Friday, December 18, 2009

HOW AMC’S REMAKE OF THE PRISONER EXPLAINS WHY I WILL NEVER HAVE A DHARMA HEIR

I recently watched most of episode one of AMC’s remake of the classic Sixties TV show The Prisoner over at my friend Nina’s house. She has cable and TiVo and I have neither. Unfortunately her TiVo thought the episode was an hour long when it was actually longer than that. So it cut off before the finish.

In any case, I wasn’t too upset. The show was good enough that I’d like to have seen the ending. But not so compelling that I can even recall now exactly where things were when the TiVo decided to stop recording.

I don’t think I could have been anything but disappointed in any remake of The Prisoner. The original show was a big part of my education as a young man. I first watched it with my first Zen teacher, Tim, on his little black and white portable TV set in his basement apartment in Kent, Ohio. Tim didn’t have cable then either (probably still doesn’t) and it was on a UHF station. So the reception was always lousy. And yet the show was so amazing that its power came through in spite of only barely being able to tell what was going on half the time.

The show was the creation of its star, the late lamented Patrick McGoohan. It was a profound meditation on the individual and his place and role in society, about personal freedom vs. one’s responsibility to one's fellow human, about the very nature of existence itself. And this was a TV show, for God’s sake! Not even some highbrow PBS thing either. It was made for commercial television, for mass audience consumption.

The problem with the remake is that the producers just don’t seem to get what The Prisoner was about. They seem to have a vague comprehension that the show was cool and mysterious. But they either don’t understand the underlying message or they don’t care. There is no burning desire here to say something heartfelt. At best, the folks who made the remake seem only to desire to make something weird. And while the original was indeed weird, it was much more than that. What we get in the remake is more like a low rent knock-off of LOST. It's certainly not the worst thing on TV. But it could have been so much better.

I suspect the problem is that while the original series was completely the brainchild of one single individual, the new one seems to have been made by a committee. Of course Patrick McGoohan didn’t make The Prisoner all by himself. He had writers, directors, actors and a whole lot of other people involved. But he did personally oversee every aspect of the show. It’s obvious that the new series has no such guiding hand. And it suffers for that, as does all art created by committee. This is also why most Hollywood movies are so incredibly bad – they are made by committee.

Good Zen teaching doesn't happen by committee any more than good art can be made by committee. This is why the Soto-shu, the organization that's supposed to represent Dogen's teachings in the modern world, can't ever hope to succeed in doing so. This is why most teachers name a single successor, not a board of directors.

Only Patrick McGoohan could make The Prisoner correctly. No one else could ever make The Prisoner the right way. They could certainly make their own show, which embodied the same attitude as The Prisoner. But they could not make The Prisoner.

Watching the remake made me think of the teachings of Buddha, Bodhidharma, Dogen, and all the rest of those guys. What’s interesting about really good teaching or really good art is that it bypasses the individual who expresses it and enters into a whole ‘nother realm. The Buddha’s teachings are not unique to the man Gautama Buddha. They are something universal that Gautama Buddha was able to express. This is why you don’t necessarily need to study what Gautama Buddha said in order to understand it.

Gautama Buddha expressed that stuff in a way that was uniquely his own, that came from his distinctive personality. So did Dogen and Bodhidharma and Gudo Nishijima and Dainin Katagiri and all the rest of them. Yet in a very real sense the greatest thing any of these guys did was develop the ability to step aside and allow the universal teaching to flow through them.

Yet that they let it flow though them is the key. They expressed this universal something in their own way. They did not immitate anyone else. They didn't do a bad remake of their teachers. They were not tribute bands. The old koan about Gutei’s finger expresses this very well.

Whenever Gutei was asked to express Buddhism he held up one finger. Guetei had a student. And whenever that student was asked about Buddhism, he imitated Gutei by holding up one finger. When Gutei heard about this he called the student to his room and asked him to say something about Buddhism. The student held up one finger. Gutei took out a knife and sliced the student’s finger off. The student was bawling his eyes out when Gutei said, “Hey kid!” The student looked up. Gutei held up one finger. At that moment the student got it.

Any truly great work of art expresses something universal that goes beyond that piece of art itself. The Prisoner expressed something essential and true. That’s why it still haunts those of us who watched it. The folks who remade the show were unable to catch on to what the show was expressing. Same with the guys who remade Godzilla. Same with almost any remake of anything. The rare cases where remakes work only occur when the people doing the remake either get what the original was about or when they use the original as a template to express something they themselves feel passionately about.

I’m not nearly old enough for anyone to start concerning themselves with whether I’ll leave a dharma heir or not. And yet a couple of people have already expressed worry about that to me. But I’ve already decided I will never name any dharma heir or successor. That would just encourage someone to do a poor remake of me, which would be truly awful. I’ve seen some poor remakes of great teachers already and they’re just as bad as AMC’s version of The Prisoner. Not that I’m a great teacher by any stretch of the imagination. Which makes it even more urgent that I leave no successors. Imagine a bad AMC remake of Petticoat Junction or That Girl or some other show like that. A dharma heir of me would be even worse.

What does that mean for my own dharma reception (reception being the other side of transmission)? I don’t know. Nishijima Roshi seems convinced I have manifested something of the attitude he received from his teachers. I can’t possibly judge if he’s correct or not. I suppose if I ever did see something like what I’ve grokked from my teachers in someone who sat with me I might be inclined to make some kind of formal recognition of that. But I think I’d probably keep it on the down low even if that happened.

Remakes suck anyway.

58 comments:

Mumon said...

well, happy holidays anyway.

Osama Van Halen said...

Happy Muharram!
Tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1431!

Mumon said...

But I’ve already decided I will never name any dharma heir or successor. That would just encourage someone to do a poor remake of me, which would be truly awful.

I think people that do that stuff seriously try to avoid getting a Mini Me.

More like, done correctly, they're looking for the Major Charles Winchester to replace Major Franklin Burns.

Blake said...

The Simpsons had a better remake.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

There are counter examples. Compare Terminator to Terminator II.

Or compare the
old Starbuck
to the new Starbuck.

Everything changes. But sometimes that can be an improvement.

NellaLou said...

Brad said:

"But I’ve already decided I will never name any dharma heir or successor. That would just encourage someone to do a poor remake of me, which would be truly awful."

"I suppose if I ever did see something like what I’ve grokked from my teachers in someone who sat with me I might be inclined to make some kind of formal recognition of that. But I think I’d probably keep it on the down low even if that happened."

Recognizing your ambivalence on the situation is probably a useful place to be in. Seeing both sides of the balance sheet as it were. The spiritually ambitious often don't bother with the possible down side.

Getting lost in their teacher's aura and maybe ego. Some kind of transferrence.

Beyond that to "keep it on the down low" can cause all kinds of problems. Not for you if you're old and senile or dead but for others. Any random idiot can then make a claim to be your successor just because they met you at a comic convention once. Then they'll go on to invent a program called "Giant Mind" and make millions. Or claim the rights to your writing or a lot of other similar stuff.

I'm going to suggest that if you do find someone and give them this acknowledgment that you put it down somewhere like in a will or something.

Ran K. said...

to Brad:

I could understand why you wouldn’t want to name any Dharma Heirs who have been a “poor remake” of their Dharma predecessors, but I can’t think of any, and the idea seems strange, if not to say impossible, to me.

Of course anyone would be able to think of a lot who haven’t been.

- Also – I don’t understand your statement: “Nishijima Roshi seems convinced I have manifested something of the attitude he received from his teachers. I can’t possibly judge if he’s correct or not.”.

Do you in some way mean that you wouldn’t be able to tell for yourself whether you received the transmission or not, - had you not been told?

It does seem like the strangest idea.

The point about the Dharma is clear, but the point about your own decision is not.

Anonymous said...

Dharma Hair is overrated anyway.

Osama Van Halen said...

Here is the new version of "The Prisoner"

http://www.amctv.com/videos/the-prisoner/

and the old version

http://www.amctv.com/videos/the-prisoner-1960s-video/

Computers are replacing TV.

NellaLou said...

"Watching the remake made me think of the teachings of Buddha, Bodhidharma, Dogen, and all the rest of those guys. What’s interesting about really good teaching or really good art is that it bypasses the individual who expresses it and enters into a whole ‘nother realm. The Buddha’s teachings are not unique to the man Gautama Buddha. They are something universal that Gautama Buddha was able to express. This is why you don’t necessarily need to study what Gautama Buddha said in order to understand it."

I am so disagreeing with you about this. It sounds like we each have to reinvent Buddhism. Yeah I know metaphysically we do that in practice anyways but without some guidelines, such as what Buddha said there's going to be a lot more fumbling around and falling for any sort of crap that promises a way out. It doesn't hurt to reference the map once in a while on the journey. One can rely on a teacher in many cases but if they've got their heads up their asses too that's not much help.

If one follows your apparent line of reasoning then we don't need teachers at all since if we are not referencing what the Buddha or Dogen or anyone said we also don't need to reference what a teacher says. We just express some universal thing that bypasses our individuality and enters into that nother realm. And how does someone find out how to do that exactly? Psychic waves? Internet?

Your statement is really muddled up. It sounds like plugging into the Force or something.

You are talking of ultimate truth in a realm of relative truth. (Yeah I'm referencing Nagarjuna) Most people don't know the difference. To someone who has no idea of this "universal" and what it means it is license to just spew all kinds of "Enlightenment" nonsense and pretend, to themselves and others that there is some understanding of it.

What has come down, via writings and teachers is like a map of unknown terrain. Yes the map has been reconfigured from time to time but it's the same "universal" terrain. Without that there's the kind of mess that's happening now, that you yourself bitch about. 3 hour enlightenment and such.

It doesn't mean someone has to become a Buddhist scholar or something (Bodhidharma did study the texts as did Dogen just by the references used-different point but related) but familiarity can save a lot of grief and confusion.

I know you qualified your statement with the word "necessarily" but it is quite necessary.

Anonymous said...

Remaking Zen Buddhism in your own image: confused and without conviction.

Rich said...

"But I’ve already decided I will never name any dharma heir or successor."

Good decision. Now maybe those that want to be dharma heirs will go away and leave you alone. They may even wake up from their stupid dharma heir dream.

Rick said...

Some things should just be left alone if you're not going to approach it with a clear mind.

The second round of Batman movies are much better than the first.

The Godfather book and movies can each stand independently on their own.

The Bourne movies and Eddie and the Cruisers are much better than the original books.

So go figure.

Anonymous said...

"they didn't do a bad remake of their teachers..."


This says it all for me.

In sitting with different teachers, comes a time when they seem to be 'channeling' memory of their own teacher 'back in the day.'

there has been an actor-ish quality, they are embodying remembered phrases, inflections, gestures...

Having never met the original teacher (now dead), I have no way of verifying my sense of this.

I've come away saddened because the imitation isn't the real deal of course, but that they didn't 'get' it.

maybe some zen masters grade on a curve system--the kid in the zendo who 'gets' it the most get's the A

some zen masters seemed to not have a grading system, but a pass/fail thing

some zen masters seem to adhere to a system which will only pass those who pass, and none have as of yet

I like never say never
I also like putting it out there: here we only sit zazen: there is nothing to give, nothing to get

Other places have made me feel as if I've entered some kind of diploma/degree factory:
or maybe more like a fraternity/sorority type of thing: to get to be zen equivalents of president, vice president, treasurer and secretary you had to be a political animal, have the right skill set or the right factors to compensate for a poor one, money being one.

it is cleaner, clearer there is nothing to give and nothing to get
but then again, you aren't going to find a whole lot of people coming to sit on a week after week basis if that's all there is, are you now?

fraphtra

Anonymous said...

I was a teenager when Secret Agent was on TV,
Patrick Magoohan was such a crush of mine--but he also scared me--he certainly was not a boy, and I never would have used the word 'cute' with him.
I always wanted to be Diana Rigg when I grew up--now she could have handled Magoohan no sweat.

Does anyone know if they ever acted in anything together? It would be wild--I could see the who I wanted to be when I grew up with the actor I had such a crush on!!
oused

Anonymous said...

I don't want to be Brad's dharma err, although it would be human

Anonymous said...

Talking about "design by committee"....

Video: Stop Sign Designed by Committee http://bit.ly/2VoE0O

Val said...

Thanks for keeping on writing, Brad, I just love reading your stuff, it's always fun, fresh, cheerful and interesting.

Anonymous said...

"Imagine a bad AMC remake of Petticoat Junction or That Girl or some other show like that".

LOL.

Dude, don't sell yourself short!
You're at least at the level of
Gilligan's Island, or even,
Hogan's Heroes!

ator said...

david lee roth

sammy hagar

see what im saying here?

Ruairi said...

what a great piece of writing.

Anonymous said...

"Does anyone know if they ever acted in anything together?"

Diana Rigg has a Patrick McGoohan number of 2.

(Alas, according to the Oracle of Bacon,
Diana Rigg and Patrick Magoohan never
appeared together on the silver screen :(

Thank goodness for that!
The universe might have imploded!

BTW, Godzilla also has a
Patrick McGoohan number of 2.

Anonymous said...

When they remade Dr Who after a 10 year gap I though that they must be mad. It's actually worked out OK because they didn't copy the old doctors (Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, NOT Sylvester McKCoy).

Instead they went back to the roots and remade the new doctor with a more human face.

Many of the same writers were used as on the original shows and ISTR the Dalek voice was still the same guy.

As for Battlestar Galactica now vs. BG-1980. No contest.

The New Start Trek Movie; somewhat mixed. It's not GR but it does kinda work and it is a little more honest about James T. Kirk - as much asshole as hero.

So sure, please spare us from "The Ghost of Brad Warner" but never say never.....

anon #108 said...

Brad wrote:

"The Buddha’s teachings are not unique to the man Gautama Buddha. They are something universal that Gautama Buddha was able to express."

And NellaLou strongly dsiagreed.

I'm agreeing with Brad, in as much as:

Isn't the essence of what G. Buddha taught that -

Only here and now is real; we only live and act here and now.
The world in front of us is one thing; we are an element of that one thing.
All these 'things', including us, have no 'essence' or 'self' seprate from it, or of which the thing is an 'expression'.
All acts, being an element of one thing, affect other things - acts have consequences.
We can come to a deeper understanding and experience of the nature of this world and ourselves as part of it through still, silent, sitting 'meditation'.
By understanding/experiencing these things, through the practice of meditation, we can relieve our suffering/discontent. We can become content.

That's my 'off the top of my head' attempt at a summary of the 'universal' truths of Buddhism - as I see them. Forgive me if I've left your favourite bit out, expressed things badly, or got it all wrong.

Whether G Buddha was the first to present these observations as a package, or not is (very) debatable. It's very unlikely he's the only person to have realised these truths; Buddhist myth insists he wasn't. Whatever, 'the teaching' has been presented that way - as "Buddhism" - ever since, and very many others, all over Asia and now in the West, have expanded, contracted and developed it (including everyone who's written a word about it, including the writers/compilers of the Tipitaka).

"This is why you don’t necessarily need to study what Gautama Buddha said in order to understand it."(Brad)- And I agree with NL that "necessarily" is an important word in that sentence.

f. kwan said...

I got choked up about this for about two seconds until I realized that it was about time someone did away with the blasted dharma heir thing. Zillions of people have wonderful influential teachers -- their high school English teacher who made them read Shakespeare for the first time with awe and no vomiting, the dude who got them to suffer through medical school, blah blah blah -- without a lot of cult trappings going on. However, that being said, proclaiming that one is not going to leave a Dharma Heir is kinda sorta pretentious and sort of begs the terrible shark jumping sequel you just railed against. If a literary metaphor may be injected into the TV morass by an old lady, don't push Sherlock off the Reichenbach Falls in the first place, my bro.
My lowest three bows nevertheless

Anonymous said...

geez that Gutei sounds like a total jerk!! xD

anon #108 said...

To be clear - you don't necessarily need to study what GB said because many others since have understood it and realised it. They, in turn, have written about and taught it. We can access that teaching and writing.

(NL - I'm pretty sure Genpo et al believe that their particular map is also an accurate guide to GB's 'universal' terrain. I don't believe it's possible to prove it isn't by referring to the sutras. Apart from the Theravadins, perhaps, most sincere "Buddhists" have ignored much of, or totally re-interpreted "Buddhism" as described in the early sutras - from the first council on.

john e mumbles said...

Only thing manifesting here is a GINORMOUS Ego. Did dig the reference to Stranger In A Strange Land, tho, as The Prisoner was undoubtedly based on that book.

Anonymous said...

Great idea, Brad, another ceremony you don't have to bother learning.

Darwin said...

Some mutant strains should not reproduce, for the good of the world.

anon #108 said...

Brad -

No Dharma Transmission from BW, ever?!! Meh. You'll change your mind plenty of times about that.
Who told you a dharma heir had to be a "remake"?!

"I suppose if I ever did see something like what I’ve grokked from my teachers in someone who sat with me I might be inclined to make some kind of formal recognition of that."

Buddhists usually call that "Dharma Transmission" . What you chose to call it, and whether you do with robes and sticks at midnight is your business.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Brad's dharma heir could be his "Battlestar Gallactica"

Gustav said...

Thanx bruddah, beautiful post and good points! Thanks for keeping it real. Merry christmas from Gustav and Santa Claus in snowy Sweden

Ran K. said...

I wanted to post this, I don’t know why.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7uQhmtQ59k&feature=related

Tiger Woods made me think of that, - “He likes to keep his fire engine clean. It’s a clean machine.”.

There’s also - “And though she feels as if she's in a play,
She is anyway.”.


Nobody writes words like John Lennon; and nobody sings like him.


There’s also:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHb3GIQGoIM.

(Take care you don’t pick up the dot at the end.)

Moor Larkin said...

Great minds or fools? The result is the same.

"The new Prisoner strikes me as having suffered from too many cooks. The original scripts were said to have been brilliant by Caviezel and McKellen - both men who do not exactly just do any old project, so I tend to believe they were genuinely impressed. Yet, by the time the programme emerged from many months editing and post-production the screenplay had become as full of wobby holes as those appearing in the show itself...... "
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1043714/board/flat/151659584?p=2&d=153475222#153475222

NellaLou said...

"Only here and now is real; we only live and act here and now."

That is if one buys the conventional concept of linear time. (a relative term)

Here's an example.

If we have a Buddhist text that was created millenia ago is it historical or is it now because it is in our hands? It simultaneously exists along the entire timeline as well as in the future since it's ramifications will still be experienced there in a karma/vipaka way. It's original origins are also untraceable (so the Buddha guy-myth or reality question is irrelevant). This makes everything infinite and infinitely tied together.

That's more than a semantic argument.

Harry said...

Can anyone remember the episode/scene in the prisoner where Number 2 was sitting zazen (oooooh, those mean Zen bastards!)???

As I remember it, his sitting was rudely interupted by a phone call concerning the latest angsty antics of the imprisoned Irish ambassidor of Kick-Ass.

... This abrupt call to action did'nt stop him dissecting a nearby piece of wood with a phoney karate chop on his way up though. Quality TV.

Regards,

Harry.

anon #108 said...

Hi NellaLou -

I've heard it said that the present includes the past. The belief that an ancient text existed before now can only held by us now, as can the book itself. So I still think it's 'true' to say "we only act here and now" - I can never act in the past; I can never act in the future. Which is not to say that I didn't act in the past, or won't in the future.

This time business is the trickiest thing, I agree. And I haven't got a clue what's 'really' going on.

While there might be endless speculation about the nature of this eternal now, there's much less, I think, about the nature of 'here' - I'm always here, and 'here' has a lot to do with 'now'.

(Aren't I and doesn't it?)

anon #108 said...

I used to watch The Prisoner as an impressionable adolescent in the 60's. My take:

I found it Kooky, in a 'TV does 60's counterculture' kinda way, and that was sometimes fun. But overall it was predictable and pretentious. Perhaps I'm missing the point and everyone loves it for being naff (like Brad loves Godzilla). But still...

"I am not a number, I am a free man".

Do me a favour. We were smarter than that. Even in the 1960's. I've softened with age, but "...a profound meditation on the individual and his place and role in society, about personal freedom vs. one’s responsibility to one's fellow human, about the very nature of existence itself."?

Nah. Not for me.

capcha: cohoon. Fancy that.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes the tribute band is better than the band to which they're paying tribute; case in point: any Yes tribute band in existence.

reinn said...

"Sometimes the tribute band is better than the band to which they're paying tribute; case in point: any Yes tribute band in existence."

Why there even is a Yes tribute band is the obvious question. A tribute band for Kiss cannot help being better than the original. This is not usually the case though. Originality carries some weight.

Anonymous said...

Here's the deal with Yes: the group is technically still in existence, but they just can't get it on anymore (there's an understatement). I know of at least one Yes tribute band whose drummer, guitarist, and bassist play better than White, Howe, and Squire do now. Therefore, I can't see a Yes tribute band as a bad thing. Now, if someone tried to start a Keith Jarrett Trio tribute band, I'd tell 'em to go piss up a rope. :D

Anonymous said...

Brad,

If you've come to any transcendent insight in your Zen practice, you will teach that by your unselfconscious behavior, constantly and effortlessly. Just be around others often enough that they might pick some of it up, too. Direct transmission isn't necessarily a formal ritual event - your own experience with Nishijima should be proof enough! Samadhi during zazen radiates dharma-truth infinitely throughout the universe...

Jinzang said...

"This is a journey without a goal; that's the biggest goal," he said. "This is very difficult for human beings. When you are asked to come here, to spend all your money and a good chunk of your life to do nothing and gain nothing, it's difficult."

Dzongsar Kyentse Rinpoche

I always liked the idea behind The Prisoner better than the show. To me it's like Waiting for Godot with spies.

Anonymous said...

"It was a profound meditation on the individual and his place and role in society, about personal freedom vs. one’s responsibility to one's fellow human, about the very nature of existence itself."

Sounds like Green Acres,
but less profound.

JayDee Cameron said...

Would that not be a selfish expression to leave a possibility for one's teachings to flourish?

JayDee said...

Such an act would seem contradictory, if not ironic in Zen philosophy.

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Anonymous said...

Anon Q

NellaLou wrote this:

"It doesn't mean someone has to become a Buddhist scholar or something (Bodhidharma did study the texts as did Dogen just by the references used-different point but related) but familiarity can save a lot of grief and confusion.

I know you qualified your statement with the word "necessarily" but it is quite necessary."

I'm glad you wrote this NellaLou because it gave me the chance to look it over again:

In particular where Brad wrote:

"The Buddha’s teachings are not unique to the man Gautama Buddha. They are something universal that Gautama Buddha was able to express. This is why you don’t necessarily need to study what Gautama Buddha said in order to understand it."

This last sentence (re)opened something interesting for me. Namely, what is 'it'?

On the one hand, I could interpret that sentence to mean that I don't need to involve myself in some deeper study of something(s) 'Gautama Buddha said', to understand what Gautama Buddha said (it).

In this case it seems to suggest that there is something immediately understandable about those Gautama B's sayings that I inherently recognise. There is something of say 'universal' truth in me that recognises itself in something else (i.e the sayings of G.B.)

I can go only so far with that before I start asking my self what constitutes 'study', my own prior learning/ cultural conditioning, pre-xisting literacy, and the experience I have of misinterpreting sayings both positively and negatively, and so on.

But then 'it' in Brad's sentence could also refer to the previous sentence's 'something universal that Gautama was able to express' as the subject. In turn, this can be taken to refer to the sentence previous to that's 'Buddha's, which is also linked as synonymous in some way to 'really good teaching' and 'really good art' previous to that.

So on the one hand, I have 'it' being what GB said, on the other, I have a whole array of slightly different was to express what at first I casually took to mean exactly the same thing:

Really good art/teaching = The enlightened one's non unique teachings (plural) = a historical enlightened one's expression of something universal truth = that guys sayings.

So suddenly I was aware of a kind of truth held in only the last sentence as 'it', and at the same time a whole number of other possible meanings as 'it'.

I didn't need to study what Brad said/expressed to get it, but having gone back over it, it gets more interesting. But then the word 'it' can do that, being a word that by-passes the individual using it, I suppose.

This is why I keep coming back to this blog.

Anon #666 said...

There is a saying in zen that if the student's understanding does not exceed the understanding of her teacher, the student is not qualified to be a successor. Maybe Brad is saying he could never find anyone to exceed his own grasp of the dharma ;)

Cardwhore Zen said...

This is so f*cking weird. Does Brad determine the funny words you have to spell for word verification?

For a brief instant I had.....
...
Sotori.

Not satori, mind you, but sotori as my word verification thingamajig. Maybe it's the Soto variety of satori. Now I'm stuck with eping. WTF?

The above anon's comment about zen teachers choosing students that surpass them....How the heck does this explain Baker roshi? Or Brad and Jundo for that matter? Somebody's not following the zen rules.

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

Neat post, thanks. Pretty inspiring in itself too.

I do hope you'll have a heir though, and by that I mean hoping that you meet someone you know will do things their own way, instead of trying to copy who you are.

And for some reason I get the feeling that this will become more important to you as time passes. You're probably too young to be working out/understanding that type of stuff right now though!

Anonymous said...

There's a really good book waiting to be written on pop culture and Zen. By this, I mean the connections between cult TV programmes like The Prisoner and Zen, obscure music lyrics (ramones, Mark E. Smith etc.) and Zen, and so on. And you are just the person to write it.

Te said...

Just another thing that came into my head :

You might at somepoint meet someone that's that good at what they're doing that you'll be happy to make them your heir just so that they're known better. And any fears you have now about having someone trying to be like you might be the last thing in your head if you meet someone like this, as instead you might be thinking of what they can do for others.

Like the way you are, I doubt that you're trying to copy Nishijima, and it could turn out that you're lucky to meet someone else that avoids the need to do this, and you'll be more than happy to have a heir.

I don't even know why I'm on about this so much, but it's just something that I feel you'll be more open minded about in the years to come.

And that's enough ranting I think.

Anonymous said...

I know very little dharma, but right speech would seem to preclude such ramblings. How could such a discussion aid in one's freedom? Boddhisatvas communicate mind to mind. When one has a dharma heir, one is named.

Michael said...

im trying to be brad warners dharma heir

Anonymous said...

Regarding art by committee...

Star Wars I: The Phantom Menace, was essentially the work of one man: Lucas, in so much as no one had the balls to stand up to him and correct, criticize, veto the horrific abomination/cinematic abortion that was the final result. The first Star wars, (Episode IV), had many more cooks in the kitchen telling him "NO!"...

Art through Adversity. Sometimes a committee discussing and debating is a good thing. And sometimes not. But there is no hard and fast rule.