Monday, February 01, 2010

MONTH-LONG ZEN AND SEX MONTH!

February is the shortest month of the year. It's Black History Month. It's the month when it rains in California. And at Hill Street Center in Santa Monica it's MONTH LONG ZEN AND SEX MONTH!!! (Thanks eMily)

That's right, starting this weekend I will deliver a series of lectures about Zen and sex. These lectures will be a warm up — or perhaps I should say "foreplay" — to the publication of my book SIN SEX AND ZEN in the Autumn of 2010. I've spent the past year writing and researching the matter of Buddhism and its relationship to sex, and vice versa.

There have been books about the subject of Buddhism and sex already. The Red Thread: Buddhist Approaches to Sexuality is a good one, and so is Lust for Enlightenment: Buddhism and Sex. But these books deal only with the history of Buddhism as it relates to matters of sexuality. They go into great and very interesting detail about how Asian Buddhists in the ancient past have dealt with these matters.

It's important to be aware of this. In Buddhism we have great reverence for how wise people in ancient times solved the same problems we face today. Kodo Sawaki often spoke about how he simply followed the path of the ancients.

But, at the same time, we are not Asian Buddhists of the distant past. Even if some of you reading this might be Asian, you're still living in different times. The ancient solutions may indeed be best. But many of us today are unable or simply unwilling to accept them and live our lives accordingly. Are we, then, bad Buddhists? Should we give up the practice entirely, knowing full well we can never be as pure as it seems to require us to be?

In Buddha's time, all monks were supposed to be strictly celibate. Even masturbation was forbidden. Male and female monks lived in separate quarters. And homosexual relationships were strictly forbidden.

And yet none of these restrictions came from the point of view that sex was a sin. There is no concept of sin in Buddhism, no matter how hard many Western Buddhists try to shove it in there. No amount of lube is gonna make that sucker slide in! There simply isn't any way to make the concept of sin compatible with Buddhism.

The restrictions came from the idea that in order to devote oneself fully to the practice one had to avoid sex altogether. It was too distracting.

During the Meiji Restoration the Japanese government declared that Buddhist monks could legally marry. In many ways this just acknowledged what had already been a fact for a very long time. Buddhists monks often had long term relationships and even children. In any case, this touched off a new era in Buddhism and sexuality.

This is especially relevant in the West where so much of our Buddhism has been imported from Japan. And yet we're also seeing Buddhist denominations from other countries coming Westward. These denominations have much less liberal attitudes towards sex than the Japanese. It's all very confusing!



The thing I wanted to know when writing the book is; How can Western Buddhists today deal with sexuality? Most of us have no interest in becoming celibate monks. The general attitude towards sex has changed drastically in the past 2500 years. A truckload of juicy hardcore pornography is only a mouse click away from you right this very minute, all absolutely free of charge. We live in a world of seemingly unrestricted access to all kinds of sexuality.

As Buddhists how do we navigate this? It's all well and good to say, "Just avoid contact, and maintain purity of body and mind." But who among us can really do that?

I don't claim to have the answers. But I do think it's important to open the matter up for discussion.

If you're interested in participating, please come to Hill Street Center for the next four Saturdays and join in. All the info you need is at this link. I hope to see you there!

And if it's any further incentive, this lecture series will be the final chance you'll get to participate in Zen practice and discussion with me at Hill Street Center for a while. Those of you who live in the area but have been saying, "Aw, Brad's always there. I'll just go another time," might want to show up. More on this later. But you can look at my growing slate of gigs for 2010 for a clue.

Oh! And buy the damned Dimentia 13 download dammit!

See ya!

85 comments:

Anonymous said...

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mysteriosis said...

Brad you sly old fox.. Sex, drugs and rocknroll.. Yeah baby!

Uku said...

Brad,

will you tell pipari stories when you're coming to Finland again?

Anonymous said...

You are free to to turn your hanging out in nudie bars, getting "lap dance" from strippers into a profound "book"..

there are fools born every minute who will buy it too.

Bill S. Preston Esq. said...

I am disappointed you did not go with my anticipated title for your book, "The Dirty Do Zen". I look forward to reading it!

anon #108 said...

Aw, Brad's always there. I'll just go another time.

Yep. That would explain it.

Jinzang said...

There is no concept of sin in Buddhism, no matter how hard many Western Buddhists try to shove it in there.

I don't have any problem with translating digpa (Tibetan) or papam (Sanskrit) as sin, though it's not my preferred translation. Sin carries the sense of an offense against God, but I don't see that as essential to the concept of sin.
The problem with what you say here is that someone is going to read it and think there's no real difference between right and wrong in Buddhism, which is definitely not correct. I would rather be to heavy handed and use the word sin than have someone misunderstand Buddhism in this way.

Mysterion said...

Much has been written about Ikkyu. (One Pause)

Most is blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and blah.

They frame the life of Zen Master IKKYU -- born a little before the Golden Pavilion was built -- called to rebuild Daitokuji after Onin wars -- died around the time that the Silver Pavilion was built. source

His most famous quote:
From the world of passions,
returning to the world of passions.
There is a moment’s pause --
if it rains, let it rain,
If the wind blows let it blow.

His attitude about sex: "If you are going to sneeze, then sneeze."

ingerim said...

Jinzang - The problem with what you say here is that someone is going to read it and think there's no real difference between right and wrong in Buddhism.

What he says WHERE?

We haven't read the book yet, and all I read Brad saying HERE is "As Buddhists how do we navigate this [sex]? It's all well and good to say, "Just avoid contact, and maintain purity of body and mind." But who among us can really do that?

I don't claim to have the answers. But I do think it's important to open the matter up for discussion."


That's ok - necessary even, isn't it?

Jinzang said...

What he says WHERE?

What he says in the sentence I quoted in my comment.

ingerim said...

Well blow me down! Missed it!
My apologies, J.

Lemme see if I can rescue something...Er.......

O yeah!..SIN is not a useful word in this debate. Right and wrong, yes. But SIN - no.

There ya go :)

Anonymous said...

Where are your tour dates for the Washington D.C. area?

Britney said...

With his "Hardcore Zen" book, Brad was a "one hit wonder" of the Zen world (one hit more than with that gawd offal music he is trying to push on Amazon). At first, the sound seemed fresh, new, and people wanted more. His two follow up opuses (opera?) disappointed, and the "live show" left many asking for their money back.

So now, he and his publisher have figured out the sex sells, and spicing it up may save a struggling career. Brad is the Britney Spears of Zen.

the reverend nuge said...

i like sex.

anon #108 said...

When Brad says "There is no concept of sin in Buddhism..." I think he means that certain acts are regarded as 'akausala'(skt)/'akusala' (pali) = 'unskillful/unwholesome', not because they violate a moral rule - whether divine or man-made - but simply because they're not useful; not conducive to happiness; likely to cause suffering/unhappiness.

There again, there may be plenty of examples of the term 'Papam' in Buddhist literature, which as you say, Jinz, seems close enough to the English 'sin', 'evil', 'crime'...

Take your pick: there isn't one "Buddhism". Check out Barbara's Buddhism Blog!...and the comments.

anon #108 said...

"February is the shortest month..."

"April is the cruellest month"

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you are qualified to write about sex. You have experience in zen. And you certainly know about longing. But I think you might only be the 12 year old who giggles at the graffiti (the dick) he drew on a bathroom wall.

Anonymous said...

Having a body qualifies anyone to talk about sex and having a mind permits anyone to make a fool of themselves, or not. Having a heart, on the other hand ...

Winter said...

Wow, sure are alot of trolls who comment here. I will be looking forward to the new book, Brad. Keep up the good work. :)

CynicalBoy said...

"Don't desire too much"

For more see:

http://www.dogensangha.org/downloads/Pdf/Precepts.pdf

Oh and now my verification is "lipside" - Mmmm...

anon #108 said...

21st century Buddhists and others -

I think it's interesting that we're not guaranteed a comment frenzy every time Brad mentions his forthcoming SEX book. I can only recall one such, mainly stocked by trolls...one in particular. Mere mention of the 3-letter word by Brad brings out the accusers -"how dare he!" - but there's rarely much debate about what is and what isn't 'misuse' of sex.

Perhaps that's because, of all acts/behaviours, we regard sex as 'my business'; I do what I do with the people I do it with - I decide what's misuse and what isn't...each realationship is it's own situation and has it's own 'rules'. That seems to be the real situation.

Or are there some sexual behaviours that are evil/crimes/papam in any context?

I'm curious (!)

Anonymous said...

"I wonder if you are qualified to write about sex. You have experience in zen. And you certainly know about longing. But I think you might only be the 12 year old who giggles at the graffiti (the dick) he drew on a bathroom wall."

In case you forgot, Brad shut down the comments on October 9th. 2009. His stated reasons for doing so were the frustration he felt over the ignorant and hurtful things people were saying in response to what he he wrote. Another thing you might have forgotten was that on Oct 7th Brad made a post on the correct attitude to have while engaging in sexual relations. That post set off a shit storm of critical comments.

He wrote:

"In a way it's like sex. I don't know if you've noticed this, but pay attention the next time you're getting hot and heavy with your special someone. The very hottest things your lover can do while you're getting it on are usually the things he or she does to get him/herself off without any specific regard for you.

When you're getting intimate with someone you love, you care deeply about that person. So your selfish actions in that context are always taken with a caring attitude toward the one you're with. And yet it's far more erotic when your lover forgets about you and focuses on him or herself. This is a kind of compassion."

After years of tolerating idiotic comments on his blog, he closed his comments section only after he was criticized for his ignorance on one particular subject.

anon #108 said...

Hi anon @6.53am -

Your summary of events is highly selective and inaccurate. I can't be bothered to point out the inaccuracies - if anyone's really interested, they can check for themselves:

October 2009

So you have no respect for Brad. Excellent. Is that it? Or are you running a campaign to convince the rest of us not to be fooled by this fake? Thanks for caring, but I think we can look after ourselves.

I'd be more interested in your opinions about sex and/or sex and Buddhism. Do you have any you'd like to share?

alan said...

Anon @ 1:23,

You also are free to hang out sniping on Brad's blog, threaten to shut down sesshins and make up Email conversations.

There are fools born every minute, but there are also wise people born every minute.

It's usually the same people, too :-)

Brad Warner said...

Wow. The trolls have come out in force!

But just FYI to Britney, Sit Down & Shut Up and Zen Wrapped in Karma have sold quite well. Not Harry Potter numbers. But there is no "career decline" going on. And my live gigs have been steadily getting better attended and more frequent. The choice to write about sex was purely my own, based on a desire to write about something relevant & important to me.

But I suspect this and the other troll activity has nothing to do with anything stated in the comments themselves (thanks Anon 108 for your points). The idea of me writing about sex would appear to be what's really upsetting people.

This itself is interesting. It may be one of the reasons that the early Buddhists tried to suppress sexuality. Even talking about it gets people frothing at the mouth. Why is that? This is an important question.

I believe we have reached a point in the development of civilization that requires us to confront the matter openly. There is no avoiding it.

It seems to me to be an urgent problem.

Anonymous said...

Brad wrote: It seems to me to be an urgent problem.

It is? As much as I look forward to the book, I don't think that sex, if it's a problem, is an urgent one. It's more like a perennial, unsolved and probably unsolvable issue. Still, I'll buy the book just to see why Brad thinks it's urgent and to see if he's got any insights into sex that I haven't figured out on my own after 48 years.

Anonymous said...

In case you forgot, Brad shut down the comments on October 9th. 2009. His stated reasons for doing so were the frustration he felt over the ignorant and hurtful things people were saying in response to what he he wrote.

Nevermind the frustration others might have felt about the ignorant and hurtful things Brad has said about them. Typical self-centered petulant child behavior. I can criticise you and call you everything in the book, but pweeze don't criticise me or you might hurt my widdle feelings!

Anonymous said...

Back at you #108, If that's your real name.. My opinion on sex is that it's the spice of life, but different strokes for different folks is my preferred cliche for it.. BTW My time-line on my earlier comment was correct I believe. Brad wrote his "Selfish Compassion" post on the 7th and closed comments on the 9th. There was also some controversy with Jundo going on around that time that had people stirred up, but whatever.. You are correct in thinking that I have lost some respect for Brad. He has put together a formula to sell his books and I think he is using Buddhism to further his opportunities to make money and become famous, but that is not illegal. He wrote.. "I believe we have reached a point in the development of civilization that requires us to confront the matter (sex) openly. There is no avoiding it. It seems to me to be an urgent problem." Isn't there something a little self-important and ridiculous in that statement? Madison Avenue discovered that sex sells product long before Brad did. Maybe I'm being unfair or maybe Brad is making a type of pornography that has nothing to do with sex.

Brad Warner said...

Anon said: "Nevermind the frustration others might have felt about the ignorant and hurtful things Brad has said about them. Typical self-centered petulant child behavior. I can criticise you and call you everything in the book, but pweeze don't criticise me or you might hurt my widdle feelings!"

Ignorant, hurtful things I've said about who? Genpo Roshi? Is he one of my anonymous commenters? Are you him?

Anyway the comments section is open again. So you should be happy now. You can say whatever you want. And maybe you can even sign your name to it!

anon #108 said...

Anon, you write: "Back at you #108..."

Do I have any opinions on sex I'd like to share?

Not at the moment.

Genpo? said...

Anon #108: I said back atcha to your Hi.. I wasn't asking for the details of your sex life. Good grief.

Brad: I think some of your gay readers might still be a little hurt and disillusioned from your butt-buddy type comments.. That's only a guess.

And, I don't dislike you. I just think you've decided to cash in. That's not illegal.

The Keeper of the Log said...

In Oct 2009 Brad wrote:

"I've said this before and I'll say it again, I don't keep this blog as a way of teaching Zen. Zen cannot be taught via the Internet or on a blog...People imagine you could teach Zen via the Internet because they imagine that Zen is an intellectual philosophy, they imagine that the words are the philosophy. But they aren't...I don't feel any obligation to correct ignorant behavior on the comments section of this blog. Frankly I just don't care all that much. I'm sorry if that seems callous. But it's true...I could go in and monitor the comments. But do you know how much time, effort and energy that would take? Shit. I have a life to live...Plus I deliberately got what has to be the worst Internet connection outside of the Central Congo. It's like the speed of the dial-up you had in 1995 -- with your sister on the other phone refusing to get off. So, no, I'm not gonna spend upwards of 20 minutes per comment to deal with some jack-ass pretending to be my ex-wife or some "Enlightened Being" who feels the need to denounce me. I'm saying all this because I have now shut down the comments section. If someone wants to establish a forum elsewhere that people can use to comment on what they see here, please do so. I will even post a link to that forum at the end of each article I post. (Oct 16th)"

The previous post, Oct 8th, was a review of a Kiss album, with 147 comments spanning 5-6 days. Before that (Oct 6 and 7) we had "Conscientious Selfishness", Parts 1 (55 comments) and 2 (39 comments).

On Oct 28th, presumably having monitored the discussion on gniz's "Rebloggind Brad Warner" blog, Brad wrote:

"I see people are speculating on why I closed the comments section.

...I was letting anybody post anything they wanted. But I got sick of handing over a free platform to weenies with axes to grind, usually against me. People can say whatever the hell they want. But I didn't see any reason I had to give them space to do it...Plus I started seeing lots of things attributed to me that I hadn't said. They were from the comments section!.."


Make of that what you will.

So - as if it matters any more - it was the post-Kiss comment marathon that seems to have finally done it (few of the comments concerned Kiss). Comments were shut down around the 13th/14th Oct, and, it could be argued, not solely for the "stated reasons" Anon attributes to BW.

Genpo? said...

"Comments were shut down around the 13th/14th Oct, and, it could be argued, not solely for the "stated reasons" Anon attributes to BW."

Anon #108, Obsessive keeper of the sacred Brad logs.. You are correct Sir. Your memory is better than mine. I must just ignore anything that has to do with Kiss.. I was actually very close though..

proulx michel said...

I suspect that Mr Arsewipe is still lurking...

Captcha is "unnin" cloud person?

Anonymous said...

Damn! I forgot all about the Mr. ass-wipe business.

anon #108 said...

Glad to be of service, anon - may I call you Jim?

BTW, check the archives thoroughly and you'll find examples of me giving My Lord Brad a hard time. I'll pay for that in avici hell, no doubt.

Brad Warner said...

108, that's the whole point! I need plenty of people to keep me company in Avici Hell!

Jinzang said...

Not because they violate a moral rule - whether divine or man-made - but simply because they're not useful; not conducive to happiness; likely to cause suffering/unhappiness.

There's a system of morality that considers actions immoral precisely because they lead to unhappiness, either for the individual (hedonism) or society as a whole (utilitarianism). Pronouncing a rule by which actions can be judged right or wrong is what morality does.

There may be a distinction between sin and wrongdoing or unskillful action, but it's a rather thin one.

john e mumbles said...

You have displayed your understanding of Zen at least to the satisfaction of your teacher. What is the qualification for examining sex? Or for that matter sex and buddhism (a broader topic than just Zen)? It would seem that while there is some credibility as far as Zen goes, other topics you examine must be taken as individual conjecture, ie; opinion. If the books are meant to educate and entertain, so be it. Sell out all of your interests, serious and otherwise.

perchr said...

john e mumbles, you seem to have an unhealthy regard for 'experts' with qualifications.

"What is the qualification for examining sex?"

Being alive and conscious and sexually functioning?

"Or for that matter sex and buddhism (a broader topic than just Zen)?"

Being alive, conscious, sexually functioning and a Buddhist?

Before deciding whether the book is 'credible' or not, why not wait and read it?

Anonymous said...

Brad wants to make it like people are out to get him because he is a Buddhist who talks about sex. Bullshit. Buddhists talk about sex all the time, have sex, think about sex. Many Buddhist groups and teachers talk about sex in America. It is no big deal. That is not the reason that some people think Brad acts like a juvenile ass.

Anonymous said...

Perchr @ 5:40pm? Nicely said.


To the trolls: why?

lastly, and appropriately enough: my captcha is "undis"

peace
--matt

Anonymous said...

Drukpa Kunley's Sutra of Sex


'In Sanskrit: Nga'i mje sha-ra-ra!
In Tibetan: Bu-mo'i stu-la shu-ru-ru!
This is the discourse on mundane pleasure.

'The virgin finds pleasure in her rising desire,
The young tiger finds pleasure in his consummation,
The old man finds pleasure in his fertile memory:
That is the teaching on the Three Pleasures.

The bed is the workshop of sex,
And should be wide and comfortable;
The knee is the messenger of sex,
And should be sent up in advance;
The arm is the handle of sex,
And it should clasp her tightly;
The vagina is a glutton for sex,
And should be sated again and again:
That is the teaching upon Necessity.

It is taboo to make love to a married woman,
It is taboo to make love to a girl under ten,
It is taboo to make love to a menstruating woman
Or a woman under a vow of celibacy:
That is the teaching on the Three Taboos.

Hunger is the mark of an empty stomach,
A large penis is the mark of an idiot,
Passionate lust is the mark of a woman:
That is the teaching on the Three Marks.

The impotent man has little imagination,
Bastards have little virtue,
The rich have little generosity:
That is the teaching on the Three Deficiencies.

A Lama's joy is a gift,
A politician's joy is flattery,
A woman's joy is her lover:
That is the teaching on the Three Joys.

Sinners hate the pious and devout,
The rich hate loose spendthrifts,
Wives hate their husbands' mistresses:
That is the teaching on the Three Hates.

For blessing worship the Lama,
For power worship the Deity,
For efficiency worship the Reality Protectors:
This is the teaching on the Three Objects of Worship.

Pay no respect to mean Lamas,
Pay no respect to immoral monks,
Pay no respect to dogs, crows or women:
That is the teaching on the Three Rejects.

The Discipline's purpose is to calm and pacify,
The Vow to serve others is to free from self-will,
The Tantra's purpose is to teach unity of polarity:
That is the teaching on the Three Vehicles.

The starving beggar has no happiness,
The irreligious have no divinity,
The wanderer has no bonds or commitment:
That is the teaching on the Three Lacks.

He who is without honesty has a dry mouth,
He who is without spirituality makes no offering,
He who is without courage does not make a general:
That is the teaching on the Three Zeros.

The sign of a rich man is a tight fist,
The sign of an old man is a tight mind,
The sign of a nun is a tight vagina:
That is the teaching on the Three Constrictions.

The fast talker inserts himself into the centre of a crowd,
Monastic wealth inserts itself into the monks' stomachs,
Thick penises insert themselves into young girls:
That is the teaching on the Three Insertions.

The mind of a Bodhisattva is smooth,
The talk of self-seekers is smoother,
But the thighs of a virgin are smoother than silk:
That is the teaching on the Three Smooth Things.

Immoral monks have thin skirts,
Widows and spinsters have thin stomachs and clothes,
Fields without manure bear thin crops:
That is the teaching on the Three Thin Things.

Kunley never tires of girls,
Monks never tire of wealth,
Girls never tire of sex:
That is the teaching on the Three Indefatigables.

Although mind is clear, one needs a Lama;
Although a lamp burns brightly, it still needs oil;
Although Mind is self-evident, it needs recognition:
That is the teaching on the Three Needs.'

[From The Divine Madman pp.108-10]
Source:
http://www.keithdowman.net/vajralove/sutra.htm

john e mumbles said...

percher, I have not read Brad's books, and won't; I am only questioning the motive behind the topic selected. On the one hand, he is portrayed as an "expert." On the other? Go read "The Sutra on Knowing the Better Way To Catch a Snake" and leave this pop culture wanna be icon to his "speaking tours."

Jinzang said...

I am only questioning the motive behind the topic selected.

Guessing the motivation of another person and then getting offended by what is nothing more than a guess seems like a waste of time to me. I've done it myself and nothing good has ever come of it. But if it makes you happy, go for it.

perchr said...

John e -

Your response says more than I possibly could.

Thanks.

john e mumbles said...

I am not offended, just curious about the intention. It seems obviously blatant. Choose a buzz word. Make a buck.

perchr said...

Oh! You mean 'why would a Buddhist write a book about sex and put the buzz word "sex" in the title?'

Sorry, John e, but I don't see that either query requires any justification or explanation.

Rich said...

Mumbles, your opinion is based on speculation. It can be very 'enlightening' when we admit that we just don't know. Everybody wants sex, so maybe Brad will help sort out the rules of engagement for the 21st century. Worst case scenario is that we might be entertained and learn something.

john e mumbles said...

This guy is all about selling anything you will buy. His old band tapes, whatever. What's next? Bags of steaming Brad poo at $10 a pop for all the drones? Justify it all you want. He's found his niche market. It is You.

Brad Warner said...

BAGS OF STEAMING BRAD POO!!!! Why didn't I think of that?

I'm getting started right now.

(Is it just me or has this entire discussion become extraordinarily silly?)

perchr said...

John e -

All that you've written is silly - in so many ways.

Come back when you've read a book by BW (get it out the library). Then at least you'll know why you think he's a fraud.

And please don't assume that this blog is full of saps who mindlessly consume whatever Brad puts out. That's not only silly - it's insulting.

perchr said...

Oh Brad! - we both thought "silly" at the same time!

Spooky.

john e mumbles said...

What's wrong with silly? And why would anyone need to read Brad's books to find out whether or not he's a fraud? I do not think that, btw, he represents himself for what he is quite well...zzzzzzZZZZ.

Roland Marquardt said...

I have read Brads books and found them very entertaining, extremely funny and- humbly I bow to thee, My Lord Brad- quite helpful for practice.
So you should give that a try, but I recommend buying.
For one it will help Brad keeping up his fraudulent existence and for another you have something to incinerate, in case your reading experience turns out to match your original assumptions.

Btw, where do I get one of those bags of steaming poo ?

P.T. Dogen said...

The Dharma is free.. Getting pepple to buy it by attaching a Hardcore Zen, Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll label on is a great idea. Kudos Brad.

john e mumbles said...

perchr, think for yourself and stop licking Brad's boots: "One at a time people are still bearable, but when they form cliques, they start to get stupid. They fall into group stupidity. They’re so determined to become stupid as a group that they found clubs and pay membership dues. Zazen means taking leave of group stupidity." -Sawaki Kodo Roshi

anon #108 said...

Brad wrote:

"But I suspect this and the other troll activity has nothing to do with anything stated in the comments themselves. The idea of me writing about sex would appear to be what's really upsetting people...Even talking about it gets people frothing at the mouth. Why is that? This is an important question."

I find myself in agreement...I must have been rendered group-stupid; suckered by Brad's insidious marketing techniques. Must sit more.

Anonymous said...

Brad, Please stop promoting the benefits of Zen practice and Buddhism in a modern, entertaining, way. It's far too ancient and serious for that. And please stop including references to popular music. Such music is not Buddhist. And please stop selling the books you write. That's not right livelihood. That's why no one else does it.

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

Mysterion,

I suspect that you may be wrong about greed.

From my very limited understanding, all written buddhist morality is considered as a guide, subject to the context of the moment.

Off the top of my head, I can't come up with a non-silly example where greed might be used to benefit another person, but it seems to me that it is very likely that such an example exists.

As a silly example, grabbing all the candy from a child with severe type 1 diabetes. The child, who is too young to understand the concept that the candy is dangerous, would see you as greedy, but you are actually saving their life.

As a side note, I really like the idea of a buddhism completely free from the idea of sin because it potentially removes a wide range of ammunition from my very judgmental self ;-)

deiter said...

Mysterion,

I suspect that you may be wrong about a lot of things.

Smoggyrob said...

Hi everyone:

Well, the first Sex & Buddhism talk went well. There were about sixteen people there. It was nice to hear Brad give a talk again. He does it on the road a lot, but it's been a while since he gave any kind of structured talk here at home. We usually have more of a discussion. Brad went over the history of Buddhist views about sex, as an introduction. I guess my big take-away was learning that fucking a fresh corpse was a lessor violation of the Vinaya than fucking a rotting one.

Really? I'd like to think this came from a theoretical question from some argumentative hair-splitter. But you think the Buddha would have smacked him down by responding with Exasperated Silence. So did the issue really have to be decided?

First Monk: "Hey, I know this looks bad, but think about it -- she died just a few minutes ago. It's not like she's rotting. That would be disgusting."

Other Monks: "Well he's got a point there. Let's go ask Buddha."

You know, the Buddha's disciples don't come off any better than Jesus' disciples. And since both groups are supposed to be the links that brought these stories to us, I'm surprised. People usually paint themselves better. It leads me to believe that they were teaching devices, bad examples, rather than real people. But still, whoever came up with the above teaching, at the least, had way too much time on their hands.

Rob

HG said...

I am not a prude person, but sexuality and "juicy porn" are two different things in my world. Just as reading about Zen and sitting.

Greetings Hanz

exonster said...

hello hans

sexuality and "juicy porn" are two different things...

juicy porn is an aspect of sexuality, isn't it?

mysteriosis said...

Rob, An interesting scenario.. It could also have gone like this.

Second Monk: "Wow, A similar thing happened to me. I was getting it on with old Sheela the village whore, when right before my climax she passed away.. I was pretty jacked up so I thought, Damn, I'll just finish.. Was that wrong?

Other Monks: "Sariputta, you could not possibly have quit at that point, but let's go ask Buddha."

mysteriosis said...

"juicy porn is an aspect of sexuality, isn't it?"

I would say no.. I think that to watch porn is to participate in the possibly cruel exploitation of the women and children involved. It is easy to lust for what you don't have and want, but watching porn is much the same as stealing what doesn't belong to you.

exonster said...

Yes indeed Rob and mysteriosis. "Buddhism" isn't what you think it is. Especially early Buddhism. Most likely.


"...to watch porn is to participate in the possibly cruel exploitation of the women and children involved..."

Well that may well be true, myst, but porn is still an aspect of sexuality - clearly. Very clearly. That unsavoury, even reprehensible things are also involved...well that's sexuality for ya. Whoever promised you a rose garden?

anon #108 said...

...there again (for I am the exonster!) not all that is called 'pornography' is exploitative of the women who take part - many enjoy it; the sex and the money. The distinction between 'erotica' and 'pornography' is sometimes very hard to make....Unless you build "exploitative and degrading" into the definition of porn. But even then...

Kids - another story.

Wiki on erotica (and porn)

anon #108 said...

I make that comment #69.
And the captcha is...nonym

Fancy!

Anonymous said...

"not all that is called 'pornography' is exploitative of the women who take part - many enjoy it"

Yes, I have heard this about rape also and it is probably occasionally true. Just because porn shows people acting out in a sexual manner doesn't make it sex. I understand the attraction and the need some people have to justify it. But Porn is by it's nature is destructive.

anon #108 said...

"Just because porn shows people acting out in a sexual manner doesn't make it sex."

Well it doesn't make it 'love'. But the act of sexual intercourse - and any other sexual act - whether recorded on film or paper or experienced in real life is certainly 'sex'. Isn't it?

I disagree that "porn is by it's nature...destructive", unless, as I said ^^, you build "exploitative and degrading" into the definition. But the definitions in this area, legal and cultural, aren't agreed or clear.

Do you think "erotica" is "by it's nature...destructive"?

Anonymous said...

I think getting caught up in fantasy is destructive. Having sex is great. Getting caught up in porn and thinking that no one really gets hurt is not facing reality.

anon #108 said...

"I think getting caught up in fantasy is destructive."

I assume that's your answer to the question, "Do you think 'erotica' is 'by it's nature...destructive?'" Does that answer also apply to reading fiction and going to the cinema? Some would say so. (I'm not willing to make the sacrifice).


"Getting caught up in porn and thinking that no one really gets hurt is not facing reality."

We'll have to agree to disagree about that, anon. If the paticipants in the porn movie are enjoying themselves - and so am I, who's getting hurt, and what's not 'real'?

Or perhaps I'm just a very deluded, very naughty boy.

Anonymous said...

perhaps.

anon #108 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...

As someone who has strong feelings about "pornography", I wouldn't imagine you've seen too much of it.

It's not ALL miserable, non-consensual exploitation. Although much of it is. The misrable stuff makes me miserable. I don't watch it. Some of the consensual stuff - still referred to as 'pornography' because of the acts depicted - is positively joyful. A celebration of sex/desire as a fundamental aspect of life. Seriously. And so, occasionally, I watch it...and join in!

All this doesn't mean that there isn't a price to pay for over-indulgence in sexuality, like any manifestation of desire. So - balance/moderation in all things, as always. To fight sexual desire often ends badly too. Sex is tricky.

"Do not misuse sex/desire"...Hmm...

Roland Marquardt said...

Here is something that should somewhat give fresh impetus to the porn discussion in the last comments.
Its the link to Brads interview with famous pornographic actress, Nina Hartley, so its actually double score:

http://suicidegirls.com/interviews/Nina+Hartley/

Read for yourself its definitly worth it:
Quote: Nina: "I take compassionate awareness and acceptance as far as I can take it without being an actual temple living, Zazen-sitting, observant Buddhist.
But it is a primary philosophy that I grew up with.
Zen, in terms of my daily life, in terms of compassion, infuses all of my work especially my interaction with my fans because a lot of people look at people who consume pornography as losers, wankers, just completely pathetic."

Brad: "We are!"

Nina:[Laughs] "I don´t see it that way. There are certainly many people in that world who could be considered pathetic losers but liking porn does not make you such a person."

Brad Warner said...

Just for clarification on the fresh corpse/rotting corpse thing brought up by Rob; scholars believe that a lot of what went into the Vinaya were based on hypothetical scenarios presented to Buddha by the monks. If true, this would make Buddha a bit different from the later Chinese Buddhist masters who usually refused to entertain hypothetical scenarios. Many of the koans are demonstrations of this.

It's possible this is the case. It's also possible that the Vinaya as it has come down to us contains later additions. That's what I tend to believe.

In any case, some of the scenarios in the Vinaya are so bizarre and outlandish it's hard to imagine they ever happened. I mean, there's a rule about having sex with an iguana as opposed to sticking your weenie up an elephant's trunk. Both are highly dangerous and it's hard to believe anyone would try them. It's also hard for me personally to believe that Buddha would have answered such a ridiculous question, unless he was joking. But who knows?

Morick from Orick said...

There's nothing inherently delusive about people having sex or watching people have sex. The delusion / grasping is in the eye of the beholder.

I tend to believe people that are fiercly anti porno are at war within themselves over sexuality. Much like J. Edgar Hoover's obsession with homosexuals and perverts...all while wearing women's clothing. Or the little old ladies who spend hours looking at dirty pictures in order to warn others about the dangers of looking at dirty pictures. Jimmy Swaggart was preaching against the evils of pornography back in the 80's....while having sex with prostitutes.

That explicit pics are inherently sexist and exploitive is a view embraced by many feminists. Does this apply to gay porn too? I know many women (bisexual) who love to watch lesbian porn.

This view is as extreme as Brad's view that all drugs are inherently evil. There's room for nuance here. Some sexual dipictions are exploitive (children, men or women held against their will). Some drugs are really harmful (crack, heroin, crank). By the way, while I do sometimes view porn (often with my partner) I no longer imbibe drugs. Not because they are evil or will all rot your brain, but simply because I've outgrown the need for them.

Ran K. said...

I wanted to refer to three points:

1. “knowing full well we can never be as pure as it seems to require us to be?

So that is to say that sex is inseparable from impurity?

2. “How can Western Buddhists today deal with sexuality?

I am not so interested in this question.

I think the question would be what can one learn about sex from Buddhism.

3. “The general attitude towards sex has changed drastically in the past 2500 years.

I think generally you could say “The general attitude towards sex has changed drastically in the past 100 years”.

Seems more like it to me.


Else than this I hope Brad will dare express the truth expressed in Kodo Sawaki’s Words: “A strange being, - the human – groping around in the dark with an intelligent look in his eyes”.

It doesn’t seem he much dares say to what extent the ancient knew better than modern amazing intelligent, so well educated, high class, superbly conformed to every piece of shit the academic establishment would utter, - idiotic, intellectual, well dressed and eloquent [in their own ignorant standards – at least] philistines.

Ran K. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CynicalBoy said...

'Too much desire' is about filling a void and even 'good' sex (if there is such a thing) won't do this. We need to look at the 'desire' itself or we'll just replace one craving for another. Bishops and choir boys and all that...

mtto said...

"This view is as extreme as Brad's view that all drugs are inherently evil."

Brad never said that. I know for a fact that his position is that all drugs make you want to have sex with chickens.

James Allen said...

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