Thursday, September 25, 2008

BIG FART™ CIRCLE

Jesus God Almighty help us all. Someone in the comments section posted a link to Genpo Roshi's Big Heart Circle page. Just when you thought things couldn't get any worse in the world of Buddhism in America along comes a "life changing seminar" with one of the "great awakened masters of our time" for just $50,000! No joke, friends. It'll cost you fifty thousand smackers to sit and sniff the big farts™ of Mr. Genpo in a luxury hotel. This is far beyond the most appalling crap I've ever seen in the name of the Dharma. It really has sunk to a new depth of slime and awfulness. I've canceled my appearance at the Young Buddhists Retreat in Massachusetts (whenever they reschedule it) due to their association with Genpo (which I didn't know about when I said yes to it in the first place, I will do better research in the future).

Someone else sent me this link to a page Sock Monkey put up while I've been away in Japan. I'm going to need to have a long talk with him when I get back to California. Not that I'd recommend either of these seminars, but I think you'd get more out of five days with Sock Monkey than five days with Genpo. I'm serious.

What's even sadder about this is that Genpo didn't invent this kind of scam. Pricey fake enlightenment seminars like this are common practice these days. There must be a thousand of them running any day of the week. There is a whole lot of money to be made in this business. As Joshu Sasaki said way back in 1974 when this stuff was only just getting started, "If you have money to give those guys, give it to me instead!"

And don't think I haven't thought about this myself. Cuz I have. When I lost my regular job, the wheels started rolling in my head about what I could do to make ends meet. My rep as a teacher is such that I could probably make some good green charging the clueless big bucks for a chance at a personal "life changing" meeting with the great and wonderful your's truly. Has Genpo been on CNN? I bet I could get even more suckers than him if I really worked it.

In fact about two or three years ago I was offered a chance to lead a luxury cruise ship retreat to South America. I looked into it and I couldn't stomach the thought. Later on I told this story to a friend who knows this scene very well. The organizers had never talked dollars and cents (or sense) to me. But they did say I'd be paid. My friend said they were probably going to offer in the neighborhood of $10,000. Can you imagine? I coulda made ten thousand samolians to spend a week on a cruise ship! Me! Holy crap! Literally...

All this comes up for me the day after I started negotiating a new contract with the company I've been working for. Here I am about to commit to hard labor in the film business when I could earn three times as much hanging out at luxury hotels hobnobbing with the rich and foolish. What the hell am I thinking?

Now please understand. I'm not trying to tell you what a saint I am. Far from it. It's just that I cannot even picture myself charging money for people to be in my presence. Can you? What kind of arrogance is that? Do people really think they can learn how to dismantle their ego by hanging around with someone whose view of himself is so over inflated he thinks it's reasonable to charge thousands of dollars just to hang out with him? Do these people have the ability to think at all? I just don't get it and I hope I never do.

But I see how it works. Now that I'm getting more well-known I see the way some people's eyes light up when I walk into a room. They get way too excited and it scares me. I don't know who they're seeing when they look in my general direction. But it's not real, and I have to work hard sometimes to convince them of that. The "Enlightened Being" they create in their minds seems to be a much more real thing than the actual human being they're projecting that image upon. I know because I've made that same projection myself more times than I'd like to admit. All guys like Genpo do is milk that stuff for whatever it's worth. That is the very opposite of Buddhism. It's sickening.

The Enlightened Beings Club I mentioned in my latest Suicide Girls piece operates in such a way as to enhance each of its members ability to scam the gullible out of their spare change by constantly beefing up each other's reputations. It works just like celebrity-hood in Hollywood. This stuff is so transparent I don't even know why it takes a dork like me to point it out. But I guess that's my lot in life.

Anyhow, that's my rant for the day. Now I'm gonna go out and scout for cool monster books and toys. Just think of how many more I could buy if I held a couple seminars...

It's tempting, it's tempting...

141 comments:

Anonymous said...

and how does brad's teaching miss? what could brad be doing better? how could brad be teaching dharma better? why don't you turn the mirror on yourself?

Marc said...

I'm confused, Brad.

One of the things that Sit Down and Shut Up reminded me of was the counter-productiveness of anger.

Maybe this Genpo guy is a scam or maybe he's sincere but with a set of values I don't understand, I can't say for sure.

He certainly doesn't appeal to me, but then again I like my Zen taught by some dork who plays bass and likes monster movies. ;-)

Either way, why get worked up about it?

He won't stop anyone else who wants to live the truth that is in front of their faces the hard and honest way; he'll only get the suckers who think there's such a thing as a free lunch.

And maybe by going through his medicine show they'll learn that there isn't and end up better for it...

JB said...

each perception to their own, but this post read alot more like clarity than anger, to me.
as a person easily fooled and starry eyed around spiritual teachers, i really appreciate people calling this out.

Lone Wolf said...

"It'll cost you fifty thousand smackers to sit and sniff the big farts™ of Mr. Genpo in a luxury hotel."

That's a great line.

If I had the choice to pay $40 to go see Kevin Smith (I actually did recently purchase tickets at $40 a piece to go see Kevin Smith at MU (Oxford, Ohio) in November.) or go to one of Genpo's $50,000 retreats for free (room and board paid for). I'd would easily pay the the 40 bucks to see Kevin Smith and probably learn more about Buddhism lol.

Yeah I know. That was rather stupid comparison, but I'm pretty excited about seeing Kevin Smith. I'd be this excited to see Brad Warner too...so I'd have to immediatedly give him a wedgie to knock him off the guru pedestal and level the playing feild lol.

babbles said...

Previously I could have cared less about Genpo Roshi and his ilk; I saw him/it as a waste of time and I had no interest in the matter.

However now this $50,000 5 day retreat just reeks of a straight up scam in the guise of Zen enlightenment. That is just some serious coin this guy is scamming out of people and it is a bummer to hear about it happening.

I too once paid some cash to see Kevin Smith talk over in Akron Ohio - about a year and half ago and was totally excited. Hell of a fun time.

Anyhow, with all that being said finding wisdom in the sock monkey is where it's all at.

And I, for one, welcome our new Sock Monkey overlord.

The Daily Minder said...

I have a friend who is a student of this guy. Some of the things he comes out with are a bit of a worry - easy answers for eternal problems really piss me off.

How do we know he is not legit? Great masters of the past charged a lot of money for teachings - just look at some of the 84 Mahasiddhas of India.

Lone Wolf said...

I was excited to see MC Lars (left in my profile pic). I'm giving him a wedgie in that pic. He likes it. I give fantastic wedgies. Just call me the Wedge Master. If my mind was a wedgie, I would be totally enlightened. I don't think Genpo could handle a wedgie given by me. Would you like to understand the truth of Wedgieism? I'm going Straight Wedge. I'm a Wedgietarian...Oh, somebody stop me.

Anonymous said...


Here is another.

Anonymous said...

From above article;

"People such as Edo can cause much more damage when others quietly accept their behavior - sometimes one must take the risk of confronting others and intervene."

Marshall said...

I would like to think that any light that would come to my face were I to meet you would be not so much that of an enamored fan, but rather that of a grateful reader who finds your words insightful and, dare I say, comforting :-)

And I wouldn't hesitate to say that I don't find your words "angry" so much as, well... reactive, and I like it! :-D

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Brad has always been upfront in telling people that "enlightenment" is a rip-off.

I'm sure it bothers him to see others trying to take your hard earned money for absolutely nothing in return. But people will continue to throw their dollars at some unrealistic garbage like this Genpo guy in hopes of finding some eternal buzz that doesn't exist.
Somebody's gotta speak out even when it doesn't seem to matter, what with a large part of society believing in UFOs, astrology, homeopathy, ghosts, gods, etc.,etc.

These days I'm more inclined to think that sitting in the lotus position is a load of shit too.

anonymous(e) said...

uh yeah...like i said before earlier, "be aware of fal$e prophet$"

alot of people perceive an angry tone when they read this post, i dont know why. perhaps they should turn the mirror on themselves for clarity...

maybe another reason peoples eyes light up when they see you is because they recognize you as the one cat out there on the bookshelves that has Helped to clarify actual zen buddhism without all the flowery bullshit, and show us regular folks that something as mystifying and magical as zen buddhism is actually accessible to everybody.

dare i say that you are the alan watts of your day?

no i do not.

all i'm saying is thanks, for being a brutally honest(as you can be) zen teacher and sharing your observations with the rest of the class.

Craig said...

I just think your enthusiasm and hope for the Dharma are really strong and powerful Brad. There is so much that has been corrupted and diluted and abstracted by people for personal gain. Stuff that now doesn't appear to have a grain of purity or truth left in it.
Defenders of the Dharma. I think it's our duty to point out these charlatans.
Some people seem to want you to behave in a "Certain" way here Brad, A la Enlightened Zen Master with total compassion and complete control of emotional responses.
Great post.

Anonymous said...

and what is brad trying to do here except sell books and a product called "brad"

there's 'a sucker born every minute' said pt barnum.

that applies to both anyone who would pay 50,000 to gempo or anyone who thinks brad is teaching something with his fart jokes

Dan said...

"and what is brad trying to do here except sell books and a product called "brad" "

What's wrong with trying to sell books if you're a writer by profession? If brad was a magician and he was trying to sell magic tricks online you could hardly blame him or claim he was scamming suckers could you?

A book is a tangible thing that has a monetary value. So Brad selling books is hardly a scam because most people who read them agree that they're good books.

Brad's books and brad's zazen teaching are two different things. One of them he teaches at the hill st street centre and doesnt make any money from. The other he sells in book shops and makes a big effort to promote.
But the books aren't zen teaching. they're just books about zen.


"there's 'a sucker born every minute' said pt barnum.

that applies to both anyone who would pay 50,000 to gempo or anyone who thinks brad is teaching something with his fart jokes"


Yes but again brad isn't charging money for people to read about his fart jokes. he charges a nominal fee to teach you how to sit zazen and stuff but that's not a scam and people who go to his hill st zen place aren't suckers for going are they? This blog is like his books. It's not zen teaching it's the blog of a zen teacher.

How is someone reading this blog a sucker in the same way that someone who shells out 50k for a taste of 'enlightenment' is?

Harry said...

People like to believe that, when we become realised practitioners, that we will behave 'well'; a bit like a broken-in cult member, a class act, all holy and virtuous and transcended and smug. Like that enlightened freak Ken Wilbur.

Maybe we feel we need this 'goal' because our lives at present couldn't possibly be 'it'? We don't want our lives at present to be 'it', we want it to be special, but we want it to be easy and handed to us from a plate from some 'genuine enlightened master'.

We want, we want, we want... Whose the real fraudster!?

Sometimes I agree with what you say, sometimes not but thanks, Brad, for not using our ignorance against us for your own gratification in this respect.

Regards,

Harry.

michael bardan said...

hi m0th@fucker:z (zTM) ... is me, mikee bee.

bradzilla, you owe me a fukken coffee. hot.

thank you kindly.

fuck you.

qbitty said...

yaza - part deux.

now with more "c'est de l'huille" pizza:z than even beFOUR.

pas du tout,
mB)

Taisen said...

You know, Brad, these rants aren't doing you any favours. Sure your fanboys still pipe up to agree with how cool you are - but for many of us, you just sound petulant.

If you'd actually bothered to read the page you gave the link to, you'd have seen that the idea of the $50k is the rich subsidising the poor. You know, I think that's OK.

I'm ambivalent about Big Mind. But I've lost a lot of respect for you. It's a shame - your treatment of the Shobogenzo was fascinating, really got a lot out of it. But sometimes you just come across as peurile on this blog.

The lone Ranger said...

Here's another spiritual god selling himself.
At least he's offering sperm.
http://www.vgmerchandise.com/store/pages.php?pageid=4

Anonymous said...

- but for many of us, you just sound petulant.

... you just come across as purile on this blog.


petulant, purile -- some of the folks on this blog are going to have to look up them fancy 50 cent words. Except for the brad fans who are still studying for their SATs, of course.

go fuck yourself taisen said...

"If you'd actually bothered to read the page you gave the link to, you'd have seen that the idea of the $50k is the rich subsidising the poor. You know, I think that's OK."


thats not how the promo's worded though is it? the promo is worded to suggest that for 50k u will get a glimpse of enlightenment. which is a scam. i'd be interested to know just how much of the 50k donations dont end up in genpo's bank account.

Anonymous said...

People like to believe that, when we become realised practitioners, that we will behave 'well'; a bit like a broken-in cult member, a class act, all holy and virtuous and transcended and smug.

good point. the point of zazen is that you are supposed to become a book promoting, foul mouthed, overly sensitive, image focused, self comparing, opinionated, fart joking, bull shitting, self righteous, anti just to be anti something, mean spirited putz

THAT is how you know you are making progess in your buddhism, the more you can be like that.

especially if you can convince folks that your fart jokes are a teaching

suckers born every minute

the rest of you, better get back to your SAT prep

Anonymous said...

But I've lost a lot of respect for you. It's a shame - your treatment of the Shobogenzo was fascinating, really got a lot out of it. But sometimes you just come across as peurile on this blog.

So if you like his Shobogenzo work and think Brad's an asshole what does it matter?

Buying his books costs money. Liking/disliking him is free.

Anonymous said...

"the rest of you, better get back to your SAT prep"

Which over the hill loser thinks that being young isn't by definition cool? How is it a diss to refer to readers being young? Brad's one of the only zen teachers who has made an impression on the under 25's.

Anonymous said...

"good point. the point of zazen is that you are supposed to become a book promoting, foul mouthed, overly sensitive, image focused, self comparing, opinionated, fart joking, bull shitting, self righteous, anti just to be anti something, mean spirited putz "

No no no the point of zazen is too bitch and moan about the fact that brad isnt how you want him to be and who you love to hate reading all the while jacking off and crying about how flabby and old you are compared to the kids doing their SATs.

Anonymous said...

Brad, I remember the first time you came to our temple, & some people were "so honored!" to meet you, & then by the time you left a few days later, it was just "okay, bye Brad."

I don't know if anyone has actually said that what you're doing is really, really kind -- which I mention here instead of in an email simply because the other voices ("you're not even a sensei!" [wtf?!]) are always so dang loud. Anyhow, thank you.

Hopefully we can meet up again next time you're in the Great Midwest (which, as you know, has more enlightened beings per square mile than even India! Some of them are even roshis!). Or, who knows, if the economy keeps tanking, maybe we can open up a proper ashram with Suicide Girl groupies out in L.A. Satori and blow for everyone!

--Vince Anila

Jinzang said...

Pricey fake enlightenment seminars like this are common practice these days. There must be a thousand of them running any day of the week.

Maybe on the West Coast. That trend hasn't yet penetrated the East Coast. I don't know. Maybe we've come into the California age of the Dharma, where the depth of your commitment is measured by the size of your donation. And maybe Genpo is just the first Zen teacher to adapt himself to the prevailing mindset. Skillful means, baby, skillful means.

Jinzang said...

Somebody's gotta speak out even when it doesn't seem to matter, what with a large part of society believing in UFOs, astrology, homeopathy, ghosts, gods, etc.,etc. These days I'm more inclined to think that sitting in the lotus position is a load of shit too.

If you sat in lotus position, you'd see the reason why people recommend it.

Ditto for homeopathy.

Mumon said...

I have more respect for my "teacher" each day because a) he doesn't teach, b) he doesn't do anything differently than what I do, more or less, and c) knowing him well enough, I know he experiences his version of the same difficulties I experience.

And the fact that I don't advertise myself as an enlightened being means the folks I deal with on a day to day basis don't treat me that way.

Mumon said...

It's just that I cannot even picture myself charging money for people to be in my presence. Can you?

Actually, yeah, after I was subpoenaed by Samsung corporation for some patent I did 13 or so years ago. Luckily the other side paid.

If I'm forced to be in somebody's presence, and it takes away from my family and other responsibilities in life, you better damned well believe I'm going to want compensation.

But not for my Buddhism.

Unless I'm subpoenaed.

Mumon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
master baat said...

"the point of zazen is that you are supposed to become a book promoting, foul mouthed, overly sensitive, image focused, self comparing, opinionated, fart joking, bull shitting, self righteous, anti just to be anti something, mean spirited putz

THAT is how you know you are making progess in your buddhism, the more you can be like that."

I hope Brad has at least one tattoo and knows how to cook.

That is the true way!
ROFLMAO!

Blake said...

You aren't the first to defend the Dharma and you won't be the last. Calling "bullshit" on something that is "bullshit" is your duty.

Anonymous said...

anonymous1: - but for many of us, you just sound petulant.

... you just come across as purile on this blog.

anonumous2: petulant, purile -- some of the folks on this blog are going to have to look up them fancy 50 cent words. Except for the brad fans who are still studying for their SATs, of course.


Pay no attention to anonymous1. He's just desperately trying to come off as an intelligent outsider. An outsider who for some reason compulsively posts on Brad's blog even though he hates Brad and has nothing substantial to say. Just a big impotent douche bag. By the way, the douche bag isn't as smart as he thinks -- he misspelled puerile.

Taisen said...

Given that this is now my second post on this blog (and I won't trouble you further), I'm guessing "intelligent outsider" is probably reasonably accurate - occasional typo excepted. Thanks for the welcome.

I hope I don't hate anyone - I don't think that the tone of my first post could have conveyed that, and if I'm mistaken, I honestly apologise.

anonymous 3 said...

don't let anything anyone says here bother you.. it's just lots of fucked up people marveling at their own wretchedness..

Anonymous said...

this place is funny.

Stupid Puppets said...

OK then. Brad and his followers are just RIGHT while Genpo is just WRONG. Period.

There is no place for reasonable debate, for more than one point of view being heard, for open-mindedness, for seeing our own limitations, for understanding, for basic respect for our fellow humans just judgement and hate. Brad's view is simply right. Brad knows all about enlightenment (or its nonexistence) and the best way to attain it (or the impossibility of attaining it) even though he is not enlightened and has never experienced it. And Brad's followers also know all about it even though they've not experienced it.

So how do you all know? Cos the Bible tells you so - not wisdom or experience, but dogma.

Instead of all this attachment and opinionating, division and judgement, why don't you all as Katagiri used to say.... sit down and shut up? Don't close down - open up.

Alphonzen said...

I don't think Brad is angry at all.

But I am unsure as to how effective he is being here. Maybe acceptance of the inevitable should be the course here.
Big mind will always be here even if you criticise it.

Plus no sane person will spend $50,000, and so trying to convince an insane person is ineffective.

But I can understand Brads point. He has found something real and effective in zazen and doesn't want it to be tainted by stupidity should genuine people be discouraged. I think his motives are clearly sincere. That is, more authentic and truth seeking people should be shown a clear path to the truth of zen- which is zazen. Not big mind.

Mumon said...

Stupid Puppets :

I don't "follow" Mr. Warner.

But I do realize I could be making a lot more money than I do, even though my intellectual property far outsells both Brad Warner's and Genpo's.

Anonymous said...

come on, just go over everything again. one more time...

Concerned Mother said...

I too feel $50,000 is VERY suspect. But, Brad not wanting to be Involved with other Buddhists that are involved or associated with Genpo is a bit hypocritical.
Why then is he a a affiliated with " New World Library" whom supports such BIG TIME scam artist like Eckhart Tolle? Please Answer Brad. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

New World library

http://www.newworldlibrary.com/productdetails.cfm?PC=1

Big Old Fart said...

Funny!

Brad's publisher also represents Hal and Sidra Stone, who's work is the "primary inspiration" for the Big Mind process.

This world is awesome :-D

Alphonzen said...

Eckhart Tolle isn't a scam artist.

His teachings have been very helpful in my life.

Mettai Cherry said...

This sort of thing has been around for a lot longer than 1974. Remember "Sexy Sadie" (AKA Maharishi Makesh Yogi) by John Lennon? Very far down into the TM™ website it mentions the $2000 price tag.

"Well we all shine on
Like the moon and the stars and the sun" JL

dzj said...

Outrage and anger are not a problem.

This is the dharma we're talking about. If the truth doesn't matter to you, maybe outrage and anger are not appropriate.

Attachment is a problem. If anger is merely epiphenomenal (i.e., it arises but is not itself a cause), what is beneath? It could be love, for all you know.

Buddhism is not about the suppression of emotion to favor affectations of wisdom or saintliness.

People who take your money while giving false promises of happiness are spiritual thieves. They aren't only stealing your money, but distancing you from any spiritual potential you may possess to realize your true self. If you're a teacher who is interested in that potential in others, this is a high crime.

If you're a teacher and you have compassion for others, if your reaction to this is some pallid, toothless babble about being careful in your spiritual search, you're giving people who look to you for guidance a long shrug.

If you look to a teacher who uses crude language or imagery and are disgusted, you are attached to taboos and etiquette. You're playing the perpetual sick human game of looking for reasons to be offended or excited.

If I were a spiritual teacher, I would want to confront the destruction of my spiritual lineage by self-aggrandizing hucksters directly and plainly.

We don't hem and haw about the dangers of being consumed by inconsolable rage, the attachment to a endless seesaw of pleasure and disappointment, or the primacy of consistent practice in the face of our finite lives. Why should we do so in the face of corruptors of the dharma?

Charlatans are charlatans. Buddhism is about facing reality without reservations or distractions, not softening the psychological blow of your perceptions and judgements with qualifications and kind words.

Sometimes things aren't just different, they're wrong, no matter what the increasingly New Age weekend hobby "Buddhism" is to the West.

Brad evidently doesn't want to enable or lend legitimacy to this tendency for anything-goes Buddhism. That's the difference between a teacher and a therapist.

Anonymous said...

I don’t believe there is anything good that can come out of Big Mind. The reason being that it focuses too much on enlightenment.

What do those fools want enlightenment for? Do most people know what enlightenment is?

If it’s defined by Genpo Roshi than it can be attained and taken with you out the door. Thats how most people sell spiritual experiences, they pick and choose one out of many experiences in the whole spectrum of emotion and declare it better than any other state of mind.

The way I understood Zen is that enlightenment does not exist in anywhere within the realm of thought. In other words, its like space, you can’t grasp it, no shape nor form. How can anybody offer that to people? How can anyone grasp that immediately (or even at all)?

I understand what Brad means. Zen has no product because the product is already there. How can they give you something you already have? You cannot find enlightenment anywhere outside yourself. So if thats the case, what is the point of all this? That is the question, not “when can I get it?”.

If you wan’t something to grasp, wait until they perfect pleasure drugs and you can feel enlightened in seconds.

Jules said...

Zen has no product because the product is already there.

“For 40 years I’ve been selling water
by the bank of a river!
Ho! Ho!
My labors have been wholly without merit.”

Harada Sogaku (1870-1961)

will said...

it's probably incredibly enlightening realizing you just spent $50,000 on nothing.

nanook said...

where is the victim here?

someone who donates 50k is some bruce wayne type of top-10000-scene figure, maybe from some political clan family. they want to "donate" for some reason, and getting to meet gen-poo and possibly befriend him (in a diplomatical way) is a nice side effect.

thats how i picture it.

what i notice for a fact is, that brad does not give details about what gen-poo does whith the money he gets. or how much the hotel gets and how much the prostitutes, if any.

i would need this information to judge.

would habe been handy if brad had done more research on this, cause i dont care enough to do it myself.

and thus, for the time beeing i will not judge gen-poo, because i CAN'T

nanook said...

it is ethnocentric to protect buddhism from anything-goes buddhism.

true buddhism can not be lost anyway, but if you are ethnocentric you will not admit that.

it is not necessaryly ethnocentric to protect the world or people from anything-goes buddhism.

but what is anything-goes buddhism to the world?

it is simply the same capitalism that goes on everywhere and you agree with that, even if you do not like to join that world in a proactive powerfull way. (i dont)

feel free to bring ethics to the capitalistic world, but please get the proportions right and dont mix etnocentric feelings (about how something sacred -your ethno.ethos- is offended) into theese global ethics.

as for bringing global ethics to pluralistic capitalism, it is not done right, by bringing some baseheads down. like gen-poo or his customers, arguably. that would be terrorizm (ethnocentric and reactionary).

it is done step by step.

as for going step by step: would you rather have capitalists spend 50k on coke and 50k on donations for the National Rifle Association, or 50 k on coke and 50 k on gen-poo.

Smoggyrob said...

Hi everyone:

[Rob scratches "cruise" off his list of DSI fundraising ideas]

Dzj, thank you. I think your comment nailed this topic. I appreciate Brad's take on things because he calls it as he sees it. There is no affectation.

Genpo is what Genpo is, a guy who asks for $50,000 for the pleasure of his company. Robin Hood? Robin Hood robbed from the rich. Like the story as much as you want, he was by any definition a criminal.

Taisen, thank you for speaking your mind. Different people react differently to Brad's writing/speech. You don't care for it. It's the way I speak. Guys where I work (a bunch of ex-mechanics) wouldn't even notice it.

We all know that online textual communication is not as effective as face-to-face communication. Only about 7% of our face-to-face communication involves words, about 93% is tone and body language. Brad isn't angry, and I don't know anyone who's met him or seen a video of a talk who would disagree.

Brad's teaching is, in my experience, sound. Cutting through my own bullshit has made my life better. We really do create every bit of misery ourselves. The absolute freedom of this path is that, to the extent that we are aware, we can choose not to suffer by choosing not to do the things that cause us to suffer. And the less I suffer, the less those around me suffer, it's two sides of the same coin.

Brad's teaching does not include anything he's given me, he hasn't given me a goddamn thing. Every attempt I've made to get anything from him has been thrown back in my face. The result of having my every bullshit idea or excuse knocked away is that I'm left with reality.

And what have I given him? Over four years, somewhere around a thousand dollars (estimating $5/week). That leaves me with $49,000 for ashrams, Suicide Girls, blow, and the NRA.

Rob

Anonymous said...

Okay, super match- Kodo Sawaki with the Kyosaku, and Genpo with ken (because he's a tool, a dildo).

I play too much. I say that this is bad for me, but I just can't help myself.

Moon Face Buddha said...

Imagine the Cognitive Dissonance of paying $50,000 and NOT having a Big Mind enlightenment :)

Making people pay huge sums of money is almost a guarantee of success. Nobody wants to admit that they have been taken for a sucker, and so they will most likely smile at Gempo and convince themselves that they have experienced a major life changing enlightenment.

Anonymous said...

There is no affectation.

are you kidding? it is mostly affectation, a created persona, a packaged product, an image, an intentionally developed fiction, a 'bad boy' facade, a pose (he's was a kid from the wealthy cleveland suburbs with a garage band next to dad's cadillac posing as a punk) called 'brad'

don't breathe in his farts

suckers born every minute

The Muppet Show said...

I understand what Brad means. Zen has no product because the product is already there. How can they give you something you already have? You cannot find enlightenment anywhere outside yourself. So if thats the case, what is the point of all this? That is the question, not “when can I get it?”.

In that case why are you practicing? Why not watch TV instead? And in what sense can Brad's interpretation be 'true Buddhism' - the true path to realise that there's nothing to realise? If that was true then there is no point to Buddhist practice at all - we'd be better off not ever having heard of enlightenment.

Just because in a sense we already have Buddha Nature doesn't mean it doesn't have to be realised. Some schools use 'just sitting' and emphasise abandonment of the goal in order to realise it, some emphasise koans and a more goal-oriented attitude in order to break through to the same realisation.

Do you really think that the only realisation in Buddhism is that there is nothing to realise. Enlightenment is realisation of our real nature. If we sit without any realisation this is no different from sitting on a bus no matter how correct out posture. Whether in the ultimate sense we 'already have' enlightenment is irrelevant if it is merely a point of docrine. This 'fact' will not release us from suffering unless we can go onto realise it's true meaning.

To my knowledge, Genpo has not offered anyone 'enlightenment in a weekend' but only the chance of a 'glimpse'. If anyone has evidence otherwise please give a quote or reference.

Realizing your life as your life you realize the exertion of Awake Awareness. Realizing this, everything you do is actually done as the Way itself. There is no big or small, self or other, beginning, ending—and so this Way exists now. You practice and realize the Way of Awake Awareness by picking up one thing and penetrating it, by finishing with it through understanding it. The place is here, the Way everywhere. You cannot come to the limits of the truth since your study of the Way of Awareness gives rise simultaneously to your scope of vision. Do not limit realization within the limits of your own knowledge. Even after realization is manifest, it is so intimate it cannot be known as personal and so any expression of it must always leave room for more.

The monk Baoche of Magu mountain sat fanning himself when a monk came and asked, "The nature of the wind is constant and acts universally. Why do you use a fan?".

The master responded, "Although you understand the constant nature of the wind, you do not see its universal action".

"What is this universal action?", the monk asked.

The master fanned himself, the monk bowed.

This is the vital way of the transmission of the enlightening experience of Awake Awareness. If you say we do not need to use a fan because the nature of the wind is constant, that our knowledge of this constancy requires no fan, you don't know anything at all about the winds nature or of constancy. It is due to the constant nature of Awake Awareness that it can make the earth golden, and long rivers to run with ghee.
- Dogen, Genjokoan

qbitty said...

/z@z3n period 0n

bell,
bell,
bell,
bell.

Mumon said...

If that was true then there is no point to Buddhist practice at all - we'd be better off not ever having heard of enlightenment.

Well, it all depends on what you mean by "enlightenment."

If you mean one dramatic scene where the clouds open and Guan-Yin herself winks at you, nobody - nobody needs it.

If realization means developing a skill which we are innately capable of and even use regardless of our practice or belief, yes, it's helpful to realize.

But skills are not honed in 3 days or 5 days.

Your use of the term "glimpse" is a useful place to highlight the problem with Genpo (at least from a Rinzai perspective, and he claims to be Rinzai as much as Soto).

"Glimpse" might be used to refer stage 3 of this version of the 10 ox herding pictures.

"The path to enlightenment has been glimpsed..."

The path ain't enlightenment itself.

Yet the promotional material says, "Those lucky enough to receive this type of personal attention can experience years, even decades, of progress in just a few days, shedding illusions that have held them back, experiencing deep realizations about their true nature, increasing their wisdom and compassion, and increasing their ability to serve others."

It's clear that when you put the ox herding picture side-by-side with the Genpo material, the idea of the cultivation of discipline is missing, and shelling out $50K to think you're getting that discipline doesn't set you out on the long dark lonely journey required for the cultivation of that discipline.

If John Daido Loori is to be believed, his (and Genpo's) teacher Maezumi never, ever gave him any encouragement or coddling once they were serious "students" of Maezumi. This is for a reason: you don't want the student to mistake the experiences regarding relationship with the teacher for the realization.

That's what's very problematic about selling "voice dialog" stuff as Zen.


(If you use the version of Shibun, the point might be even more emphasized.)

99% of people who call themselves Buddhists are the social rejects of society. Fuck all y'all. said...

"are you kidding? it is mostly affectation, a created persona, a packaged product, an image, an intentionally developed fiction, a 'bad boy' facade, a pose (he's was a kid from the wealthy cleveland suburbs with a garage band next to dad's cadillac posing as a punk) called 'brad'"

So hang on because your parents are middle clasee means you can't say 'fuck' and if you do it's affected?


" posing as a punk"

outside of Eastern Europe nearly all punks are from the suburbs. So it's not a pose if the majority of punks are middle class is it? Pretty much all youth sub cultures are sustained by middle class suburban kids. what's the problem with that exactly?

what the fuck are you actually talking about? twat.


on a related topic, the only people who use the phrase 'wannabe hipsters' are sad ugly people who have shitty taste in clothes and secretly wish they were well off, thin and at art school with loads of friends. looosers.

The stupid thing is that 'wannabe hipster' indicates that there are real hipsters out there somewhere but the people who use 'wannabe hipsters' refuse to grant anybody the status of ' real hipster'. it's always wannabe hipster. which clearly shows they're full of shit. they just can't handle the fact that they aren't a hipster and never will be.

PA said...

Looking at the Big Mind site a little deeper and especially the Zen lineage Genpo says he comes from, it's quite scary,eh. Yasutani Roshi is in there. Is he the same guy who was the master of Kapleau, who wrote 3 Pillars of Zen? Is it all connected? Shit! I really liked that book...
It sure scares me all this talk of enlightenment, though. It just makes me not want to have anything to do with anyone who wears a robe or who teaches Zen. So in that repect I'm really happy that Brad cusses like a kid and buys monster toys. Anything to get away from this slightly forced Zen.
To me, zen is about learning stuff along the path of life. Anything that brings instant rewards without having done any groundwork is gunna be useless...

Anonymous said...

Another Anonymous wrote:
good point. the point of zazen is that you are supposed to become a book promoting, foul mouthed, overly sensitive, image focused, self comparing, opinionated, fart joking, bull shitting, self righteous, anti just to be anti something, mean spirited putz. . . .

Yet another person who can't separate the teacher from the teaching. . . .

Muppet said...

But skills are not honed in 3 days or 5 days.

Again, has Genpo claimed that you can 'hone' your realisation in this time?

"Glimpse" might be used to refer stage 3 of this version of the 10 ox herding pictures.
"The path to enlightenment has been glimpsed..."
The path ain't enlightenment itself.


Again, does Genpo say that this glimpse is enlightenment itself?

"Those lucky enough..."

I agree that it seems oversold, but acording to a great many Zen teachers - particularly Rinzai teachers - kensho experiences really can be a breakthrough and are seen not just as the path to enlightenment but an actual experience of it at least to some depth. Dogen too sees practice and attainment as one.

the idea of the cultivation of discipline is missing

Maybe so, but Genpo has not suggested that this is a substitute for a disciplined practice.

Rich said...

"These days I'm more inclined to think that sitting in the lotus position is a load of shit too."

Yea it is, but being able to see and feel the shit is quite the accomplishment.

michael bardan said...

i think brad sent me an email.

imagine teh surpris3.

wtf are you bozos talkin'bout in circle:z?

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Somebody said "it's not a rip-off if they tell you it's a rip-off".
Johnny Rotten/Lydon? I'm not sure, but that's a great quote.

Go ahead and call me a "fanboy", but I am eternally grateful to Brad and Hardcore Zen for opening the channels of critical thinking in my "mind". Don't get me wrong though, I don't follow any motherfucker blindly. If Brad started speaking like a televangelist asking for "seed money" or telling me who to vote for, I'd be on his rear-end like he's on Goof-Po rOSHI's!

Mumon said...

muppet:

Genpo has promised special things for a special in the Spiritual Department. 'Nuff said. Except to quote Frank Zappa: "You could make more money as a butcher, so don't jive me with that cosmic debris." (Which I guess explains to some extent why butchers were traditionally denigrated in Buddhism.)

Contrary to popular belief, the idea of "sudden" enlightenment = instant enlightenment just doesn't match the pattern of any of the great Rinzai masters.

...Genpo has not suggested that this is a substitute for a disciplined practice.

Au contraire, when he says $50K = years of practice because you're getting special training from a "Zen Master" he ain't talkin' 'bout how to use PowerPoint.

Anonymous said...

Assuming that zazen has a physical component, that is, practice resculpts connections among your neurons, research shows that this takes some time, days, weeks. It also shows that after initial, relatively rapid changes, things slow down and it takes ongoing practice to keep up the re-sculpting.
So, maybe in a week with Genpo, people can feel some changes. But then, for about 30 bucks a day, which includes meals, you can go to the average zen center sesshin and after a week, you're going to feel different. For that matter, you could have somebody lock you in a closet for a week and you would feel different when you came out.
Every time I go into an art museum and spend a few hours looking at paintings, the world looks different to me when I come out. What are they charging now, ten bucks or so?
In any case, I don't doubt that Genpo can give people experiences. But are they worth 50K? The biggest problem for the people who pay 50K is that they might have their egos inflated by the "special" treatment they got from the guru. And ego inflation runs counter to the practice. Who knows, if Genpo is using the money to feed the homeless, something good might come out of it. It's a little less direct than having people fork over 50K to the food bank, but what the heck, if it feeds the hungry and houses the homeless, a little pandering to the well-to-do can't hurt.
Is it true_buddhism? who knows.

Anonymous said...

You sound jealous.

Anonymous said...

what is fifty thousand dollars!?!

Anonymous said...

My Zendo asks for $3.00 a sit.

Muppet said...

Genpo has promised special things for a special in the Spiritual Department.
What specifically has he promised? As I said, I've seen no evidence that he has offered anything other than the chance of a glimpse of what is already under our feet. There's was a debate aboit it on Buddhist Geeks a few months ago and a student of this made this clear.

Having not experienced it myself, I'm agnostic about whether it works or not.

Contrary to popular belief, the idea of "sudden" enlightenment = instant enlightenment just doesn't match the pattern of any of the great Rinzai masters.

As I understand (going by the Three Pillars of Zen) in an intensive Rinzai sesshin it would be expected that a number of people would have kensho experiences. Genpo's method is supposed to take place in the context of an ongoing practice. It is quite a strong claim but it's closed-minded to dismiss it out of hand.

Au contraire, when he says $50K = years of practice because you're getting special training from a "Zen Master" he ain't talkin' 'bout how to use PowerPoint.
I agree it's very over-sold and yes that particular bit of marketing copy definitely seems misleading. But that doen't exclude the possibility that his method can provoke genuine kensho experiences.

Rich said...

wELCOME BACK Mike b
"wtf are you bozos talkin'bout in circle:z?"

The roof is leaking.

Anonymous said...

It occurred to me that this is Brad's blog, it's written by Brad and it is about Brad. It doesn't say anything about Genpo - it shows Brad's reaction to Genpo. It's Brad's ideas about Genpo, It is about Brad's prejudices, Brad's anger and the way that Brad deals with his anger.

I always felt that there is no point in trying to rebuke people who slander someone behind their back - those people sooner or later reveal themselves for who they are.

In a comment to one of the recent posts someone defined real Buddhism as: "fostering and enhancing wisdom, generosity and compassion?"

How is this statement fostering and enhancing wisdom, generosity and compassion:
"Genpo Roshi is not in any way shape or form a Buddhist teacher. He is a garbage salesman, a slimy little piece of shit out to get rich by cheating stupid people. And anyone dumb enough to pay for his "teachings" deserves exactly what they get. "

???

Maybe Genpo is not a Buddhist teacher, but ... is Brad? Why, because he sits in Zazen and doesn't make any money off of it?

I am not talking here about the idea of a buddhist teacher as blissed out idiot with his nose in the sky - I am talking about a person who is conscious and aware, who contains himself, who can hold space for anything to occure, who can be one with reality. I am talking about a person who has a deep insight in his emotions, who can see the nature of his reactions without attachements. I am talking about a person who leads by example.

This is my idea of a buddhist teacher. I am not sure if Genpo is that, but Brad sure as hell isn't.

What does Brad model here other than it is a real buddhist thing to do to rage in anger whenever we believe that our anger is right?

Anonymous said...

"I've canceled my appearance at the Young Buddhists Retreat in Massachusetts (whenever they reschedule it) due to their association with Genpo (which I didn't know about when I said yes to it in the first place, I will do better research in the future)."


Wow Brad, you are right, you never want to work with people who do all sort of nasty things and have no credentials at all, like Bernie Glassman:

In 1967, Bernie began his Zen studies with Taizan Hakuyu Maezumi Roshi, Founder of the Zen Center of Los Angeles. He became a Zen teacher--Sensei Glassman--in 1976. In 1980 he founded his own Zen Community of New York in the Bronx, New York. He started the Greyston Bakery, at first staffed by Zen students, as a livelihood for the Community, and then made it a vehicle for social enterprise in Yonkers, 3 miles north (see below). In 1995 Bernie Glassman received inka, or the final seal of approval, from his teacher and became known as Roshi Glassman. During that year and in 1996 he served as Spiritual Head of the White Plum Lineage, comprising hundreds of Zen groups and centers in the US, Latin America and Europe, as well as the first President of the Soto Zen Buddhist Association of America. His Dharma Family includes dharma teachers, zen priests, zen preceptors, zen entrepreneurs, Christian clergy, Rabbis, Sufi Sheiks and multi-faith peacemakers.
Social Enterprise
Bernie became a social entrepreneur in 1982, articulating a vision that socially responsible businesses can have a double bottom line: generating profits and serving the community. The Greyston Bakery was the first such venture, but it was merely one piece of a larger socially responsible business model which he developed, known as the Greyston Mandala (the Sanskrit mandala can be loosely translated as circle of life), a network of for-profits and not-for-profits working together to improve the lives of individuals and the larger inner city community of southwest Yonkers. Greyston, which celebrates its 25th anniversary on June 11, 2007 (during which time it will honor its founder), provides permanent housing, jobs, job training, child care, after-school programs and a host of other supportive services to a large community of formerly homeless families, advancing the principles of empowerment, empathy, and responsible action. Its main components are:
• Greyston Bakery. Founded in 1982 in the southwest corner of Yonkers, a poor neighborhood beset by high unemployment, violence and drugs, the bakery began to hire people that conventional businesses had deemed unemployable It trained its employees in bakery crafts and soon they were producing some of New York's most expensive, high-end cakes and tarts sold in the city's fanciest eateries. In 1990 it began to produce brownies for Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream and its revenues shot up dramatically. Since its humble founding, the bakery grew into a successful $6 million business with more than 75 employees. Its hiring remains to this very day "First come, first served," and much of its profits are recycled into seed money for its sister not-for-profits, thus making the entire network more sustainable and financially independent.
• Greyston Family Inn. This is Greyston's housing and support services arm. Since 1986 it has developed hundreds of low-cost permanent apartments for homeless families, a large child care center, and tenant support services as well as after-school programs, providing wraparound support to families trying to come out of the cycle of unemployment, homelessness, and public assistance.
• Maitri Center and Issan House. Opened in 1997, Maitri is a medical center serving 150 people with AIDS-related illnesses. It was among the first facilities in the country to provide alternative care therapies to people with HIV/AIDS. Issan House provides housing for many of Maitri's patients.

The entire Greyston Mandala (as of 2007) hires 175 people and serves at least 1200 men, women and children annually in southwest Yonkers. Its model of integrating for-profits, not-for-profits, and spirituality has been studied by many other nonprofits and cities across the country as well as in universities. Bernie Glassman served as Founder and President/CEO of Greyston from 1982 till he left it in 1996.
Spiritually-Based Social Action and Peacemaking
In January of 1994, while leading a bearing witness retreat in Washington, DC, on the occasion of his 55th birthday, Bernie decided to create the Zen Peacemaker Order, for Zen practitioners dedicated to the cause of peace and social justice. Subsequently, the concept was broadened to become an international, interfaith network called the Peacemaker Community, stressing the integration of spiritual practice and social action through Three Tenets:
•  
• Not-knowing, thereby giving up fixed ideas about ourselves and the universe;
• Bearing witness to the joy and suffering of the world; and
• Loving action for ourselves and the world.

Together with his wife and co-founder, Sandra Jishu Holmes, Bernie left Greyston in the end of 1996 and became President of this large community of spiritually-based activists. He took a leave when his wife died in 1998, but from 2000 till 2004 he continued serving as President, devoting his energy to developing the Peacemaker Community and supporting various social action and peacemaking projects in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and the United States. This organization is now known as Zen Peacemakers.
In 2004 Bernie Glassman began to develop a training campus to teach people the skills of spiritually-based social enterprise and peacemaking called the Maezumi Institute, in Western Massachusetts.

Muppet said...

Brad,

My way of imitating that behavior is to be very clear about my own utter lack of holiness. ...Yeah, I think certain people are jerks and I enjoy saying so. I also downplay those aspects of my personality that might seem holy. Mostly this is because I've been so burned by "spiritual person" types.

I can sympathise with the aim of being authentic and avoiding seeming 'holy'. But that doesn't give you a licence to say whatever you think without taking responsibility for the consequences. And you don't have the understanding to act as a final arbitrator for what constitutes real Buddhism and what doesn't. Your views are just views. All of our opinions are. Why not focus on teaching rather than slating other people - it just encourages sectarianism, dogmatism and other sorts of attachment to views.

When I was given the task of being a Buddhist teacher, I decided the only way to do it was to be myself. I briefly tried to play the "spiritual person" game, albeit in a very half-assed way. But it didn't work.

Just be yourself, but try to see what effect you have on others, including your audience.

Shunryu Suzuki (I think it was him) said it's sometimes helpful to imitate the behavior of saints. I think that's true. But in my own case I've had to try to find a way to do that and still be genuine. That's the tough part.

Yeah its not easy to be a 'Buddhist' (with all the stereotypes associated with it) when you've grown up with a rejection of authority and an iconoclastic attitude. I'm with you there. But you can be authentic without being nasty. Authenticity isn't about acting out every impulse we have no matter how anti-social. And being aware of the consequences that out behaviour has and adjusting it accordingly is not hypocrisy.

Is this sort of 'authenticity' really more important than other people's feelings? Or is it just an excuse for selfishness and a refusal to take responsibility for our own actions?

I know several people who use 'authenticity' in just this way. Watch any reality TV show and you'll see selfish idiots who act like jerks in the name of 'saying it how it is'.

I think a lot of this is about your aversion to certain types of people, which probably comes from your punk background as much as your personality, but I don't think it has much to do with Zen. Don't be blinded by your aversion - aversion is just as much a poison and delusion as a desire, for exam-ple, a desire to seem holy.

If your practice and teaching is true and strong then other people will naturally see that and be drawn to it. There's no need to attack others.

Good luck with it. Maybe we'll meet for a drink somewhere on the way.

Rich said...

from Bernie
Three Tenets:

• Not-knowing, thereby giving up fixed ideas about ourselves and the universe;

yES, ONLY NOT KNOWING. Bernie is good and famous.

What's the connection to Brad? Isn't genpo the one, he doesn't want to be with?

Anonymous said...

Bernie is Genpo's Dharma-brother, if I remember correctly Genpo got his Dharma transmission from Bernie.

Obviously in Brad's opinion, that fact is more important than anything that Bernie teaches or that he's accomplished.

Rich said...

"Bernie is Genpo's Dharma-brother, if I remember correctly Genpo got his Dharma transmission from Bernie."

thanks for the clarification.

"Obviously in Brad's opinion, that fact is more important than anything that Bernie teaches or that he's accomplished."

Bernies 'not knowing' and my 'don't know' is obviously the same. This is not opinion.

Mumon said...

muppet:

What specifically has he promised?

Acceleration of something that takes humans in this existence right effort. And other stuff.

As I understand (going by the Three Pillars of Zen) in an intensive Rinzai sesshin it would be expected that a number of people would have kensho experiences.

Well, lessee:

1. The sesshin referred to in The Three Pillars would generally have been in the Yasutani sambokyodan school, which...mirable dictu!..happens to be Genpo Roshi's school.

2. Even the most notable of "sudden enlightenments" in the Rinzai school - Soen Nakagawa's - took place years into his practice.

enpo's method is supposed to take place in the context of an ongoing practice. It is quite a strong claim but it's closed-minded to dismiss it out of hand.

It's closed minded, in fact, to denigrate the experience of others in this regard, and people who've really been there and done that just don't correlate with the claims being made, all the more so because they weren't looking to compare with Merzel.

If you think "voice ..." whatever it is is going to get you to see into the self, well, have at it. Caveat emptor to anyone else.

But don't expect the average zen monk to give sanction to any kind of "見性" (Kenshou)as that.

Anonymous said...

I thought it would be interesting to look at Genpo's lineage and who his brothers/sisters might be:

Maezumi Roshi is the root

Maezumi Roshi founded the White Plum Asanga, named after his father Baian Hakujun Daiosho. He transmitted the Dharma to twelve successors: Bernard Tetsugen Glassman, Dennis Genpo Merzel, Charlotte Joko Beck, Jan Chozen Bays, John Daido Loori, Gerry Shishin Wick, John Tesshin Sanderson, Alfred Jitsudo Ancheta, Charles Tenshin Fletcher, Susan Myoyu Andersen, Nicolee Jikyo Miller, and William Nyogen Yeo. These twelve successors have further transmitted the Dharma to a second generation of successors. In America, Maezumi Roshi ordained 68 Zen priests and gave the lay Buddhist precepts to over 500 people.

Anonymous said...

Is masturbating misusing sex? It doesn't seem like it.

superman said...

You are wasting your fucking time looking up his lineage you stupid ass anonymous mouse of a human.

Anonymous said...

Can you exemplify any better ways to waste time?

Harry said...

Masturbating?

Nobody's sang the theme tune of Loveboat in a while.

Regards,

Harry.

Yueheng said...

The latest post on my blog for Progressive Pure Land Buddhism has just been published.

anagrams said...

Hardcore Zen
Hazed Corner

Brad Warner
Drab Warren

Big Mind Big Heart
Dim A Bright Being

Genpo Roshi
His Ego Porn

Sock Monkey
Ken's My Cook

Anonymous said...

I've canceled my appearance at the Young Buddhists Retreat in Massachusetts (whenever they reschedule it) due to their association with Genpo (which I didn't know about when I said yes to it in the first place, I will do better research in the future)."

did you cancel your appearance or did they cancel you?

Muppet said...

Acceleration of something that takes humans in this existence right effort. And other stuff.

In the past, people have been awakened by the sound of a stone hitting bamboo or the sight of a flower held in the hand.

1. which...mirable dictu!..happens to be Genpo Roshi's school.

So?

2. Even the most notable of "sudden enlightenments" in the Rinzai school - Soen Nakagawa's - took place years into his practice.

Well I'll see if I can find examples of something quicker.

It's closed minded, in fact, to denigrate the experience of others in this regard, and people who've really been there and done that just don't correlate with the claims being made, all the more so because they weren't looking to compare with Merzel.

Most of the experiences I've heard about Big Mind have been positive. Personally I don't know.

If you think "voice ..." whatever it is is going to get you to see into the self, well, have at it. Caveat emptor to anyone else.

True nature is everything and everywhere even voice dialog training.

But don't expect the average zen monk to give sanction to any kind of "見性" (Kenshou)as that.

Religious types can be conservative. I think its best to keep an open mind at least for now.

Muppet said...

Brad,

ADDENDUM

I know what I wanted to say.

If you are acting in a particular way because you dont want to see yourself as being like some people you dislike, because you were 'burned by' them in the past, while this is completely understandable it isn't being authentic. It's convoluted and maybe slightly neurotic.

When we take away any desire to be seen as a spiritual type and the reaction against that - the aversion to it - who is left? I don't mean pretending these aspects don't exist, I just mean not being fixated on them. Can we see the real Brad?

I used to avoid putting on a robe for similar reasons, but after a while I could understand why we did. I could see that I had attachments to wearing the robe and I could see I had attachments to not wearing the robe. For a while I just tossed a coin.

Harry said...

Anagrams wrote:

Hardcore Zen
Hazed Corner

Brad Warner
Drab Warren

Big Mind Big Heart
Dim A Bright Being

Genpo Roshi
His Ego Porn

Sock Monkey
Ken's My Cook


I salute you, sir/madam!

Now if only we could do the same with reality...HA!

Regards,

Harry.

fourth said...

Between cheap and expensive many will choose expensive, as it must be better. Same with more complicated.

Why should one believe that breathing meditation (or zazen for that matter) does something when there is Holosync offering 12 levels of progression of listening some electronic brainwaves, advanced levels being "industrial strentgh" stuff.

People buy treadmills whereas you have the whole city to run around...

Mumon said...

muppet:

It's not a question of "conversvatism" versus "open-mindedness."

It's a question of what works and what doesn't.

And one's True Nature isn't a slogan; slogans in and of themselves do nothing to relieve suffering, misery and dissatisfaction.

anagram said...

Her dry lay bar.

anagrams said...

Reality

Arty lie?
Layer it.
Irately!
I try ale.

dzj said...

"Genpo Roshi is a man who has accomplished over 35 years of Zen meditation practice, a man who’s a certified Zen Master. He’s also been a champion athlete, and is a devoted husband and father, a successful businessperson, and the respected author of five books. He is the creator of the Big Mind•BIg Heart approach, and is the Founder and Abbot of Kanzeon Zen Center and Kanzeon Sangha International. His whole adult life has been dedicated to raising consciousness."

Ain't it the truth.

Harry said...

A man's rag.

Regards,

Hardy Barley...r...(DOH!)

Anonymous said...

Dogen was only able to build Eiheiji monastery because of a giant financial and real estate contribution by his wealthy friend and disciple Hatano Yoshishige

http://books.google.com/books?id=hfMkpD_Xr3sC&pg=PA61&lpg=PA61&dq=Yoshishige+Hatano+dogen&source=web&ots=Z6pnEJHhG8&sig=DylbJAOeAvIRH1Wx7UapM4UCis4&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=7&ct=result

also so pages 45 to 49 of "Mystical realist" on the relationship between Dogen and Hatano

in return Dogen gave special private classes and writings to Hatano and his retinue. The sections of Shobogenzo called Kobutsu Shin and Zenki were written as a private lesson for Hatano

http://scbs.stanford.edu/sztp3/translations/shobogenzo/translations/kobutsushin/kobutsushin.intro.html

assuming that dogen and countless other zen teachers needed wealthy patrons who wanted private lessons in order to fund the teachings, how was that different, Brad?

By the way, your own teacher, Brad, accepted decades of financial assistance from a corporation in japan, and was provided with real estate and an office, in turn for which he was not expected to do any actual work for the company. He did provide private lessons to the corporate executives. How is that different.

Excuse me, as English is not my first language. Let me also say, I am not associated with Genpo Roshi in any way, but I know your teacher Brad

Anonymous said...

100 !!!

here you go harry :-) said...

Zazen

Anonymous said...

"What does Brad model here other than it is a real buddhist thing to do to rage in anger whenever we believe that our anger is right?".

Of course this all depends on Brad actually being angry and you not being a twat.

twat said...

twat
twta
tawt
tatw
ttwa
ttaw
wtat
wtta
watt
awtt
atwt
attw

Muppet said...

It's not a question of "conversvatism" versus "open-mindedness." It's a question of what works and what doesn't.

OK, but unless you experience and compare both methods over a long period of time how do you know what works? Unless you're enlightened and have compared every approach there is (including any innovative approaches) how is it you 'know' what does and doesn't work? This is your own preconceptions, assumptions and dogma that you've learned from teachers. This is belief not reality. Can't you see that?

And one's True Nature isn't a slogan; slogans in and of themselves do nothing to relieve suffering, misery and dissatisfaction.
Indeed. What's your point?

kermit said...

Muppet, you are another voice of clarity here. Thankyou.

Mumon said...

muppet:

If you've only played checkers, you wouldn't be able to judge where the ball goes if you play tennis on a clay court.

The task at hand is playing tennis on a clay court.

There is no need to "try" checkers if you'd been playing tennis on a clay court for years. You'd know that playing tennis on a clay court makes you better playing tennis on a clay court, and playing checkers isn't all that relevant, regardless of the price tag a trainer would put on it.

What's your point?

What's the point of seeing into the self?

anonymous:

I think the short answer is that Dogen was propagating Buddhism, although there are those that even differ on that point.

Muppet said...

If you've only played checkers, you wouldn't be able to judge where the ball goes if you play tennis on a clay court.

The task at hand is playing tennis on a clay court.


These are rules and restrictions that you and Brad are imposing. You say 'enlightenment must be like this and can't be like that' but you're talking about something you don't understand - not even in a dream, as the old saying goes. Enlightenment is beyond anything you or Brad or I can conceive. So lets just focus on our own chosen practice instead of slating others.

Muppet said...

Kermit,

Thanks old pal. I'm hoping Miss Piggy will turn up.

Miss Piggy said...

Have it your way, Kermie!

mountaintop_oyster said...

Here are some selections from master Dogen's Shobogenzo Zuimonki th
at some may find interesting:

Monks must not be scolded and castigated with harsh words; nor should they be held up to scorn by having their faults pointed out. Even if they are evil men, they must not be despised or abused…..Strike those who have to be struck, scold those who have to be scolded, but do not allow yourself to utter words of slander and detraction.

True study of the Way is an easy thing. But even in the monasteries of China, only one or two out of several hundred, or even a thousand, disciples under a great zen master actually gained true enlightenment.

….Anything sought for with such intensity will surely be gained. I fthe desire to search for the Way becomes as intense as this, whether you concentrate on doing zazen alone, investigate a koan by an old master, interview a zen teacher, or practice with sincere devotion, you will succeed no matter how deep you must plumb.

Students of the Way, you must not cling to your own personal views. Even though you may understand, you should search widely for a good teacher and examine the sayings of the old masters if you feel that there is something lacking or that there issome understanding superior to your own. Yet you must not cling to the words of the old sages either; they too , may not be right. Even if you believe them, you should be alert so that , in the event that something superior comes along, you may follow that.

Students cannot gain enlightenment simply because they retain their preconceptions.

If you practice in accordance with the teachings, you will gain enlightenment without fail.

Although you may be correct in your censure of someone, your very correctness does not last long if you use harsh words. A petty person takes offense at the slightest criticism, thinking he has been insulted.

Although the old masters urged both the reading of the scriptures and the practice of zazen, they clearly emphasized zazen. Some gained enlightenment through the koan, but the merit that brought enlightenment came from the zazen.

Muppet said...

Dogen? What does he know? Let's hear what Brad has to say...

Mumon said...

muppet:

Existence: Certain restrictions apply.

Enlightenment is beyond anything you or Brad or I can conceive.

The fact that it's ineffable doesn't preclude its discussion, so long as we know that we're dealing with referents and not the thing itself.

And how come we "can't" talk about but Merzel can?

Mumon said...

mountaintop_oyster:

If the desire to search for the Way becomes as intense as this, whether you concentrate on doing zazen alone, investigate a koan by an old master, interview a zen teacher, or practice with sincere devotion, you will succeed no matter how deep you must plumb.

Key to all of the above is time.

Yeah, even dokusan/sanzen: nobody's going to see you then or now without some kind of devotion to a practice.

Otherwise, you are like Emperor Wu.

Jinzang said...

Putting on a show for big donors is part of the deal if you have a big center with large financial obligations. I don't fault Genpo for holding a program for big donors. The problem, as with Big Mind™ is not what he's doing, but how he's selling it:

Those lucky enough to receive this type of personal attention can experience years, even decades, of progress in just a few days.

I'm sorry, but hanging out with Roshi at a luxury hotel is not going to accelerate your spiritual growth by years. If you think so, you're either awfully new to Zen or awfully naive.

Anonymous said...

Those lucky enough to receive this type of personal attention can experience years, even decades, of progress in just a few days.

I'm sorry, but hanging out with Roshi at a luxury hotel is not going to accelerate your spiritual growth by years. If you think so, you're either awfully new to Zen or awfully naive.

;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

2008 DOGEN SANGHA RETREAT REPORT
A number of people came from Germany for the retreat. Two from Chile. And one guy from Finland. One from the US.



Then what about silly people who just boarded 747 from Europe, burn much fuel, flew to Japan to sit in "real" Zen temple called Tokeiin with "real" Japanese tatami mat and "real" Japan atmosphere to be with "real" Zen Master a few days? I think such people also spend much money because few days will do something to their practicing. No? Otherwise, why not stay in Finland or go to retreat in Europe, we have many. People go to retreat because they think some progress will happen, even in Soto way of no progress. For Zen consumer, fly to Japan/stay in "real" Japanese temple/be with "real" teacher = kind of luxury vacation like trip to Tahiti for other people.

Also, if man from Finland is rich man and had offered brad $50,000 for few days in hotel (zazen, no sex), would brad have turned him down? If no, he is hypocrit. If yes, he is same as genpo.

Matt said...

^ not quite sure what this fella above is trying to prove...?

Anonymous said...

Above fellow trying to suggest paying big money for to fly on plane to japan to sit with genuine zen master at genuine japanese zen temple is just as wasteful and stupid as paying genpo. Both big dummy cons.

Jinzang said...

Then what about silly people who just boarded 747 from Europe, burn much fuel, flew to Japan to sit in "real" Zen temple called Tokeiin with "real" Japanese tatami mat and "real" Japan atmosphere to be with "real" Zen Master a few days?

You should ask them and not me. It's not something I would do. But Brad never promised anything other than what he delivered: a sesshin in a Japanese temple. Any expectations people brought with them (and they are always there) are just more stuff to sit with.

Harry said...

Zit Sank... Aha! (not "Zazen", but same thing).

As to the Good Master:

Estranged Om

Renamed Togs

Tradesmen Go

Aged Monster

Aged Mentors

Donate Germs

*Resent Dogma* !!!

Gonad Meters

Mad Estrogen

Rad Gemstone

Dong Steamer

Manger Dotes

A Stoned Germ

A Rod Segment

And my personal favorite:

Meets Dragon

Regards,

Hardly A. Berry.

Anonymous said...

From Brad Warner posting on 8 August 2008

http://hardcorezen.blogspot.com/2008/08/new-sg-article-and-more-about-great-sky.html

There's a depth to practice you cannot possibly get any other way than by attending a sesshin. I don't care how profound you think your meditating by yourself in your fluffy armchair in the living room with Dark Side of the Moon playing on the headphones and a lid of primo sensie gets, it cannot touch a single period of zazen at even the lamest sesshin. Not a chance. Sorry.

A week in sesshin feels like a month and a half spent doing anything else. Zazen expands time like nothing you can name. A minute in zazen is equal to three hours bullshitting with your buddies. In that sense, zazen can lengthen your life. You might say, "Well, only subjectively speaking!" To which I'd say, "No shit. And no difference either." It literally makes you live longer even if you drop dead the minute the bell rings to end the sitting.


So, maybe spending time in 3 days private lesson with Zen teacher good too? I mean, at group Sesshin, private interview VERY important. But only a few minutes.

Even Buddha would accept contribution and invitation for private lesson from rich people

http://www.dhammaweb.net/Tipitaka/read.php?id=92

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I forgot this from Brad about Sesshin


There's a depth to practice you cannot possibly get any other way than by attending a sesshin.

You find out stuff about yourself a decade in therapy couldn't uncover. It changes your entire outlook on everything.

Jim HAisin said...

harry san.. how could "dong steamer" not be your favorite??

Muppet said...

And how come we "can't" talk about but Merzel can?

I wasn't talking about Merzel.

I don't know what effect his technique has since I haven't tried it. I don't know enough about him to guess whether he knows what he's talking about or not. He's making a claim. Unless we go and experience this technique of his or get a good cross sample of feedback from others then we don't have any business saying what that experience is or isn't. Even then it would have to assessed by someone who really understood kensho and enlightenment. I just don't think any of us is in a position to dismiss it out of hand on the basis of preconceptions.

Anonymous said...

basically, mr. dogen quoting anonymous, the reason is that brad babbles on about so much shit that his brain can't keep up with what his anus is spewing as a teaching.

quick quick, brad and the brad-apologists, quickly think up some good distinctions to explain it all away

brad, would you take the $50,000 or not if a rich reader of Hardcore Zen wanted to spend a weekend in a hotel with you (zazen, no sex -- I love that!)

PA said...

I don't think the money is really the issue - it just so happens Genpo is offering that $50,000 thing. The issue is what he's offering - enlightenment. Even those that train hard turn into idiots with a glimpse of 'reality'. Imagine what a millionaire would be like if suddenly shown the impermanence of stuff...

Mumon said...

anonymous:

what about silly people who just boarded 747 from Europe, burn much fuel, flew to Japan to sit in "real" Zen temple called Tokeiin with "real" Japanese tatami mat and "real" Japan atmosphere to be with "real" Zen Master a few days?

Maybe they bundle the trip with other business they have in Japan; I've been known to do that. It's cheaper and takes less time because you have less overseas trips to make.

Maybe they have a good relationship with the osho.

Maybe the osho is trying to internationalize his lineage. Nothing wrong with that in itself.


muppet:

Unless we go and experience this technique of his or get a good cross sample of feedback from others then we don't have any business saying what that experience is or isn't. Even then it would have to assessed by someone who really understood kensho and enlightenment.

I realize where you are, but the simple fact is there's pretty straightforward ways in which those who assess kensho & enlightenment assess kensho & enlightenment (you'll have to ask one of those folks when you get it :-) ) and you just ain't gonna be assessed as having attained k and/or e as a result of Merzel's 5 days at the resort.

Because you have to train - or if you like, to cultivate the body/mind in order to create the ki (気) necessary for the breakthrough.

I just don't think any of us is in a position to dismiss it out of hand on the basis of preconceptions.

And you have the preconception that those here are dismissing it on the basis of preconceptions.

Anonymous said...

but any Zen teacher is selling "enlightenment", even if Nishijima "balance of autonomic nervous system" version

http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.com/2005/12/what-is-enlightenment.html


or Genpo-Maezumi-Yasutani instant version. Why go to Sesshin if not to find "enlightenment", even if there all along or it is very ordinary? Who needs to find all this more than rich person maybe attached to money?

Anonymous said...

Maybe they bundle the trip with other business they have in Japan; I've been known to do that. It's cheaper and takes less time because you have less overseas trips to make.


yes, then thousands of dollars spent on sesshin in Japan partly deductable from taxes as business expense. Do you think all those people came to sit with Brad at tokeiin for business trip?

PA said...

"but any Zen teacher is selling "enlightenment", even if Nishijima "balance of autonomic nervous system" version

http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.com/2005/12/what-is-enlightenment.html


or Genpo-Maezumi-Yasutani instant version. Why go to Sesshin if not to find "enlightenment", even if there all along or it is very ordinary? Who needs to find all this more than rich person maybe attached to money?"

Dunno. But I'd rather work hard and earn loads of money than win the lottery. And I'd probably be a lot wiser with my money if I'd earnt it through hard work.

Anonymous said...

On instant enlightenment-

Wasnt one the the patriarchs enlightened on hearing a line of the heart sutra, without having practiced?

Muppet said...

"His Holiness Hui Neng, who became the great Sixth Patriarch of Ch'an (Japanese Zen) was a poor illiterate peasant boy from Hsin Chou of Kwangtung. One day, after he had delivered firewood to a shop, he overheard a man reciting the following line from the "Diamond Sutra" - "Depending upon no-thing, you must find your own mind." Instantly, Hui Neng became Enlightened. "

- http://sped2work.tripod.com/huineng.html

Anonymous said...

Brad, here is my hunch.

Folks are paying mega bucks to folks like Genpo not just for the verbal teachings.

My hunch, and it is strictly my own opinion, is that a lot of people think they are into being spiritual, but covertly are thrilling to power and to power imbalance.

If they were conscious about this, they'd explore these issues via psychotherapy, or via consensual adult BDSM.

I do not practice BDSM but I am more and more convinced these days that the adult kink community does a far better job than the spiritual seeker's scene, because the kink practitioners are thinking consciously about power, thinking clearly about what they desire, and have learned to communicate, beforehand, what they all want, what the boundaries are.

More than once, Ive been told that there are lots of people who want to be dominated and paddled, but very few who are willing to function as 'tops'--that is, as the dominents who administer the pain.

Why, in the kink scene, are there so few tops, and so many bottoms?

Because in the kink scene, POWER COMES WITH ACCOUNTABILITY. The top has to answer to an ethos of care and pay attention to whether the bottom is signalling for the session to stop. And the top is the one who is answerable if something goes wrong.

But in the spiritual scene, there is no shortage of wanna be gurus/tops. There are lots of bottoms in the spiritual scene, but also plenty of gurus, eager to accept the power offered to them by the bottoms.

Why?

Because IMO, in the spiritual scene, its a set up where the guru/top enjoys total power and zero accountability.

If anything goes wrong, in the spiriutal kink scene, all the blame is foisted onto the bottom.

And in the spiritual kink scene, people are going around being unconscious. They're obsessed with power, but unconscious of it, and determined to stay unconscious of it, and there is no way to talk consciously about power, about what one desires, and no safe words a bottom can use to signal that he or she is being traumatized instead of challenged and wants to scene to stop.

In fact, in the spiritual kink scene, you have no way to know if you are walking into someone's BDSM dungeon or not.

At least in BDSM the dungeon is clearly designated as such.

Result is, in the world of BDSM kink, people examine and name their desires and set it up so everyone, the top and bottom, exits the scene feeling satisfied.

Which is more than can be said for many sectors of the so called spiritual scene. I suspect many dont feel they are spiritual unless they are thrilling to a power imbalance.

Brad once wrote how someone at his old Japanese company said that their cartoon stories taught children to worship power--that some benevolent being could come to the rescue, every time.

Some worship Ultraman, or the Science Team.

Others worship Genpo Roshi.

And never examine the deep structure of all this.

And if you pay 50,000 USD, you have an incentive NOT to want to examine this, because its too painful to face that you paid 50 grand to fulfill a child's fantasy of rescue.

professor said...

I met Brad once.

He's a regular guy.

Well, shorter than a regular guy, but still a regular guy.

Anonymous said...

Oh give me strength.

I suspect that very few people posting here could afford $50K for much of anything. (Certainly not me, in Bush's fuckworld.) Brad's not swaying anyone. He's farting into the wind.

Let rich people do what they do best, which is to spend money on whatever and fucking the rest of us over.

Rich said...

Thanks for the explanation of BDSM. I never had a glue of what that's about.

My main concern for others who pay big bucks expecting enlightenment is that they would get discouraged when it doesn't happen so fast and give up their practice.

Anonymous said...

Addendum to my previous 'anonymous' post ...

I'm grown up enough to judge for myself about whomever. I don't need claymation-boy giving me his relative-world 'wisdom'. And I'm sick to fucking hell hearing these screeds about Genpo Roshi. I'd much rather hear something interesting or funny or empty.

I've attended some Big Mind stuff. I paid green money. I won't be going back, but I'm not sorry I spent the dough so I could judge for myself.

Brad, stop treating your readers like little children.

Anonymous said...

What Genpo does affects ordinary people who cannot otherwise pony up 50 grand.

I get my health care from an HMO, and pay big each month.

I was disgusted to learn that the HMO offers the Integral Life Practice package (which includes Genpos BM)course as part of its patient education offerings. Some fool was sweet talked into accepting something that hasnt even been researched properly, by double blind protocol.

Neither Kenny Wilber nor Genpo are medical researchers, MDs or licensed mental health professionals.

I pay big to my HMO to get tried and tested medical care, not new age snake oil.

The HMO shouldnt be letting itself serve as a venue for garbage like this.

Jinzang said...

The reason why HMOs offer programs like this is that they're looking to attract young, healthy members who won't cost them for health care. Even if the program is a total loss, they make out by attracting a younger membership.

Mumon said...

pa:

Why go to Sesshin if not to find "enlightenment", even if there all along or it is very ordinary?

To gather the mind, if not to see into one's nature.

anonymous:

Do you think all those people came to sit with Brad at tokeiin for business trip?

One would hope so, if only because coach class is really nasty these days.

muppet:

"His Holiness Hui Neng, who became the great Sixth Patriarch of Ch'an (Japanese Zen) was a poor illiterate peasant boy from Hsin Chou of Kwangtung...

Of course the test came later...but even if this account is correct...and it wouldn't surprise me, it doesn't bode well for those who shell out $50K; they probably don't earn a living from menial tasks.

[some other?] anonymous:

the kink practitioners are thinking consciously about power, thinking clearly about what they desire, and have learned to communicate, beforehand, what they all want, what the boundaries are.

I have the same theory about tabloid newspapers.

Anonymous said...

i think im gonna post an ad on craigslist to be a spiritual advisor...ill let em know i will gove them some feel good BS advice, tell em its all better, and i can even give em special magic name...ill even advertise im completely full o shit and sell my service for 20 bucks or on trade for some vintage toys or something...we can learn fron genpo y'know! now to create a spiritual logo/sacred symbol to look reallly cool

Jonathan said...

This comment might get lost in this thread. I found this article linked from Americanbuddhist.net. Brad kudos for your article. For everyone wanting to give Genpo a chance should also do some open research.
Genpo's group (according to the bottom of their advisers page) happens to be funded by the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism. If you don't know who this guy is, you should check it out. Here is his official bio -
http://www.fredericklenzfoundation.org/founder.asp
But the wikipedia is pretty thorough (including a mention of Genpo's affiliation at the end of the article):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Lenz. I also want to mention there is a Lenz - Rama offshoot group in Ocean Beach California called the Dharma center (http://www.dharmacenter.com). I've been there as well as friends of mine. It has very little to do with Buddhism and the teachers there are at least a bit open about the fact that they just kinda mix a bunch of traditions together to make their own thing. Genpo seems to just be taking after his master.