic version of his own projected making, let me assure you:

I GIVE A SHIT OR ELSE I WOULDN'T BE HERE THUSLY I SAY: WHAT YOU THINK I AM IS NOT I.

also by the time you've perceived me, even if you actually CAN do that intuitively (which i highly doubt), i am something else, thus stop figuring me out 1st, then stop figuring yourself out 2nd, then just be, 3rd and final: amen.

michael bardan said...

let me give you a "conventional reality" precepts story, justin-chan, so that i may gain respect in your holy esteemed regarding...

when i had 1 year of FORMAL practice at hvzc.org they said here, take the precepts.

i said, fuck no.

they said why?

i said because you don't practice #8 (distribute dharma freely).

how so, they said?

i said you can't sell teisho for $7 (like it's dana priceless selfless giving for countless time less than it's worth), but refuse to offer sanzen for $5 to the wayfarer who cannot afford yearly membership (like it's compassionate beating).

where did this all lead? dunno, it's still [and all] happening NOW after all.

pffft, take a hike man justin and go to the consciousness conference over at arizona state, runs every goddam other year or so and it's full of masturbatory intellectuals that wanna make consciousness into a field of bookworm study.

joker:z!

you want precepts? here's the only one you will ever need:

BE!

alternatively, try NOT BEING while you are and see how far that takes you!

Anonymous said...

here man for the 3rd time: what you guys call intuition is NOT intuition.

intuition is not that which says yeh man whoa it'd be like awesome coolness if i farted on the cushion and burped, then got up and puked on buddha wood and faked like i'm humping avalokitesvara on the way out.

THAT impulse is most definitely NOT INTUITION.

intuition is THAT which drives the car when you get out of a wreck where everybody says how the fuck did anyone survive in there?

intuition is THAT which against all odds makes you do some shit that 15 years later you cannot explain why or how the fuck you thought of doing.

this "intuition" you guys call intuition is laughable neo-cortical wanna show off my goddam ego all over the place.

EGO does not have intuition, bro!

I do.

When I am, you are not, so take a turn and read this comment intuitively if you can, then get up and give up your current practice.

IT EVIDENTLY DOESN'T WORK FOR YOU, ASSHOLE!

c.graves said...

7 helixoidal spiraling dynamix & teh theory of conscious evolution or how to integrate wilber and tolle into this mix of ptsd and zen pills without puking!

also, why "zen masters" hurry up to label everyone else as tripping.

ps: this is a special request for jinzang and his little white homeopathic way of "healing."

Harry said...

What a lot of running around we do.

Everything we do is an expression of the ultimate Dharma: reality.

We can act with due reverence to the fact that everything we do is an expression of the ultimate dharma.

In other words; everything we do is the realisation of the entire universe throughout time; the actualization of everything/ everyone who has gone before or who will come.

Even our petty squabbles and ambitious little gremlins have their place; but that doesn't seem like the Way we want things to go, does it?

Mindfulness... just what can our mind contain, and/or rather what can it not contain?

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

ha ha... hahahahaha.... ha!

it's like throwing a pebble into a spring loaded box of springs!

Wolf said...

Okay, I admit it, the Zazen burping intuition wasn't really that good of an example to make my point. Sorry.

My central question is the following: Is mentioned intution enough to get you through your average day?

Again, I'm inclined to say no. I don't know about you, but for most everyday situations some classical ego and normal logical thought are very useful tools. It's a little bad to get too hung up on them because one day they will go away.
Intution is there, okay. I can admit that. I can also admit that there is the possibility that after long and intense meditation work this intuition is reliable enough to bring you through your average day of monastic practice, but I'd again advise not to get too hung up on that one either. I highly doubt that any person will be able to lead a functional life without EGO and thinking.

So to clarify my point again: Maybe my practice is just not deep enough, but those beatuiful moments of momentary insight wisdom, glimpses of intuition or whatever you might want to call them normally don't last. At least not for me.
And I really really severely doubt that a state in which a person runs on such insight 24/7 is possible. Even if it was, I doubt if it's even desirable. And even if it is possible and desireable for your average monk, it still probably isn't for your average joe-sixpack layman zen person, since life outside is just too complicated sometimes.

Maybe I misunderstood something. Do you claim that spontanous insight wisdom is enough to bring you through your average daily life? If yes, I'd be really interested in hearing what kind of practice is necessary in order to constantly maintain such clarity.
If not, what to do with thought and EGO if I can't extiguish them?

I can't come up with anything better, if you can it would be nice.

Harry said...

I like the spring on spring action thing... nice image.

Ah well, there's always steak and whiskey!

Regards,

H.

Wolf said...

yeah, just got me the whiskey.
only lacking a steak now.

Rich said...

"intuition is THAT which drives the car when you get out of a wreck where everybody says how the fuck did anyone survive in there?"

How did you know that? I was driving that car 4 years ago. Driving meditation is my favorite.


"In other words; everything we do is the realisation of the entire universe throughout time; the actualization of everything/ everyone who has gone before or who will come. "

You are either smoking dope or reading too much.

"it still probably isn't for your average joe-sixpack layman zen person, since life outside is just too complicated sometimes."

Its just thinking that's too complicated. Who is the doer of just this moment? Just Don't know. Call it intuition, substance, emptiness, it is what it is and you just do what you need to do from that point.

Anonymous said...

I was going to criticize Justin now.. But I won't do him like he does Brad..

Anonymous said...

see harry like bow into all 8 wind:z and wolf too because here on a blog at least some folk who know their shit from their knows will humor you and chat back, because if you'd go in sanzen/dokusan room all you'd hear is the get the fuck out bell or beatings if you were practicing with real zen masters and not westernized politically karrekt puppets.

why be sorry, why not get angry and quadruple your efforts to penetrate deeper and I don't mean sexually!

but of course I only didn't know, but I didn't second guess myself either. while you sit there doubting and rationalizing why it's impossible to do things any different than you already are (and you are 100% right about that) I sit here doing this typing.

do I feel extatique because I can show you within one paragraph of yours N ways in which you've tied yourself into gargantuan knots because you are identified with your ego? fuck no, but at times I must say you guys make me tumble down the stairs laffin, but it's mixed with crying, because I can still remember well the excruciating suffering one can endure/incur upon oneself when really NOTHING is happening in reality.

let's please not break through 8th alaya level here and proclaim nothing from the beginningless beginning exists, no, no, I just mean this type of thinking you practice when you try to wolf down the path, even tho you be monkey, it just won't amount ever to anything more than amplifying your mental anguish.

pour the fucking whiskey down the drain, cut back on the matrix stake especially since neo will stand still with the exrth come december twelve and do more physical shit that mike-h can teach you.

nei jia? aka tai-chi and qi-gong, the spellings aren't important, but they teach you how to build up energy.

take then this energy (chi whatevah) and wrap it around your crosslegged knee:z sorry man the only way you gonna get to the point where the spacetime context can bind your ass in perfect identification with your ego (persona, animals, animals everywhere you turn) is some sort of not-meditation as you may be conditioned to believe, but fuck me, still sitting of some sort.

giddy up and sit with IT, then you'll start asking better questions, coz as of now you're only licking your deer wound:z!

Anonymous said...

iphone spells nose knows and fuck autocorrected into rich. now THAT is funny.

Smoggyrob said...

Hi everyone:

The precepts are reality. If you do this, that will happen. Trying to set them in stone has the same effect as any effort to conceptualize reality. But reality isn't anything goes, if you even look at my wife cross-eyed I'll fuck your shit up.

Michael, I'm sorry you're having some difficulty at work. I was a shop steward and it's been my experience that the State never goes about these things the right way. Stand your ground. I'm not going to write any emails, but I'd be happy to discuss it in person.

Rob

Anonymous said...

pwang-pong-szing-pzat-hfing-dronggg!

Anonymous said...

"I was going to criticize Justin now.. But I won't do him like he does Brad.."

But you forgot the rest of this.
....and like Brad does to anyone he disagrees with. Passive aggressive much?

Anonymous said...

this had some interestingly similar points to teh chapter on morality in crimethinc's "Days of War, Nights of Love".

Not word for word, but the anarchist authors come to some pretty similar conclusions from different starting point.

That said, they also go off on some wierd tangents as well. But an interesting read, if anyone has the time

-ben

Anonymous said...

awwww smoggy you melt my heart, feet not, I won't invoke you as witness to my grand stand, as I'm shrewed enuff to let the ground stand me v the other way round plus I always dreamed Brad and I will make movies together and they'll be shizniter than the drat teh Cohen bro:z put out, but I gots to wait for him to grow out of this rubber ducky suit.

godZilLA

Anonymous said...

fret not methonks I have to let go of my spelling practice now that iFinger fuck my way through comment:z whoa

Anonymous said...

pzeeong!

Anonymous said...

pzonghj!

hjing... said...

fmmpfft !!!

I see enlightened people said...

great blog on precepts and all reminds me of listening to Carl Sagan on the universe: I understand it perfectly until I go and try explain it to someone else: it was a 'borrowed' understanding and not my own yet
anyway, thanks

Justin said...

It seems you may be thinking morality as a set of rules imposed on you. I interpret morals as my own personal rules of conduct.

It's something that exists psychologically and socially. If you were the last person on earth would you need morals?

Justin said...

"I was going to criticize Justin now.. But I won't do him like he does Brad.."
But you forgot the rest of this.
....and like Brad does to anyone he disagrees with. Passive aggressive much?


To be honest I don't mind if someone criticises me for breaking the precept. I know I'm breaking the precept. I'm doing it because it seems neccessary to say something in this case. A lesser evil sort of thing. I'm not denying to myself or anyone else that I've broken the precept or redefining the precept to mean something else. Nor do I insult people just because their ideas don't fit with mine.

It's like this: If we want a tolerant society, the one thing we can't tolerate is intolerance. I try to keep the precept, but sometimes there have to be exceptions.

Moon Face Buddha said...

Does Brad use 'naughty' words sometimes, yes. Does this amuse me on occasion and annoy me on other occasions, yes. That appears to imply that I should look not only at the 'naughty' words but also my reaction to the 'naughty' words.

We have no idea if the Buddha actually taught the precepts, or what his attitude towards the precepts (and precept breakers) was. What we have is a copy of a copy of a remembrance of a verbal teaching that may have been spoken by an entity known as Gotama/Buddha.

Zen/Buddhist Zealots are still Zealots. It would appear to be possible to follow the precepts and still be a jerk, and also not follow the precepts and be a really nice person.

Maybe Buddha should have walked in to the Deer Park and spoken just three words...

Get Over Yourself!

I see enlightened people said...

p.s.
somebody please correct me if I'm wrong about this: I don't recall Brad ever criticizing the BigMind guy, just his BigMind idea.
I don't want to be quibbling with what is in/out of the pasture or on the fence, but I personally do not think criticism of an idea or a theory is an attack of a person.
I do think zen meeting a culture of materialism/consumerism will just have to go through phases of being packaged and merchandized and purchased until it reveals itself as impossibe as selling stars

Justin said...

Is the 'freedom' that Buddhism offers really the 'freedom' to be a some sort of mentally constructed one-thing-at-a-time automatron?

You're right to pick up on this Harry.

Seung Sahn would say, "When you eat, just eat. When you read the newspaper, just read the newspaper. Don't do anything other than what you are doing."

One day a student saw him reading the newspaper while he was eating. The student asked if this did not contradict his teaching. Seung Sahn said, "When you eat and read the newspaper, just eat and read the newspaper."

It doesn't have anything to do with being a one-at-a-time-a-tron. I think it means being fully present to reality with the entirity of consciousness - instead of having a commentary going on which is 'excluded'.

Mike H said...

Wolf:

I'd say it depends on your average day.

Many tasks require cognitive linear thinking. Most do not.

Much of what we do is learned-actions even though we think they are not.

Making breakfast, getting dressed, driving...

andro said...

"If you were the last person on earth would you need morals?"

morality is not just about inter-personal conduct. It is about interacting with the universe.

"I know I'm breaking the precept. I'm doing it because it seems neccessary to say something in this case. A lesser evil sort of thing."

So you are allowing yourself the very thing that you are criticizing Brad for doing. I think you see yourself as somehow more righteous and compassionate than the rest of us because your language is more in line with middle class values..

"It's like this: If we want a tolerant society, the one thing we can't tolerate is intolerance."

An absurd Orwellian comment.. What do you propose to do with the people who don't share your idealistic beliefs?

Anonymous said...

Jundo says,

HezB wrote:Everything we do is an expression of the ultimate Dharma: reality.

We can act with due reverence to the fact that everything we do is an expression of the ultimate dharma.

In other words; everything we do is the realisation of the entire universe throughout time; the actualization of everything/ everyone who has gone before or who will come.

Yes, yet does that mean that we can rape, pillage and plunder thinking "this is just an expression of ultimate Dharma, reality"? I know you don't mean that.

Thus we have the Precepts, which guide us gently into directions that ... as best as we can judge in the moment ... avoid harm to ourself and others (not two, by the way) ... and guide us into actions healthful and helpful to ourself and others.

The Precepts are not laws, not commandments from Heaven. There are few "black & whites", and many grays (although some actions ... child abuse or acting out of pure racial hate, for example, are certainly black and never justified). But for the rest, we are guided to stay within the framework, within the fence and borders ... and choose as best we can. Actions within the hazy borders are often case by case, many ambiguities ... rarely will a single action have but good or bad effects, be simply "black" or "white".

So, all is the universe. But it is a universe which ... through our words, thoughts and deeds ... we make largely into what it will be and how it will be experienced, by ourself and others (not two).

Yes, there are few black & whites, and one volitional act may have any number of foreseeable effects ... a mixed bag of harm and benefit. Sometimes, we can only put our finger in the wind and hope for the best.

We will talk about this more during our "Precepts Study" class for the Jukai, starting in the next week. But we also faced this when Treeleaf Japan ... a completely wooded building ... was infested with termites ...

michael bardan said...

thank you andro for driving the stake up righteous justin emperor ass.

moon face for getting over thyself today you get a brownie.

smoggy needs to drop wife attachment, mebbe read time enough for love and take another bet against heinlein see if this time around something better than xenu's creed result:z?

who gives a rat's ass about integral calculative money making bullshittian wilberist wie.org packaged enlighternmentism? in this field you get what you don't pay for, so live and let live and get over yasself.

Harry said...

Maybe Jundo has some vikings in his sangha or something...?

Regards,

Harry.

michael bardan said...

fuck off jundo, I bet the termites ate your ass and the zendo because you were too embedded in the precept study to call 800.Terminix and send 'em off to the next episode.

for you and your eminent buddhist friends a PSA regarding uncommon sense REincarnation (of termite:z up your ass).

if, in some manner not hitherto revealed to us, reincarnation, as popularly conceived and so very tacitly accepted by Buddhism, should in fact be possible, and since Time is a factor personal to each of us, it must necessarily also be normal, and as usual, for us to reincarnate into the Past and to have reincarnated into the Future.

No doubt we have often visited the moon in a spaceship and we shall be lulius Caesar and some of Louis XIVs kitchen staff? (this is the bullshit re: manifestation on dope that rich was pointing out in harry the other day, see because you guys carrying this conversation have never even spent an eternity burning as fuel in a star yet, but you CAN imagine that stars cannot be traded on eBay, but I digress...)

We still ask "the Masters" so taciturn on this delicate subject, what is it that reincarnates - since The Awakened One Hisself never tired of telling us that there is not anything in the way of an ego-entity, a personality, a being, or a separated individuality.

The transcendental, unconditioned I-Reality, which escapes this thorough-going definition can hardly be concerned in a process subject to Time (tacitly start assuming this: spacetime is a bullshit concept, break IT!-)

Therefore it can only be conditioned, relative, hypothetical elements that carry on this traffic in their own times. After all they are our 'me's and Past and Future exist in a dimension that surrounds us and that may be accessible.

Id rather ASSume each of us is distributed among Caesar, Cleopatra, Louis XIV's kitchen-staff, moon tourists and all at the, and in the, same Time.

So then we're back asking ourselves, maybe Harry on Pot says more than he knows he says? It's clear he knows not what he says, but I admire his consistency and courage in saying it just the same.

This concludes our PSA today brought to you by letter Z and page 50 of Why Lazarus Laffed.

Justin said...

morality is not just about inter-personal conduct. It is about interacting with the universe.

OK. I agree.

So you are allowing yourself the very thing that you are criticizing Brad for doing.

Not really. Brad abuses others - it's totally unconstructive. I'm questioning that as constructively as I can. Also, if you're against criticism why are you criticising me? Anything you say to me can also me said of you. I'm saying I think Brad goes too far. There is no hypocrisy.

I think you see yourself as somehow more righteous and compassionate than the rest of us because your language is more in line with middle class values..

I think people from all backgrounds know the difference between unconstructive abuse and constructive debate. Language itself is not the problem, it's the attitude.

An absurd Orwellian comment.. What do you propose to do with the people who don't share your idealistic beliefs?

Libertarian types aren't so much of a problem, but I'd keep a close eye on the various sorts of fascists. In what way is it Orwellian? It's just realistic - moral principles are pragmatic not absolutes that work for every situation. The freedom of your society is protected.

Harry said...

Its a sorry day when I have to defend imaginary vikings and dope smokers but, a gig's a gig.

Dope Smoking Vikings, now there's an idea.

Regards,

Harry.

Justin said...

I am not of your stupid we're all one school nor do I pledge allegiance to the flag of the current vehicle I happen to employ at the time.

So what?

ps: as far as emptiness talk goes, you little disrespectful fuck, did I not explain to you already that while Im Einstein's bitch in this gravity well my practice to get out was:
time is space and space is time.


So what? Why, if you are as free from ego-attachment as you claim, do you desire respect? Why are you angry when you don't get it?

i pee on your "conventional reality" and your systems of measurement. none apply in my head where y'all exist exactly the way i make you. & before justin the shaved intellectual proceeds to rationalize my ass into solipsism or hell knows what kind of nihilistic version of his own projected making, let me assure you:

Translation: My ego judges judgement to be bad and thinks thinking is stupid. I reject 'systems of measurement' yet I measure/judge them as 'bad' with my piss.
I may or may not believe in philosophical idealism and/or solipsism.

I GIVE A SHIT OR ELSE I WOULDN'T BE HERE THUSLY I SAY: WHAT YOU THINK I AM IS NOT I.

Translation: I am only here to save you from yourselves - by verbally abusing you if you deserve it. I am that compassionate. I use pompous language like 'THUSLY'. I have some sort of messiah complex. I may have bipolar disorder or something similar.

also by the time you've perceived me, even if you actually CAN do that intuitively (which i highly doubt), i am something else, thus stop figuring me out 1st, then stop figuring yourself out 2nd, then just be, 3rd and final: amen.

I am too deep and mysterious to be understood. I will appropriate impermanence as a defence mechanism. I understand all you people but I can't be understood. Amen indeed. [everything you've said applies to everyone here and isn't all that deep to anyone who understands a little about Buddhism or science]

where did this all lead? dunno, it's still [and all] happening NOW after all.

I don't know. It's your anecdote. It's your fault if it doesn't make sense.

pffft, take a hike man justin and go to the consciousness conference over at arizona state, runs every goddam other year or so and it's full of masturbatory intellectuals that wanna make consciousness into a field of bookworm study.

Well I don't think you can say much about consciousness, but you thinking is pretty useful for work, for life. What is the use of your non-linear dadaist gibberish?

you want precepts? here's the only one you will ever need:

BE!


I already am. Everything already is as it is. This includes the phenomena of feelings and thoughts arising. To be 'against' thinking is just your preference. There is nothing holy or insightful about that. When you come down from the holy amphetamine-psilocybin mania you work yourself into (and that you seem to believe is more real or more 'zen' than ordinary mind), you'll still need to communicate clearly with people around you and hold down a job. Clear thinking is pretty useful. The insight is to understand that it isn't reality.


do I feel extatique because I can show you within one paragraph of yours N ways in which you've tied yourself into gargantuan knots because you are identified with your ego? fuck no, but at times I must say you guys make me tumble down the stairs laffin, but it's mixed with crying, because I can still remember well the excruciating suffering one can endure/incur upon oneself when really NOTHING is happening in reality.

You imply that you're free of identification with ego, but ego goes deep. You reject systems of measurement and reason. Who rejects it? Who judges it good or bad? According to what criteria? This is just an emotional impulse. Identification with that is ego too. Dogs follow their impulses and attachments without thought.

You have rejected reason and instead you are pushed around by impulses it seems, with which you identify instead. That process of identification is ego. Your writing is creative gibberish interspersed with views, opinions and half-baked hypotheses. Your 'liberation' seems to be a liberation from having to back up those views or make them clear.

I call bullshit.

pwang-pong-szing-pzat-hfing-dronggg!

OK. whatever

Justin said...

Anyway I don't have time for this. I have a wedding to go to and work to do. Constructive criticism doesn't seem to go down well here. So I'm going to piss off.

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

Jesus H,

Aren't we 'Enlightened Buddhists' so touchy! (I certainly am!... must be some viking in me, or all that dope I smoke over at the shooting range). I blame it on the religion.

Here's words from a Master, and he's clearly a Master due to the first statement alone:

"On one side we are all fools, but when we realise this we are enlightened, and when we make efforts in the face of it, we are bodhisattvas."

Buddhism certainly can be a good religion for fools.

Regards,

Harry.

Rich said...

"In other words; everything we do is the realisation of the entire universe throughout time; the actualization of everything/ everyone who has gone before or who will come."

If you have not attained this, you will go to hell. Have you also controlled your fear of dying? And what did you do with the termites? They are eating your brain cells and their is nothing you can do about it.

andro said...

"I think people from all backgrounds know the difference between unconstructive abuse and constructive debate. Language itself is not the problem, it's the attitude."

Language is always a problem. You see nonconstructive abuse in language where others do not. Interpreting meaning is imperfect at best and impossible most times, especially when you think you're being picked on.

"Libertarian types aren't so much of a problem, but I'd keep a close eye on the various sorts of fascists."

It doesn't do anyone any good to keep an eye on them unless you are willing to do some dirty work. Are you going to ban their books or prevent them from gathering? maybe even knock some heads together. It's a slippery slope dear.

"Brad abuses others - it's totally unconstructive. I'm questioning that as constructively as I can. Also, if you're against criticism why are you criticising me?"

I never said I was against criticism. I just think you are wrong. I don't think Brad is abusive. He might wish he had said some things differently but he might not. Wishing Brad was different than he is as much of a waste of time as your wanting to keep an eye on fascist types without getting your hands dirty.

Harry said...

Fear of death, oh jaysus...

No, I'll probably shit and piss myself like everyone else as I pop my mortal clogs.

I can't levitate, and my farts don't smell of mint I can tells ya.

Regards,

Harry.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

" When you come down from the holy amphetamine-psilocybin mania you work yourself into (and that you seem to believe is more real or more 'zen' than ordinary mind), you'll still need to communicate clearly with people around you and hold down a job. Clear thinking is pretty useful. The insight is to understand that it isn't reality."

I fell into this trap when I first became interested in zen. I was one of those people who thought "enlightenment" would turn me into a Kane-from-"Kung Fu"-like being, walking the earth, dispensing wisdom to all.
Now I've come to realize I'm just as stupid as everyone else on this planet. I still need to communicate and I still gotta hold down a job.

And just like Brad wrote in his books and here on this blog several times, reality is not some blissed-out state. The Ginsberg, Keroac ramblings of M.B. serve no other purpose than to entertain. I actually find michael bardan hysterical SOMEtimes.

Zenkrak said...

"But it just turns each of the things I'm doing at the same time into pure slop. You're always better off doing one thing at a time."

Always keep in mind that at any time you can do one thing well or several things half-assed.

'Multitasking is a moral weakness' according to the folks at http://www.slowdownnow.org/

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