Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NEW SUICIDE GIRLS ARTICLE (Sept. Something 2008)

I got a new article up on Suicide Girls. Go look.

I got back from the Dogen Sangha annual retreat in Shizuoka, Japan (which is where I am, Japan, I mean, not at the retreat) this afternoon then went around to some fave record stores here in Tokio. Now I'm too bushed to do much more than put a notice up about the new Suicide Girls thing.

Goodnight.

More tomorrow.

Maybe...

52 comments:

Harry said...

One!!!

Ha ha, now *I* am Genpo!

H.

Anonymous said...

A comment from the Suicid Girls site says it all, so I'll just say "ditto":

"SEP 22, 2008 11:08 AM
I come away from this column with the same question that I always have when I read your columns, Brad, which is, how is it that you distinguish between the real dharma and the false dharma? I don't mean "you" in the generic sense, I mean "you, Brad", since you claim to know.

You must be familiar with the Northern School/Southern School debate that occurred in Buddhist China, and you are aware that all surviving Zen and Ch'an schools descend from the Northern school of sudden enlightenment, rather than taking the gradualist approach of Southern China, Indian Mahayana, and Tibet. I don't think it's a stretch to say that sudden enlightenment is the ubiquitous refrain of Ch'an and Zen scriptures and writings for the last thousand years. Grabbing a proximate example at random:

"Enlightenment is not a matter of far or near, but if you are confused, mountains and rivers will block your way." - Sekito Kisan

Or you may have heard of "The Platform Sutra"? Hui Neng just picked up the guitar and started to play, and that's kind of the whole point. Right?

You're welcome to disagree with that perspective, but it's hard for me to see where you get the balls to wave that all away, discounting the teachings of every ancestor in the lineage. Maybe dismissing the core of Zen for the last thousand years plays well to an audience that knows nothing about Buddhist doctrine, but for those of us who have more of a context for what you're saying, it's a tough sell. Which gets me back to my question ... why should we believe you?

I do not disagree about Big Mind McDharma ... it's getting harder and harder to take Ken Wilber seriously, and it was never that easy. My point is that when you set yourself up as arbiter of what constitutes the "real dharma", you are no different from any other of the self-appointed custodians of the true dharma throughout history. It's autocratic, arbitrary, hostile, and misguided, and has nothing to do with the Mahayana that I know."

Harry said...

"You must be familiar with the Northern School/Southern School debate that occurred in Buddhist China, and you are aware that all surviving Zen and Ch'an schools descend from the Northern school of sudden enlightenment, rather than taking the gradualist approach of Southern China, Indian Mahayana, and Tibet. I don't think it's a stretch to say that sudden enlightenment is the ubiquitous refrain of Ch'an and Zen scriptures and writings for the last thousand years. Grabbing a proximate example at random:

"Enlightenment is not a matter of far or near, but if you are confused, mountains and rivers will block your way." - Sekito Kisan"

Yes,

A good post. But Dogen Zenji (who I think is accepted as quite a big player in Zen Buddhism at this stage) didn't look at gradual/instant from one or two simple 'either/or' perspectives I think. To me it seems that yes he looked at Buddhist practice (Zazen, bowing, 'performing the many types of good') as just realisation/the complete Dharma itself: When we just 'drop' good/bad, delusion/enlightenment, ignorance/attainment in a moment of practice then there is just the realisation of the real action itself which is complete in itself/our self.

But, although there is an 'instantaneousness' about this he clearly talks about pursuing, promoting and clarifying the mind of practice through practice: if we stop practicing it in an on-going manner then it stops manifesting.

He had a very interesting view of time/existence (see Sobogenzo Uji)- than it could flow in all directions (past to present, present to past, present to present, past to past etc. etc.) and that it was just reality itself- so I wouldn't draw simple conclusions from any disembodied statement of his regarding 'instant' and 'gradual'.

Regards,

Harry.

Jules said...

"I do not disagree about Big Mind McDharma ... it's getting harder and harder to take Ken Wilber seriously, and it was never that easy. My point is that when you set yourself up as arbiter of what constitutes the "real dharma", you are no different from any other of the self-appointed custodians of the true dharma throughout history. It's autocratic, arbitrary, hostile, and misguided, and has nothing to do with the Mahayana that I know."

I think it's important for good teachers to point out when someone who says he knows the Dharma really isn't helping people at all.

Brad wrote:

"You can’t get through the layers of bullshit you’ve swallowed from society in mere minutes anymore than you can take off the pounds put on by a lifetime of Big Macs and Frosties after a quick jog around the block following which you reward yourself with another Big Mac. This stuff takes work and anyone who tells you it doesn’t is lying.

The good news is that you can get through a million plus years of human conditioning in a decade or so, which is really not so bad when you put it that way."


Doesn't that answer your question?

Look at it this way: it is possible to get a useless glimpse of what lies underneath all that conditioning, then go back to living within that conditioning without making any real changes. Especially if you have some guru telling you how much progress you've made while he's cashing your check. It's a lot more work to actually take the conditioning apart, changing your daily behavior and your idea of who you are. And it doesn't pay as well to teach that kind of lesson.

pete said...

great work brad
punk rocker to bullshit detector.. oh they are the same thing aren't they
what next for the buddhist entrepreneurs?
enlightenment pills ? SATORIAGRA perhaps

Anonymous said...

Jules,

Do you mean to compare Genpo Roshi with Zen Master Rama?

Rich said...

We all have to figure out the real dharma from the false dharma moment to moment, so the important question is what practice will help. Hose down the cat puke from the rug.

Mumon said...

"The Big Mind program is made possible by Kanzeon Inc. and grants from the Segal Foundation, the Frederick P. Lenz Foundation for American Buddhism, and private donations."

Emphasis mine.

Anybody need a refresher in Frederick "Zen Master Rama" Lenz?

Jules said...

Do you mean to compare Genpo Roshi with Zen Master Rama?

Well, no that wouldn't be fair. Rama was much worse than Genpo.

My point is that when you set yourself up as arbiter of what constitutes the "real dharma", you are no different from any other of the self-appointed custodians of the true dharma throughout history.

Did you mean to suggest that Buddhist teachers should never criticize other Buddhist teachers?

Mumon said...

Darn, I forgot: here's where I got the fine print from:

http://www.genpo.org/Advisory_Board.html


It's at the bottom of the page...

Anonymous said...

Did you mean to suggest that Buddhist teachers should never criticize other Buddhist teachers?

That was a different anonymous. My teacher doesn't criticize other teachers. He gives me instructions and answers my questions. If my teacher criticized other methods without my asking, for example in a public dharma talk, it would diminish my trust in him.

Koudelka said...

>>mumon
I used to work at a software company who's founder disappeared after being involved in Rama's shit.

That whole page of LOOK AT OUR SUPPORTERS AND FOUNDERS is a fucking joke. It's the belief in authority out the wazoo.

Anonymous said...

Mumon,

The Lenz money has gone to many Buddhist centers:

http://www.fredericklenzfoundation.org/grants.asp

What do you think of this list?

Jules said...

That was a different anonymous.

Sorry, it's hard to tell who's who with all the anonymous posting in here.

My teacher doesn't criticize other teachers. He gives me instructions and answers my questions. If my teacher criticized other methods without my asking, for example in a public dharma talk, it would diminish my trust in him.

I'm sure your teacher is much more enlightened than Brad is.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure your teacher is much more enlightened than Brad is.

What do you mean by 'more enlightened'?

Jules said...

Sarcasm doesn't come across very well in writing, I guess.

Jules said...

Suggesting to people that they avoid bad teachers and teachings is an old tradition. Dogen talked about heretics and heretical views all the time.

Koudelka said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnNSe5XYp6E

Justin said...

Suggesting to people that they avoid bad teachers and teachings is an old tradition. Dogen talked about heretics and heretical views all the time.

In that case I suggest we all avoid Genpo Roshi AND Brad Warner.

Koudelka said...

>>Justin
In my experience, Brad Warner doesn't hawk any dogma.

And dude, you're not a zen buddhist. Nobody is.

Jules said...

In that case I suggest we all avoid Genpo Roshi AND Brad Warner.

Interesting. On what basis, Justin?

Justin said...

In my experience, Brad Warner doesn't hawk any dogma.

I've been following his writing for a long time. In my experience he can be very dogmatic especially about what is and is not 'real Buddhism'.

And dude, you're not a zen buddhist. Nobody is.

Is that so? I would have thought that someone who practices Zen Buddhism could usefully be termed a 'Zen Buddhist'. But hey.

Koudelka said...

>>justin

That's because most "buddhism" is garbage.

And yeah, if you identify as a "zen buddhist", you missed the point.

andro said...

Justin, You can avoid Brad Warner altogether if you are so convinced he isn't an advocate of the "true" dharma as you understand it. But I think you have reached a point where you would rather pour over everything he writes just so you disprove of it, and then you can wring your hands and gnash your teeth over how incorrect he is. It's all rather perverse..

Anonymous said...

the snipers are out!

Jules said...

Justin wrote: I've been following his writing for a long time.

I know you've been here a long time, Justin. I'm curious why your opinion seems to have changed.

In my experience he can be very dogmatic especially about what is and is not 'real Buddhism'.

He is opinionated, but I think that any good teacher should be opinionated. What's wrong with that?

Jules said...

the snipers are out!

OMG pew pew pew

Koudelka said...

brb guys, i'm going to go drop $50K to become part of TEH INNAR BIG CIRCLE

Anonymous said...

so jundo says that brad is right up there with frederick lenz and that dogen sangha is a cult wannabe

who is right there?

Anonymous said...

Jules, get your head out of Brad's ass.

fourth said...

Brad, please set up a forum, otherwise the comments section becomes meaningless: it is just too long. I also think that this forum must be unmoderated, so we can insult each other (and you) without choosing politically correct words.

Lauren said...

This is not to answer any criticism of Brad. But reading the criticism may me consider what I think of Brad. ...

I am very suspicious of dogma and hype, and I now have first hand experience of Brad. I am certain of these few things. Brad is selling nothing. There were no requests for donation, no requests to 'join.' Brad did not tell me I could or could not become "enlightened." There was no happy fairy tale of how this could all make my life better. I was invited to sit down and shut up, but if I wanted to walk away, Brad would help find a taxi. I was invited to consider the roles of idealism, materialism, the middle way and "reality itself" in how this whole thing goes, according to the thesis of Nishijima sensei. I saw Brad give up an opportunity to speak to another person, an essential stranger. I see that Brad takes time from what he is doing to carry bugs to safety that might get squished. Brad has no 'power.'He is not controlling and he is not enticingly enigmatic. He says what he thinks is right (that is, indeed critical) with a sense of protection, I think, not authority. He invites people to think critically about what the message of Buddha and Dogen must be at its core, and suggests such critical thinking should be turned even to him. He seems to want people to learn Buddha/Dogen, not Brad Warner. The door is completely open...to come or go, listen or not. You are fine if you stay and fine if you go. If you can, please sit down and shut up. If you want to 'know' something. Study Dogen, study Buddha, feel free to ignore 'Brad Warner.'

Mumon said...

anonymous wrote:

The Lenz money has gone to many Buddhist centers...
What do you think of this list?


I think it is unethical, frankly, for the groups to have taken money from that foundation with the advertised acknowledgment of such grants, because quite frankly, "Dr." Lenz's "Buddhism" has as much in common with the 8-fold path as Henry Paulson's Mortgage Bailout Plan.

The heavy sambokyodan flavor of the grantmaking doesn't impress me all that much either, frankly, and that especially saddens me as I have learned good things from a couple of their teachers.

I could go on about the specific grants themselves; $56K to study how "to reconcile modern American Buddhist and meditation practice with ancient Tantric Vajrayana Buddhism?"

I s'pose it's better spent that way than on a Lexus, but I'm really wondering if I can apply for a grant to go Harvard's library and to translate Suzuki Shosan's Ha Kirishitan, as the tiny smidgen I've seen on line leads me to think it's more timely and relevant, especially with Sarah Palin and what-not.

But, you know, multiple wrongs don't make a right.

Mumon said...

P.S.:

In Portland OR, at the behest of the wonderful folks at the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, we changed "Change Your Mind Day" because of its association with Lenz's foundation, and the recent one was amazing in the breadth and diversity of temples represented.

It was Buddhist, and not so much "American" Buddhist.

Jinzang said...

All surviving Zen and Ch'an schools descend from the Northern school of sudden enlightenment.

I'm glad you reposted this from Suicide Girls.

Sudden enlightenment doesn't mean you will get enlightenment instantly. It means enlightenment is not the product of causes and conditions. It's to get away from the idea that is enlightenment is something to chase down and tackle.

"Enlightenment is not a matter of far or near

Not near or far for the reason stated above.

When you set yourself up as arbiter of what constitutes the "real dharma".

That's precisely a teacher's job: to say what is and what is not real dharma. Or maybe you think it's to smile pleasantly as you come in the door and ring the bell that ends sitting?

Jinzang said...

I've been following his writing for a long time. In my experience he can be very dogmatic especially about what is and is not 'real Buddhism'.

You have some strong opinions yourself. And I don't think less of you or Brad for it.

Jules said...

Oh, MAN. I just found out that I missed the event of the summer last weekend! For only $1000, I could have spent the weekend with Genpo Roshi and Bill Harris. You remember Bill Harris, right? He's the guy behind that awesome Holosync technology, the Most Powerful Personal Growth and Mind Development Tool On Earth!

I just found out, not only will it let you meditate just like a Zen Monk at the touch of a button, but it also has Anti-Aging properties and enhances your longevity!

But wait -- THERE'S MORE!!! Too much good stuff all in one convenient package, I can't quote it all, here's just the smallest sample:


Does the Centerpointe program replace conventional meditative practices?

The Holosync Solution™ takes the listener to the brain wave patterns of deep meditation in a way that creates for the listener an accelerated meditation practice similar to that achieved by practicing many hours each day for many years.

Can the Holosync technology help me become smarter?

Holosync has been known to enhance mental functioning on a number of levels. It's ability to increase synchronous neuro-electrical activity between the two hemispheres of the brain, and it's ability to drive the nervous system to higher levels of functioning over time, naturally brings with it the potential for some rather remarkable improvements in cognitive functioning. Learning ability, creativity, problem solving ability, focus and concentration, memory, and intuition are among the areas typically showing improvement.


WOW! And to think we missed this guy and Genpo Roshi at the same event!!! Surely between the two of them they could reduce the time it takes to reach Enlightenment from a whole weekend to just seconds!

jundo cohen said...

Hello,

so jundo says that brad is right up there with frederick lenz and that dogen sangha is a cult wannabe

who is right there?


I am going to jump in here just once to ask that folks not post statements by me here, especially if out of context. Brad is not Frederick Lenz, and Dogen Sangha is not a dangerous cult. If anyone would like a clarification on anything I wrote, please feel to write me privately and I will be happy to respond and explain.

Brad strikes me pretty much just as Lauren describes him in the post above. My criticisms of the "anger, abuse, foul language, gossiping, in-fighting, resentments, feuding" and sometimes overt anti-semitism and racism by a few people in Dogen Sangha are the only thing I was pointing a finger at as having a "cult-ish like" flavor, and the main reason I had to pull back. I felt I could not be part of that any longer. Unfortunately, such things are human nature and can appear in any organization, even if particularly tragic when it manifests in a Buddhist Sangha. Yes, I believed and believe that it had something to do with people in Dogen Sangha not treating each other with mutual respect as guided by the Precepts.

I hope that puts the matter to rest.


Gassho, Jundo Cohen

At The Moment said...

Mumon,

The Lenz money has gone to many Buddhist centers:

http://www.fredericklenzfoundation.org/grants.asp

What do you think of this list?
=
I think that some folks will sell the Dharma for a buck. Truly sad.

groundskeeper said...

jundo sed: "I am going to jump in here just once to ask that folks not post statements by me here"

I hope that doesn't happen. I don't read your blog but I am interested in what you say. I get it here.

Justin said...

Interesting. On what basis, Justin?

My tongue was in my cheek Jules.

Justin said...

That's because most "buddhism" is garbage.

Is that so?

And yeah, if you identify as a "zen buddhist", you missed the point.

'I practice Zen Buddhism' is too long winded. If I had so much aversion to a label that I couldn't use it when it was appropriate to use it then I think I'd have missed the point. Aversion is a form of attachment too. Why not call a table by its most useful name? Why not pick up a 'cup' by the handle?

Justin said...

Justin, You can avoid Brad Warner altogether if you are so convinced he isn't an advocate of the "true" dharma as you understand it. But I think you have reached a point where you would rather pour over everything he writes just so you disprove of it, and then you can wring your hands and gnash your teeth over how incorrect he is. It's all rather perverse.

He's an entertaining and interesting writing, sometimes quite insightful. I think everyone should be open to constructive criticism.

Justin said...

Jules: I know you've been here a long time, Justin. I'm curious why your opinion seems to have changed.

He is opinionated, but I think that any good teacher should be opinionated. What's wrong with that?


Jinzang: You have some strong opinions yourself. And I don't think less of you or Brad for it.

Attachment to opinion is ego-identification, which is normal and human of course and not to be denied or rejected. Nevertheless it should be seen for what it is and not taught as if that opinion was 'the True Dharma'. There is no more 'Zen' in one of Brad's rants than there is in any speech by Billy Graham or Ian Paisley.

We can see the consequences of this. Buddhism is a practice of action - of developing the wisdom to no longer produce bad karma - I've seen Brad's approach produce more animosity than any Buddhist forum of any sort anywhere else.

I'm not saying it doesn't produce some insight too, but mainly I see it producing polarised opinions. Including mine of course.

Anger begets anger. Rejection begets rejection. Ego begets ego.

I admit that I have some strong opinions, attachments and so on and its my practice to see them clearly for what they are. I don't present them as 'dharma talks'.

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

>>Justin
'I practice Zen Buddhism' is too long winded. If I had so much aversion to a label that I couldn't use it when it was appropriate to use it then I think I'd have missed the point. Aversion is a form of attachment too. Why not call a table by its most useful name? Why not pick up a 'cup' by the handle?

When is it appropriate to advertise that you're a "zen buddhist"?

Do you understand "it" to the point that it's a useful symbol and as such can be communicated to other people? Can "zen" be represented as a meaningful symbol?

It's not a question of aversion, it's a question of nonsense.

Thanks for the dumb metaphor, btw.

Anonymous said...

You're not bardan! You don't have the style!

Mumon said...

at the moment:

If they're selling the Dharma for a buck, they get the buck and I suspect it's hard to take refuge there.

At The Moment said...

Mumon said...

at the moment:

If they're selling the Dharma for a buck, they get the buck and I suspect it's hard to take refuge there.
====

I am willing to step back and give 'em the benefit of the doubt. BUT. Any grant writer worth her or his salt would review and study the fund BEFORE even approaching them for money.

Mumon said...

at the moment:

About 16 years ago the then not-yet-defunct Michael Moore pulled a prank on various presidential candidates to see what money they would take. Wikipedia notes:


"Filmmaker Michael Moore, as part of his book Downsize This! Random Threats from an Unarmed American, mailed several hundred dollar checks to various 1996 presidential candidates, written under the guise of fictional support groups with names and agendas antithetical to the particular candidate's ideology, "just to see if politicians would take money from anybody."
[Pat] Buchanan was the first to cash his check, which was from the fictional group "Abortionists for Buchanan."

That's what this brings to my mind.

Anonymous said...

Genpo is the same with Groucho Marx