Friday, May 08, 2009

SNOW!

First off a very funny video my friend Steve sent me. Does anyone know how to copy a video from YouTube? Cuz I'm sure they'll pull this one off the site.


So I got up this morning and looked out the window of the place they're putting me up here in Saskatoon and it snowed last night!

I've heard it can snow up here any month of the year and it's true! I bet it is not snowing in Santa Monica.

Last night's talk at McNally Robinson Bookstore went very well. I actually read out of Zen Wrapped in Karma, which is something I don't normally do. I chose the chapter called "In Which I Have to Take a Pee Really Bad." One of the less embarrassing ones for me personally. The audience responded well and I got a lot of good questions. This one made it on tape. But I chose not to tape the reading itself and just got the Q&A session.

One of these days I have to do something with all these tapes. But I haven't decided what. I've been handing the camera over to someone brave enough to film each event and taking whatever I get. Some of the resulting tapes are better than others. I could extract the audio and use them as podcasts, in which case the video quality doesn't really matter much. I've also thought of selling them as DVD-R's. Though I don't know if there's an audience for that.

I've had some lovely Northern hospitality while I've been here in the prairie lands of Canada. I'll be here a few more days doing some fairly low-key classes and suchlike. But the major events of the first leg of the tour are now complete. Next it's back home for a bit and then a short jump to New Mexico after which I get to rest up a little for the trip to Europe.

Someone yesterday asked me about a certain uber famous Zen Master's rewording of the precept that usually goes "No selling of wine, no drinking of wine." Nishijima gives this one as, "Don't live by selling liquor." Apparently the Zen Superstar in question has expanded this to include intoxicating mental stimuli such as "bad" TV shows, "bad" music, "bad" books and so on.

I can understand this. Sometimes I visit peoples' houses and they've got a TV blaring away in every bedroom and a radio tuned to some kind of inflammatory shock jock in the kitchen. They get in their car and the radio goes on again. They stimulate themselves wherever they go. Then they wonder why their minds won't ever settle down. But if you keep poking and prodding at that lump of hamburger in your head 24/7 there's gonna be a residual effect.

So to that extent it may be better to eliminate some of that stimulation. It's not sinful to view or listen to anything. It's just that you gotta know it has some effect on you. This is why I don't read the comments section here anymore. I didn't want or need that manner of stimulation.

But I'll tell you one thing. Damn straight tonight I'm gonna go see the new Star Trek!

51 comments:

alan said...

I'm with Brad on the stimulation stuff. I'm beginning to wonder if the web surfing that I do is any good for my mental balance.

Just have to keep watching and wondering.

No answers, but lots of questions.

Alejandro said...

I'm holding out for 'Terminator Salvation". Burger over well, please.

outcastspice said...

there's lots of ways to download youtube videos! I find http://keepvid.com/ easy and convenient.

Anonymous said...

Apparently the Zen Superstar in question has expanded this to include intoxicating mental stimuli such as "bad" TV shows, "bad" music, "bad" books and so on.Yeah, you mean Thich Nhat Hanh. A real idiot.

mountaintop moisture said...

Star Trek Tonight! Well that's one thing Brad and I see eye to eye on. Zen nerds, gotta love em.

I agree too that expanding the alcohol precept to bad movies, music, etc. is kinda silly. Who gets to determine which is which? Roger Ebert? Rolling Stone? Nearly as silly as that other uber-famous zen master expanding it to include hallucinogens like lsd and mushrooms. Oh wait! That was Brad.

mtto said...

Yes, Brad is referring to Thich Nhat Hanh's version of the precepts. No, he's not an idiot. Mr. Anon, I'm not sure if you were being sarcastic or not...

THE FIFTH PRECEPT: DIET FOR A MINDFUL SOCIETY - for the wording in question as well as a commentary.

Something I like about this version (as well as most versions of Buddhist precepts) : It generally guides you in the right direction, but doesn't pretend to make your decisions for you. The precepts are like a compass guiding you North. You never really get to "North" and that is not the point anyway. There is no list of banned films, and no specific set-in-stone set of criteria. Thich Nhat Hanh wrote a biography of the Buddha in novel form and it has violence in it. There is murder, even a serial killer.

Who decides if something is toxic? You do. You are responsible for your life.

And Brad didn't actually write that he thought that expanding the precept was silly. He wrote that he tended to agree.

mtto said...

5. Suramerayamajja pamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.


This is the oldest version of the precept. Much shorter than Thich Nhat Hanh's version! But it does include hallucinogens like lsd and mushrooms. If you want to trip, go ahead but don't kid yourself - the Buddha recommended abstinence.

mtto said...

Pure Snow

Anonymous said...

Brad, Firefox has an quick and easy downloader..

http://www.downloadhelper.net/tutorial.php?id=nfkFO9_SwIo

Anonymous said...

mountaintop moisture said...
"Nearly as silly as that other uber-famous zen master expanding it to include hallucinogens like lsd and mushrooms. Oh wait! That was Brad."

glad to see that there are other buddhists
who are rational about psychedelics and
practice the middle way:
everything in moderation.

tripping (and drinking and toking and ...)
every once in a while is good for the soul
(which doesn't really exist anyway).

yep, star trek at imax on acid
tonight!

and then zazen again tomorrow,
(after coming down, of course ;)

mtto said...

the middle way:
everything in moderation.

That's not what the middle way means, at least not in Buddhism.

Anonymous said...

just say know -- hungry coyote

Rich said...

Brad said:
"This is why I don't read the comments section here anymore. I didn't want or need that manner of stimulation. "

This is confusing. Do you think that others should also not read the comments, or that's OK because others may be able to tolerate 'that manner of stimulation'. Also, Have you considered turning off the comments. It sounds like you want the benefits of a blog but not the responsibilities.

Anonymous said...

Bodhisattva Jack (Kerouac, of course) leaves off the 5th precept in his Some of the Dharma. wonder why....

--Melford

alan said...

Rich said:

"This is confusing. Do you think that others should also not read the comments, or that's OK because others may be able to tolerate 'that manner of stimulation'. Also, Have you considered turning off the comments. It sounds like you want the benefits of a blog but not the responsibilities."

Of course its confusing because you aren't Brad. In addition, Brad is not trying to tell you what to do about the comment section. You will have to figure this out for yourself.

I can think of a few thought experiments to "explain" any number of ways of looking at the comments. None of them are the "right" way, but all are possible.

For example, this is Brads Blog. His writing, his thoughts. Other people come to comment and leave comments he believes are mean, wrong or stupid. So he gets upset. Why read the blog then?

OK, then why let other people read the Blog comments or leave comments?

Maybe they are not as emotionally attached to the Blog. After all its not their Blog. (I fall into this category). I might learn something valuable from the comments.

In fact, I have.

I don't get pissed of by the angry or mean comments, cause its not my Blog. Its actually kind of fun to read, both the blog and the comments.

Except sometimes I get over stimulated by something here and start thinking about it to much.

So I may have to stop reading the darn thing someday. But not yet.

Harry said...

That KISS vid is a fooking masterpiece! I nearly did a mirth wee wee.

Regards,

H.

Mysterion said...

Anyone who has small children at home should not own a television.

Mysterion said...

Rich said...

Brad said:
"This is why I don't read the comments section I didn't want or need that manner of stimulation. "

This is confusing. Do you think that others should also not read the comments (?), or that's OK because others may be able to tolerate 'that manner of stimulation'?

When I talked to Brad about this very thing at Diesel Books, he said he got a chuckle out of some of my comments.

To be fair to everyone (?), Brad would need to read ALL the comments with equal attentiveness. Yet, in a moment of failure (being somewhat judgmental), Brad has decided to look at some (but not "READ") of the comments from time to time - time permitting.

So, I suspect he might say ~ What does Phil O'Hoddaire have to say, today - and read one comment (without reading any other comment in a group of 30, 50, or 100 - or whatever).

So it's not like Brad never looks.

Ga-show-time

floating_abu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jinzang said...

The fact that Brad doesn't read my comments makes me cross and peevish. But I didn't go see him in Washington. (Got my own center to attend to, sorry!) So I guess we're even. But I'm glad I didn't cross tracks with that big, hairy, heavy metal dude, he looked scary!

floating_abu said...

Rich - FWIW I agree, but I am not sure Brad's motivations are as yours might be - helping people/taking responsibility etc. Audience comments/stimulation is important for his marketing efforts and that's probably more his foucus, rather than any genuine exercise for others at this point in his life. To be fair to Brad, this is just a blog and at least personally, I don't take what Brad says very seriously myself from a Zen Buddhism perspective. With best wishes to Brad and his family of course.

Thich Nhat Hanh, incidentally, is a very wonderful Zen Master, we are lucky to have him around.

floating_abu said...

The fact that Brad doesn't read my comments makes me cross and peevish. But I didn't go see him in Washington. (Got my own center to attend to, sorry!) So I guess we're even.

lol

But I've got my own gripe with you, Jinzang! Changing emails, not responding to messages. Was a bit uspetting.

Hope all is going swimmingly.

Jinzang said...

I can't promise that I'll never drop a message, but anyone looking for enlightenment or a good restaurant recommendation in Baltimore can find me through the contact me link on my website.

grisom said...

Hee hee. Ohhh, man, I love all these Canada posts. It snowed last night! Silly Brad! Don't you know it's still winter?

Anonymous said...

st sanders who did the kiss vid has done
a bunch of shred vids.

wonderful stuff.

barry

floating_abu said...

Jinzang - Thanks.

Rich said...

Mysterion said:
"To be fair to everyone (?), Brad would need to read ALL the comments with equal attentiveness. Yet, in a moment of failure (being somewhat judgmental), Brad has decided to look at some (but not "READ") of the comments from time to time - time permitting."

I kind of understand Brad's view but it seems to me he is missing an opportunity to guide this conversation in a positive way which would help in modulating the crazy negative hateful comments. One could say that listening to too much music is overstimulating, and the same for web surfing etc. Doesn't he ever feel like making a comment in his own blog? Seems natural that he would but can't for some reason. Ofcause I'm just speculating because I'm overstimulated.

Anonymous said...

i understand what thich nhat hahn (dont discount his smarts cause he's famous) was saying. hahn is a teetotaller himself and even if he might personally disapprove of drinking, you are the one ultimately responsible for yourself and your path. there is no true sin (excepting acid washed jean shorts). and regarding pschedelics, even warner speaks mildly against them in pursuit of a buddhist ideal

Mysterion said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"and regarding pschedelics, even warner speaks mildly against them..."

which warner?

Anonymous said...

Funny that the original precept against intoxicants pertained to lsd. Especially since it was first synthesized in 1938. Nor do I think psylocybin mushrooms were in use in ancient India during Siddhartha's time. I haven't used any drugs in years and years but I don't think they're evil when used correctly. Set, setting, moderation, right motivation.

Another very obvious reason Brad does not like to read the comments here may have nothing to do with irrational haters or angry posters. He just seems to dislike reading anything that contradicts his own opinions and views anyone that dares to disagree with him as angry irrational or mean.

Really said...

"Funny that the original precept against intoxicants pertained to lsd."

Well it didn't, silly.

"Nor do I think psylocybin mushrooms were in use in ancient India during Siddhartha's time."

Maybe yes, maybe no. But vedic literature is full of SOMA - wiki it. So intoxicating drug(s) other than alcohol were not only known, but considered indespensible to the spiritual practice of Gautama's time.

"[Brad] just seems to dislike reading anything that contradicts his own opinions..."

Perhaps no more than you or I. But I, like you, have no way of knowing, however it may "seem".

Jinzang said...

Brad's made his opinion on psychedelics clear, I don't need to repeat them. Some people have been helped by psychedelics and I'm glad for that. Maybe we'll have a sane drug policy in this country some day and psychiatrists will be able to use psychedelics to help people. But you're fooling yourself if you think that psychedelic experiences have anything to do with realization or enlightenment. Enlightenment is something you have already. You just have to sit down and pay attention to your mind and let all the bullshit thoughts settle down and sooner or later you will see it. The idea that what we have already is not enough, that we have to become something better, maybe through some drug, is a significant obstacle to seeing this.

Harry said...

Hi,

Just a note to say that, in the lineage that Brad is in, he would have been instructed to drop body, drop mind, drop everything, including attention, non-attention, 'enlightenment', 'delusion' etc etc etc...

"Even if some physically understand sitting to be the Buddha-Dharma, none has realized sitting as sitting. How then can they be maintaining and relying upon the Buddha-Dharma as the Buddha-Dharma?" (Shobogenzo Zanmai-o-Zanmai).

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Nor do I think psylocybin mushrooms were in use in ancient India during Siddhartha's time."

cf. SomaJinzang said...
"Enlightenment is something you have already. You just have to sit down and pay attention to your mind and let all the bullshit thoughts settle down and sooner or later you will see it."

Could it be possible that a chemical
might help one's mind "settle down"?
Or even help one notice or "see"
something that one has not noticed
or seen before?

Or are you suggesting that whatever
it is that happens to longtime sitters
is not a biochemical process,
but rather something supernatural
or mystical or whateverthefuck?

Mysterion said...

Mr. Google sez:

Datura in Buddhist Tantra

Both Datura stramonium and Datura metel are well-documented in India and Tibet. In Sanskrit datura is known as dhattūra, while in Tibetan the plant is da dhu ra or thang phrom. Datura's effects were described in several ayurvedic materia medica. It is mentioned in the Kāmasūtra (ca. 4th-6th century CE), which says: "If food be mixed with the fruit of the thorn apple (dathura) it causes intoxication". It also advises a man to anoint his penis with honey infused with datura and long peppers (pippali = Piper lungum) before sexual intercourse to make his partner "subject to his will". -- Vātsyāyana. The Kama Sutra of Vatsyayana. trans. Richard Burton. Modern Library. 2002. p 188,181.

sourceBy the way, here is the "garden of eden" and the fall from grace (in Buddhist Scripture):

"Now people remained a long, long time enjoying the savory earth for their food and support; and so long as they did thus, mere coarseness entered into their bodies and differences of caste arose.[1] Some people were beautiful and others were ugly. Then those who were beautiful despised the ugly ones and said: "We are handsomer than these, they are uglier than we." And by reason of their conceit of color the savory earth disappeared among those born with pride and conceit. When the savory earth had vanished, they met together and lamented, saying: "Oh, the savor! oh, the savor!" Even now, when men have taken some surpassing[2] dainty they say the same: "Oh, the savor! Oh, the savor!" In this they imitate exactly the ancient primeval men, but know not the meaning thereof.

After the savory earth had disappeared, there sprang up for those people a fine kind of moss. It was somewhat like a mushroom, and in color, scent, and savor was like unto ghee or butter. And even as a little honey undefiled, such was its taste.

[3]Then, as before, they ate the fine moss and lived a long time thereon, while coarseness entered still more into their bodies, and differences of caste arose. Also, as before, the beautiful despised the ugly, whereupon the fine moss disappeared. When it was gone a sweet creeper sprang up, which was somewhat like the cadamba, and in color, scent, savor, and taste, as the other foods before. The same experience was repeated, and the sweet creeper vanished away. Then they met together and lamented, saying: "Alas for us! Alas! the sweet creeper has failed us!" Even now, when

[1. The word caste is simply color or complexion.

2. The word "surpassing" is literally divine or angelic. As in the Old Testament, this word is used to mean great or fine.

3. Here and in following paragraphs the exact phraseology of the preceding narrative is tediously repeated in the Pâli, but it is no part of a translator's business to perpetuate these mannerisms. [Their use is to preserve the text from corruption.]

p. 212 men are touched by some divine catastrophe, they say the same: "Alas for us! Alas, it has failed us!" They recall the very letter of the ancient primeval men, but know not the meaning thereof.

Now, when the sweet creeper had gone from those people, a delicate rice appeared, without coating or husk, pure, sweet-scented, and with the fruit already winnowed. They fetched food at evening for supper, and in the morning it was ripe and grown again. They fetched food in the morning for breakfast, and at evening it was ripe and grown again. It was not known to fail. Then the people lived a long, long time, enjoying the delicate rice for their food and support; and so long as they did thus, mere coarseness entered more and more into their bodies and differences of caste arose.

Then the organ of womanhood appeared in the woman and the organ of manhood in the man. And the woman offered to the man strong drink in excess, and the man unto the woman. And as they did so, passion arose, and suffering entered into their bodies. By reason of the suffering they indulged in the act of sex. Then, when people saw them in those days, indulging thus, some threw dust and others ashes, and others cow-dung, saying: "Perish, vile wench! Perish, vile wench!" And again: "How can one being do such a thing unto another?" Even now, in some country places, when a murderess is being executed, some people throw dust, others ashes, and others cow-dung.[1] They recall the very letter of the ancient primeval men, but know not the meaning thereof."


sourcethe western book (bible) is recycled Indian folklore...

Jinzang said...

Could it be possible that a chemical might help one's mind "settle down"?

Psychedelics do not make the mind settle down.

Or even help one notice or "see" something that one has not noticed or seen before?

Possibly one can see something new, therefore they can have value. But the inisght into the nature of mind almost always happens to a mind settled by meditation. There's a reason why we sit and it's not masochism.

Jinzang said...

Are you suggesting that whatever it is that happens to longtime sitters is not a biochemical process, but rather something supernatural or mystical or whateverthefuck?

What we're talking about is an understanding of what mind is. This understanding comes from dropping our false ideas. And we see they are false by simply paying attention to them and finally seeing that they don't correspond to how things are, they're an assumption we've added to the facts.

Presumably each time we understand a new fact, or drop an old lie, there's a biochemical change in the brain. But there's no reason to believe that two people who understand the same fact have the same biochemical change. That is, no reason to believe that distinct understandings map one to one to distinct biochemical changes. And certainly there's no reason to believe ingesting a chemical can give you kensho any more than ingesting a chemical can teach you Sanskrit grammar

mountaintop moisture said...

Perhaps no more than you or I. But I, like you, have no way of knowing, however it may "seem".Yep. And in the same way Brad has no way of knowing whether those that disagree with him are haters or angry. Might be projecting his own mindstates on others.

To echo what Jinzang said, psychedelics may well be useful for some people under some conditions (as therapy aids, etc) and I think they can also reveal certain insights about our subconscious content and motivations. But they can never actually produce enlightenment since enlightenment isn't a vision or concept, it's just seeing things as they are.

Jinzang said...

Brad has no way of knowing whether those that disagree with him are haters or angry. Might be projecting his own mindstates on others.

Sure. But to be fair to Brad, some of the people expressing their disagreements with Brad have been pretty damn nasty about it, even by Internet standards.

John Furia said...

He wrote for series such as... "Kung Fu,"

Mysterion said...

I have few doubts that magic mushrooms were used in the Hindi, Jain, Buddhist, Christian, and Islamic cults during their 'formative years.'

Allegro's book comes to mind.

But is is more than a mere book that leads my thinking in this direction.

Persephone and the eleusian mystery school, Shiva and the Hindu, ancients, and yes, even Buddha...

"Buddha died, according to legend, from a mushroom (truffle?) that grew underground. Buddha was given the mushroom by a peasant who believed it to be a delicacy. In ancient verse, that Tassili mushroom shaman ala dimitri mushroom was linked to the phrase "pig's foot" but has never been identified. (Although truffles grow underground and pigs are used to find them, no deadly poisonous species are known.)" source MOREPerhaps "Buddha died" is metaphorical or even allegorical. Buddha may have "tripped" without falling. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

"Sure. But to be fair to Brad, some of the people expressing their disagreements with Brad have been pretty damn nasty about it, even by Internet standards.'

To be fair to the internet, I think it was Brad who set the standards around here. But he doesn't want to hear that part of the equation..

Banky said...

Dear Mr. Warner,

I recently recieved a copy of your newest book and have been reading it thouroughly for the past few days. I love it. But, the reason I'm writing is because of the way and timing your book has fallen into my life. I read your first book when I was in high school going through heavy times in my life and began practicing zazen. It really changed my life. I joined the military and lost the practice. Forgotten it even. I recently began backsliding again and your new book made it's way to me. My reading has reawakened my want to practice zazen again, but I want to do it right this time. My identity I'm writing with is also my gmail account and I'd like to speak with you more about Zen, practices, and precepts. I understand that you are very busy, but I feel like you are the most trustworthy teacher available. Zen has been brought into my life twice, both at similar times of need, both through you or indirectly by your books to be truthful. Feel free to email me at any time via my gmail account. Thank you for your time.

Devon D.

Anonymous said...

Jinzang said... [yada-yada-yada]

A chemical may not be able to cause
one to fully grok all of Sanskrit
grammar in a moment (like instantly
learning how to fly a helicopter in
"The Matrix"), but it may allow one
to concentrate more effectively and
thus learn a little more efficiently.

Also, psychedelics produce a whole
range of effects depending on "set
and setting", dosage, timing, etc.

The multi-hour descent is often
more interesting than the peaking
and sometimes might be described
as "being in the moment" (to use
a hard-to-replace phrase that's
now become a trite cliche).

(BTW, whatever "balancing the
autonomic nervous system" means,
it sure sounds like it
has something to do with
biochemical processes ;)

And no one but you said anything
about one-to-one mappings --
different drugs for different
nervous systems (at different times).

Also, perhaps in the future, new
drugs will be discovered/invented
that will be less blunt in their
effects and allow us to better
use them as beneficial tools.

Really said...

I said:

"So intoxicating drug(s) other than alcohol were not only known, but considered indespensible to the spiritual practice of Gautama's time."

To be clear, I should have added:
"...until he came along."

Jinzang said...

feel like you are the most trustworthy teacher available. Zen has been brought into my life twice, both at similar times of need, both through you or indirectly by your books to be truthful. Feel free to email me at any time via my gmail account.

Brad does not read the comments regularly, you would do better to email him directly. I don't intend any criticism of Brad's ability as a teacher, but you would do better to find a teacher in your own area that you can talk to face to face.

Jinzang said...

Perhaps in the future, new drugs will be discovered/invented that will be less blunt in their
effects and allow us to better use them as beneficial tools.


I can see that the future of Buddhism in America is tripped out stoner Buddhism. "Put down that sutra and pass me the hash pipe."

Neil said...

I guess people like Jinzang are lucky that nobody does regulate the comments here since they can use it for shameless self promotion...

"Jinzang said...
I can't promise that I'll never drop a message, but anyone looking for enlightenment or a good restaurant recommendation in Baltimore can find me through the contact me link on my website."

Jeebuz, use your own damn blog man.

Brad -- you rule. Thanks for coming to Saskatoon.

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

I asked the question and got an answer. It's called humour, Neil. Hang ten . :-)

Anonymous said...

酒店經紀PRETTY GIRL 台北酒店經紀人 ,酒店經紀 酒店兼差PRETTY GIRL酒店公關 酒店小姐 彩色爆米花酒店兼職,酒店工作 彩色爆米花禮服店, 酒店上班,酒店工作 PRETTY GIRL酒店喝酒酒店上班 彩色爆米花台北酒店酒店小姐 PRETTY GIRL酒店上班酒店打工PRETTY GIRL酒店打工酒店經紀 彩色爆米花