Sunday, October 05, 2008

SERENITY NOW!!!!

Here's a funny skit by the Upright Citizen's Brigade:


The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that playing the role of the uber enlightened spiritual master is mentally and physically devastating to the people who attempt it. I've retold the story a few hundred times about the serene and tranquil spiritual master I met in my teens who turned out to have been an accessory to murder, very probably at the exact time as I was sitting starry eyed at his feet imbibing what I thought were mystic truths imparted by one who seemed clearly to have transcended the agitated and restless state of ordinary people.

The other day my publishers told me that a lawyer representing "concerned people in the Buddhist community" called them threatening legal action should my upcoming book say anything unflattering about his clients — all serene and blissful Spiritual Masters, I have to assume. His clients needn't have worried their perpetually undisturbed little minds. No Zen Masters were harmed in the making of my new book. None expect me, of course. I come off like a complete and total prick (in more ways than one -- you'll see!). Maybe I should sue!

Such nice people, these spiritual masters. So unruffled by life's troubles.

Feh!

It's like these guys have to be just as nasty behind the scenes as they are bland and unperturbed in the public eye. It happens so often it's scary. Balance, it seems, will be established of its own accord no matter how we try to tip things in the direction we'd like them to go.

It's too late for these guys and probably their legal counsel too. But maybe the rest of us can learn something. Zen practice is not about trying to re-make yourself in your own image of an enlightened saint. That image is born out of your unenlightened confusion. How could it be worth achieving? No, Zen practice is about seeing yourself for what you really are and working with that. Even Jesus himself wasn't all that "Christ-like" when you met him in person. Not that I ever met him, of course, or imagine I ever will. It's just that "Christ-like-ness" is an image that has no basis in reality.

Our problem isn't that we're so unlike our image of the saints we wish we could be. Our problem is that we make the fact that we're so unlike our images into a problem.

104 comments:

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Sounds like the Wack-o scientologists who threaten legal action (by way of copyright infringement), against anyone who quotes their texts while questioning their beliefs.

I say FUCK 'EM!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

nice last sentence but don't forget that the self-image is just as constructed as the idealized images, and that a person who has hangups about comparisons of self to ideal images is very likely resisting becoming conscious of a painful unexamimed self-belief, or two.

A-P said...

I have been involved in some spiritual groups (12 steps) for several years and met some narcissistic "guru"'s in those groups. It's funny how people support their perverted self-images. In fact people have sometimes tried to make me a guru too. It didn't feel good and so I had to tell them some facts about me and what kind of things happens in my life and in my mind. It stopped there - somehow they weren't so enthusiastic to make me guru anymore.. :D

I wonder why....? ;)

Hopefully there are lots of codependent worshippers who stalk "those people whose name we won't mention".

Anonymous said...

Utter bullshit, you groupies. No threatening lawyers, no fearful competing zen masters exist. No, just the aging boy wonder having screwed up his marriage and his job, needs to sell his book.

Anonymous said...

fresh fruit for rotting vegetables !

Jules said...

Brad wrote: Even Jesus himself wasn't all that "Christ-like" when you met him in person. Not that I ever met him, of course, or imagine I ever will. It's just that "Christ-like-ness" is an image that has no basis in reality.

Uh-oh. That whole Genpo thing was nuthin'. Now you've really done it.

DT said...

Mwaaah, Brad!
Keep up the good work!

Rich said...

It sounds like the professional zen buddhists are no different than anyone else. If your actions are perceived to threaten their money or livelihood, they will get nasty. Are they attached to their money and power or just defending their true self? Anyway, unless they are public figures, yu can't call them out by name in public.

Anonymous said...

Wrong, groupie. You can call anyone out -- public or not, it just has to be the truth. So here it goes: Brad Warner is a complete fraud.

Rich said...

Your truth belongs to you only and even if he is a fraud he won't sue you over it. When people start using intimidation to change behaviors, they reveal exactly who they are which is someone you don't want to do business with.

Lauren said...

A similar warning to some Lin Chi translations I've been reading.

(don't have it at hand but I believe its Watson, Burton; tr. The Zen Teachings of Master Lin-Chi: A Translation of the Lin-chi lu. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999. ISBN 0-231-11485-0.)

In section 18 or 19 he has warnings that seem to extol "be ordinary people."

Maybe "be ordinary people that sit" and maybe "be ordinary people that sit and are guided by the precepts" and maybe even "be ordinary people that sit and are guided by the precepts and do funny little ceremonies every now and then", but as it gets much more complicated than that, there is so much potential for destructive discrimination (picking and choosing) going on, it becomes too much of a tangle.

I find his caution that if you meet a master of the way [whatever that means] don't talk to him about the way, particularly amusing and informative.

Eventual Rinzai or not, it seems an fair goal for the 800's and the 2000's and probably every morning before I sit down to sit.

Weasel Tracks said...

Utter bullshit, you groupies. No threatening lawyers, no fearful competing zen masters exist. No, just the aging boy wonder having screwed up his marriage and his job, needs to sell his book.

That you, jazzymike108? curlywade? ramaquotes?

An infestation of Lenzites on Buddhist usenet revealed a connection between Merzel-roshi and the Lenz Foundation . . . you know -- Zen Master Rama?
http://www.fredericklenzfoundation.org/grants.asp

Anyone wishing to see what kind of company said roshi keeps can do a search in Google Groups of the above posters, in alt.zen, talk.religion.buddhism, and, my favorite, alt.buddha.short.fat.guy .

At the time, I went by the handle, Messer Xin.

dj said...

Dear anonymous,

Any chance you could expand on your reasons for believing Brad is a fraud?

Cheers,

Doug

Rocking out said...

I absolutely love the guy who posts personal attacks in messages about how there are no personal attacks!

Matt said...

maybe he's just bitter cuz he belongs to the 50k club and yet life is still life....

Mumon said...

I find his caution that if you meet a master of the way [whatever that means] don't talk to him about the way, particularly amusing and informative.

Huh. I train in a Rinzai school and that gambit seems to have worked well for me.

Anonymous said...

"I've retold the story a few hundred times about the serene and tranquil spiritual master I met in my teens who turned out to have been an accessory to murder, very probably at the exact time as I was sitting starry eyed at his feet imbibing what I thought were mystic truths imparted by one who seemed clearly to have transcended the agitated and restless state of ordinary people."

I know what you mean, Brad. I remember when I found the website of a zen guy that seemed like he was really free, fresh and insightful. He advocated questioning everything so much that he called himself doubboy. He wrote a great book too.

Then I started to read his blog and discovered he's not at all what he seemed from his earlier writings.

Anonymous said...

enjoying this.

might even check your new book out of library ... might

Anonymous said...

a lawyer representing "concerned people in the Buddhist community" called them threatening legal action should my upcoming book say anything unflattering about his clients

So who were this lawyer's clients?
Come on, name some names!

Jinzang said...

A similar warning to some Lin Chi translations I've been reading. ... In section 18 or 19 he has warnings that seem to extol "be ordinary people."

It's easy to misunderstand what Lin Chi meant by this. He didn't mean you should act like Joe or Jane Sixpack.

DJ Voton said...

There's a "Buddhist community?" Let's get the Dalai Bama to organize it for us.

Jinzang said...

Our problem is that we make the fact that we're so unlike our images into a problem.

And the little word that describes this behavior is spelled E-N-V-Y.

Mumon said...

weasel tracks.

Wow.

That usenet stuff is just bizarre.


I don't know if this is true or not, but if so (I know Merzel's on the board of the Lenz Foundation, etc. etc. etc.)...jeez this is chilling:

Now that you are faced with the prospect of being criticized
by worldwide Buddhist masters,
accepting of the fact that Rama is Enlightened,
as well as a greatly respected Buddhist teacher,
You flail your appendages, in anger!

The talks by Dr. Lenz [Rama] provide refreshing and
excellent reading material for western Zen students.
They inspire new students to practice zazen and older students
to deepen their practice. - Dennis Genpo Merzel, Roshi - Kanzeon Zen
Center,
Gerry Shishin Wick, Rohsi - Great Mountain Zen Center

Meditation practice (zazen) has remained as the one form
that has transcended time and cultural boundaries.
Dr. Frederick P. Lenz [Rama] is one pioneer
who introduced American modes of practice
while focusing on the fundamental Practice of zazen. - Dennis Genpo
Merzel, Roshi - Kanzeon Zen Center,
Gerry Shishin Wick, Rohsi - Great Mountain Zen Center

Can you think of any deceased teachers,
who still have students today? (not even Carl Sagan)?


Lenz was such an obvious fraud - he was more interested in getting his pigeons to think they were in exalted states rather than dealing with the fact that HERE right now is horror and suffering and pain and HERE you have to try to mitigate it.

Weasel Tracks said...

The url I posted earlier doesn't display right. This should be OK:
http://tinyurl.com/3jt24c

I see lots of other entities have sold a bit of their soul for Rama's money.

Anonymous said...

fascinating to me--here in the land of the brie and home of the fey
that peeps who belief themselves much better than the bradster (on a scale of roshiness, say)
will send lawyers, to ignobly SILENCE him, and his own right to write about a subject close to himself's self, in (fear) he'd be writing about them??
This is so silly

teachers y'know go through their own 'developmental' stages. beginning teachers are, well, beginning teachers and being a zen teacher just means they've had a head start up the path by a cuppla decades or so before you started on it yourself, and for part of their head start they walked in the company of a CERTIFIED, Fully Transmitted Person who in turn did the hand off of the Dharma Baton to them to 'pay it forward', this taking of the 3 refuges and reciting of 4 noble Vows and receiving the Precepts 'n all.
That such a person, now a teacher themself, would turn around and send lawyers (! ! ! !)

Those who would do such a thing are anything but a zen practitioner, let alone a zen teacher. Something their own erstwhile, perhaps now deceased teacher may have seen in them, a spark of something brilliant perhaps, has gone out.
I pity them: I pity the darkness they live in, and the dust they eat and shit. To have killed the buddha is
indeed a necessary accomplishment, but to have killed the dharma--I can't imagine anything more sorrowful--but to then sell off parts of dead dharma's carcass--I mean would you sell your mother's corpse, your father's dead body, you child's lifeless flesh?
These folks is creeps and they is creepy.
Verily they be hungry ghosts.

Makes me wish there was reincarnation just so they'd have a chance to get it right next time.
Makes me thankful my own fate is my own fate.
Makes me want to do right by the dharma and not let it fall to any harm through my own ego's blindspots and whatnots.

Anonymous said...

PS

loved the citizen's brigade!! Thanks Brad!

Alphonzen said...

Brad, I have a question; since Buddhists do not believe in preaching to others, and rely on others to use their intuition and common sense to find their way, why does it matter if some zennists become victims of fraudulent behaviour? Surely, they are responsible for their actions and nothing else can help them if they are so easily swayed. I think you should stick to discussing buddhism on your blog rather than whine about other frauds. You are simply preaching to the converted.

Moon Face Buddha said...

Whose reality is the really real reality?

Justin said...

Loved the video.

Sure there are spiritual fakes out there and repressed passive-agressive spiritual types and of course its unrealistic to expect any sort of practice to turn someone into some sort of perfect human being, but what's Brad's talking about here is just a hypothesis based on some bad experiences or perceptions of spiritual types that he had and doesn't have all that much to do with Zen. It goes something like this: wherever you make an effort an equal an opposite reaction will occur somewhere else, so that you can never 'improve' yourself in the moral sense.

What he's describing is the psychology of repression and is fairly consistent with the Freudian and Jungian view, although I don't think there is any evidence that making an effort for others is counterproductive, more that if it is based on repression it may raise issues for yourself. But to say we can either express or repress 'bad stuff' is a false choice and if these were the only options then I think Buddhist practice would be a waste of time. Even for Freud, repression is not the only way of dealing with 'bad stuff'. Freud said that the most constructive strategy was sublimation. But even though these ideas have become staples of pop-psychology its still largely unproven. CBT has been shown to be more effective than Freudian therapy.

Zen and correct Buddhist practice should not involve repression. It should involve facing issues, awareness without attachment, self-understanding and compassion.

One problem with the view Brad has expressed is that ethically it constitutes a sort of council of despair, a sort of amoral 'why bother, it will fail anyway' attitude and this sort of argument can itself be a sort of mask. I've known a lot of people (including myself, and especially adolescents I think) who use this sort of argument to rationalise away any unwanted moral responsibility.

You can see plenty of selfish people on reality TV shows who rationalise away their antisocial behaviour by saying that they are just 'keeping it real' or 'telling it like it is' and accusing others who make an effort of being hypocrites who are not true to themselves.

Someone who puts their own 'authenticity' and freedom from responsibility above the consequences of their behaviour on others is being selfish no matter what pop-psychology rationalisations they produce to explain it.

Obesity Now Magazine said...

"Utter bullshit, you groupies. No threatening lawyers, no fearful competing zen masters exist. No, just the aging boy wonder having screwed up his marriage and his job, needs to sell his book."

Wow. This is the same guy who is always going on about 'the kids' and their SATs. For a while I thought Brad had attracted loads of haters but it's becoming clear it's just one disgruntled Buddhist. Who is he?

Vesa said...

I don't know all the details, of course, but I wonder if the lawyer is question (assuming he is a lawyer) is doing the usual "them" - ie. presenting himself as a representative of the larger community when the only people irked are couple of others, maybe including the lawyer is question. I wouldn't be the first time, it won't be the last time.

As for the other saints, according to scripture, the big J did flip out at least once, crashing the tables of the traders in temple. That was hardly serene.

(I'm also rather amused by the anonymous coward(s?) who have no courage to tell who they really are and verbally bash people. Unfortunately, it's rather common...)

NellaLou said...

Justin said: "You can see plenty of selfish people on reality TV shows who rationalise away their antisocial behaviour by saying that they are just 'keeping it real' or 'telling it like it is' and accusing others who make an effort of being hypocrites who are not true to themselves."

And you can see a lot more in the comments sections of blogs hiding behind walls of anonymity. Glass houses do shatter easily.

'keeping it real' often tends to be a euphemism for 'I'd like to punch you in the face but am too scared to get that real'

broken atom-smasher said...

One who has paid the least amount of 'retainer $', is true master!

Mumon said...

teachers y'know go through their own 'developmental' stages. beginning teachers are, well, beginning teachers and being a zen teacher just means they've had a head start up the path by a cuppla decades or so before you started on it yourself, and for part of their head start they walked in the company of a CERTIFIED, Fully Transmitted Person who in turn did the hand off of the Dharma Baton to them to 'pay it forward', this taking of the 3 refuges and reciting of 4 noble Vows and receiving the Precepts 'n all.
That such a person, now a teacher themself, would turn around and send lawyers (! ! ! !)


Somewhere I read that American zen students take all this stuff like the "Good housekeeping Seal of Approval" - which they should not.

In a tradition where practice = enlightenment does it really make sense to have a "Grade A Certified Stamp of Enlightenment" tattooed upon the teacher? (and I have no qualms with that construction other than I prefer another construction that you can argue is equivalent).

Ditto for certifying teachers who teach nothing. Again not to say there's no need for "teachers," but if you get one who wants to stamp you a certain way, you'd do well not to certify such a teacher.


'Tis no matter to me, except insofar as lawyers can be threatening but it would be kind of amusing to hear explanations of this in a deposition.

Buried beneath all of this, as I said earlier is the very fact that the practice of Zen and Buddhism is very very serious business, and there's a great deal of screwed up things in the world that must be attended to skillfully.

mountaintop_bubble said...

"nice last sentence but don't forget that the self-image is just as constructed as the idealized images, and that a person who has hangups about comparisons of self to ideal images is very likely resisting becoming conscious of a painful unexamimed self-belief, or two."

Another example of wisdom from the comment section. Great point. Most of Brad's blog entry was great too.

Anonymous said...

Is there any evidence that the Buddhists in question have claimed to have transcended ego and concern for reputation?

It seems that people aren't beyond slander by Brad even when Brad knows nothing about them. What goes around comes around I say. Hey there's a word for that, what is it? Karma!

Brad cries hypocrisy - I smell defensiveness.

Anonymous said...

My hunch is that the anti-authoritarian stance of the punks is often unconsciously conditioned by difficult relations with parents and the pockets of low-self esteem this can create.

cometboy said...

I wish I had some pockets of low-self esteem.

Then I'd have a place to store my ego.

Only when I wasn't using it, though.

Jinzang said...

Why does it matter if some zennists become victims of fraudulent behaviour? Surely, they are responsible for their actions and nothing else can help them if they are so easily swayed.

Let the suckers learn the hard way, right? I think you're confusing Zen with the Republican Party.

Anonymous said...

Question for Brad

I come off like a complete and total prick (in more ways than one -- you'll see!).

If you were a prick then is there any chance you are acting like a prick now? Do you have anything to change about your behavior now? Or is everything you do now enlightened behavior so you do not need to change?

Seems to me that you still act like a prick. Maybe the lawyers called because you actually defame and hurt innocent people.

Anonymous said...

and I am not talking about Gempp Roshi by the way. I mean that maybe you actually have a big mouth, no thought for people but yourself, and defame and hurt innocent people.

Anonymous #2 said...

Anonymous said...
and I am not talking about Gempp Roshi by the way.


What's with the cryptic post? If you don't mean Genpo and you mean someone else, why not just say who you are talking about?

mister sister said...

"Let the suckers learn the hard way, right? I think you're confusing Zen with the Republican Party."

I think the ACTUAL SUCKERS ARE THOSE WHO THINK THERE IS A REAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS.

sorry about the caps but I accidentally hot the lock and don't feel like re-typing.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
and I am not talking about Gempp Roshi by the way.

What's with the cryptic post? If you don't mean Genpo and you mean someone else, why not just say who you are talking about?


Because brad is vicious and has gone against so many people with his words and actions. sometimes with reason like genpo and sometimes not. I don't want to set him going but I also don't want to let him play all innocent like

Is that book he is writing an apology to people he hurt and betrayed with some reflection or a cover his ass excuse with lots of rationalizing his conduct? I guess we will have to wait an see. it is not just his wife but lots of people around him

Anonymous #2 said...

Anonymous said...
Anonymous said...
and I am not talking about Gempp Roshi by the way.

What's with the cryptic post? If you don't mean Genpo and you mean someone else, why not just say who you are talking about?

Because brad is vicious and has gone against so many people with his words and actions. sometimes with reason like genpo and sometimes not. I don't want to set him going but I also don't want to let him play all innocent like

Is that book he is writing an apology to people he hurt and betrayed with some reflection or a cover his ass excuse with lots of rationalizing his conduct? I guess we will have to wait an see. it is not just his wife but lots of people around him


You didn't answer my question. Please name one person. Thanks.

Mumon said...

brad is vicious and has gone against so many people with his words and actions.

Let me be the first to say it:

So, like he's a regular Heinrich Himmler then????

the ACTUAL SUCKERS ARE THOSE WHO THINK THERE IS A REAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE REPUBLICANS AND DEMOCRATS.

Ummm... there is, and if you can't see that, well, you haven't been paying attention for 30 years.

Anonymous said...

ask brad to talk about the sexual harassment charges and abuse. i wonder if there will be anything about that in his book, but I doubt it

NellaLou said...

The mud-slingers are really at a boil now. The one who cries "fraud" all the time provides no evidence or examples. Can't even explain what exactly is fraudulent. Any idiot can stand on a streetcorner and shout names at people. What exactly is your relationship to Brad and what examples can you personally give to substantiate your claim?
The accuser of abuse etc provides no evidence or examples either. If there are charges or some such thing provide a link to court or police records or a legitimate news source. It's all available on the Internets from legitimate sources if there is a case to be made.
Slapping unsubstantiated labels on people is just hollow action.

I've gripes with some of what is written here and elsewhere by Brad and have aired that here and elsewhere but not anonymously and not without example, however satirical.
Just have a low tolerance threshold for cowards these days.

Dan said...

"My hunch is that the anti-authoritarian stance of the punks is often unconsciously conditioned by difficult relations with parents and the pockets of low-self esteem this can create."

Yeah but the problem is you've never lived with punks, you've never gone to punk squats and talked to them. You don't know any so what the hell are you talking about? Again, what are you basing this on? Even something as nebulous as a hunch has to be based on something.

obesity now magazine said...

I think I know who one of the anon mudlsingers is. It's this crazy lady who had a blod a while back entirely devoted to Brad (about how much he sucked). By the way she wrote she was obviously obsessed with him.

NellaLou said...

@posts by dan etal
"the anti-authoritarian stance of the punks..."
It seems more likely that people who are not compliant with authority would be evincing a higher sense of self-esteem. Life is far easier if one simply cringes and crawls in the face of power rather than upsets things. It takes a certain amount of personal risk, esteem, and in some circumstances courage to step out of line.
Most of the punks I have known (as a former squat denizen) have taken the time to examine their contexts in terms of power structures being enforced, however subtly, before rejecting them, often on moral grounds. That's even a small part of the reason I chose to adopt Buddhism several decades ago.
To speculate that some massive crippling of self-esteem on the part of the participants of a social movement is the cause of such a movement is very naive. Every social movement, for better or worse, has its origins in the society in which it is formed. Otherwise it would just be an individual expression that would not resonate with others and would likely be labeled as a mental aberration on the part of the individual. To label an entire group as dysfunctional because they disagree with the status quo is convenient to the maintenance of the status quo and quite possibly the pharma-cracy that the West is rapidly becoming, but it is not a valid explanation for a social movement.

mister sister said...

Both parties have their scumbags and both have a few decent people. But most big time professional politicians somehow manage to get rich during their time in public office. That includes both Barack Obama and John McCain.

Anonymous said...

Here is a funny SNL skit about responsibity in the current financial crisis.

crazyladyblod.com said...

Screw you!

Jinzang said...

Ask brad to talk about the sexual harassment charges and abuse.

I think it will be more entertaining if Brad talks about the dog fucking and all night coke parties.

Dan said...

How do you make a dog drink?








Put it in a blender.






nellalou: thank you.

Charles Bukowski said...

It’s not so much that nothing means
anything but more that it keeps meaning
nothing,
there’s no release, just gurus and self-
appointed gods and hucksters.
the more people say, the less there is to say.

Anonymous said...

Hi Dan,

Again, what are you basing this on? Even something as nebulous as a hunch has to be based on something.

It's based on my own experience. I'm judging another practice based on my own, without asking questions or investigating to determine if my hunch is correct.

Dan said...

Your own experience of what? Low self esteem or punks?

Anonymous said...

my experience of overcoming low-self esteem, used to comment on the punk movement as a whole.

Anonymous said...

there could be some truth to what I am saying!

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

One thing Brad does that allows him to call bullshit on these so-called "enlightened masters", is that he puts a lot of his private life out there for the sole purpose of explaining zen teachings.
Warts and all.
That definitely takes balls of steel. I know that I am nowhere near prepared to let any stranger in on my private life, emotions, etc.. But I will someday if I think my own personal story could help someone on the path to (ugh, I don't even like this word)"nirvana" and steer them clear of modern-day snake oil salesmen. Brad lets you know up front in his books and blogs that he is as dumb as you, me, and the high priests of zen are. How often do you hear this kinda talk comin' from the charlatans we've been discussing?

Answer: NEVER

Here's a great book with a fabulous sub-title:
"Novice to Master (an ongoing lesson in the extent of my own stupidity)" by Soko Morinaga

Anonymous said...

Brad lets you know up front in his books and blogs that he is as dumb as you, me,

yeah, but is that because his being like "you and me" is actually wisdom? i don't think so. it may be that he is just dumb.

for example, you go to brain surgeon to have a major operation, and you would not brag that your doctor is as dumb as bricks, just like you and me, and is often sued for malpractice. you want a guy who actually knows what he is doing.

or you want someone to be vice president who actually knows something about foreign affairs and economics.

maybe brad's screwing up his life, being prick and filled with thoughts and emotions is not because he is great zen teacher but because he really is bad at it.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

I guess we seek out zen teachers, philosophers and such for answers to the BIG QUESTIONS. Ya' know, why are we here? What's the meaning of life? Is there a heaven and hell? And so on. A good teacher will turn the authority back on the student. This is what Brad does. And as one begins answering the big questions (or not answering the unanswerable) for themselves, this leads to trusting your own instincts in other areas too. Instead of seeking a higher power to lead, you find ya' only have yourself to answer to for personal moral callings. Or, for you 12-steppers, I guess the higher power could be your own life as it relates to the totality of the universe.
So in that respect, we are all DUMB in TELLING someone else how there life or zen practice should be led. Brad succeeded in this turning the authority onto the student for me.

Therefore, I would suggest Brad's books for anyone interested in zen or "philosophical problems" along with some other favorites of mine just as I would seek out the best brain surgeon in my area for brain surgery.

Mr. Anonymous said...

"Any idiot can stand on a streetcorner and shout names at people."

Just as any idiot can write a blog and shout names at people.

And Nellalou, is that your first name or last? I don't see a full name in your profile, nor an address. You are just as anonymous as most others here.

Philbob, substitute 'deluded' for 'dumb'. Do you really want a zen teacher as deluded as the rest of us? It's like wanting a president you can have a beer with...we had that. Admitting you are a deluded asshole does not make you more aware or enlightened or qualified to teach others zen. It just means you have enough minimal self-awareness to realize you are an ass. My sister-in-law always says she's a real bitch. She's pretty-much accurate and I don't see this as making her any less of a bitch nor do I plan to learn zen from her as a result of her "awareness".

Anonymous said...

I guess we seek out zen teachers, philosophers and such for answers to the BIG QUESTIONS. Ya' know, why are we here? What's the meaning of life? Is there a heaven and hell? And so on. A good teacher will turn the authority back on the student.

yes, i am name calling, egotist, sensitive prick. let me be your mirror

like saying i am wife beater, let me be your mirror on domestic bliss. i am guy who is fired, let me be your mirror on office efficiency. i am george bush, let me be your mirror on good government management, like that. yes, image in mirror is reversed, is see

Smoggyrob said...

Hi everyone:

Jinzang, ixnay on the og-day ucking-fay and oke-cay arties-pay.

Rob

Moon Face Buddha said...

"The mud-slingers are really at a boil now. The one who cries "fraud" all the time provides no evidence or examples. Can't even explain what exactly is fraudulent. Any idiot can stand on a streetcorner and shout names at people."

Good point. This is also exactly what Brad is doing in his attacks on Genpo Roshi/Big Mind(TM).

By his own admission Brad has never been to a Big Mind(TM) meeting, knows nothing about the Big Mind(TM) practice other than what he has read on Genpo's site, and bases his 100% conviction that it is a fraud on his own Faith in his teachers 'true' Zen practice.

Trying to discuss Big Mind(TM) with Brad is thus a waste of time. Brad has Faith than he is 100% right and Genpo is 100% wrong. In the face of such zealotry what is the use of debate?

If Big Mind(TM) has fallen a long way from the original teaching of the Buddha, one could also say that Brad's brand of 'true' Zen has fallen equally as far.

andro said...

"Brad has Faith than he is 100% right and Genpo is 100% wrong."

I don't think Brad believes that at all. He does believe that Genpo is is not teaching buddhism with his Big Mind schtick. I believe that also. As for Brad, he makes it obvious when he is teaching. It is also obvious when he is just being a jerk. For all of you angry anons who think a teacher can't get testy or can't fuck up. What planet are you from?

Anonymous said...

"For all of you angry anons who think a teacher can't get testy or can't fuck up. What planet are you from?"

Like Brad, you are assuming that all who disagree with him are somehow angry. Brad insists he can call people really harsh names without being angry at all. You probably believe this. Yet when those here simply criticize him, you assume we are angry. Examine this.

As for angry teachers; Of course teachers get angry. The Dalai Lama has often said that is his biggest fault. The difference is that a good teacher will admit their anger and admit they fucked up instead of denying it or trying to cover it up and pretend it is some deep teaching. I have yet to read where Brad simply apologizes or admits he's mistaken on some point. Like Bush, he doesn't question his own judgment and seems supremely confident, even when he's supremely wrong.

god-particle said...

Faithly,
Stop 'believing'! Think/No think! Teacher 'fuck-up', beautiful lesson. Now, student must put practice into practice. Maybe less teacher/clinging, more freedom to just breathe and hear flowersongs. Genpo is Genpo!! and that is good thing for everyone who is not Genpo! Oui

andro said...

"Like Brad, you are assuming that all who disagree with him are somehow angry. "

First of all, I have never thought that all anonymous posters who disagree with Brad are angry. You possibly assumed that. I have never thought that all anonymous posters are happy or stupid or anything. I simply addressed my comments to the angry anon-posters here and you responded.

Interestingly, you responded by accusing me of making assumptions. :)

Jinzang said...

Brad has never been to a Big Mind(TM) meeting, knows nothing about the Big Mind(TM) practice other than what he has read on Genpo's site, and bases his 100% conviction that it is a fraud on his own Faith in his teachers 'true' Zen practice.

I'm sorry to sound like a broken record, but since people keep bringing the topic up, let's look again at what Genpo promises:

"You'll have a real, tangible experience of being One with the entire universe ... I'm talking about the same experience a Zen master or other enlightened master has — something that usually takes decades of meditation and direct work with a spiritual master to achieve."

Everything I know from more than thirty years of practicing Buddhism makes me think this statement is a fraud. If you don't think so, perhaps you can defend the claim that a weekend seminar substitutes for decades of meditation. Perhaps you can produce one of these enlightened seminar attendees, To me, the statements are an obvious con directed at people who know little of Zen and who believe enlightenment is possible in a weekend. Instead of attacking Brad, a defense of Genpo's claim would be more helpful.

In the face of such zealotry what is the use of debate?

Not zealotry, but opinion based on experience.

If Big Mind(TM) has fallen a long way from the original teaching of the Buddha, one could also say that Brad's brand of 'true' Zen has fallen equally as far

We get that you don't like Brad, but could you give us a little more an explanation why? Where I come from criticizing what deserves to be criticized is not a fault.

Anonymous said...

Question for Brad or anyone

"You'll have a real, tangible experience of being One with the entire universe ... I'm talking about the same experience a Zen master or other enlightened master has — something that usually takes decades of meditation and direct work with a spiritual master to achieve."

Genpo Roshi comes from a line of teachers who emphasize the importance of Kensho such as Yasutani and Maezumi. Brad does not. Fair enough. But Genpo does.

Perhaps Genpo has come up or borrowed techniques from others that does allow people to have a Kensho experience faster than sitting in a monastery for months.

It is okay that Kensho is not important to Brad's teacher, but it is important in large parts of the Zen world. By the way, Maezumi Roshi used to say that Kensho is just the beginning of the need to keep on practicing, and Genpo says the same. For that reason, Kensho is necessary in Genpo's tradition, but not the end.

So, maybe Genpo has found a way to give people a sample of Kensho much faster. Has anyone asked that? Has Brad addressed that?

What's more, if Genpo has found a way to save people from having to spend months and lots of time and cash to got to traditional sesshins and the like, then maybe his way is a time and money bargain? Going to any zen retreat takes time and money, and when you put them all together, it is not cheap.

Anyway, Genpo does not say his big mind is the end of the road. It just gives people a sample of something that is necessary in his lineage from Yasutani, Harada and those teachers.

Anonymous said...

enlightenment? what's that?

Anonymous said...

ixnay on the og-day ucking-fay and oke-cay arties-pay.

LOL!

Mike H said...

"So, maybe Genpo has found a way to give people a sample of Kensho much faster. Has anyone asked that? Has Brad addressed that?"

Maybe.

Maybe Genpo has found a way to allow people to construct an experience that they believe is Kensho but in fact is not.

Have you addressed that?

Maybe "Roll up! Roll up! Get your Kensho here for just $200 or less" is a teaching approach which is not found elsewhere. Maybe such an approach encourages grasping.

Moon Face Buddha said...

jinzang wrote "We get that you don't like Brad, but could you give us a little more an explanation why? Where I come from criticizing what deserves to be criticized is not a fault."

Why do you assert that I "don't like Brad"?.

It would be of interest to read a well researched deconstruction of the Big Mind(TM) practice if Brad chose to write one.

The claims for Big Mind(TM) sound rather inflated. As an established Zen teacher Brad is in a position to critique practices using the 'Zen' and/or 'Buddhist' brand, but such a critique would (in my opinion) be of more use if it contained more than just a statement of Brad's own belief in what is and is not True and Correct practice.

Anonymous said...

He tells people Buddhism isn't this or isn't that. People want buddhism to be what they think is. But it's not that. So what is it? He never says. he says find out for yourself.. how annoying is that? No wonder people get pissed at him.

The Buddha said...

"This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding"

Jinzang said...

So, maybe Genpo has found a way to give people a sample of Kensho much faster. Has anyone asked that?

We have a way of looking at ourselves and the world that is not true to how things truly are. There's no other way of seeing through this than to look at the mind, not once or twice, but persistently. First because the mind is a constant rush of thoughts and it takes time to calm them down so we can see them clearly. Second, because our way of looking at the world is ingrained and habitual and that is not overcome all at once. Third, because letting go of our usual way of looking at the world is a little frightening. It sounds very nice to have an experience of oneness with the universe. But to get there let go of everything you know about both yourself and the universe. Are you willing to let go of everything you know? For all these reasons I can say that what Genpo is promising is simply not so.

When I used to practice kung fu we did Taoist standing meditation as part of the practice. The practice was to circulate the chi through the "small orbit." It's very easy to imagine you feel something in this practice. The mind wants some success and grabs onto the smallest sensation to imagine it has it. And we did discuss our "experiences" with each other. None of these were worth anything and we were just adding delusion to delusion. There was nothing wrong with the Taoist meditation and doing it helped my Buddhist meditation later on. But our way of relating to the practice was not correct. A good meditation teacher will knock down ideas and experiences like this. It seems a shame that Genpo is cultivating them instead.

Anonymous said...

God what losers.

Anonymous said...

anon, this is just a stab in the dark, but maybe you believe that you are the loser. yes?

Rich said...

Yes, we are all losers. We will lose our opinions and our bodies, but what is the one pure and clear thing that cannot be lost?

Jinzang said...

Don't feed the troll.

Anonymous said...

inertia?

zenmasterpo said...

'We will lose our opinions and our bodies, but what is the one pure and clear thing that cannot be lost?'

Navel lint?

Alfred E. Neuman said...

holy fucking shit, i've got it, jim! just-a starin me in the face this whole fuckin time. godDAMNit!!!

Dan said...

"my experience of overcoming low-self esteem, used to comment on the punk movement as a whole."

I'm confused. When you had low self esteem did you find yourself wanting to start a punk band, get a stupid haircut and start squatting or something?


Don't know where you live but if you're in London come to the RampART (google it) social centre on a Friday or Saturday night sometime. Although some of them smell funny, you won't meet a more down to earth and honest bunch of people on a night out. Punks are generally friendly and fun to hang out with, honestly.

translation said...

The rampART is one of a number of autonomous spaces around London providing a non commercial venue for a wide-range of groups and activities. As with all such spaces, this is a self organised project, with a strong emphasis on consensus decision making and DIY culture.

Translation: Runaways and junkies hanging out together.

Dan said...

Junkies aren't allowed to do drugs in the building there actually.

Not sure how someone having run away from home is supposed to be an insult.

You have obviously never been to anywhere like that before have you.

Anonymous said...

Dan,

It sounds great, thanks for the invite :-)

BTW I guess I'm just processing a lot of my own stuff and am unfairly transferring it onto another group, my bad :-(

rock on...

translation said...

"Junkies aren't allowed to do drugs in the building there actually. "

Oh really.. Who enforces that? anarchist police?

Dan said...

' Anarchist police'

You are obviously completely ignorant of the way these kind of things are run or you're just being a dick for the sake of it.

What do you think would happen if a junkie got caught doing smack in a room full of people who didn't want that junkie to be there?

translation said...

I understand "anarchist police" is an oxymoron. was not being a dick as much as asking a difficult question. you didn't really answer it either. you said junkies aren't allowed to do drugs in the building there. what do they do with a person caught using drugs. some communities tolerate it. other communities have police to deal with it. what do squatties do?

translation said...

and obviously i'm ignorant or i wouldn't be asking the question.

Dan said...

It's not really a difficult question that you're asking. Again, what do you think happens?

A person caught using drugs is made to leave but there doesn't have to be a particular group who are the designated enforcers. The whole group is self enforcing.


From my experience people who call themselves anarchists don't reject all forms of social order or rules governing interaction with others, it's more that there is no particular authority, separate from the ordinary members of the community who has the job of enforcing those rules. If the rules are broken then the community as a whole enforces them. Obviously it's not perfect but what is?

Your question is slightly redundant anyway because if a squat has a reputation for being anti hard drugs then junkies generally dont go there. Why would they when they can just go to the ones that no one cares what you do in there? Those ones could probably be labelled more literally 'anarchist' but they're also scary as hell so go figure.

translation said...

Ah.. I did not know there were conservative and liberal anarchist wings. But it figures..

What do I think would happen if a junkie was caught shooting up on a conservative squat? I guess they would be made to feel uncomfortable. That could range from not being talked to.. to being beaten up. I don't know.

But at this point, the squat would start to resemble conventional society with conventional rules. What then is the point after rules start becoming established? It wouldn't be much different than a lower class condominium association. A temporary hang out for transients and the maladjusted in some places. In others, an environment were artistic types can come together in a low-cost creative atmosphere. Depends on the squat I'd guess..

Dan said...

" What then is the point after rules start becoming established? "

It wouldn't be much different than a lower class condominium association "

What do you mean 'what is the point'? Do you mean, what's the point in having a squat with house rules, why dont all those squatters live in council housing instead? That's a bit of a strange question if that is what you mean.

The simple answer would be squatting is more fun and free and you dont have to get involved with the bureacuracy of local government.

Also AFIK there aren't any government run/low income housing associations that offer communal living with like minded people. In the UK at least if you apply for housing benefit you don't get to choose where you live and you will live on your own or as a family rather than with a group of friends.

translation said...

Oh.. Fun. Very good. I get it now. It is like kids spray-painting anarchist symbols on buildings just for Fun.

BTW, Why should the government run housing associations that offer communal living with like minded people? Shouldn't people organize things like that for themselves?

Dan said...

"Oh.. Fun. Very good. I get it now. It is like kids spray-painting anarchist symbols on buildings just for Fun."

Um, no I said it was more fun to live with other like minded people in a communal setting than to live in a one bedroom council flat in an estate in Slough or somewhere. Not an entirely unreasonable statement.


"BTW, Why should the government run housing associations that offer communal living with like minded people? Shouldn't people organize things like that for themselves?"

What? Who said they should? I just said they didnt exist not that they should.

You're weird.

Anonymous said...

...says the dude with eyes painted on his eyelids and teeth pained on his lips...

dan, you're awesome!

translation said...

"You're weird."

Thanks for telling me that I am a dick, that I am weird and that I am completely ignorant. But I am not from your country and don't know a lot of what you seem to think is common knowledge.

you said:

"The simple answer would be squatting is more fun and free and you dont have to get involved with the bureacuracy of local government."

"Also AFIK there aren't any government run/low income housing associations that offer communal living with like minded people. In the UK at least if you apply for housing benefit you don't get to choose where you live and you will live on your own or as a family rather than with a group of friends."

reading those words, it seemed to me like you were equating squatting with fun rather than necessity and bemoaning the fact that your government, while providing housing money to it's citizens, didn't help them out with their social activities.

Sorry if I misunderstood anything you wrote but you seem rather frivolous..

Dan said...

Well it's rather a frivolous conversation we're having really. The 'problem' of anarchist police is about as much of a problem as solipsism.

And to me, asking why people would squat instead of living in council flats is like asking why people would work for an independent company of 10 people when instead they could work for a giant corporation.

"Thanks for telling me that I am a dick, that I am weird and that I am completely ignorant."

Sorry about that. :)

But at the same time, if you freely admit you are ignorant of the subject then why did you feel it neccessary to start out with:

"translation: Runaways and junkies hanging out together"

describing an organisation (the rampart) that you know nothing about? Seems like a strange position to start from.