Monday, December 14, 2009

War Is Bad, Death Row Tull, Top 15 Books for the Holiday Season, Tiger Woods

Lots of little things this time...

First check out this link:

Elephant Journal's Top 15 Books to Give as Holiday Gifts

Yep! Elephant Journal sez to give your loved ones a little Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate for Hanukkah, Kwanza, Rohatsu or Christmas this year! They'll love you so much they'll lick you on the ears for it! Thanks Waylon!

Also, here's a little holiday gift from me to you. Can't remember if I put this up once before. But I don't think I did. Check out:

Black Sabbath by Death Row Tull

Death Row Tull was a concept for a band that never came to be. This was one of several demos I did that were intended to set out what the band was going to be like. That's me on guitar, bass and Mellotron. Bret Johnson did the drums and engineered the recording. My friend Leilani did the vocals. The idea was to have her, a five foot tall Filipino girl, front the loudest band in the world. I had her sing this as "cute" as possible (listen to the "Is this the end my friend" bit). I was real happy with the ultra-fuzzy guitar tone. Turn it up to eleven!

Couple of things in the news caught my eye. Last Friday the LA Times had a headline that said, "Some wars keep peace, Obama says." He is quoted as saying, "Part of our challenge is reconciling these two seemingly irreconcilable truths -- that war is sometimes necessary and war is at some level an expression of human beings."

I really liked that statement. Out here in Santa Monica it seems like every third car has a bumper sticker that says, "War is NOT the answer." But the sad fact is that those bumper stickers are not true. War is very often the best solution to complex human difficulties. That is the problem!

If you say that war is never the answer, you're just hiding from the facts. And hiding from the facts isn't going to solve anything. First start from the understanding that -- horrible as it is -- war is the answer many times, then try and figure out why that is and what can be done about it. After we come to truly understand why war works so damn well we can start to build a world where your bumper sticker is true. Wishing everyone could just join hands and sing Kumbaya won't fix a damned thing.

Too many people equate Buddhism with naive pacifism. Of course, Buddhism is all about trying to move humanity toward a more stable and peaceful situation. But it's also about facing the true facts as they are. War is bad. No doubt about it. But if you want to do something to end all war you need to acknowledge that, as things stand right now, wars are all too often necessary.

I wish war would go away too. But wishing ain't gonna cut it.

The other thing I've been looking at in the news is all this fuss about Tiger Woods. Twitter contributor Shit My Dad Says quotes his 73 year old dad saying, "I like See's candy. Put me in a See's store, I'm eating candy. The whole world is Tiger's See's store, and the candy is vagina."

The plain fact is that no matter what he did or who he fucked it's really none of our God damned business. He's a golfer, for Christ's sake! What does any of this have to do with golf?

Feh. People are so fuckin' dumb sometimes.


anon #108 said...

I thought the church banned the bloody augmented fourth a loooooong time ago. Yet still....

One :(

Al said...

Tiger, Tiger Woods Y'all

Donovan said...

No people are not dumb. People are in the ego. In ego, people don't like Tiger Woods cause he has a billion dollars and can fuck any woman he wants. So if you can't have it, you must kill it. That explains the hate at Tiger going on.

peace out

Jinzang said...

War is the answer like murdering your wife is the answer.

Jinzang said...

Invading Tibet and occupying it was the answer to China's problem, but from Tibet's point of view there wasn't a problem that needed solving. Similarly, the United States sees many problems in the world in need of answers. The Third World sees the situation differently.

anon #108 said...

However, Jinz, war was the answer to the brutal expansionism of Nazi Germany in the 1930s - a problem for everyone except Nazi Germans, fascist Italians and Imperialistic Japanese.

Wasn't it?

I'm sure there are other examples of "defensive/necessary" wars, but I'm no good at history and it's past my bedtime here in the UK.

Regardless of 'justifiable' wars, the fact is that wars happen. So, in that sense, in some situations, war is the answer. Not "war should be the answer" but, on occasions, war IS/has been the answer. Brad writes, "...try and figure out why that is and what can be done about it".

That makes some sense to me.

Nathan said...


Wars are never, ever necessary. Period!

But I think you're right on that wishing it away won't work, nor will telling people to "be nice" or whatever.

The way I see it, wars are viewed as the most effective way to address perceived threats, and also definitely the easiest way for huge corporations to make a shit-ton of money.

Rarely do people collectively place the majority of their energy, money, and time into non-violent approaches. When they do, it sometimes actually works.

I could go on and on, but I think it starts with dropping any notion that wars are necessary because they just aren't, even in the worst of circumstances.

Donovan said...

Actually, if you read your history, Hitler was an effect, not a cause. After WW1, the allied powers that be made Germany suffer and starved millions of Germans to death. Hitler was a response to what was done to him by you guessed it, US.

Another example. Iran. We put a dictator in power called the Shah. And now we wonder why they hate us. Cause we fucked with their government.

Or lets take Afghanistan. History peeps, WE, AMERICA about 20 years ago gave guns and ammo to the TALIBAN when they were fighting the USSR.

And now... lol, we are against the Taliban.

You see, most of war is bullshit and our government tells us lies about it all.

How about Japan in WWII. Oh those evil people who bombed pearl harbor. Do you WHY they bombed pearl harbor. Because the US had cut of oil to Japan. WE, AMERICA caused Pearl Harbor. If you go back and look at history, America has caused most of the wars.

OK, one more 911. Why did they attack NY? Duh, America gives over a billion dollars a year to give weapons to Israel which then kicks the shit out of th e Arabs. No money from the US and Israel can't kill the arabs on the West bank. So who do you think the arabs blame? America, and rightly so.

The truth is a horrible thing to face. Especially when you meet the enemy and he's your face in the mirror.

peace out.

NellaLou said...

Why is Tiger Woods choice of sex partners, or how many, news of any kind? I don't know either.

About the necessity of war sometimes I'm having to agree as well. When there are aggressive and unreasonable forces who cannot see beyond their own ideology sometimes war is the only option left to stop them.


Here's an example. In the 1960's China invaded Northern India, not all that far from where I live. The Indians went to war (the 1962 Sino-Indian war)against them and drove them back into their own borders (actually Tibet's borders).China did this partly in response to India granting asylum to HH Dalai Lama. So basically India fought the war the Tibetans weren't able to.

There is also the Indian-Pakistan wars of 1965,1971 and 1999. And if America and NATO pull out of Afghanistan tomorrow there will be another one but this time with nukes.

There are other examples but you get my drift. The Third World does not see it differently.

anon #108 said...

"Actually, if you read your history, Hitler was an effect, not a cause", wrote Donovan.

Whatever next??

Anonymous said...

...i'm not sure... that's exactly what he said, y'all....

Anonymous said...

I don't think it takes much imagination to come up with scenarios in which war, from a very compassionate and sober standpoint, is the only realistic solution.

Take a peaceful people who are threatened by rowdy neighbors who want their stuff. If the peaceful folks don't do something, if they don't take up arms and defend themselves, the rowdy neighbors are going to do a lot of sorry things like gut all of their men, rape their women, and enslave their children.

Say they can stay all of the violence with a less violent, but still very bloody war with a superior armed force. What should they do?

This is but one example of complex situations that actually arise, of course. It's frequently a morass of moral ambiguity. Clinging to notions of pacifism and aversion to violence is merely the other side of the coin of mindless aggression and greed. That is, they both proceed from a notion of separation, a feeling of otherness, and as such they are all "wrong."

Real nonviolence and real peace arise from the dissolution of this false separation. In this way, "violence" does not just mean sticking a piece of metal into other beings at various velocities. Violence takes place every time you conjure up this notion of separation, whether you're screaming "no war for oil" or "kill them terrorists."

Believe me, it's not a far walk from stalwart pacifism to warmongering, and vice-versa. Hence human history is a never-ending cycle of violence, lull, violence, lull.

Just like a cessation of getting drunk every night or continuously lying to your spouse can engender a better environment for the activity of Buddhism to take place, an orientation towards peace is laudable.

But we have to be careful that we don't turn Buddhism into a cute but rather irrelevant commentary on human culture. Buddhism is about driving down to the very core that would cause us to form an opinion in the first place. It's getting to the "fundamental ground of being."

Rather than worry about war and peace, we should look at the worrying, and carry that same activity of investigation into how we interact with the world. This is what's meant by saving sentient beings. It's practice, and practice is not found in clinging to any viewpoint, any feeling-tone of sadness for the suffering of others or anger at the arrogance of humanity or pride about our cherished notions of peace. Practice is the continuous, moment-to-moment release into clarity. If we're not doing that, we're just fanning the flames of passion, aggression, and stupidity.

Anonymous said...

If you want an idea of how Zen Buddhism is connected with war pick up this man's book.

visionsect said...

excellent guitar Brad. I actually loved that little riff. Cool vocals also.

Steffen124 said...


Loved that take on Sabbath. Leilani's voice perfectly opposed to the fuzz on that guitar. Nice. Oh yeah. War sucks!!!!!!

anonymous said...

Who gets to determine which war is necessary, just or good? Why, the nation waging war of course. Hitler convinced most germans that his war was also necessary. Germany needed more livingspace if it were to survive. It was necessary to wipe out the jews in order to purify germany of 'vermin'.

The early U.S. government asserted that it was a good and necessary thing to push the native americans from their land in order to fulfill manifest destiny. The old South was mostly convinced that slavery was necessary too. GW taught us all that the Iraq invasion was good and necessary. And the japanese?

In 1939, Zen Master Harada Sogaku made the statement, “If ordered to march, ‘tramp-tramp’… or shoot ‘bang-bang’—this is the highest manifestation of the wisdom of enlightenment, the unity of Zen and war. It extends to the furthest reaches of the holy war now underway.”

“It’s the essence of truth that the Japanese people are chosen people whose mission is to control the world. The sword that kills is also the sword that gives life… Comments opposing the war are foolish opinions of those who can see only one aspect of things and not the whole.”
--Harada roshi

Then there was Shaku Soen, one of the first Zen masters to come to the United States. He used phrases such as “just war” or “holy war,” stating that Japan was engaged in a war of compassion, fought by bodhisattva soldiers against the enemies of Buddha. Rinzai Zen master Nantembo preached, “There is no bodhisattva practice superior to the compassionate taking of life.”

In 1992 the Soto School officially issued a statement of repentance, particularly with regard to the massacres in China. The statement said, in part: “The Soto School is a religious organization that supported Japan’s acts of aggression in China under the pretext of overseas missionary activities. It supported Japanese militarism and even participated actively in that militarism. This is extremely regrettable from the standpoint of religious persons.

I've also read that many japanese zen priests believed they were invading china in order to bring 'true zen' to china and that only in japan had zen attained it's full flower and highest expression. There's no end to self-delusion in these matters.

Brad and those WWII zen masters are entitled to their own opinions, (and that's all they are) but many other zen teachers disagree with them and oppose war itself as a manifestation of delusion.

It does not make KISS the greatest rock band of all time just because Brad thinks so either. And if Dogen wiped his ass from side to side it does not mean it is the true correct zen way.

Anonymous said...

Buddhism is ... also about facing the true facts as they are.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

Jordan said...

Woah! that Black Sabbath rip rocked!

mtto said...

Whenever we do anything, there can be unintended consequences. However, for some reason this is even more true about violent actions. I'm not saying that there is no just war, but even if you are waging a just war (or trying/hoping that is what you are doing) be prepared for a total clusterfuck of unexpected craziness.

I think the UN and the International Criminal Court decide if a war is just, not a country waging a war.

I have a philosophical theory I call the speed limit theory. There is an ideal rate to change society. Too slow or too fast and things are worse for people than necessary. Of course we can never know exactly what that ideal rate is, but if we try to change things (even for the better/good intentions) too fast, it is counterproductive. I think frequently wars are an example of trying to change society too fast.

Uku said...

Anonymous wrote: Brad and those WWII zen masters are entitled to their own opinions, (and that's all they are) but many other zen teachers disagree with them and oppose war itself as a manifestation of delusion.

I think you have missed Brad's point. Mr. Pipari wrote: War is very often the best solution to complex human difficulties. That is the problem!

This is not an idealistic problem like you Anonymous are suggesting. This is realistic situation. It is a problem that wars exist but they won't go away wishing everyone could just join hands and sing Kumbaya won't fix a damned thing.

We need peace support and we need also to support military who are dealing with that shit. I'm a pacifist, I didn't go to the Finnish army because I don't want to carry guns and stuff. But I support those who are doing that because that's realism. This world needs armies and that's sad but that's realism. And we need even more peace attitude, kindness and non-violence. It's a huge delusion to think that being a Buddhist means being blind and living in a holy fantasy world where everyone lives in peace and wars and suffering doesn't exist.

Anonymous, reality check (was this provocative enough?).

Anonymous said...

Tiger Woods is not just golf, he's multiple product lines, a commodity, a symbol. (kinda like Obama, actually). People are literally tasked with the job of keeping his image bright and shiny. His handlers may be really pissed off at him right now, or not; ultimately it depends on whether the publicity positively impacts their revenue streams or not. Hell, they could have even staged it to end a sales slump.

Harry said...


I agree that the book 'Zen at War' is worth a read and it does lay bare a lot of historical truth. But, in relation to how Master Kodo Sawaki is blatantly misrepresented in the book, I also recommend that people read this exchange between the current abbot of Antaiji and the author (who seems to me to be on a rather aggresive campaign of his own!)...

Now, I'm not saying that Kodo was perfect, or that he wasn't swept up in the events of the time like everyone else, but good research is good research (or not!) and, when representing people who aren't around to defend themselves and who are being accused retrospectively from the perspective of our own present day values, one should be rigourous in validating one's sources.

This error leads me to question other aspects of the book I'm afraid.



Anonymous said...

Think about it this way:

Without armies to defend you, it's very likely that most of us here wouldn't have the freedom to discuss such issues. Or, we might not be alive at all.

What Brad is saying is that this is a sad state of affairs, but the answer isn't to pretend that the world is capable of just laying down arms and engaging in peace.

The point — and if you're a Buddhist, you really have no excuse for not knowing this — is that the problem is deeper than an inclination to violence.

Sean said...

In a tone of kindly parody, But war is just so not-PC.... But seriously though: Mr. Warner, your indomitable cheerfulness is inspiring.

To the matter of war and answers....

To my understanding, Yagyu Munenori -- who, I have read, is one of Japan's most renowned Samurai of old, in a class with Myamoto Musashi -- he was at least sensitive to Buddhist teaching, at most a Buddha of the sword.

I cite, as reference to that, the letters from Takuan Soho, collected in the book (that I sense I can trust the veracity of, with no doubt) The Unfettered Mind [Kodansha International]. ( like this or official) as well as the following.

Then, there is the matter of venerable master swordsman Yagyu's own statements to the nature of war (paraphrased) that while war is an instrument of ill omen, but to strike at a complete evil will save more from that evil. (Citation: The Book of Family Traditions on the Art of War, as published in The Book of Five Rings, Shambala)

I think that the further and more technical body of Yagyu's teachings would serve to support the statement that such matters cannot be done irresponsibly, if to succeed.

It's my own idea, then, that a lot of people have developed a distaste for war, because it's just not groovy to their ideals. I'd say, that's fine -- naive ideals happen, even for adults -- but it's also real, and happens in a way much more people-affecting that any liberal body politic's concept of the politically correct.

I must hesitate to seem as if I was set to monger about it, though.

I don't like war, but it happens. Maybe sometime it won't, but I won't be holding my breath for that day, so long as war is still happening. Even if it's not a war we're engaged in, there's been trouble in Africa, for a while, and in other parts of the world, such that the limited pop-publicity news hasn't necessarily covered.

So maybe it's not PC, to everyone, but it happens -- in summary of my own impression about war, in as war occurs as a concept (which is so totally not all of how war occurs as a phenomenon, broadly or in any specific instance of war, throughout the short history of humanity)

As for the late popularity of Tiger Woods, and his exploits, I'd just like to pass it off as a matter of popular infatuation with a dim sense of celebrity -- no offense meant to anyone.

Max said...

I love me some war! GET SOME! All these jo's runnin around breathin my air. Otta be a jehad.

Mumon said...

Ven. Warner:

Regarding Woods: he's worth lots of money not only to himself, but to the media.

So of course they're going to milk this stuff.

That said, there's a point about Woods I'd make: he compares favorably to the governor of South Carolina.

snetleti said...

Damn Brad.. How do you find things like shitmydadsays? That is awesome.. Tiger Woods isn't the first person to be lynched by sexual hysteria. But his is only a media lynching. Read this and this to see some real victims of sexual hysteria.

Brad Warner said...


Thanks for posting that link. It's really sad that Kodo Sawaki's reputation in the West has been so tarnished by "Zen At War." And, like you, this one instance of blatant and deliberate mis-translation has led me to question whether the rest of the book is reliable.

It is definitely true that many Japanese Buddhists supported the war effort. But it is also important to remember Japan was under attack. You can't really blame anyone for wanting to defend their friends, families and neighbors from people who are trying to kill them -- no matter what the reasons are for that situation.

Still, there were some in the Buddhist community who took things much further than that and who did support Japanese fascism and imperialism. That should be addressed. It's sad that Mr. Victoria chose to muddy the waters by misrepresenting Sawaki and who knows who else.

Also thanks to everybody else for the other great comments. I'd respond, but I got a book to go write...

Mr. Reee said...

War/Peace etc:

I've heard war described as evidence of failure--failure in societal relations, failure of economies, etc. Failure, failure, failure...

But it seems to me that peace is not evidence of some kind of 'success' over the conditions that give rise to war--so maybe peace should be measured differently?

In other words, peace is not simply the absence of war. It's something else... maybe.

Mettai Cherry said...

Check out what the Dalai Lama has to say about the Iraq war from an article in AARP magazine here.

Mumon said...

Ven. Warner:

But it is also important to remember Japan was under attack. You can't really blame anyone for wanting to defend their friends, families and neighbors from people who are trying to kill them -- no matter what the reasons are for that situation.

Japan wasn't under attack when the militarist regime began.

I won't rehash the whole of history here, because the reality is, practice does not stand or fall on whether or not my ancestral teachers supported Japanese militarism, just as practice does not stand or fall on whether XXXX Roshi did funny things with chickens or not.

tirmsgur said...

Uku said: "We need peace support and we need also to support military who are dealing with that shit. I'm a pacifist, I didn't go to the Finnish army because I don't want to carry guns and stuff. But I support those who are doing that because that's realism. This world needs armies and that's sad but that's realism."

Uku: If you support men who carry guns to fight in wars to protect you and your family, how is that pacifism? It is a little like saying GW Bush is a pacifist because he never actually killed anyone..

Rich said...

The war is in your mind, just let it go. At least 3 times they tried to kill the buddha, with correct action he saved himself and others. for those with less skillful means their self defense actions might be viewed as war.

inting said...

Mumon: Brad said Japan was under attack. He did not say they were under military attack. Japan was being debilitated economically led by an effort from the United States. This was before Pearl Harbor.


Anonymous said...

"it is also important to remember Japan was under attack. You can't really blame anyone for wanting to defend their friends, families and neighbors from people who are trying to kill them"

Japan was under attack? Wasn't it Japan that invaded Manchuria? Didn't Japan invade Korea? Pearl Harbour? Did the U.S. attack itself?

That gets to the real problem. I'm sure lots of Japanese believed the government's propaganda that they were the victims and the allies were the aggressors. Remember Japan was part of the axis powers along with those peace-loving nations of Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy. The Germans believed thier government's propaganda too. Just as many Americans believed President Bush when he assured us that we had to invade Iraq because Saddam had weapons of mass destruction and Cheney assured us that Saddam was connected to Al Qaeda and thus was partly responsible for 9/11.

Brad, I think you are right about Tiger Woods but you need to think the whole war and peace issue through more...without simply parrotting the position of your teacher or the whole realism vs idealism claptrap. Practicing zazen or being a zen teacher does not mean your opinions on such matters carry any more weight than anyone else. Especially given that other zen masters have differing opinions.

Mumon said...

inting :

I saw the pitch at 安国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine), and they did it better than you will ever be able to do. I saw similar pitches in other places, including China and Korea, the United States. You can see similar pitches all over the world. Go to Warsaw. Go to Berlin.

There was no excuse for those people getting medieval on their neighbors. Period.

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

Re-post because some text mysteriously disappeared after publishing.

tirmsgur wrote: Uku: If you support men who carry guns to fight in wars to protect you and your family, how is that pacifism? It is a little like saying GW Bush is a pacifist because he never actually killed anyone..

I think your point of view is too black and white. World doesn't work like that. I don't know what pacifism means to you but for me it means sustaining peace. And sustaining peace ain't just singing Kumbaya or wearing flowers in your hair in peace protests. If someone is threating my children or trying to hit them, I won't show peace sign with my fingers and start to meditate with crystals. I'm gonna do everything it takes to protect my children.

But actually I don't like to use a concept pacifism because it's too idealistic, too -ism. For me Buddhism means balance and Middle Way and Middle Way means realistic attitude. Shit happens in this world, that is reality and I will do everything I can to sustain peace. But I'm not blind or I'm not gonna sacrifice my loved ones in the name of some -ism, Buddhism or pacifism.

Peace and love.

mtto said...

I listened to this discussion recently and thought I'd post a link as it is relevant to the discussion of "just war".

Jeff McMahan on Killing in War

Anonymous said...

Brad did say they were being killed. It sounds like he's talking about military attack.

"You can't really blame anyone for wanting to defend their friends, families and neighbors from people who are trying to kill them"

inting said:

"Japan was being debilitated economically led by an effort from the United States. This was before Pearl Harbor."

Ah, so the poor, peaceful japanese were being victimized by the u.s.? Why did the u.s. place this embargo on japan in the first place? Because japan had already invaded china.

In 1937, Japan went to war against China. As the war increased its scale, Japan advocated the construction of a new order in East Asia and made its intention clear to establish a new world order in the region, which had Japan on top as a leader. As the US national interest in China was infringed by such attitude of Japan and the Washington government was provoked, and an imposition of economic sanction against Japan started to be discussed to restrain Japan’s aggression.

To restrain Japan's aggression.

If this justifies war, then Saddam would have been right to attack the u.s. since it imposed an embargo on Iraq. If the u.n. imposes an embargo on Iran then Iran has the right to attack and kill Americans?

There is no end to this. And no end to the justifications for war. It is like the Hatfield McCoy feud, it goes on and on.

As long as the human mind is deluded there will be those willing to attack and kill and those willing to counterattack and kill. Neither can escape karma.

WWII is supposed to be a 'good' war. Was the bombing of Dresden right action? Compassionate taking of life? How about Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

This all seems complex because of delusion, nothing more. When you kill the 'enemy', you are killing your own self.

anon #108 said...

Discussing who was right and who was wrong/why anyone did what they did, and whether it was "justified" or not - in time of war or peace - can be an asbsorbing game, but it changes nothing.

Discussing the lessons to be learnt from past events, or making efforts to etablish an "enlightened" perspective which, we hope, might inform our future actions is, likewise, an absorbing exercise, but it's unlikely to change anything.

Perhaps all we can do is our best in each situation.
Perhaps we have no choice but to do our best.
Perhaps what we do is always the best we could have done, in that situation.

Anonymous said...

Guys! this conversation is AWESOME!!!!! wow wow wow!

Sorry, I'm just someonw who was really sad that previous comments section felt like a bad example of Lord of the Flies... I'm wondering if there is a viable metaphor in looking at the way the comments were, then the absence of a comment section, and then reopening it with a bit more "mindful" (blech!) way of speaking... and applying that to the comments about war... so glad to see adults talking here!

By the way, Anonymous at 5:19 AM---word ;)


Nathan said...

It's amazing how much energy people put into arguments supporting war in one form or another. Sure, war happens. The Buddha himself tried to stop, twice, battles between his people - the Sakyas - and a neighboring group. The first time his intervention worked, the second time he failed. Buddha made the effort, and then had to let go. He didn't sit around defending warfare. He didn't tell people to just accept it. He put in the effort to manifest non-violence, to manifest peace, and then let go of the results.

Even though I'm well aware that war happens, and that sometimes nothing can stop it, I don't waste any time at all defending it or even giving evidence that it's inevitable. Life's too short to waste time supporting such miserable human behavior.

Last comment - it's a wide gulf between defending one's children against personal attacks and state sanctioned warfare. A very wide gulf.


deggl said...


I don't hear anyone saying "just accept war."

The question is what can we do?
You suggest we "put in the effort to manifest non-violence, to manifest peace..."

I'd be very surprised if most of weren't doing our best to do that, all the time.

Got anything else?

TerryW said...

One of my favorite zen sayings,don't remember where from though, LOL, is something along the lines of "In war there there is no time to learn zen, carry a big stick and beat the crap out of the enemy".

Thich Nhat Hanh said...

"Each moment is a chance for us to make peace with the world, to make peace possible for the world, to make happiness possible for the world."

"Root out the violence in your life, and learn to live compassionately and mindfully. Seek peace. When you have peace within, real peace with others is possible."

"When you say something really unkind, when you do something in retaliation your anger increases. You make the other person suffer, and he will try hard to say or to do something back to get relief from his suffering. That is how conflict escalates."

"Attachments to views is the greatest impediment to the spiritual path."
— Thich Nhat Hanh

There is no enlightenment outside of daily life."

We who have touched war have a duty to bring the truth about war to those who have not had a direct experience of it. We are the light at the tip of the candle. It is really hot, but it has the power of shining and illuminating. If we practice mindfulness, we will know how to look deeply into the nature of war and, with our insight, wake people up so that together we can avoid repeating the same horrors again and again."
— Thich Nhat Hanh (Love in Action: Writings on Nonviolent Social Change)

We often think of peace as the absence of war, that if powerful countries would reduce their weapon arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds- our own prejudices, fears and ignorance. Even if we transport all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the roots of bombs are still there, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we will make new bombs. To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women. To prepare for war, to give millions of men and women the opportunity to practice killing day and night in their hearts, is to plant millions of seeds of violence, anger, frustration, and fear that will be passed on for generations to come. "
— Thich Nhat Hanh (Living Buddha, Living Christ)

Anonymous said...

I don't see anybody launching a real defense of Kodo Sakai here. People say it is a mistranslation, but then who is doing the translation? Certainly there are different translations, can you prove to me yours is the right one? Better yet, can you deny Daizen Victoria's? Until then you yourself just muddy the water further with a half baked and convenient analysis.

Frankly, the West has it's own interpretation/translation of these people's acts - and with very good cause.

Mr. Reee said...

Somewhat off-topic, though in line with the question of celebrity and its values, did anyone hear about Jack LaLanne?

Given his one-pointed emphasis on taking charge of one's physical fitness through action--no excuses--and his self-effacing profile, and the evidence of his effort and belief being expressed through his own longevity--would Jack qualify as some kind of bodhisattva?

It's a serious question. He's done a lot for others, and while he's made some money at it, his influence goes far beyond all that.

Brad Warner said...

Couple things:

1) I don't think the poor innocent Japanese were being victimized by the US and Allies. Even Nishijima Roshi has said he thinks the US was totally justified in dropping 2 A-bombs on Japan. Japan was absolutely in the wrong in WWII and he is very clear about that. I agree, of course. But then again, as an American I would.

And yet as a young man, Kazuo Nishijima defended his country when called up to do so. This is not mysterious or hypocritical. That is what you do when they're dropping bombs on your friends and family.

2) As for Brian Victoria's mistranslation of Sawaki, just follow the link Harry left. The original Japanese is there. I have read it (I lived there 11 years, I can read the stuff). Learn some Japanese & read it yourself. There is no possible denying that Victoria's translations are completely and utterly wrong. And deliberately so.

Again thanks for a great discussion everyone!

Uku said...

Nathan wrote: Last comment - it's a wide gulf between defending one's children against personal attacks and state sanctioned warfare. A very wide gulf.

Nathan, I think that ain't so wide gulf, this is not so black and white. War (personal/global) is always very complex thing. For me this is not about politics. For me this is about the basic human behaviour, it's about protecting and sustaining peace. And sometimes it's sad but only way to deal with deluded person who is attacking against children when I'm walking on the street. Of course in more wider meaning, same goes with the global wars and attacking against other countries. Yes, there's a lot of bullshit and politics but that's the way it is. And we have a way to change things and we can start by changing ourselves. Sometimes singing Kumbaya isn't the only solution and like Brad wrote, that is THE problem. The huge problem is that wars exists and that sucks. Wars are always from the rear end, wars are always very saaaaaad.

Earlier in his comment section Mettai Cherry posted a link where Dalai lama tells his opinion about the war in Iraq:

Q: What about the war in Iraq?
A: Very sad. Every day innocent people suffer. Still, it's too early to say whether that action was right or wrong. If the current violence comes to an end and gives rise to civil society there, that can be seen as a positive outcome.

Before the war broke out, millions of people from Europe, Australia, in the Americas expressed their opposition to the violence. And I was really inspired by their movement for peace.

Very well said, I think. War is not a solution but sometimes it is only solution and THAT is the problem. That's why need peace marches and protests and Kumbaya but, I think, we need to be realistic. Dalai lama's comment above is very realistic, it's not idealistic or blind at all.

Witraven said...

Satan, war and a fascinating discussion
happy celebration of light, whichever,
to you all

Simon said...

Hi Brad,

as a non-natural-english-speaker it seems a bit hard if you write "sometimes war is the answer" espacially 'cause I'm german. (Yes, we young Germans have a big problem with our national heritage! So bad, that we do not use that word: national heritage in german.)
I think, if you understand "answer" in the meaning of "answer to a question", this doesn't sounds right.
If you look at it as the "answer" in a phisicists way, as a reaction to a cause, i think that is a good description.
Then you can build up a chain an you will see, that war is at the end of a long way of causes and reactions leading to the point of war.
So, if it's possible to break up the chain, war isn't necessary and should always be no alternativ for thinking beeings.
If we reach the state of war, we reache the bottom of our human beeing, we are at the animal state, we are and the ancient state of our evolution.
That is a pity but it is what humans are: nothing but mammals.

So: fighting for peace is like for virginity.



Shonin said...

I think that the point that Brad is trying to make is not so much that war is necessary from a global or universal perspective - ie. that it benefits all sentient beings or any such thing. I think the point he is trying to make is that war works - ie. under some circumstances it allows nations or other groups to fulfill their objectives, or attempt to.

And who can argue with that? If we could address that then we could in principle address war.

On the other hand, with the emphasis Brad gives, it might seem like an advert for apathy. We need to be motivated to resist war unless absolutely necessary.

And as for the comments on Japan defending itself. Pre-war Japan had been engaged in decades of military build up, and aggressive expansionism supported by an ultra-nationalist ideology very similar to that of the Nazis. It was hardly a peaceful nation defending itself.

I look forward to Brad's 'more accurate' translations. But it seems to me to be a simple case of bias - it's human nature to overlook the 'faults' of those we have emotionally invested in.

Harry said...

John Tarrant, a Dharma heir of Aitken Roshi, posted this old Japanese koan to his blog recently:

"Stop the war."

Of course, the intended 'stopping' must run much deeper than our own partial views and opinions, and 'the war' is not a limited idea of war but is a instantaneous situation everywhere right now. And, from the Buddhist prespective, we can do something about it everywhere right now.

Can we fully discern this 'war', and how pervasive it is?

The original blog post:

A very interesting and direct koan.



Harry said...

"But it seems to me to be a simple case of bias - it's human nature to overlook the 'faults' of those we have emotionally invested in."

Hi, Justin.

Maybe you could quantify with quotes how someone is doing this in regards to Kodo Sawaki?

I don't see that anyone is trying to smooth over the faults of Kodo Sawaki. He was the first to point out and admit to his own faults, which is partly why he is such a respected teacher and human being.

The only substantial bias I have seen is that of the author in his clearly using an erroneous translation to support his own bias and distort what a dead man said.

This (from the Antaiji link above) explains how B. Victoria employed a dodgy translation which was/is *known* to be faulty... that's just bad academic protocol at the very least:


" are quoting Sawaki as saying: "My comrades and I gorged ourselves on killing people. Especially at the battlefield of Baolisi, I chased our enemies into a hole where I was able to pick them off very efficiently."

This quote seems to be from Sakai Tokugen's biography of Sawaki Kodo, which - as you know for sure - was not written or dictated by Sawaki himself, but by Sakai using the first person, thus creating the impression of an auto-biography. Only the first printing was published under Sawaki's name, all later editions mention Sakai as the author. Sakai mentions and apologizes for this in his foreword in later editions. What I find interesting about this foreword and the one by Tanaka Yoneki is that, while Tanaka claims that Sakai used notes by Uchiyama Kosho, Sakai makes the point that he didn't use those notes because they were full of mistakes. He also admits that his own version of Sawaki's life was contradicted by some after the publication of the book, but says that this was only about "nuances". This means, to say the least, that Sakai's version of Sawaki's life is not the only one, it is not generally accepted by everyone, nor is it directly out of Sawaki's mouth. Thus, the quote above is not by Sawaki, but by Sakai writing in a way that HE THINKS Sawaki would have talked."


Feel free to contrast this with the abbot of Antaiji's own translation of what Kodo himslef said (the abbot actually reads/writes/speaks Japanese):


"i went to the russo-japanese war and killed people until i had my fill/enough of it/my stomach was full [hara-ippai = "gorged" - in the German version of "Zen at war", they have an expression that means "we just couldn't get enough of", which is quite wrong, as "hara-ippai" means the point where one has enough], but if you think about it soberly/normally/in peace [heijo], this is a serious matter [taihen]. today the newspaper writes about the extermination of the enemy or how we clean [sosha] them away with machine gun fire. that almost sounds like everyday household cleaning [soji]. they fire their machine gun and call it "cleaning away the remains of the enemy". imagine that would happen in the midst of the ginza: people getting "cleaned" as if you were shooting animals! it would be a serious affair..."




Mumon said...


1. I'm still not convinced that dropping the bomb - especially the 2nd bomb - was the right thing to do. Nishijima's opinion on it is just like yours. Even learned historians disagree about this. I strongly support the idea of use of military force when necessary, but I understand the arguments pro and con.

2. You're right about Sawaki, Japanese, and all that. Thanks to Harry for bringing that up.

3. Practice still doesn't depend on whether or not Sawaki was a good guy, a bad guy, or a really bad guy.

Shonin said...

Thanks for that Harry. Evidence seems to point to Kodo Sawaki not being the Zen fascist that Victoria paints him as.

nestri said...

Mumon: Good points.. But remember that Japan did not surrender even after the first bomb was dropped. Even so, some men such as Dwight Eisenhower felt Japan was looking for a way to end the war honorably. Many scientists involved in the Manhattan Project developed the bomb as a way to counter a possible German bomb not to use in Japan. It's use in Japan was a horror to them.

The horror of KUMBAYA

nestri said...


alan said...

Thought these pictures might entertain Brad.

A good photographer shoots a bad band :-)

Captcha was Dions. Seems about right.

boisho said...

ABBA inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class of 2010. Still no mention of Kiss..

Bud said...

I'd like to take this back to the sentence that started it all: 'War is very often the best solution to complex human difficulties.' I agree that it can, seldomly, be a (temporary, imperfect, horrible, complicated) solution to some situations. But 'very often' the 'best solution'? So, Brad, since you opened this can of worms, I have a little challenge for you. I'd like you to come up with 5 examples from the 20th century or comtemporary life where, with all things considered- injury and death of military and civilians, ecological devastation, destabilizing of political and economic infrastructures that results in poverty, bitterness and the 'need' for more armed conflict, etc. - war is truly the best solution. Please also include a brief explanation of why you believe this in each case. And also please go beyond the 'That is what you do when they're dropping bombs on your friends and family' sort of thing. That's an instinctual reaction, not a reasoned justification. As for the rest of the "pro-war' peanut gallery, while I would like to hear your contributions, I would request that you refrain from adding them until Brad has had a chance to respond.

Shonin said...

This article seems to have created to be posted here

New 'War' Enables Mankind To Resolve Disagreements

Chris said...

There seem to be a lot of people arguing over who did what to whom and when. Cause and effect. You can never find someone who is the original victim, and you can never find someone who is the original aggressor, especially when talking about nations as if they were people.

There is nothing in Zen that says you can't kill someone. the precepts are meant as a general guideline, and they aren't applicable in the same way in every different situation. will it be "bad karma?" maybe. maybe the effects of not killing someone are worse than the effects of killing someone! who knows. holding onto one like it is somehow better than the other is foolish.

anyways, out of my own delusion, if someone tries to kill me, I'll make sure to take them out first. nobody here is completely free from delusions, and Brad Warner is not only included, but admits to it in his books!

now, the idea that one form of zen is better, or "higher" or "more realized" than other forms of zen is a bit silly. what is saying higher or lower, and how can that really be higher or lower than anything!

alan said...

ABBA yes.

KISS no.

The Stooges also got inducted, I seem to remember.

Talk about the sublime and the ridiculous.

You can decide which is which :-)

Keep on trucking James Osterberg.

Anonymous said...

Isn't there a lame pop music Hall of Fame for bands like Abba?

Anonymous said...

Here are the words of a long-time zen student that I found extremely wise:

"It has taken me some time to make peace with the peace pickets who gather on Main Street here each Saturday. I put on Buddhist robes -- a guy in a dress draws attention, I figure -- and stand with them for the hour between 11 and noon.

At first I was disconcerted by all the conversation my fellow pickets indulged in. Each of them had a sign to show to passers by. The topics of those signs vary ... Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, health care, etc. And there are fliers to pass out for upcoming events. And then there was the talk. How hypocritical this was, how violent that was, how distressing it was to be without a peaceful solution ... mostly they seemed to mean their solutions.

But the injustice-collecting I heard was helpful to me. Why was I there, after all? I really don't like killing American or any other children in behalf of a belief held by old men. I don't like the coffins that arrive at Dover or the families ripped apart by the aftermath of combat. I really don't like that stuff. But is that enough of a reason to stand there in my dress? Is it enough to complain?

It just took me a while to make peace with the peaceniks of which I am one. White-whining doesn't appeal to me but killing people doesn't appeal to me either. So what DOES appeal to me?

And I don't know if it's an answer to anything as sophisticated as a koan (I just think of it as a human question), but the best I could come up with is this:

I show up on Saturdays and will continue to do so because, at both a social and a deeper level, I AM the war and I AM the peace. And although both of these aspects are compelling as all get out, still they are secondary. I want to remind myself of my responsibilities AND remind myself not to be too convinced by them."

Anonymous said...

"And yet as a young man, Kazuo Nishijima defended his country when called up to do so. This is not mysterious or hypocritical. That is what you do when they're dropping bombs on your friends and family."

I guess this is the part I have always run into a problem with myself. I realize the root of violence and suffering and war is really in all of us and everything we do... I've gone back and forth many times in my life between rah-rah patriotism and pacifism on everything from war to self defence, and I like to think I've found a nice middle ground for the moment...

I just don't know if I could kill someone I don't know just to save someone I do know.

Although typing this out right now I guess I see that I wouldn't really ever know unless I was in that situation and my obsessing over the idea of some thing like that is what is really causing me suffering right now so I should probably just let it go.

Deal with the situation you are in with the information you have to the best of your ability. That is all we can do in life. If sometimes that finds you in a war you are going to have to deal with it just like anything else. It isn't like 'war' is some amorphous force out there that we can get rid of. War comes from people and people will have to deal with it. Suffering leads to war and suffering can be dealt with. So get to it.

Donovan said...

How do you stop War? You realize that you are war. You look at yourself. Once you own up to the fact that we each cause our own wars, when we get that, all of the "out there" wars will disappear into the void.

peace out,

undlean said...

Donovan, Nice thought. But all it takes to make war is someone in power with an agenda.. Ask the Burmese monks or the Iranian students.

Donovan said...

But isn't this life an illusion anyway? So what we take so seriously is but a dream. Do you get angry in the morning when you wake up because somebody tried to kill you or you were in peril in the dream you just had. Of course not, because you understand that it was a dream. So is life. So don't worry be happy and enjoy the dream. After all, it's your dream.


Shonin said...


Donovan said...

A funny but true story about duality and the relative merits of being right or wrong.

When I was in college back in the 70's, my roommate was from Iran. This was just as the revolution was going on. You should have heard all the Iranian students saying, "shah bad, Khomeini good"

Well, after the Shah was overthrown and Khomeini was put in power, the first thing he did was cut off all funds to foreign students.

The next week all the students were saying, "Shah good, Khomeini bad".

Moral- how do we know at any point in time what is good or bad. We don't.

Todays freedom fighter is tomorrow's terrorist.


Uku said...

Donovan wrote: But isn't this life an illusion anyway? So what we take so seriously is but a dream. Do you get angry in the morning when you wake up because somebody tried to kill you or you were in peril in the dream you just had. Of course not, because you understand that it was a dream. So is life. So don't worry be happy and enjoy the dream. After all, it's your dream.

Nice cliches, True Zen (tm). That New Age wisdom ain't gonna help the real victims of war or those who are suffering. What you're writing might be true but you're writing it in the wrong context. This discussion have been mostly about war. Enjoy, be happy blaa blaa. Sorry man, no ringing bells to me. :)

Rodney said...

"The plain fact is that no matter what he did or who he fucked it's really none of our God damned business. He's a golfer, for Christ's sake! What does any of this have to do with golf?"

But that's precisely the problem. He's a golfer. Every time he puts something in a hole it makes the news.

Jakey Madball said...

FFS, just remembered why I don't read the comments section of this blog. There's so many better things to do than seek out an argument in a place you know you'll find one.

Do away with the comments section again and for all time Brother Brad...


Anonymous said...

"That New Age wisdom ain't gonna help the real victims of war or those who are suffering."

Buddhism itself is often criticized in just this way. As in; 'How is sitting on your butt helping anyone? How does that help suffering people?'

You are right though. New age wisdom or any kind of philosophy will not help suffering. The Buddha taught a way to end suffering. It involves facing ourselves and ending ego delusion at it's source, not quick fixes, hopes, ideologies or slogans.

Funny that we keep fighting 'the war to end wars', but wars keep multiplying.

Hate never yet ended by hate.

Strange that such criticism should come from one who writes:

"Life ain't so serious, be cool!"

Are you instructing others in this new age wisdom yourself?

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Brad, I think that BS cover is great, comparable to the Flaming Lip's cover of "War Pigs" on PBS' Austin City Limits.

The "fast G minor lick" is difficult if played in the 3rd position. Great finger exercise.

Donovan said...

On of the great movie lines of all time:

"You can't fight in here, this is the WAR room"

Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove

apocalypto said...

anon 5:59 said: Hate never yet ended by hate.

True, but also equally true.. Hate is never ended by love. If that was true, we would not be rehashing this black hole.

Anonymous said...

"Hate never yet ended by hate.

True, but also equally true.. Hate is never ended by love. If that was true, we would not be rehashing this black hole."

Hate is never ended by love?
I guess you might be right.
But someone else disagrees with you:

Hate never yet dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law,
Ancient and inexhaustible.

---The Buddha / Dhammapada

Alan_A said...

Donovan pointed out early on that Hitler was a product of the Treaty of Versailles.

So from the perspective of 1918, Hitler was a creation of the Allies.

But given that mistake... from the perspective of 1938, Hitler is a fact on the ground. What do you do about him?

Another complication - opposition to U.S. use of the atmoic bombs on Japan is understandable. Part of the drive to use them was the result of the Allied demand for unconditional surrender. The unconditional surrender policy was initially developed for Nazi Germany. Abandon the demand for unconditional surrender and you remove much of the pressure to use the bomb. Do you, therefore, negotiate with Nazi Germany? It's an open question. There were elements, some in the Nazi high command but many more in the Wehrmacht, who were open to a negotiated surrender. Some well regarded military historians have argued that a negotiated surrender would have saved lives, including Allied lives. So there's a case to be made. How do you feel about this? Does your aversion to the bomb open you to the possiblity of negotiating with the Nazis?

What I'm trying to say is that questions of war and peace are easy from an ideal perspective, but can be hard from the perspective of imperfect beings boiled in their own and others' karma.

Two things can be true at once. War can be both an abomination and the least bad solution to conditions not fully chosen.

Remember also that not acting is a form of acting. Pacifism in the face of Hitler creates its own consequences - as does rushing into Vietnam to ensure that there are no more Munichs.

Finally - ahimsa, usually translated as "nonviolence," more precisely means "non-harming." So. It's 1938 and you're standing behind Hitler with a firearm and a clear shot. What constitutes nonviolence? Obviously, you don't shoot. What constitutes non-harming? The answer is less clear. If you're sitting at the negotiating table in Versailles in 1918, the answer is different still.

I think Brad's point is that in the real world, none of this is easy. If so, I agree.

Donovan said...

How about a little pragmatism. Has the result of war and going to war ever accomplished anything? Jesus was a pretty smart dude. I think he said, "If you live by the sword, you are going to die by the sword. Killing begets more killing. I think Jesus did the right thing and gave a good example by not resisting and saying, fine, put me on the cross. No big deal. You can kill my body, but so what. I'm not my body buddy. So there. And besides, Hitler had issues- he couldn't paint worth a shit. Think about it. It he would have been accepted by the Vienna Academy of Fine arts he would have been a hippie painter. But Nooooooooo.

Uku said...

Anonymous wrote: "Life ain't so serious, be cool!"

Are you instructing others in this new age wisdom yourself?

Come on, now you're being a childish politician. Comparing my introduction text in my blog and this discussion in here about war, isn't smart. That's just lame and absurd and naiive, Mr. or Ms Anonymous. What next, quotes from forums and blog posts and linking them in this war context? :)

And yes, if we're talking in our group about war and shit, then I'll say that my line above is just New Age wisdom in that context. War sucks and lines like "be happy, life is just a dream blaa blaa" ain't helping there.

Here's some stuff about Shunryu Suzuki and war:

and after that:

Veronica said...

By that standard, how is anything our damned business? How is anything outside the realm of your skull and your action ever your business? Yet you talk about all kinds of shit. Tiger Woods just doesn't tickle your fancy like he did all those women, so you are not amused to talk about him.

Veronica said...

And P.S., saying war is necessary (for any country) is like saying it's necessary for a toddler to shit in his pants just because he's too stubborn and willful to take the time to learn to shit in his potty.

Ran K. (I.) said...

(“War is Brad Warner, Pleasure Heads Must Roll, Top 15 Books for the Holiday Season in Tiger Woods”)

I think Brads original intention (I quite agree with Jakey Madball, though not at the bottom line) is expressed in the 43rd case of Book 1 in the Shinji Shobogenzo.

(I would say Master Chijo in the story expressed it better than Brad Warner here, though this is not necessarily meant as criticism.)

Else – one point I think Master Dogen would refer to: even if you accept that “war is sometimes necessary” it doesn’t necessarily follow that “war is at some level an expression of human beings”.

- I would accept the first but not the second.

- I think Obama is wrong there.

- Though conflict is typical for our planet.

- But I wouldn’t go into that.

- As for Tiger Woods – in spite of what Brad said there is one point which could be made: - I have once seen a T.V. interview with Gene Simmons and his wife where the interviewer asked him whether he had ever been unfaithful to her.
He replied: “Thousands of times”.
Than he had the interviewer look into his eyes – “Look at those eyes” – and added, rhetorically – “Can you trust those eyes?”.

- I know almost nothing about Tiger Woods or what Brad is talking about but it seems our case is different.

As for Sawaki Roshi's matter - I don’t find it interesting at all. I don’t think anybody who knows what a master is would.

So far for my thoughts.

Just to avoid misunderstanding - I just want to make it clear that I am not a fan of this funny band Brad likes, who could never dream of playing like that. (Or like that.)

(Just in case the links won’t work: The first “that” is, - and the second is

Stephanie said...

"War is the answer" is not a fact. "Wars happen" is a fact.

Obama jumped the shark for me with his statements about war as a way to peace--so Orwellian, and so backwards... his presidency so far has had nothing to do with "change."

I think it's intellectually dishonest to cite World War II in the context of "wars" in which the U. S. is currently involved. Just because it's possible that a war can be justified doesn't mean that all wars are justified. The Vietnam War wasn't necessary, and nor are the "wars" we are having right now in the Middle East.

Our aggressive actions in Iraq and Afghanistan are not accomplishing any good ends. They only stoke and justify the hate that many potential jihadists and terrorists have against the U.S., while also harming many Iraqi and Afghani citizens free of any violent actions or intent.

I think anyone who justifies the shit-mess we have going on over there as a "just war" is just full of shit.

Ran K. (I.) said...


I noticed some do manage to insert links.

Could they follow the Frehly precept?


Anonymous said...

If you really need to think about Tiger Woods think about this: his is unarguably one of the greatest athletes his sport has ever seen, he is richer than God and he was married to a super model. All that and he STILL fucked around.

Those infidelities come from the same human failings and insecurities as war really. So in the end there will never be enough fame or treaties or money.

Sitting around on your ass won't stop someone from deploying to Iraq or someone else from strapping a bomb to their chest. But you aren't those people and you can't quash that stuff in them. You can only really, truly affect change in yourself. And you can cause wars just as much as anyone.

Kyla said...

"Just because it's possible that a war can be justified doesn't mean that all wars are justified."

I think this is such a key point Stephanie.
I think too that the beginning of recorded history, even to the time of Rome as the dominant Empire, the ideology that peace through violence as the only possible way to peace ( as oppose to peace through equality)has become a myth we've come to accept as truth.
It isn't really peace we get, just a lull, a waiting for the next "justified" war because we've so internalized how unavoidable it is.

proulx michel said...

anon #108 said...

I thought the church banned the bloody augmented fourth a loooooong time ago. Yet still....

One :(

They did ban the third somewhere around year 1000, but I'm afraid they are still stuck there...

apocalypto said...

Hate never yet dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law,
Ancient and inexhaustible.
---The Buddha / Dhammapada

That is a beautiful sentiment in that translation. Keeping hatred at bay is not the same thing as ending hatred. If you want to say that hate is destructive and ultimately self-harming I will agree with that. But if you say that love ends hate, I cannot agree with that because hatred is beginningless and endless and cannot be destroyed. Tolerance and patience can help keep it from flowering but nothing destroys it. And though it might be hard to understand, even war can be used to dispel hate as was the case in WW2.

Anonymous said...

War didn't dispel hate in WWII. There are still Nazis and they bare a striking resemblance to the modern anti-muslim/immigrant movement in Europe. Switzerland recently voted to ban the construction of minarets...

It is as contentious and debatable a point as the atomic bombs, but if Hitler had maintained the non-aggression pact with Stalin and not put so much effort into the final solution the Nazis could have taken and held a large part of continental Europe. That wouldn't have meant they were right, it is just a matter of strategy and resources.

War can end hate. All a war decides is who had the better tactics and position.

War is just an unfortunate expression of the human condition just as hate is. You'll never get anywhere trying to go either for all love or all hate. Just find some balance. If enough people tried to do that we might actually get somewhere as a species.

apocalypto said...

Kyla said: "the ideology that peace through violence as the only possible way to peace ( as oppose to peace through equality)has become a myth we've come to accept as truth."

Kyla, I'm not sure I understand what you mean by peace through equality but that idea seems to be ultimately false. Conflict is started through aversive emotion which will never end even if we could all agree somehow on what being equal actually means.

Kyla said...

I think xenophobia is one of the biggest contributers of war.
I don't think we are a doomed species with war in our genes just as I don't think kumbiya is the answer. Things have become such a mess and there is so much age old hatred in the world for any kind of simple answer in the world at this point but I may be naive in saying I believe it could be possible someday to be without war but at this point it doesn't seem immanently possible given the kind of economical structures, nationalism and win/lose ideologies we have today. But I think these are all creations of ours that could be changed.
Right now there isn't much of a balance because humans have lived with systems of oppresion for so long and these systems stem usually from fear and classism (again our creations) which are so ingrained people don't even notice them as imposed realities that aren't preordained.

Kyla said...

Plus it always seems to be the most screwed up dysfunctional, unbalanced whack-jobs that want any kind of absolute power.

Kyla said...

Sorry, equality is not the best word. I'm searching around for the best word in my head. Perhaps empathy is more correct. I mean really being able to see the other person as another "you", not just sympathy but where you truly try to understand and feel what that person feels. Empathy again sounds like a lazy word for what I'm saying. In a book I read called "The Powers That Be" Wink calls it justice but again, that is a loaded word and he doesn't mean justice by punishment. He means being just, truly just and again not in the usual way eg. a criminal being served "justice" but by not being selfish; wanting others in the world to be treated as fairly as you want to be treated (I probably am not explaining this very well!)
And I think one could only really do that if one could realize one's own feelings are not truth (eg. feelings of cultural hatred) about the other people.

apocalypto said...

Anon755: I agree with some of what you wrote but I do think that WW2 did dissipate much of the nazi disease. If all you are saying is that because there are still nazis in the world that it was all a waste, I couldn't disagree more.

Anonymous said...

"What is notable in the Kalachakra tantra is it’s instructions on how to prevent war. For this reason, Kalachakra has become more associated with world peace than doomsday prophecy. The author of the text, King Manjushri-yashas, advised that war could be avoided entirely by sharing technology. By sharing the achievements of a culture, a society can turn invading forces from barbarism without resorting to battle. If they come to see the advantages of living in a more civilized way, and have access to the advantages society gives, they can easier shed violence. This definitely has relevance today, as higher education and the ability for self improvement have been shown to increase prosperity and lower crime.

Secondly, King Manjushri-yashas called his people to face the terrorism and violence with ethical solidarity. He reminded them that each religion teaches basic moral principles and called them to return to the pure teachings of their own religions. Then, he told them to examine their customs and those of the barbarians: if they found them similar, then future generations would be more likely to accept barbarian rule. In other words, if we use violence to deal with threats, we aren’t different from the ones perpetrating violence. Instead, we must find peaceful solutions.",7938,0,0,1,0


"...all the solutions to war come with caveats... ...eliminating poverty, while an important goal in its own right, may not extinguish war in all regions. Among baboons, lions, and other animals, aggression sometimes “goes up during periods of plenty because you have the energy to waste on stupid stuff rather than just trying to figure out where your next meal is coming from...” ...Studies of apes and humans, he says, have found that while females fight less frequently than males, when they do fight, they “hold grudges much longer.”

The roots of conflict are in us. And we can each of us work to lessen them in ourselves which is precisely what the practice of Zazen does; it balances you out so you don't go to the extremes.

But in the instance of large scale, international conflict known as war the causes are very definitive and fixable: poverty and inequality. The roots of these of course come right back to that which is in all of us though so in the end the only real thing you can do to prevent war is work on yourself.

We all like to blame others. To pretend that we, our precious selves, are somehow not responsible. The "we" exist outside of the endless web of karma that forms our world every moment. But the plain truth is that we are not outside, and are that web and there is no escaping our individual responsibility. So maybe I'll never drive a tank but in a million and more ways I know my actions have lead to a world where wars will take place and the only way to "fix" that is to work on myself.

apocalypto said...

K: Wanting justice for all is fine. Expecting justice for all is a waste of time. Working for it is admirable. Complaining that it doesn't exist is not. imo

Anonymous said...


The Nazis weren't a disease. They were the logical product of Germany's treatment after WWI in social-economic terms. We all live with karma(action). Sometimes it blows up on the international stage, sometimes you just punch a guy. But we should not say that there is some kind of "disease" that causes these things. There are not amorphous "wars" out there in the ether just waiting to happen. People did WWII, just like people voted to ban the construction of minarets in Switzerland. It is all just people, and the wrong time and place we flare up and you get a war. But in the end a war and punching a guy are really kind of the same thing.

Kyla said...

I think economic equality is a big part of equality for me when trying to define equality.

Donovan said...

Good point about Germany being forced into WWII, just like Japan was made to attack Pearl Harbor by the actions of the US in cutting off their oil supply. It's too bad that our country, The USSA (socialist state of America) schools usually leave out these historical facts. After all, the Indians loved us. That's why they had Thanksgiving with us. How'd that work out for the Red Man, lol.

Anonymous said...

King Manjushri Yashas predicted that in 624 c.e. a non-Indic religion would arise in Mecca and that many would accept this religion. To prevent this, the king conferred the Kalachakra empowerment, thus creating a single “Vajracaste.”

The first Kalki [King Manjushri Yashas] further predicted that the followers of the non-Indic religion would someday rule India. From their capital in India, their king would attempt the conquest of Shambhala in 2424 c.e. The twenty-fifth Kalki, Raudrachakrin, would then invade India and defeat the non-Indic forces in a great war. His victory would mark the end of the kaliyuga, the age of degeneration of the Dharma, and afterward, a new golden age would follow, during which the teachings would flourish, especially those of the Kalachakra.

Kyla said...

Well apocalypto (wasn't that a Mel Gibson movie?);) perhaps I am complaining but at the same time, I've worked front-line with homeless, mentally ill, the poorest of the poor in my own city for over 20 years so...
something is better than nothing

Anonymous said...


Not forced. Let me make that clear: no one is ever forced to do anything. Least of all start a war. The way the winning powers handled Germany after WWI set the stage for WWII, true but it didn't force WWII. The Treaty of Versailles set the stage for WWII but even that was written by human beings with the same problems all of us have.

Not to sound mean but I really get why Brad doesn't like internet comments. This is really a shit way to communicate. I end up doing this about once a month and always feel awful afterwords.

apocalypto said...

K: My earlier comment was not directed at you. It was just a general observation. I think you are terrific. :)

Yes, There was a Mel Gibson movie by that name. Great director with some issues.

anon #108 said...

Yes, PM -

I believe the story that the medieval church banned the tritone/augmented fourth, AKA "diabolus in musica", is a myth. I didn't know that earlier use of the third (and I guess the sixth) had been banned - presumably for being too sexy.

In the 15th century - as all good Zen Buddhists should know - use of 3rds and 6ths in English polyphonic music became known as "La Contenance Angloise", as exemplified in the music of John Dunstable, and greatly influenced the Burgundian school.

Quieter times? Maybe.
But not more peaceful.

Kyla said...

Let's just hope Mel never becomes a world leader!! :0

apocalypto said...

Anon828: I will stand by my belief that the nazis were a disease. As in: any harmful, depraved, or morbid condition, as of the mind or society. - Websters

Sid said...

When a professional warrior exerts himself in battle, his mind is already debased and misdirected by the thought: 'May these men be slaughtered, annihilated, destroyed.' If others slay him while he is exerting himself in battle, after death, he will be reborn in the hell called the realm of those slain in battle. But if he holds the view you mentioned, that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view. Either hell or the animal womb." Hearing Buddha's answer, Yodhajiva wept because he had been deceived by that ancient creed. (Samyutta Nikaya XLII,3)

In times of war
Give rise in yourself to the mind of compassion,
Helping living beings
Abandon the will to fight.
Wherever there is furious battle,
Use all your might
To keep both sides' strength equal
And then step in to reconcile this conflict.
(Vimalakirti Sutra)

‘Verily, O monk,’ said the Buddha, ‘due to sensuous craving, kings fight with kings, princes with princes, priests with priests, citizens with citizens, the mother quarrels with the son, the son quarrels with the father, brother with brother, brother with sister, sister with brother, friend with friend’. (Majjhima Nikaya)

They are not following dharma who resort to violence to achieve their purpose. But those who lead others through nonviolent means, knowing right and wrong, may be called guardians of the dharma.

He is a reconciler of those who are in conflict and an encourager of those who are already united, rejoicing in peace, loving peace, delighting in peace, he is one who speaks in praise of peace.
Abandoning killing, the monk Gotama lives refraining from killing, he is without stick or sword, he lives with care, compassion, and sympathy for others.
--Digha Nikaya I, 1

Though thousand times a thousand in battle one may conquer,
yet should one conquer just oneself, one is the greatest conqueror.
Victory breeds hatred; the defeated live in pain.
The peaceful live happily, giving up victory and defeat.

I realize he isn't Dogen or Brad or Gudo, so his words probably mean little to some of you, but some people regard Gautama as a real Buddhist.

mtto said...

Dear 9:51 Siddhartha impersonator,

The Vimalakirti Sutra was not spoken by Gautama Buddha. It was (supposedly) spoken by Vimalakirti. Does that negate it as a Buddhist text for you?

Please take it easy on the google, cut and paste. You didn't invent it; everyone else who has posted on this forum is aware of how to use google.

Have you read Dogen? Many (maybe most) of his writings are referencing other Buddhist teachers, including Gautama Buddha.

mophopl said...

Sid -

Thanks for that.

Seems that Gotama recommends peace rather than war.
Seems that G thinks war is not a good thing.
Seems that G recommends you avoid it.

I think we'd all agree with that, even Dogen, Nishijima and Brad (you were doing so well until that cheap, aggressive, jibe).

The question remains "What is to be done?"

And BTW, what's your take on this bit, from Vimalakirti:

"...Wherever there is furious battle, use all your might
to keep both sides' strength equal
and then step in to reconcile this conflict."

It seems to imply that one might find oneself in the midst of war - that's when the problem becomes real, not when we're discussing it on the internet. How do you "use all your might to keep both sides' strength equal..."?
I don't know, but that doesn't sound exactly pacifist to me.

A "real Buddhist"...hmm.

apocalypto said...

Dogen wrote down his thoughts so we have a fairly good idea of what he actually said even though people still discuss what he meant. Gautama did not leave any writing. The Buddha's words were put down in writing some 400 years after he died. Some of them were changed by the then. Some things were added. Undoubtedly some things were lost. According to researchers, there are some very good reasons to doubt that the known stories of the birth, maturity, renunciation, search, awakening and liberation, teaching, death of the Buddha are factually correct. Much of it is probably myth.

David said...

For "cute" Black Sabbath covers, no one can surpass the Cardigans "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" and "Iron Man"...I think they need to do a whole album of Sabbath covers.

Dan_Brodribb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sid said...

That's right apoc, anything that seems to contradict your views are probably just myths or mistranslations. I guess we'll have to wait for someone to channel gotama to discover his real teachings.

And cutting & pasting totally means the Buddha's (and Vimilikirti's) words are not valid to the discussion.

You see by apoc's post that I was right about the Buddha's words meaning little here, right?

Anonymous said...

Stephanie wrote:
"War is the answer" is not a fact"

Neither is "Frog is the answer."

And so the proposition "Frog is the answer" is not a fact" is effectively meaningless as well.

One has to define what it is an answer to, in order to judge whether it is a fact of not. One would also have to define ones terms (the "answer" and the "question", for instance.)

To have any meaning applied to real world events and scenarios, therefore, " "War is the answer" is not a fact" is really a conditional question, needing contextualisation.

Given a situation in which "Wars happen" is a fact" is true, it must also be a fact that wars can be and have been in a state called "Wars are happening."

At that point (a war was/is happening as a fact" it is true to say that war is the answer to a number of 'questions' that have and can be asked about it.

Moreover, preceding a war, those instigating it will have asked themselves such to the effect that "War is the answer" and answered in the affirmative.

To say " "Wars happen" is a fact" " also removes, of course, human agency.

"War" is effectively meaningless without it being defined in terms of human agency, such that, roughly, " "Human beings choose, collectively, to commit acts of aggression against other human beings" is a fact ", is really what is implicit in "Wars happen" is a fact.

This means that " "Wars happen" is a fact" " also implies that war must have been at least one of the answers, as collective, human agency implies collective human choice and deliberation -- even if that choice is driven by an immense anger or fear. For we can, hopefully, realise that our (individual/collective) anger is distortive and can produce idealised justifications. But, surely we must do this sort of thing, before we are in the throes of such a distortion, which produces such violent 'answers' and counter-responses.

In such a light, it seems to me that anti-war idealism is as much part of the problem, part of war, in effect, and also feeds in to the causes of wars.

This is not to say such idealism isn't important, in producing good outcomes, or even preventing some wars. But it is to say that it becomes less 'help' and more 'The Problem' when it strays further into its own angry and often conceited, idealism.

If one, and one can, make statements to the effect that human agency or volition are illusions, and wars only, therefore "happen", the political dimension to this discussion and your posts are also just what happens and have no effective power to alter the situation. The only thing one could(?) do, in that case, is watch the firework show and hope to not get hit. (Although how one would 'choose' to do this in such a circumstance, I don't know).

Anonymous said...


So all we really have, so far, amounts to the same thing as your: "Just because it's possible that a war can be justified doesn't mean that all wars are justified."

But here we have the same problem. If one states 'Justified' as to mean something along the lines of "We had our reasons," then, in this case, I suggest it is true to say all wars are justified. At this level it is implicitly true to say that it is not only possible that a war can be justified, but it would be difficult to provide an example where one wasn't.

If one means by 'Justified', something like, "Only those reasons as agreed upon by collective rules," Then a war can be justified or not based upon some legal distinction. With regards to the Iraq war, America and Britain justified it legally.

That the legality is and was under question, i.e based on false evidence, or if that legality didn't add up to a legal justification with regards to other ruling bodies like the UN, doesn't stop it from being defined as 'Justified' one way or the other.

"Might is right", is not primarily an ethical point of view (although it horribly can be), but pointing to historical evidence (which in itself can be written by the winners).

But still: we have war as justified.

It remains then, that your statement should be rephrased "Just because it's possible that a war can be justified doesn't mean that all wars SHOULD BE justified."

But there is a difference here between justifying before the event, during, and after the event (during being after the event of acts of war having been committed.)

This leads to a problem with even the statement "The Vietnam War wasn't necessary." In absolute terms, given human agency, this is true, only insofar, as one can know absolutely that all the conditions don't amount to a pre-determined outcome equivalent to that particular war at that time, and that collective human agency is also absolute and not contingent, such that "War happens" is not the effectively overriding truth of the matter (i.e I/we tried to pull the other way but the aggregate forces were stronger.)

(If we remove the determined from 'necessary' we have the word being use to state that events shouldn't have happened; that one doesn't like that it did.)

As we cannot know absolutely that this is or is not the case, it makes sense to define necessity in terms that include human beings' collective abilities to prevent a war or "wars" IN THE FUTURE or stop one IN THE FUTURE. Or in others words to say that it was possible to to attempt prevent that War in Vietnam though we CANNOT, sadly, say for sure we would have been successful, or that a worse war would have ensued if we had been successful (though such an attempt should be engaged with at all times, and thus more effectively, well before, things are starting to gather pace.)

To work to prevent future or ongoing wars, presupposes one thinks and acts in the PRESENT in a way conducive to such outcomes that move towards the eradication of war as a perceived necessity or as perceived as justified, so that wars are no longer actually necessary or actually justified in any way (Utopia being a provisional and re-negotiable aim, and not a hammer for those working within the distopic-like entanglements of the real world).

"Our aggressive actions in Iraq and Afghanistan are not accomplishing any good ends" is an example of 'intellectual dishonesty', in so far, as the statement implies that we know of no good ends and that there can't be any good ends. This is not a sustainable position intellectually, but an intellectual position arrived at by suppressing 'intellectual' factors that, assuming you have basic reasoning and reading skills, are readily available.


Anonymous said...


The same goes for your assertion that it is 'intellectually dishonest' to "cite" WWII with regards to other contexts the US is involved in. It might be, in some instances, but only if we'd have an example of what was a valid comparison and what wasn't for it to be judged as such. By this measure your assertion of 'intellectual dishonesty' could be held up to be an instance of its own accusation.

Your following assertions in that paragraph do not amount to a critique of citations about WWII, but merely go on to make a general point which I can only assume implies that you are addressing your own un-cited citations.

One can make valid comparisons with WWII as much as one can make invalid or distortive ones. I do not need to give examples to say this, because I hold it true that one can make valid comparisons pretty much with anything.

But getting back to your: "Our aggressive actions in Iraq and Afghanistan are not accomplishing any good ends"...

One can have an informed opinion that says only, roughly, that wars (or a war) have more 'bad' outcomes than 'good' ones. Or one can say no wars are best-- but only when we know, after the fact, that no wars are, in fact, now the 'best'. For example, one can imagine a situation where a totality of peace with regards to wars is effected by a globally repressive totalitarian regime, whose effects were devastating on humanity.

As we do not live in such an extreme dystopia, nor its opposite Utopia, it is more honest, more deductively sound given the less hazy evidences of human history, to say that wars are both necessary and not necessary; that we should strive towards a situations where there are no 'just wars'.

To claim there are and have been no instances of a 'just war' requires a definition of 'just' that everyone agrees on. Otherwise all one doing is stating a subjectively idealistic position and assuming it as an objective truth. That something is 'Just' or not, is, no matter how frustrating, a belief to be held upon which actions or non-actions (effectively actions) ensue and are considered correct. To invest in one's own absolute terms is to be as 'full off shit' as any other, especially if one is to use them to say others are full of shit. After all, what would we have of our history of war without aggressively categorical or absolutists terms greasing the machinery?


Anonymous said...


That my children will almost certainly come to blows, is an analogy I find pertinent. If my experience is that they never do throughout my life, then that would be an instance of an exception that proved the rule, so to speak, or rather the guidelines I feel I should live by:

Siblings fight and although this can be damaging and painful, and I must try to prevent such occasions and limit the harm, I also have to have the flexibitly to view this a NECESSARY part of growing up. Moreover, attempts to eradicate this behaviour entirely and absolutely based on insufficient ideas would involve such draconian measures as to not only harm my children, but to effect such repression as to be part of the causes of probably worse violent outcomes in the future, maybe even self-harm. This of course, is a vague, but I think, sound way of thinking, about the matter with children, which reasoning, experience and research would testify to.

That wars kill, mutilate and effect further horrors, does not I think, render the analogy meaningless. If one is not realistic, one's idealism adds to further problems, and at the least, will do nothing to prevent wars.

It seems to me that the underlying message in Brads' post is that if we re-examine our terms, we might be able to better employ them in negotiating our lives and the historical forces we feed into and which feed into us. The Obama speech seems to me also a welcome attempt to re-negotiate those terms. Or I could be cynical.

"Change" is a fact. What type of change we will soon have to look back on and define. Platitudinous mud-slinging from the left or right are part of many of the negative forces that those poor old politicians have to take into account.

apocalypto said...

Sid: Whatever I write are my thoughts and no one else's. You shouldn't draw any conclusions about the people here by what I say. A lot of things attributed to The Buddha can never be verified. Does that mean they should be discarded? Of course not. Just like the Bible is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom, so too are the Buddha stories. You can believe whatever you want to about them. I'm not comfortable being quite that literal. But I believe they are invaluable no matter who wrote them.

- Four are the praiseworthy things in a Buddha -

Anonymous said...

Anon at 11:somewher-in-there rephrased Stephanie's point:
"It remains then, that your statement should be rephrased "Just because it's possible that a war can be justified doesn't mean that all wars SHOULD BE justified."

I think this makes it clearer, although Anon could have just said "Stephanie you're full of shit" and be done with it as it seems that's the gist of their postings.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. But I don't think Stephanie is full of shit. I think unexamined positions gather it and then spread it too easily.

And it was to these views I was addressing, Stephanie's post happened to be an articulate instance of them. The inarticulate ones being more immediately ignorable.

The quick insult would be akin to an unexamined, knee-jerk act of war.

Anonymous said...

Scholars have just discovered the oldest known manuscript of the Dhammapada. The manuscript, apparently written during the Buddha's lifetime by his scribe Ananda, is much different from the versions scholars had believed to be authentic.

``He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'' those who harbour such thoughts should quickly exact their revenge.`

`He abused me, he beat me, he defeated me, he robbed me,'' only a pussy would let such actions stand.

Hate is not overcome by love; by violence alone is hate appeased. This is an eternal law.

He who is stained (with defilements) without self-control and truthfulness, is only human and my precepts are only a guideline not to be taken literally.

He who is purged of all stain, is well-established in morals and endowed with self-control and truthfulness, is a new age peacenik who believes singing kumabaya will solve all problems.

The one, who takes wrong to be right and right to be wrong, and who thinks always of sensual pleasures, cannot be blamed since no one can know my true words anyway.

I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

Anonymous said...

Verbose pretension and arrogance is still nothing more than pretension and arrogance no matter what language it's couched it. It's just more ego screaming "look at me", "look how smart I am" "look" "me"
If you think you're above everyone in thought, how can you listen. Ever?
And this is what you teach your children.

Anonymous said...

"Verbose pretension and arrogance is still nothing more than pretension and arrogance no matter what language it's couched it. It's just more ego screaming "look at me", "look how smart I am" "look" "me",,,,"

As opposed to your post kindly pointing this out. Screaming "Look at me! Look at me, I'm so beyond all this arrogant, ego-driven verbosity that I can stand back and criticize you all. Ha ha ha! Look how humble I am."

Plus it's real hard to tell arrogance and ego-drivenness from reading some posts in a comment section. Project much?

Yet another anon said...

@articualate, verbose anon -

I'm afraid I have to agree with anon @12.52pm. This is what (finally) did it for me:

"...Stephanie's post happened to be an articulate instance of them. The inarticulate ones being more immediately ignorable."

I mean...that's just arrogant, and unwise. It's moved me to comment.

Projection? Sure, it takes one to know one - but you're in a class of your own :-)Still, you have to call it as you see it.

May I respectfully suggest you don't so easily dismiss the views of those of us who don't aspire to your heights of erudition, or display your skillful powers of expression. (Actually I found you difficult to follow - verbose, in fact. But I'm a little thick ;-)

capcha - readwin. Fancy that.

Anonymous said...

To point out that the posts were verbose is nothing more than pointing out that they took a lot of words to say what they attempted to say. Sometimes it does take a lot of words to analyse something.

If the posts can be judged to be flawed by pretention, one would have to judge if it were making sound points or not, and also whether the sense that it is written to merely impress others renders those points meaningless or ruins the points made, in some way.

It's easier to be less verbose when one is using the normative conventions of language, as opposed to analyzing and attempting to redefine them.

Without something we might call an ego we wouldn't be able to write what might be useful or the rubbish stuff. I would judge a post on whether that ego is kept in check enough that its message is able to be read without inviting too much of a defensive reaction.

Nevertheless, there will always be those who get defensive when their reasonable disagreement with a point of view snags with some insecurity. To 'author' something will often evoke latent responses an individual or group might have with authority.

I think it's reasonable to say that listening can also enable a more accurate articulation of what appears to be the case, even though one might say all attempts will somehow fail in many ways and invite reasonable or irrational responses.

If one assumes that someone thinks "you're above everyone in thought" at the expense of addressing what they say or write, it might be possible that one is also not 'listening'. (The 'one' might sound pompous, but that's the pay-off in English these days with trying to make a general point without directing it at a 'you')

When one is inspired or cares about a debate some times of course one can get carried away forget to, punctuate, well and realise too much has been writt...

Yet another anon (confusin aintit?) said...

Hey verbose!

I get it's a joke, right?

Like irony or somethin.

Very clever!
Good job!

Anonymous said...

to anon 2:58

I take you're point on my: "The inarticulate ones being more immediately ignorable."

On review that does me no favours and did indeed smack of arrogance. I intended that to refer to the invitation to have just said Stephanie was talking shit - ie the quick insult which didn't articulate, or attempt to articulate a point of view.

I don't wish to imply that I feel superior to someone I might think is less literate. I have no doubt that much of your difficulty in reading my post is due to my in ability to express myself as succinctly as I would like.

I still think that I had some decent points to make, and can only testify that I was too busy making them to be feeling super clever or great about myself -- it was a difficult thing to do.

"Aspire to your heights of erudition" is very similar though, in its over-tones of inverse snobbery -- which I'm sure I am responsible for eliciting, although others may not deserve to be tainted with the same brush.

Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to apologise thought for the bad vibes I've leaked out. I did expect I'd do that.

Anonymous said...

Hey Non verbose!

"Yet another anon (confusin aintit?) said...

Hey verbose!

I get it's a joke, right?

Like irony or somethin.

Very clever!
Good job!"

Very clever!
Right on!

Yet another anon again said...

Ok, verby -

I hear ya. We're all just doing our best, as best we know how.

I feel peace breaking out...


Anonymous said...


Yours Verby

Anonymous said...

To anon 2:58 :

I was addressing Yet another anon again's post at 4:01 -- not your post that preceded it.

Who's who and what's what said...

"I was addressing Yet another anon again's post at 4:01 -- not your post that preceded it."

Negotiating post-war territorial boundaries?

It's a new world, and I'm lost.

Anonymous said...

Good point. The pitfalls of anonymity.

Anonymous said...

WTF? I am the real anon. The others are imposters! I didn't write the long posts, another anonymous did that.

gulame said...

Feel the love..

proulx michel said...

Anon #108

You wrote Quieter times? Maybe.
But not more peaceful.

My quip about the third was only that. I like Dunstable's music. those were not peaceful times. When we look at them, we have to realise how spoiled we are.

Being professionally into Baroque music, I usually exemplify the scene by this: this is very quiet and calm music, with more than a tinge of melancholy. But the image we make ourselves of those times through the films is blatantly false. When you see those Three Musketeers with lace and silk and all, they never show them blowing their noses into their lace sleeves, they never show you the streets strewn with manure, nor the people throwing their night vases through the windows. They mostly don't give you the odours (at least, the 15th Century contemporaries of Dunstable washed at least once a week, whereas the Musketeers contemporaries would wash only through duress and at most once a year). Those people lived a much more precarious life than us, even the richest of the rich. Then, just travelling was time consuming (three weeks from Montpellier to Paris) as well as expensive. Stage coaches did not go faster than on foot, the difference was they carried baggage.

For such a hard life, soft music. No wonder we have loud music...

On another aside, near here, there is a village, Cournonterral, which has a Carnival every winter, in which the young of the village divide into two parties. One dresses in white, another dons jute bags stuffed with hay and top hats with feathers. Foreigners are banned by the Gendarmerie or allowed at their own risks.

When the signal is given, the "Paillasses" chase the Whites and throw them into vats of wine lyes mixed with mud or whatever. The game ends when all Whites are soiled. Any tourist as well, especially with a camera.

This barbaric game is a commemoration of a village battle of the 15th Century about rights for firewood, between this village and the inhabitants of the next village, Aumelas.

I also observed that, until some years ago, people from one village in the region would only marry within a net of "friendly" villages, and never outside. During a village feast, people from a fiendish neighbouring village always meant rabble.

Just a few anthropological notes...

anon #108 said...

...aussi La Guerre de Cent Ans!!!

What a savage lot you French are.


Anonymous said...

To verbose Anon.
I do think you actually made very good points in your comments regarding Stephanie's comment. But a million good points don't make up for the way in which they are presented. You presented them in a way that turns people off and doesn't invite conversation. If you present yourself as having all the answers, correct in all your conclusions, people aren't going to respond to the actual points you made and you did make very good ones as I said. But how one says things is very different than what one says. It was wrong of me to say the the verbosity was an error. It wasn't but I find the presentation to be the error. But that's just my opinion. I would have loved to have conversed on your points but they were presented as "know it all" conclusions.
Knowledge cannot make up for social skills either on the internet or face to face.

Yet another anon again said...

to verbose:

You didn't tell us what you think about Tiger Woods.

(Also I think all anons should follow the fine example of anon #108. Unnumbered anons should feel free to comment elsewhere.

On Gudo's blog they don't let them in at all.)

Someone or other said...

I see what you done there, "Yet another anon again" - for you are not me, the first "Yet another anon" - and also "Yet another anon again" (see my earlier, conciliatory work with verbose anon @4.01 and 4.18pm).

You highlight a real problem: How is anyone to know "who's who and what's what"? (Me again).

I guess following #108's example would solve the problem. But that's me AGAIN! Honest.

capcha: waffl. Fancy that!

Iam not anon said...

Sheesh! Now the numbered / named anons want to throw the plain anons off the board! Class warfare amongst the anons.

Donovan said...

It's kind of ironic isn't it. The only person to ever beat Tiger Woods with a golf club in hand was his wife. That's what happens when you get teed off.

Anonymous said...

Some of my fellow countrymen have been agitating for the abolition of slavery. That's easy for yankees to say. They don't have big plantations like we do. Who would harvest the cotton if not our slaves? The abolitionists insist that Slavery is Not the Answer. But the sad fact is that slavery is necessary for our economy. We need to face facts. As horrible as it is, slavery works damn well. It is naive to think we can just wish it away.

That silly half-naked fakir seems to think we Indians can win our independence from Britian without resorting to violence. Mr. Gandhi advocates nonviolent resistance as the answer. His intentions may be good, but he is hopelessly naive to believe simply holding hands, singing and walking about India will bring independence. I wish we could just wish the British away too, but wishing just won't cut it. We must attack the occupiers, massacre their families and then they may leave us. As horrible as this may be, you must face facts and realize that if you want occupation to end war is necessary.

Dr. King is a naive dreamer. His way will never give us the equality that we seek. Only the Black Panther movement offers a realistic solution to racial inequality in America. Nonviolent protest and sit-ins won't fix a damn thing. We must face the fact, horrible as it is, that if we want a better life we must kill whitey. Killing works. If we just kill enough of them we will achieve racial equality. As things stand now, killing is necessary.

Brad Warner said...

to Yet another anon again:
(9:27 AM)

I don't quite see your point.

If we're all going to call ourselves anon #108 the same confusion would still prevail.

Old Gudo knows what he's doing.

unbol said...

Tiger Woods has now appeared 20 consecutive days on the cover of the NY Post. It beats the previous record held immediately after 9/11. I'm not sure what this means but even it makes more sense than anon218. The crazy anons have regrouped I'm afraid..

Brad Warner said...

That wasn't me up there.


(Actually it was, But I'm not Brad Warner. (Unless u take into account that we're all just the Reality, but that really seems to be beside the point, and I didn't mean to be as serious as that.))

Donovan said...

I think the Tiger Woods "bruhaha" is a perfect lesson in zen living.

Where else can you see so much judgement run amuck in one place and time. It's a joy to behold the self righteous indignation of the entire world.

Gee, I wonder what Jesus would say about it. Oh yeah, probably something archaic like let he who doesn't have anything wrong with his life yell the loudest.

Gotta love it this thing called life.

Anonymous said...

Fuck you all.

You can't really tell a real anon when you see one.

Can you?

anonymous said...

No! Fuck you! You stole my idea, you fraudulent scumbag! (giggles)

Anonymous said...

KXLU broadcast a very funny bit "Jesus, the air conditioner maintenance man"

it was unconditionally cool

Capital A Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Capital A Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

uh, Brad, about Tiger: it's not our bidness, but the dude, like a lot of other rich, egotistic American famous people, uh, violated a precept for no damn reason that I can see. If I were Swedish blonde Mrs. Tiger, just as if I were Mrs. Spitzer, Mrs. Letterman, Mrs. South Carolina Governator Jerk or the spouse of other legions of wandering penii, I would be a tad pissed, just as I would be if my own, poor serf nobody important husband went and screwed someone else for no damn reason, just as he would be with me. I mean, stupid me thought it was all about the precepts....but again, it's not my bidness.

Anonymous said...

f.kwan -

IMO, "it" is about not pissing off Swedish blonde Mrs. Tiger, Mrs. Spitzer, Mrs. Letterman, Mrs. South Carolina Governator isn't about not pissing off the precepts. The precepts don't care. People do.

Sure, the precepts are there to protect the people - but I think it's more healthy, and realistic, to first notice that people get violated, not precepts.

So no, it's not "all about the precepts".

WE try our best.
We break precepts.
We get hurt.
We move on.

rod said...

that version of Black Sabbath is completely bad-ass.

John Christian said...

I could care less about Tiger, his love life or golf for that matter, but as an icon of popular American myth i can say im happy to see the bullshit know as the "Story of Tiger" get pissed on...

Donovan said...

Doesn't each persons reaction to the "news" of Tiger Woods say more about that person than it does about Tiger Woods? Just something to think about.

Alex T said...

I like this idea Brad, that moving humanity toward a more peaceful existence is not the vehicle by which Buddhism serves its purpose, but rather it is by facing the facts of our existence in the most real way possible that we create peace for the individual, and as a by-product of doing this we put humanity in a more favorable position.

Donovan said...

I think a distinction between acceptance and resistance is key. You can accept the way things are, yet also not resist a flow that is moving reality in a new and "better" different direction.

If that doesn't work, just say a hail mary full of shit.

Ran Kennedy (Israel) said...

I wanted to correct a mistake I’ve made before the new coming year will be able to enter into the corresponding moment of the present:

In a comment of mine up there I’ve written: “Pleasure Heads Must Roll”.

So it should be “Pleasure Heads Must burn”.

(Of course?)

To those of you who don’t know what it’s about, but are still interested, I’ve been able to find two links:

But none of them seems worth watching.

(with all due respect to Nick Cave)

Happy Christmas. (If you still get to read this on time.)

Anonymous said...

to small "a" anonymous, at 3:48 PM:

- Sorry about the great delay -
However -

Says who?

True anons don't blog. Mind you.

[- "Who?".]

Anonymous said...

"First start from the understanding that -- horrible as it is -- war is the answer many times"

Brad: stick to Buddhism.

War, as far as the USA is concerned, is about attacking countries that are utterly defenseless and pillaging their resources. Read Chomsky's "Failed states".

If you are talking about WWII, Hitler could have been taken out of power before he became so powerful and it was the indifference of many that led to his rise. In fact, the Nazis were funded by us corporations such as IBM and Bayer, which built them up.

Please,son don't espouse such ignorance without doing research.