Monday, September 14, 2009

THE BRISTOL STOMP!


I'm in Bristol now. Here's the info on the talk I'm giving tonight:

• September 14, 2009 (Mon) 7 PM Oddfellows Hall, West Park, Cliffton, Bristol for details contact awarenessworks@btconnect.com

I rode the train here last night with Mike Leutchford, an old friend and one of Nishijima Roshi's Dharma Heirs. At train stations all over England there are posters for some insurance company featuring either Iggy Pop or someone who looks just like Iggy Pop. I've put a photo of one on the top of this article. Anyone know about this? And why would you choose Iggy to advertise insurance?

Oh! And I have a big beef with Britain! When I was a child in Kenya I used to read British comic books obsessively. My favourites were "Shiver and Shake," "Whizzer and Chips," "Cor!!" and "Knockout." So I went to a lot of comic book shops (see photo below) searching for old issues of these or reprints. NOTHING! The comic book shops in England carry only American and Japanese comics. There are hardly any English comic books at all in England except for "2000 AD Featuring Judge Dread," which, to me, looks like an American comic anyway. You had such a rich comic book culture here and you surrendered it all! The only evidence that anyone even remembers the great age of British comics is a book called Great British Comics: Celebrating a Century of Ripping Yarns and Wizard Wheezes. And even that is hard to find over here! Oh the shame...

But I was glad to find The Goodies on DVD. Hoo-ray! And yum yum...

It's fun being here because I'm such a nerd for English rock music. All my top favourite bands are English, The Who, The Beatles, Robyn Hitchcock, The Kinks, Syd's Pink Floyd, The Yardbirds, The Sex Pistols, PiL, The Clash... It's amazing to go through train stations like Sheppard's Bush (home of The Who) and (No Sleep Til) Hammersmith. Yesterday I walked down Denmark Street and went, "Gawsh! This is where the Sex Pistols first rehearsed!"

Yesterday in London, the group I sat with got to talking about this blog. One guy said it's great that I allow anyone to comment here because it's one of the few places on the web where people can discuss Buddhism in a totally free and unrestricted way. I guess it's true. The other Buddhist forums are all heavily monitored and people are routinely booted off for expressing the wrong views. Whereas here, even assholes masquerading as my ex-wife are allowed to say whatever idiotic things they please (Yuka never read these posts even when we were together and she certainly would never comment on them -- We communicate with each other quite frequently if you must know -- Her mom was in the hospital having a clogged artery repaired when that post showed up here, so I can guarantee you she was in no mood to be on blogs that day!). And a few people say good things too.

I replied by agreeing it was nice, I suppose. But Zen seems like another thing for nerds to latch on to. I see the same things happening here that I used to see in chat forums related to Godzilla and Ultraman that I monitored for my old job. When I read the posts here I often imagine the same kinds of nerdy guys in their parents' basements spending way too much time munching potato crisps and surfing the 'net as who post on the Godzilla forums. Perhaps I'm wrong.

I also started talking about how Dogen Sangha may be a group for people who hate being in groups but still want to be in a group. I'd like to keep it that way, which is why it will always remain horribly unstructured and rule-free.

Alas, though, tonight is my last gig in the U.K. I shall shortly bid your Isles goodbye until next time. When "next time" will be is anybody's guess. So if you want to see me on my Euro Tour today's the last chance for the foreseeable future ("War is unforeseeable" -- a line from a great English film called "In The Loop").

112 comments:

Not Brad's Wife? said...

Whereas here, even assholes masquerading as my ex-wife are allowed to say whatever idiotic things they please

but you don't deny that the assertion was true

A Nerd said...

Dear Not Brad's Wife?,

If you have a point, could you please make it.

Thank you.

Rich said...

I don't what enlightenment is, I just sit and if the demons come I deal with them.

In any situation the correct action is called compassionate.

Some Brit Nerd said...

Yep, Brad - that's without doubt the real Iggy. He appears in the TV commercial too.
Why choose him? Irony, I guess. Us Brits (not exclusively, yunderstand) go for it. He's a punk, so likely to crash cars. But he's old, so likely to be responsible about it.

Am I right? Am I?

On the blog comments: sometimes they're infuriating, sometimes interesting, sometimes funny, and occasionally useful. Every now and again there's something very intelligent, thought provoking and insightful: that'll be my stuff ;-) IMO, if you're gonna allow comments at all then unmoderated is the way to go. You'll get the gems amidst the dross. And yes, free comments are v rare on the 'Buddhist' interwebs, so that's good too.

Thanks for visiting our sceptered isle. I got to see you and concluded that it's a worthwhile thing you, and those of us who are doing it with you, are doing. We're learning. Let's not exclude anything, or anyone until/unless we have to.

Russ said...

That Iggy Pop advert really bugs me too, it's also on TV over here. Please explain what Iggy has to do with insurance???

I hate that our comic book stores have been so Americanized but it's not our fault, supply and demand and all that. Should you have a spare day though you should get yourself down to Brighton, they still have Americanized comic book stores but you can get the good old English stuff too.

Get back to London soon

Russ

Russ said...

Oh ok, i get it now, cheers Brit nerd, it seems i had missed the irony!!!

Justin said...

Well if John Lydon can advertise butter why can't Iggy advertise insurance?

Anonymous said...

"Dogen Sangha may be a group for people who hate being in groups but still want to be in a group. I'd like to keep it that way"

They sound rather conflicted, like people who hate people but don't want to be alone.

Say it loud - conflicted and proud said...

Conflicted? Sounds like a pretty good description of the human condition to me.

Anonymous said...

Everybody wants to go to Heaven but nobody wants to die..

Anonymous said...

Form is empty. Emptiness is form.

Hanz said...

"I also started talking about how Dogen Sangha may be a group for people who hate being in groups but still want to be in a group." That’s something I really can relay to. Like Zen for Zen Buddhists who hate being a Buddhist but still want to be one.

Thanks & greetings from Hamburg.

Anonymous said...

In the US, it's a cardinal sin to "sell out". But the UK requires ZERO integrity. Look at the Rolling Stones.

Russ said...

Yeah i'm sure there aren't any examples of sell-outs in America

Aaron said...

I wouldn't classify myself as a basement nerd or whatever, but i do spend way too much time on this blog when i should be working.

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

Kevin Bortolin is giving the talk at Hill Street Center on September 26.

Kevin is a Dharma heir of Nishijima and teaches philosophy and religion at Ventura College.

Anonymous said...

Not Brad's Wife? said... but you don't deny that the assertion was true

Yes, it's true, you are an asshole.

Mr. Reee said...

Does anyone know what a boordegr is?

The blog is requesting I type it into a little box, and I'm wondering if it is vegetable, animal, or mineral in nature.

I also remember those Brit cartoons. Parallel universe kind of thing, very cool.

Anonymous said...

Anyone want to play 20 questions? I always start off that game with animal, vegetable, mineral...

ANIMAL! Guess away...

Ben said...

I find the Iggy Pop ads vexatious - even if they're 'being ironic', they're still a sell-out. It's Iggy frickin' Pop! He doesn't sell insurance, he mops up nosebleeds with insurance policies!

I feel your pain about the comics - my kids are 3 and 6 and all there seem to be are these bland, soulless TV tie-in things. I was reading my nephew's copy of the Beano the other day though and was delighted to find that it's gone back to the way it used to be - definitely worth a look, if you're after a taste of classic British kids' comics.

Anonymous said...

having compassion for people that seem to only create conflict is the most difficult thing to deal with.

Zen Dudeist said...

do they still print "Buster Gonad and his Unfeasibly Large Testicles" in the newspapers over there?

Anonymous said...

"having compassion for people that seem to only create conflict is the most difficult thing to deal with."

Respect, my wise anonymous brother.. or sister.

Park Ave. Beat said...

sell-outs in America?

WHO?

WHEN?

Home of the SELL-OUT.

Some Brit said...

Hi zen dudeist -

I don't believe "Buster Gonad and his Unfeasibly Large Testicles" ever appeared in the newspapers over here. What it did appear in was the rude, puerile and often hilarious comic VIZ, which is still going. I haven't bought viz for some time, but it's possible that Buster Gonad may make the occasional appearance even now.

zen nerds and britophiles may find these links irresistable:

http://www.viz.co.uk

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viz_comic

To Share is to Care said...

It's me again, "Some Brit" - the Nerd of Numberless Names...check out these classic VIZ strips...and, ma nerds, be very mindful to immediately click on 'next frame' in the bottom right corner, or you'll hurt your eyes trying to read the tiny print of the whole page in one go :-)

I forgot said...

..and here's the link:

http://www.viz.co.uk/strips.html

Anonymous said...

"Zen seems like another thing for nerds to latch on to. I see the same things happening here that I used to see in chat forums related to Godzilla and Ultraman that I monitored for my old job. When I read the posts here I often imagine the same kinds of nerdy guys in their parents' basements spending way too much time munching potato crisps and surfing the 'net as who post on the Godzilla forums. Perhaps I'm wrong."

NERD:
1. a stupid, irritating, ineffectual, or unattractive person.
2. an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit: a computer nerd.

Brad, I suppose you are referring to the second definition in your quote, but computer nerds make up only a small part of Nerdom. Guys who collects rubber dinosaurs, are Trekkies, love comic books and can tell you the members of the most obscure rock band are also nerds. Nerds tend to reject groups that are not made up of other nerds. It has been suggested by some that being a nerd may be a state of being "hyperwhite" and rejecting African-American culture and slang that "cool" white children use preferring more conservative words such as 'Gosh'. Nerds can become frequent objects of scorn, ridicule, bullying, social isolation and opposite sex rejection. Comparisons to Asperger syndrome are common, due to the tendency to engage in intense, specific interests.

I think you are correct when you said that Zen seems like another thing for nerds to latch on to.

Anonymous said...

Favourite? Potato crisps?
How long have you been in the UK?

Anonymous said...

5.18am wrote: "Guys who collect rubber dinosaurs, are Trekkies, love comic books and can tell you the members of the most obscure rock band are also nerds."

Like...totally!

Hey, my word verification is "brtshi" - and I AM!!

Anonymous said...

whaniza!

That's what I wa aan an an an ant

That's what I want

Anonymous said...

untrimo

for the hairs you would like to see back on the top of your head

free 30 day trial offer

Anonymous said...

Here is a police video of a American High School kid being beaten up by classmates. This is posted on the Drudge report today. The headline is "WHITE STUDENT BEATEN ON SCHOOL BUS; CROWD CHEERS." But it doesn't appear racial. It appears like the kid was being picked on for being a nerd.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of the inappropriate acting out that goes on in this blog is due to experiences like the one in the above video. That kid will never, ever be the same person he was before that beating. If he is lucky, someday he will realize that he was somehow responsible for what happened to him there.

Jinzang said...

If he is lucky, someday he will realize that he was somehow responsible for what happened to him there.

I hope you were joking here. What's the lesson? Conform or die?

Anonymous said...

Hi Jinzang. I wasn't joking. I can see that event as a random act of violence or I can see it as the end to a series of endless causes leading right up to the event. I don't mean to say the kid was in anyway at fault, but just as surely as he was born, he was born to be there at that place and time. If his life turns out well it will be because he realized there was really no one else to blame for what happened to him there but himself. Or, he can start hating which is what he will probably do.

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

Hmm. I don't if blame is the best word.

We are called upon to recognize our responsibility in and to any event we perceive--in other words, we are 'there' and there's nowhere else we 'ought' to be.

It's not really a moral call--more of a simple acknowledgement of our situation. The moral aspect follows in 'doing what needs to be done' and 'not doing what doesn't need to be done' once you understand the situation.

In this case, he needed not to get his ass kicked, and he probably needed to find another way to school. At bare minimum, that would be recognizing his role in the situation, I think. Assigning blame while getting beat up might be counterproductive... better to act.

Anonymous said...

Find yourself on the Nerd Venn Diagram: Geek, Dork or Dweeb?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Reee, Blame probably wasn't the best word. I usually pick out the third or fourth best word available in many of my sentences. For example, I meant to say the end to a series of beginning-less causes. But I messed that one up too.

Rick, That was funny.. but rather than make a joke, why don't you set me straight. I would be grateful.

Rick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ad Hominem said...

So Rick, you've made a mess of explaining something that anyone (apparently) who had read their Buddhism for Dummies book can grasp.

Is there any chance that I can suggest you think before you type and post in such an arrogant and condescending way...without sounding arrogant and condescending?

I don't think so.

Rick said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ad Hominem said...

You don't take criticism at all well, do you, Rick?

And you made the very point that I'd already made. No surprise there.

This anon business: get over it! We've already had the discussion. If you still don't understand why some people post anonymously, and why it's just fine to do it, then scroll back.

Anonymous said...

In a sinister Peter Lorre voice.. "You don't take criticism very well, do you Reek?

Te said...

Glad to know you enjoyed England Brad, really liked the fact that you got to visit some places that reminded you of your fave bands. I love the Sex Pistols too, The Clash and a few others, but I'm kind of the reverse of you as I'm English but most of my fave bands are American. One of my latest faves are Leeway, legendary band. (Rise and Fall, The Future (ain't what it used to be.), Mark of the Squealer and Born To Expire.....amazing songs.)

Anyway, I don't know any of you guys, but seeing as I'm bored I wouldn't mind giving a few of you a Zen style slap across the head right now. What does that mean? If I met Brad I'd probably slap him across the head too, maybe it's good that I didn't lurch out of my house to go meet him, as I'd probably have got a harder one in return.

Anonymous said...

Went to my nephew's football game a while back
in the stands two girls squared off over a boyfriend issue
punching hairpulling slapping shoving
it was an event which galvanized the crowd
so much so all attention was riveted to the melée á deux to the extent the players were looking from the field over to the stands

it stunned me all of it
the entertainment aspect especially

I was far up in the stands

what could I have done?

Anonymous said...

Saw Ad Hominem attack Rick for no good reason. it stunned me the mindlessness of it especially
I was far up in the stands
what could I have done?

Ad Hominem said...

As I saw it, there was a perfectly good reason for my criticism of Rick. It seems that Rick, on reflection, also agreed, as he removed the two comments. You don't agree and you've done something about it - you've protested.

What could 4.35pm have done? A hypothetical question, of course. The situation's gone and speculation is futile.

Dogen wrote (paraphrased) that there is no 'right' action waiting to be done. Our astract notions of right and wrong exist in a fundamentally different place to our actions. What we actually do, at the time of doing, depends on our psycho-physical state, and significantly less on our prior or subsequent moral debates, although we like to think it's otherwise. That makes sense to me.

Anonymous said...

Ad Hom, Anais Nin famously observed: "We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are."

Emotion and expectation color what you see as much as your sense perceptions. People see what they expect to see because they've already seen it before in themselves. I'm wondering if you were you really pissed at Rick, or whether you just passed off to him the emotion..

Ad Hominem said...

Hi 5.22am -

Of course Anais nin is right.

All I can hope is that if something someone else does pisses me off, and, having paused to reflect, I still feel the emotion strongly enough to act on it, I remain aware that I'm primarily having a conversation with myself and, without doubt, seeing myself reflected in the other. But, I'm also having a real conversation with someone else - as you are - and I find it difficult to dismiss such interactions as being without value or meaning - for both "other" parties.

As Rick withdrew his remarks I can only guess that he, like me, might have learnt something on this occasion, and found the exchange useful.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I believe everyone read the rationalization for remaining anonymous just the other day; you need this anonimity to garner the courage to make comments.

It is a wonderful thing to be able to commit attrocities while remaining hidden under a nice clean white hood.

But you go ahead and continue to burn your cross against Brad, and anyone who suggests you have a cross to burn with Brad, while wearing that nice clean white hood. I hope you gain some satisfaction here in the blog-world, because it's likely you are really alone in the "real" world - especially if you treat "real" humans the way you treat people here.

You know? You're right about one thing... It sure does feel good to call a spade a spade while wearing this hood of anonimity.

The irony is sweet... Zen is about facing who we really are, and not hiding behind these little masks of anonimity. But you haven't yet figured that out.

Good luck to you.

Anonymous said...

Ad Hom, Rick took his posts and went home but he did not necessarily agree with anyone. I thought his comments here were at least as thoughtful as anyone else's. I liked his sense of humour too although when he made the dummies comment I felt wounded for a moment. Probably because it hit too close to the truth. :)

gniz said...

"But you go ahead and continue to burn your cross against Brad..."

Jesus, melodromatic much?

BTW, for the life of me, i've never quite understood all the angst regarding anonymous posters. Seems like no big deal.

Me again said...

Try living in the "Deep South" for a while. You'll get the point when your first KKK march rolls through your streets.

Now, maybe that's melodramatic too, but sometimes life is melodramatic.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gniz, Do you ever make anonymous posts?

Anony-mouse said...

"Rick took his posts and went home but he did not necessarily agree with anyone"

Didn't go home. Just playing the game jibs is playing. Hiding.

But you're right on the second part.

Anony-mouse said...

Came across this quote... seemed fitting.

It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also stupid. - George Bernard Shaw

Ha!! I get it. I am "also stupid."

gniz said...

Gniz is pretty much an anonymous online handle, aint it? I'm sure people could track me down if they wanted to play detective, but still...its fairly anonymous, if someone a consistently ridiculous persona.

I get that anonymi can be annoying because its hard to tell who's saying what, and perhaps they are even more prone to trolling then those of us with consistent monikers, but i dont get all the hate.

Ad Hominem said...

One cigar for Harry!

gniz said...

In the above post (regarding my gniz moniker), i meant to write "its a fairly anonymous, if somewhat consistently ridiculous persona."

gniz said...

BTW, i got the kkk reference to hoods and anonymity and so forth. I think thats a pretty specious comparison to some trolls on a buddhist internet blog

Anonymous said...

Gniz, I meant do you ever make comments as someone other than Gniz.

Anony-mouse said...

Specious? Really?

Hmm...

I'll have to work on a better metaphor.

Anonymous said...

Gniz, The reason I'm asking is because I have thought that you might sometimes post anonymous comments too..

Anonymous said...

Because I had to look up the word Specious, I felt the need to make this an anonymous post.

Anonymous said...

Rick wrote ("anonymous" @ 6.16am):

"It is a wonderful thing to be able to commit attrocities while remaining hidden under a nice clean white hood." You're the victim of "an atrocity", Rick? You really don't take criticism very well, do you!

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that was Rick?
I thought it was me..

gniz said...

I sometimes post under the moniker "Aaron" because i inadvertantly sign in under my other google account. But most people know "Aaron" is my real first name and so i think they know its me when that happens.

I dont think i've ever posted as an anony. I troll just fine with my google moniker.

gniz said...

this place is a regular playground for the id, don't y'all agree?

Do you think Brad knows or cares that this is such a special, safe place for all us peoples to argue, whine, piss and moan, troll, and philosophize about the buddhism?

Anonymous said...

I think the man who collects rubber dinosaurs thinks our comments are a waste of time.

Rick said...

Anonymous @ 7:22am said...

"You're the victim of "an atrocity", Rick? You really don't take criticism very well, do you!"

Atrocity? Who hasn't experienced something in their life they consider an atrocity?

As for criticism, Ad Hom's comments notwithstanding, I removed my post because I wasn't able to do the question justice in the time I had - I had somewhere I needed to be. I probably shouldn't have started a response until I was home, but I got that my initial response to the 'determined at birth' statement was a little abrupt.

So it made sense, after reading it again, to delete it.

As to criticism in general, I'd say it depends on how it's delivered. If it's constructive, and delivered with some humor, and without a "holier than thou" smugness, then I am receptive. Otherwise, I am likely to respond like any other person.

Anonymous said...

Hi Rick, Original Dummy here.. I understand that there is no apparent original cause. But I can't help but think that free will is only an illusion, in the same sense that the self is an illusion. We must act as if the self and free will both exist because they are necessary for carrying on day to day.

Anon @ 7.22am said...

Ad hom said to Rick - "Is there any chance that I can suggest you think before you type and post in such an arrogant and condescending way...without sounding arrogant and condescending?

I don't think so."

I read that: "Can I tell you that you sound arrogant and condescending without MYSELF sounding arrogant and condescending by saying so?"

Sounds like fair enough point to me. Perhaps you over-reacted, Rick. After all, as you admit, it was you who called a guy a dummy in the first place for making an interesting and polite point about cause and effect.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Rick called me a dummy. I took it as a joke because I think that was his intention.

anon @ 7.22am said...

I'm pleased you weren't offended. you sound like a very tolerant, placid person. That's nice.

Why remove a joke? Anyway.........

dummy said...

The Buddha claimed there are two types of determinism, theistic determinism which holds that God controls everything and has determined everything before it even happens and karmic determinism which holds that everything we experience, painful, pleasant or neither, is due to some prior causes. The Buddha said both types are false, but I think the latter might be true.

dummy said...

Anon@8:33: Maybe Rick felt the joke wasn't that funny and wanted to protect his comedic reputation. Who knows..

dummy said...

Comedy is serious business.

Dillon said...

And the funny thing is... Swiftcover insurance don't insure musicians...
Quote from The Guardian piece on it...

"Tina Shortle, marketing director of swiftcover.com, said Iggy Pop had been chosen as the face of its advertising "because he loves life, not because he is a musician. He is an actor demonstrating the benefits of swiftcover.com."

She added: "Insurance premiums are based on a number of different data, including the historic claims costs swiftcover.com has witnessed for specific occupations.

"This means that we do not provide cover to some professions that, according to that data, have a higher level of claims costs. The reason swiftcover.com doesn't cover people in the 'entertainment business' is due to the risk of personal injury."

Swiftcover's list of uninsurable occupations also includes gambling, modelling, professional sport, bailiffs and bodyguards."

Hence being 'the passenger' I suppose... drumroll rimshot... (sorry)

Rick said...

"Original Dummy here.." said...

"But I can't help but think that free will is only an illusion, in the same sense that the self is an illusion. We must act as if the self and free will both exist because they are necessary for carrying on day to day.

I agree. The self is a convenient - useful at times - fiction.

And, since there is nothing to point to called the "self," other than the moment to moment conditioning of the 5 aggregates, there isn't anyone to exercise "freewill." Therefore, freewill is a fiction.

I contend that the same logic applies to determinism. If there is no "self" other than the moment to moment conditioning of the aggregates, there isn't anyone to have a determined existence either.

Of course, even the 5 aggregates are a fiction. They are just a model we can use to explain the arising of the "self."

Mr. Reee said...

I actually have a copy of "Zen For Dummies" (or maybe it's "The Idiot's Guide to Zen") lying on the back seat.

It's not bad--they have cute little illustrations and text boxes ("Monkey Mind!") and they downplay 'enlightenment' too.

Kinda like a Chilton Repair manual, but less greasy.

Rick said...

Perhaps its "The Complete Idiots Guide to Zen Living?" I have it in pdf.

dummy said...

Thanks Rick. Is there any reason to believe in the universe? The self can be seen as a fiction.. but unless you don't believe in anything, the universe is probably not a fiction for most people. So if the universe functions in some self-winding mechanistic manner, If it is beginningless and endless, why wouldn't it follow that it is totally causally ordered?

Mr. Reee said...

Freewill/Determinism = two sides of the same unnamed coin.

mtto said...

Dummy, I think the answer to your question is in the book "QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter" by Richard P. Feynman.

There is an Einstein quote (I think) that he said "God doesn't play dice." Einstein was wrong. Apparently, God does play dice.

What's in a name? said...

Gudo Nishijima's take on this is that we're "both bound and free":

When we look at things from the point of view of sequential time, it seems undeniable that events are caused by immediately prior events and conditions, (presumably) regressing in an endless sequence of cause and effect. This is Gudo's "view" from the "philosophy of materialism"; the view of science.

When we look at events from the perspective of (an eternal) "now", the dimensional "reality" we actually exist in, we can see that those past "causes" can never be real; we discern their traces - or infer them - but they no longer exist. So they are never real. (What does it mean to say that they were 'at one time' real?). So, from the perspective of "now" - what Gudo calls the view of the 'philosophy of action' (or activity) in the present - events are "free", discreet.

The two views are irreconcilable. And neither seems to describe our experience fully. What is the truth of it?
Gudo would say that the truth is beyond words, or "views". We can, and of course do, live it, but we we can never grasp or understand it.

Quite where that leaves our very real feeling of an autonomous self I don't know. As dummy says, We must [and do] act as if the self and free will both exist. Yet, if there is no [autonomous] self, what does the "willing", and how does it impact its surroundings to accomplish its goal?

Answers on a postcard...

Rick said...

Tough questions...

I think we're delving into an ontological discussion, and away from a soteriological one.

The whole ball of Buddhist wax relies on accepting the premis that a "thing" (the self, or the Universe) is not "real" unless it comes into existence in-and-of itself. Something is not "real" if it relies on something else for it's being as it was, or as it is now, or as it will be.

Where the confusion lies is that just because something is, in Buddhist terms, not "real" (or empty of inherent existence), this does not mean that it is non-existent - only that it did not come into existence in-and-of itself. It is the reason Buddhism denies the first principle, aka God as envisioned by Christians.

So, it's important to the elimination of suffering, or the process of "salvation," liberation, moksha, enlightenment, that we recognize that this "self" perceived as being attacked by criticism, is really a transient creation due to the perception of a criticism. It is a defensive stance against that criticism - not an entity.

Accurately said, it is dualistic to simply say "The self does not exist," and leave it at that. But for the purpose of this discussion, we can go with it.

I know, I didn't answer the question directly.

Rick said...

What's in a name? said...

"Gudo Nishijima's take on this is that we're "both bound and free""

Addtionally, "neither bound, nor free."

Mr. Reee said...

Great comments here! (I love toying with the geometry of time.)

One question, based on prior comment:

Would it be true to say the only thing that's 'real' is the experiential "here-and-now," if it doesn't rely on past and future for its existence?

(Note--I'm drawing a subtle distinction between the experiential 'here-and-now' vs a conceptual 'present' found on a timeline in the mind. "Present" is relative to past and future.)

What's in a name? said...

What's the alternative, Mr. Reee? That the time I spent in my kitchen 10 minutes ago is 'real'? Not any more it isn't. But I don't think that's what you mean...Do you mean that "here and now" might not be "real"? If so, you're questioning the concept "real". I trust that 'something' is going on, and that it's going on "here" and "now" - I trust what I believe those concepts to refer to as being "real". Otherwise, nothing means anything. Or perhaps you mean:

I don't believe Gudo is suggesting that here/now "doesn't rely on past and future for its existence; I think he's suggesting that by introducing "past and future" into a discussion of "here and now", you're trying to combine the two (incompatible) views: any attempt to reconcile 'here and now' with 'the past/future' confines the discussion to the area of cause and effect; the materialist view (or, possibly the world of abstract ideas; idealism). I think that Gudo is simply saying "we can look at these questions one way (trying to reconcile the past, present and future), or the other way (the past and the future are never "here/now") - not both. The (ultimate) reality is beyond these words, concepts, or "views". (And Gudo argues that this is the message of the Buddha, Nagarjuna, and Dogen - at least).

Does that make any sense at all? I'm struggling here...I may've completely misunderstood you.

Rick said...

Mr. Reee said...

"Would it be true to say the only thing that's 'real' is the experiential "here-and-now," if it doesn't rely on past and future for its existence?"

These metaphysical kinds of discussions can lead down a rabbit hole. Or at least to an infinite reduction scenerio. Just how small of a instant in time is the here-and-now? How can there be here and now without there-and-then?

I think, my opinion only, we could argue that if something (in this case the here-and-now) is experienced then something is experiencing. The subject-object dualism is created and so we couldn't really say, from a Buddhist POV, that the H&N is self-existent, and is not 'real.'

It is my thought that there is no ego in passing the salt. There is just passing the salt, or making coffee, etc.

In this case there is just action, here-and-now. Dogen's time-being, perhaps?

Rick said...

(lost the rest of my thoughts...)

There is a movie called Memento.. I haven't seen it yet, but the premis is that this guy has no short term memory, can make new memories, something like that.

He's trying to solve his wife's murder by leaving himself clues. He writes notes on polaroid photos to tell himself where he lives, where he parked his car, who to trust.

That would be a freaking terrible existence - to only remember something because it was on a post-it note, or photograph.

Mr. Reee said...

"Do you mean that "here and now" might not be "real"?"

oh no no. What I was getting at-- does 'here-and-now' qualify as 'buddhist real' i.e., as something that "comes into existence in-and-of itself."

... and "Just how small of a instant in time is the here-and-now? How can there be here and now without there-and-then?"

My thoughts about that aren't part of the Buddhist canon (I don't think)--but my take is that 'here-and-now' may be much more expansive that we're conditioned to think of.
It's kinda like this: there is never a time that isn't 'now' nor has there ever been a place that isn't 'here.' When I had breakfast this morning, it was here/now and as I sit writing this it is still here/now and that seems to go for any place and time I could ever experience.

In other words, here/now, as I'm looking at it, is more of a quality, rather than a quantity.

Past/present/future is a quantitative arrangement where one designated period relies on the others to be understood. But here/now seems to me to just be here/now--and nothing else. Ever. :)

Again, I'm just wondering how this jibes with Buddhist philosophy.

Russ Wellen said...

"When I read the posts here I often imagine the same kinds of nerdy guys"

I read Hardcore Zen off and on. It definitely fills an important niche. But this is the first time I read the comments. I have to say. . . your concerns are well-founded.

What's in a name? said...

Mr Reee wrote: "does 'here-and-now' qualify as 'buddhist real' i.e., as something that "comes into existence in-and-of itself."

With respect to Rick, I don't agree that that's an accurate definition of "buddhist real"...at all. The topic is vast, and we can't do it justice here (where are Justin and Jinzang?).

"Past/present/future is a quantitative arrangement where one designated period relies on the others to be understood. But here/now seems to me to just be here/now--and nothing else. Ever. :)

Again, I'm just wondering how this jibes with Buddhist philosophy."

It'll do me.

Rick said...

Mr. Reee said...

"there is never a time that isn't 'now' nor has there ever been a place that isn't 'here.' "

OK... this is akin to Dogen's Being-Time.

Anonymous said...

Hey Russ Wellen \o

Yeeah, everyone here's like a total nerd :(
Your comment is really Keeewl though :)
Please post again.

Rick said...

"I don't agree that that's an accurate definition of "buddhist real"...at all."

This isn't something I made up on my own, so I don't have any attachment to the definition.

Please, if there is an alternate definition, it would be welcome.

What's in a name? said...

I don't think there is such a definition, Rick. Existence/non-existence, self-determined/other-determined, innate nature/emptiness - and, of course what these terms might actually mean - were all debated, by Gotama himself and in the subsequent early years of Buddhist philosophy. Different schools had different views.(Nagarjuna's MMK is one attempt to sort it all out). But I don't think Buddhism has ever denied that the universe, and us as apart of it, is "real", or that that reality is dependant on whether a thing "comes into existence in-and-of itself".

That's my understanding, anyway.

What's in a name? said...

Confusing last sentence!
Should read:

"But I don't think Buddhism has ever stated that the universe, and us as apart of it, is not "real", or that that reality is dependant on whether a thing "comes into existence in-and-of itself".

What's in a name? said...

...For example, Nagarjuna's conclusion (some say re-establishing Gotama's original insight), is that these "either/ors" ('exist'/'not-exist' etc) are all mistaken "views". The reality is beyond any such view: reality is the "middle way" between them - that which is "dependantly co-arisen"; the ever-present, interdependent nexus of phenomena that is the universe, here and now..."and nothing else. Ever :)"

What's in a name? said...

I forgot (just after "ever present"): ever-changing.

What's in a name? said...

Yep. That's reality and the universe sorted.

dummy said...

yep..

Anonymous said...

Mate, you would have liked the Cartoon Museum in London. It features original panels of the Golden Age of British comics..!
A sweet museum.
Bye!

rjs71 said...

Brad, funnily enough today's edition of the Guardian had a reprint of an old Whizzer & Chips comic from 1977... I was a Whizz kid myself.

Yes it is Iggy Pop. Don't ask.

aresquare said...

not sure im so wise.

Zatt said...

Comics? We got something to talk about for HOURS!

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