Friday, September 19, 2008

TOKYO, TYPHOONS and ZEN


I just arrived in Tokyo. Too jet-lagged to post. Tomorrow is the start of our annual Dogen Sangha 4-day Zazen retreat at Tokei-in temple in Shizuoka. And a typhoon is bearing down upon us. Will the shinkansen run tomorrow? Who knows? Will we get stopped halfway down there? Don't know. This year's retreat should be interesting.

Those of you who'd like to experience a shorter, typhoon-free Zen retreat in Santa Monica can sign up for the one at Hill Street Center tomorrow. Details are at the link on your left. I won't be there (obviously). But that just makes things better, I hear.

I liked some of the comments regarding the video I put up last time. A few people got it, and that's always nice. As a couple people said, a "real" debate would have been an even bigger joke than the one I staged with Sock Monkey. It could only prove who was a better debater and who could convince more people he was right. I have no doubt whatsoever that Genpo would "win" such a debate hands down. And so what? After all, I'm suggesting real practice that takes hard work with no definable results and he gives you a big ol' brain trip in an afternoon. And more people eat Big Macs than brown rice, too...

There's a truckload of extremely good reasons why you don't want to rip open the doors of your subconscious too quickly. If you're not fully prepared for what's behind those doors, they're better left shut tight until such time as you are. It's a dangerous game to fuck with people's heads.

I'm sure some will say I don't take the dharma seriously enough when the see that video. But to me it's guys like Ken Wilber and Genpo Roshi, along with a couple dozen others I won't name here, who don't take it seriously — at all. It's because I take this stuff so seriously that what they do bugs me so much.

Oh and to those of you who think I have the emotional maturity of a 12-year old I say, "Poopy head! Poopy head!!"

143 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the additional info regarding your criticism of Big Mind process. you provide some interesting perspectives, valid to consider. Focusing on a mockery of the person detracts from the significance of their critique. Sure, it's juvenile, but I'd rather not focus on your personality. I mean to say that you are less effective in your critique by mocking the person. Might help to let yourself boil over for a few days before putting down words and images.

Another Climber said...

Imagine two guys are climbing the same rock face on the same mountain. They're both 'lead' climbers who are setting up ropes for people coming after them below.

Guy #2 puts his piton in a crevice that looks unstable to Guy #1.

What should Guy #1 do?

One possibility would be for him to say to Guy #1... "Hey, your piton is not in a stable location, you should try another spot or at least try to firm it up. It's going to come loose, can't you see that?"

And if Guy #2 responded by saying "No, I think it's ok.", Guy #1 could still warn the people on the rope below Guy #2, telling them about the weak piton position and the danger that rope now posed to them.

Instead of warning about the weak piton, another possibility is for Guy #1 to start shouting insults about the character of Guy #2 to anyone who will listen. The guy below Guy #2 then starts shouting insults about Guy #1. So Guy #1 pulls out a sock puppet...

... and all the while, these folks are climbing the same mountain, with the same dangers, and the same possibility of imminent death.

Justin said...

Your master...

Anyway you are debating (or whatever a debate with only one side is called). You're making claims and arguments in an attempt to persuade people. You mean you think you can only win a debate on your own blog? On your own turf where you can disparage him and one can challenge you?

Justin said...

... and all the while, these folks are climbing the same mountain, with the same dangers, and the same possibility of imminent death.

No. They're arguing about who's in front. They are all blind.

Anonymous said...

Silliness is a wonderful approach to use in pointing out serious stuff.
Ultra seriousness can most effectively be met with the ridiculous--really, it is the best way, not to mention it is fun.
Many people are offended by this method, though.

It is a tradition of long standing--the use of silliness--as means of critique, Punch and Judy, Monty Python, Saturday Night Live and similar.

I have never liked the crossover of psych stuff into buddhist practice, and I certainly don't care for the buddhist stuff finding its way into psychotherapy.

It might very welll be true, there is nothing to separate, but these things are not the same.

Anonymous said...

ha! yes, of course!

Which is exactly why lead climbers should be past the point of insults/defenses - past attachment and reactivity to personality.

sock monkey said...

I hope Brad takes to heart what another climber has just written. Unless he wants to start little wars all over the world to get people talking about him, he might be better off making his points in a less insulting manner. Besides, I'm tired of playing Genpo every night after zazen. Sometimes Brad throws me.

Anonymous said...

Brad!
Have a safe trip. I hope you haven't journeyed so far to lead sesshin to find not only is there no 'there' there, but no walls either!
I hope all goes well...

Mumon said...

Good luck to you. OTOH, if you have to be stranded anywhere because of a typhoon/cyclone/hurricane, you picked the right place.

They actually care if you're stranded in Japan.

andro said...

Justin, Thank you for sharing your keen insights. It's really wonderful how you see everything with such startling clarity.

Anonymous said...

"You mean you think you can only win a debate on your own blog? On your own turf where you can disparage him and one can challenge you?"--justin

BINGO!

Oh wait. I thought Brad never read these comments anymore.

Anonymous said...

This is not my beautiful wife.

Jules said...

And if Guy #2 responded by saying "No, I think it's ok.", Guy #1 could still warn the people on the rope below Guy #2, telling them about the weak piton position and the danger that rope now posed to them.

Instead of warning about the weak piton, another possibility is for Guy #1 to start shouting insults about the character of Guy #2 to anyone who will listen. The guy below Guy #2 then starts shouting insults about Guy #1. So Guy #1 pulls out a sock puppet...


That's great, except Guy #2 has a profit motive, and started out with a bullhorn and got a gazillion people on his rope before Guy #1 noticed he was there. Guy #1 doesn't give a rat's ass about profit, and is not interested in pretending to be some holy guru figure. He just doesn't want people to fall, and wants people to stop putting so much faith in holy guru figures, which got everybody into this mess to begin with. To demonstrate that he is not interested in becoming the mountaineers' holy guru figure, he makes himself look as silly and undignified as possible. Shouting insults and behaving childishly is a pretty effective means of dispelling the holy guru figure myth, if you ask me.

What possible positive result could you expect from a real debate? You think Brad's going to suddenly transform into the Holier than Thou Roshi Master With All The True Answers, and thrash Genpo in a one on one Dharma Combat Cage Match? If so, you haven't been paying attention.

The best possible result of a "real" debate would be that Brad would entertain us and nothing else would come of it. Which is pretty much what happened with Sock Monkey stepping in for Genpo, so I think it worked out fine. He's certainly not going to convince any Big Mind True Believers of anything they don't want to believe. At worst, his debating Genpo could be interpreted as a legitimization of Genpo's teachings.

I wouldn't expect Brad to engage in a formal debate with a Scientologist, either. Sock Monkey would be better there too. He even sounds a little like Tom Cruise.

Sock Monkey said...

Jules, you need to extract yourself from between Brad's butt-cheeks. He's my bitch.

Anonymous said...

be careful of the rice you eat over there Brad!

Dan said...

"I wouldn't expect Brad to engage in a formal debate with a Scientologist, either"

Good point

Anonymous said...

you've GOT to do it BRAD! I've just GOT to see you in a video on YOUTUBE with GENPO ROSHI, you and Genpo AND the SOCK PUPPETT!!!

ALl of you together, debating, interacting, WHATEVER!

It would be like when RUN-DMC were in that video with AEROSMITH.

Come On dude! DO it!

osama van halen said...

Will Sock Monkey be at the sesshin in Shizuoka or at the one in Santa Monica? I need to know ASAP.

Anonymous said...

In zazen, there is always space around opinion.

"burning an illusion in a babylon"

best wishes everyone

Anonymous said...

"He's certainly not going to convince any Big Mind True Believers of anything they don't want to believe."

Probably true. Genpo probably wouldn't be able to convince any Brad Warner / Dogen Sangha True Believers either.

Ah. So someone is suggesting that Brad's juvenile behaviour and hurling insults, etc is all for the great and holy purpose of showing everyone that he is not a holy guru to be followed. Reminds me of those tibetan buddhists that insist their guru only breaks the precepts and screws his disciples in order to help those stuck in samsara. Funny, the rationaliaztions people will come up with to justify their heroes. I guess Ted Haggard was only taking it up the butt in order to save that gay prostitute's soul. Jesus! Deeper! Oh Lord!

Jinzang said...

These folks are climbing the same mountain, with the same dangers, and the same possibility of imminent death.

Big Mind™ isn't threatening anyone's health or well being. At worst it's going to take a few hours from your life and a few dollars from your wallet with little to show in return.

Anyway you are debating (or whatever a debate with only one side is called)

Brad was mocking the criticism he received after he criticized Big Mind™. If you want to mock someone, making a video with a sock monkey doesn't seem a bad way to do it. Of course, the question is, did the criticism deserve mockery or a respectful answer?

There's a truckload of extremely good reasons why you don't want to rip open the doors of your subconscious too quickly. If you're not fully prepared for what's behind those doors, they're better left shut tight until such time as you are. It's a dangerous game to fuck with people's heads.

And what makes you think Big Mind™ is going to do that? I think you're giving to much credit to what Genpo can accomplish in a weekend seminar. All the talk in the world doesn't mean diddly when it comes to realization, unless meditation has made you ready to understand it.

When you practice meditation, stuff that you've been repressing can come to the surface. And it can be upsetting to find out what it is. Upsetting, but not dangerous. Maybe you have some horror stories about people who have been totally fucked over by meditation practice, but I've never seen it.

I doubt that the same surfacing of repressed material would happen in Genpo's seminar. But if it did, I'm sure that anyone who's been giving meditation instruction for years, as he has, would know how to deal with it.

Jinzang said...

So someone is suggesting that Brad's juvenile behaviour and hurling insults, etc is all for the great and holy purpose of showing everyone that he is not a holy guru to be followed.

A teacher who always conforms to their students' expectations is not much of a teacher. A teacher will play the clown, shock, startle, or bemuse their students when it's appropriate. I could tell stories, but I doubt you'd appreciate them.

Anonymous said...

same possibility of imminent death.

recollection of the conditions of existence

Anonymous said...

Jundo posted this. Crikey moses. Cult! Maybe Jundo should debate Brad and sock puppet?

Hi Guys,

I actually think that the fact that Nishijima Roshi never emphasized the Precepts more is one of the main reasons that so many folks in or around Dogen Sangha are so rude to each other, mean, angry and even sometimes racist.

You have Mike Cross with his racist, anti-Japanese and anti-Jewish comments, you have Brad with the potty mouth and insults and sensitive ego, you have folks who don't speak to each other for years and who fight over all kinds of silly things (whose name goes first on a book), you have other people who hold grudges that go on for ages. It shows something truly disfunctional. It is one of the reasons I had to back away.

Dogen Sangha began to demonstrate all the little internal diseases of any cult, but with one saving grace ... which is that its members were so disorganized, and pulling in so many separate directions, that it could never get itself sufficiently cohesive and organized to be a cult. Thank Buddha! I call it the "cult that might of been" or better "the cult that couldn't shoot straight".

And a major factor in this disfunction, anger, abuse, foul language, gossiping, fighting, ego and clinging was ... a deep misunderstanding of the role of the Precepts. I think.

I don't hide this opinion. It makes me sad.

Gassho, Jundo

Harry,

I'm not talking about our Treeleaf Sangha, cause we might not be right for everyone. We might be doing it wrong too. Of course, not everyone appreciates the same things.

Instead, I just want to talk about which kind of Buddhist teacher I would listen to.

First, there is a teacher with a brilliant theory about Buddhism, but he seems angry, upset, edgy, short tempered and holds grudges.

Second, there is a teacher with a brilliant theory about Buddhism who seems at peace with himself and the world, alive, wise, level headed, long tempered and forgiving.

Personally, I would doubt the first teacher. In fact, even if the first teacher is teaching what "the Buddha taught" or what "Master Dogen taught" ... and even if the second teacher is completely wrong, I will go with the second guy through and through. Why? His life and way of living is all the proof I need.

Dogen Sangha had/has both types of folks in it. Unfortunately, sometimes I think the first type predominates, but the second type is well represented too. First among them is Nishijima Roshi who, while not perfect, is a beautiful human being.

But there was so much of the first type that something is/was very very wrong.

Gassho, Jundo

Let me clarify the point I was trying to make about Nishijima Roshi. He himself is a very gentle and sweet man who naturally lives in accordance with the Precepts. It is his natural temperament, I think.

So, I believe he naturally assumed that all his students would naturally start living the same way just by sitting Zazen. Well, you just have to look around Dogen Sangha, at how so many of his students behave to each other ... with the anger, abuse, foul language, gossiping, in-fighting, resentments, feuding, etc. ... to know that the theory is/was too optimistic.

Some of Nishijima Roshi's students don't engage in ugliness, but so many do to greater or lesser degrees. It may show that something is very wrong with the idea that right behavior "naturally arises out of Zazen". Cause it doesn't for most folks.

Gassho, Jundo

andro said...

What might be happening with some of the DSI folks is that they don't give what they are thinking about the importance to censor it. This would be fine if everyone was at the same level of practice, but some people are more literal than others and misunderstandings will inevitably happen. I don't understand why Brad and some of the other DSI crew don't see this and try to be more careful with what they say.

Anonymous said...

"A teacher who always conforms to their students' expectations is not much of a teacher. A teacher will play the clown, shock, startle, or bemuse their students when it's appropriate. I could tell stories, but I doubt you'd appreciate them."

Yeah, I've read the stories of Milarepa, Marpa and of course Trungpa Rimpoche. Sometimes such behaviour can be a form of skillful means or crazy wisdom. But sometimes a cigar is just a cigar and sometimes a guru / teacher is just a deluded asshole using the idea of crazy wisdom to rationalize his behaviour. I don't think Brad is doing this himself, but the person who suggested his behaviour is all for some higher purpose seems to believe he is.

****

Excellent points by Jundo. I agree completely. Zazen is not a self-improvement technique and you can sit till the cows come home and still be an asshole. 'Right' meditation (and not just any old meditation) is only one point of the noble eightfold path, not the entire thing. In addition to Jundo's point about the precepts, I'd add that more emphasis should be placed upon really understanding the basics of the buddhist teachings and actually studying the sutras as well as the writings of the old chan masters, not just Dogen.

Anonymous said...

If the mountain climbers were "BigMind" students they'd have to talk with "climbers" 1 to 10,000 before they could talk to each other.. that might take a while.

Justin said...

Ah. So someone is suggesting that Brad's juvenile behaviour and hurling insults, etc is all for the great and holy purpose of showing everyone that he is not a holy guru to be followed. Reminds me of those tibetan buddhists that insist their guru only breaks the precepts and screws his disciples in order to help those stuck in samsara. Funny, the rationaliaztions people will come up with to justify their heroes. I guess Ted Haggard was only taking it up the butt in order to save that gay prostitute's soul. Jesus! Deeper! Oh Lord!

LOL! I find it odd enough that people see Brad as the 'lead climber' who has the perspective and wisdom to see where everyone else is going wrong. Brad is certainly funny, but he is as deluded as the next guy and to project onto him this role as some sort of all-knowing guru is a delusion.

Good points from Jundo.

Moon Face Buddha said...

"Enlightenment must come little by little-otherwise it would overwhelm."

Idries Shah

Anonymous said...

no big deal,
midnite
coffee spill.

PA said...

I don't understand the idea of the precepts at all. Just because there are precepts, doesn't mean you'll follow them. I think that's optimistic too.
Everybody knows what's good and bad in each situation. And sitting gives you the focus to follow what you think is right...

I don't know whether it's 'cause I'm a big old cynic, but Big Mind isn't even worth thinking about - have u seen the videos!?!? So I can understand where Sock Monkey comes from...

Mumon said...

Jundo:

It DOES work the other way: if you are really hostile to observing precepts, your zazen will simply not be good at all.

Harry said...

Help! I haven't worked out which is right and I am about to make my Holy Communion... which is more Buddhist: Trying to impose your moral values on people (Jundoism) or trying to impose your lack of formal moral values on people (Bradology)???... crisis of faith time, four horesmen at door, no 'self' to rely upon... internet connection slow...ing...down...

Can anyone suggest some alternative enlightenment software?

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody else but me wonder how Brad gets the money to fly all over the place doing sesshins,etc? One could say it's "none of my business", but I do wonder about how the the dharma roadshow gets funded, not just for Brad but for many others as well. We expect politicians to disclose the sources of their financial support, shouldn't we expect as much from spiritual leaders?

proulx michel said...

Anonymous said...

Does anybody else but me wonder how Brad gets the money to fly all over the place doing sesshins,etc? One could say it's "none of my business", but I do wonder about how the the dharma roadshow gets funded, not just for Brad but for many others as well. We expect politicians to disclose the sources of their financial support, shouldn't we expect as much from spiritual leaders?

Simple. Brad has a job. That allows him to pay for a plane ticket once in a while. Plus, his employer is in Tokyo.

Rich said...

After giving Genpo the name of boring and psycho, more investigation was required. Some of the psycho techniques he uses are actually quite useful but seeing the connection of those techniques to motivating sitting practice is not clear. Without this transition the value of Big MInd is only Big Money. Genpo is well versed in Buddha talk.

Harry said...

...Is the latest version of Norton Antidelusion any good?

Seriously, Reality will surely crumble if I don't choose exactly one way or the other: soft and whipped with peanut M&Ms or supersized with marshmallow and hot fudge???

For fuck's sake, help me people, this is serious: its a disaster of RELIGIOUS PROPORTIONS!

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

"Can anyone suggest some alternative enlightenment software?"

You could try http://www.adyashanti.org/index.php?file=writings_inner&writingid=35 and other stuff on this site.

Namaste!

Harry said...

no, no, no... too many words. Words I can get anywhere. Words words words.

What is the teaching? What are we to do?

Who is right? Whose Dharma wild oat will be sown?

How could all this uncertainty possibly have come about?

What clarifies it in the individual?

WHAT IS THE TEACHING???

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

try dharma.org
Dharmaseed.org

Harry said...

..."...He says this, he did that, I do this I do that, I don't do this, you shouldn't do that, I won't do this, you shouldn't try to make me do that, I say I don't do this but I did it, you said you don't do this but you did that, I don't think you should do that, you should do this..."

Even the split threads of a tattered robe can make pretty patterns if looked at in a certain way.

Trying to teach the rest of the known universe to conform to the minuscule electrical currents inside of our head does not seem to me to be a worthy teaching of a wearer of the Buddha's robe.

Regards,

Harry.

Harry said...

Thanks, but I've done the websites thing and have uncovered the truth of the lie.

I don't really need more 'dry' info; was just being flippant.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

you can get reliable instruction at IMS, or from recordings of teachings given there.

Depends on if you're looking for a rope to use. I don't think you are, but others passing by may be.

Cheers!

Harry said...

Thank-you.

BTW, what is IMS?

Regards,

Harry.

Harry said...

Oh, I see: Insight Meditation Society.

H.

Anonymous said...

Flippant; frivolously disrespectful, shallow, or lacking in seriousness; characterized by levity: The Sangha was shocked by Harry's flippant remarks on.. Everything.

But entertained too.

Harry said...

Yes, Anon.

Thank-you very much. I think I'm happy to sincerely practice being quite shallow. I think we can get good with that.

I've always admired (maybe not for the intended meaning) the put-down over here:

"Deep down he/she is very shallow".

This is good, I think we're getting somewhere.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

I just get some where after another!

Anonymous said...

Ideally, no where would be good enough, but I can't seem to stop them from coming and going!

Anonymous said...

Here! I'm in another uniquadrant. You too?

Harry said...

Here's my business plan:

We get the statues in from Thailand at a few bucks a pop (sweatshops ya see, the 'workers rights' come into play later when I sell 'em at 500 per cent profit on the free market using my own sweat and blood).

2. I hire a kid to cut the heads off.

3. We play with the heads; make 'em say funny shit, throw 'em around, juggle with them and put them in people's beverages.

4. My missus is a sculptor; You send me a photo of yourself and $199.99 and she uses the photo to make a new head for the statue based on the photo.

5. We solder then new head on the statue.

6. After 2-8 weeks (depending on demand) you will receive your new improved statue and will have the unusual pleasure of sitting in the comfort of your own home beside a finely crafted effigy of a Buddha who looks JUST...LIKE...YOU.

Make him say and do what you want.

Get HIM to quote YOU.

Ignore him.

Make him act angry or goofy.

... its a world of religious fun at a nominal fee!

Regards,

Harry.

Jinzang said...

Brad has a job. That allows him to pay for a plane ticket once in a while. Plus, his employer is in Tokyo.

True once, but no longer. Maybe his air fare is paid by the cost of the sesshin? It IS none of my business.

Jinzang said...

Trying to impose your moral values on people (Jundoism)

The purpose of the precepts is to provide a yardstick to measure your own conduct by. Everyone falls short, but without a standard, we would have a harder time seeing it.

The wrong way to understand the precepts is to excuse your own conduct while loudly proclaiming the faults of others. In other words. the way 99% of humanity uses morality.

There & Back Again said...

Here you go Brad. You can teach meditation thru this organization:

http://www.thereandback-again.org

Mumon said...

"Does anybody else but me wonder how Brad gets the money to fly all over the place doing sesshins,etc?"

Poor such and such probably flies coach.

Or perhaps, because of his Japan employment and adoption of said lifestyle, he's got oodles more money saved than the average American.

Seriously, you'd be surprised at how cheap it is to fly to Japan from the West coast; it's often cheaper than it is to fly to NY or Boston, at least at the last minute.

proulx michel said...

Jinzang said...

Brad has a job. That allows him to pay for a plane ticket once in a while. Plus, his employer is in Tokyo.

True once, but no longer. Maybe his air fare is paid by the cost of the sesshin? It IS none of my business.


He still works for the same company though not on the same terms as before.

Yueheng said...

A new blogfor writings on Progressive Pure Land Buddhism.

Anonymous said...

With regards to Harry @ 5:47am Jundoism vs Bradology

It would seem Jundo operates under the assumption there is only one correct response--or at least a very narrow range of correct responses--and that he 'knows' what that one response is or what would fall within the narrow range, not just for him, but for others as well and that therefore, from his 'knowlege' he can and does judge others actions.
It would seem Brad assumes that he can assume nothing with regard to other's actions vis a vis precepts, hence with any situation or set of circumstances he can only keep his own.

Jundo, after all has a natural penchant for dividing right and wrong, he is an attorney, after all.
As well, we know many people do make the mistake of making legal/illegal the same as right and wrong in with regard to morals. (Moral Majority, etc).

Brad is a writer/musician/film maker/sock puppeteer, so his is a different perspective/approach.

Neither approach can be fully abandoned--like the light is a wave, no it's a particle, or Certs (TM) is a breath mint, no it's a candy.
It isn't Jundoism or Bradology, it's Brajundologism if you get right down to it and simpler to include the whole shebang is to call it dharma: it's myriad forms and teachings.

Selling a book about your own life experiences and zen stuff and selling a psychological technique of 'voice dialogue' and calling it 'enlightenment experience' equivalent to what a zen master has attained after years of experiencing wall gazing, and that at the all day seminar you will have this experience of enlightnment before lunch! Well, it's just plain wrong--to my way of thinking it now leads to a 'breach birth' because instead of going straight ahead, you are now sideways, focussing on
the experience of enlightenment--as if there was only one--as if there was only one kind of laughter or one way to cry.
It is very very wrong.
It is like focussing on the orgasm, and just not letting it naturally occur when it naturally occurs.
As a result of focussing on this, a lot of people are going to 'fake' the big 'E' just like faking the big '0'
they don't necessarily know they are 'faking' it:
many folks will be calling all kinds of phenomena which arise during the course of sitting 'enlightenment experiences.' Ultimately it is a mistake, a BigMistake (TM).
But then again, in a materialistic culture, and human nature being what it is, we do want to be able to purchase something. I just think you're better off getting a ThighMaster or some other such thing. I'm afraid that when Dharma is sold, just like
ThighMaster, BIG MIND (TM) will sit under the bed, on the bookcase, in the closet gathering dust and it will be one more thing that 'didn't work' because buying it isn't doing it.
Enlightenment isn't what you think.
What you think isn't what you think you think.

Drat recursivism!

Anonymous said...

so sorry: up there at the top things got a little muddled: too many words!
ok I was saying that authoring and selling books which talk about his life and his own experiences with Zen, zazen, buddhism etc (what Brad is doing) is a very different thing. This, I guess for lack of a better thought is selling what amounts to talking about one's own experiences of the Dharma.
Genpo is doing something which is of a different order entirely. He is selling the experience of enlightenment itself (or selling a promise you will experience it before lunch).

Well, anyway....if he (Genpo) weren't doing it, it was bound to happen sooner or later. It's a shame, really, but it is the result of trying to make a living off your religion. Really it is better to have a job.
It's like making a living off your sexuality: sex can be your job; religion can be your job, but it's a dangerous place to be it can become prostitution.
And while that is/can be a form of employment, it's just better to have a job.

Stephanie said...

Jundo thinks he knows what's best for everyone, but he doesn't. Nor does anyone who teaches others.

I think Brad has many flaws (as do I, and as does anyone else, for that matter), but what I think is appealing about his style is that it doesn't cultivate in people a sense of shame about being who they are. If you listen to punk rock, curse, look at or star in porn, or tape yourself talking to a sock monkey after you've hit 40, no one is going to tell you that you can only practice once you've stopped doing all that stuff. I think this is extremely valuable. I have seen in my own life, both on the giving and receiving end, how powerful it is for people to find a place of acceptance.

If you think about it, the heroes in our spiritual myths so often demonstrate this quality: Jesus spent time among lepers and prostitutes, and identified with them more than a religious hierarchy; Jizo Bodhisattva hangs out in hell, working to liberate the beings in it. We don't have to be Jesus or Jizo to manifest this kind of universal kindness in our lives. A lot of people who come to spirituality or religion feel lost, shunned, or bad, like they have no place else to go. The difference between a sense of unconditional welcome and a sense of conditional welcome can make a tremendous difference for such people.

Mumon said...

This $150 number you've been bandying about is a bit low...

"Imagine five full days at a luxury hotel with Zen Master Genpo Merzel Roshi and just four other people. What will happen as you delve deeply into your Self with the help of one of the great Zen masters of our time, allowing you to experience realizations usually requiring years of sitting meditation? How much will your life change with this type of deep and intimate help from a true master? How deep will you go? How much awakening will you experience?

Direct and extended face-to-face time with an awakened master is an exciting and rare opportunity. 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.

Over the centuries such extended and direct experience with a Zen master has been extremely rare. Breaking with tradition in order to help those who truly want to accelerate their awakening, 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."


Holy crap I'm in the wrong business...

Stephanie said...

Wow, mumon--I take back some of what I just wrote about Genpo probably not being a scam artist. That's just wrong.

Looking at the website, he also charges way too much for sesshin. For comparative purposes, he charges $750 where Zen Mountain Monastery (another Zen center in his lineage) charges $275 for basically the same event.

Harry said...

What if you "truly want to accelerate your awakening" but happen to be one of the large majority of human beings who do not have "$50,000 or more" to spare?

Those statues are still for sale BTW,

H.

Harry said...

"Neither approach can be fully abandoned--like the light is a wave, no it's a particle, or Certs (TM) is a breath mint, no it's a candy.

Yes, it certainly seems more a question of balance: our own individual balance that is...
if you're Genpo then its also a lot about your bank balance, but I digress.

Regards,

Harry.

Stephanie said...

What if you "truly want to accelerate your awakening" but happen to be one of the large majority of human beings who do not have "$50,000 or more" to spare?

Well yeah, exactly.

One of the most potent criticisms of Buddhism in America is encapsulated in the joke that it is the "Upper Middle Way."

Centers have to cover their operating costs, and I think people who go on about how the Dharma should be "completely free" are being too idealistic, but this is a perfect example of charging an amount of money for "Dharma teaching" that amounts to an abuse of power and exclusion based on SES.

Smoggyrob said...

Hi everyone:

I love this conversation, because I'm watching DSI slowly organize and don't want fundraising to fuck with my favorite dharma-delivery vehicle. What I'm thinking is that it's important to keep the dharma and fundraising as separate as possible. You know, charge what it costs to run a retreat (maybe a little more), and give people the opportunity to support DSI in other ways. I'd appreciate any advice, recommendations, or warnings in regards to fundraising methods.

Rob

Harry said...

Hi SmoggyRob,

Now there's a thing. I think I MAY be on 'the book' as a member of DSI. But, where is 'the book' and what have I signed up to?

Is DSI set up as a registered charity? And/or as a limited company, PLC or other type of company?

Where is DSI based? Is there a formal board of directors/ committee? What is your position within DSI?

Does DSI have a bank account?

You'd want to be very clear on these things before you start generating monies because, if the money ends up as effectively 'yours', it could land you in trouble.

Regards,

Harry.

Mumon said...

stephanie:

Yeah. The things that smell the worst to me to me are the lines such as, "Direct and extended face-to-face time with an awakened master is an exciting and rare opportunity. Those lucky enough..."

First of all, anybody calling themselves "an awakened master" is somebody you want to steer away from.

Secondly implicit in this whole dharma business plan of Merzel's is that money allows you to transcend suffering.

He's selling dukkha flypaper instead of dharma.

Anonymous said...

how many of you actually took Genpo's workshop? In other words how many of you has anything else to say other than your assumptions, judgements and projections when it comes to what Genpo does?

How do you know what Genpo does? Did you see him do it?

I did, and for free. I couldn't pay so they gave me a scholarship. It wasn't a problem at all

Anonymous said...

Dude, more. what's the Big Mind workshop like? synopsis please?

Stephanie said...

Anonymous--

I have not experienced a Big Mind workshop and so have maintained an open mind about its potential benefits. I have consistently refused to ascribe bad motives or intentions to Mr. Merzel just because his methods raise questions for me.

But I cannot find a single justification for the $50,000 club. I don't believe it would be wrong for a teacher running and maintaining a center to accept a freely given, un-asked for donation of that magnitude, if it were used for sustaining and operating the center / community. But to give special status to people who can give that amount, and to specifically invite and request this donation in return for this status, is a clear and potent abuse of the Dharma. This willingness to create these special designations and ask for this level of money places Genpo more clearly in Wilber's camp in my view.

Mike H said...

This $50K for a 5-day-roshi-fest has me wondering.

It might be he uses the money to rescue sick puppies or feed starving children or it might be it pays for a yacht. I just don't know.

Getting rich people to part with money is difficult - you have to promise exclusivity and specialness; that's just part of advertising.

So, it might be that Genpo is deliberately doing this and taking the flak for a greater purpose. I don't know. I have suspicions but I don't know.

If his mass-market seminars were at bargain-basement prices then maybe you could see one funding the other.

However, to me it looks like a business with a partioned market with different products for different segments. Maybe that's a way to sell the dharma in America but it's a tough sell.

And yet if you listen to the advert in front of this Buddhist Geeks Podcast for a special meditation chair it's not a whole lotta different.

I thought that it was initially satire and realised they were serious!!!!

I think earning money from Dharma is not of itself bad but it is a very dangerous and difficult line to walk and I'm not sure many can walk it and I'm not sure that Genpo Roshi is walking it.

What I am sure about is that I don't know either way. I am also sure that I find myself uncomfortable with his approach.

I've bought some of Ken Wilber's books in remainder stores and no doubt I'll be buying brad's new book retail.

Anonymous said...

It would take me about five diligent years to save $50K. Imagine doing that and then giving it away for a five day workshop. Fantastic! Just as unreal as anything else here!

Anonymous said...

The workshop was cool enough. He does have a method of helping people open in different places, including what is considered the "being enlightened" place. There is nothing particularly unusual about it though. There are other people, plenty of them, who do that.

I had this experience during my first sesshin, so did many others, it came, it went, didn't make me holly and didn't turn me into a master. I still had to practice every day to "implement it" into every day life, just like anyone else does, just like Genpo does, just like other Big Mind teachers do.

Genpo said as much himself. He said: this is a way to experience something. It may help your practice bit because you can see it sooner, you can see what you are working towards, but it is just a glimpse. You still need to do the work though, everyday, if you want it to really change your life.

Big Mind retreats look just like any other sesshin. It's all sitting, only with a big mind hour-long session or two every day.

As for money - Tetsugen Roshi, dharma successor of Maezumi Roshi, founder and head of Zen Peacemaker Order, organizes what he calls street reatreet about once a year. You go out on the streets with him and live like a homeless person for few days. You can have nothing with you other than your clothes, you can have no money, you have to beg for all you need.

He charges anywhere from $3000 to $5000 for attending. He requires that everyone goes and gets the money by "begging" from people they know. You can't just write him a check, even if you have the money, you have to get it from others.

He doesn't charge so much because he wants to get rich, but because you have to be really committed to practice in order to get it.

How much is your practice worth? How much are the teachings worth? If it's important enough people will find the money.

Anonymous said...

"mumon said...
This $150 number you've been bandying about is a bit low..."

Mumon, why didn't you quote this part as well?

"We never turn anyone away from our classes, workshops, and retreats for lack of funds. Our published prices are called a "suggested donation", but we accept whatever is offered. Some of our programs make a little money, most cost a lot of money, but we're determined to keep up the work as long as we can.

How do we make it? Mostly through the donations of good-hearted people who see that we are making a real difference in the world. The Big Heart Circle donation allows those who are able to make a large donation to support these programs while receiving something priceless in return. We call it the Robin Hood effect, the rich giving to the poor.

Big Heart Circle Retreats are limited to a maximum of five participants who have made a donation of $50,000 or more."

Harry said...

Well, good to hear some 'other side' to the story.

It all seems a bit similar to the 'pointing to' tradition in Tibetan Dzogchen: The Master will have a special interview (or other less formal interaction) with the student and, if the time is right, the student will have the 'nature of their mind' directly revealed to them by any number of 'skillful means' on the Master's part. This usually happens only after lots, maybe years, of practice and devotion though. Interesting tradition even if a bit 'lama dependant'.

The Genpo bash seems like a bit of a cheap trick. I mean the guy isn't claiming that it'll save us from all that boring formal sitting practice is he, so why shouldn't we just... rely on formal sitting practice (and keep our 50 grands)?!

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

You should do just that. The $50.000 proposition is for those who have it. He doesn't ask all his students to pay that much.

Those who can pay $50.000 it so that Genpo can charge others little, or give other scholarships if they can't pay at all.

It seems only reasonable and courteous that Genpo provides something of value to people who can and do pay $50.000, other than simply taking their money as a donation.

Harry said...

I will keep my money of course (yeah, like I've got 50 big ones!).

My gripe is that he's selling this psychobabble as Buddhism and as a way of 'condensing real, enlightened experience' into an afternoon. I wouldn't mind if it was a lot of horse shit he's selling for 50 grand, but a few days worth of horse shit?!

As Soto Zen Buddhists we accept and practice that practice itself is realisation: so one moment's practice is as good as the next moment of practice or the whole notion of practice as realisation itself is devalued and we are lost to pedlars like Genpo. This is the attitude of Soto practice: practicing that we have 'arrived', realizing the realness of reality as it is right now... not how it might be 'when we're enlightened', not 'how much enlightenment' we might get for 50 grand. We don't need to lighten ourselves of 50 grand for this, we just need to lighten ourselves of our wants and needs, our enlightenment and our delusion, our bodies and mind, our viewpoints... all in a moment of free-of-charge real sitting upright with our real boring, real smelly, real deluded, real enlightened, real needy, greedy, angry, horny, cheesy etc body/mind.

This guy is selling a psychological buzz, an experience, a trip. Hes like a spiritual flasher except he's convincing people they need to see his little enlightened pecker and pay handsomely for it.

Steer clear, folks. Give your money to people so they may fill their bellies, not to this fraudster who will only fill their heads with a hunger for more of his horse shit and a thirst for his enlightenment.

Regards,

Harry.

Mumon said...

anonymous wrote, "Mumon, why didn't you quote this part as well?"...

Well, quite simply because it's not relevant. No matter what the excuse
Merzel is making an equation of increased funding = increased "spirituality," and well, that's not any kind of a reasonable rendering of the Dharma. He cannot deny that association; you make it yourself.

Ask the average Japanese about Japanese Buddhist funeral names and their correlation with the cost of the funeral, and you'll witness a great degree of cynicism towards the Dharma at the same time.

Now as to "how come I didn't take his workshop" stuff...

Warner's point about poopiness being poopiness and not having to taste poop to know poop is one viewpoint I suppose, but I got a better reason than that:

I don't need no stinkin' workshop.

I've trained for quite a few years under a couple of three teachers, none of whom billed themselves as "enlightened masters," though not because they weren't skilled.

Through their encouragement and example, I have benefited, and I have been able to benefit others.

Rich said...

Anon says.
"I had this experience during my first sesshin, so did many others, it came, it went, didn't make me holly and didn't turn me into a master. I still had to practice every day to "implement it" into every day life, just like anyone else does, just like Genpo does, just like other Big Mind teachers do."

Big Mind is better than doing nothing. So Big Mind motivated you to practice, that's good, but do you still believe in all that enlightenment bullshit? And what exactly is the 'glimpse of what you are working towards'? Any expectations that Genpo set up for you are false. there are teachers out there and even people in this blog that will give answers and techniques for free. In your deepest despair, your worst fears, your lonliest lonliness don't give up your practice to save yourself and others. MOst of Genpo's talking and my talking is just useless.

Harry said...

I would pay 50 grand though for this opportunity:

Genpo: Now everyone, we are going to talk to the angry voice... Who are you?

Group: I am anger.

Genpo: What is your job?

Group: I protect them from harm, I create boundries and I right wrongs.

Genpo: How do you feel now?

Group: Erm... angry.

Genpo: Do you have anything to say?

Me: Yeah, speed it up, this is costing us a fortune you baldy freak!

Regards,

Harry.

Jinzang said...

It all seems a bit similar to the 'pointing to' tradition in Tibetan Dzogchen

All I know about Big Mind™ is from the marketing material on their site and from what I watched on the videos uploaded to YouTube. But I have had pointing out instructions and they're different.

As you note, teachers don't give pointing out instructions to anyone who walks off the street. They're reserved for people who have done a good bit of practice and who have established a relationship of trust with the teacher. It's the trust that's the most important thing. As the saying goes, the truth is too simple to be believed. And trust is not something you buy with a check book.

There's nothing magic about pointing out. It's simply telling the student how things are when they are ready to hear it. It's considered wrong to give them to immature students, as it prevents them from appreciating them later: "Oh, I've heard that before."

If any Tibetan teacher gave pointing out instructions in a seminar open to anyone who walked off the street, that would be considered a big scandal.

Anonymous said...

Excellent, excellent. This is dialogue.

Sock puppets can't talk Brad!

Anonymous said...

"My gripe is that he's selling this psychobabble as Buddhism and as a way of 'condensing real, enlightened experience' into an afternoon. I wouldn't mind if it was a lot of horse shit he's selling for 50 grand, but a few days worth of horse shit?!"

How do you know that?

My gripe is that the most dangerous thing about any spiritual practice is an unshakable belief in being right.

Believing that I am right and others are wrong, believing that my practice is right and Genpo's is wrong, believing that if anything looks and sounds any different than what my teacher told me MUST BE WRONG ...

Believing that you don't have to check it out because YOU ALREADY KNOW ...

This is just about how it feels before one group of religious fanatics goes ahead and wipes out another group of religious fanatics.

Harry said...

Anon,

When you've clarified that just sitting down and being yourself is alright, and is quite complete and *right* in itself/yourself, then Genpo and his antics mightn't seem so sexy.

That's Buddhism.

Genpoism is fine if that's what you really want to do, but its clearly not Buddhism as far as anyone I respect on the subject is concerned.

I could try rolfing, rebirthing, scientology, painting my balls green and hanging from trees (I thoroughly recommend the last one) and they wouldn't be Buddhism either: Difference between them and Genpoism is that they don't claim to be Buddhism.

I'm not really that stuck on the 'Buddhism' thing either; I've read up on it, I study psychology, I also practice Buddhism: I know what he's doing. Its Wizard of Oz stuff.

Good luck to you. 'Don't believe the hype' and all that...

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

Wiping out is probably not at risk in this case, but I agree that you are right to point out the dangers of intolerance based on ignorance.

Anonymous said...

What is buddhism? How do you know what it is? You know what your teachers claim it is, but that's only their perspective. There are Soto people that believe strongly that Koan practice is not buddhism, there are rinzai people who believe that just sitting is not buddhism ... in the end it doesn't matter at all

the argument here is not whether what Genpo is doing is buddhism or not, the argument here is that what Genpo is doing is a total bullshit.

This argument is coming from people who have never met Genpo nor worked with him.

Those people support their argument mainly by saying: it is bullshit OBVIOUSLY and I know it because I KNOW and because it's different from what other people said buddhism was

But you don't know.

What gets me here is: "I know what he's doing. Its Wizard of Oz stuff."

No, you don't know what he is doing.

Harry said...

"No, you don't know what he is doing."

Yes, I do.

Like some other "Buddhist" teachers he is charging people money, selling them the dream/delusion, that they can be something other than what they just are.

Buddhism is practicing being what they just are.

Admittedly there are various methods of arriving at that conclusion/practice/experience, some of these are Buddhist and there are some in other religious/spiritual traditions. I have read transcripts of Genpo's method and have read his book. Its clearly not the same as practicing being what you just are.

Regards,

Harry.

Harry said...

For all to behold, the marvel that is *****BIG MIND****** (fanfare) (...which we should all try or else we are ignorant, sectarian idiots who know nothing about anything).

I wrote very pretentious plays which looked a bit like this in my teens BTW...

(*There is a small prize for anyone who can spot the line of false doctrine that I have entered to the following sacred text).

[cynical notes in square brackets by Me(TM)]

The Technique:

The Big Mind process consists of "talking" with various voices in the mind. For example the dialog between the facilitator and the student or students might go as follows for the voice of Fear:

Facilitator: Ok, I would like to talk to the voice of Fear.

(Everyone does a small sitting position shift to represent a change of voice or shift in perspective.)

F: Who are you?

Student: I am the voice of Fear.

F: What is your job?

S: To be afraid [well, duh!].

F: Will you ever stop being afraid?

S: No. It's my JOB to be afraid ...[well, double duh... at this point they fail to mention the arrival of the "I wonder can I still get my money back" voice]...That is why I was hired and get paid.

F: What are you afraid of?

S: Everything.

(Various students will volunteer items that one could be afraid of, digging deeper into what is the nature of fear [and their pockets, of course])

Students: Other people. Being attacked. Failure. Being hurt. Losing control. Uncontrolled fear. Death. Fear itself...

F: Why are you (Fear) useful?

S: I protect us from harm. I act as a warning. I Tell the Protector (voice of the protector) that there is danger.

Eggman: I AM THE EGGMAN!

(Note that all responses are done in the first person AS Fear, not a third person description of fear.)

The group then goes on to talk with the voice of Fear about benefits, disadvantages, roles, and such of the given state of mind. The conversation is always in the first person.

Many voices are investigated, culminating in the voice of Big Mind. Big Mind is usually described as being in and of everything and timeless. Big Mind is synonymous with the Buddha Mind, the Mind of God, the Timeless Mind, the Non-Dualistic Mind and many other representations of one's higher consciousness.

The voices engaged and the order in which they are engaged varies due to the dynamic nature of the Big Mind process. This process can take anywhere from 2 to 7 hours. Longer sessions allow for better internalization of ideas and realizations that the participants experience.

A typical order in which each voice is engaged follows:

The Dualistic Voices
Introduction
The Skeptic
The Protector
The Controller
Fear
Anger
The Fixer
The Damaged Self (takes all the damage when the above fail)
The Innocent Child (this is what all of the above are protecting)

The Non-Dualistic Voices
The Non-Mind
The Big Mind
The Big Heart
Complete heart-mind

The Integrated Self (Real Self)
The True Self (Big Mind, Big Heart, All Dualistic Voices integrated); also called "Integrated Free-functioning Mind"
Great Doubt
The Big Mind
The CEO (Chief Executive Officer: the voice that sets goals, directs and plans)

At dismissal to leave on a good note:
The voice of Great Joy

Are you saved yet?

Regards,

Harry.

Harry said...

BTW, it occurs to me that the last thing you'd really want to say to your average crackpot neurotic 'spiritual seeker' is: 'you've got a thousand voices in your head'...

H.

Rich said...

"No, you don't know what he is doing."

What is the practice that Genpo teaches?

Mumon said...

Anonymous said...

How do you know that?

My gripe is that the most dangerous thing about any spiritual practice is an unshakable belief in being right.


One of the things I sometimes mention on my blog - though it's been a while, I apologize - is that authentication of the teacher is a two way street.

Ya gotta kick tires before ya buy the car, and ya gotta determine if the teacher is full of crap before you lay out a chunk of change.

And how do you do that if you don't already know?

I mean, if you don't do that, you might get, instead of the Buddha teaching you, you might get, oh, I dunno, Frederick Lenz.

OK, maybe that was below the belt.

Maybe not.

But it's not religious fanaticism to practice caveat emptor, it's actually right livelihood.

And "what is Buddhism?" really doesn't have all that complicated an answer: Does it foster and enhance wisdom, generosity and compassion? If it does, it could be Buddhism. Does it foster greed, hatred and ignorance? It's not Buddhism.

If I'm telling you that you can, with a "rare" meeting with an "enlightened master" accelerate your journey to enlightenment, and $50K will help, well, it doesn't take much right livelihood practice to figure this out.

Anonymous said...

so how do you do the authentication of the teacher?

When I first talked to my teacher she told me: stay if you want, go if you want. Either way is fine. There are many paths f practice, this one may not be the one for you.

I appreciated the freedom, the openness, the space and the lack of attachment to any particular practice that she communicated and I became her student.

If she said: stay if you want, go if you want. Either way is fine but make sure you don't go to this Genpo guy because he just wants to get your money and his whole thing is a bunch of crap and it is not real buddhism anyway ... I would have probably run away as fast as I could

Anonymous said...

according to this definition of buddhism:

"Does it foster and enhance wisdom, generosity and compassion? If it does, it could be Buddhism. Does it foster greed, hatred and ignorance? It's not Buddhism."

what Brad does doesn't look so much like buddhism to me - judging from his posts and the resulting discussions

I have yet to uncover a tiniest bit of compassion and generosity towards Genpo or anyone who doesn't do buddhism the "right way"

ricebag said...

Big buck$ and Buddhism? Sounds a little?? Anyway, big Bodhi D. said, "affliction creates awareness and awareness negates affliction". The Brads and the Genpos of this fleeting world need each other.

Anonymous said...

i love the people here who say brad is right to criticize gempo and jump on gempo themselves but, oh no, jundo is out of line to criticize brad for bullshit teaching

seems a little very hypocritical to me

Anonymous said...

I am the walrus.

the apostle paul or john or ringo or some shit... said...

"beware of false prophets."

that jewish guy named Jesus...

-the Jesus cat that posted the post before this one..... said...

(ahem) be aware of false profits....

dont forget George!!! said...

ba-DumpSHh!

whisper in the wind said...

...be aware....

Grandfather said...

for every tick there is a tock

Anonymous said...

$__$

Ka ChiNg!!! said...

.......

Harry said...

Yes, me criticising Jundo for trying to project his values on others is not Buddhism, Jundo criticising Brad is not Buddhism, Brad criticising Jundo and Big Mind is not Buddhism, me criticising Big Mind/Genpoism is not a Buddhist teaching, Big Mind is certainly not Buddhism...

Speaking for myself: I never claimed to be teaching Buddhism.

Regards,

Harry.

Mumon said...

Anonymous said...

so how do you do the authentication of the teacher?

It's a koan, you know...

Anonymous said...

Harry says

Speaking for myself: I never claimed to be teaching Buddhism.

cop-out escape hatch everybody but me

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I hate you, but mostly I love you.

Actually, I never really hate you.

Actually, I shouldn't let the internet make me so frank.

Harry said...

Well,

I do stand by my own opinions and put my name above them.

I think Zen teachers are entitled to their opinions too, but their opinions should not be confused for, or presented as, Buddhist teachings.

Regards,

Harry.

Justin said...

I don't think Jundo is projecting his values on others by teaching the importance of the precepts and criticising the conduct of some of Nishijima's students.

Living according to the precepts - which means sincerely trying to follow them and understand them - is an intrinsic part of Buddhist practice since Buddha himself. It isn't imposing values it's about teaching the path of Buddhism.

True, its not supposed to be about criticising others, but I think it might be justifiable to comment in cases where people are teaching preceptless dharma as the true dharma.

Mumon said...

Kinda like, if I said to my son, seeing an oncoming car swerving wildly, "Get out of the street!"

It's not like it's a criticism of the driver, though it's probably not a good idea to let that driver continue to get behind a steering wheel.

Harry said...

Opinion duly noted.

Conclusion: Not Buddhism.

"One True Dharma" as mental culture, abstract moral rule, intellectual position, as personal opinion of others' conduct no matter how much we love to agree and feel affirmed by it...

Conclusion: Not Buddhism.

Actually Practicing Morality Directly Ourselves...

Conclusion: Buddhism.

And as if to emphasise the shakiness of the 'wisdom' of criticizing others in this way the Precept reads:

"Don't discuss failures of Buddhist priests and laymen" (no.6)

...even if they...

"...become angry..." (no.9) and

"...lie..." (no.4) or

"...berate others..." (no. 7)

for then you will only be...

"...[berating] others..." (no. 7)

"discuss[ing] the failures of Buddhist priests and laymen" (no.6)

and possibly

"...[becoming] angry..." (no. 9) etc etc etc ad nauseum...

...and so this is not the emphasis of Buddhist teaching at all. This is a potential moral black hole of accusation and counter accusation that is an endless cycle. "Endless cycle", like a wheel. Sound familiar?

Thankfully Buddhism offers a much broader perspective than this which is directly accessible by the practitioner.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

Since when are the precepts for lay people not Buddhism? Maybe picking and choosing the Buddhism you want?

(Buddha)"Now I will tell you the layman's duty. Following it a lay-disciple would be virtuous; for it is not possible for one occupied with the household life to realize the complete bhikkhu practice (dhamma).

"He should not kill a living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should he incite another to kill. Do not injure any being, either strong or weak, in the world.

"A disciple should avoid taking anything from anywhere knowing it (to belong to another). He should not steal nor incite another to steal. He should completely avoid theft.

"A wise man should avoid unchastity as (he would avoid falling into) a pit of glowing charcoal. If unable to lead a celibate life, he should not go to another's wife.

"Having entered a royal court or a company of people he should not speak lies. He should not speak lies (himself) nor incite others to do so. He should completely avoid falsehood.

"A layman who has chosen to practice this Dhamma should not indulge in the drinking of intoxicants. He should not drink them nor encourage others to do so; realizing that it leads to madness. Through intoxication foolish people perform evil deeds and cause other heedless people to do likewise. He should avoid intoxication, this occasion for demerit, which stupefies the mind, and is the pleasure of foolish people.

Do not kill a living being;
do not take what is not given;
do not speak a lie;
do not drink intoxicants;
abstain from sexual intercourse;
do not eat food at night, at the wrong time;
do not wear flower-garlands nor use perfumes;
use the ground as a bed or sleep on a mat.

"This is called the eight-factored observance made known by the Awakened One who has reached the end of suffering.

Dhammika Sutta

And the Exalted One spoke as follows:

"Inasmuch, young householder, as the noble disciple (1) has eradicated the four vices in conduct,1 (2) inasmuch as he commits no evil action in four ways, (3) inasmuch as he pursues not the six channels for dissipating wealth, he thus, avoiding these fourteen evil things, covers the six quarters, and enters the path leading to victory in both worlds: he is favored in this world and in the world beyond. Upon the dissolution of the body, after death, he is born in a happy heavenly realm.

(1) "What are the four vices in conduct that he has eradicated? The destruction of life, householder, is a vice and so are stealing, sexual misconduct, and lying. These are the four vices that he has eradicated."

Thus spoke the Exalted One. And when the Master had thus spoken, he spoke yet again:

Killing, stealing, lying and adultery,
These four evils the wise never praise.

(2) "In which four ways does one commit no evil action? Led by desire does one commit evil. Led by anger does one commit evil. Led by ignorance does one commit evil. Led by fear does one commit evil.2

"But inasmuch as the noble disciple is not led by desire, anger, ignorance, and fear, he commits no evil."

Thus spoke the Exalted One. And when the Master had thus spoken, he spoke yet again:

Whoever through desire, hate or fear,
Or ignorance should transgress the Dhamma,
All his glory fades away
Like the moon during the waning half.
Whoever through desire, hate or fear,
Or ignorance never transgresses the Dhamma,
All his glory ever increases
Like the moon during the waxing half.

(3) "What are the six channels for dissipating wealth which he does not pursue?

(a) "indulgence in intoxicants which cause infatuation and heedlessness;
(b) sauntering in streets at unseemly hours;
(c) frequenting theatrical shows;
(d) indulgence in gambling which causes heedlessness;
(e) association with evil companions;
(f) the habit of idleness.

(a) "There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in indulging in intoxicants which cause infatuation and heedlessness:

(i) loss of wealth,
(ii) increase of quarrels,
(iii) susceptibility to disease,
(iv) earning an evil reputation,
(v) shameless exposure of body,
(vi) weakening of intellect.

(b) "There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in sauntering in streets at unseemly hours:

(i) he himself is unprotected and unguarded,
(ii) his wife and children are unprotected and unguarded,
(iii) his property is unprotected and unguarded,
(iv) he is suspected of evil deeds,3
(v) he is subject to false rumours,
(vi) he meets with many troubles.

(c) "There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in frequenting theatrical shows. He is ever thinking:

(i) where is there dancing?
(ii) where is there singing?
(iii) where is there music?
(iv) where is there recitation?
(v) where is there playing with cymbals?
(vi) where is there pot-blowing?4

(d) "There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in indulging in gambling:

(i) the winner begets hate,
(ii) the loser grieves for lost wealth,
(iii) loss of wealth,
(iv) his word is not relied upon in a court of law,
(v) he is despised by his friends and associates,
(vi) he is not sought after for matrimony; for people would say he is a gambler and is not fit to look after a wife.

(e) "There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in associating with evil companions, namely: any gambler, any libertine, any drunkard, any swindler, any cheat, any rowdy is his friend and companion.

(f) "There are, young householder, these six evil consequences in being addicted to idleness:

"He does no work, saying:

(i) that it is extremely cold,
(ii) that it is extremely hot,
(iii) that it is too late in the evening,
(iv) that it is too early in the morning,
(v) that he is extremely hungry,
(vi) that he is too full.

"Living in this way, he leaves many duties undone, new wealth he does not get, and wealth he has acquired dwindles away."

Thus spoke the Exalted One. And when the Master had thus spoken, he spoke yet again:

"One is a bottle friend; one says, 'friend, friend' only to one's face; one is a friend and an associate only when it is advantageous.

"Sleeping till sunrise, adultery, irascibility, malevolence, evil companions, avarice — these six causes ruin a man.

"The man who has evil comrades and friends is given to evil ways, to ruin does he fall in both worlds — here and the next.

"Dice, women, liquor, dancing, singing, sleeping by day, sauntering at unseemly hours, evil companions, avarice — these nine5 causes ruin a man.

"Who plays with dice and drinks intoxicants, goes to women who are dear unto others as their own lives, associates with the mean and not with elders — he declines just as the moon during the waning half.

"Who is drunk, poor, destitute, still thirsty whilst drinking, frequents the bars, sinks in debt as a stone in water, swiftly brings disrepute to his family.

"Who by habit sleeps by day, and keeps late hours, is ever intoxicated, and is licentious, is not fit to lead a household life.

"Who says it is too hot, too cold, too late, and leaves things undone, the opportunities for good go past such men.

"But he who does not regard cold or heat any more than a blade of grass and who does his duties manfully, does not fall away from happiness."

"These four, young householder, should be understood as foes in the guise of friends:

(1) he who appropriates a friend's possessions,
(2) he who renders lip-service,
(3) he who flatters,
(4) he who brings ruin.

(1) "In four ways, young householder, should one who appropriates be understood as a foe in the guise of a friend:

(i) he appropriates his friend's wealth,
(ii) he gives little and asks much,
(iii) he does his duty out of fear,
(iv) he associates for his own advantage.

(2) "In four ways, young householder, should one who renders lip-service be understood as a foe in the guise of a friend:

(i) he makes friendly profession as regards the past,
(ii) he makes friendly profession as regards the future,
(iii) he tries to gain one's favor by empty words,
(iv) when opportunity for service has arisen, he expresses his inability.

(3) "In four ways, young householder, should one who flatters be understood as a foe in the guise of a friend:

(i) he approves of his friend's evil deeds,
(ii) he disapproves his friend's good deeds,
(iii) he praises him in his presence,
(iv) he speaks ill of him in his absence.

(4) "In four ways, young householder, should one who brings ruin be understood as a foe in the guise of a friend:

(i) he is a companion in indulging in intoxicants that cause
infatuation and heedlessness,
(ii) he is a companion in sauntering in streets at unseemly hours,
(iii) he is a companion in frequenting theatrical shows,
(iv) he is a companion in indulging in gambling which causes heedlessness."

Thus spoke the Exalted One. And when the Master had thus spoken, he spoke yet again:

The friend who appropriates,
the friend who renders lip-service,
the friend that flatters,
the friend who brings ruin,
these four as enemies the wise behold,
avoid them from afar as paths of peril.

"These four, young householder, should be understood as warm-hearted friends:

(1) he who is a helpmate,
(2) he who is the same in happiness and sorrow,
(3) he who gives good counsel,
(4) he who sympathises.

(1) "In four ways, young householder, should a helpmate be understood as a warm-hearted friend:

(i) he guards the heedless,
(ii) he protects the wealth of the heedless,
(iii) he becomes a refuge when you are in danger,
(iv) when there are commitments he provides you with double the
supply needed.

(2) "In four ways, young householder, should one who is the same in happiness and sorrow be understood as a warm-hearted friend:

(i) he reveals his secrets,
(ii) he conceals one's own secrets,
(iii) in misfortune he does not forsake one,
(iv) his life even he sacrifices for one's sake.

(3) "In four ways, young householder, should one who gives good counsel be understood as a warm-hearted friend:

(i) he restrains one from doing evil,
(ii) he encourages one to do good,
(iii) he informs one of what is unknown to oneself,
(iv) he points out the path to heaven.

(4) "In four ways, young householder, should one who sympathises be understood as a warm-hearted friend:

(i) he does not rejoice in one's misfortune,
(ii) he rejoices in one's prosperity,
(iii) he restrains others speaking ill of oneself,
(iv) he praises those who speak well of oneself."

Thus spoke the Exalted One. And when the Master had thus spoken, he spoke yet again:

The friend who is a helpmate,
the friend in happiness and woe,
the friend who gives good counsel,
the friend who sympathises too —
these four as friends the wise behold
and cherish them devotedly
as does a mother her own child.

The wise and virtuous shine like a blazing fire.
He who acquires his wealth in harmless ways
like to a bee that honey gathers,6
riches mount up for him
like ant hill's rapid growth.

With wealth acquired this way,
a layman fit for household life,
in portions four divides his wealth:
thus will he friendship win.

One portion for his wants he uses,7
two portions on his business spends,
the fourth for times of need he keeps.

"And how, young householder, does a noble disciple cover the six quarters?

"The following should be looked upon as the six quarters. The parents should be looked upon as the East, teachers as the South, wife and children as the West, friends and associates as the North, servants and employees as the Nadir, ascetics and brahmans as the Zenith.8

"In five ways, young householder, a child should minister to his parents as the East:

(i) Having supported me I shall support them,
(ii) I shall do their duties,
(iii) I shall keep the family tradition,
(iv) I shall make myself worthy of my inheritance,
(v) furthermore I shall offer alms in honor of my departed
relatives.9

"In five ways, young householder, the parents thus ministered to as the East by their children, show their compassion:

(i) they restrain them from evil,
(ii) they encourage them to do good,
(iii) they train them for a profession,
(iv) they arrange a suitable marriage,
(v) at the proper time they hand over their inheritance to them.

"In these five ways do children minister to their parents as the East and the parents show their compassion to their children. Thus is the East covered by them and made safe and secure.

"In five ways, young householder, a pupil should minister to a teacher as the South:

(i) by rising from the seat in salutation,
(ii) by attending on him,
(iii) by eagerness to learn,
(iv) by personal service,
(v) by respectful attention while receiving instructions.

"In five ways, young householder, do teachers thus ministered to as the South by their pupils, show their compassion:

(i) they train them in the best discipline,
(ii) they see that they grasp their lessons well,
(iii) they instruct them in the arts and sciences,
(iv) they introduce them to their friends and associates,
(v) they provide for their safety in every quarter.

"The teachers thus ministered to as the South by their pupils, show their compassion towards them in these five ways. Thus is the South covered by them and made safe and secure.

"In five ways, young householder, should a wife as the West be ministered to by a husband:

(i) by being courteous to her,
(ii) by not despising her,
(iii) by being faithful to her,
(iv) by handing over authority to her,
(v) by providing her with adornments.

"The wife thus ministered to as the West by her husband shows her compassion to her husband in five ways:

(i) she performs her duties well,
(ii) she is hospitable to relations and attendants10
(iii) she is faithful,
(iv) she protects what he brings,
(v) she is skilled and industrious in discharging her duties.

"In these five ways does the wife show her compassion to her husband who ministers to her as the West. Thus is the West covered by him and made safe and secure.

"In five ways, young householder, should a clansman minister to his friends and associates as the North:

(i) by liberality,
(ii) by courteous speech,
(iii) by being helpful,
(iv) by being impartial,
(v) by sincerity.

"The friends and associates thus ministered to as the North by a clansman show compassion to him in five ways:

(i) they protect him when he is heedless,
(ii) they protect his property when he is heedless,
(iii) they become a refuge when he is in danger,
(iv) they do not forsake him in his troubles,
(v) they show consideration for his family.

"The friends and associates thus ministered to as the North by a clansman show their compassion towards him in these five ways. Thus is the North covered by him and made safe and secure.

"In five ways should a master minister to his servants and employees as the Nadir:

(i) by assigning them work according to their ability,
(ii) by supplying them with food and with wages,
(iii) by tending them in sickness,
(iv) by sharing with them any delicacies,
(v) by granting them leave at times.

"The servants and employees thus ministered to as the Nadir by their master show their compassion to him in five ways:

(i) they rise before him,
(ii) they go to sleep after him,
(iii) they take only what is given,
(iv) they perform their duties well,
(v) they uphold his good name and fame.

"The servants and employees thus ministered to as the Nadir show their compassion towards him in these five ways. Thus is the Nadir covered by him and made safe and secure.

"In five ways, young householder, should a householder minister to ascetics and brahmans as the Zenith:

(i) by lovable deeds,
(ii) by lovable words,
(iii) by lovable thoughts,
(iv) by keeping open house to them,
(v) by supplying their material needs.

"The ascetics and brahmans thus ministered to as the Zenith by a householder show their compassion towards him in six ways:

(i) they restrain him from evil,
(ii) they persuade him to do good,
(iii) they love him with a kind heart,
(iv) they make him hear what he has not heard,
(v) they clarify what he has already heard,
(vi) they point out the path to a heavenly state.

"In these six ways do ascetics and brahmans show their compassion towards a householder who ministers to them as the Zenith. Thus is the Zenith covered by him and made safe and secure." Thus spoke the Exalted One. And when the Master had thus spoken, he spoke yet again:

The mother and father are the East,
The Teachers are the South,
Wife and Children are the West,
The friends and associates are the North.

Servants and employees are the Nadir,
The ascetics and brahmans are the Zenith;
Who is fit to lead the household life,
These six quarters he should salute.

Who is wise and virtuous,
Gentle and keen-witted,
Humble and amenable,
Such a one to honor may attain.

Who is energetic and not indolent,
In misfortune unshaken,
Flawless in manner and intelligent,
Such a one to honor may attain.

Who is hospitable, and friendly,
Liberal and unselfish,
A guide, an instructor, a leader,
Such a one to honor may attain.

Generosity, sweet speech,
Helpfulness to others,
Impartiality to all,
As the case demands.

These four winning ways make the world go round,
As the linchpin in a moving car.
If these in the world exist not,
Neither mother nor father will receive,
Respect and honor from their children.

Since these four winning ways
The wise appraise in every way,
To eminence they attain,
And praise they rightly gain.

When the Exalted One had spoken thus, Sigala, the young householder, said as follows:

"Excellent, Lord, excellent! It is as if, Lord, a man were to set upright that which was overturned, or were to reveal that which was hidden, or were to point out the way to one who had gone astray, or were to hold a lamp amidst the darkness, so that those who have eyes may see. Even so, has the doctrine been explained in various ways by the Exalted One.

"I take refuge, Lord, in the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha. May the Exalted One receive me as a lay follower; as one who has taken refuge from this very day to life's end."

Sigalovada Sutta

Harry said...

Yes,

Picking and choosing certainly. In this case I have picked Mahayana Buddhism and the Bodhisattva Precepts as my own personal practice. This later Mahayana Buddhism and the Bodhisattva Precepts are quite different from what you quoted i.e. a sutta from primitive Buddhism.

Times have changed (2000+ years of change since that time). Mahayana Buddhism has come along with its direct approaches and practices and 'streamlined' precepts. The 'householder' now has more time to practice and more access to information/teachings. The majority of Zen practitioners are lay practitioners. Monks/Priests have wives and children. What we practice now would not generally have been taught to non-monks in the past.

The reality is that we cannot keep the precepts but yet we try by various means. They point us, personally, in the right direction. They are not the revelation or actualisation of any Buddhist truth in themselves. They are just common sense but, like all common sense, we often fail to live up to it even though we know it to be common sense.

Necessarily we must adopt the precepts in our own way and translate them into realities via our own real conduct.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

Would someone please set the record straight?

I do not remember, either in print or verbally Brad ever saying anything negative about Gempo, just about BigMind(TM).

Please someone correct me if I am wrong.

Yet, others criticize BRAD for criticizing BigMind.

Could we, um, be big boys and girls here, doesn't matter what size our minds are, really--it's not the size that matters after all, its the motion.
In the case of mind maybe its 'motion' and emotion.

So anywhen and whateverhow, could we be at some point able to separate the product from the person?
Criticize the book, the theory, the presentation, the
meal, the album cover, the whathaveyou, understanding this is not a critique of the PERSON?

If I bungle something, and it is remarked upon, I certainly would not consider it a personal attack. That doesn't mean I wouldn't take it personally (if I pour myself into my work, then easily I can confuse comments about my work with comments about ME). I understood this to be being "overly sensitive," which is just a confusion of taking things personally. We get into matters of style, of taste, of propriety. This is the world of opinions folks. Big boys and girls can discuss opinions, can't they? And opinions most assuredly differ--isn't that one of the most fun things about being human?

Anonymous said...

brad says

The comments about the sixth and seventh precepts deserve a little discussion, though. These are the precepts telling us not to criticize others (or “other Buddhists” as it is sometimes given) or to be proud of ourselves and slander others. ---


It is very important for those who practice and teach Buddhism to be willing to speak out when some popular trend claiming to be Buddhist is clearly not. That doesn't always mean shouting from a soapbox. But maintaining noble silence may not be the only alternative. As Buddhism becomes more fashionable and establishes itself as a mainstream philosophy the tendency for all manner of charlatans to latch on to the air of sanctity available to anything that labels itself “Buddhist” will only increase. If we don’t criticize these things because we fear we may violate the precepts we’re doing a terrible disservice to people who want to know what real Buddhism actually is.
http://hardcorezen.blogspot.com/2007/03/5th-and-6th-precepts.html


the tendency for all manner of charlatans to latch on to the air of sanctity available to anything that labels itself “Buddhist” will only increase.

charlatan kind of sounds like a description of brad's "teachings" too.

Anonymous said...

anonymous @ 7:39 am

the comment you quote from Brad's blog vis a vis
criticism of charlatans actually is very good advice and can stand alone in and of itself.
His advice can be used to view any teaching, his own included.

I don't see that it conflicts with anything. Do I need to get my eyes checked?

Jinzang said...

This is just about how it feels before one group of religious fanatics goes ahead and wipes out another group of religious fanatics.

People can be fanatical about almost everything, including text editors. I don't see wars between vi and emacs users. No blood is going to be shed here, at most we'll see some angry words. What's Brad going to do, send Smoggyrob on a suicide mission?

Having strong opinions and letting people know what they are is not a bad and dangerous thing in and of itself. It's standard fare on the Internet, which makes me wonder why people find it so upsetting.

Alphonzen said...

You guys all suck. Im going back to the oprah messageboards.

Anonymous said...

There are countless dharmas, but there is no one true dharma. Isn't that buddhism 101?

Justin said...

It's all just a load of ego identification.

Dan said...

"I do not remember, either in print or verbally Brad ever saying anything negative about Gempo, just about BigMind(TM)."

I can't be bothered to find out if this is true or not but I am a little bit certain that it is.

Justin?

Anonymous said...

hmmm... does having a conversation with a sock puppet named 'gempo roshi' count?

Harry said...

Maybe that was just a coincidence?

:-))

H.

Harry said...

Could've been worse: it might have been a cock puppet:

http://www.puppetryofthepenis.com/

Regards,

H.

mountaintop_yeti said...

"If she said: stay if you want, go if you want. Either way is fine but make sure you don't go to this Genpo guy because he just wants to get your money and his whole thing is a bunch of crap and it is not real buddhism anyway ... I would have probably run away as fast as I could."

I agree. My teacher took the same approach as you describe without criticizing other paths. This is a point Brad doesn't seem to get. It is possible for a path to be wrong for particular person without being 'wrong'. It is possible for it to be right for some individuals without being 'the only true way'. Brad's zen is similar in many ways to certain japanese buddhist cults (that shall go unnamed) that believe theirs is the only True Way and denigrate all other sects. I've always found such claims to be transparently based in ego-identification with the group. Fundamentalist christian and muslim sects share this same characteristic. This divisive, exclusivist, triumphalist approach is nauseating in whatever form it takes.

Anonymous said...

Well well well
we do live in a very interesting age. We must all politely nod and smile at naked emperors 'n such.
Oprah got in trouble over the Madcow boy stuff, and no one can speak disparagingly about broccoli...
The interest groups will come after you and sue you for all you're worth.
Good thing Brad isn't worth anything.
Otherwise BigMind might want some chump change (or should that be chimp change) from folks speaking 'disparagingly' about the multivoice BigMind 'invention/discovery' by Mr. Merzel.
These trademark things are getting into slippery slope places. 'Selling the Dharma' is after all, a sell out of the dharma and does disservice. Sure people can go to one day or half-day or multiday retreats with the focus on this 'new technique discovered by Gempo.' Sell it? no.
The zen hermit who 'invented' the kyosaku didn't trademark it and start up a kyosaku--making instructional workshop for BigStick(TM).
I'm sorry.
This blend of psych seminar, group voice dialogue, and zen does seem to be responded to by people who actually believe you can buy a self with things.
It makes me very very sad.
Of course anyone coming to zen is curious, curious curious curious about this 'enlightenment' what, what, what could it be, WHAT IS IT LIKE?
curiousity gets sharpened, intensified, it gets dulled with sheer boredom it strangulates itself. It's got roots that send up fresh vigorous green shoots.
You pluck its leaves and drink the tea.
At kinhin you take a leak.

Anonymous said...

mountaintop_yeti said:

Brad's zen is similar in many ways to certain japanese buddhist cults (that shall go unnamed) that believe theirs is the only True Way and denigrate all other sects. I've always found such claims to be transparently based in ego-identification with the group. Fundamentalist christian and muslim sects share this same characteristic. This divisive, exclusivist, triumphalist approach is nauseating in whatever form it takes.

Well, Jundo did say:

Dogen Sangha began to demonstrate all the little internal diseases of any cult, but with one saving grace ... which is that its members were so disorganized, and pulling in so many separate directions, that it could never get itself sufficiently cohesive and organized to be a cult. Thank Buddha! I call it the "cult that might of been" or better "the cult that couldn't shoot straight".

Anonymous said...

If Bodhidarma had come up with a many voices routine instead of facing a wall for 9 years zen as handed down, as is, and will be eternally available to us might not have stood the test of time.

Wall gazing is not a fad.

BigMind process.......well, let's see how it stands the test of time--like 2500 years + Ok, I'll give it 5 years, does that sound fair enough?
Like a glow in the dark zafu that heats up your coffee from the transferred heat from your hiney, I just don't think it will be around.
That doesn't make it wrong, or wrong wrong. It just will make it gone.....gonegone. (with homage to Patti Smith).

mountaintop_yeti said...

"Would someone please set the record straight?

I do not remember, either in print or verbally Brad ever saying anything negative about Gempo, just about BigMind(TM).

Please someone correct me if I am wrong."

You are wrong.
See excerpts below from Brad's commentary:

"This is, of course, pure horseshit. Clowns like these can con folks into parting with large sums of money — there’s a $150 “suggested donation” to attend a Big Mind™ seminar — to hear them spout drivel like this because there is so little understanding of what kensho or satori — Enlightenment, in other words — actually is."

"If you think Enlightenment is something someone can give you in a big hurry for $150, you deserve your Genpo Roshis and their slimy ilk."

"Of course, I’m sure Genpo and his butt-buddy Ken Wilber will end up on Oprah before then."

Anonymous said...

Well there you have it and thank you for scrounging up the facts.

I absolutely agree in calling Brad on it. I'm all for opinions....
these aren't opinions, just trash talk. Shame on you Brad.

Anonymous said...

If Buddhism is a philosophy of action, then if your behavior is Clown-like, you are a clown.

If you swindle money in a slimy fashion, then you are slimy.

I don't know how to describe Ken Wilbur's little speech about Genpo on that website, other than to remind Ken that no one looks good in brown lipstick.

I don't know Genpo or Kenny. Maybe they think they are doing their best. Maybe they are right, maybe they are wrong. If they aren't doing their best, then it's a nice thing to do to point it out so they don't hurt others, and inevitably, themselves in the process.

There is no Genpo outside his actions. If he were to stop his clownery and give the money back to those he has swindled, he would no longer be a clown.

Alphonzen said...

Who has read Eckhart Tolles stuff?

I know that when someone criticises another, their ego inflates. Thats why people feel good about pointing the finger and all that. Its all authoritarian bullshit.

Justin said...

If Buddhism is a philosophy of action, then if your behavior is Clown-like, you are a clown.

If you swindle money in a slimy fashion, then you are slimy.


No. This is projection of value judgements onto the external world. In reality there are no 'clowns' and no 'slimys'. Our apparent perception of them is our own judgements externalised.

Justin said...

More wisdom from Brad:

A certain segment of the audience that reads what I write assumes I’m just a seething bowl of anger. I’m really not. But I guess I can understand why people think I am. They see a sentence like “Genpo Roshi is a useless piece of shit and his Big Mind® process is a scam,” to take a recent example, and they think, “Gosh. The only time I would call someone a useless piece of shit and say his life’s work was a scam would be if I was totally enraged.” So they read their own emotional state into what I say and make assumptions accordingly.

Brad holds those who have a view that doesn't conform to his(especially an apparently competing one) with contempt. This is strong ego-identification and I think it is a real problem for Brad. It is for all of us, but we can see how attached he is to his beliefs. He's even in denial about anger. Zen is not just about putting in the hours sitting on a cushion and thinking about what a jerk Genpo Roshi is. Zen is about the process of getting over that stuff and just seeing things 'as they are'. That's how I see it anyway.

Yes we need to be honest with ourselves about our true feelings but that's not the same as projecting it outwards without any insight or control.

I can see some value in constructive criticism. But I think it has to be handled carefully.

I hear the SFZC is very good.

Justin said...

And of course I'm not immune to the same things, and this is a matter for me to deal with in my own practice.

Anonymous said...

Brad bull-shitting in his "its own okay when I point a finger, not when others point a finger at me " mode

Not to belabor the point on the precepts. But there's two really key things I want to say. The first is that the precepts are only to be used as a guide to gauge our own behavior — not the behavior of others. I said this before but I cannot stress it enough.

When the precepts are used to judge the behavior of others we're back into the same sick game every religion plays where we are the morally righteous and the unbelievers should change their ways. Buddhists must never be like that.


versus

The comments about the sixth and seventh precepts deserve a little discussion, though. These are the precepts telling us not to criticize others (or “other Buddhists” as it is sometimes given) or to be proud of ourselves and slander others. ---

If we don’t criticize these things because we fear we may violate the precepts we’re doing a terrible disservice to people who want to know what real Buddhism actually is.


Sometimes there is so much bullshit piled up in all directions, even he can't keep track or make clever excuses fast enough (he'll try).

SFZC is very good. Many good teachers there. Do not let this place or this particular 'teacher' put you off Zen Practice.

Harry said...

Re: the GURU WARS!!! spiritual sideshow.

Hmmmm. Cults, yes.

I notice the first 'voices' that Genpo 'deals with' in the expensive Big Mind process are "The Skeptic" and "The Protector".

It is common for therapists to need a level of trust with the client so that positive suggestions may 'take root' (and all that Big Mind is is a type of suggestion therapy... if even that), but I think that the sums of money involved in Big Mind, and the religious/cult appearance and content within this movement (with adored 'leader' etc) mean that we can't just look at this as merely another harmless "therapy" scam/fad.

I agree Brad could have made a much better, more balanced/informed, argument against Big Mind.

He's not my teacher but if you're going to wander around looking for a teacher that you agree with on everything then you might be a while... or the down side of that is that you'll meet a teacher who won't criticise or challenge you, who will pander to every one of your 'spiritual needs' or, in other words, who will manipulate you using yourself.

The teaching is a practice that we must carry out our self. Let's not put the cart before the horse... or maybe 'the boat before the rower' is a more appropriate turn of phrase in this context.

Regards,

Harry.

fourth said...

Climbers my ass. Dickheads capitalizing on the ignorance of the public. Poopy heads for real.

Mumon said...

I haven't quoted Thomas Merton in years, but this quote seems apt:

Do you then approach the study of Zen with the idea that there is something to be gained by it? This question is not intended as an implicit accusation. But it is, nevertheless, a serious question. Where there is a lot of fuss about "spirituality," "Enlightenment," or just "turning on" it is often because there are vultures hovering around a corpse. This hovering, this circling, this descending, this celebration of victory is not what is meant by the Study of Zen -- even though they might be highly useful exercises in other contexts. And they enrich the Birds of Appetite. Zen enriches no one. There is no body to be found. The birds may come and circle for a while in the place where it is thought to be. But they soon go elsewhere. When they are gone, the "nothing" the "no-body" that was there, suddenly appears. That is Zen. It was there all the time but the scavengers missed it, because it was not their kind of prey.

Anonymous said...

bkaaaw! bkawww!

Koudelka said...

Guys, an in-person debate doesn't mean shit. Correctly explaining and justifying a claim can take a lot of time and work and is probably better done in a long form.

I've taken one of these Big Mind sessions, and it really is complete horse shit. You sit in a chair and imbalance the shit out of your mind to experience your idea of enlightenment and further encourage delusions. I feel it was best summed up by a guy I was talking to afterwards, "dude, I got some great visuals off that stuff, it was like lsd but easier to find!"

It's not real practice, it's fucking dangerous appeasement for a market of fast-paced people who are willing to slap down cash for a quick fix. Go ahead and blow your minds and sink deep into nirvana, you marks.

If you bust open your issues all at once, you will not be able to handle it. One thing at a time, or you wont have a framework to understand your experiences, you will never know real stability and appreciation.

Anonymous said...

koudelka!
great to see you back, man.
How are things in NY? (you still there?)