Sunday, March 22, 2009

PETALUMA and COMMUNAL PRACTICE

Those of you up in Marin County are ORDERED to come to my book signing this afternoon at Copperfield's Books 140 Kentucky St. in Petaluma at 1:30.

Those of you on the East Coast are ORDERED to attend my events in New York, New Jersey, Washington DC and (no sleep till) Brooklyn!! Info is linked over there to your left<<<< at the page called something like "Book Tour 2009" or whatever.

Speaking of which, I've been removing the dates I've already done as I do them and I have recently decided this is stupid. It makes the tour look less extensive. So I won't be doing that anymore. Anyone know how I can find an older version of the post and thereby reinstate the stuff I've already deleted? It's all deleted on the version on my hard drive. I could retype it, sure. But I'm lazy and busy.

Been thinking a lot about communal Zen practice. I should sit down and write a well reasoned essay on the subject. But I ain't got time. Human beings are social creatures and community is vital to our survival. We all want to be part of a community.

On the other hand, some folks, like me for example, are kind of anti-social types. That's probably the biggest difference between me and Noah Levine. He loves community and spends a lot of time, effort and energy building his Dharma Punx community and maintaining it.

I can't stand doing that shit myself. I'm not a party animal. I used to like the anonymous crowds in Tokyo a lot. But I'm not into the social stuff of building and maintaining community. Even though I know it's important.

How do people like us navigate community Zen practice? Frankly, I don't really know just yet. I do know I'd much rather be in someone else's community than try to start my own. Which is basically what I do when I'm on the road.

This is why I'll often recommend people to just deal with communities in their own area even when they kind of hate certain aspects of them. Obviously if it's a cult or something, don't stay. But if it just chafes at you a little, that isn't such a big problem.

That's about all I can say right now. Just a little interim note that I may try to build on later.

See you on the road!!

72 comments:

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
google cashe said...

All dates below are book signings with talks and are open to the public without prior registration unless otherwise noted.

Dharma Talks are open to anyone who wants to attend, but the setting is more formal than a book signing and zazen may be part of the event.

All information subject to change. If in doubt please contact the venue!

LOS ANGELES
•March 12, 2009 (Thurs) 7:30 pm - Bodhi Tree Bookstore 8585 Melrose Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90069 events@bodhitree.com

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
•March 18, 2009 ( Wed), 7 pm - Diesel Bookstore 5433 College Avenue Oakland, CA 94618 events@dieselbookstore.com
•March 19, 2009 (Thurs), 6-9 pm - Favors.Org - Event - Bay Area, CA (location TBD)
•March 20, 2009 (Fri), 6:30-9 pm - San Francisco Zen Center Dinner & Talk - 300 Page St. San Francisco, CA 94102
•March 21, 2009 (Sat), 4 pm - Green Apple Books 506 Clement St. at 6th Ave. San Francisco, CA 94118 kpr@greenapplebooks.com
•March 22, 2009 (Sun), 1:30 pm Copperfield's Books 140 Kentucky Street Petaluma, CA sdeignan@copperbook.com

NEW YORK CITY
•March 25, 2009 (Wed), 7-9 pm Interdependence Project 302 Bowery, (Buzzer #2) New York, NY 10012
•March 26, 2009 (Thurs), East/West Books 78 5th Avenue (at 14th St.) New York, NY 10011 bookpos@eastwestnyc.com

WEST LONG BRANCH, NEW JERSEY
•March 27, 2009 (Fri), 6pm Monmouth University 400 Cedar Avenue, West Long Branch, New Jersey 07764-1898

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
•March 28, 2009 (Sat), 11 am, Dharma Talk, Brooklyn Zen Center, 398 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215 TEL:(718)701-1083

WASHINGTON, DC
•March 29, 2009 (Sun), Half-day Seminar, 10am-Noon Traditional Chinese Culture Institute

NORTH CAROLINA
•April 1, 2009 (Wed), 7pm Malaprops Books, 58 Haywood St., Asheville, North Carolina 28801 info@malaprops.com
•April 2 - 5, 2009 (Thurs-Sun) 3 Day Zazen Retreat (registration required) Southern Dharma Retreat Center - 1661 West Road Hot Springs, Hot Springs, North Carolina 28743 (near Asheville) southerndharma@earthlink.com
•April 5, 2009 (Sun) 4 pm Asheville Zen Center in the chapel behind WNC Community Health Services. 10 & 14 Ridgelawn Road (near corner of Haywood Road in West Asheville)
•April 6, 2009 (Mon), 7 pm The Regulator Bookshop 720 Ninth Street, Durham, NC 27705 mail@regbook.com
•April 7, 2009 (Tues), 7:30 pm Dharma Talk Zen Center of Chapel Hill, 5322 North Carolina Highway 86 (2.5 miles north of I-40 Exit 266) Chapel Hill, NC 27514

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
• April 10 - 12, 2009 (Fri-Sun) 3 Day Zazen Retreat (registration required) Penuel Ridge Retreat Center, for more info write to info@nashvillezencenter.org
• April 13, 2009 (Mon) 7 pm, Davis-Kidd bookstore (address and other info on their website)

TEXAS
•April 17, 2009 (Fri), 6 pm Zazen, 7 pm Talk (come to both or either) Austin Zen Center 3014 Washington Sq., Austin, Texas 78705 info03@austinzencenter.org
•April 18, 2009 (Sat), 8:45am Zazen, 10am Talk, 11am Book Signing (come to all or any) San Antonio Zen Center, 1442 W Woodlawn Ave. San Antonio, TX 78201
•April 18, 2009 (Sat), 3 pm Book People 603 N. Lamar, Austin, Texas 78703
•April 19, 2009 (Sun), 8:20 am zazen, 9:20 am Dhrama Talk (both open to public, OK to attend just the talk) at Houston Zen Center 1605 Heights Blvd., Houston, TX 77008
•April 21, 2009 (Tues), 7:30 pm Legacy Books 7300 Dallas Parkway, Plano, Texas 75024

MONTREAL, QUEBEC
•April 27, 2009 (Mon) Dawson College, 3040 Rue Sherbrooke Est, Montréal, QC H1W, Canada
•April 28, 2009 (Tues) 7 pm, Casa Del Popolo 4873 St Laurent, Montréal, QC H2T 1R6, Canada

DETROIT, MICHIGAN
• May 2, 2009 (Sat) Still Point Zen Buddhist Abbey 4347 Trumbull Ave. (South of Warren Ave. on the corner of Canfield and Trumbull), Detroit, MI 48208

SASKATOON, SASKATCHEWAN
• May 8-11, 2009 3 Day Zazen Retreat (registration required) info coming soon

GREAT SKY SESSHIN
•August 6 - 15, 2009 - Great Sky Zen Sesshin (registration required), Hokyoji Zen Monastery, Eitzen, Minnesota kokyo-an@earthlink.net

FANKFURT, GERMANY
• Aug. 21-23, 2009 - 3 Day Zazen Retreat (registration required) in Frankfurt, Galgenstr. 18, 60437 Frankfurt-Bonames complete info at this webpage (click here).

FINLAND
•August 24, 2009 (Mon) 4 – 5:30 pm Zazen at Joogastudio Samadhi, Askaistentie 89, 20810 Turku, After zazen there will a talk and open discussion. Contact: Ari Vuokko studio@olen.to
•August 24, 2009 (Mon) 6:30 - 8:00 pm, public lecture at Turku Main Library's lecture hall (Studio) Linnankatu 2, 20100 Turku.
•August 25, 2009 (Tues) 6 - 8:00 pm Helsinki Zen Center, Kalevankatu 4, second floor, Helsinki, contact Sami Mänty-Aho helsinki@zazen.fi
•August 26, 2009 (Wed) 6:00 pm Public lecture at Balderin sali, Aleksanterinkatu 12, 00710 Helsinki
•August 28, 2009 (Fri) 5:00 PM – 6:30 pm Public lecture at Jyväskylä City Library's Minnasali , Vapaudenkatu 39-41, 40101 Jyväskylä
•August 28, 2009 (Fri) 7 pm Zazen in Jyväskylä (details coming soon)
•August 29, 2009 (Sat) Happening at Raasepori Town's Fiskars Village (details coming soon)

JAPAN
•September 19 - 22, 2009 (tentative) - Dogen Sangha Zen Retreat (registration required), Dogen Sangha, to be held at Tokei-in Temple, 1840 Hattori, Shizuoka, Japan gerhardwolfram@hotmail.com

FatMan said...

Brad sed:

"I'll often recommend people to just deal with communities in their own area..."

To wit I add: If not Zen (preferred), then Yoga meditation.

Buddhism (including Zen) is the child of the 'Hindu' (read Indian) culture of which Yoga is also born.

If all else fails, Jodo Shu might have a meditation class, and Jodo Shinshu perhaps less so...

Better look within a 50 mile radius for a Soto Community. Outside of 50 miles is too far to keep a routine running.

Anonymous said...

Zen practice isn't about joining a specific crowd* - Or maybe starting your own crowd*?

Good good.

*you know you're not anybody until you've joined in the fuckin' clique right?

Anonymous said...

see you at monmouth university on friday.

Anastasia said...

Hi, Brad---I sit alone, or with my husband. Traveling to sit with a community is a bit difficult for me right now, and as I have neuropathy, I'm concerned that my need to frequently shift positions would disturb others. I do miss sitting with you guys, though; that said, doin' it by myself isn't a bad gig...

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mtto said...

Hi Anastasia,

You should come when you feel like it. If your shifting positions bothers someone, fuck 'em. :)

-John

Matt A. said...

Dang, it's too bad your schedule on the East Coast is so tight, you need to get some Boston in there. Come to Boston!

Jakey Madball said...

I'm not a joiner (no, I don't mean a carpenter, though I'm not one of those either)& have yet to travel to a retreat just because..well, I don't really like people, sorry. I enjoy sitting by myself & it's not that I feel as though I wouldn't come away from the experience with something. I just don't want to be with a group of people who I'm supposed to have something in common with but with whom i may actually have more differences. I'm sure this says a lot about me but it's just me & I'd have to get past this before I can sit in a community. I could go on....but I won't bore you.

Jakey Madball said...

PS: Brad, any plans to come to the UK? I believe there's Dogen Sangha in Bristol?

Rich said...

"How do people like us navigate community Zen practice? Frankly, I don't really know just yet. I do know I'd much rather be in someone else's community than try to start my own."


Does Hill St qualify as a Zen community or are you thinking about a place where people live and also practice Zen? If you are in someone elses community you get to follow the rules, not make the rules. Is this about taking responsibility for a live community?

Really? said...

HI JOSHUA B!!!!

I'm writing to you here as you say on your profile that you follow Brad's blog.

I read your comment on Nishijima's blog re his alleged racial prejudice:

"Roshi,
Any one, who takes the time to pay attention to your words, be they written or spoken, would know that you are a person whom has nothing but love and compassion for all beings. People that would say these things about you, and from the safety of their homes, with out the courage of conviction to say it to you in person, are sad indeed.
Sincerely,
Joshua"

I assume that Gudo is referring to James Cohen's recent speculation that Gudo may be anti-semitic, having, he said, heard Gudo's opinions about the financial power and control exercised by wealthy jews. Such ideas have been common for a very long time. (I think the notion is flawed, but that's another argument).

I only want to make this point: I have never met Gudo. Neither, I believe, have you. We can only, as you do, infer what the man is like from his writing. But such inferences are highly unlikely to be accurate.
This is true for anyone, even zen masters.

I've no idea whether Gudo has such opinions or not. Neither do you. To assume that the man is a saint is silly. He may be, but to assume it from his writings is silly. There again, he may be a saint who believes that wealthy jews have too much power.

People, even wise, elderly, japanese zen masters have opinions. Some of them we may disagree with.

How can you possibly know that Gudo is "a person whom has nothing but love and compassion for all beings." You don't. And some who have known him, personally, for many years (not only J Cohen)would summarise his character in different terms, while still having great respect and gratitude for his teaching.

One important Buddhist teaching that Gudo emphasises is that our ideas of reality and reality itself are very different things.

Anonymous said...

Re: racism.
While I - like most of us here - don't know Gudo, Jundo nor Brad personally so I cannot really know or say what they feel or what kind of prejudices they have.

Be as it may, Gudo might well have some antisemitic tendencies, might as well not. And Jundo, feeling Jew, might well interpret some thing that has nothing to do with his ethnicity to be anti-jew. It has happened before elsewhere.

Especially some Israeli have a strong tendency to label any criticism of their actions as antisemitic. And because of the history in Europe it's a pretty strong tool jew/israeli supporters can apply.

Anonymous said...


I can't stand doing that shit myself. I'm not a party animal. I used to like the anonymous crowds in Tokyo a lot. But I'm not into the social stuff of building and maintaining community.


If you are not a party animal stop hanging out with SG. More delusion. You don't have to be a "party animal" to build a community. You are already part of the community. Some of the best community organizers have been very monkish.

Flight Club said...

The tumultuous history of Zen in America.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 8.21am said:

"Especially some Israeli have a strong tendency to label any criticism of their actions as antisemitic. And because of the history in Europe it's a pretty strong tool jew/israeli supporters can apply."

This may not be the place for it, but as you've brought it up -

Because of "the history", not only in Europe, it's very understandable why SOME jewish people, (the great majority of whom of whom are NOT Israeli, and have nothing to do with the country) might be sensitive to criticism.

On the other hand, many jews are very critical of Israel's recent policy and actions and are only too eager to point out thier own faults (listen to any jewish comedian). The jewish people are not Israel. Israel is not the jewish people.

All of which has very little to do with Jundo/ Nishijima.

Mr. Reee said...

An enjoyable afternoon in Petaluma--here, the chef reads from the
cookbook...

Jack Daw said...

I am never one for community but I do enjoy the fact that an avaliable Buddhist community does help your practice. I attend sittings at a local zendo. The people are nice and my practice has benefited but lately everyone seems to want to take part in shaping of the zendo as an entity.

I choose to avoid this and instead pay attention to my own work. If the sutra translations or liturgy changes then I change with it. No big deal.

Mysterion said...

Blogger Jack Daw said...
"If the sutra translations or liturgy changes then I change with it. No big deal."

oṁ mune mune mahāmunaye svāhā
Sutra reading is the teaching Buddha.

"A Mantra is an esoteric incantation."

The first word - oṁ - and the last word svāhā are already often dropped from the Mantra(s).

Anonymous said...

Mysterion wrote:

"oṁ mune mune mahāmunaye svāhā
Sutra reading is the teaching Buddha."

To avoid confusion, and for anyone who's interested, here is a translation of the line:

oM (or aum) = Monier-Williams' dictionary has: "a sacred syllable..."
mune = masc, singular, vocative of muni, sage or seer.
mahaa = (in compounds) great.
munaye = dative of muni.
mahaamunaye = to the great sage.
svaahaa = Hail! (M-W dictionary also has: "with dative; an exclamation used in making oblations to the gods).
SO:

"[aum] Oh sage, oh sage, hail to the great sage."

No mystery.

Anonymous said...

Re: racism.

Take a look at these

Rich said...

"I only want to make this point: I have never met Gudo. Neither, I believe, have you. We can only, as you do, infer what the man is like from his writing. But such inferences are highly unlikely to be accurate."

I also have never met Gudo, but I have read his writing and listened to his speech for quite some time. Based on my understanding of Zen and hence my understanding of Gudo, I find it quite laughable that someone could think he could be a racist. Letting go of ideas and opinions is a good step in the understanding of Zen and Judaism.

Anonymous said...

Well, anon, at 5.52am, that is one of the lamest contributions to the discussion I've seen.

So your point is, presumably: Look! Gudo's visited Israel. He looks happy in photots taken there. QED, Gudo CANNOT believe that some jewish people wield disproportionate influence and control, particularly in finance, for that was the original charge. (I don't believe it - and neither might Gudo - but if I did, it wouldn't necessarily make me a racist).

Some people believe that the USA wields too much influence in the world. Yet many of them have visited the USA and have the photos to prove it. Racist?

Anonymous said...

"I find it quite laughable that someone could think he could be a racist. Letting go of ideas and opinions is a good step in the understanding of Zen and Judaism."

See,this is what happens!

NO ONE has suggested Gudo is a racist, Rich. Someone believes that Gudo may have opinions about Jewish hegemony. Many perfectly respectable, intelligent people do. I don't share their concerns. But Gudo might. He just might. It's OK. It doesn't make him a bad person, or a bad buddhist, or a fraud, or a racist.

"Letting go of ideas and opinions..."
As you folks across the pond say: Good luck with that!

Glenn said...

i just say the jews need to take hollywood back over and kick out those pesky Scientologists!

South Park Ad

lol

Anonymous said...

Now that's MY kind of jewish conspiracy!

Joshua B. said...

Hello Really!
First of all, I’m a Jew, not that I feel it holds any baring on this situation, hell I didn’t even know that this situation had anything to do with my people…it probably doesn’t, but that’s not what I want to write about. I want to write about you and me and our relationship. Because apparently you seem to think that we have one and that your opinions might mean something to each other
Let’s get some things perfectly clear here. In posting what I posted to Gudo I wasn’t asking for you opinion, nor was I asking for you approval. My opinion of who Gudo is or what Gudo is about comes from what I have read. You obviously have a bone to pick with him. I would make this assumption due to the fact that you felt the need to track me down onto Brad’s blog and lecture me on the nature of reality which I find absolutely ridicules…the fact that you would feel the need to track me down to tell me this is laughable, and by doing so you expose who you are.. My comment to Gudo had absolutely NOTHING to do with you, nothing at all. Who are you to lecture me on what it means to be a flawed human being? I know all about being a flawed human, news flash buddy, we are ALL flawed! Why would Gudo be any different? He's a human first and a Buddhist 'master' second. Being that we are talking via a Buddhist web site I would assume that we are all striving to be less flawed. For the record, I don't idealize Gudo or Brad or even Guatama Buddha for that matter. What do these three have in common? They are men who have strived to be present in reality, to be with what is. Perhaps you need to be honest with yourself. Not to beat a dead horse, but why would you feel the need to track me down to deliver this sermon? Me, a man that you do not know and have never met. What did you hope to accomplish? What purpose does it serve? To spread more disparaging remarks about a man that you have never met? What’s your point man??!! Why did I even bother to dignify your comment with a response? Because I could NOT resist the bate. Because I am a flawed human being and I have the desire to tell you to go fuck your self which I suppose is not very Buddhist of me but I am not yet a Buddhist. But if I was, I would not be any less present in this moment. I would still strive just as hard as I am right now to be more present. If I was a Buddhist I wouldn’t waist my time tracking down some cat that I do not know, have never met before to tell him some shit about another cat that I didn’t know nor had ever met. That being said, go fuck your self, and leave me out of your petty bullshit.

Really? said...

Joshua -

You sound very upset. Yes, I meant to challenge your assumptions, but I didn't mean my comments as the personal attack you hear. If you post comments in a public forum you shouldn't be surprised to receive replies.

I thought my point was worth making, as a general point to those who seem to believe Gudo is above reproach, or that to hold certain views - which he may or may not hold - is unacceptable. That, to me, is not what buddhism, particularly Gudo's buddhism is about.

- Another jew.

Anonymous said...

"That being said, go fuck your self"

Ahh sooo, another worthy disciple of mister zen master bradley-san.

Anonymous said...

In the fall 1999 issue of the Buddhist magazine tricycle, one well-known U.S. Zen master, Bernie Glassman, had the following to say about Yasutani Haku’un’s wartime militarist and anti-Semitic pronouncements:

"So if your definition of enlightenment is that there’s no anti-Semitism in the state of enlightenment. If your definition of enlightenment is that there’s no nationalism, or militarism, or bigotry in the state of enlightenment, you better change your definition of enlightenment. For the state of enlightenment is maha, the circle with no inside and no outside, not even a circle, just the pulsating of life everywhere." Zen Master Glassman

Anonymous said...

Jesus H, Josh! Someone sure pressed some o your buttons!

Shall we sit with that :-)

Anonymous said...

Alright--who has the emergency Keisaku?

What does all the above have to do with the original post?

Monkey mind in action. Spin, spin! Faster, Faster!

Anonymous said...

The original post wasn't so exciting, so we've been making it up as we go along, as usual.

Re original post:
I sit daily at home, and occasionally with a group. They're both fine, but different.

OK?

Anonymous said...

Comment to well-known Zen master blogger:

"Any one, who takes the time to pay attention to your words, be they written or spoken, would know that you are a person whom has nothing but love and compassion for all beings."

Comment to unknown critical blogger:

"In posting what I posted to Gudo I wasn’t asking for you opinion, nor was I asking for you approval...That being said, go fuck your self, and leave me out of your petty bullshit."

Sorry, JoshuaB, you're probably a lovely guy n all, who was upset, but you deserve to be called on that.

Anonymous said...

what a bunch of fucking losers!
(we all are ;)
gain is delusion; loss is enlightenment.

Joshua B. said...

To all who responded to my angry rant:
Well, yes buttons where pushed. I own the fact that they are my buttons, and the long and the short of it is...I pushed them. I own the fact that my emotions are mine, that no one else is responsible for how I feel. I get that, I'm not always good at remembering that in the heated moment, but as I stated in my rant from earlier today I know that I am flawed.

Too Really?-

"You sound very upset. Yes, I meant to challenge your assumptions, but I didn't mean my comments as the personal attack you hear. If you post comments in a public forum you shouldn't be surprised to receive replies."
In general I have no problem being challenged but in the moment it came off as condescending and judgmental. Perhaps that’s not what you had intended, but that’s how it came off, and the fact that you feel the need to track me down to another blog is still just odd to me. But so be it. You have your issues and I have mine.

"I thought my point was worth making, as a general point to those who seem to believe Gudo is above reproach, or that to hold certain views - which he may or may not hold - is unacceptable. That, to me, is not what Buddhism; particularly Gudo's Buddhism is about."

I do think your point is valid, and if you and I had been having an exchange of ideas perhaps I would have been very open to what you had to say. But you and I weren’t having an exchange, and even your above quote comes off as a bit condescending, though I am sure that you mean well.


I think my response made it fairly clear that I don’t feel Gudo or any other human being is above reproach myself included.
Look, I'm sure you’re a decent cat and if we had met face to face we would have a sit down over a cup of coffee and really communicate. But that is mostliklely not in the cards. Best of luck to you, for the record I have no ill will towards you and I hope that life is treating you well.
For the poster that posted the following-

"Sorry, JoshuaB, you're probably a lovely guy n all, who was upset, but you deserve to be called on that."

Yes, there are some that would say that I am a lovely guy... but I am in the long run just a guy again far from perfect. I see what you’re getting at, and your point is well taken. But on the other hand, who among us has not been both an angle and a devil in moments?

Not to sound like a pretentious asshole, but this whole thing reminds me of a Koan I read in Shinji Shobogenzo…it some how seems to fit this occasion.

“Master Himagan Jogu on Mount Godai had a forked stick. When he saw a Buddhist monk coming, he would hold it up and say: What kind of demons made you into a Buddhist monk? What kind of devils made you take up this pilgrimage? If you say something I will strike you with this stick; if you do not say anything I will strike you with this stick. Speak now! Speak now!’

Peace all,
Joshua

Anonymous said...

This is what Jundo wrote on his website. It does not seem that anyone is accusing Gudo of being anti-semitic.



Postby Jundo on 22 Feb 2009 11:29 am
Hi Guys,

Okay, let me try to jump in here.

1- I believe that, over the last couple of years especially, my teacher has exhibited qualities common in some elderly people such as a frequent paranoia about some around him who care for him deeply, selective memory, confusion. This is coupled with an amazingly brilliant mind that still shines at age 90. But the fact of the matter is that half of his "Dharma Heirs", including people who have been with him for decades and who love him, cannot talk to him (by my count, about 15 or more people, although some went their own way for other reasons. Most of the rest of the "Dharma Heirs" are safely on the other side of the world, and just stay out of his way). He is in his "you are in grandma's will/you are cut out of grandma's will" stage. This IS NOT the Nishijima Roshi I have known for years, although he always was a very strong-willed and stubborn guy. I have not even gone into all of what was involved here, but what the hey! Some of it includes the fact that he began to emphasize more and more with me that he thought the "Jews run the world economy", and he was suspicious that they were trying (through me, it became clearer) to take over his legacy, copyrights to his books and such. This belief about the Jews having excessive power over the banks and media is very common in Japan, especially among people of Roshi's generation (it is just a kind of quaint ignorance, usually said in admiration for how "smart and hard working" the "hard working and smart" Japanese think about the Jewish people, so I usually laugh it off.) But this was getting to be excessive, and he really was starting to think that world-Jewry, vie Jew-ndo, had nefarious plans on his books and such. I have been told that it was one of the reasons, in part, that other Jewish Dharma heirs of Roshi have split, including the translator of his books into Hebrew.

I say that as but --one-- example, and not the only example, of changes in Roshi. And I emphasize again, this is NOT HIM as I have known him, just the workings of a 90 year old dried out, oxygen deprived senior brain. The real man I have known for years is not like that.

Really? said...

Joshua -

Yep, I can sound condescending. I know it. I think it comes from trying to write well ;-)
It's true we weren't having an exchange, not until I replied to you - an exchange has got to start somewhere.

Seems like peace has broken out now, which is a good thing, so I only want to clarify this, which you say still bothers you:

I thought it'd be inappropriate to make my point to you on Gudo's blog. But I did want to make it, so I checked your profile - no email, but there was a list of blogs you follow. You mention this one; a popular blog, and the blog of the leader of DSI. It seemed the right place to do it. I thought you'd see it here. I can't see why you're offended by that. "Tracked down" sounds like I hunted you through the darkest recesses of the internet.. It took just 2 seconds to look at your profile. And you weren't the only contributor to Gudo's 'not racist' blog that I 'tracked down' and wrote to. Still...

Why did I chirp up in the first place? Well I have discussed Gudo with people who've known him personally, and worked with him, for a long time. The impression I get of him from them is very different to the "I'm sure you're not like that/ you can do no wrong/your life is like a poem" sycophancy that often turns up in his comments section, from people that don't know him. It bothers me. It seems dishonest, and I don't understand why people do it. I read your comment as another example of that. That's my feeling, and I guess I'm trying to redress the balance. Why I feel the need to do that is my issue, it's true. Perhaps it's just too tempting, and easy, to play with people on the internet.

That said, Gudo's teaching, through his writing and the teaching of his dharma-heirs, one of whom I study with, has been life changing for me.

I hope I've cleared up a couple of things. I'm glad you did.

Really? said...

Before I go, I must congratulate you on your rant.

It was magnificent! Truly. Anyone about to rant should check out yours first. As an example of stream-of-consciouness/ in-the-moment emotional discharge, it'd be very hard to beat.

RESPECT, Josh ;-)

Realist said...

It is true that there is quite a bit of cognitive dissonance about Gudo. People see what they want, not a human being with strengths and weaknesses. It is especially true with the more sycophantic people who hang around his blog comments

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rareworlds said...

Are you by any chance going to add dates? in Arizona for example? And are you going to be back in L.A. for any signings? How about a signing at Vromans in Pasadena? Great independent store.

Joshua B. said...

Really,
Respect. I think the world would be a better place if we all owned our own shit. Even and especially when we feel vulnerable and exposed. Culpability is important to me. I hope I made that clear even when I was ranting. ;-)
I know what you mean about the ease of messing with folks on the internet. The anonymity can be really seductive. I have fallen prey to that myself...but usually with hardcore right wingers.
So I have to tell you that I am grateful for the exchange. It has given me much to think about. Who knows, life is funny and maybe a cup of coffee is not out of the question. LOL!
Peace,
Joshua B.

Anonymous said...

This is what Jundo wrote on his website.

I have been told that it was one of the reasons, in part, that other Jewish Dharma heirs of Roshi have split, including the translator of his books into Hebrew.

Jundo often writes "I have been told that" or "people contacted me to say..", but he never says who exactly told him what he's stating as truth or who exactly the people who contacted him are. I think the reason he doesn't do that is that Jundo says things to serve his own agenda, and then attributes the things he says to something that "he has been told by someone (no name)" or that "he heard from someone (no name)". After a while it starts to appear like various people are talking to Jundo about Nishijima (or Brad).

What's seems to be going on though is that Nishijima doesn't want anything to do with Jundo. Jundo doesn't like that because he feels it puts him in a "bad light", so instead of just dealing with it he starts trying to discredit Nishijima by coming up with things that he has been told by "someone".

The only way to find out the opinion of Nishijima's students or anyone else is to ask them directly. Jundo's got his own agenda, so it's impossible to rely on anything he says.

Joshua B. said...

Mysterion,
I don’t know where you live brother but racism is alive and well and living in these here United States. Just because a theorist living in an ivory tower says in it no longer exists doesn’t me that POOF, it is gone. That’s not what I would call being in touch with what is..
Now, perhaps I am misunderstanding you, perhaps you are intending to be ironic in some way. But as a 'self identified secular Jew' (how’s that for convoluted?), I do find your post a bit odd and not a little disconcerting. What are you trying to get at there man?
Peace,
Joshua

Stephanie said...

Alright--who has the emergency Keisaku?

http://p-userpic.livejournal.com/83232963/13070716

Anonymous said...

Mysterion -

I'm no anthroplogist, but...

Call it what you like, but shared/inherited genes and centuries of distinct cultural practice and behaviour add up to something, surely?

And where are "the jews" claiming racism? Not here. One jew has been quoted discussing his elderly Japanese teacher's ideas about jewish control (of stuff). He didn't mention the word racism, or racist once. Hold on, I'll check...Nope. "paranoid"; "stubborn" - nothing about racism, or, for that matter, "anti-semitism".

Anonymous said...

Anon@5.51pm said:

"Jundo's got his own agenda, so it's impossible to rely on anything he says."

Maybe. We've all got our own agenda. But you speak as if you know something most of us don't. As one theme of today's blog comments is the questionability of opinions about people we don't know, I ask you, sincerely, whether you just don't like the guy's internet persona, or whether you've had personal dealings that cause you not to trust him.

Mysterion said...

The world has 1,000 major myths and 10,000 minor ones.

And from our various and sundry foundations of smoke and mirrors, we each tend, with our tribe, go off on some meaningless journey which ends in the grave. And along this journey, some launch rockets into the marketplace and others destroy in the sacred name of asymmetrical retaliation. To hasten the death of another person is not to 'win.'

The middle was really avoids taking sides (which I often do on a hypothetical basis -- for the sake of a Socratic Dialogue). There are neither Kings nor Pharaohs nor slaves nor slave owners. Nobody really owns anything, especially power.

Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT) When, for example, religion supports power and the immoral culture in which it thrives, it is time to 'move on,' leaving both the religion and the culture to the dust heap of obsolescence.

"An eye for an eye, and soon the whole world is blind." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Anonymous said...

Anon@7:23pm said:

Maybe. We've all got our own agenda. But you speak as if you know something most of us don't.

Gudo Nishijima has lots of Dharma heirs of Jewish/Israeli background. If what Jundo is trying to suggest were true, why would Nishijima have given Dharma transmission to so many people with Jewish backgrounds, including Jundo?

Jundo seems to have got really bent out of shape recently, and has come out with nasty stuff like this:

And I emphasize again, this is NOT HIM as I have known him, just the workings of a 90 year old dried out, oxygen deprived senior brain.

So it's all down to Nishijima's age. Before that everything was fine. But now that Nishijima's an old guy it's okay to take cheap shots.

Anonymous said...

Jewish/Israeli background. If what Jundo is trying to suggest were true, why would Nishijima have given Dharma transmission to so many people with Jewish backgrounds, including Jundo?

Maybe gudo was trying to get in good with the Jewish conspiracy?

Anonymous said...

Anon @7.51 -

Ok. (Someone should ask Gudo straight out if he believes the jews have too much power - I ain't gonna do it).

Just this, though. Other dharma-heirs of Gudo say that Gudo has 'changed' over the past few years - accusing them of treachery of one sort or another. A theme is emerging.

http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.com/2006_09_01_archive.html

Will take you to not so old history. Scroll down to "examples of leaving Dogen Sangha", about 1/2 way down. Then check out the comments. If you didn't read it at the time, you might find it informative.

Anonymous said...

If what Jundo is trying to suggest were true, why would Nishijima have given Dharma transmission to so many people with Jewish backgrounds, including Jundo?

Because Nishi knows God is jewish and hopes to incur favor by giving transmission to some of his chosen people.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mr. Reee said...

I don't have a dog in this fight, but for someone to dismiss another's behavior or words as simply "just the workings of a 90 year old dried out, oxygen deprived senior brain" seems to me to be a bit over the top.

Or maybe it's just the workings of my 48 year old dried out, oxygen deprived middle-aged brain.

Does anyone know where I can get a fresh and juicy 20-something, turbocharged zen-infused brain? I'd be mighty gassho'd.

Anonymous said...

And here is another relevant primary document, for all Gudo apologists:

http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.com/2007/08/our-translation-of-shobogenzo.html

It really is worth checking if you're into history, particularly Mike Luetchford's reply to Gudo.

It seems that there is evidence that Gudo's memory is playing tricks on him, and that he's getting paranoid.

-With apologies to those directly involved: I feel all this is significant for those indirectly involved.

Realist said...

Has anyone asked any of Nishijima's other Jewish Dharma heirsto comment on this one way or the other, or have they commented on this? I would like to read that.

Anonymous said...

Mr Reeeeeeee -

Please do read the links I've just provided.

Anonymous said...

http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.com/2007/08/our-translation-of-shobogenzo.html

It really is worth checking if you're into history, particularly Mike Luetchford's reply to Gudo.


I did not know that Mike Luetchford is Jewish.

Jundo mentions the "15 or more" DHarma Heirs who left Nishijima. Yes, who are they?

Anonymous said...

"I did not know that Mike Luetchford is Jewish."

No, ML is not jewish.
If you read the link, I think you'll see the relevance. It's not all about being jewish, silly.

Anonymous said...

And finally, the last primary source exhibit re Gudo's recent memory/paranoia issues as they have affected his dharma-heirs:

http://gudoblog-e.blogspot.com/2007/07/mr-luetchfords-criticism-against-me.html

Joshua B. said...

I, for one am SO over all of this. It would seem that some folks are just plain jealous of Brad and feel that they should have been given the helm of Dogen International. For the record I don’t know the man. But his books have been a big eye opener for me. Due to him I am sitting every day and studying Zen Buddhism. In turn, reading his books brought me Gudo and the teachings of Dogen. For this I am mad grateful! I am not yet a practicing Buddhist, I am practicing to be a Buddhist. But I will say this, if I had been exposed to any number of you folks posting here prior to reading Brads first book, I would have run screaming. Say what you want about Brad’s methods. But he has opened the door for a lot of people.
I think this whole argument in ridicules and I am not going to participate in it any longer, and I'm sure that some of you will be glad for that.
Peace to all, I genuinely hope that you all find what ever it is that you are looking for.
Respectfully,
Joshua

mountaintop_cloister said...

Lot's of people came to zen from reading Alan Watts' books. It doesn't mean Watt's was a great teacher. He was an alcoholic. Other's came to zen from theosophy. It doesn't mean it isn't a loopy religion. Bunches of folks started practicing zen from the teachings of Yasutani roshi. It doesn't mean he wasn't a right-wing, war-mongering racist. Brad's books are great. He writes well. Many have come to zen from reading his books. It does not follow that the criticism you read here is totally unfounded.

Mr. Reee said...

I'll echo Josh--same thing. Brad's methods, like Colonel Kurtz, may be considered by some to be 'unsound,' but it's also proven effective, and to me, much more accessible. Sometimes you need help to find the first rung on a ladder to get going. Most people out there just want to sell ladders.

I've been interested in Eastern philosophies most of my life, but I was always put off by those who wanted to offer you a view of 'wisdom' while insisting on keeping it trapped in a bell jar on the mantle of their fireplace. "Look, but don't touch, Pilgrim."

I also, out of curiosity, took the time last night to wander the battlefields in this three way death match among ZMs. And I had to laugh.

The drama that is taking place among the zen webs here is exactly like the drama you find on almost any Internet forum--in fact, it reminds me very much of a big blow out that took place back in 2005-2006 among a group of people into the paranormal. One portion of the group became famous and the others who didn't kinda went nutso and started tearing them down for getting more ink than them, or for not 'being true' to the cause. The very same charges were leveled at each other and the camps split into two--all true believers of course, all equally convinced the others were fools.

Funnier still, I'm working on a novel about a split that occurred in a church in SF back in 1896--and exactly the same stuff took place. You could change the names, but the story is the same.

This leads me to wonder--are we simply just an old cosmic play, doing the same scenes over and over?

It's also interesting to consider that there's no diff if it involves 'zen masters,' congregational ministers, or fans of a paranormal show. Perhaps it's because, ultimately, it's all a paranormal show?

In any case--I don't take one side or the other. But I can say this: zen and it's practitioners are no different than anything/anyone else, when it's based on pretty words good vibes instead of truth-in-action.

Words are empty--mine, yours, and theirs. Don't get hung up on it. Go out and have fun instead. :)

Jakey Madball said...

Right on Mr Ree! I mistakenly had a partially formed idea that the comments on here might not buy in to the kind of stuff that goes on everywhere else.....oh well.

As you say, zen or not, we're all the same.

PhillySteveinLA said...

So, umm, I know I'm super late reading this thread and probably noone will read this, least of all Brad, but I'm gonna say it anyway.

WRITE MORE ON THIS TOPIC!!

I'm very interested in how someone as anti-social as you or I could ever hope to grow a community, being as I would like to start one myself back in Philadelphia.
Whatever is s a poor Zen Nerd to do?
I mean, at least you have your books as a spring board.
All I have is a little experience and a fancy schmansy robe!

PhillySteveinLA said...

Sorry I didn't talk about Gudo or racism, it's just, y'know, I thought Brad's article had nothing to do with either one of those topics....but apparently...

Lee Shin said...

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Lee Shin
www.trendone.net

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