Friday, May 01, 2009


Couple new things since yesterday.

An Interview by Jon Rubenstein for Adventures in Compassion in the Screen Trade. Very nice and a unique perspective.

Here is a link to an iTunes file of my talk in San Antonio. When I clicked this link it started a kind of convoluted process that eventually landed me in the right spot. You iTunes kids might have an easier time with it, I hope.

Gotta get ready for the show in Detroit tonight. All relevant details are linked to your left or in the flier a couple posts below this one.


Anonymous said...

ONE.. sweet.

Anonymous said...

Two sweet too

Anonymous said...

So Brad I thought of flying in to Detroit for the show but too much money involved for a last minute ticket plus it's really Dimentia 13 or you and John G. of Deep 6 Holiday messin' around just for fun

Mysterion said...

Shi (four, in Japanese) also means death... cheerfully,


Anonymous said...


Jinzang said...

I finally got around to reviewing Brad's new book. I don't say anything that hasn't been said before, but if you're curious or bored, click the link.

Mysterion said...

Lat time I checked, Brad doesn't quite subscribe to reincarnation.

A great composition - recognized at last.

My translation of the "Ghost in the Shell" (1995) words below. But then Japan was never at the shallow end of the pool for me, somehow.


a Ga Maeba,
Kuwashime Yoini Keri
a Ga Maeba,
Teru Tsuki Toyomu Nari

yobai Ni Kami Amakudarite,
yoha Ake, Nuedori Naku.



when She is Dancing,
A Miko Becomes entranced.
when she is Dancing,
the Shining Moon shimmers.

a God Descends
to join with her in a dream,
(that could have a sexual connotation)
Dawn Approaches
while The Night Bird Sings.

a divine blessing,
a divine blessing,
a divine blessing...

Rich said...

"Everybody needs some kind of help. There's nobody in the world who's got everything together and doesn't need any help. Interdependence is the reason you're compassionate. You recognize the interdependence and interconnectedness of things. You suffer if you're not compassionate. We think it's kind of arbitrary or 'it's a good thing' to be compassionate, but it's also an intelligent thing to be compassionate. It's the smartest move you can make, to act in a compassionate way. We normally think we want to get what we can for ourselves, and screw the other guy, and that's seen to be a way to make yourself richer or more powerful, and it works to a limited extent, but I don't think it works ultimately. The reason it's intelligent to act with compassion, because that's ultimately how you are going to feel better. So there's tremendous incentive to act that way. It's not just something you're doing for somebody else, it's something you're doing for yourself."

I think the above from Brad's interview is worth repeating because it shows great wisdom and removes any doubt about his role as a teacher.

Paul said...

Boston Buddhists' Heads Explode: Film at 11

Derek said...

Thank you for your books. I am on the third one now. Starting your second book I had this thought of if I'm going to keep reading your books I need to begin practicing zazen, which I have been doing for a couple of months now. I still haven't practiced with a group yet.

Jinzang said...

I think the point is that when you compete with everyone, everyone becomes your enemy. When you help everyone, everyone becomes your friend. The latter seems the smarter strategy.

Stephanie said...

Great interview. Very moving.

One of the things that's drawn me back to Brad as a Buddhist writer and teacher, even when I've gotten irritated by his persona, is that sense that he's open to anybody, that you could bring whatever you happened to be at that moment and sit it on the cushion and wouldn't get the response, "Come back when you've changed into a different you." To me, that's what a spiritual teacher should be like.

Anonymous said...

"I think the point is that when you compete with everyone, everyone becomes your enemy. When you help everyone, everyone becomes your friend. The latter seems the smarter strategy."

Jinz, I agree it seems like a smarter strategy. But it seems a little idealistic too. What did the Tibetans do to the Chinese after all? It only takes a few selfish people to muck up a good concept.

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

Anon @ 9:53 AM:

Tolstoy wrote, "The Christian may be subjected to external violence, he may be deprived of bodily freedom, he may be in bondage to his passions (he who commits sin is the slave of sin), but he cannot be in bondage in the sense of being forced by any danger or by any threat of external harm to perform an act that is against his conscience."

He could have written the same of a Buddhist. What the Tibetans have who have refused to meet violence with violence is a mind that is free. Some would argue that this freedom is worth the cost of one's life. Sometimes idealism can be realistic in regard to the subjective consequences of our actions; I know I would rather die in a state of freedom than live in a state of falseness, having sold out to a social paradigm that disagrees with my conscience.

Jinzang said...

What did the Tibetans do to the Chinese after all? It only takes a few selfish people to muck up a good concept.

When a million men with guns come banging on the door, your options are few. In Tibet they tried armed resistance. Result? Killed or exiled. They also tried fleeing to India. Some died on the way, others couldn't adjust to the hot climate and died of disease. But there's a thriving exile community today. Many remained behind and some were thrown in prison. Some lamas used the opportunity to practice meditation after lights out in labor camp and came out the better for the experience. You make your decision and take your choice. Life does not always offer easy answers.

Jason Woo said...

I've read your first two books and am into your third one about half way thru. If I were you, I wouldn't have the guts to openly admit....
Hey you've made your point. I salute you.
Any photos of Shizuko that you can post?

Lauren said...

Mysterion, (or anyone else who may know)

I've been laying out a presentation of the heart sutra in kanji, furigana and romanji (just sorta for fun), and am stumped by the apparent different traditions for 揭諦.

Some sources indicate the romaji as "GATE GATE" and some "GYATEI GYATEI".

Do you happen to know if this is just a difference in romanji traditions and the pronunciation is the same, or are there different traditions for the pronunciation too?

Mysterion said...

Speaking of death, the sh*t has hit the fan with google earth and ToKyo.

Before 1868, the old caste system in Japan had about 22 levels...

Mysterion said...

Lauren said...
"I've been laying out a presentation of the heart sutra in kanji..."

see Crooked Cuke's: SUTRA

another useful resourceHERE is a list of the 1,945 Joyo Kanji, otherwise known as the "daily use" characters. These were designated by Japan's Ministry of Education in 1981 as the standard characters. Students graduating from secondary schools are expected to have mastered them.

more commentary2009 Despite the fact that Japanese people, from their political leaders on down, are struggling with kanji, the Education Ministry announced in January that it will increase the number of jōyō kanji (kanji in common use) by 191 and drop five others, raising the overall total in use from 1,945 to 2,131.

Now you can see why $0.40 a character is not a great deal to charge for Japanese-to-English translation (considering the over 3,200 kanji characters Hisako encounters in the practice). When in doubt, error to the archaic character used in 7th century Chinese Text at cuke. (kanji is an adaptation of Classical Chinese).

Smoggyrob said...

Hi everyone:

Mysterion's sh*t link lead me to this Wikipedia article about the burakumin. Their cause already had my sympathy but this passage sealed the deal forever:

Some burakumin refer to their own communities as "mura" (村 "villages") and themselves as "mura-no-mono" (村の者 "village people").

Viva Burakumin!


Anonymous said...

Lauren -

You probabaly know this, but just in case...

"Gate" is a transliteration of the sanskrit, pronounced as "late" (coffee).

"Gyatei" is the romanji most closely refecting the japanese pronunciation of the chinese characters used to transliterate the sanskrit. In which case, "gyatei", or "gyatay", (I've seen both) are both acceptable, "correct", even, romaji, while "gate" is a nod to the pronunciation of the original sanskrit mantra.

So - "gyatei/gyatay" if your writing in romaji; "Gate" if you want to slip into romanized sanskrit for the mantra.

Any use?

Anonymous said...

..."gyate" is also used.

The consensus is clear: 揭 should be written "gya" in romaji, then take your pick of "tei", "tay" or "te" for 諦.

Jinzang said...

Gate is the past participle of the Sanskrit verb to go. so it means gone. The case ending of "e" is a bit strange. Either it's the feminine vocative or the masculine locative. Neither makes much sense to me, but mantras often don't parse nicely.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Jinz. Gata is the past participle (stem), from the root 'gam', 'go'. It means 'gone', or 'went'. And the inflected 'gate' as you say, can only be masc locative, (meaning "in/on/at/she who has gone", or perhaps "in the matter of (being) gone")- or fem vocative: ("Oi you, Gone!"). You also say that neither makes much sense, but that mantras often don't parse nicely. That's true - in fact dharani often use the "e" inflection at the end of words, but know one seems to know why.

BUT - here's a summary of the entire heart sutra mantra mystery, very good:

We really get off on this sanskrit jive, jinz! It's just me n you - no one else gives a poop, I fear.

Lauren said...

Wow what a great group of linguists.

Thanks particularly Myst, Anon and Jinzang for helping me through the "gyatei-less gate"

Anonymous said...

Very welcome, Jinz.

But I made a little mistake: read as masculine locative, "gate" would mean "in/on/at he who has gone". I wrote "...she who has gone". Hmmm... memories.
Doesn't affect the "gyate" business, though.

Anonymous said...

What did the Tibetans do to the Chinese after all? It only takes a few selfish people to muck up a good concept.

If the whole world acted as an eye to an eye, we would truly be all blind. Which is a synonym for our ignorance (as in not knowing, as taught by the Buddha)

That is also a good metaphor for samsara and it is the chain of ongoing hurt that we do to each other and/or ourself that perhaps keeps many of us here.

Anonymous said...

Rich said: I think the above from Brad's interview is worth repeating because it shows great wisdom and removes any doubt about his role as a teacher.

They are good words indeed but I wonder about the compassion that is not borne of intellect or logic or selfishness.

Anyway my buddy said kindness is what matters most. Whatever it takes I guess, but I still wonder.


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