Friday, July 31, 2009


Are you tired? Listless? Is life getting you down?

Are the girls running away from you when you try to pick them up?

Are the boys ignoring the handkerchiefs you drop?

Need money? Power? Fame? A nice car?

Then come to Hill Street Center tomorrow morning at 10 AM (details are on the link over to your left <<<) for ZAZEN WITH BRAD™!!!

Zazen with Brad™ is the answer to all your problems!

You will be happy forever! You'll get more high quality ass than you can possibly handle! You'll get a good job with higher pay! Every cake you bake will turn out more tasty than your neighbor's! You'll have massive abs! A tighter, curvier butt! Cuter eyelashes! Your tennis game will improve dramatically! Your ukelele will always be perfectly in tune! Your dog will never poop where he's not supposed to again! You'll see God!

...or not. How the fuck should I know?

But I do know this is the last class at Hill Street Center I'll be attending for the next 2 months. I'll probably skeedaddle right after for the World Guitar Show down the street. But who knows? You may be able to actually speak to Brad Warner himself!

Imagine two full hours at a house by the beach with Zen Master Brad Warner Roshi and just four or five other people (or however many show up). What will happen as you delve deeply into your Self with the help of one of the great Zen masters of our time, allowing you to experience realizations usually requiring years of sitting meditation? How much will your life change with this type of deep and intimate help from a true master? How deep will you go? How deep will Brad go? How much awakening will you experience? How will you feel about your Self after you awaken with Brad?

Direct and extended face-to-face time with an awakened master is an exciting and rare opportunity. Those lucky enough to receive this type of personal attention can experience years, even decades, of progress in just a few days, shedding illusions that have held them back, experiencing deep realizations about their true nature, increasing their wisdom and compassion, and increasing their ability to serve others, making their cocks three inches longer and their nipples so high and hard they can put a man's eye out!

How can you afford to miss out on such an opportunity???

Answer: YOU CAN'T!


Mysterion said...


Mumon said...


Mysterion said...

p.s. I hope "they" get it (the 'performance art' of your post).

Like a rope casting a shadow... I fear "some" won't.

elvis said...


Anonymous said...

sir, here is a blank check. write whatever number you want and i will pay it.

Anonymous said...

lmfao you sure you ain't Genpo's alter ego Brad ?

Anonymous said...

was that a typo?

it's supposed to be 'awkward' zen master, right?

door knob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
door knob said...

Great post, Brad. Satire slices through the BS better than any reasoned argument ever can.

Mumon said...

While it's still the subject of "Genpo" Roshi, come it's not Gempo Roshi?

Is that to prove how much he's "Westernized" Zen is that he doesn't have to use no stinkin' Japanese pronunciation rules?

Just wonderin'.

Jinzang said...

That's the new book cover? Lordy, Lordy!

Anonymous said...

Bran Reward is an anagram of Brad Warner and if you type 'Bran Reward' into Google you come across the following. Conspiracy or what?

A thought just occurred to me on how similar life is to sultana bran, and people treat life in the same way. For those that don't know sultana bran is a cereal that contains flakes and sultanas and often there are many more flakes then there are sultana's.

It seems that the flakes of sultana bran are life's problems, while the sultanas are the rewards. Often we get far more problems in life then we get rewards as that's just the way life works, it doesn't give rewards unless the person works hard for it and if the person gives up then they don't get anything.

So people spend their lives digging through the problems (which are the flakes of sultana bran) in search of rewards (the sultanas), in order to get to the sultanas they must constantly tackle the problems first. So they dig away dig away and eventually they go through about 3-4 problems then they decide its just too hard and the reward isn't worth it. When there was a sultana just below that last flake! So they start on a different stack of problems, digging away, digging away in search of sultanas, and in that pile too they get through 3-4 problems then give up as they decide there are no rewards there. Meanwhile, just below this thin layer of flakes lies a hidden cache of amazing sultanas!

Far too often people continue to look for the sultanas in life but never receive any (apart from the few crappy ones on top) because they give up just before they reach them. Its true the rule I heard before that 90% of people give up when they are 10% away from success. So continue to push yourself that 10% more in every area of life and I guarantee you'll reap massive rewards.

Are you constantly giving up just before the sultanas of life, or digging your way through and reaping the rewards?

Life is like a bowl of Sultana Bran

Empty The Movie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jinzang said...

how come it's not Gempo Roshi?

For the same reason that it's rinpoche (one million Google hits) and not rimpoche (one hundred forty thousand hits). Or, even more obscurely, rimboche (three thousand hits).

It's every American's God given right to mangle the pronunciation and spelling of foreign words. How many times have I seen walla for voila on the 'net?

Anonymous said...

get OUT!

is that the cover and title of your newly finished book?


are you?

a wang said...

Brad needs to get real-time translation into 27 languages.

The benefits outweigh the risks - or not. But then again, perhaps they never have. On the other hand...

Chicken Little said...

Speaking of comic escapes, where is Wiley?

Jack Daw said...

Your problem, Brad, is that you have no appreciation for sarcasm.

I shed illusions just reading your post and staring at your glorious, glorious crotch.

Is it normal to get hard during zazen?

Awesome, Brad! Keep it up.

Olen said...

I'm glad you're following through with what you said in your last book, about being more of an asshole. I dig it, honestly.

Anonymous said...

So, does my ass hurt because of sitting on the zafu, or because I "woke up" next to Master Brad? would explain the lube.

amanda said...

Brad Warner has forgotten more about Reality™ than you will ever know.

Mumon said...



And if Kwan Yin had wanted Genpo Roshi to have a Chinese name, well, s/he would have said so!

Inka THIS said...

Oh my god!

I just looked at my Inka certificate. I got my dharma transmission from AAMCO!

You'll have to take that with a grain of Salt Lake.

bob said...

Price list

I'm in the wrong business!

RDeWald said...

Wow. It all makes sense now, or I expect it will after I send in my check. Do you take Paypal?

Anonymous said...

Book title by John Lennon and book cover suggested by Mick Jagger.

Originality is nothing by judicious imitation. The most original writers borrowed one from another.

- Voltaire

Anonymous said...

I say. You chaps over the pond. Sons and daughters of emigres and all that. Genetic disposition to seeing happiness 'out there' perhaps? Just wondered. Now, must make a cup of tea and get ready for the cricket. Immersion in action and all that...

icebucket said...

Brad Warner Fanbois.

German Edition of this blog had a post of people gathering for creating fan clubs.

Yes, it's true.

Good teachers are hard to find. Let them kids start the craze and then be totally disappointed when they recognize that Ven. Warner does indeed fart, belch, and swear not for any skillful means teaching reason rather because he just is a human being. Perhaps one who sees more what he is doing.

Imitators unite!!! YEAH!

Who of us ranters would like to swap with Brad?

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Some of that copy looks vaguely familiar..

proulx michel said...

one of the great Zen masters of our time

I would have written "one of the greatest Zen Masters of our time"...

Really said...


We get it. If your reading even a few of the comments these days, you must know that you've stimulated every shade of opinion on the Genpo thing and related matters.

May we please move on.

Justin said...

Nice cover/title.

Stephanie said...

OK, let's get this straight.

Sitting won't improve your love life or put more money in your wallet.

It won't solve every problem in your life and make you happy forever. Actually, it solves few, if any, "real" problems.

It may or may not induce spectacular experiences but even if it does, these are ultimately meaningless and quickly fade.

Judging from your books, it doesn't give you any particularly profound insight into important matters such as "why we're here," etc., other than making a person appreciate "the now" a little more.

Sitting does not give us beauty, skills, wealth, social rewards, or knowledge. It does not clarify the matters we come to the cushion with, such as wanting to connect with a higher principle. "Kensho smensho" you say.

And you wonder why only five people come to sit at Hill Street? How much more despairing a religious philosophy could you get?

Sisyphus is not impressed.

Ad hominem said...

Steph -

"It does not clarify the matters we come to the cushion with, such as wanting to connect with a higher principle."

Yes, it does. But that higher principle is not the kind of thing you might suppose, or expect, it to be.

There again, as I suggested some suggestions ago, don't sit. What's wrong with that?

Ad hominem said...


It may do...

Ad hominem said...

OR, Steph - -

You want to sit? Do.
You don't want to sit? Don't.
You're not sure if you want to sit, or not. OK - maybe you will; maybe you won't.

What will happen if you sit? How the hell would I know?

Not being snarkey, you understand, just trying to identify the 'real issue' here.

alan said...

You may be able to actually speak to Brad Warner himself!

I'd settle for that. If it actually happened.

hendrik said...

Awesome book cover Brad, and a great couple of posts.

In this age of materialistic medicine and over-reliance on drugs I applaud you for bringing up Zen in health contexts.

Good luck with the book!


Brad Warner said...


When people asked Kodo Sawaki what they would get from doing Zazen, Sawaki always answered, "Nothing!"

In Zen Wrapped in Karma I talked about how my Zen practice kept me from committing suicide. In Hardcore Zen I talked about how it gave me a deep and life-changing insight into the nature and origin of myself as well as all of creation. It's hard for me to demand much more of the practice than that.

Yet in some ways I feel I betrayed the people who helped me on this path by saying even that much.

Like Sawaki, I probably should have promised nothing at all. Because if you're looking for profound experiences, that very hunger for experience will keep you from ever seeing the truth.

Anyway, I gotta go take a shower.


alan said...


Like an idiot zen newbie, I'll try and address each one of your points as I understand the theory.

Sitting won't improve your love life or put more money in your wallet.

>>Absolutely. Unless you are Wiber or Gempo.

It won't solve every problem in your life and make you happy forever. Actually, it solves few, if any, "real" problems.

>> Absolutely. Although I'm not sure what a "real" problem is. I'm pretty sure wanting to be happy forever is a real problem that zen can help with.

It may or may not induce spectacular experiences but even if it does, these are ultimately meaningless and quickly fade.

>> Again true. Although maybe not meaningless unless you try to repeat them.

Judging from your books, it doesn't give you any particularly profound insight into important matters such as "why we're here," etc., other than making a person appreciate "the now" a little more.

>> I would differ with this statement. I would say the claim is not that you will appreciate "the now", instead you will spend less time in your head and more time just being now.

Sitting does not give us beauty, skills, wealth, social rewards, or knowledge. It does not clarify the matters we come to the cushion with, such as wanting to connect with a higher principle. "Kensho smensho" you say.

>> Can't comment on this one. Although I'm still as homely as ever. And haven't lost any money to speak of.

And you wonder why only five people come to sit at Hill Street? How much more despairing a religious philosophy could you get?

>> Can't think of any more somber, but my own experience is not that zen is despairing. Just boring.

Sisyphus is not impressed.

>> Sisyphus to me is an example of a good zen student. He just does what he has to do, every moment.

My impression of one of the aspects of zen is taken from an old quote (paraphrased badly) from Ram Dass.

He said that a life time of practice had not rid him of any of his problems.

The only change was the before his problems were horrible monsters that frightened him badly. Now he says, the monsters remain, but he can invite them to tea and cookies.

Mysterion said...

A couple of years ago, Brad used to labor over answering: "What will Zazen do for ME?"

Lately, as I attended a few of his book signings, Brad has answered: "I don't know. But that is because I don't know you (well) nor do I know what issues you are working on."

On an academic level (with no emotional attachments) I have been a Buddhist for barely 47 years.

I got into Buddhism (and Zazen) to help me concentrate for my Judo practice. My Judo practice never went anywhere and Zazen has become habitual. Like brushing my teeth, it is just something I do every morning - 365 days a week, rain or shine.

I could give up brushing my teeth - and the additional comfort level that comes from tooth brushing - if unforeseen circumstances made it necessary. But so far that has not happened.

I could give up morning Zazen - and the additional comfort level that comes from Zazen - if unforeseen circumstances made it necessary. For a couple of years, hip pain took my ass off the floor and I did my morning Zazen in a chair. To me, there was no difference in 'comfort level' derived from Zazen.

Working with some of my court kids brought me to the realization that - somewhere along the way - Zazen had greatly attenuated the sense of fear that I might have harbored as a youth (I have no fear of juveniles on probation). Any of these kids could be 'family.' The big example is that I was terrified of German Shepherds then but love them dearly now. Hardly a testimonial for the vast powers of Zazen, but that's the two coppers taht I have to offer.

not much,

Anonymous said...

Stephanie. If you do it for long enough, Zazen can highlight what a crock of shit your reasons are for not getting on with your life. Everyone has a sad story. Zazen simply helps us realise it's just that - a story. Like many people you have too much time on your hands and you waste too much of it thinking. You want something, you earn it - just like the rest of us. The world owes you diddly squat. You're throwing the best years of your life away and the world really doesn't give a fuck in the long run. All those 'helpful' people are using you to inflate their egos and excuse their own laziness. So what are YOU gonna do TODAY? Life is a dewdrop on a blade of grass and all that...

Anonymous said...

Doing zazen gets you that, doing zazen.. Amazingly, over time, that becomes enough.

L. Espenmiller said...

Hilarious. Thanks for a good morning chuckle, Brad. This is why I dig your books. Your sense of humor and sarcasm is right on. And in these crazy times, I can use all the laughs I can get.

Once I relinquished the goal/belief that meditation was supposed to turn me into an ENLIGHTENED SPIRITUAL BEING, I was able to sit. My husband and I've been sitting almost every day for 8 months now. Your books have helped us stick with it.

Now that I get that meditation is difficult, often infuriating, and something I have to sit my ass down every single day to do, I'm able to do it.

I'm glad to have found your irreverent writing and Zen teachings. peace.

gniz said...

Hey All,

Please dont bother giving Steph advice about the wonders and benefits of sitting. If you look at her comment at the end of the previous blog post to this one, she lectures Justin about the importance of forcing his wife to sit even though the woman has no interest in it. Steph also says a lot of other nonsensical things.

So Steph really knows everything already about sitting I think i'm onto your game Steph. Enough with the bullshit. Nobody hear will tell you anything new.

gniz said...

Nobody here will tell you anything new is what i meant to say.

Anonymous said...


Darling, you don't have to sit - not now, not ever. It's a complete waste of time and it hurts anyway so don't worry your sweet little head about it any more...


Anonymous said...

'So Steph really knows everything already about sitting. I think I'm onto your game Steph. Enough with the bullshit. Nobody here will tell you anything new'

Oh dear, how the Buddhists have turned. And to think that Jules was getting his panties all bunched up a couple of days ago (in a butch, defend-the-girl kinda way?) when I suggested the same thing (albeit in a more restrained fashion).

Buddhism isn't that lovely thing you saw in the catalog. It's hard, real and relevant and some people need to get off their high horses, stop spewing out trite crap psychobabble and telling us (in faux modest tones) how long they've been doing it. Whilst it's good to embed your practice, Zen doesn't do long service medals.

Remember the basics:

'Cease the intellectual work of chasing words...devote effort to the truth which is directly accessible and straightforward'.

Steph's problem is accessible and relatively straightforward but until she gains more from dealing with it than having it nothing will change. That's all I was saying the other day.

Now Mystery Man, bore us with some bullshit and some links to nowhere...

Leta said...

gniz and anon 11:44: What do you mean about Steph's problem or game or whatever? Is she just trolling or thinks she's a teacher or something? Or is it an attention thing? I don't quite get it though there's like something off with some stuff I think.

Mysterion said...

"Problem" is not the best word choice, sorry.

"Concern" may be a better word choice.

The one and only "problem" that we all have is that we were born. But before we go off blaming our parents - or a parent (e.g. my mom wanted children following WWII) - there are a variety of reasons that we are born. That is the subject of a talk I will not share here.

Now that we have been born, we have to deal with it. Perchance, some among us were gifted with genetically inherited diseases - from Huntington's to Hemophilia.

Others among us were gifted with verbal, physical, or other abuses. Yet others among us were gifted with environmental challenges - pollution at love canal or one of the other 243 super fund sites (a.k.a. brownfields sites).

For 9 out of 10 humans on earth, life is on the edge of being torturous at best. Welcome to hell, now deal with it.

gniz said...

Honestly I don't know what steph is doing. But I've been reading her stuff for quite some time now. I was always very sympathetic to her until a recent post she made in response to justin. In it she said some stuff that really offended me. But the part that made me call b.s was where she lectured about the value of sitting meditation on the heels of all these posts where she claims not to be sitting and not sure of it's worth and so forth, eliciting all of these responses. Same crap she pulled that got junco to kick her out of treeleaf. It's very disingenous on her part to talk on one hand about her many great insights and then she basically asks for help and advice which she then ignores. All of which is fine but the last straw for me was her insensitive comments to justin about a very sincere thing he wrote

Anonymous said...

From this side of the pond there appears to be an unhealthy obsession with linking therapy and Zazen over there.

Someone on TV the other day defined faith as 'making a virtue out of ignorance'. I have studied some interesting philosophies over the years and note that many make perfect sense until they attempt to try to answer everything.

Buddhists teach meditation.
Therapists deliver therapy.
Surgeons carry out operations.
Engineers build bridges.
Chefs make meals...
That's all I'm saying.

Now I know that Buddhists can cook etc too and a holistic approach might involve using Zazen as a simple form of action which can help to settle the body/mind.

But if talk or massage, psychoanalysis or surgery are necessary they should be delivered in a professional way. This fits within a Buddhist model of separating life into thought, feeling and action for convenience sake but carries less of a risk of the 'helper' getting bogged down in compassionitis and other forms of self-interest.

With regard to Stephanie, I had a strong gut feeling that she was presenting herself as 'incurable' and in some way enigmatic. Now an enigma is a puzzle and what do you do with a puzzle? You solve it. Stephanie can solve her puzzle by sitting and letting it fall away. She may even leave the cushion with some form of insight and solve it that way. Or she may leave with nothing. That's the deal. But if she doesn't really want to solve the puzzle (and become Jo Normal) then neither Zazen, counseling or surgery will make much of a difference. From her replies so far I'm not sure that I was that far off the mark. Arrogant? I hope not. Realistic? I hope so...

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

Trungpa Rinpoche talked a lot about poverty mentality. Which is creating a needy persona and then running around trying to satisfy these imaginary needs. I'm not popular enough, smart enough, good looking enough, successful enough, spiritual enough ... the list is endless. The solution to the problem is not some big lollipop in the sky, which is what some people imagine kensho to be. The solution is to see through the need to need. And that is what practice is all about.

Anonymous said...

Great blog. I can't say I have been a long time practitioner of zazen or a consistent one. Sometimes the things that arise for me have been too much and I need to stop. I need then to discuss the issue with a trusted counsellor. I totally agree that if one longs for "big" or "meaningful" experiences, you might be very disappointed because you have set an expectation. Setting any expectation in life, nevermind zazen, can lead to disappointment.
I did reach a point in my life where my negative thoughts and clinical depression brought me to a legitimate suicide attempt and I had to work hard with therapy, my doctor and my practice to deal with it and overcome the habit of thinking those thoughts. It had become a habit that I really couldn't turn off. I am lucky to be alive and never want to be a slave to the thoughts that brought me so low again. However, I have to be so careful not to have the expectation of NOT having those "negative" thoughts.
That's all I can say, I can't comment on any one else's life experience.

Thanks for reading


Anonymous said...

PS Mysterion, I see you didn't rise to my bate and I rate you for that. Yes I have my own issues at the moment (coming to terms with the diagnosis of a life threatening illness) so perhaps my ability to tolerate the worried well and other bullshit is less well developed than normal. I feel sure that we're saying something similar most of the time and hope that our respective reality checks are useful in some way.
Gassho Big Man
PS Hope to exist for a little longer through Zazen, good diet, gentle exercise and counseling and surgery as necessary. Obviously as a Grade B Buddhist Zazen won't be enough on its own!

Anonymous said...

I left Justin a comment regarding his post about his wife. I hope he reads it. I wish him and his wife all the best. Doing what is helping is what counts no matter what any one else says to you or how they judge you.


Anonymous said...

Caring for and loving someone deeply is not a "band-aid."


Anonymous said...

Gniz, Get off of Stephanie already.. You made your point before. What are you trying to say, that she is a bad person? Maybe she is just mixed up. Enough already.

61 said...


gniz said...

Steph is not a bad person from what I can tell and I honestly don't want to hurt her. She just pissed
Me off. Part of which is that I went to bat for her before and feel a bit taken in. But yes she is prob just confused and deserving of our compassion

Trey Ling Wannabe said...

For immediate, authentic, practical, down-to-earth, useful advice on an up-to-the-minute basis I highly advocate that you visit the Universally Recognized guru - the Swami or, as an alternate, Rinpoche, or even St. Germain.

For informative information, see here.

or not.

Mysterion said...

BTW, fellow cabbages, Brad's new book is on preorder status at amazon...

Expect Brad to become a busy boy - on yet another book promotion circuit for yet another round of book promotions...

Their (Brad Warner & Gudo Nishijima) book is a welcome alternative to Inada's translation.

Also, there's a so-so egghead version:

From Library Journal:
"Professor of philosophy and director of Hampshire College's exchange program with exiled Tibetan scholars, Garfield provides the first Tibetan-to-English translation of eminent second-century Buddhist Nagarjuna's greatest work: Mulamadhyamikarika. Reflecting Indo-Tibetan Prasangika-Madhyamika (Middle Path) School commentaries by Buddhapalita and Candrakirti, it is aimed at Western philosophers, not philologists.

Throughout this profoundly logical text, Nagarjuna meets contrasting dialectical arguments, thereby proving that all phenomena are empty of inherent existence and nothing originates independently of anything else. He forges a middle path between conventional and ultimate truths. In his comments, Garfield compares this complex doctrine with Western philosophical concepts of emptiness and essence, demonstrating its empirical stature. Kenneth Inada's Sanskrit translation, Nagarjuna (1970) is more accessible to general readers, emphasizing the Buddhist mentor as a benign mediator rather than a strict logician. Garfield's text successfully appeals to scholars and is recommended for academic rather than public libraries." Dara Eklund, Los Angeles P.L.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Hey-nonny-nonny-mouse said...

You've read Brad and Gudo's version, have you mysti? Is it the version Gudo originally published on his blog a while back? Or the version Gudo is in the process of publishing on his blog now - both of them rather different and, sadly, both rather incomprehensible - and bearing little relation to the original text. Or is the soon to be published version a clarified, edited version in English, which you have been privy to?

I do hope it's the latter - I'm looking forward to reading Gudo's view of MMK. But you should all know that Gudo's sanskrit is highly questionable, and Brad's is non-existent, so whatever is published is likely to be a highly idiosyncratic book INSPIRED by Nagarjuna's MMK, NOT a translation of it.

If you're interested, check out the wiki entry on mulamadhyamakakarika - it lists all current translations, (including the latest (2002) by Gudo's dharma heir, and original MMK collaborator, Mike Leutchford).

Egghead version? I suggest all versions, save perhaps Batchelor's incomplete, non-literal version, and Luetchford's ( = Streng/Sprung/Mccagney/Kalupahana/Inada and Garfield) are hard going for all but the those with a taste for philosophy; it's a 2nd century philosophical verse text, after all. Its meaning is not always apparent.

As usual, Mysti; giving folks partial information. An irresponsible thing. Why do you keep doing it?

Mumon said...

Wow. I'm impressed. Seriously. Good job, Mr. Warner. "Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way" cannot but be a work of staggering genius (at least it was for Nagarjuna).

Finally (I sound like a reviewer) a book by Warner (& Nishijima) I might buy, despite my reservations about Nishijima's interpretations about zazen.

The only translation I'd been able to find was from a Tibetan version, and it's one of those books that (when your brain's able to do so) you'd re-read and re-read just to marvel and the intellectual fecundity of Nagarjuna.

Good job.

Mumon said...


You know what? I give them credit for trying. I don't do Sanskrit or Pali (though the number "3" in Pali tempts me to try).

But at least they're trying to figure out what the guys said hundreds of years ago; so they're not trying to make stuff up like Ann Coulter does.

Hey-nonny-nonny-mouse said...

Hi Mumon -

I said I'm looking forward to reading it, and I meant that. I consider myself a Dogen Sangha kind guy - god forgive me. But: "You know what? I give them credit for trying" ?? We're not talking about 3rd graders here!

I'm just letting you know what kind of book it's likely to be, and what it won't be. And that if you want to check out the results of others who've tried "to figure out what the guys said hundreds of years ago", you have lots of choice. That's all.

It may be a great book. I hope it is.

belittling b*tch said...

Ann Coulter or Andrew Coulter?

Cornell -1984


Anonymous said...


You want to improve your love life and put more money in your wallet? Try charging for it

You want to solve every problem in your life and be happy forever? Find another planet

You want spectacular experiences? Do drugs

You want profound insight? Do more drugs

You want to connect with a higher principle? Become a Catholic

You want to be with more than five people? Go to a ball game

Who the fuck is Sisyphus anyway?

Hey-nonny-nonny-mouse said...

Mumon - PS...

"so they're not trying to make stuff up..."

Well, Brad, by his own admission, has no sanskrit, and is working merely to make Gudo's draft intelligible. But Gudo (and I repeat: I have very great respect for his teaching) has strayed SO far from the literal text that to say he's making it up might not be too harsh a judgement. What he arrives at in the course of that very creative endevour may make a fascinating and insightful book.

I truly hope so.

Sisyphus said...

pushing a stone up hill all day only to have it roll downhill at night.


Mysterion said...

Oh PLEASE, let's argue over translations. (A PDF link)

Unfortunately, this is why I tend to have multiple translations of most scriptures - when they are available. In the days of my maximum foolishness (e.g. 2 decades ago) when I held the misguided thought that reasonable discourse was possible with a Xtian, I kept 27 modern translations of the 'western bible.' As I recall, there were 15,700 disagreements among them.

I still look forward to Sinaiticus arriving on DVD.

Anonymous said...

Well - I think it's SHIT book cover, Brad. I hope it's not the final one.

I mean, what is it? A guy in jeans, with a semi-visible semi(?) clutching a tyre between his knees. Kinda sub-Sticky Fingers. Is that supposed to be saying "cool"? As in Beatles? As in "we're bigger than Jesus"? Purleeeeze! Get your publisher's art dept to think, man, think!

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hey-nonny-nonny-mouse said...

Mysti -

There's no argument over translations. That's what I believe is called a straw man argument: it's not the point I made. You wrote:

"Their (Brad Warner & Gudo Nishijima) book is a welcome alternative to Inada's translation."

My initial question to you, which remains unanswered, is whether or not you have read the final version of this collaboration. Maybe you have. If you haven't, you cannot evaluate or recommend it over another version, can you? You then wrote:

"Also, there's a so-so egghead version..."

I pointed out that there was more than one alternative version, and questioned what "egg-head version", in the context of all those available versions, might mean.

At no time did I argue for or against, or even discuss, the different translations. OK?

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

Good lord, what have I gotten myself into! I can't keep track of all these responses! lol!

Thank you all...

I guess I just haven't quite gotten to the point where I've let go of all the things I've wanted truth and reality to be. But slowly, with each painful loss and disappointment, I get closer, because there is less to lose and to give up.

Perhaps it is just because of my disposition my spiritual life has been as it's been, but it's taken me tremendous suffering to take even the littlest baby steps on the path. But for that reason, even without having experienced any profound insight that set it all straight for me, there is something I cannot quite explain that seems to be happening. It is bleak, but funny and wonderful. I feel armorless, but fearless.

gniz, honey child, what I am saying I have found to be important is facing whatever we don't want to face. I don't think Justin's wife needs to sit. There are a million ways to face the Beast / the Shadow. In my case, sitting helped me get part of the way there, but it was a lot else that was necessary to really start tearing down the paper shack I built for myself.

As for now... I find I am not sitting because I find it truly useless. All the crap I used to bring to the cushion with me is gone, so for now I am not going to the cushion at all. I suspect this will pass eventually and I will find my way back. But it will be very different once I do.

I wouldn't expect anyone here to be taking any notes from me on how to practice. Good Lord. Even if I grow up to become a great sage--and not just another crazy recluse--the path I will have walked to get there would hardly be universally recommended to all. I've got to work my own shit out, as everyone else here does.

And Anon@9:28AM: What nonsense you talk! My life continues to get on with itself whatever I think about it or not.

Hey-nonny-nonny-mouse said...

OK Mysti -

"...we had an ongoing 'in context' thread here where I had no need to restate the various nuances of your nebulous snipes".

Well, you got me there. WTF does that mean??

Yes, there are alternative "original" texts. The disparity between ANY of those texts (wtf has pali got to do with it?), whether in Sanskrit, chinese, Japanese or English, of whatever era, does not explain Gudo's translation, as thus far published on his blog. Are you telling me that you can discern more than the most tenuous of connections? [You haven't told me yet whether you've been given access to the final draft]. If so, please give me your analysis of Gudo's tranlation of the pdf excerpt you linked - verses 11-20 of chapter 17. Or any other passage. But I suspect - from previous mistakes you've made on this blog - that you have very little sanskrit yourself. So that won't be happening.

I repeat: his sanskrit is highly questionable - something I know not merely from what I've seen on the blog - and Brad's is non-existent, so whatever is published is likely to be a highly idiosyncratic book INSPIRED by Nagarjuna's MMK, NOT a translation of it. It may still be a good book. What is your problem with that? What part of it do you take issue with?

If you have a different view, I wonder what informs it. I can only assume it has its origins in wishful thinking about who you suppose Gudo to be. And very little to do with the evidence of what he's published so far of the MMK.

Hey-nonny-nonny-mouse said...

Mysti wrote, referring to me:

"...the various nuances of your nebulous snipes."

Mysti then wrote:

"Back in the mid 1980s, I always enjoyed standing in the middle of a Japanese University that was in operation when the Brits were still living in primitive mud huts.

But then so were the Germans."

I ignored that first time round. Now, re-reading it, and knowing it to be a nebulous snipe, I wonder why I bother.

Hey, Chas - let's give it up, old man. We must be boring the crap out of everyone else.

Anonymous said...

prob just confused and deserving of our compassion

Gniz man, it goes deeper still. All of these words and concepts going back in forth in language here, and the perceptions of them and the emotions they are triggering, they're all like shapes and designs drawn on graph paper. One shape may comment that another shape is deluded, when in fact the graph paper itself is delusion. Hope this communicates something for you.


Mysterion said...

"first time round."

In california, we say "first time around."

Buddhist 'third level schools' (e.g. colleges) were no longer rare during the Tempyo era (729-749 CE). The one of which I previously spoke was late - 747 CE (an easy date to remember because of the airplane).



Buddhism is very very recent out here in the west.

"Buddhism, again, the religion of A.soka, stands in the same relation to the ancient Brahmanism of the Veda as Italian to Latin, or as Protestantism to Roman Catholicism. Buddhism, in fact, is only intelligible as a development of, and a reaction against, Brahmanism. As against those, therefore, who consider the whole of Indian literature a modern forgery, or against ourselves, when unwilling to trust our own eyes, we have at least these two facts, on which we can rely : that, in the third century B. c., the ancient Sanskrit language had dwindled down to a mere volgare or Prakrit, and that the ancient religion of the Veda had developed into Buddhism, and had been superseded by its own offspring, the state religion in the kingdom of Asoka, the grandson of ^Tandragupta."




Thomas Babington Macaulay’s remark that "the whole of Indian literature was not worth a single shelf of European classics" is also worthy of note in light of the above.


In the second or third century C.E., a young Brahmin named Nagarjuna mastered the Vedas while still a young boy. As a teenager he, and a couple of friends, used magical abilities to slip into the royal harem and take advantage of the situation. On leaving, his friends neglected to make themselves invisible and were caught and executed. Nagarjuna escaped, but this experience caused him to reevaluate his desires.

Nagarjuna thereupon entered a Buddhist monastery where, in a mere ninety days he mastered the whole of the Pali canon. One day he noticed that two members of the audience disappeared into the ground. He followed them to what proved to be the kingdom of the Nagas, a land of half-divine, serpent-like beings. Here the Nagas presented Nagarjuna with several volumes of sutras, the Prajnaparamitas or "Perfection of Wisdom" sutras. The Buddha had delivered these teachings centuries before but arranged to have them hidden for safekeeping in the nether world until humankind had acquired the necessary spiritual development to allow them to appreciate these teachings. Now, Nagarjuna was permitted to spread the Buddha''s final teachings.

Or so the myth goes...
Check it out for yourself.

This same myth is repeated in The Harrowing of Hell (Descensus Christi ad Inferos) doctrine of Christian theology.

Mysterion said...


Descensus Christi ad Inferos reference.

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

Stephanie said...
"It is bleak, but funny and wonderful.
I feel armorless, but fearless."

Not sure why,
but those lines
gave me goosebumps.

Just goes to show...
the power of words
and, of course,
certain chord progressions.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Zazen with Brad™...
"Your ukelele will always be
perfectly in tune!"

Uke and uke?

Anonymous said...

Steph. You say 'And Anon@9:28AM: What nonsense you talk! My life continues to get on with itself whatever I think about it or not'

Of course your life gets on with itself. You're busy watching 'Spiritual Path' having watched 'Beast 2' and worrying about 'The Shadow IV' so maybe you don't know what's happening outside the cinema is all I'm saying. And there is life outside the cinema...

Anonymous said...

Even if I grow up to become a great sage--and not just another crazy recluse--the path I will have walked to get there would hardly be universally recommended to all.

Great sage or Crazy recluse? A woman of extremes - surely a good case for Zazen Dr Cushion?

Anonymous said...

carpe diem

Anonymous said...

Mysterion said:

"In the days of my maximum foolishness (e.g. 2 decades ago) when I held the misguided thought that reasonable discourse was possible with a Xtian."

Hey Chas, You still haven't passed through your days of maximum foolishness yet. Sorry. Any long time reader of this blog knows this very well.

Ad hominem said...

Mysterion -

Apparently, you know an awful lot of facts - or know where to find them - about a whole bunch of things, which you conflate, along with your high opinion of your age and experience, into highly dubious theories on the nature of this world. When unchallenged, you are frequntly interesting and witty, sometimes even informative. But you are so sure that the rest of us don't have a clue, that you are consistently condescedingly contemptuous to those who take issue with anything you say.

To my recollection, and I've been reading this blog since it's inception, you've NEVER answered a critical point directly. Instead, you dodge and snipe in a fog of usually irrelevant cryptic hypertextual putdowns.

It's a shame. I fear that you might be an empty vessel, making a lot of noise.

Please prove me wrong one day.

Anonymous said...

that post was exciting!My zen is so hard right now it hurts!

Mumon said...


It may be a great book. I hope it is.

Well, the original was a great book.


In short, neither Nishijima nor Brad had a compelling need to 'go to the pali horses mouth.'

Well, one of the characteristics of spoken languages is that meaning is not necessarily preserved from translation, so while I understand your point, actually doing a translation wouldn't surprise me either, and there would be some benefit to it. But you knew that, as I see from your later comments.

I would imagine that the MMK would have found its way into the Tendai school (and its Chinese version) , so I'd agree with your hypothesis.

In case you haven't gathered my opinion of the vast 'ephemeral matter' in Buddhist bookshelves (e.g. other than the Pali Tripitaka), it's almost ALL bullshit.

You ever wonder how in Asian temples - even some Chan temples - have divination methods within them? I did too until in reading the Lotus Sutra I had realized there were "entrances" for such things within the Buddhist texts large enough through which to drive a truck.

I would not be so harsh about this; the Mahayana texts, such as the Lotus Sutra may have their "built in conflict of interest" (and may not have been part of the Tripitaka) but they were essential in pushing Buddhism slightly away from a "My way or the highway" approach that other religions developed (and in which you can find examples in Buddhist literature).

The literal appeals to authority within such scriptures while problematic has benign justifications as well as venal justifications; the texts though, without such appeals stand on their own.

The "meaning" of many of these texts can be separated from the "provenance" of the texts, which in Buddhism was never that important anyway.

Hey-nonny-nonny-mouse said...

Mysterion -

I infer that you assume (so many assumptions!) that I hold texts, and the traditions/beliefs that accrue to them to be inviolable, petrified things. I don't. Anyone can do whatever they want with any text; re-write it, translate it, interpret it, ignore it or burn it if they must. And yes, throughout history they have done so.

Still, a translation is a translation, even if it is necessarily interpretive, and an interpretation is an interpretation, even if it rests on translation. That language and meaning are fluid doesn't mean that the effort to render an ancient text into another language, and for another time, is a futile exercise - or that we don't have meaningful criteria by which to judge such efforts.

Gudo purports to be providing a literal (he's said it) translation, from sanskrit into english, of the "original" text (there's not much controversy that I'm aware of about the sanskrit text used by all recent scholars). He wants (he has said) to correct misconceptions and errors. Neither his sanskrit, nor his English, is good enough for that purpose. Gudo and Brad may yet produce an insightful and enlightening take on MMK, but a literal translation it will not be. Many won't regard it as a translation at all.

I'm partly saying all this out of concern for Brad and Gudo's rep. As long as they don't misrepresent what they're doing, they can avoid being laughed at, and stand a better chance of getting the book, and their important ideas disseminated.

And thanks, mumon, for your thoughtful comments.

Stephanie said...

Anon: I probably will always spend a lot of time in my head. It runs in my family. Even my much more extraverted sister said to me recently, "Sometimes what's going on inside my head is so much more interesting than any of the people around me."

But I can guarantee you I've lived a lot more than a lot of folk. I've chased my dreams and visions with single-minded ambition and determination, wherever they have taken me, geographically or internally. I continue to do so, and currently live a life focused on service. I work with a client population that can be very rough around the edges and they test me a lot--it is very humbling work. And yet, despite the constant testing, I already feel like a mother bear when it comes to my clients and work every day to learn how to serve them better as both a professional and a person dedicated to Kannon's work. I have found that even if my life seems pointless to me at times, I can at least make it useful for others, which then allows me to enjoy the pointlessness at times of leisure a bit more.

I mean hell, how I ended up in the extremely urban, decaying environment of northern New Jersey, the opposite of what I knew the rest of my life, as a bit of a "nature girl"--I'll go wherever I need to go to learn whatever I need to learn. I've experienced about as much 'reality' as I can handle in the New York area, which is what I came here for. This place does not fuck around and will grind your illusions right out of you, one by one.

Anonymous said...

A brief comment here
Would appear to be enough
But Ego wants more

Mysterion said...

"...But you are so sure that the rest of us don't have a clue.."

This is not true. I advocate further research into all matters.

"...I fear that you might be an empty vessel..."

Thank you. If that is true, then I have considerable success to show for Zazen. Let us hope that sound is harmonious with the universe.


(tea, in nest)

Anonymous said...

'Sometimes what's going on inside my head is so much more interesting than any of the people around me'
Separation from others (let's forget arrogance for now)
'I've lived a lot more than a lot of folk'.
Separation from others (ditto)
'I currently live a life focused on service'
Separation from the 'served' (ditto)
'As both a professional and a person' (ditto)
Separation of aspects of self
'My life seems pointless to me at times, I can at least make it useful for others'
Separation of worth (self/others)
'Extremely urban, decaying environment of northern New Jersey, the opposite of what I knew the rest of my life, as a bit of a "nature girl"'

And you feel that your experience of life is somehow numb?

Anonymous said...

yes, yes! Include internal assessments with all your objects of compassion.

All our objects of compassion.

All are objects of compassion.

It's pretty dark in here, you know?

Anonymous said...

Aw shucks.. 100!

Anonymous said...

Room (for) 101

Anonymous said...

Brad is omniscient.He doesn't need a bunch of fancy expertise in subjects people spend a lifetime studying to exceed their contributions; if you have a problem with him contributing to a translation of Sanskrit without any working knowledge of Sanskrit, or trying to use Zen as a therapy of PTSD without any formal training in this field, clearly you just don't understand what renaissance men like Gudo and Brad are capable of. They're like, good listeners and no-nonsense teachers, so you know, it follows that after enough years of sitting in place, their casual expertise in every subject should be taken for granted.Some losers spend their whole lives studying certain fields and admit that they still don't know everything about them, when they could have just sat on a cushion that same amount of time and they'd know all that they do now plus a lot more!

And yes, Genpo and Wilbur are scam artists.

gniz said...

Its a well known fact that the less you know about a subject, the more you overestimate your own abilities or knowledge of said subject.

I think this fairly well sums up Brad's attitude towards things like medicine, science, PTSD and sexual abuse.

Stephanie said...

Anon@9:45AM: What a dreadful Boodist cliche you trot out.

We are separate individuals, whether we like it or not; yes, we are interconnected, and of the same substance, but I cannot live your life any more than you can live mine.

The aspiration to 'mystical oneness' is the desire to regress back to an infantile state, not wisdom.

Anonymous said...


The aspiration to 'mystical oneness' is the desire to regress back to an infantile state, not wisdom?

And the aspiration to paint yourself as separate and different to the rest of humanity and then bleat to everyone about how difficult it is for you is all grown up?

Get your head out your arse

Anonymous said...

Mystical oneness?

Mystical separateness seems to be the problem here...

No-mind and all that

M. Azevedo said...

I just want to say I 100% support "Bigger Than Jesus" with the crotch-shot cover for the next book. I'll take 2.

Stephanie said...

We are all alike in that we are all separate, and different. It is just that some of us recognize it, and some of us do not.

Some people think that "we are all one" is the utmost in spiritual realization. But I'm with Kierkegaard in that I think that to truly live an authentic life, we must "stand alone before God" as "that single individual."

Maybe it's just a constitutional thing. I did the California hippie thing for a while, but it passed.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


She misses half of life; she knows something is missing; and she tries to fill it with her mind, but it doesn't work; and this makes her angry because she is afraid to use anything else; she feels lonely and isolated; so she takes it out on the fools who collude with her and the whole thing goes around in circles. Cause and effect. The wheel keeps turning. However you want to say it. Stephanie doesn't (want to) recognize that the problem is within. Stephanie doesn't have the self-esteem to accept that she might need to change; Stephanie is suffering. So she seeks for an answer out there. And she wanders like a hungry ghost. Because she doesn't believe that she is ordinary enough to have her problem solved. Stephanie's problem is special - it may be that she believes that this is the only bit about herself that is...

I, for one, will collude no more.
Goodbye Stephanie

11 said...

"I think this fairly well sums up Brad's attitude towards things like medicine, science, PTSD and sexual abuse."

Or really anything but Soto Zen, Monster Movies, and 80s punk rock. His own anti-intellectualism and that of his teachers and fans seems to encourage his tendency to think he can be an authority on anything.

Stephanie said...

Oh dear, Anon, I fear you may be more melodramatic than even I am.

Tee hee...

Mysterion said...

Outside of those willing to make suppositions based on delimited speculations, there are no authorities.

a paper-pencil Ph.D. in scriptural studies taught me that much.

BTW - a rare, but serious recommendation.


1111 said...

Oh shut up Mys, you ridiculous wiki-scholar. Go do something besides jerking off with a laptop for a couple years, then you'll have some kind of contribution to make when adults are talking.

Hey-nonny-nonny-mouse said...

Brad's role in the production of Gudo's MMK is that of editor, as I understand it - making Gudo's (elderly) Jenglish comprehensible. Understandably, Brad feels a great debt to Gudo. He's been asked to help bring this project to fruition and has found it impossible to say no. (I recall him asking for help some months ago, on this blog, from anyone who felt so inclined). So I totally understand Brad's involvement. He is not pretending for one moment that he has any expertise in sanskrit. What he's bringing to the table is a relationship with Gudo, the old man's trust, a desire to see his teacher's wish fulfilled and a talent for writing. Again, I hope that's enough to pull this thing off successfully.

Anonymous said...

ARJ BARKER "Sickest Buddhist" Music Video

funny shit!

wake up neo said...

Buddhists teach meditation.
Therapists deliver therapy.
Surgeons carry out operations.
Engineers build bridges.
Chefs make meals...
That's all I'm saying.

Hendrik said...

Its a well known fact that the less you know about a subject, the more you overestimate your own abilities or knowledge of said subject.

Your personal experience bears this out, does it?


gniz said...

Hendrik, do you always go for the most obvious joke?

Hey man, i never claimed expertise in my comments here. Thats the difference between me and Brad.

And I do think Brad is an expert at a few things; writing (religious memoir), music (punk rock), and Gudo Nishijima's brand of Soto Zen.

And that's really not so bad, its better than most.

But that doesnt mean he's capable in all areas such as childhood sexual abuse...and there's no harm in pointing that out, is there?

gniz said...

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own
Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments

Jinzang said...

The Sanskrit text for the MMK is extracted from a commentary on it by Chandrakirti called "Clarifying Verses" (Prasannapada). There is no Pali version of the MMK, no Chinese or Japanese version either, until modern times. The text is very terse and difficult to understand on its own. It needs to be read with a commentary. Chandrakirti's interpretation of Nagarjuna was very influential in Tibet and almost totally unknown outside of it. It's this reliance on Chandrakirti that makes the biggest *philosophical* difference between Chinese/Japanese Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism IMO.

Nishijima's decision to go it alone and translate the MMK without reference to commentary was short sighted and the translation is practically worthless for understanding Nagarjuna's thought. It is not a matter of Nishijima imposing his own interpretation on the text, even an idiosyncratic one, it's a matter of him failing to understand the text he was trying to translate. It's more a train wreck than a translation.

I don't doubt Nishijima's ability as a Dogen scholar, but clearly he is outside his area of competence here. If he had a reputation as a scholar before, surely his translation of the MMK will damage it.

Anyone who disagrees with me, please reply by using an example taken from Nishijima's translation.

Zenleo said...

... Gniz, Justin, and Stephanie email me

... Just to cover items I don't want to post to a blog, and I need friends ;)

Hey-nonny-nonny-mouse said...

Hi Jinzang -

Re Nagarjuna: I'm a hobbyist, not an expert.

There is, I understand, Kumarajiva's (344 - 413 CE) translation of MMK into Chinese, which predates Candrakirti's (c.600 -650 CE) text and commentary. That being the case, I would suggest that the understanding of the MMK transmitted in China, and much later on to Japan, has merit also. Or have I misunderstood the history?

I hear what you say about "the biggest *philosophical* difference between Chinese/Japanese Buddhism and Tibetan Buddhism" being attributable to reliance on, or lack of awareness of Candrakirti's commentary. That chan/zen doesn't have such a comprehensive, systematized body of writing on the MMK doesn't invalidate its insights into Nagarjuna's Buddhism. Insights which Gudo may be party to, and which I would like to hear.

However, I share your concerns that by presenting those insights in the form of a "translation" of MMK for which, it seems, he isn't qualified, Gudo may indeed damage his reputation - and confuse his readers. We'll see.

Mysterion said...


I'll be wiki-lazy and cut and paste to cut to the chase.

"McCagney's study (Nagarjuna and the Philosophy of Openness) of the philosophy of Nagarjuna focuses on his use and development of the concept of sunyata. Most Nagarjuna scholars agree that the idea of sunyata is central to Nagarjuna's version of Madhyamaka philosophy, and especially in his master work, the Mulamadhyamakakarika (MK). The term sunyata is usually
translated as "emptiness," sometimes even as "nothingness." McCagney holds that the best
translation within the context of Nagarjuna's work is "openness," tracing this aspect of its
meaning from the metaphors of etheric space (akasa) used in such early Mahayana Buddhist
sutras as the Astasahasrika Praj├▒aparamita and the Lankavatara. For McCagney, this
concept of space, drawn from ancient Indian cosmology, denotes "a luminous ether, filled
with light" (xx), a boundless openness not filled with essence."

In short, there is no agreement among scholars what the correct translation of sunyata> could be, especially as applied to the legendary character known as Nagarjuna.

And, since the sunyata concept is the crux of the matter, the world of Zen (for some) teeters on the balance of the outcome. There is no cognitive equivalent of the word in modern English.

And this post all circles back to the parable of the two sons of Shinran (nominal founder of Jodo Shinshu).

His son Zenran had the secret teachings from the kingdom of the Nagas...

Here's the Bahai take on it...

I am invested in the philosophy no farther than that of early Jodo Shu - the pre-parable version. There is far too much bullshit in downstream Buddhism.

Shinran - Shinshu
Zenran - Zen
Nagarjuna - noble serpent

These are symbolic attributions to metaphors, not people.

In his nirvana as nihilism, Nagarjuna indicates that in life only the essences (my version = shadows) of things with essences can exist. And nirvana has things without essences (shadows).

But that essence thinking is somewhat errant. This issue actually gets back to the "luminous ether, filled with light." (e.g. land of shadow and light meaning 'illusion of life' and land of light meaning nirvana)

Thus, no emptiness, no nihilism.

It is neither reasonable nor prudent to assume that these 'oddly named people' were actual historical personages any more than it is reasonable or prudent to assume Jesus (IXEUS = fish) was an actual historical personage. To make such assumptions would require a preponderance of evidence which simply does not exist.

However, for academic purposes, any issue based on supposition can be discussed. And we are allowed to be academic here, are we not?

Jinzang said...

There is, I understand, Kumarajiva's (344 - 413 CE) translation of MMK into Chinese, which predates Candrakirti's (c.600 -650 CE) text and commentary.

I was misinformed. Thank you for correcting my mistake. It's been a while since I've studied this and I forget. I, also, am no scholar.

I'm not denigrating Chinese/Japanese understanding of Nagarjuna. The interpretation differs, but I'm not saying it's inferior. Interpretations are just finger pointing to the moon, anyway.

Jinzang said...

Shunyata is a tricky word to understand and Nagarjuna's point is subtle. I can't say what the experience of emptiness is like, because I am not enlightened. But Trungpa Rinpoche compared it to the surprise of receiving a package and opening it up, only to find nothing inside. So emptiness may not be such a translation of shunyata and has the advantage of being literal.

PKB said...

"In Hardcore Zen I talked about how it gave me a deep and life-changing insight into the nature and origin of myself as well as all of creation. It's hard for me to demand much more of the practice than that."

That IS kensho. If you don't like the word call it Bob or something. For some people, this insight can be accompanied by strong emotions such as laughing or tears of gratitude. It's like when you've been looking for your eyeglasses for hours and suddenly find them on your face. That's funny as shit. And so was your blog post!BTW Great writing.

Mysterion said...


I am not enlightened either.

My understanding of being 'enlightened' is to dwell forever in nirvana - the "luminous ether, filled with light" (e.g. not just 'dead,' but forever dead - escaping the cycle of rebirth).

This singularity concept of Buddhism fits nicely with the theoretical state of the universe before the recent 'big bang.'

Hey-nonny-nonny-mouse said...


What wonders play across your synapses!

Mumon said...

11 :

At least he doesn't pontificate on evolutionary biology. He pretty much knows to stay away from the sciences, by and large.

Mumon said...

I will admit this: I saw Nishijima's posts about the MMK on his blog. I wish Warner the best of luck with threading it together (I guess that'd make it a sutra, no?)

Anonymous said...

Gniz, No wonder Stephanie pisses you off.. You are her self-hating twin brother.

gniz said...


me and steph actually do like eachother, whatcha think of that

hubcap said...


Stephanie said...

Anon: You need to stop sippin' on the Haterade, and join in on the love-fest me and gniz and all the hip Hardcore Zen peoples got goin' on.

cumbia said...

rock out

Mr. Reee said...

I can't think of anything intelligent to say.

My brain's been sucked dry.

Chance said...


Zombies unite.

Hey-nonny-nonny-mouse said...

Mumon wrote: "I saw Nishijima's posts about the MMK on his blog..."

I believe those posts ARE the translation, not posts about it (it's hard to tell, but there is a faintly discernable line-by-line relation between the sanskrit text and what Gudo has come up with). As Jinzang remarked, it is, in it's current state, a train wreck. Will Brad, with no training in medicine or treating trauma victims, be able to pull survivors from the wreckage and nurse them back to health? We'll see.

Mysterion said...

Hey "a wang" LOL
I just got it... your risks link.
"How to Walk of Japan"
ATAMI Hihokan Shizuoka Atami Adult Museum. Famous Adult Museum in the world.
The museum of the adult sex. It can't enter under 18 years in the thing.
A couple isn't to go by the first date even if he makes a mistake.

Mysterion said...

Brad's patchin' up of Roshi's translation will, no doubt, read better than the Chow Chow Club's "How to Walk of Japan" (Where to go in Japan? A walking tour of Japan?)

Will said...


Tea on the keyboard!

Very funny Brad.
Thank you.

Man now I want to catch the guitar show.

Eric Omega said...

Your behavour is more rock-star like all the time. I love it. You rock. As do I.

Anonymous said...

12 x 12 = 144

Justin said...

Guys, if you're like me you propably ignore just about every link that gets posted here. But you have GOT to check out this video.

Sickest Buddhist

As soon as I saw it I thought of Brad's post here. Killer.

alan said...


RE the video.

I bit and it was good.

147 said...


Anonymous said...

Are you a "sick buddhist" (LOL, Justin)
with PTSD?
If you're not a Zen-bigot,
then there's a potential cure
you might wanna try:
(official Tibetan name ;)

And for the sorry fucks born
with bipolar II: Don't cry,
(do in three days what
thirty years of zazen
have not -- it's a question
of functioning, not of
a specific experience :)

Justin said...

Very different from my last link, this is an incredible documentary about hermit monks and nuns living in the remote mountains of central China. Very beautiful and inspiring. Great to see that this ancient tradition has survived.

Amongst White Clouds

~C4Chaos said...

Stephanie said: "Sitting won't improve your love life or put more money in your wallet. It won't solve every problem in your life and make you happy forever. Actually, it solves few, if any, "real" problems."

based on my understanding of the dharma, i definitely agree with Stephanie's words above. Zazen (or insight/vipassana practice in my case) is a different training. it's not meant to solve every problems in our lives. if we do it right, practice eventually renders the false sense of self toast, thereby making us rise above the problems naked and unbound (whether we solve them or not). we'll get insight into the nature of those problems, not solutions. big difference. if we approach practice like a second helping of "The Secret" then we're in for a rude delusion (which hopefully would lead to our rude awakening).

i like Daniel Ingram's concept of The Three Trainings. sitting practice is part of training in *Concentration* and *Wisdom*. the rest (how to deal with life as presented to us) is a never-ending training in *Morality*. what Stephanie was saying, as i understand is that trainings in Concentration and Wisdom don't automatically translate to training in Morality. that's why we have gurus/masters who had high degree of awakening yet at the end of the day they're no different from regular jerks. yes, i believe that one can have a "life-changing insight into the nature and origin of self and creation, and still be a jerk.

my two cents.


P.S. for more on the three trainings, check out Daniel Ingram's "Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha". if you like real down to earth hardcore dharma, that book is what you need to get some ass whoopin'. for those who are interested, here's my review of the book.

Mysterion said...


When is your PARTY?

soft drinks and coffee...

nina said...

you are a genius!

karmageddon said...

i've always thought, "i like Jesus, but he's just not big enough..."

PA said...

Thanks for posting that Justin - looks fab. After a long day at the office, this is just about the perfect thing to watch!

muddy elephant said...


Book Reccomendation for you:

Afterzen, by Janwillem van de Wetering

This book deals with the zen delusions and fantasies students and teachers carry. A damn fine writer too.

Peace and carry on.

gniz said...

Yo Muddy, Thanks for the recco. Thats right up my alley and i was really looking for something like that, you must be a mind reader!

hendrik said...


Hendrik, do you always go for the most obvious joke?


Its a well known fact that the less you know about a subject, the more you overestimate your own abilities or knowledge of said subject.

I think this fairly well sums up Brad's attitude towards things like medicine, science, PTSD and sexual abuse.

Well, your "well-known fact" is plainly not true in general. So the question is quite legitimate.

You say Brad exemplifies it with respect to the above subjects. To me it doesn't look like you've made much of a case. Seriously, science? I've never heard him say or write anything substantial about science. I remember he said some things about medicine, mostly in the context of his own use thereof, and what he said seemed pretty sensible.

Which leaves the other two. The excerpt in his last post he says he put in to illustate his criticism of ILP (whatever that is). Since he left out all the qualifying material, as well as the rest of that chapter and the book, it doesn't really tell you how he'll be advising trauma survivors.

Just because he's not trained in the area of trauma doesn't imply he can't have something worthwhile to contribute to it. Fields of learning are not static, and they don't have impermeable boundaries. Take one look at the sciences and this will be obvious.


gniz said...

Hendrik, you ignored the paper I linked to in one of my following posts regarding the fact that people without competency tend to overestimate their abilities...not that this paper definitively "proves" my point, but it backs it up better than anything you've laid out. I'd also say its proven true in my experience. For instance, thinking I was great at poker after winning a few homegames and then realizing i was terrible when I tried playing online and learned a bit more about strategy, etc. I'd say its a fairly common phenomenon and not that controversial to say.

I wont bother going back through all of Brad's writings, but he's definitely spoken about his opinion on taking drugs to treat mental illness/depression, he's spoken about politics, history to an extent (WW II, etc) and now sexual abuse. He's also spoken about the limits of science and i'm pretty sure he doesnt understand enough science to make any assertions whatsoever in that area.

So, although you say that i dont back up my arguments about Brad, I think I do an okay job. Care to use real info to prove me wrong, or you'd rather continue to trade useless barbs?

Real Info said...

The Five Hindrances

1. Sense Desire
2. Ill Will
3. Restlessness and Remorse
4. Sloth and Torpor
5. Doubt

Hindrances, as in, "Dead Ends". Mind states that don't lead towards less suffering for oneself (and consequently others). They curl in upon themselves in ever tightening knots. Only way out of a dead end is to back out when you realize you're driving down one. Eventually they can be spotted before entering, but you gotta see the signs first.