Tuesday, May 26, 2009


So who wants to help me fight AT&T? Cuz I signed up for this special international cell phone deal before I went to Canada. The guy at the AT&T store told me that outgoing calls would be 59 cents a minute but that incoming calls would not be charged. This was wrong and I got a phone bill for over $400!

I've never been that great at arguing with bureaucratic people at big companies. So I figure I probably can't win this one even though I was genuinely horribly misinformed. I imagine they'll shift the blame to me for being dumb enough to believe one of their employees.

I guess I could start a "Pay Brad's Enormous Phone Bill Fund" and ask each reader to send a dollar via PayPal to doubtboy@mac.com. HA! I wonder if that would work...

Anyway this is what I get for trusting people in authority.

Speaking of people in authority who ought to be fought, tonight I participated in a march to protest the State of California upholding Proposition 8, which was a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Personally I believe in the rights of gay people to be just as miserable as anyone else. Though I do think it's one of those issues that gets a lot more attention on both sides than it really deserves. God knows there are far more important things going on.

Still, the march started at the Methodist church next door and they were giving away free veggie burritos from Holy Guacamole (Santa Monica's best Mexican restaurant), so why not join the party?

It's one of these bizarrely religious issues I'll never fully understand. Someone stated that they hadn't heard a single argument against gay marriage that did not quote the Bible as its source. The Bible says it's a sin for a man to lay with another man. Yet it also says it's a sin to eat shellfish. But I don't see anyone standing outside the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company with protest signs. Where's the constitutional amendment banning clam bakes on the beach?

I never understood the concept of sin very well. I didn't grow up with it and by the time I tried to figure it out I really didn't have the indoctrination in it that's necessary for you to really grok the meaning of the word. Buddhism doesn't have the notion of sin, nor does it have the idea that marriage is a religious matter. So the idea of gay marriage being problematic to Buddhism never came up.

The Japanese are funny about this subject. It's sort of "don't ask, don't tell" over there. Gay marriage is not recognized in Japan. Yet I've never heard of gay bashing over there. It seems, in my limited understanding of the matter, that if you're gay and Japanese the goal is to be discreet about it when discretion is called for and be as open about it as you like when it's appropriate. For example, you don't bring it up in the work place, but you don't hide it when you're hanging out in Shinjuku Ni-Chome, the gay district of Tokyo. It's OK to be a "new half," which is roughly analogous to what they call "transgender" here. There are dozens of openly gay men on TV all the time.

I couldn't possibly give you the whole spectrum. But the upshot is that once you remove the concept of sin from the picture, everything changes radically.

Whatever. I marched. I chanted. I ate burritos. I came home.

I also put up some new videos. So enjoy them!


An astute question from the audience in Montreal.

This is also from Montreal. One of my favorite Dimentia 13 songs. Here's an MP3 of the studio version of God Part III from the FLAT EARTH SOCIETY CD (1990, Midnight International Records).

This is my country and Buddhism song, written for Tim McCarthy circa 1986. And here's an MP3 of the studio version of Buddha Was a Good Ol' Boy from the FLAT EARTH SOCIETY CD (1990, Midnight International Records).


Anonymous said...

Wow 1st in line huh just finished your new book Brad and I really enjoyed it thanks

Anonymous said...


Rich said...

I enjoyed both of those songs. The first reminded me of a 60's group I can't remember the name of.

Keep the videos coming. I'm happy you are talking about don't know but it was a little short.

In the Buddhism and Spirituality video you said maybe we should drop the word Buddhism cause it implies sectarianism. Some may view this as heresy. Maybe the meaning of Buddhism will grow up, so don't throw the baby out with the bath water.

Mumon said...


That's what you get for not doing koans...

But seriously, here's how to fight the phone company & win:

1. Do you have it in writing? That's always the best advice, it's sufficient, but not necessary and sufficient.

2. Charge them money. I'm not kidding. Send them a letter - certified mail, return receipt and all - saying that due to increased administrative costs you'll have to charge them money to fix their clerical error (your costs have gone up, haven't they? I know mine have.) And it was a clerical error on their part. I dunno 'bout you but my fees are $200/hour. And that's doing what I am trained to do. So I'd tell them that unless you get a reply saying all charges have been resolved in your favor that you will begin to charge them for the privilege of just reading their missives to you.

That usually does the trick (I've used it successfully with credit card companies (3 of them), once with my university, and once with my homeonwer's association).

Include in the missive nice hefty late fees if they don't pay, and remind them that if this is litigated, discovery might lead to a class action.

Big nasty companies hate class actions.

And next time you see a liberal, thank them for keeping such litigation in place.

Mumon said...

Why it works:

1. If you believe you've paid up, there's no further obligation on your part.

2. Therefore you can negotiate the terms of what's beyond that obligation any way you see fit.

Stupid way said...

(I'm posing this here in case those of you who can't get enough of this discussion missed pkb's latest contributions, which s/he is still posting a couple of pages back).

Hi pkb - I'm not sure what you're still trying to prove. Methinks you protest too much. Way back I said this:

""Well, I agree too, pkb. There is more to Buddhism than just sitting. Brad would agree to. So would his teacher, Gudo (= "Stupid way") Nishijima. From what I know of Gudo's teaching, from another of his students, you can be reassured that there is much importance given to Buddhist philosophy and writng in Brad's lineage. But there's SO much of it, of course, that it's necessary to be selective."

So, we agree, right? There's just a difference of emphasis. THIS is where my practice differs from delicto's, again something I said way back:

"If I had to chose between meditation and some erudition OR erudition and some meditation, there's no doubt in my mind that the former is likely to be more beneficial. Remember, delictoaquinas said "And while sitting has its place, I think it can also be gravely overvalued". I'm not sure that Gotama would agree."

The one thing I do not believe I've done is suggest that your, or delicto's practice is wrong, or un-'Buddhist'. I've got no idea what your practice is, or what it means or does for you. It's abslutely none of my business. But delicto, and to lesser extent yourself, seem to be doing just that in your criticisms of Brad and Nishijima - and me. My life has been significantly changed by zazen and the accompanying philosophy of Dogen as interpreted by Nishijima and his students. Not exclusively, but primarily. So I have to tell you that all your protestations, "amens" and scriptural citations miss the target enirely. As much as I'm attracted to, and read a fair amount of "Buddhism" both ancient and modern, in the end I don't give a respectful flying fuck whether my variety of Buddhism accords with anybody else's, or is even "Buddhism". It's not a religion for me. I don't feel obliged to believe or accept any of it.

Vide Kalama sutta (the irony!).

Stupid way said...

Funny thing: I just scooted over to Zen Forun International to see what gives, and my eyes lighted on this relevant post:


Check it, do.

chrisold97 said...

SIN-i think its been recognized in some circles that the Christian notion of sin ooriginated from things that made sense at the time and were not commandments per se, and later developed the authority they now command (i.e. when there werent a lot of people you didnt want to waste your seed procreating with someone if they couldnt help populate your family, you didnt eat certain foods because they were more likely to mke you sick)so these were likely mans suggestions that turned into "God's law" whereas in Buddhism these things are still as suggestions

Mumon said...

Standard disclaimer:
I'm not a lawyer and none of the above is meant to be legal advice.

However, it has been my experience that charging them money generally makes them sit up and take notice.

Harry said...

I think marriage should be banned.

Thousands of lawers would become extinct and levels of domestic bitchiness would decrease rapidly.

...or maybe just being married to me should be banned. :-(



Harriet said...

I am all for Gay people getting legally bound to each other if that is what they want. But I do not think the definition and meaning of marriage should be changed just to be more politically fashionable. Why not just allow civil unions for anyone who would want one. That way, nonreligious progressive hetero types can get hitched without getting married.

Anonymous said...

Harry, Are you amused or aloof?

Anonymous said...

I have had to have monthly conversations with the phone company to have strange charges taken off.
It takes about an hour a month of my time.
I have several other people's phone lines on my 'family' plan, so the bill is larger than a single user's would be, but still....those guys pad that bill like a flat chested girl's 'push up' bra.
Everyone is nice and polite on the phone with me and they whittle the charges down each time.

This is the way things are these days: I am sure you will prevail in correcting the problem.

Anonymous said...

Hey brad, Ask Jundo Cohen for some advice. Or maybe he will just volunteer some being the compassionate person that he is.

Anonymous said...

"I guess I could start a "Pay Brad's Enormous Phone Bill Fund" and ask each reader to send a dollar via PayPal to doubtboy@mac.com. HA! I wonder if that would work..."
That would still leave $390 to pay!

Just offer Big Email Enlightenment™ for $2000 instead and clean up!!!!

The Times Music Critic, Really said...


On the one hand there's an admirable willingness to expose one's charmingly vulnerable juvenilia to public scrutiny,

on the other hand, there's a crap song.

The Times Music Critic further said...



Is a truly remarkable work, here performed by Warner with an appropriate degree of knowing irony.

Buddhists can't clap for shit. Really.

Anonymous said...

I’m glad Warner came down on the right side of this, but wish he hadn’t added an aloof message about it not being that important. As a civil rights issue, it’s pretty important. If you can’t get the thousands of rights available to married folk but have to settle for the fraction given through “civil unions”, you’re still sitting at the back of the bus. It’s only been forty years since the Supreme Court ruled that marriages like my own or Warner’s, i.e. interracial marriages, were legally protected matters; I can’t even imagine if I was told I couldn’t marry my wife, or I could but it was a stripped down deal that essentially let our parents cut each other out of important decision making in an emergency and wasn’t recognized in every state. As to the person pushing civil unions, beside the aforementioned legal issues it’s hardly “redefining marriage”. Marriage has taken many, many different forms in different societies throughout history and continues to do so today. It makes sense to define marriage within the context of our society and without hypocritically pretending we base it on things we don’t. Are we basing it on Greco-Roman legal tradition? Lots of incestuous and gender-bending marriages including Nero marrying a transsexual to beat the gay-marriage laws of his time. Judeo-Christian Orthodoxy? Polygamist and incestuous arrangements abounded amongst biblical patriarchs. Non-western sources? Don’t even get me started. GLBTQ folks are equal citizens and deserve equal rights. Period.

Let’s also not pat ourselves on the back on Buddhism’s enlightened stance on homosexuality too much. There is a lot of homophobia in the Buddhist world, including Japan. Hsuan Hua, a Chinese Zen Master, gave a foaming rant about homosexuals that was one of the craziest things I’ve seen this side of Fred Phelps.

Sorry ‘bout the phone bill, at any rate.

Anonymous said...

When listening to Brad talking about jacking off, just listen to Brad talk. When eating a sandwich, just eat a sandwich.

Interestingly, No one ever tries to eat a sandwich while jacking off.

mtto said...

Rethinking Buddhism and Sex by José Cabezón, a Tibetan Buddhist scholar and practitioner. An interesting, educated take.

Harry said...


I'm all for legalising bondage... James Bondage.

If we're going to look at a bigger picture we should consider marriage form a broader historical and cultural perspective. And we should maybe consider the role of the little picture of our own cultural values and assumptions.

Marriage, as an expression of, or symbol of, 'personal freeedom' is a pretty new thing... in some cultures it isn't even a thing at all, and, regardless of what we as utterly superior and morally supreme Westerners might like to idealise otherwise, marriage as a tactical or business arrangement isn't really a negative issue in many places.



Jinzang said...

There's an article on the Scientific American web site on brain measurements of meditators. They report that long term meditators do the brain wave shuffe:

The unexpected result of this experiment was that the EEG of long-term meditators exhibited much more gamma-synchrony than that of naive meditators. Moreover, normally human brains produce only short bursts of gamma-synchrony. What was most remarkable about this study was that long-term meditators were able to produce sustained gamma-activity in a manner that had never previously been observed in any other human. As such, sustained gamma activity has emerged as a proxy for at least some aspects of the meditative state.

I don't agree with their conclusion that modulating your gamma waves is equivalent to meditation. I'd have more to say about that, but my lunch break is short and this comment box is tiny.

Anonymous said...

I tried to eat a sandwich while jacking off...Not a good idea.
By the end I wasn't sure what was mayo and what was.........other.

Anonymous said...

Gamma activity, gamma waves? This all sounds vaguely familiar.

Perhaps while meditating we shouldn't be made angry then? Y'know, to avoid the violent transformation into the Incredible Hulk?

Bao Dazhi said...

Brad, you said it yourself. The person who you talked to presented themselves as having the authority to create a binding oral contract with you. Even if the corporation doesn't give them that authority, it looked like they did, and you can rely on the promise they gave you.

Flowing in the Darkness said...

so, can a Buddhist jack-off? I'm not a monk 1500 yrs ago so I'm curious as to the practical import for a lay American dude like myself

A Buddhist said...

Flowing in the Darkness -

Do you mean, "will the Lord Buddha mind?" IMHO, he doesn't give a shit. He's dead.

Do you mean, "will other 'Buddhists' mind? My advice: don't tell em. Alernatively, F*** em.

To those looking for religion, some other shame/guilt-based doctrine may serve you better.

FWIW, my answer to your question:
You can, and very likely will, masturbate. You have my permission.

Anonymous said...

According to every Pali and Sanskrit source I’m familiar with, there’s no problem with an upasaka beating his or her meat. A monk isn’t supposed to, 1500 years ago or now. However, I’m referring to monks who follow some form of vinaya, not Japanese “monks” who symbolically left home or whatever. As far as I know, they’re generally bound by ten to sixteen precepts (depending on school) that don’t specifically mention anything about these things. A vinaya-complaint monk who has jerked off is supposed to confess this to the monastic community, but it’s not a disrobing offense in and of itself in any form of vinaya I’m aware of. So jerk away, but attachment to sexual desire is a hindrance towards nirvana.

A Buddhist said...

delictoaquinas -

If you could only accept God as your saviour, I reckon you'd find the clear guidelines and certainties of the Catholic faith much more your thing than Buddhism. And you wouldn't have to bother with that tedious, over-rated meditation business.

"..but attachment to sexual desire is a hindrance towards nirvana."

Is that a fact? Are you sure? Or did you read it in a book?

Anonymous said...

Oh right, sorry, I forgot Buddhism has nothing to do with the Buddha's actual teachings, it just means do whatever you want except drugs or meditating the wrong way.

He asked if there's a Buddhist view on masturbation. I provided that. Agree or disagree, fine, but trying to say that there's no Buddhist view on it that differs from pure libertinism is silly. Take it up with every pre-20th century Buddhist if you don't like it. And I do meditate, but thanks for the pointless diversion.

Anonymous said...

"..attachment to sexual desire"

what is that? is it feeling desire and enjoying the feeling?
is it feeling desire and fighting the feeling?
is it feeling desire and acting on the feeling by masturbating or seeking to have sex with a partner?
is it feeling desire and acting on the feeling by not masturbating or seeking to have sex with a partner?
is it masturbating or having sex with a partner and feeling guilty about it?

"nirvana" -
whats that?

Anonymous said...

"..but attachment to sexual desire is a hindrance towards nirvana."

It's pretty obvious to anyone who's being honest with themselves, yes.

And the Buddha did talk about it, at considerable length. But go on and tell yourself that it's not silly to call yourself a Buddhist while ignoring virtually all his major teachings.

A Buddhist said...

"Take it up with every pre-20th century Buddhist if you don't like it."

Except the Chinese, Korean and especially Japanese "libertines" who don't follow 'some sort of vinaya'. Not proper Buddhists, right?

Anonymous said...

Umm, virtually all East Asian monks before the 20th century followed the vinaya in some form. Japan was different insofar as imperial edict essentially forced japanese monks to become laymen in all but name. Most Chinese and taiwanese monks to this day follow vinaya in some form. In some cases it's almost identical with the Theravada version.

The vast majority of all Buddhist history has allowed for Monasticism, which does have rules. Dogen was so keen on it that he taught it was essentially useless to practice as a layman.

You can keep trying to confuse the issue and paint me as a fundamentalist all you want. The guy asked if there was a Buddhist view on masturbation. There is, and I said so. I realize it disturbs those of you who Guru-worship Warner, but it changes nothing.

Anonymous said...

And yes, I suppose you could argue that a guy shaving his head and going through a magic midnight ritual is exactly the same as the renunciation the Buddha took. If you basically ignore all facts, all context, and all logic, symbolically leaving home is the same as living as a bhikku, sure.

A Buddhist said...

Personally, I feel a kind of avuncular affection for Brad Warner, and think he does a good job de-mystifying (zen) Buddhism. But I don't warm to his style of writing and he's rarely moved me. I'm not a fan.

"But go on and tell yourself that it's not silly to call yourself a Buddhist while ignoring virtually all his major teachings."


There is more than one school of Buddhism. Always has been, (alleged) first council onwards. You surely know that, having read a sutta or two.

Sarah13 said...

I used to work at AT&T wireless and basically the rule back then (about 7 years ago) was that if a customer was misinformed about the price of minutes he would get a one time rerate of his bill. They could have changed things since then but if the front-line person you talk to is unwilling to do it I would ask for a manager (also, be SUPER nice... they are much more likely to accommodate you than if you are difficult... not that you would be, I'm just saying). You might get some push back when asking for a manager but just insist (actually when asking for a manager you will get transferred to Customer Relations, or some department like that, they are the people that handle "escalations").

Anonymous said...

Right, and everyone who follows a style other than just doing whatever you want and sitting zazen would be better off as a catholic, right?

A Buddhist said...

An army of straw men, delictoaquinas!!
So many assumptions about what I am (really) saying and must surely think....Try dealing with the points instead of defensively throwing back what you think I might say next. For example:

Anon @ 3.09 asked some good questions. You haven't replied yet. I'd like to know your thoughts.

A Buddhist said...

Hey Sarah13 -

Do you think it's fair to post that OH SO HOT picture of your fine self in the middle of this wank-fest?

That's my journey "towards" nirvana delayed by a kalpa or two.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm sure you're a complex beautiful snowflake and I really care.

As for the questions, I would say it probably has to do with controlling your sexual impulses and not letting them control you. Kind of a "no duh" thing you don't really have to be a Buddhist to figure out. The monk option is so you can commit yourself full-time to practice, which sexual relationships have all kinds of potential for fucking up, so monks are supposed to stay away from sexuality in general. This has always been a near-universal understanding, but I'm sure in Japanese temples that are a family concern handed down like a drug store or a barber shop, it's handy to have a kid to teach the family business to. Or if you want to call yourself a 'monk' but don't want to actually like, change the way you live or anything.

Anyway, I'm done with this particular discussion. I don't have any real interest in arguing with lazy Western Buddhists whose conception of Buddhism is limited to a wishful reading of Dogen, quoting a couple crazy wisdom teachers, and a willful misreading of the Kalama Sutta. I think Buddha's teachings actually are Buddhism, for better or for worse. If someone else asks "is there a Buddhist view on -----" I'll just stay out of it and let you guys tell him "Yeah, the Buddhist view on everything is do what you want!" People interested in actually looking into Buddhism will develop a sense of curiosity that goes beyond that of a teenager.

Pirooz M. Kalayeh said...

I think I just had sex while I was sleeping. ; )

A Buddhist said...

Ok, delictoaquinas -

If you're done, last word's mine.

I think you summarised the traditional vinaya's position on masturbation very well. It's the tone of your reaction to my comments that I found...incongruous, unnecessary and regrettable.

For a Buddhist who presumably is doing his best to follow the true message of Gautama Buddha, I can't help observing just how snarky you are. Just about every post contained a couple of sneering, condescending, smart-arse put-downs. Here's a few of the best:

"...thanks for the pointless diversion."
"I realize it disturbs those of you who Guru-worship Warner...
"Yes, I'm sure you're a complex beautiful snowflake and I really care."
"I don't have any real interest in arguing with lazy Western Buddhists..."
"...develop a sense of curiosity that goes beyond that of a teenager."

Night night.

A Buddhist said...

"...develop a sense of curiosity that goes beyond that of a teenager."

If only I could do that! Alas, I am stuck.

Anonymous said...

Wondered where you'd got to.

Another Buddhist said...

"...develop a sense of curiosity that goes beyond that of a teenager."

If only I could regain the sense of curiosity I had as a teenager. Ah me...

Really a Buddhist said...

Hatty, It was always you..

Anonymous said...

Weird blog. But i don't dislike it.

The Big Reveal said...

..........Nah...Not yet.

Really a Buddhist said...

Harry, You had me at Regards..

Anonymous said...

When asked what happens to a person after death, Japanese Soto priest's responses were as follows (they could pick more than one response):
- the deceased becomes enlightened as a child of the Buddha (46%)
- the deceased goes to a Buddhist land (maybe meaning "realm") (45%)
- the deceased goes to a Pure Land paradise (30%)
- the deceased goes to another world (23%)
- the deceased goes to a temple or grave (3%)
- the deceased goes to the oceans or mountains (1%)
- don't deal with spirits at all (8%)

It's Really True said...

Yep. Institutional religion, wherever you find it, is disappointing. Everyone knows dead people get reincarnated, unless they've been good and given up masturbation.

It's Really True said...

Got a new iphone did you Brad? Those are expensive with the data plan and all that. Gave out your email for cash donations I see. Good idea. The problem with getting rich and famous is having to pay the fricking bills isn't it? What good are commentors if they don't help you with the bills?

Jeffrey said...

My limited understanding is that the state of societal acceptance of homosexuality and gay rights in Japan is not that great. Brad almost implies that everything is peachy keen there regarding it. I've read that there are Japanese people who claim there are naturally no gay people in Japan. Talk about repressed and pushed way under the table! I love Brad's writing, but his bit about this just struck me as idealistic.

grisom said...

Hey, D.A.'s back! Awesome!

Really said...

Jeffrey, There are actually no gay people anywhere on the planet. Thinking you are gay is just a misunderstanding of your situation. It is dualistic thinking. No one is gay. No one is straight.

Anonymous said...

Wow, somebody remembers me? I truly didn't expect that.

And I will concede that I have a humility-while-arguing problem. Given the kinda crazy directions my 'spiritual path' or whatever took, and the crazy shit I've bought into, I should probably be a little less harsh on the people who have somewhat odd views on Buddhism; but I do get kind of tired of having milenia of very powerful teaching distilled down to "Just be yourself and sit in place for a while".

Anonymous said...

"...but I do get kind of tired of having milenia of very powerful teaching distilled down to "Just be yourself and sit in place for a while".

No one said that.

Brad said...

Just be yourself and sit in place for a while. That is true Buddhism.

Really said...

'Just be yourself and sit in place for a while. That is true Buddhism.'

Brad is that really what you say? Clearly silly. What you need to do is read lots of Buddhist books, do lots of thinking and sincere believing. THAT is true Buddhism. And don't forget to be very loving and compassionate to all sentient and non-sentient beings, even if they wind you up.

Anonymous said...

I love Buddha was a good old boy.

We had a nice West Virginia car warsh here in Ohio Today.

Anonymous said...

*No one said that.*

Surely you jest?

Harry said...

Fighting about 'Buddhism' (your own personal little brain beliefs) thinking you're 'right' is like wanking thinking you're having sex.

Oh yes, guilty on both charges!



Anonymous said...

I disagree.

Harry said...

Oooohhhhh, I love it when they disagree....flup.....flup.....flup...flup..flup.flup.flupflupflupflupflupflupflup...

Anon @ 3.09pm said...

DA said, "As for the questions,[scroll up to anon @ 3.09pm] I would say it probably has to do with controlling your sexual impulses and not letting them control you. Kind of a "no duh" thing you don't really have to be a Buddhist to figure out. "

Sounds sensible as an answer, da, but what does that actually mean? How do you do it? That's what I was getting at with the questions.
If you're talikng about simple abstinence from any sexual activity, then I guess that's very possible, once you're committed to it. But you originally wrote: "attachment to sexual desire is a hindrance..." Some might say that abstaining, or supressing desire is another form of attachment, and leads to emotional or behavioural dysfunction. Which, of course is not an argument for giving completely free reign to all sexual impulses - fortunately (nearly) all of us are acceptably responsible, in societal terms, if sometimes foolish, when it comes to sex.

What else might one do, then, to avoid or control "...attachment to sexual desire [so that it doesn't become] a hindrance towards nirvana." ?

pkb said...

I really don't understand why anyone would suggest it has to be an either / or thing. I read lots of Buddhist books, think alot, try to lead an ethical life AND be myself and sit somewhere and stare at a wall. From what I understand, the vast majority of chan / zen practitioners (and teachers) have done both. Most of the old masters had an extensive knowledge of the Buddhist sutras and koans. This doesn't seem to have prevented them from zazen or reaching clear understanding.

To use a recent example, it's like saying you can't jerk off and eat sandwiches. It's not a good idea to attempt both at the same time...just like it's not a good idea to try to read while sitting zazen or to use study as a substitute for zazen. But no reason you can't do both in any given day.

A Buddhist said...

Just so, pkb :-)

Jinzang said...

No doubt Brad will clarify the whole question of Zen and sex or no sex in his next book. Until then, here are my opinions. If you want to be a serious Zen practitioner, you need to find a teacher, have a daily practice, and have a stable life. The reason for the last is that if you don't have a stable life, you won't be able to concentrate on your practice. For most people the two biggest issues are money and relationships. So having a steady job and steady relationship is going to work best for most people. The whole attachment thing confuses a lot of people. It's hard to clearly understand the difference between pleasure and attachment without a lot of practice. One thing enthusiastic newbies sometimes do is make a fetish of giving stuff up. Sex can be one of these things. As a general rule, you shouldn't give stuff up unless you understand how it causes more problems than its worth. When you see this, giving it up will not be a problem, until then it's just pretense.

Anonymous said...

Re: 'buddhists can't clap' and the 'sandwich while self pleasuring' discussion above
I have to say that old chestnut of a koan might be in need of an update 'the sound of one hand clapping' exchanged for 'the pleasure of one hand jacking?'
My tongue is in my cheek true, and my left hand is not always aware of the right's activities
Is it the hand or the mind jacking?

just curious

Mysterion said...

Ikkyu wrote at least one haiku about auto eroticism. And that was only 6 centuries ago.

"Eight inches strong, it is my favorite thing;
If I'm alone at night, I embrace it fully -
A beautiful woman hasn't touched it for ages.
Within my fundoshi there is an entire universe!"


Jules said...

Anyone else reminded of the math-impaired Verizon customer service managers?


Mysterion said...

Blogger Jules said...
"Anyone else reminded of the math-impaired Verizon..."

It's just not Verizon that is math-impaired. There is an entire generation of Americans (since Reagan trashed education) that can't do basic math.

Why do you think the USA finishes at the bottom when it comes to math and science? sourceThe same ignorant fools who voted for republicans in the 1970s and beyond also produced children while having an utter lack of ability to either parent the children or mentor them in math and science. It is the best of inverse Darwinism. The authentic stupid® will inherit the earth because only the really stupid are stupid enough to crank out babies on a dying planet.

But I refrain from firing both barrels on the issue (to refer to an obvious Cheney allegory).

Harry said...

"Calling My Hand Mori's Hand"

My hand, how it resembles Mori's hand.
I believe the lady is the master of loveplay;
If I get ill, she can cure the jeweled stem.
And then they rejoice, the monks at my meeting.
Master Ikkyu.

Really?????? said...

This Ikkyu geezer!!! Fuckin wanker. Calls himself a Buddhist??? I hope he rots in kotis of narakas for endless asamkhyeya kalpas. Dirty bastard.

Harry said...

Too many words for a haiku... but form didn't restrict the illustrious old wanker either. :-)

Anonymous said...

What is the sound of one hand wanking?


Thanks, Harry!
You are indeed a Master Wanker.

One koan down, infinity minus one to go.

Anonymous said...

You silly Buddhists!

When you masturbate, all your
dead relatives are watching.

And that's why you shouldn't
choke the chicken. Just ask
any properly educated Catholic.

Anonymous said...

slowly but surelyedumacate the masses
it's just like zazen

Anonymous said...

slowly but surely
edumacate the masses
it's just like zazen


Really said...

"When you masturbate, all your
dead relatives are watching."

They all masturbated too.

Rinchen Gyatso said...

didn't know how else to write you so I'm posting this here. I just read "Does Real Buddhism Exist in the West" on the Buddhist Channel. I appreciated what you said.

So many people suckered in by charlatans don't just end up not believing in the enlightenment of that teacher, they end up hating the Dharma as well, I suspect.

Anonymous said...

delictoaquinas said...
*No one said that.*
Surely you jest?

I've read through the entertaining debate you've been having with 'Stupid way' and 'a buddhist' (same guy?). Neither of them ever said their idea of Buddhism was to "Just be yourself and sit in place for a while. That is true Buddhism." That seems to be what you assumed their view would be. IMHO, you spent most of the time putting words into "a buddhists" mouth then shooting him down for them.

So, no. No one you were actually talking to ever said that.

Mind you, it's not a bad summary of Buddhism. It kinda describes what we're doing. For you too most probably.


Jinzang said...

"Just be yourself and sit in place for a while. That is true Buddhism."

I don't know that anyone here holds this opinion, but I do believe it's out there. The problem with it is that if you hold this opinion, sooner or later you will hit a wall in your practice. I don't know what will get you past that wall, but it won't be more sitting.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it's not the opinions, or the descriptions for that matter, that determine very much at all. It's who you are and what you do. Not what you call it.

If you "hit a wall" in your practice" (not sure what that means; get bored? get scared? get confused? lose faith?), you'll be the one to sort it, or not. And it may or may not be "more sitting" that sorts it for you. Amongst many other things, no doubt.

Anonymous said...

After all, nothing is "just...".

"Just sitting" - anything but just sitting.
"Just be yourself" - not so easy.

There again...

Jinzang said...

(not sure what that means; get bored? get scared? get confused?

The wall is the feeling that your practice is not getting anywhere, that you're just spinning your wheels. Or, alternatively, the sense that there's something intangible out there, just out of reach.

Harry said...

Those are exactly the sort of feelings which we can recognise as our self, which we use in practice, as time-existence, as the whole truth coming forward. The wall is merely not realising them, not practicing them, as such.

I really think it is a matter of sincerely practicing. We can see in sincere practice that we have a choice of how we react to this stuff. This is why Master Kodo Sawaki referred to zazen as 'Adult Practice'... you can cry on some 'understanding' lama or Roshi's shoulder and feel better about yourself for a while instead and all... but then...

This info mightn't make it any more easy but, you know, life is not boring at least.



Jinzang said...

I really think it is a matter of sincerely practicing.

... he says, bravely whistling past the graveyard. Well, I'm not you and I can't practice for you. Good luck with your practice.

Stupid way said...

"...the feeling that your practice is not getting anywhere, that you're just spinning your wheels. Or, alternatively, the sense that there's something intangible out there, just out of reach."

If you're trying/aiming/hoping/seeking, it's very likely that you'll frequently feel stuck.
How about accepting where you are, wherever that is. Some call that "being here, now"...or "just sitting"...or "enlightenment."

Harry said...

"... he says, bravely whistling past the graveyard. Well, I'm not you and I can't practice for you. Good luck with your practice."


Is Buddhism about 'being prepaired for death' all of a sudden? More pie-in-the-sky. Yes, nobody can practice for anyone, which was my point entirely. I don't need luck with my practice, I just need to actually do it like a big boy.



Rich said...

"The wall is the feeling that your practice is not getting anywhere, that you're just spinning your wheels.

If you can't climb over the wall, you can walk around the wall unless it is like the Great Wall, then you have to find a way thru the wall. Use try mind for this.

Stupid way said...

I've heard that Bodhidharma spent nine years looking at the wall. Didn't try to climb it, walk round it, or find a way through it.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes good luck wishes sound a little like being told to piss off.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

rich, stop making darn wall already!

i'll stop making rich ;-)

Harry said...

Sorry, I just need to piss off like a big boy then. :-)



Harry said...

As 'good luck' can mean 'piss off' to the disingenuous Buddhismist so a quote from some, scripture, holy class-act, or weighty tome can seem to scream 'no, fuck you!'... but I actually do think this little nugget is rather special and exemplifies a certain achievement of humanity in response to the problem of belief:

"…The doubts which living beings, by our nature, have about every thing and every fact that we do not know, are not consistent; therefore our past history of doubt does not always exactly match our doubt now. We can say for the present, however, that doubt is nothing other than Time. We can put our self in order, and see [the resulting state] as the whole Universe." (from Shobogenzo Uji).



Anonymous said...

badass quote mr. h!

'it is that which you see before you, begin to reason about it and you at once fall into error' ~huang po

Anonymous said...


Mysterion said...

I'm not convinced that everyone 'hits a wall' in their practice.

Neither am I convinced that 'Buddhism prepares you for death.' That may be a part of it, but if one looks beyond death, to the cycles of births, then one may begin to see.

see: Samsara: (Sanskrit and Pali) The world of appearances and endless flux, including all aspects of becoming and death; cycles of birth and rebirth.

Smoggyrob said...

Hi everyone:

I liked when, in the new ST movie, Spock's "Live long and prosper" to the Science Council sounded pretty much like, "Fuck you".

Live long and prosper,


Anonymous said...

I liked when, in the new ST movie, Spock's "Live long and prosper" to the Science Council sounded pretty much like, "Fuck you".

True dat, but no scene beats 14 year old kirk in a stolen mustang!

Rich said...

Stupid Way said
"I've heard that Bodhidharma spent nine years looking at the wall. Didn't try to climb it, walk round it, or find a way through it."

That's because his practice never got him anywhere.

Anonymous said
"rich, stop making darn wall already!"

OK, I've already put it down but what should I do about hearing the birds singing outside?

Stupid way said...

"That's because his practice never got him anywhere."

Just so, Rich ;-)

Mind you, it kind does, too, don't it?
Words, eh!

Mark Foote said...

In "Indian Buddhism" by A.K. Warder, pg 216-217, we discover that of the five issues that divided Buddhism in third century B.C., only one could not be resolved, basically the issue of whether or not an arahant could have a wet dream. On that, the entire order divided into what was later to become Mahayana and Hinayana.

Core said...

Zen, the third sex and extremely the third sex marriage do not go along together - this is largely the reason why you can not find these individuals "free" in these countries, but this does not mean their "absence".

jeann said...

I think, this taboo has long been abolished..and perhaps a lot of us would consider these things as normal as ..well, the other gender preference. japan, zen and the third sex!

Logan McCree said...

good to see the video, if anyone is interested i found great Underwear for gay men for the special occation

Gays Right said...

I discovered your web site via Google while looking for a related subject, lucky for me your web site came up, its a great website. I have bookmarked it in my Google bookmarks. You really are a phenomenal person with a brilliant mind!