Tuesday, February 03, 2009

RUN FOR THE BORDER

If you're a Border's Reward member you got an e-mail newsletter with an excerpt from my new book in it today. If you didn't get it or you deleted it go here or click on the title of this article to go directly to the excerpt. In the e-mail newsletter the except is on a link that's way, way down the page under "Religion and Spirituality." Funny because my last Suicide Girls post was all about how Zen is neither. Ah well. Gotta love Borders for putting this in anyway. Thanks!

I've been skimming over some of the reactions to the book in the comments section here and in other places. It's kind of interesting. There are times I'm somewhat at a loss what to make of the book myself. As I said in the book, that book just sort of appeared to me in a flash and demanded to be written. I had a lot of far easier ideas in mind for my next book. Nice stuff that wouldn't have made anyone mad. Like a Zen look at the life and work of Jesus (seriously, I researched this for several months and took loads of notes) or something based on my commentary to Nishijima's translation of Nagarjuna's Fundamental Song of the Middle Way (which is due out this Fall from Monkfish Books, by the way).

Those would've been a breeze to write and probably would've saved me from some of the name-calling and suchlike I'm getting now. They'd have also been less embarrassing to read from at book signings. But there ya go.

I'm gonna stop now cuz I have a new Suicide Girls article due in a couple days. Maybe I'll riff on this topic some more over there.

202 comments:

1 – 200 of 202   Newer›   Newest»
Steve McRoberts said...

I'm the first person to post a comment on this section:
great

Jules said...

Self-referential post is self-referential.

Fugley Dildap said...

I wonder what a zen approach to say... playing american football would be.

Anonymous said...

do you not read the comment section, brad?
fairly decent discussion re: aspects of new book and not a single name were you called

kudra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KaliDurga said...

I dog-eared and highlighted the hell out of the first two books. So far in this one, not so much. But the paragraph about the guy who asked how to prevent expectations in Zen practice got to me. "Just know that expectations are only thoughts in your head, and keep on doing what you do." That's it, right there. Thank you, Brad. Thank you very much.

Rich said...

"I had a lot of far easier ideas in mind for my next book. Nice stuff that wouldn't have made anyone mad. Like a Zen look at the life and work of Jesus "

Brad, remember you were doing a job that would give you some financial stability. This book looks like its going to be a big success so I'm sure you can put up with a little name calling. Do you think someone would rather read about Jesus and zen? The personal life of a real live zen dude is what they want and need.

gniz said...

Strangely, after reading this recent blog post i felt something for Brad I haven't felt in a long time. Empathy. He really is just another human being like me trying to get by and create some decent art...and i actually even felt happy for him getting his excerpt in the B&N newsletter, thats a nice accomplishment and must mean they see promise with the ol book sales.

I already read the new one in a day and found it quite gripping.

So there ya go, my first non-critical comment in probably 5 years! Hey, maybe i'm makin progress!

Craig Edwards said...

Brad,
I preordered this book way back in November, waited two and a half months, (loyal fan, huh?) picked it up Friday at 8:30 pm and finished it Saturday morning at 6:30... ten hours later. I gotta say it was more than I hoped for. There's a million books out there on how/why to do zazen but, hey, shit still happens and you're willing to share that shit with an unsuspecting world. More power to you. While I may not agree with the choices you make, isn't karma all about making choices and accepting the reality they create? I'm looking forward to giving this book more time.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Chapter 26, "Your Life Is Not Your Own", did it for me. Worth the price of admission for that one alone. I have often felt the same way. Maybe that's why I have such a big guilt complex. I feel everything I do affects someone else. Well, except being silly on this blog. I just assume other comments here are made by bored bullshitters like myself. And I hope no one takes me seriously here. 'Cus I know I don't. You don't, do you? No, ...tell me, c'mon! I'm feeling guilty again.

It's also nice to know that after all those years of zazen, Brad writes like he's just as neurotic and misguided as the rest of us. Rationalizing your mistakes for the greater good "won't get you into heaven anymore". Hey...that sounds like a song.

I would love to see a Jesus book.

Anonymous said...

definitely the book refreshes the question
what is zen for everyone--old guard zennists and newbies alike

it's not anything even an ordinary asshole like me can't do (zen practice) seems to be brad's answer

I do believe brad tells the truth and when he said in his book that he is an asshole (and vows to be one the rest of his life) at first I thought, no, no way and then I thought about it and
He Is So Right

but I have to say, he is one of the nicest assholes a person could ever meet
more of us should be assholes like him

Anonymous said...

The Book!
What's zen got to do, got to do with it?

Mumon said...

Good work. Realistic.

Useful.

Anonymous said...

I've read 3 chapters and enjoyed it very much. So much that I had to put it down and save it. I'm leaving on a 32 hr flight to Vietnam on Sunday and I imagine this will be the perfect read for a long flight.

Buddhist geek said...

Brad, have you heard about Wei wu wei?

Action without Action.

Normally, when wu wei is realized, you will follow the way of the universe.

Eckhart Tolle wrote his books following wei wu and could be the reason why it is so successful.



-Fragment of universe

Alphonzen said...

I just want to say Sorry Brad, for being such a mean arse.

Name calling is for losers.

Anyone who calls Brad names; I'll be dissin your momma.

Kjai said...

Brad, do you believe that everything happens for a reason?

Let me rephrase, do you believe that the universe does everything for a reason?

Mumon said...

PhilBob-SquareHead...


Rationalizing your mistakes for the greater good "won't get you into heaven anymore"

Not to take advantage of the opportunity provided by a mistake is somewhat wasteful, as any student of 典座校訓 would do.

Sucks to actually have to live through the mistake, but it's noble to improve things because of the opportunity provided by the mistake.

Brad probably says the same thing...

Jared said...

Buddhist Geek Said:

"Brad, have you heard about Wei wu wei?

Action without Action.

Normally, when wu wei is realized, you will follow the way of the universe.

Eckhart Tolle wrote his books following wei wu and could be the reason why it is so successful."

The nitpicker in me flared up - apologies! 'Wu wei' is the Taoist/Chan principle of actionless action. 'Wei Wu Wei' is the pseudonym of Terence Gray, a famed Zen/Advaita author.

Blake said...

I haven't started the book yet but am looking forward to it.

Brad, how was the Dharma talk at the Dharma Center on Sunday? Just curious what you thought about my Kwan Um homies.

Anonymous said...

Wei Wu Wei? that's the guy z0tl used to go on and on about..

I thought Tolle was a disciple of Bo Yin Ra.

Chris Laux said...

Please write the Jesus book too, I'd really love to read that (or at least blog a paragraph or two)! Good luck with the ZKC book...

Anonymous said...

"I just want to say Sorry Brad, for being such a mean arse.

Name calling is for losers.

Anyone who calls Brad names; I'll be dissin your momma.


Alphonzen,

You're either being sarcastic or you haven't been reading Brad's blog for long. Brad believes name-calling is good dharma practice when it serves what he imagines is the higher good. (protecting his own concepts of what real zen is or what a real zen practitioner should be)

By your criteria, Brad is a loser too.

andro said...

Brad is no more or less of a loser than anyone else. People are not winners or losers, they are people.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

OK, ok, ok.....
I've read this Eckhart Tolle dude's name on this blog a few times now. So I checked out some stuff on youtube. Never heard anything about him. I don't watch Ofrah, so I didn't know I was supposed to go buy his book. JESUS!!! What a goober smooch! And if that goatee doesn't scream metro-sexual, I dunno what does. Where's UG Krishnamurti when we need him to come beat someone's ass? Seriously, do people really enjoy this bullshit?

Jared said...

"Brad is no more or less of a loser than anyone else. People are not winners or losers, they are people."

Ah, but soylent green is people!

Anonymous said...

what it feels like to sit zazen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txqiwrbYGrs

element said...

Jesu, Jesu, Jesu!!!

element said...

yaizu

jamal said...

Phil, You crack me up man! What you got against little goatees?
That shit is cool..

And that metrosexual reference? That was funny man.. Commenting that someone looks a little fem is always funny.. And it a good way of letting people know you ain't gay. Brad does that shit too.

You know Brad wears a little goat sometimes. hmmm..

Peace!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
what it feels like to sit zazen
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txqiwrbYGrs


First the Beatles, now seven-year-old kids!
You gotta watch out for those dentists.
LOL

Anonymous said...

Holy crap, Jared is a qtpi.

kudra said...
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Jinzang said...

When you feel bad, please remember feelings are temporary. And they're something we add to a situation, not something inherent in it. Just be patient with your feelings and don't double up by blaming yourself for having them.

Jinzang said...

omething based on my commentary to Nishijima's translation of Nagarjuna's Fundamental Song of the Middle Way

I've been reading the translation on Nishijima's blog and it's seriously flawed. I don't see how any commentary on such a flawed translation could have much merit. Here's a better translation of the MMK.

Jinzang said...

JESUS!!! What a goober smooch!

You're right, Eckhart Tolle is not very good looking. Neither am I, so I can't hold that against him. He's explained mindfulness in a way that lets a lot of people (including Oprah!) understand it, which is great. He's now become a minor celebrity, which messes with peoples' heads, including so-called enlightened teachers. And his recent book was not so good as his first. So we'll have to see what happens now.

Stephanie said...

Brad,

It took me over a year to get into your last book. When I finally did, I found it quite rewarding. But I kept getting put off and annoyed by the uneven tone and style of the book. I couldn't quite figure out what was going on between your stated attempts to be humble and real and what seemed to me to be a blatant self-aggrandizing tendency, especially regarding some of your spiritual opinions. On the one hand, you said you're just a regular guy with some spiritual understanding to express, while on the other you seemed to be expressing that same "mine is the one true way" attitude you decry elsewhere. I found this maddening. I don't look for perfection in the people to whom I refer for spiritual guidance, but I do look for consistency and integrity. Every other chapter or blog post, you seemed to me to be contradicting what I took away as your core teaching: that spirituality is not different from "normal life" and that spiritual teachers are not infallible authorities on these matters.

I purchased this book almost immediately after it was released (I bought it at the NYU Bookstore, I might add, which has a very limited religion / spirituality section, and very very few Buddhist books - this says something about your distributor!) and plowed through it in two days. I found in it that consistency and realism I missed in your other writings. Your tone in this book is more balanced - you state your opinions in a way that sounds like conviction rather than pedantry.

For the first time since I started reading your writing, I was moved in ways other than amusement or reflection. The descriptions of your mother's condition were wrenching and heart-breaking. In the descriptions of the dissolution of your marriage was the kind of austere and subtle sadness in the face of loss and disappointment--rather than the kind of histrionics one often sees in the movies--that I think most adults know intimately.

And for the first time, you broke through some of the prudishness you've had in writing about sex -- that kind of yuk-yuk, 'sex is sorta cool but kinda gross and icky' language was still there, but it was interesting how it ultimately gave way to something different, more sensual and open. I was surprised to find myself even turned on by your description of the encounter between you and Shizuko (the "dog after a meat wagon" description harked back to your usual tone of mild disgust at sexuality, but all that fell away by the time you were describing the actual sexual encounter, which was described in a disarmingly natural and intimate way).

It seems that, as in the case of the Skin Horse in the Velveteen Rabbit, the hardships you have encountered have made you "more Real" - at least as a writer. What I mean by that is that the feeling, the emotional tone, seems authentic rather than constructed around an ideal. I have become convinced over the course of my relatively young life as a practicing Buddhist that most of what gets presented as "Buddhist teaching" is an idealistic dream, a collective fantasy constructed around the hope that we can leave behind the kind of "blues songs" ("I got fired, my wife left me, and my dog died...") that unfold in our lives, the kind of events you write about in "Zen Wrapped in Karma..." But it never happens. We can only believe that it does as long as we practice selective attention and self-deception.

Anybody with a decent level of intellectual capacity can write an at least passable book explicating Buddhist teaching. It's a rare person who has the guts to directly share emotional pain and personal struggle, to reveal weakness rather than to cover over all that by making oneself out to be the transcendent hero many of us wish it was possible to be. I found this book far more compelling and helpful than your other books (not that I haven't also found them compelling and helpful) because of its realistic engagement with the First Noble Truth. Even "Zen masters" can get the blues, feel lonely, and experience desire and yearning so powerful that they'd blindly pursue it rather than do the "reasonable" (or "moral") thing.

I suspect a lot of the Zen teachers who had affairs with students felt lonely, and idealized the student in the same way the student idealized the teacher. One of the reasons I respect Katagiri is the honesty with which he described his own loneliness. Similar with Suzuki, who was so open in laying bare his faults and revealing how stung he was by loss and trouble.

Maybe Trungpa was the smartest of all because he embraced the madness, and like a good Tantric practitioner or a good disciple of Eris or Coyote, put it to work for him in the service of truth. Doesn't mean I believe the mistakes he made weren't a reflection of personal foibles. Instead, I simply believe that Trungpa put his whole life and self to use in the service of communicating and establishing the Dharma, the ugly and disconcerting as well as the admirable and ideal.

In my opinion, this is easily your most profound, honest, and gutsy book. It may not be (quite) as intellectual or instructional as your previous efforts (or is it?), but it feels significantly more real. It didn't feel like it was written by a persona or a self-constructed ideal, and as such I found it so much more convincing. I was quite moved by the end of the book. If what it takes to write such a book is to be an "asshole," I hope you maintain your vow to "be an asshole forever." People who sell false ideals are a dime a dozen, but the "honest person" whom Diogenes sought is a rare thing, and I am heartened to see a person who has been placed in the role of spiritual teacher who is willing to be so candid and open. That goes a long way as a curative to a whole lot of bullshit that gets pumped out of the "spiritual supermarket."

jundo cohen said...
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Jinzang said...

Maybe Trungpa was the smartest of all because he embraced the madness

I was Trungpa's student for a while, though I only met him once. I didn't understand him or his actions back then and I still don't understand them now.

Anton Schneiderfranken said...

Eckhart Tolle Biography

Born Ulrich Tolle in Dortmund, Germany, Eckhart Tolle lived with his father in Spain from about the age of thirteen to nineteen after which he moved to England.

He had no formal education between the ages of thirteen and twenty-two, refusing to go to school because of its "hostile environment." At about the age of fifteen he received five books that were written by a German mystic, Joseph Anton Schneiderfranken, also known as Bô Yin Râ. Tolle later graduated from the University of London, having studied literature.

At the age of twenty-nine, Tolle experienced what he calls an "inner transformation", after suffering long periods of suicidal depression (and spending years in therapy). Since 1996, he has lived in Vancouver, Canada.

Rich said...

Kudra, yu are a good writer. I recently had a nightmare. I think reading some of Brad's book triggered it -especially the crematorium story- or maybe it's just the stress in my life - I don't know. My job is to live and feel all this shit - accepting my feelings and using them to do correct action is difficult because the tendency is to make them into something more. Sitting balances the view.

Rich said...

Stephanie, that was a great review

lightning roshi said...

[roadhouse music]
da-dum da-dum
tss-tss tss-tss
da-dum da-dum
tss-tss tss-tss
[old black man screaming]
"Zen masters can get the blues
Zen masters can get the blues
but when you do da zazen
Take off all your shoes"

brad in washington state said...

Woo-Hoo!! i got my copy today! thanks brad!

p.s. i too would be very interested in reading a zen take on jesus.

kudra said...

hey.... wasn't Jesus a take on zen?

Anonymous said...

book sounds a lot like the midlife crisis of a late bloomer
my heart goes out to you Brad
you end the book in the arms of your student/lover sitting zazen, sitting in hot springs, sitting around the campfire singing TV show theme songs.
It is sweet.
3/4 of the book is loss after loss and I can't help but think there's more loss to come and this lover is a pretty band aid covering quite the wound
I hope you get the time to properly mourn/heal (whatever that means). Many a man has woken up (Is this my beautiful house? Is this my beautiful wife?) to find themselves in a relationship whose primary purpose seems to have been to distract them from the pain of the relationship they just left.

Take your time with everything.
(Part of the reason, by the way that Roshis and priests and senior students all have different length sleeves in their robes is so they have to take their time--they have to watch how they hold their arms, how they sit, every movement of the arm, etc. Their mind can not wander for any length of time without catching them up--
this body/mind stuff is REAL Brad so I would urge you to truly understand the forms as they have been handed down first before you are so quick to toss them out as unnecessary)

So please take your time with everything, even if you end up deciding your lineage will only wear tee shirts with names of punk rock bands on them, or Japanese action heros.
Of course this relationship you end the book with might very well be True Love (as in the movie The Princess Bride), but if you are the ordinary guy you claim to be, chances are it will join the other sparks which have briefly lit and yet others will come and will continue to light up the heavens of your soul's dark night, you and all the rest of us blinks of an eye in time.
It is true, being young and having strong sexual energy, it just naturally occurs: finding special people to be special with, have special times with.
Speaking from my own experience of almost no sexual energy (just the barest faint trace once in a great while of a hint of sexuality), so much time and so much of my attention is available now to notice how special every human encounter is--even the most brief--and even when the encounter isn't particularly 'pleasant.'
resonating, always resonating, continually resonating
BUT
The most important thing is that you have written a book which may or may not help others who are trying to find their way.
Through your book there may be this resonating, and they may be interested to try zazen and to find out what the middle path is about and where the middle path goes and to keep going, keep going

this is the most important thing

Andrew said...

jesus is from egyptian mythology

i know the posters on this blog are not accustomed to thinking or reading signficant work, but for those that might even think about it

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/

actually you won't read it because the reading age is too demanding

it will erode your confidence in the buddha myth

your blind passion for fancy sounding rubbish is alienating to sense

Anonymous said...

Andrew @9:29:

are you a bot or are you using some kind of bot-ware?

Andrew said...

i am the know-all master
only i have what your people call enlightenment
my robes extend through the thousand buddhas
come, worship the lotus at my feet

kudra said...
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jundo cohen said...
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jamal said...

Andrew ain't no friggin bot. Here is his picture and some o his writing. He's a good lookin fella.

jundo cohen said...
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jundo cohen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jundo cohen said...
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jundo cohen said...

I've been reading the translation on Nishijima's blog and it's seriously flawed. I don't see how any commentary on such a flawed translation could have much merit.

Yes. Our 89 year old teacher, Nishijima Roshi, has not been himself for quite some time. The other 'Dharma Heir' of Nishijima quoted in the book (Groucho, Harpo or Zeppo, I forget which ... not to be confused with me, Gummo) said so long ago (page 83 of the book; Brad laughs it off in the book), others have said so, and I say so. (In fact, all you have to do is read his postings on the blog to know that something is sadly slightly askew. It is not all his poor English).

However, it is in a few peoples' best interest to brush that under the carpet, or just to ignore the fact. Don't get me wrong, this is not quite the situation with the late Howard Hughes and the people surround him, nothing like that (except on a very small scale). This is small potatoes. But, I think, it is not unlike the scenes in Brad's book where everyone just tolerates Grandma's elderly babblings, imagined events and "disinheritings" because, gosh, nobody wants to face the situation and 'she will be dead soon' anyway!

I remember, when Nishijima Roshi was working on the translations, I bought him as a gift a copy of Jay L. Garfield's translation (he told me previously that he had not read it, seemed never to have heard of it, nor the Kalupahana translation, which are both standard in the field). Nishijima Roshi refused my gift. He told me that he did not need those, because (as I understood Roshi's words) Nagarjuna himself was either channeling through him or speaking to him in his dreams or the like.

Maybe so.

And maybe, too, the people who were in charge of editing the book (that's Brad) fixed all the problems and mistranslations before it went to the publisher. We will have to see (I do not think so though).

Anyway, Nishijima was not happy with me for telling him that the translation had some problems, and much happier with the people telling him that everything was right as rain.

Gassho, Jundo

kudra said...
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kudra said...
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lamont said...

so...andrew is one of many multiple personalities?
kool with a 'K'.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Andrew said:

"jesus is from egyptian mythology"

I think it might be the message, not the historical evidence of a man who may or may not have walked the earth, that a buddhist would be interested in.

Regardless of myth, ideas like "turn the other cheek", "do unto others what you would have done unto you", "love thy neighbor", "let him w/o sin cast the first stone" speak to the heart of ethics and morality. And yeah, I know the argument, Jesus may not have been the first to come up with these moral codes.
But Jesus gets the prize simply by default.

And while I'm on the subject of JC, something that occasionally bothers me is how some wanna-be new agey buddhists are quick to toss out their family's Christian heritage for the next big thing or some misguided rebellion. Now Brad has made it clear he didn't have much of a religious background before zen came along. And maybe some of you didn't either. But how many of you out there ran from your upbringing just to be hip? This month's Oprah favorite?
One of the first buddhist authors I read was Thich Nhat Hanh. He expressed concern for those who would throw away their culture* and take on one never meant for them. I think (just my humble opinion) American buddhists look silly wearing Asian robes. And American women shaving their heads? Ridiculous. Unless she just likes the hairstyle, of course. So the whole thing about Brad in the new book not wearing his robes at sesshin didn't bother me a bit. In fact, I was a little let down he gave in. Now, if you're out right rejecting god, religion, etc., that's a whole different bag'o Borat turds.

* by culture, I'm referring to dress, rituals, traditional roles- NOT the underlying philosophy.

And remember folks, it ain't bible if it ain't King James (actual bumper sticker seen in NC mountains)

(fanboy)brad in washington state said...

p.s.s. i'd like to read a zen take on MUSiC and how a modern day "zen master" approaches music and songwrting, more than i would like to hear one little voice ramble on about how jesus and zen are so tight.

... said...

ya know...how the duration of the silence is just as important as the duration of the note and how the silence makes it all blah blah blah...formless form and all that jazz...

Anonymous said...

Jundo:
"Anyway, Nishijima was not happy with me for telling him that the translation had some problems..."

Gassho

Justin said...

I've been reading the translation on Nishijima's blog and it's seriously flawed. I don't see how any commentary on such a flawed translation could have much merit. Here's a better translation of the MMK.

The Garfield translation is very clear and well-annotated. I've not looked at Nishijima's translation yet, but (in addition to issues already mentioned) it has seemed to me that he has certain idiosyncratic views about Buddhism (balancing the autonomic nervous system, 3 truths - 1 reality) which colour his work elsewhere ie. the Shobogenzo.

PA said...

Thanks Stephanie - great review.

Thanks Brad - great book.

Kamaljit said...

Haha, from an idealistic view, the Dogen sangha may seem like a mad house.

But we know that thoughts aren't true. Zennists are anarchistic iconoclastic, two-feet standing, firebreathing, lama hatin', breakdancing and booty shakin' human beings.

Have you noticed that zen has the capacity to completely change ones personality? Most come as somewhat introverted and then they come out as craziness.

jundo cohen said...
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jundo cohen said...

Hi Stef,

I'm gonna write a more detailed review of the book soon. Brad is an enjoyable, entertaining writer. But, Stef, while the book has some VERY good points, in the end it is just "bad Buddhism" (yes, folks, there is such a thing).

Let me explain ...

First, let me tell you why this book is really good:


Even "Zen masters" can get the blues, feel lonely

Yes, it is time to bring Buddhas and Buddhist teachers down off their golden pedestals!! Zen Masters get the blues, get fearful some days for what tomorrow might bring, cry for a lost loved one, or get a hard on for a student, just like anyone. Great Point! Buddhas are people too!

... and experience desire and yearning so powerful that they'd blindly pursue it rather than do the "reasonable" (or "moral") thing.

Yes, even a Zen teacher can lose his balance, let emotions run to excess, get trapped in greed anger or ignorance, get flooded by panic. A Zen teacher can sometimes fall off the addiction wagon, get taken over by pettiness or resentments, get trapped in all kinds of harmful behaviors. Great Point! Yes, it has happened to many teachers, maybe most teachers at some point. They are people, and people can lose their balance.


Maybe Trungpa was the smartest of all because he embraced the madness

Very --BAD-- point. To the extent that Brad's book implies that being depressed/lustful/angry/scared/resentful/etc etc. is the (1) point of Buddhism (2) the hoped for positive outcome of Buddhist practice or even (3) the expected outcome of Buddhist practice for most folks, he's full of crap. It is not for most folks I know who are doing the the Zen thing right! Brad was not.

Sorry, Steph, most Buddhist teachers I know are neither like Brad describes in the book, nor should they be or want to be (he likes to imply that all the Zen folks who lead a life of kindness, gentleness and balance are "frauds"). Most Zen teachers I know (the good ones) feel love, sadness, happiness, all the range of wonderful human emotions ... but they understand balance, and they don't try to sell people (as this book does) on the philosophy that letting the harmful emotions run away with us is either a positive or necessary thing! (This book is a low rent version of Ted Haggard's 'cover you ass' campaign ... except Brad's 'bads' are neither half as 'bad' nor half as interesting as Ted's).

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/19/ted-haggard-hbo-documenta_n_152305.html

But the worst thing about this book, Stef, is that people will think the point of Buddhism is that it is OKAY to be depressed, fearful, angry, jealous, whatever as the point of Zazen. They will find it to be confirmation of all the stuff that Buddhism is not. They will try ignore the fact that Buddhist practice done right can free us from (not depression, fear, anger, etc.) but being PRISONERS trapped by those things, who cannot escape from that. You try to do that here:

I have become convinced over the course of my relatively young life as a practicing Buddhist that most of what gets presented as "Buddhist teaching" is an idealistic dream, a collective fantasy constructed around the hope that we can leave behind the kind of "blues songs" ("I got fired, my wife left me, and my dog died...")

You are so wrong, Steff, but you want to hear that you are not ... and a book like this feeds into that as much as two alcoholics in a bar who keep ordering rounds feed their own addiction.

Buddhists get fired, lose our wifes, and our dogs die ... but because of our Buddhist Practice, we see through those events EVEN as we go through them. Thus, they lose much of their power over us. It is not that Buddhists "don't sing the blues" ... it is that we learn to SEE THROUGH the blues even as we are tasting the bitter side of life.

That is no where evidenced in this book.

And even though Brad gets on his high horse about not drinking ("I only tasted the punch, and I did not swallow"), marital affairs, drug use ... folks with habits like that will misread that book to say that Zen Practice offers no help there either, and perhaps ENCOURAGES such behaviors.

Brad is full of crap. The fact is that the book highlights how, during the period described, he fell off the wagon, was not (and maybe is not) doing Zazen right. (How do I dare say that he is not "doing Zazen right"? Well, if he were doing Zazen right, he would not be the confused, tossed around and off balance character as he describes himself in the book despite the divorces, deaths, and all the rest)

Okay, this is getting complex, so let me summarize it this way, so all the folks here can understand:

(1) Buddhist teachers are human, and all humans have asshole in them (GOOD POINT)!

(2) Sometimes Buddhist teachers lose balance (all of them), and the asshole takes over (TRUE! GOOD POINT!)

(3) We always have some asshole in us, you me and everybody else (TRUE! GREAT TO ADMIT THIS!)

(4) It is okay to be an asshole, and to act in assholey ways (No, BAD point)

(5) Zen Practice necessarily leads to everyone being, or staying, or living as assholes doing asshole things. (Very, very BAD point).

Let me make it even simpler for some folks who still might not see this (heck 20% of the American population still supports George Bush, so you need to take time with some folks):

It is like a bicycle rider who can't keep balance on his bike, panics, loses control, runs into the bushes and falls off the bike. It is not that such a person has discovered the "secret" of bike riding. It is that such a person is a BAD BIKE RIDER!

Our Zen practice is about riding with grace no matter what bumps and turns the road throws at us. No matter what logs or potholes there are in the road, we go forth.

Sure, sometimes even the best bike rider will go tumbling off his seat. We should honor that fact, and when you fall ... fall.

But beware any "bike master" who tries to sell the public that riding his bike like an ass, and running into ditch after ditch, is expert riding!

The bottom line is that Brad was (and maybe is) unable to control his Zazen. Doesn't matter what high falutin' pseudo-Buddhist Wisdom double talk he tries to wrap it in.

Gassho, Jundo

Buddhist geek said...

Jundo, I agree with you on most points.

I think the confusing thing is that I have been practicing zen and self enquiry for only about 1 and a half years and I feel like a much calmer person. When anger comes, Im aware of it and it kind of blows itself out.

Now, I used to be a angry person, but things have changed.
I do feel lust (which is good), but I can be aware of that too and when it is not required, it blows itself out.

How is it that someone who has practiced zazen for 25 years not be able to recognise the awareness?

But we can't really judge. Everyone has different rates of progress. I see Brads book as a kind of artpiece. Not to be replaced with real buddhism, but a sacred piece of dirt nonetheless.

jundo cohen said...
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jundo cohen said...

Buddhist Geek, you've got it.

Stick with the path that feels like it is healthful and balanced in your life.

Brad's tale is closer to that of the old, burned out athlete who, at age 40, let himself get fat and out of shape and is just bitchin about the world on a barstool.

The lesson there is in what --not-- to do in Zen training.

Gassho, Jundo

Mike H said...

Jundo:

"It is like a bicycle rider who can't keep balance on his bike, panics, loses control, runs into the bushes and falls off the bike. It is not that such a person has discovered the "secret" of bike riding. It is that such a person is a BAD BIKE RIDER!

You often come accross as quite idealistic.

I've ridden bikes for almost all my life. Sometimes; especially in winter you hit a patch of ice or mud and you hit the deck. Hell, I once hit the deck at walking speed - I turned only to find I was on black ice.

You seem to believe that there is some perfect Zen practice that is possible so that life always turns out peachy.

[I haven't read the book, mine's still on a boat]

Maybe sometimes life will exceed what you've trained for. Can you accept that?

I've heard you plenty of times say some things are "impossible" rather than "too difficult for me at this time".

My own life is hardly 100% peachy at this point in time but I would be moronic to say "if only my Zen was perfect".

Maybe the best that we can do is not sometimes good enough for the life we have. Maybe if you had lived Brad's last few years you wouldn't have stumbled. Maybe if you'd lived my last few years you'd have aced it. I've no idea.

Maybe some things should be talked about that haven't been in the past and maybe this book in the form it is will help with that conversation.

So much harm seems to have been done to people by the myth of the perfect Zen Master. Maybe a little counter-balance wouldn't hurt. Maybe a few "I didn't do so well" books being out there will help.

jundo cohen said...
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jundo cohen said...

I've ridden bikes for almost all my life. Sometimes; especially in winter you hit a patch of ice or mud and you hit the deck. Hell, I once hit the deck at walking speed - I turned only to find I was on black ice.

You seem to believe that there is some perfect Zen practice that is possible so that life always turns out peachy.


I think you are ABSOLUTELY CORRECT! Believe me, nobody is preaching 'perfection' here, or even that we don't all act like asses and have really bad periods sometimes. I do. Please do not misunderstand my point. Even the best bike rider, Lance Armstrong, falls off his bike sometimes, has a bad day, month or even whole season. He might crash into to bushes from time to time.

My point is mainly that a guy who does that day after day after day, does not maintain his bike by oiling the chain and inflating the tires ... and then tries to sell his constant spills and tumbles and losses as "masterful bike riding", even a 'virtue' ...

No, anyone can be an asshole from time to time ... lots. Selling it as Brad does in the closing chapter as "I vow to remain an asshole for life" ... That is just being an asshole.

Gassho, Jundo

Andrew said...

buddhist geek

well looking at some of your replies to me the phrase "passive aggression" comes to mind

you have swapped one space of anger for another and are still stuck in intellectual non function

if the brain is being toasted on biofilm toxins from a skew digestion and the comcomitant thyroid and other issues then you will not escape the behavior problems

youn look to be the generation that got the 1980 to 1990 dpt vaccine which really messed brains and immune systems

the vaccine was changed about 1990 because the issue were so pronounced even the medical system noticed

Justin said...
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Justin said...
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Anonymous said...

Does anyone know of any jobs in NYC?

Justin said...
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Justin said...

Hi Jundo,

Thanks for a thoughtful write-up. I've only read an excerpt myself.

Buddhism is about how we live life - with as much awareness, compassion and skill as we can. Wearing unskillfully lived life as if it was a virtue is definitely bad Buddhism.

Critiquing the myth of the zen master is a valuable thing to do. However, becoming a zen master and acting like a jerk (however openly and unapologetically), doesn't achieve that. There is a much more relevant critique by Stuart Lachs called 'The Zen Master in America: Dressing the Donkey with Bells and Scarves'
http://mandala.hr/samsara/Stuart_Lachs.The_Zen_Master_in_America.pdf.

Having said that, he has helped make Zen seem appealing to many thousands of people who otherwise would not have touched it - including me. And for that I am very grateful.

I'm glad that Brad is writing the books he is and I'm grateful for the voices that challenge him.

Mike H said...

Jundo:

You raise some valid points.

"..That is just being an asshole."

Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't (again, not read it). Maybe being a true asshole is something we all need to do at least once- so that we are no longer afraid of it.

Even so, Brad's put this stuff out there and has allowed everyone to discuss it.

Now people can make up their own minds about whether brad is worth listening to. The pointless catchphrase echoing in my mind is "No students, no problem".

Maybe brad is going through his rebellious phase after Gudo pushed him in a certain direction.

Let's wait and see. Maybe come back in 5 years and Book #4 and see what's changed!

gniz said...

It's interesting that both Brad and Jundo are trying to protect real Buddhism, in completely and totally different ways. They are like two sides of the same coin. Maybe you two even need each other, much the same way that Nadal needs Federer.

It's a really interesting rivalry to be sure.

I liked the book a lot. Did it make me feel like sitting Zazen would help me lead a more balanced life? Absolutely not. I didn't see a lot of balance in there. If you took out the references to him being a Zen teacher, nothing in his behavior differentiated him from any other middle aged person going through a rough patch.

It was still a very, very interesting read. In some ways, I believe what Brad did by writing this book may have been to cover his own ass, as Jundo says. If you dont want to be outed, just out yourself first and say that you have no regrets.

I guess I would hope that a solid spiritual practice would allow me to be more open, so that I wouldnt get to the point where I had no idea my wife was having affairs and she would have no idea i was having affairs and we basically stopped even speaking to one another.

One of the benefits I feel like i got from my own little practice was the ability to open up a bit more and actually have those tough conversations with people in my life.

Anyway, the book Brad wrote raises real doubts about the value of practice in a vacuum, where you go virtually unchallenged about your own growth and dedication. I believe that no matter who we are, if we stop questioning ourselves and stop taking criticism from others seriously, we become lost in our own fantasy worlds.

That's quite honestly the lesson i took home from the book and its a really important lesson. Sadly, even though Brad talks of being just a regular guy, he doesnt seem to hold himself to the standard of a regular guy, and seems insulated by his zen practice.

I still love the book. It is a great read and I dont think people need to be protected from its message. People find messages based on their own lives and discoveries and there's no need to save us from anything.

Anonymous said...

"Even so, Brad's put this stuff out there and has allowed everyone to discuss it. "

This is what I admire about Brad and what I do not admire about some other zen teachers.

Brad is not a cop. He is not a censor. He is not an asshole.

Justin said...

"Even so, Brad's put this stuff out there and has allowed everyone to discuss it"

"This is what I admire about Brad and what I do not admire about some other zen teachers. "

I think the private lives of most zen teachers is probably pretty dull - due to their stability and lack of controvesial indiscretions. No one would buy it.

Justin said...

Some people are quite private (as is their right - they're there to teach zen after all). But most zen teachers in my experience are pretty frank and don't mind illustrating their talks with stories about their own difficulties.

Ed Brown at SFZC does this really well. I really like his podcasts.

Zen Trixter said...

Again with the name-calling. I simply do not get it. Just reinforces to me that mankind's greatest problem is that it simply has nothing better to do with its time. Which is--of course--odd, sad and wrong.

Eh. Whatever. Just got my copy of ZWIKDIC. Will begin critical analysis later today...

Anonymous said...

Zen Trixter:

Not everyone has discovered Twitter...

andro said...

"I believe what Brad did by writing this book may have been to cover his own ass, as Jundo says."

Is it really necessary for Brad to be writing books as damage control? I don't think he's all that famous or infamous yet. That seems a little far-fetched.

ratboy said...

"People want Zen to be an "anything goes" type of philosophy. Sometimes people mistake the Zen insistence that wherever you are and whatever you are right now is Reality itself for the idea that anything goes. But anything does not go. Buddhism is about discovering the things that "go," that really work and make our lives and the lives of others better and happier, and the things that do not "go," that make ourselves and others miserable. The fact that Zen Buddhism doesn't have any set lists of hard-and-fast rules which are supposed to work anywhere at anytime for anyone at all does not mean that everything is OK. Right and wrong still exist."-----Brad Warner

Back when Brad saw zen as a 'what works for you' teaching. Sense of right and wrong too. Ch ch changes.

Anonymous said...

I get this feeling sometimes that there are agendas at work here beyond disapproval.

Craine said...

Does anyone remember when Brad said that he was psychic and actually predicted 911?

I actually have that article on my old computer.

Fugley Dildap said...

Hey Jundo,

Obviously, you have a real problem with Brad. What is obvious to me is that you eat monkey balls. That being said, I'm sure you really do believe everything you said. To the "unenlightened", it seems to be petty crap, with what seems to be to be a "seriously flawed" interpretation of his book.

And I do not really believe you eat monkey balls. I just felt like saying that. Tee hee!!

Anonymous said...

I get this feeling sometimes that there are agendas at work here beyond disapproval. See above.

Justin said...
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Al Coleman said...

Hey Brad,

I just read Lux Interior died.

Al

Moon Face Buddha said...

Thich Nhat Hahn wrote a book called 'Living Buddha, Living Christ' back in 1996 (or maybe earlier). You might want to check it out before reinventing the wheel Brad :)

Knucklehead said...

I vow, if I should ever progress beyond daily sitting and make it to a retreat, not to pull a Bucko. If I really gotta run, I'll tell someone first. But I hope I don't run.

I laughed at Brad's encounter with the cat. Must've been a Siamese.

Thank you, Brad.

Tony Danzag said...

al coleman eats monkey balls
the cramps eat monkey balls

Ernst said...

I sometimes wonder if it isn't that Jundo would have prefered that Nishijima had named him his successor as leader of Dogen Sangha...

Anonymous said...

Ernst:

A lot is already in the public domain on this blog and elsewhere. Jundo went apeshit when Brad was appointed. Wanted a consortium and when that wasn't granted split off on his own.

Jundo seems to lay into brad from time to time.

Nishijima's heirs don't always seem very good at getting on with other people.

Anonymous said...

The book's great but temporarily overshadowed by the death of Lux Interior. Liked your obituary of Patrick Mcgoohan. Any chance of one on the Cramps' lead singer?

Kamaljit said...

Jundo actually cares about the moral direction of buddhism which is why he is taking a stand. People who think he has a hidden agenda have little idea about the man.

Rich said...

"The bottom line is that Brad was (and maybe is) unable to control his Zazen. Doesn't matter what high falutin' pseudo-Buddhist Wisdom double talk he tries to wrap it in."

Jundo, I was just starting to like you but you need to put down all your opinions and find your true job. Your need to express your opinions about Brad in Brad's blog reveals too much about you as a teacher - like what is your motivation. Also, I agree that much of Nishijimas latest translation is incomprehensible but there were a few nuggets of clarity and the guy is 90 so give him a break. Just being alive at 90 is quite the accomplishment. And finally, Brad to me is a blog/book character that I reflect off to see myself and in that sense your comments are interesting as another character in this blog.

Stephanie said...

Jundo: first, if you insist on calling me "Steph," there's no f's in my name ;)

Seems to me you've misunderstood the points Brad was trying to make in his book and the points I was trying to make in my review/response.

I never, ever saw in the book Brad encouraging anyone to seek out the experiences he was having in 2007. Just as I was not suggesting that everyone become depressed in my attempts to explore what I was going through on Treeleaf. The simple point is that with our lives, and our karma, we can choose to work with what arises or to fight it. Sometimes your wife leaves you, and you get lonely and seek intimacy somewhere. Sometimes you get depressed. What I got from the book was that Brad used these experiences to deepen his practice and his commitment to Buddhism and to truth, just as I used my depression to deepen my courage, compassion, and understanding. To me, that is the wonderful message of this book, for everyone who doesn't find themselves in the state(s) you uphold as ideal: that you don't have to wait to attain that state to start working with what you've got in front of you.

It's notable to me that you're so invested in imposing your viewpoint that you would insist on wagging your finger at me in a forum in which you are not the teacher, after asking me to leave your own forum. My interpretation is that, like many Buddhists, you are blind to the way you use Buddhism to maintain a pathological orientation to reality--in your case, the need to control, to order everything in a particular sort of way. You strike me as someone who actively fights against and tries to suppress a lot of what really goes on inside of you. I don't.

As it has finally begun to lift, I've come to understand the nature of my depression. It was something I needed to go through, a natural expression of a mind impacted by loss and disillusionment. Because of my willingness to engage with my emotions, I've learned things about myself that would have forever impeded my practice had I not learned them. Sometimes the "Buddhism" we practice and uphold is a way of reinforcing a distorted way of engaging with the world. In my case, while I was practicing "correctly" in many ways, I was also using Buddhist practice and teaching to circumvent or replace other emotional needs. I am grateful for the painful process of realizing my errors and acquainting myself with some of my earliest and most poignant psychological wounds, else my practice would have never moved beyond a certain plateau.

I think you might do well to study Chogyam Trungpa's example--not because he was a perfect Buddhist or perfect human being, but because his life and approach is the perfect antidote to your fundamental block, your anxiety and anger at what you cannot control, what is messy and weird and chaotic. Else you may spend the rest of your life practicing your disease, and passing it onto others whom you teach.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Damn Gummo, you've made a bigger ass of yourself than Brad ever coulda done.

Maybe it's these acts of passive aggression that kept you from being Nishijima's heir.

Time for serious zazen, Gummo.

Fugley Dildap said...

Clarification:

Now, I may just be starting on my journey with practicing zazen, and I may not be all "enlightened" (whatever that means) like Jundo, but his remarks set off several alarm bells in my head. They are...

1)His criticisms of his teacher. It smells like politics to me. I would never think of publicly trashing a human being I professed to respect.

2)His words feel like the buddhist version of fundamentalist Christianity and Political Correctness, both of which (I believe) are wrong and both of which (I believe) hurt people.

But perhaps I just do not understand what he's trying to say. Perhaps I am wrong. I'm not stating this as fact, but this is what it feels like to me.

Shepherd Dionys said...
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Shepherd Dionys said...

Stephanie @ 2:39pm..

Bravo. You caught out Jundo.

You'll do well in your social work.

kudra said...

square head:

your comment to gummo was harsh and unnecessary.

it was simply low order snipping.

he appears to make a valuable contribution to this blog.

was your comment meant to demonstrate the limits of your intelligence.

do you consider yourself a buddhist.

christ almighty.

kudra said...

if you wouldn't say it to someone's face if you were standing in a crowd then think twice about blogging it. (manners101)

Andrew said...

kudra

if you wouldn't say it to someone's face if you were standing in a crowd then blog it.

(getting results 101)

Anonymous said...

Steph is an angry

Jinzang said...

I don't feel the need to speculate over whether Brad is a good Zen teacher any more than I feel the need to speculate over whether he is a good lover. In both cases I'll leave that to those who know him best. If Brad has said something you disagree with, quote it and say why you feel he is wrong. I've done that plenty of times and I hope my comments haven't descended into the petty and personal. If Brad just pisses you off, well maybe you should look at yourself to find out why.

The sniping needs to end. And that goes for sniping at Jundo too.

kudra said...

I'm not your mama. but sometimes watching y'all reminds me of my child when she was young repeatedly run into the glass door until she figured out what the problem was. one of these days you'll figure out that the only thing standing between you and gettin laid is your good manners. frankly, it's painful watching you.

Jinzang said...

In my case, while I was practicing "correctly" in many ways, I was also using Buddhist practice and teaching to circumvent or replace other emotional needs. I am grateful for the painful process of realizing my errors and acquainting myself with some of my earliest and most poignant psychological wounds, else my practice would have never moved beyond a certain plateau.

This is an important point and I applaud Stephanie for making it. It's easy to twist our practice so it fits our neurotic patterns and not so easy to use our practice to expose them.

Jinzang said...

People will think the point of Buddhism is that it is OKAY to be depressed, fearful, angry, jealous, whatever as the point of zazen.

If you practice seriously, you're going to go through some harrowing times. Certainly that's not the point of zazen, but I believe it's an unavoidable feature. It's wrong to imply that in meditation you go from an up to an upper up, to an uppity utmost up.

Anonymous said...

Jundo,

thank you. Great comments. I just read Brad's book. Thanks for speaking what many of us were thinking I'm sure.

Sorry to hear about Nishijima Sensei. Keep looking out for him.

Dawn C.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Dearest Kudra,

First off, I love it that you referred to Gummo as "Gummo". And second, you said:
"one of these days you'll figure out that the only thing standing between you and gettin laid is your good manners."

Soooo, does that mean I need bad manners to get laid?

And ya'll are right, enough of the sniping. I'm sorry if I hurt anyone's feelings. But, I think Gummo needs to preach to his own choir on his blog. Or Mike Cross' blog.

p.s. One new realization, Tibetan buddhism attracts a lot over-intellectualizing, or it sure seems that way by some of the comments here. Never read my copy of "Book of the Dead". It's collecting dust between my annotated guide of Grateful Dead lyrics and a biography on the Carter Family I never finished. Seriously.

Mysterion said...

kudra sed...
"hey.... wasn't Jesus a take on zen??

Not on Zen per se, the Jesus myth is a retelling of some Buddhist Scriptures (or pirated copies) that found their way into the Levant through Bactria vis a vis Seleukos II in the wake of Ashoka.

As I previously stated, the widow's mite is a Buddhist coin with the wheel of dharma on one side and the anchor of Seleukos II on the other side.

EXAMPLE 1
EXAMPLE 2
EXAMPLE 3

Mysterion said...

QUOTED IN WHOLE:

However, Dr Lindtner never said that the New Testament was an imitation of Theravâda Buddhism, the older, intellectual Buddhism, which indeed stresses the correct understanding of the content of the doctrine as a necessary condition of individual salvation. Says Dr Lindtner: "The New Testament is propaganda written, not for the old, but for the new Buddhism, also known as Mahâyâna, the new and populistic vessel. The New Testament is a popular Mahâyâna that primarily addressed itself to the Jews."
source

jamal said...

Kudra, Phil go off sometimes but he is funny! that counts for something..

Jinz you said, "If Brad just pisses you off, well maybe you should look at yourself to find out why." or something like that.

Well that sounds like it means something.. I will think about it. But Maybe Brad and Jundo just pisses us off cause they are dumb motherfuckers. It is like the penis principle. They are teachers cause they are too dumb to be students.

Andrew said...

this board

http://tinyurl.com/6c9l2d

Ecclesiastes 1:9-14 NIV) What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. {10} Is there anything of which one can say, "Look! This is something new"? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time. {11} There is no remembrance of men of old, and even those who are yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow. {12} I, the Teacher, was king over Israel in Jerusalem. {13} I devoted myself to study and to explore by wisdom all that is done under heaven. What a heavy burden God has laid on men! {14} I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind.

Anonymous said...

As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. - Proverbs 23:7

Anonymous said...

a fat dog shits - chucky thomas

Kamaljit said...

Order! Order!
No need for namecalling here peoples.

Too much time is being wasted here, me thinks. Life is too short and precious to be spent on silly, trivial discussions.

Death may come round the corner and you will regret that it has come so early.

SO ask yourself; what am I really really really living for?

Is it for petty distractions, or for truth and love?

- my last post here, evar!

andrew said...

6 Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:

7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

8 The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

9 Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words.

George W. Bush said...

10 Call not they brother names, for he shall hit you in the nads

jundo cohen said...
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jundo cohen said...
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jundo cohen said...
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Anonymous said...

"There's a lot of talk about Iraq on our TV screens, and there should be, because we're trying to figure out how best to make the world a peaceful place. There's an old saying in Tennessee -- I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee -- that says, fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again." - W

jundo cohen said...

Again with the name-calling. I simply do not get it.

I apologize to those who have not read Brad's book, and wondered why I was referring to him using the pejorative "asshole". That sure is not nice to do. However, I was referencing the closing chapter of the book entitled "Chapter 35 In Which I Vow To Be An Asshole Forever", and making fun of that.

In case others wonder why I am posting here, it is because I am mentioned throughout the book. I have no particular hard feelings, Brad's entitled to remember things as he wishes and its mostly right (and, in fact,I love it!), but I am inspired by the same need that BW expresses in his own words on page 206, namely, "I'm gonna say what needs saying". (Apart from the paycheck), I actually think that Brad is gonna regret writing this book a few years down the road. It probably felt right at the time he wrote it, but I bet ya that won't always be the case.

My comments are fair and honest assessments, and best said. They are not ad hominem attacks, the refuge of those who can't speak to the merits.

Gassho, Jundo

mountaintop_clam said...

"My comments are fair and honest assessments, and best said. They are not ad hominem attacks, the refuge of those who can't speak to the merits."

Thanks for your comments, jundo. I appreciate your teachings on Treeleaf as well. I'm glad you see the bankruptcy of ad hominem attacks.

Flor de Nopal Sangha said...

"In case others wonder why I am posting here, it is because I am mentioned throughout the book. I have no particular hard feelings, Brad's entitled to remember things as he wishes and its mostly right (and, in fact,I love it!),"

Shoot! Now I gotta buy the book in order to get all this metatexting going on. ;)

Mike H said...

Jundo:

My comments are fair and honest assessments, and best said

That's what you may believe. It does not mean that everyone will concur.

The thing that puzzles everyone including me is why you feel it is YOU who must say these things and why you feel the need to say it here rather than to Brad.

Are people so dumb that they need you to ride in and rescue them from what you feel is poor Zen?

gniz said...

Jundo, I gotta say man, I read some of the posts you made about Stephanie back on treeleaf months ago when she was having a tough time.

The way you handled that and the way you took apart her post on this blog recently, I find to be just the worst kind of teaching.

The way you behave reminds me of that good ol' phrase, "with friends like you, who needs enemies...."

Aaron

Anonymous said...

"My comments are fair and honest assessments, and best said. They are not ad hominem attacks, the refuge of those who can't speak to the merits."

Jundo, Just because you think your comments are honest and fair doesn't make it so. If you do not believe that you are influenced in part by anger, jealousy and fear, then you truly do not know yourself very well.

"Brad's tale is closer to that of the old, burned out athlete who, at age 40, let himself get fat and out of shape and is just bitchin about the world on a barstool."

This little analogy does not sound as much like Brad as it does yourself. Brad does not drink while you admit to killing a bottle a night, and it is starting to tell, my portly friend.

Justin said...

Jundo, I gotta say man, I read some of the posts you made about Stephanie back on treeleaf months ago when she was having a tough time.

The way you handled that and the way you took apart her post on this blog recently, I find to be just the worst kind of teaching.


It seems harsh, but it can't be easy knowing how best to help someone with bi-polar (who as far as I can tell was taking no steps to help herself). Sometimes you have to make tough decisions. It's easy to sit on the sidelines and criticise. But I feel that Jundo's actions were motivated by compassion.

Justin said...

Of course Jundo is human and not invulnerable to bias and emotion, but he seems to have made some valid points.

Suggestion: if you guys find yourselves unable to come up with counter-arguments to Jundo, you could always try undermining his character

gniz said...

Hey Justin,

Was it compassionate the way Jundo came on Brads blog to talk smack and then also used the excuse to critique one of Stephanie's posts that had nothing to do with him? Did it seem to you like she appreciated it? Maybe you thought he was being a great guy, maybe things would change if you were on the receiving end of one of Jundo's "helpful" lessons.

Aaron

jundo cohen said...

This little analogy does not sound as much like Brad as it does yourself. Brad does not drink while you admit to killing a bottle a night, and it is starting to tell, my portly friend.

If I finish a glass of wine with dinner, I call it a wild night. Haven't finished a bottle of anything since college. Thanks for the thought though! :-)

Gassho, Jundo

kudra said...

on my return through customs at the airport i got detained. seems they found the copy of brad's book i had in my suitcase. i need a good attorney, gummo?

NellaLou said...

Everyone seems really keen to write each other and themselves off with trite little labels. Asshole, drunk, bi-polar etc. Do you all work for advertising companies or what?

jundo cohen said...

on my return through customs at the airport i got detained. seems they found the copy of brad's book i had in my suitcase. i need a good attorney, gummo?

That's Rev. Gummo Esq. to you! ;-)

Kudra, fall on their mercy.

As to the other matter, it is a private issue. I will just say that, when you are responsible for a Sangha, and folks come to you with certain issues, you request a check-up ... no different from asking fat, middle aged guys (like me!) to get a health check if you manage a swimming club. I am glad everyone seems to be doing better.

And, yes, about the bar stool ... I got caught up in my words in the heat of the moment. Not the best image. I apologize for that. I hope it does not obscure the main points of what I was trying to say.

Be nice to each other, folks. You can still speak strongly, honestly, and call someone down when you fell like it ... but keep to the issues.

Anyway, 2am here in Japan. Good night.

Gassho, Jundo

gniz said...

Jundo said: As to the other matter, it is a private issue. I will just say that, when you are responsible for a Sangha, and folks come to you with certain issues, you request a check-up "

This is a distortion of the situation a number of counts. Firstly, you not only told her to get a check-up (which is reasonable but i think should have been done in private, not on the treeleaf forum), you also said she needed to start taking meds. You probably didnt mean it exactly that way, but you stated it as if it was an ultimatum which i think is pretty crappy. You also were continuously condescending in my opinion.

The person in question doesnt seem to feel that helped by what you did by the way.

The fact that you then came on this forum and directly responded to one of her posts in such a negative and critical manner makes me think you're kind of a crappy teacher.

Aaron

Anonymous said...

Jundo, I distinctly remember you saying in one of your videos that you almost always have a bottle of wine in the evening. And to not do so would be an extreme and even harmful practice. Did I quote you wrong?

Ah, Here is the quote..

"... some folks are recovering from hangovers, is a good time to introduce this Precept. For purposes of disclosure, I drink a glass or two of red wine (or Japanese Sake) almost every day with dinner. I believe that very moderate drinking is healthful and harmless. "

Ah sorry, It was only a glass or two.. or three maybe?

gniz said...

"Be nice to each other, folks. You can still speak strongly, honestly, and call someone down when you fell like it "

You mean in that passive aggressive "i hate you and am insulting you but pretending i have your best interests at heart" way that you do it Jundo?

kudra said...

hey....jundo is correct. doesn't appear to me that he is showing any signs of liver failure to yet. i like jundo...and brad as well. i wouldn't mind at all sitting down to tea (or wine) for good conversation with either of them. what i like about both men is that they really seem to know themselves (and each other for that matter) if this fact alone speaks of the power of zazen in your life then I'm all for it. in fact it was brad's book that got me back on the cushion......and gummo that is keeping me there.

Anonymous said...

well lamby,
that's one of me playing bass
that's one of me with your mama in the hot tub at Tasselslahara
that's me at a book signing (I'm the one signing the book)
here's one of me being silly--what you sayin' lamby?
'they're all of me being silly?'--well that's just toooo silly!!

that's me in the corner
that's me in the spot light
losing my religion

kudra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Kudra, I am not saying that Jundo is a drunk. He seems like a decent guy for a lawyer. But he does have selective memory. He infers things that are not necessarily true. He tries to mislead people.

He doesn't know Brad by the way. I'm not sure if they have even met.

Anonymous said...

Are people so dumb that they need you to ride in and rescue them from what you feel is poor Zen?

It seems this attitude is something Jundo and his arch-enemy Brado have in common. Zen as dogma. "Without rituals and ceremonies there is no zen." What a bunch of nonsense.

kudra said...
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kudra said...
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Anonymous said...

feels like the ever vigilant EYE from Mordor
Jundo's constant monitoring of this here blog.
his barely contained glee is almost palpable
as he proffers points to argue and defend
like the almost-as-smart-as-you brother whose cleverness shows up in deviousness,
he LOVES to trip you up
all 'cause he thinks Dad loves you best
shame
shame
shame
that you just can't help yourself, returning here again and again--posting and then removing--posting and then removing. Nishijima's marsupial heirs comment applies to you, too.
It would be very instructive for you to refrain from coming here to sniff out the blog. Bet you can't do it.
Just do one of your 'insta zen' moments of immediate zazen wherever you happen to be and sit with the nature of your nature as it arises.
It isn't YOUR job to call out Brad,
just like it's not MY job to call out you.
However, I do believe you do not serve yourself, your own sangha, the dharma or the promotion of harmony well by reading the stuff here let alone posting here.

I like to think of things this way: if I were on my deathbed, is this something I would want to be saying before I go?

Most of the time--that would be all of the time I use this litmus test--I find there is nothing I want to say, there is only the appreciation for the allness of all that there is.

kudra said...
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kudra said...
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kudra said...
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Anonymous said...

Kudra!
who are you talking to?
can't be Brad 1) he never reads the comments (or rarely skims them)--I'll bet Jundo reads them far more and far far far more frequently than anyone else here! 2)don't tell me! did Jundo kick you off his treehouse blog?

Anonymous said...

oh the games people play
now you see me
now you d'oh!

gniz said...

Kudra has now officially deleted all her (her?) posts because someone didnt like it...very, very, very odd....she was even having conversations with some invisible person right before she did it....one of the creepier zen cult moments i've personally witnessed

gniz said...

PS Apparently Kudra only deleted the last three or four posts, unless she's planning to go back and delete the rest later....hey, we've all been there...aside from the conversations with the invisible master that is

kudra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gniz said...

What on earth are you talking about?

kudra said...

i deleted them because they were nasty. but they needed to be said. i also said that i would. maybe if i ignore anon he/it/she will go away.

kudra said...

ginz, conversation in the shadow. it's over now. ciao

gniz said...

I dont understand why you are afraid or kowtowing to some anonymous poster...someone you think you know from the past? Anyway, its none of my business, it just seemed very odd....

Anonymous said...

t'is a shame that Gummo will now
never be able to hear
Bad Music for Bad People
performed live by Lux
whilst dancing next to kudra's
bouncing rack
(.)(.)

Anonymous said...

Jundo:

"I got caught up in my words in the heat of the moment."

That's a bush that you keep crashing into!!!

Anonymous said...

"I am not saying that Jundo is a drunk. He seems like a decent guy for a lawyer. But he does have selective memory. He infers things that are not necessarily true. He tries to mislead people."

Sorry Jundo, I wish I hadn't written that last sentence. Like you I got caught up in my words in my rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

I retract everything I have said...ever

I repent all the harm I have ever done anyone.

Peace

Anonymous said...

On second thought...

I meant every word of it.

War

Anonymous said...

Thelonious Monk detested the way Oscar Peterson played.

Anonymous said...

I sometimes wonder if it isn't that Jundo would have prefered that Nishijima had named him his successor as leader of Dogen Sangha...

Whatever you say about Jundo, and he can be a pain in the arse sometimes, he is sincere. I am a member of Dogen Sangha who does not want to get involved in this ruck. But I do want to set the historical record straight. I know Jundo, and while we disagree and many things, he deserves respect.


Thursday, October 18, 2007
Announcement regarding 'TREELEAF ZENDO'

Hello All,

Nishijima Roshi has given his permission to my posting the following announcement here. I thank Nishijima Roshi for this idea, and for his recognition of the Treeleaf as its own Lineage. I am hoping that you will join us in celebrating this new birth and potential.

If anyone has any question about this or any matter, please feel free to write me at any time via our online Zendo:

http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/

Gassho, Jundo Cohen

_______________________________



Hello,

At Nishijima Roshi’s suggestion (I had great resistance to the idea for many months, but I now believe that Roshi’s idea is wise), the “Treeleaf Zendo” through which I teach will be a separate Lineage deriving from Nishijima Roshi. Accordingly, we now withdraw and “go our own way” from Dogen Sangha/Dogen Sangha International, another branch of the tree of which Buddha and Master Dogen are the root, and Master Nishijima the core. All things are change, and this change will have no effect on my relationship with and love for my teacher, my position as the head of Treeleaf Zendo, or the nature of the “Dharma Transmission” bestowed upon me by Nishijima Roshi. I hope that Dogen Sangha International and Treeleaf Zendo will sail as two ships crossing the same vast ocean.

So that the reasons for this are not misunderstood, I would like to offer a brief explanation. I have discussed some of these issues before, but they are worth briefly repeating for the record, so that the situation is clear. They have nothing to do with my respect and love for Ven. Brad, who I think stands as a stimulating and positive presence within the many flavors of Zen Buddhism. I think he is, like many in Dogen Sangha, a superb teacher trying to find his own unique voice, a fine successor to Nishijima Roshi, and that he has potential to be a good President of Dogen Sangha International.

There is no need to repeat in detail my reasons, but my objections originated from concern for the organization itself. For a long time, I and others attempted to express these several concerns from within the organization. However, as the saying goes, “too many cooks spoil the broth”. Thus, Master Nishijima suggested that we could each go our own way and each “do our own thing”. It is a wise thought. It reflects the history of the countless branching lineages of Zen Buddhism over the centuries, the reason why the lineages keep perpetually branching!

As expressed in Brad’s fine letter of yesterday, some of us see Dogen Sangha International as an umbrella body uniting all the various teachers who are Dharma Heirs to Nishijima Roshi (and other students of Nishijima’s teachings) in many separate Sangha, in many countries, all of us upholding his teachings, and possessing love and respect for our teacher. However, some of us in the organization feel that, in the 21st century and after the countless cases of power, financial and other scandal within various Zen and other Buddhist Sangha around the world (please see the following) …

http://www.strippingthegurus.com/stgsamplechapters/zen.asp

… a de minimus degree of checks and balances, and input into decision making, is a fundamental necessity. The idea is now long vanished within almost all Sangha and Buddhist organizations in the West that no system of oversight is required. As a lawyer with quite a bit of experience with Buddhist and other organizations and the problems that can occur within them, I know that there is a middle ground between chaos and disconnection vs. a bureaucratic or rigid organization, and that a certain degree of regular communication and interchange among members should always be encouraged in such a body. To assert otherwise is short-sighted. Decisions should not be rendered on a whim, and especially not on a single person’s whim. Finally, in any Buddhist organization, there should be constant care and attention to the Precepts … they exist for a reason and are not a matter of “do as you feel” or that “the teacher is always right just because he/she is the teacher.” Although I will no long be in a position to say so, I believe that a lack of attention to the meaning of the Precepts within Dogen Sangha, and an over-emphasis on Zazen Practice alone, has been one major cause of various problems that have arisen in the past within the Sangha.

Zen Buddhism is now in a period of rapid change, keeping some traditions while modernizing others. In the views and experience of some members of Dogen Sangha, authoritarian or fuedal thinking on governance needs to be left to the 15th Century. I will not live under such an antiquated system, especially without any checks upon it and without much emphasis on the guidance of the Precepts. For some reason, Dogen Sangha is trying to stay feudal and traditional in its method of governance, but modern, hip, loose and liberal on the issue of standards and the Precepts. The choice should probably be the other way around. In any event, this is just a difference of vision between the new president of DSI and several of its members. While it would have been possible to patch it over, or ignore the issue through silence, the present solution is best.

So, some of us are sailing off under separate sails. Several ships on the same ocean.

Thank you, Roshi. You proposed a very wise plan. I hope to see you again when we are back to Japan, offer bows, and that you will sit again on my daily “Sit-a-Long with Jundo” Zazen netcast.

http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2007/08/sit-long-with-gudo-jundo-kashaya.html

Nishijima Roshi wrote me today to say that he will continue to fight for needed reforms in Buddhism as it currently exists in our world, and that "I will do my best until to my death".

I responded:

"I will do my best to help you in your work, as your loyal and loving student. That will never change."


Gassho, Jundo Cohen

posted by jundo cohen | 2:03 PM | 4 Questions & Answers
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Ven J.M.Cohen's proposal

Dear all members of Dogen Sangha International,

Recently I received the following proposal from Ven J.M.Cohen. But I think that the authority of Buddhist organization has been governed by traditional method since Gautama Buddha's generation, and so even in the age of 21st Century it is impossible for me to decide such a kind of traditional position relying upon members' voting. Therefore I am very sorry, but I can not agree with Ven J.M.Cohen's democratic meathod of selecting leader of Dogen Sangha International unfortunately. I think that this point is very important for maintenance of Buddhist tradition, and so I like to proclaim my own opinion rather formally. Thank you very much for your understanding.

Gudo Wafu Nishijima


Dear Roshi,

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow (Friday) at 1pm.

Roshi, I would like to make a formal motion and proposal for your approval regarding your recent announcement regarding Dogen Sangha International.

The title of the position that Brad will take will be changed from "Leader" to "Head Helper".

The reason is that, in a modern democratic organization, we are a union or federation of your Dharma Heirs, brothers and sisters, who must help each other. This is in keeping with the Precepts and the cooperative nature of a Sangha. It is not appropriate (and several members, including myself, do not wish to belong to) any organization that has a "Leader" after you. So, the title "Leader" is fitting, perhaps, to a feudal, Japanese organization, but is not appropriate to the modern, Western Sangha you wish to leave. The duties of the "Head Helper" would not be to "lead" the organization, but to work for out mutual cooperation and to be, not a leader or commander, but the first to offer aid to all others as a brother among brothers.

Furthermore, the "Head Helper" would commit to always act with the dignity of the Sangha, you and his brothers and sisters in mind in his or her conduct.

As a second motion, I would also propose that there be a term limit of 5 years on "Head Helper", at which time other members of the Sangha can be proposed to be "Head Helper" elected by majority vote.

Please consider these idea appropriate for modern democratic societies of the 21st century.

Please indicate your approval by changing your message on your Dogen Sangha blog accordingly.

Gassho, Jundo

posted by GUDO NISHIJIMA | 12:19 PM | 9 Questions & Answers

Anonymous said...

I am sorry for the double post

Stephanie said...

It's gettin' real juicy in here, ain't it?

I regret publicly using the term "bi-polar" to describe myself. Not because I don't think I have some tendencies that make it a relevant label to describe some of my behavior and experiences, but because I think as soon as you use psych terms like that, everyone starts looking at your situation solely through that lens. They start to see you as a label or a broken object that needs fixing, rather than seeing what you're going through as contextual. Perhaps if I hadn't trucked in all of that loaded terminology, Jundo might have responded to me differently.

Truth was, though, he got it wrong. Not only about the meds, but pretty much everything, at least about my particular situation. I brought my inner drama to Treeleaf because of the existential / spiritual aspect of what I was experiencing and because I (foolishly) felt safe discussing it there, that other people would understand. Some did. Actually maybe more did than didn't, but the ones who didn't were more vocal.

Anyway. As I've slowly moved out of my depression, it's become quite clear that it was a natural, and even healthy response to some pretty powerful losses--not in the sense that anyone died, but that a whole worldview and the hope around it died. I was past the point where I could latch onto yet another cosmic storyline to make myself feel better, so instead I fell into despair. Which I've slowly learned, thanks to some good friendship and guidance, is also just another story. But that's another story...

I don't regret going through what I went through. Quite the opposite--it was the only way for me to grow and mature both as a person and as a spiritual practitioner. My encounters with "the dark side" have helped me become stronger, braver, and more compassionate, and have also enhanced my sense of humor.

I don't think my life and karma are what everyone else's life and karma should be. I don't look down on people who don't have to wrestle with that darkness as lesser people (though I do find them less interesting, admittedly). That's one of the big things I've learned from living out my karma--no human being is less. We don't need to line everyone up, give them some happy pills, and put them in corsets for them to be acceptable human beings.

The thing that broken people need (not that any people are really "broken") is kindness, for someone to look at them and accept them exactly as they are right now. And the more difficulty one goes through in life, the more one can understand, accept, and embrace others in states of difficulty.

In the six realms, hell-Buddhas help hell-beings, because only hell-Buddhas are adapted to the flames. Again, as I've said before, the beauty of the Buddhist path for me is that it shows one how to take any situation and do something good with it, find liberation in it.

In this roundabout way, I've come back to finding a sense of meaning in a meaningless universe (in the sense the universe does not impart to us an intrinsic meaning): our ability to work with whatever mess we find ourselves in, to produce meaning by taking circumstances we did not choose or plan and doing something creative, beautiful, useful, or beneficial with them, means that no situation we're in exists in some cosmic vacuum that deprives us of what is essential. Chogyam Trungpa said that the "basic goodness" of existence is reflected in the fact that any situation we find ourselves in is a workable one. How wonderful! It's up to us.

Sisyphus is happy because he makes something of his relationship with his rock, makes it into an act of defiance rather than an act of torture or punishment. That's the Buddhist teaching, that it's not about the activity or circumstance, but rather the mind that meets it. And Mind can be invoked in any circumstance.

That, to me, was the point of Brad's book as well. You're free wherever you are, in whatever fucked up thing you're doing. You want to invite everyone into the maha-sangha, and if you want the junkies to come, the convicts, the prostitutes, the mad... you cannot say, "Only when your life looks like this, can you join the party." Else most of the beings in the cosmic picture will never join you. And if only the well-fed, well-medicated, happy, adjusted folks can attend, what sort of refuge is that?

You can make a Pure Land out of the nastiest gutter, if you make it a place where compassion and insight can arise. That's not saying you have to be in a gutter, or should be in one, or should aspire to be in one if you're not. But if you are in a gutter, make that nasty curb your Bodhi seat and practice there. And make it a slightly less ugly and despairing place for the person sitting next to you, because they realize that they can do something different with their situation as well. By simply being who and where you are and embracing it as something valuable, you "redeem" the lives of anyone else in the same place, and the whole world becomes a little bit better.

Anonymous said...

Well written Stephanie. Have you started thinking about your book yet? You should. It would be a blessing for all of us.

Anonymous said...

"When the going gets weird,
the weird turn pro."
--Hunter S. Thompson,
Bodhisattva of the Hell-Buddhas

Stephanie, your writing rocks!

Anonymous said...

Brad and Jundo,
butt-buddy butt-wipes.

Justin said...

You can make a Pure Land out of the nastiest gutter, if you make it a place where compassion and insight can arise.

Well said Stephanie

Mike H said...

Stephanie:

Your words sound a lot 'healthier' these days.

" But if you are in a gutter, make that nasty curb your Bodhi seat and practice there..."

Indeed, sometimes no matter how shitty it is that's what seems to be needed - until you get up and walk away when the time is ripe.

Some people only feel comfortable practicing with a 'perfect' life and that can be problematic for everyone who's life is not perfect.

The problem is expectatations about life rather than life itself.

Anonymous said...

Not that it matters, but many of us Treeleafers were sincerely worried that Stephanie might be suicidal. So, it is easy to pass judgment now on people who asked her to seek help with a psych and meds. We cared about her and wanted her to be well.

Anonymous said...

Notice how this discussion is becoming about Stephanie.

TheLoneRanger said...

Stephanie and Jundo,
Too many words.
Too much concepts.
Too much thinking.
Too much nice writing.
Too much finesse
Too much ideas
Too much B.S.

Pay ATTENTION!

Charlotte Joko Beck on awareness

There's an old Zen story: a student said to Master Ichu, "Please write for me something of great wisdom." Master Ichu picked up his brush and wrote one word: "Attention." The student said, "Is that all?" The master wrote, "Attention Attention."...

For "attention" we could substitute the word "awareness." Attention or awareness is the secret of life and the heart of practice....[E]very moment in life is absolute itself. That's all there is. There is nothing other than this present moment; there is no past, there is no future; there is nothing but this. So when we don't pay attention to every little this, we miss the whole thing. And the contents of this can be anything. This can be straightening our sitting mats, chopping an onion, visiting one we don't want to visit. It doesn't matter what the contents of the moment are; each moment is absolute. That's all there is, and all there ever will be. If we could totally pay attention, we would never be upset. If we're upset, it's axiomatic that we're not paying attention.If we miss not just one moment, but one moment after another, we're in trouble.

TheLoneRanger said...

I'm very sorry, I should of prefaced " May I respectfully remind you"

gniz said...

"If we could totally pay attention, we would never be upset. If we're upset, it's axiomatic that we're not paying attention."

I like a lot of Joko Beck's writing but disagree strongly with the way any Buddhists use stuff like what's written above to completey repress their own emotions and try to suppress the emotions others are displaying because it makes them uncomfortable.

"Oh, you're upset? Go sit. Sit and it will go away, you'll see through it. Oh you must not be paying enough attention, you're using your brain again!! Naughty naughty."

This buddhism and zen stuff can really be a sickness i think. Frozen people thinking they're the most compassionate folk in the world. The ability to really feel and open up and experience and even---god forbid--feel upset and all of it. That is the mark of a "spiritually" mature person. IMO.

TheloneRangersMistress said...

Gniz,
Who said ANYTHING about suppress.

" because it makes them uncomfortable." Projection? Ginz?

Shut up and pay attention

gniz said...

Sorry, people like you are exactly what I'm talking about. By talking about things like "projection" you try to subtly put the onus onto everyone else. Everyone's just projecting. They arent paying enough attention. Those are buddhist mindfucks that some people try and do because they'd rather not have to deal with painful realities and unpleasant emotions.

Telling people to shut up and sit and pay attention is not always the answer and for those who use it as a crutch, tends to be a way of escaping from the reality they claim to be embracing.

Just my 2 cents

gniz said...

Paying attention is great. Sitting down and shutting up can be great. But those who try to use them as formulas to make the hard things in life bearable are just creating more problems. Zen and meditation are not the answers, sorry, They are tools for someone who is heartily attempting to sort through life. If used correctly, along with other methods, they can help a person become more open, accepting, and more fully alive to what their life offers. Thats how i see it anyway.

For some people, sitting and paying attention are just methods of escape where they become more and more cold and frozen and afraid of actually engaging with life.

Buddhist geek said...

"This buddhism and zen stuff can really be a sickness i think."

The truth is not what you think.

PA said...

The truth is not what you think

The truth is not what you write about thinking.

theloneRangers said...

true now maybe not later. Not always so.

Anonymous said...

Get over yourself

Chicko Marx said...

a book like this feeds into that as much as two alcoholics in a bar who keep ordering rounds feed their own addiction.

Oh, brilliant Jundo!

That is what this whole "Bradworld" blog is! It is a group of nasty, cursing, jealous, or depressed people some of whom practice Zen looking for confirmation that Zen practice is about being nasty, cursing, jealous or depressed.

They are led my a "teacher" who is nasty, cursing, jealous and sometimes depressed, who now has written a nasty, cursing, jealous and sometimes depressed book. This all serves to further confirm the people here in their nasty, cursing, jealous and depressed ways.

They want to think that, if you are not nasty, cursing, jealous and/or depressed you are practicing a "facade", a fake or "emotionally dead" Buddhism. Brad's book confirm that for them. What a tragedy, and what a lie! This blog, and you book, just feed their habit.

I am a member of Dogen Sangha who has been angry at you about something else a long time ago. I will now write you privately to apologize.

Brilliant posting and review of Brad's book Jundo!

Anonymous said...

My view is really important

I am the reincarnation of Barak Obamaa and am anonymous because I'm 100 years early.

TheLoneRanger said...

The practice of zazen is like a thief who breaks into an empty house: There is nothing to steal, nowhere to hide, and no-one to escape from.

Mumon said...

What I find interesting in all of this is:

Mr. Warner does Godzilla Hardcore R&R Zen.

Mr. Cohen does Lawyer Zen.

I tend to do a bit of Engineering and Mathematical Zen.

Lots of conditioning.

Rex Exterior said...

If you do not sit with the determination to die, you will not be able to find the way of zazen. When you hold onto anything - even your own life - you will be just wasting your time.

kudra said...

stephanie,

i have a daughter thats about your age. you sound like a very insightful and intelligent young women. i enjoy your comments, keep writing:)

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