Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Brad Debates Genpo Roshi About Big Mind™

My publishers pointed me to this item on the Elephant magazine website. This matter is such ancient history to me that I'd pretty well forgotten about it. It has its origins in this article I wrote for Suicide Girls criticizing Genpo Roshi's Big Mind™ process, which is a very dangerous mind-control game masquerading as a gateway drug to Zen practice. Of course there are a vast number of spiritual scams out there and I don't usually point any of them out specifically. But since Genpo claims his process is related with Soto style Zen practice I wanted to distance myself from it as much as possible.

Anyway, that video of Ken Wilber licking Genpo's privates up there on that site I linked to above made me puke so hard I had to respond. Here is a video I made for that purpose. Enjoy!

Special thanks to John Graves for the music, Leilani Monfort for the superb camera work and, of course, Sock Monkey for a stellar performance.

89 comments:

babbles said...

Interesting video links, thanks! On the elephantjournal link with Genpo Roshi's videos I found it interesting that somebody attacked Brad based on his "title" or lack thereof. All things held equal, it seems pretty bizarre to see a 'zen' guy attacking another because he feels that their title isn't good enough.

Seems pretty silly.

Anonymous said...

OOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUU
what fun!
Am looking forward to the real debate!
Sock monkie and godzilla!

Anonymous said...

Lulzy!

babbles said...

Oh yeah, and I think Ken Wilber is a major tool and your video is way cooler.

Sock Monkey for the win.

Anonymous said...

brad tells genpo to fuck himself, jundo tells brad to fuck himself here

http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2008/09/sit-long-with-jundo-eightfold-path-iii.html

Fuck fuck fuck who's the teacher and who the sock monkey?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you talk the the guy and really debate this instead of talking to your sock?

Anonymous said...

two mastur(de)baters hard at work!

Lala said...

Heh. That turned out to be a lot funnier than I thought it was going to be. I think you have a great future ahead of you as a ventriloquist, if this whole Zen Master business doesn't work out.

Anonymous said...

I thought use of socks was frowned upon in S0to

excerpted said...

If Brad thinks he’s such hot shit, maybe he should come for a visit and challenge Genpo Roshi to a proper debate and see where he stands. I’d be happy to film this session and put it out there for all the world to see and judge for themselves. I doubt if he will, he’s already refused to answer our invitations, but the offer still stands. I’m afraid though, that he prefers to lob bombs from a distance, trying to gain attention for himself by trashing others. Is that your Zen, Brad? I think it breaks one of the precepts you are so proud of taking as a monk.

Peace,

Bruce Lambson
Executive Director
Big Mind Big Heart / Kanzeon Zen Center
Salt Lake City, UT

Anonymous said...

I want to see Gempo respond with a debate-in-kind with a wind up spark spewing mechanical godzilla of some sort!

"Well Odo Roshi (spark spark, spew spark spark).
I'm glad to see you've answered our invitation and accepted the challenge to debate me (spark spark spark).....

Anonymous said...

Brad sed "Ken Wilber licking Genpo's privates"

Is that the same as swallowing the whole fish?

Pausha said...

what a great display of who Brad is, how Brad thinks, how Brad relates to others .... wow, really shows Brad from all angles

Deviak said...

25+17=37
Buy "Big Calculator" by Brad Warner Roshi. Learn to count Things As It Isn't

Matt said...

Perfect!

Anonymous said...

awww brad, the letter hurt your feelings! You really need to get an apology and a hug from the exec director who wrote the letter that you spoofed, right?

Justin said...

I think this video tells you most of what you need to know about Brad.

michael bardan said...

hold my *yawn* sock monkey, this made me not wanna puke so soft like i had to hold my britche:z with some stiche:z.

of course it needs more cowbell, but i'm going to toronto and montreal, rumor has it that it's there that they hid the fukken bee:z!

anyhoo, we're cummin' back.

i have proposal.

official.

i come to hill street.

today.

no wait.

i'm not coming.

michael bardan is.

i am not michael bardan.

anyway i will do come promise pledge, no kiddin.

pack up your bags, shithead.

we and you and i me myself and i alone and no one else go together to bring killer bee:z and soto dharma back.

blah.

watch for me not a starbucks next to a hill street that's not hill street, but not godzilla's hood either.

i am michael bardan.

NOT

wu tang killah bee:z return said...

but only for THIS MESSAGE.

cross my heart and pinch my butt, it's THIS message only.

not ever am i coming back, so don't pretend you're gonna like puke softly and kill me and shit, okay?

THIS,
MESSAGE

qbitty said...

Daimler Benz in association with Money From Everywhere and Everywhen proudly announce sponsorship of Master Brad Warner and Not Zen Master Michael Bardan in a Round-Z-Wxrld trip to convert everybody to Zen.

Like the Elders of Fukken L8R Day Saint:Z, they attack Amerika from every Corner of the N direction:z and put an end to poverty (haha, theirs, not yours, beyotch!-) and then like make movies ever after.

Happy and Shit, so Shut UP, okay, you to can just BE

HAPPY

PS: ONLY SIT!

Rumor Mill said...

Brad and Michael will start their tour from Jay Leno's studios.

Jay Leno will announce at that show that he is moving to WB network and will proceed to kick ass for many aeon:z to follow as long as Brad and Michael become Chief Writers on Staff with driving privilege to All Vehicles Leno (zTM).

Anyway, yeah.

Madonna will sing the theme song for the weekly update of Brad and Michael's Travel in Circle Forever Without meeting each other in coming and going, like the idiots they both are.

Then THIS which blew my fukken mind away: KRAMER from Seinfeld OMG OMG will be like their CADDY.

Whenever they stop to play golf with Tiger Wood:Z on tour (neither of them play, but anyway), whenever they do, Kramer will be CADDY.

HOLE IN ONE

bardan.com investment team said...

we don't have to resign, we never invested to begin with ;)

translation said...

they mean they never invested their own money.

it was YOURS to begin with.

however their spending the investment return was VERY FUKKEN REAL.

therefore, shut the fuck up, sit down, and enjoy your share of the Big Pie in the Sky as well.

sincerely,
NOT YOUR FUKKEN FRIEND

qbitty said...

COW BELL

ding-dong-dung!

at the following bell, you WILL BE SITTIN:G!

/THIS,

BELL

Anonymous said...

While I haven't met either Brad nor Genpo or seen / hear them speak live, one thing to consider with public debates is that often the party with more skill or experience as a public speaker / group agitator will appear as a winner simply because they can form explanations and word games that sound reasonable at first but don't really hold when thought about. It's the same thing with many scientist vs creationist debates where the scientist seems to be left wordless - simply because they are not used to that kind of stuff while the other party is.

So I don't think a public debate - or one filmed and posted in the intertubes - would do much good for this dispute, or prove anything.

hardcore zen said...

sit down and shut up?

nanook said...

while i totally disagreen with brads paranoid dramaturgy, i find the "we invite you, to tape you and expose you" quite offensive. i understand integrallies do make judgements, but this sounds more like shooting sparrows with cannons, which feels more macho than integral.

i also think, that most sspiritually inclined people can think on their own, and those who dont (some naive ISFJ moms etc), dont like to listen to blogging punks, which makes brad a sparrow in my view.

hi, brad, nice to see you, i had some welcom physiognomical insights while watching the video. peace & namaste.

for a friend said...

A friend of mine does the Big Mind practice and is really into it. Brad, why do you think it's doo-doo? My buddy is not going to listen to me if I tell him that & point him to the monkey movie... funny as it is.

Seriously... Thanx.

Ps you ever listen to the proliteriat back in the day?

jamal said...

brad and genpo both have shit on their hands.

Anonymous said...

well they should wash their hands of it!

Anonymous said...

Did Genpo actually respond to Brad? I thought it was the Executive Director or his organization.

Anonymous said...

Geez, I'm just so addicted to talking about other people's affairs. It's like chomping on cracker jacks or potato chips for my mind.

Jinzang said...

The story of Bodhisattva Never Disparaging.

Anonymous said...

thank you Dr. J :-)

Anonymous said...

Two sock monkeys debating. Pathetic.

andro said...

I get a kick out of Justin. He really thinks his little passive aggressive jibes are constructive and that Brad's out in the open criticisms are unfair somehow.

Dan said...

Toe curling.

Jinzang said...

Genpo Roshi's Big Mind™ process, which is a very dangerous mind-control game

I don't get what's so "very dangerous" about it. You'll fall asleep while Genpo's talking and slip off your chair and crack your head?

Harry said...

Once we embraced the Head of Emptiness(TM) even that won't be a problem.

Regards,

H.

michael bardan said...

you're on.

but why drive?

for u?

big mind,
small dick.

roger and pout.

mB)

Anonymous said...

Stow the bardanisms. I for one am bored by uncreative repetition. Ritual is for religion.

Anonymous said...

This site should have a warning that it's for children.
This has become a cesspool of projection. Wake the FUCK up. You fool. Just because you empty your mind doesn't give one permission to be a total fucking idiota,Igorantia, blockhead, bonehead, cretin, dimwit, dope, dork, dullard, dunce, fathead, fool, imbecile, jerk, moron, nitwit, simpleton, stupid, twit, imbecile, jackass, mooncalf, moron, nincompoop, a ninny nitwit, simpleton.

Brad you are the Uncle tom of Zen.

I sure you love the insults. Love your pain.

Anonymous said...

Gorgeously ludicrous. The music really does put me immediately into a "Zen" state of mind. I wonder if the composer happens to have other material for sale....like....say...a CD called....umm .....maybe...."Awake at the Funeral" which may be purchased by visiting a website called....hmmm....I wonder....how about....www.deep6holidaymusic.com

:)

Justin said...

Sorry Andro am I being too indirect?

Brad has the emotional maturity of a 12-year old. He is dogmatic, conservative, egotistical and narrow-minded with it.

By the way, you need to extract yourself from between his butt-cheeks.

andro said...

Justin said;

"Sorry Andro am I being too indirect?

Brad has the emotional maturity of a 12-year old. He is dogmatic, conservative, egotistical and narrow-minded with it.

By the way, you need to extract yourself from between his butt-cheeks."

Justin, Exactly what makes you think you are any different from Brad or me or anyone else for that matter? Everything you have said about Brad also applies to you as is apparent from your little diatribe. It really isn't a matter of Brad on one extreme and you and your ideals on the other. You do not like Brad. I not not know Brad. We read him differently.

andro said...

make that - do not know.

Justin said...

I don't think you can speak for 'we'. I'm telling you how I personally read him.

Someone who acts like Brad does in that video is not interested in the truth of the matter, only about appearing to 'win' or 'score points' for himself, and the interpretation of Zen that he's emotionally attached to. He's probably intimidated by a public debate and is hiding it behind mockery. If he's going to make disparaging public comments about someone he should have the balls to back it up rather than hiding behind a puppet.

This is the sort of behaviour that you see in kids. You can project great wisdom into it if you like - I can't help you.

p.maestro said...

i love the cover to Sit Down and Shut Up. i love everything about it really, but especially the cover.

the cover to hardcore zen not so much. nothing bad about it, but from knowing nothing about you and just wanting a book on zen for a casual read, it seems to suggest (as does the title) that within lies extra powerful content. hardcore being extra, supra, more than more involved, almost like a subculture to itself. something that once reading the book seemed perhaps kinda counter-zen. an illusion of superiority?

sit down and shut up really appealed to me though. kind of ridiculous no? i love it. anyway, you should do more interviews like this. i found this very informative. genpo, you're awesome keep it up, you're the yin to brad's yang

Anonymous said...

I don't think you can speak for 'we'. I'm telling you how I personally read him.

Someone who acts like Brad does in that video is not interested in the truth of the matter, only about appearing to 'win' or 'score points' for himself, and the interpretation of Zen that he's emotionally attached to. He's probably intimidated by a public debate and is hiding it behind mockery. If he's going to make disparaging public comments about someone he should have the balls to back it up rather than hiding behind a puppet.

This is the sort of behaviour that you see in kids. You can project great wisdom into it if you like - I can't help you.


NAILED IT RIGHT ON THE HEAD. THANK YOU JUSTIN

anonymous(e) said...

diff'rent teachers for diff'rent students?

what?

what the fuck? i think i just FNoRDed
myself...

oh my god, what the fuck does that mean?!?!

Anonymous said...

pipe down grasshopper

anonymous(e) said...

somehow methinks the Venereal Brad Warner-roshi-sensei-roshi, honestly doesnt give a fuck.

(ya like the way i just flung the "F" werd around like that? i know that i'm amused....hur-HuR!)

Anonymous said...

I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.

Mumon said...

Damn, sometimes you're good.

Thanks. Just for the first 3 sentences.

Mumon said...

Brad: incidentally, "roshi" as transliterated into its original Chinsese means...wait for it...teacher.

Anonymous said...

"trying to gain attention for himself by trashing others. Is that your Zen, Brad?"

Yep!
That is his zen.

andro said...

"Someone who acts like Brad does in that video is not interested in the truth of the matter, only about appearing to 'win' or 'score points' for himself."

This is you describing yourself. subconsciously?

"the interpretation of Zen that he's emotionally attached to."

Again, You a describing yourself.

"He's probably intimidated by a public debate and is hiding it behind mockery."

You again..

"If he's going to make disparaging public comments about someone he should have the balls to back it up."

Everyone knows what Brad looks like, where he lives, how to contact him. You are the craven accuser.

"By the way, you need to extract yourself from between his butt-cheeks."

This is as vulgar and inaccurate as anything Brad has written. But because you think you have everyone's motivations pegged so well, you allow this for yourself and scream bloody murder if Brad goes there. That is Funny.

"I don't think you can speak for 'we'."

You seem to think you are the only person entitled to do that. There is a word for someone like you who pretends to have virtues and high morals that he doesn't really possess. You are every bit as much of a hypocrite as Brad is dear.

Anonymous said...



"He's probably intimidated by a public debate and is hiding it behind mockery."

You again..


this is recursive.

Anonymous said...

Brad, you must be low on material. Gotta haul out the old Genpo Roshi trashing. You are sure stuck on that guy.

I, for one, would like to see you go head-to-head with Genpo. I'd even pay big money for it. You've been invited. What's stopping you?

Anonymous said...

while i am against the direct finger pointing going on, i think it important to vocalize disagreement. The big mind website is full of nice retreats that have pictures of wonderful houses you can sleep in alone or shared. Where you are surrounded by people who look like they talk in that very specific "i've been meditating all my life and i'm so serene" tone. The prices are well over $150 for many of these retreats. While it is not what i would look for in buddhist teaching i am sure someone who wants a nice spa-like getaway will be happy with this. My personal issue is with spiritual leaders (no matter what religion) that try to gather loads from those who are poor and looking for some relief from their situation. I hope that is not going on there.

Anonymous said...

How do zen masters go head to head? How would non-zen masters judge?

Anonymous said...

How do zen masters go head to head?

Like this.

Justin said...

Knockout or submission I suppose.

Rich said...

I just watched the Brad, Genpo and wilbur videos. Big Mind reminded me of the Big Foot phenom. Genpo and Wilbur are boring psychos just trying to make a living. Brad is boring but he's not a psycho. The sock monkey is a funny guy.

Just sit and make the effort. When the shit comes only your try, don't know mind can save you. Your true self requires maintenance.

Anonymous said...

why freak out about this person and his technique when ...

we walk by people on the sidewalk every day who don't have money for food or a place to sleep ...

we're paying for weapons and people to go and kill other people ...

etc...

??

Anonymous said...

There's work to be done!

The mentally ill and the poor - teetering on the social edge - they will be hurt by this economic downturn.

The average age of a homeless person in Massachusetts is 8 years old. That's out of all homeless people.

How many traumatized soldiers will come back to our communities from the hell in the middle east?

Fuck your sock puppet games! Go teach meditation to those who are suffering and who are willing to listen. Do it for free. Eat a little less. Tell yourself you'll 'get a good book out of it' and recoup the loss if you need to.

You can help by helping way more than you can help by supposedly "preventing harm" by insulting other people.

Get over yourself Brad. Get over your shame and get to work.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit scared . Brad are you O.K. Let us know please.

Tin said...

Two senseis enter! One comes out!

I'm waiting for anyone involved in Big Mind to admit that Gestalt psychologists had been using these same techniques for years before Genpo "invented" them.

I've heard some great stories about Genpo's evolved thinking. But I have PsychLit. I don't swallow fish and I certainly don't swallow crap.

Debate? Yeah, right. No chance in hell that Genpo risks his gold mine.

Moon Face Buddha said...

Looks like ad hominem attacks on both sides. If Big Mind works for you then great. If sitting facing a wall works for you then great. If you think it is all the same then great.

Mumon said...

Geez, I thought it was only in the political arena, but they have concern trolls here as well.

I can quibble with Brad Warner's schtick as well as the next boddhisattva, but he's saying the awful true things I don't think the persona is relevant to the discussion at all.

Morever, it occurs to me that I could debate Gempo/Wilber myself, and I'm just a regular guy who's taken jukai.

In a Rinzai lineage...but still...

qbitty said...

/bell:z, hell:z, mikee bee is on his way to hill street.

bell, bell, bell, bell.

someone put that goddam coffee on the pot and it better be broiled tea ceremony style, yanno, sorta like in the hawttt moving sand:z?

bring suicide girls on porch now.

i only have room for 3 in the back.

i'll be driving THIS car.

not THAT 1.

michael bardan said...

THIS

jamal said...

Those enraptured fans in Genpo's audience look like they be going to heaven. He must be selling Something good.

Anonymous said...

brilliant. 4.5/5 stars

Anthonie said...

Seriously??
It's funny, i'll look at both sides with humor, all sides are the same right???
Laughter is is part of joy for me, everything is ok, and it's ok for people to think differently, even you who is reading this..

Love ya all!

Stephanie said...

The video was cute, but suffers from the obvious flaw that Brad quite literally puts words in Genpo's mouth.

Which is what we all do, really, when we set ourselves in opposition to something--we project onto whatever we're fighting a story that justifies our position, and respond to that, rather than actually listening to or responding to the other person.

I suspect Brad and Genpo are both sincere and well-intentioned. (Not that good intentions are enough to assure that the final product is good, of course.) One is wary of the abuses of spirituality in ways that can harm the vulnerable, while the other wants to help people accomplish what he believes is an important goal in spiritual practice. I believe that both have found something of value in their engagement in Zen and want to share it with others.

I do not believe that Genpo is a scheming, moustache-twirling villain, solely motivated by a desire to scam people out of their money. Nor do I believe that Brad's motivation in criticizing Genpo and Big Mind is solely to assuage his ego or draw attention to himself. I suspect there is some validity to the Big Mind process, but I believe Brad's criticisms are also valid.

Ken Wilber is another story, however. Any time I watch him speak, I know at some point, I'm going to start laughing in mirth and disbelief. The guy is bullshit personified. Genpo's continuing association with him makes me more suspicious of him than anything else about the Big Mind process or its marketing.

Wilber is the ultimate purveyor of spiritual materialism. All of his "systems" and "levels" and "stages" and "modes" project a sense of exactly what sincere effort in spiritual practice dispels: the belief that we can create and maintain a dependable, unchanging state or position. That we are, or can become, superior to others in some way that goes beyond the temporal and relational, that we can cultivate some lasting essence of enlightenment, wisdom, or perfection. Real, engaged spiritual practice slowly wears away at such hopes and illusions.

I'm still young, but I've practiced and experienced enough that I have gotten this point. Just a few short years ago, I was swayed by all of the remarkable spiritual systems people offered. I believed there was some way to "climb the mountain" and look down at everyone else from the peak. But now I know that yes, you can climb that mountain, but there really is no mountain. You can apply a system to your life but you're just making it up as you go along. It only succeeds to the extent that other people are willing to go along with you in creating that world you're creating. The real gift of practice is the ability to see this and to then be able to let go of all of the unnecessary striving that comes with not understanding this point.

I believe that the manifestations of a deepening spiritual maturity are humility (not false humility), an openness to the diversity of human experience without a need to control or manage it or make it into something different, and a greater emphasis on connecting with people than proving a point. I think that spiritual practice (mind you, I hate that word "spiritual," but I lack a better term) reduces the need to prove a point.

So why is it then that the majority of spiritual teachers one encounters seem driven by a need to prove a point? The whole religious or spiritual teaching industry is a joke in which the punchline is that it is sustained by the very things which it claims to sell a solution to. Once you've seen enough of this, how can you buy it any more?

I think of all mentioned, Brad is the least entangled in this game. He's still got points to prove but he can laugh at himself and doesn't project that sort of "woo woo" quality you get with folks like Wilber.

The bottom line is that a true engagement on the spiritual path will correct all the mistakes it takes to sustain oneself on the path at first. If you're into all that weird stuff about levels and enlightenment and crystals and chakras, but yet are motivated by a sincere desire to realize truth, you will ultimately have no choice but to let it all go as you will see that there is nothing to any of that. If Big Mind "harms" anyone, they are people who would have found their way to a similar delusion regardless, and who will ultimately find their way out if they seek truth.

Anonymous said...

Dear Venerable Brad Roshi Sensei:

Regarding your vlog:

That shit was fucking highlarious! About 4.5 minutes too long, though, in my opinion.

Sincerely yours with namaste, kensho, metta, peace, love, and sarcasm, and oh yeah gassho
annoying-muss

ps - Ken Wilber has swallowed the whole thing.

pps - Brad, please shave your head before the debate.

Yusuf said...

Brad, I appreciate the way you use contemporary American vernacular to guide people towards practice. Thanks for helping people outside the usual white, upper middle class "buddhist" target demographic relate to the dharma.

Genpo and Wilber (and Cohen, though I digress) are hucksters. There are no shortcuts for the rich.

As much as I hate a cliche phrase, it applies here: thank you for keepin' it real.

Yusuf said...

Ouch! Just read this on Genpo Roshi's website:

"Genpo Roshi is now offering intimate Big Heart Circle Retreat intensives — five people, for five days, each of whom have offered a donation of $50,000 or more"

http://genpo.org/Big_Heart_Circle.html (as of 9/22/08 ... check it out before they yank it ... then pull it up with Google Cache)

Fifty thousand dollars. Or more.

As they say in the guru-business, "there's a Seeker born every minute..."

Alan A said...

Stephanie -

Well said. And appreciated. Wisdom (as opposed to cleverness) isn't exactly thick on the ground around here. Nice to come across it every now and then.

Michael said...

Hello

Brad, I can well understand your dislike of Big Mind since it doesn't look much like the zen your teacher taught you, but some of the criticisms that you make of it would be answered if you saw Genpo in person. That is not to say that you are not correct and that it is not a bad thing overall or that you should not criticise it - I don't really know, just that some of the things you say about it really do come from ignorance and assumption. Nobody in these responses seems to have set these out without resorting to abuse of you or unquestioning defence of the whole Big Mind project so I thought I would. I am not suggesting that you stop your criticism, just that on the following points you are actually wrong and should refocus your argument. I cannot understand why you don't go and see Genpo at his invitation - that does detract from your position and make it look as though you are just trying to bring attention to yourself even if you are not, but anyway.

1. Genpo promises enlightenment in a weekend and does not suggest that 30 years of practice are necessary.

This is simply not true. Genpo states at every session that what Big Mind does is provide "a glimpse", a "peak experience" such as, frankly, many people get spontaneously now and again and which indeed attracts many of those people to zen. He is always clear that to integrate this experience takes up to 30 years of sitting. What Big Mind claims is that through this technique, these glimpses can be more reliably experienced than by waiting for peak experiences. My experience is that this is so. However, you and Genpo both agree that this is no substitute for a zazen practice. Fun, yes. Insightful, yes. But no substitute. Genpo does not claim that you can get what you get from sitting for 30 years in an afternoon. If you were to go on a Big Mind retreat, you would recognise the vast majority of it as a standard zen retreat (as opposed to the weekends) only with Big Mind replacing the Dharma talk. There would still be a good 6 hours of sitting, service, samu etc. "encountering the absolute is not yet enlightenment" as you, Genpo and I well know. Why should you not assist people in encountering the absolute though? Our true nature is already here. Zen practice opens us up to it, gives us insight and integrates it. Big mind opens us up to it, gives us a little insight and then gently lets us close down again. That is when Genpo points people towards sitting. The distinction is always made clear.The truth is that anyone can appreciate their true nature right now. (thwack!) There are plenty of examples in the tradition of this kind of opening from pointing-out instructions and debates about its value; Hui Neng and the rest. Zen is the rapid school of instant enlightenment, but still we sit for 30 years. People follow up Big Mind with sitting, or they go home and get on with life having been connected for a short while. Big deal. My point is this. Nobody, least of all Genpo, is saying that encountering the absolute is "yet enlightenment", but that is no reason not to encounter it, is it?

2. This is a scam.

Genpo offers Big Mind as a way of attracting seekers to teh dharma. Yes, he is offering a public stage show, giving people what they want in an American instant form, just as it says on his advertising. However, at each meeting there are invitations to go deeper by beginning zen practice. Going on a Big Mind weekend is not presented as a substitute, merely as a flash. Where is the scam exactly? Genpo has never said that this will give you what you get from 30 years of practice. If he had then yes, it would be a scam. But he hasn't. Nobody is permitted to facilitate Big Mind unless they are in or have completed Koan study. You do not get 'certified' or anything after a Big Mind weekend, like in LGATs. you pay for only what happens on the weekend and then you are left to wash your bowl. Personally, I have found insights in these sessions that I have sat with in my practice and this has been useful. I have never begrudged the money which is by no means unreasonable for that kind of course. It is of a similar cost to yoga weekends or aikido weekends or family constellation work or whatever.

3. Genpo is not interested in Dharma

My experience of Big Mind is that it is firstly and foremostly about spreading the dharma. My experience of Genpo is that this is the passion that drives his life. He believes that it can be delivered in small packages to the general public in a way that is beneficial as well as to monks and you may disagree but you can rest assured that his intention is dharma teaching and nothing else. He is still teaching regular full-package hardcore zen from Dogan, boddhidharma etc. too after all.

Anyway, there is much more to say, but I hope your arguments can be informed by this. There is certainly a good debate to be had about whether this is the right way for zen to be taught or the right way for people to be attracted to zen and generally how zen should or should not change to meet the West. I would love to see you contribute intelligently to that debate. You would be able to do so much more effectively if you cease from making the above assertions which are demonstrably false as could be ascertained if you were to meet Genpo or attend his teachings.

Good luck

Michael

Michael said...

I'm waiting for anyone involved in Big Mind to admit that Gestalt psychologists had been using these same techniques for years before Genpo "invented" them.

er... Genpo states very clearly that Big Mind is a fusion of zen and "Voice Dialogue" which is actually a jungian-inspired technique but is quite Gestalty, so I am pleased to be able to inform you that you can breathe out and stop waiting now.

Alan Gregory Wonderwheel said...

Uhh, I've heard of the logical fallacy of making a "straw man" argument, but making an argument by "sock puppet" seems to top that!

What a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
I think people should stop wasting their time criticizing what others are doing and just focus on themselves. Each person has something valuable to share and can give constructive criticism without trashing someone elses work or attempts at helping humanity. At the very least for a judgement if you will after you have experienced it. Not just based on assumptions and pre-conceived ideas.

Anonymous said...

Hello,
I think people should stop wasting their time criticizing what others are doing and just focus on themselves. Each person has something valuable to share and can give constructive criticism without trashing someone elses work or attempts at helping humanity. At the very least for a judgement if you will after you have experienced it. Not just based on assumptions and pre-conceived ideas.

Michael Rose said...

Deep Brad.
Real deep.

Oh... I get it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Sock_puppetry

briankissingbear said...

Hi Brad

I know this is a old post and topic that just won't die but seeing your post tonight featuring sock monkey I suspected there might be a story behind your fuzzy friend.

Anyway keep up the great work!

Many Thanks
BKB

TallisMortallic said...

Brad, from one dharma teacher to another, is it not better that a dharma teacher should teach his students by example even more than through words or books? One skillful action can be more insightful to a student that one thousand words. An unskillful reaction by a dharma teacher can confuse a student and bury them further into the conceptualized existence that we strive to help them out of. If a dharma teacher allows his pride to flare every time his ego feels assaulted, then how can his student learn to let go of the concept of self? Does it really matter to an enlightened being if someone talks smack? Even if what was said is a falsity, does it really matter to one who has realized that his ego is also a falsity?

Zener said...

Little boy bradly playing with puppets.. Not only you, Bradly, your book "Hardcore Zen" seemed childish too...