Sunday, February 21, 2010

TOURING

My book tour page has been further spiffed up click here to check it out.

You may notice that I have a retreat at the Southern Dharma Retreat Center in Hot Springs, North Carolina (near Asheville) until March 28th followed by a retreat a week later in Brooklyn (starting April 2nd). Then I have nearly a month off before heading to Europe in May.

Currently, the folks in Brooklyn are planning to fly me to their fair city. But it occurred to me that if I drove to Brooklyn from NC, I could do other gigs on the way back down South. Major cities on the route between the two include Trenton, NJ, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC, and Richmond, VA among others.

Anyone on that route who might like to have me come give a talk in their city should write me at spoozilla@gmail.com (Would I get more bites if I changed that email address? I never initially intended to use it for gig getting). There's nearly the whole month of April to work with. So speak up!

Part of my reason for relocating to the East Coast was the notion that if I did so, lots of places I could potentially talk at would be within driving distance. This would allow me to do what I do more cheaply and efficiently, I had hoped. But will the folks on the East Coast fail to speak up and thus prove me wrong?

I know it's the new thing these days to sit behind your laptop and deliver virtual Zen to the virtual masses. But I'm still too set in my ways to believe that's the best way to do things. I much prefer to get out there and meet people face to face. Dokusan via Skype is too much like one of those porno video chat things for me.

My tours have ended up being sort of like the punk rock tours of long ago (or, indeed the punk rock tours of today) where you pack everything you need in a van and head off for parts unknown, hoping that the people who have offered you a floor to sleep on don't have any vicious killer animals or are not themselves vicious killer animals.

I do not have an entourage to surround me as I travel. I do not have "people" to set all this up for me (though my pal Catie is helping out a lot lately). I do not have an "office" you can call up for an appointment. I do not sell myself for $50,000 a pop to the rich and brainless for private consultations.

This means I'm sometimes hard pressed to get back to everyone who writes. Be aware I'm looking for gigs where I can make some money. I ain't getting rich this way. That's for damned sure (another reason for moving away from Los Angeles). But I'm trying not to go broke doing it either. So I'm far more likely to respond to gigs that have a chance of actually paying.

People always write and say, "You could give a talk at Bob's Dog Eared Books in Bloomingfork, Louisiana!" or whatever. And that's nice. I do talks at bookstores a lot. But bookstore talks never pay. The bookstores want authors in so they get some customers to buy books from them -- and not buy books directly from the authors. So I can only afford to travel out of town to do a bookstore gig if there's some kind of paying gig in the area as well.

OK? Good. Well, I'm off to go speak at Noah Levine's place in Hollywood, Against The Stream, at 11 am today. The address is 4300 Melrose (btw Heliotrope and Vermont) Los Angeles, CA 90029. Show up! And see ya there!

93 comments:

Harry said...

In your ear, everyone!

I can dance!

Ran K. said...

Nice post.

Nate said...

Brad, you should do a talk in Louisville, KY.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Brad, you're not gonna make AshEvil in time to make the Rollins show...

http://www.theorangepeel.net/calendar20103.php#hr

Jaeger said...

Just sent you an e-mail about doing at talk at the Baltimore Zen Center...I think I might have mentioned money, I can't remember...

Osama Van Halen said...

Personally, I enjoy naked video chats. Especially the ones from the Philippines

Smoggyrob said...

Hi Brad:

I'm a member of a small sitting group in Los Angeles, California. We'd love to have you come out someday.

Rob

john e mumbles said...

Assuming you read Get In The Van, and had some of the same "on the road" experiences being in a punk rock band (as I did with The Mumbles back in the 1980's), now in your forties. I can't imagine wanting to continue to do that, Zen master or no. Its the vagabond life, and leads only to the 50K gigs you abhore, or just camped out in somebody's treehouse like Bad Blake if you don't. Guess you could end up w/ a talk show like Henry...Hope you like drivin' and flyin,' and no sleep.

anon #108 said...

Hey mumbles!

Seems Bradster has taken note of your earlier comment and deleted references to past events on his tour page. I anticipate a deepening relationship.

BTW, I too am looking for paid gigs. I've no books to promote or Dharma to teach, but I can whistle.

Rob - That's sad. It don't seem right.

Wiped Behind said...

Don't get a bad case.

john e mumbles said...

Hey all you book-o-philes, speaking of Rollins, I have a signed 1st ed. of his VERY FIRST chapbook entitled Henry Rollins - 20, illustrated in glorious black and white by Raymond Pettibon, inscribed and dated 9/84 by HR, from a gig we opened for Black Flag. Taking bids.

Anonymous said...

I know it's the new thing these days to sit behind your laptop and deliver virtual Zen to the virtual masses. But I'm still too set in my ways to believe that's the best way to do things. I much prefer to get out there and meet people face to face. Dokusan via Skype is too much like one of those porno video chat things for me.

Brad and his perpetual Jundo complex

treeleaf.com

Anonymous said...

Hey Mr. Mumbles, I'd love to buy your chapbook of Rollins, I'm a huge fan of his too. Unfortunately I don't have the 50K you probably want for it...

A.S.
Owen Sound, ON, Canada

john e mumbles said...

Hey AS from Owen Sound, ON, Canada -It may indeed be priceless, but then again, maybe not. You can contact me with a bid of your choice through my yahoo acct. here (if this site will allow it) acephale0@ yahoo.com. If not, go through my myspace acct: The John Eberly Band... Irony of ironies? I've just been asked to do a (music, not my Al-Kimia book) mid-west tour myself with the former guitarist/lead singer of Big Dipper and The Embarrassment...maybe I need a blog of my own...

CynicalBoy said...

Brad Warner just like
Tokuzan seeks a rice cake
What use all those books?

anon #108 said...

Hi 7.24pm -

Brad wrote: I know it's the new thing these days to sit behind your laptop and deliver virtual Zen to the virtual masses...Dokusan via Skype is too much like one of those porno video chat things for me.

And you commented: Brad and his perpetual Jundo complex

Why do you think this is all about Jundo? There's LOADS of folks - possibly hundreds - offering Zen/Dharma teaching online, in forums, blogs and websites (some of whom comment here).
I believe Dosho Mike Port, for one, does the skype/webcam dokusan thing, and there may be many others.

Not every critical comment of Brad's about online Zen and his preference for the face-to-face, RL stuff need be a snipe at Jundo Cohen - although he's clearly included.

Uku said...

Smoggyrob wrote:

Hi Brad:

I'm a member of a small sitting group in Los Angeles, California. We'd love to have you come out someday.

Rob


Hahhaa, funny! :D

Anonymous said...

"East Coast fail to speak up and thus prove me wrong? "

"East Coast fail to speak up and thus prove me wrong?"

Jesus christ on a wheel! What a passive aggressive approach of being direct.

Such a tool.

It could be said...

Not every critical comment of Brad's about online Zen and his preference for the face-to-face, RL stuff need be a snipe at Jundo Cohen - although he's clearly included.

It could be.

Of course, not many people who have been around Dogen Sangha for very long will believe it is not about Jundo.

But, maybe, sure, it could be.

CynicalBoy said...

Jundo on the screen
Brad sleeping on your sofa
So many choices

Sunami said...

to Jaeger, I second that!

I am a member of Baltimore Dharma Group and think it would be great to have Brad come and speak in the area.

Brad as a side benefit to the East Coast...the train runs all thru the NE corridor, when it is not snowing, raining, too much sun or other such things.

anon #108 said...

In Re CrashpadBrad v TeknoJundo:

I submit that Brad has objections to online Zen regardless of his Dharma-bro's (irony!) involvement.

Yet, FWIW, I am a tad concerned just what the Zen Master Tours with the books might lead to...it may not be so very far to the 50k gig scenario mumbles warns of. There again - is that a bad thing? Is it any of my business?

Can't win, eh?
You gotta do something.
Hope it goes well.

charlie swords said...

i'm in upper SC, would love to come hear you speak. And ASheville is a short drive, however, i am broke. So, maybe next go 'round.

Anonymous said...

"East Coast fail to speak up and thus prove me wrong? "

"East Coast fail to speak up and thus prove me wrong?"

Jesus christ on a wheel! What a passive aggressive approach of being direct.

Such a tool.

Hmmm .. well it works don't it

God on a wheel!

Brad Warner said...

I just Googled "Cyber Sangha" and got 5 pages of relevant results. There are a lot of these out there. Even fucking "Second Life" has zendos. And, again, many people assume that I am running a cyber sangha myself. Interviewers are always asking me about my "on-line sangha," by which, I must assume, they mean this blog right here.

I just feel our whole culture disappearing up its own virtual asshole lately. I refuse to buy anything on line that I can get at a store, even if it costs more at a store, and sometimes even if the store has to order that thing from the same on-line source I could order it from myself.

Why? Because real, non-virtual, non-cyber community is vital to human existence. You heard me. I said "vital." Not just fun or good or better, but absolutely necessary.

The cyber sangha is just one manifestation of a really lousy trend in our culture that needs to be killed dead. Zen does not exist on the Web. It cannot exist on the Web. You can read about Zen here. But you cannot experience it here. Never. Ever.

You can no more have real dokusan via Skype or whatever than you can have real sex via Skype. Real dharma talks do not exist on the Internet because they cannot exist on the Internet. That's like pretending that watching a YouTube video of KISS is the same as sitting in a 4th row seat where you can feel the heat from the columns of fire on stage.

Fuck that shit. Bury it deep in the garbage heap where it belongs!

Thus have I spoken.

(this has been Brad in a cranky mood on a Monday morning, thank you)

alan said...

"I just feel our whole culture disappearing up its own virtual asshole lately."

I kind of agree, mostly.

Although my spin on this is that we as a culture are actually trying to entertain ourselves to death.

I like to fantasize that after everyone else has either disappeared into Second Life, been run over talking on a cell phone while crossing the street or ascended into the tech heaven of the Singularity, I'll be left in a sooo much quieter world.

Misanthrope? What me?

kenzen said...

Hey Brad,
I would like to say that I'm excited that you are on tour in the east coast! If you book something in Jersey please let us know. I will also be checking for updates:)
I would like to give my opinion about the whole cyber sangha thing. I agree with you about the real-life experience, face-to-face experience. Nothing can replace that because we are humans not computers. But, I would like to offer a scenario: Jim from West Bumblefuck has read some zen books and really digs it. It offers something that his local church does not. Unfortunatly there is no sangha his county and hardly any in his state(maybe country in some cases). He does not make much money so he cant afford to fly out to a sangha for beginner zazen class, which is a pre-requisite before sesshin in many sanghas. He has questions about his practice. He his not trying to become ordained or anything but just wants some sort of interaction with people who have experience. He joins an online sangha and finds people who are kind enough to help him on his journey. In fact, he is motivated even more to continue his practice(before he had doubts). I'm sure there are many people that can identify with Jim, some may have read your books and found inspiration. IMO, I see this as a positive thing. Another sentient being who's seed is starting to germinate. Nothing can replace a teacher that right there with you, I agree, but at the very least Jim has teacher online that is willing to help him along his way. In the end, teachers in person and online have the same goal. I agree that zen does not exist online, but does it exist in the sangha? Or does it exist in the person?


Gassho,
Ken

Earl Url said...

"Zen does not exist on the Web. It cannot exist on the Web. You can read about Zen here. But you cannot experience it here. Never. Ever."

Sorry Brad, I'm not buying. On one level no one can "experience" zen anywhere. In another more mundane sense, zen can be experienced anywhere and anytime. You don't get it via osmosis. Zen teachers don't excreet it.

Anytime and anywhere you see reality as it is, you have zen. Is in-person zen instruction and guidance preferable to online guidance? Probably so. It's no different than instructing a zen student via letter...and many zen masters have done and continue to do this on a regular basis.

I've studied zen directly under a teacher and I've been instructed via snailmail. In many cases, reading a letter or sometimes even a book can be as helpful as in-person instruction. I'd rather be taught via letter (or cyber dokusan) by a great zen teacher than in-person by a mediocre one.

Sounds like sour grapes on your part since Jundo seems to be doing the cyber sangha thing successfully. By your criteria, zen can't be conveyed in books either, but you still write them. Let it go.

diced said...

Cranky Brad: I think I agree with you.

I've been trying to get delivery on something I purchased from an online store now for months. It is a real nightmare. You never get to talk to real people. And if you do get through it is to someone who doesn't give a shit or speak the same language. Then they might accidentally lose the connection if you get close to resolution. I think it's a conspiracy.

And, this might be the right time to boycott all digital music. It's just not the same. Only live performance for us hardliners from now on! Or vinyl! No MP3s!

Brad Warner said...

Earl said, "I'd rather be taught via letter (or cyber dokusan) by a great zen teacher than in-person by a mediocre one."

This is precisely the problem.

The great Zen teacher far away is never, ever, ever as good as the "mediocre" one around the corner. because the "mediocre" one is the one for you. The "great" one far away is not.

And, no, letters and cyber shit are not at all the same. Letters don't provide the illusion that their writers are in your living room.

And Kenzen... I dunno. Maybe. But, honestly, how many cyber zen fans are just plain lazy? Or scared to leave their homes like so many people are these days? I do not want to encourage alienation.

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

His Bradness sed:
"I just feel our whole culture disappearing up its own virtual asshole lately."

Jeeezzuz, and I thought it was just ME.

I are what I are
and not what I thunk

a cyber asshole
of cyber-kilt skunk

ROFLMAO

Go get a coffee and ENGAGE in a conversation. Leave the laptop at home!

Myst

Life: a stupid idea that was bound to fall apart in the end.

john e mumbles said...

This blog is considered a cyber sangha? I thought it was a Breakfast Club!

anon #108 said...

I once suggested to my teacher that seeing him once a month (at most) was not nearly enough; in the olden days I would have moved in with him. He replied, "I think you see far too much of me already."

Mr. Reee said...

Alan said: "Although my spin on this is that we as a culture are actually trying to entertain ourselves to death. "

I want that on a tee-shirt.

True words, very succinct. :)

Anonymous said...

The great Zen teacher far away is never, ever, ever as good as the "mediocre" one around the corner. because the "mediocre" one is the one for you. The "great" one far away is not.

And, no, letters and cyber shit are not at all the same. Letters don't provide the illusion that their writers are in your living room.

And Kenzen... I dunno. Maybe. But, honestly, how many cyber zen fans are just plain lazy? Or scared to leave their homes like so many people are these days? I do not want to encourage alienation.


Anyone else but me see a guy pulling a lot of lame "reasons" out of his ass? Brad just wants to excuse why he is a "real" Zen teacher who can't get more than one invitation to talk a month even if he drives right to your Zen group in Bumfuck, Wisconsin. Sounds like bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Why Can't I Own a Canadian?

Rich said...

I don't know why I express myself in virtual worlds and real worlds. I just do it. I hope I don't have the Virtual Zen Disease. It hasn't impacted my sitting schedule.

Mysti - thanks but I'll pass on the pendent.

john e mumbles said...

Yeah, maybe Brad secretly wants to be successful at what he hates the most, otherwise why would he give a shit about Dennis Genpo, or cyberspace sanghas? What is the point of these tours? To sell books and make a living at it. Its not a bad thing as long as it doesn't pretend to be something other than what it is.

Earl Url said...

"The great Zen teacher far away is never, ever, ever as good as the "mediocre" one around the corner. because the "mediocre" one is the one for you. The "great" one far away is not."

What if I am already a student of the great one far away? Why would the one closer be for me even if he's a dumbass? By your criteria, if Genpo lived next door he'd be the teacher for me.

"And, no, letters and cyber shit are not at all the same. Letters don't provide the illusion that their writers are in your living room."

So you actually think some of us can't tell the difference between talking with a zen teacher via email or skype and her being in the room?

So, ordering books from amazon rather than your local bookstore means you are lazy. Emailing your friends means you are too lazy to go see them...even if they live hundreds of miles away. And....members of cyber zendos are lazy and afraid to go outside....and live in their mom's basement too... no doubt.

Anonymous said...

I left my heart-mind in San Francisco.

Brad Warner said...

Earl, I must be a very poor communicator. Forgive me. Of course you keep in touch with former teachers when you're far away. Of course you use e-mail to talk to distant friends.

What's wrong with the cyber sangha thing is it far too easily becomes yet another substitute for real contact with real people. Cyber everything is like that.

At some level people truly cannot tell the difference between Skype chats and the real thing. Consciously yes, we can. But on other levels, no we can't. This is why we need to be very, very careful with that kind of technology.

And Mr. Mumbles I don't think I have ever made any secret of wanting to sell as many books as I possibly can. I work hard at it. It's my job.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Come on to North Carolina and forget these goofy mutha humpers!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugEKbS_gbv8

Ryan Adams sings the torment of life in Nawf Kacki-Lacki.

We're glad to have you!!!

Shonin said...

Brad

What's wrong with the cyber sangha thing is it far too easily becomes yet another substitute for real contact with real people. Cyber everything is like that.

It doesn't have to. Sounds like a 'thin end of the wedge' or 'slippery slope' argument. My Mormon colleague makes similar comments that equate have a social drink with alcoholism, drink-fuelled violence etc.

But, honestly, how many cyber zen fans are just plain lazy? Or scared to leave their homes like so many people are these days? I do not want to encourage alienation.

Pure speculation. There's no evidence for this at all. Perhaps those who go to live in monasteries with their Zen teachers will become too lazy or scared to leave that?

At some level people truly cannot tell the difference between Skype chats and the real thing. Consciously yes, we can. But on other levels, no we can't. This is why we need to be very, very careful with that kind of technology.

This is like the argument that people cannot tell the difference between computer games or cartoons and reality and that therefore, in any amount, they are 'bad'.

Letters don't provide the illusion that their writers are in your living room.

The one thing worse than skype for giving the illusion that a zen teacher is in your living room is having a zen teacher in your living room. One minute communications technology is bad because it doesn't communicate enough - and the next it's bad because it communicates too much?

"The great Zen teacher far away is never, ever, ever as good as the "mediocre" one around the corner. because the "mediocre" one is the one for you. The "great" one far away is not."

Makes no sense. And does not correspond to my experience or that of many many practitioners who have looked far in search of the right teacher - including of course Dogen himself who took the dangerous journey to China for this reason.

The cyber sangha is just one manifestation of a really lousy trend in our culture that needs to be killed dead. Zen does not exist on the Web. It cannot exist on the Web. You can read about Zen here. But you cannot experience it here. Never. Ever.

Zen is reality just as it is. Reality just as it is includes the Internet and Brad's aversion to the Internet.

That's like pretending that watching a YouTube video of KISS is the same as sitting in a 4th row seat where you can feel the heat from the columns of fire on stage.

Watching a YouTube video of Kiss is EXACTLY watching a YouTube video of Kiss. It can't always be a profound, dramatic experience, but it is always reality, always exactly what it is. That is Zen.

I have not heard ANYONE express the opinion that a 'cyber sangha' is just as good as a real life one or that Skype dokusan is as good as face-to-face dokusan. However, not everyone has the luck/money/freedom to drop into a real life sangha and have dokusan with the Zen MAster who lives down the road. People have jobs, families, financial responsibilities and so on. The alternative is not *being in the real life Zen temple in the mountains of Japan face to face with a real Zen Master* - the alternative for most is *reading a book* or *practicing without a teacher*, *speaking to the teacher only once a year* or even *giving up Zen*. We all do what we can. If that means making use of modern communications technology so be it.ar

CynicalBoy said...

A cyber Sangha
No face to face transmission
Just entertainment

anon #108 said...

A medium affects the society in which it plays a role not only by the content delivered over the medium, but also by the characteristics of the medium itself.

The medium is the message ?

john e mumbles said...

OK Brad, as Iggy Pop sang: "Here comes Success, Hurray Success..." (flash forward after years & years of van tours:) "Genpo Foundation welcomes Brad Warner, author of Zen Penis Dip Cone With Cyber Sangha Sprinkles for a two-Day retreat, only 50K (per person) for Saturday, 35K for Sunday morning cyber talk only, or 75K for weekend plus$100 commemorative Godzilla T-shirt ripped up punk rock style, plus handling fee, and if cabin is needed, see lodging supplement..."

proulx michel said...

Shonin wrote:

(...)not everyone has the luck/money/freedom to drop into a real life sangha and have dokusan with the Zen Master who lives down the road.
Obviously not, which is also the reason for books and blogs on Zen Buddhism.
Nevertheless, what Brad is pointing at is that it can never be "equal" to meeting one in person.
The alternative for most is *reading a book* or *practicing without a teacher*, *speaking to the teacher only once a year* or even *giving up Zen*. We all do what we can. If that means making use of modern communications technology so be it.
I just think that if, after all those "alternatives", one doesn't move up his arse in order to at least meet a real teacher face to face, they can easily become a lame excuse for doing nothing.

It just seems to me that people reading those blogs are not the least bit aware of the deficit of communication that looms there. As you write, these are "alternatives" and yet, they are not. They are, in the most precise sense, no alternatives because they are not equally valid. They are makeshift possibilities available. It might well be that Jim from West Bumblefuck has no other possibility available for the moment. But if his readings on books or the net don't give him the incentive to move his fat arse away from West Bumblefuck and try and find the teacher when and where he/she is available, no amount of reading will compensate.

Anonymous said...

What's ur point, john e - that it might all go wrong for Bradley?

What's your advice to him? Don't write and sell books? Don't go on speaking/book selling tours or you'll end up selling out for sure?

Well you might. But you might not.

Anonymous said...

proulx michel wrote:

"It just seems to me that people reading those blogs are not the least bit aware of the deficit of communication that looms there."

Must include you too, pm. Right?

- testr

Shonin said...

proulx michel wrote:
Nevertheless, what Brad is pointing at is that it can never be "equal" to meeting one in person.

No one has said it is.

I think that most people who write on blogs and forums are quite aware that this is not equivalent to formal Zen practice with a teacher.

Also you speak about formal Zen practice as if it was some sort of absolute moral imperative. Many people who benefit from Zen to not want to make it the be-all-and-end-all of their life with nothing else taken into account. People may simply draw on it to help the suffering in their life without getting an urge to abandon job and family run off and become a monk. Or people may have other people they care about such as family that they do not want to suffer because of their wish to practice.

Mr. Reee said...

The main problem with cyber-anything is that for some people it becomes an extension of their minds and egos.

Face-to-face communication tends to minimize this kind of thing.

Talking with a human being is very different from pounding a keyboard.

Shonin said...

There is plenty of ego in face-to-face communication (especially when your only way to communicate is to get up in front of everyone, bow formally to the teacher and ask your question in front of 40-50 people). How much more self-conscious can you be?

The main limitations of online written communication as I see it are the absence of body language and remoteness from the consequences of your actions. Thus there is a tendency for discussion to be limited to a verbal/academic angle and for behaviour to be irresponsible.

There is value in both IMO.

jin said...

How deep into zen is deep enough? I don't think I want to be as deeply involved as Brad is. And if that is true, should I give up my interest in Buddhism altogether? Wanting to save all sentient beings seems a bit beyond my reach right now. Currently I'm just working on trying to be nicer to people. A lot of what Brad passes off as Buddhist insight, seems based only on his Midwestern values, which is fine I guess.

Mr. Reee said...

"How deep into zen is deep enough?"

When you discover there is no escape. After that, have a Coke™

Anonymous said...

A lot of what Brad passes off as Buddhist insight, seems based only on his Midwestern values, which is fine I guess.

And a lot of what some Japanese zen masters pass off as zen is based upon their own cultural values too. Probably the same with chinese, korean, indian. How to separate cultural values from those arising from direct insight is an issue.

Japanese zen adherents during the 20th century tended to rightwing, warmongering, nationalist politics. They saw this as 'real zen' or highest zen. Then zen was taken up in the west mostly be leftwing hippie types. Many western adherents assert that zen is pacifist, antiauthoritarian and basically about peace, love and happiness as defined by the woodstock generation. Often throwing in some groovy drugs for good measure.

Anonymous said...

David lynch is from the mid west.

When in Brooklyn come sit at Zen Center of New York City (Fire Lotus Temple) at 500 State Street, Brooklyn.
Loved to see you.

Best.

jin said...

"How to separate cultural values from those arising from direct insight"

Theoretically that should be possible.. So should complete enlightenment. Neither seems to ever occur, at least by people who try for such things.

Mysterion said...

If Brad starts doing County Fairs, he'll have competition!

john e mumbles said...

I dunno Anonymous said, it all just seems so crass and commercial. Maybe if there was some altruistic slant to it, like "Brad will be appearing and donate 1/3 of the proceeds to the local Boys and Girls Club" or anything other than here's yet another guy on the hustle who writes books and wants to tour and make money at it. I don't see how this separates him from those in the Zen scene he claims to despise who more or less do the same damn thing.

Mysterion said...

Blogger john e mumbles said...
"I dunno Anonymous said, it all just seems so crass and commercial."

Perception, perception.

Brad is a writer, selling books. If asked, Brad will suggest the local Zen Center - not a franchise of his Zen Centers.

Brad happens to know a little about Soto Zen and Dogen. And that he is willing to share at little or no charge. You needn't crawl the last 20 meters on your knees to be next to Brad. There is no $25,000 afternoon seminar of Evelyn Wood speed enlightenment - from the perspective of Bushian helicopters and hurricanes. There are no ice cubes or volcanoes, either.

Just a talk and a $15 book. And purchasing the book is optional. No extra charge for the sketch of Godzilla.

Swami charges $100 an inch for his used dental floss. $200 if it happens to have a little blood stain on it. Since Swami showers, there are no cups of bathwater for sale.

Om Supreme Truth (Aumu Shinrikyo) charged $250 for the privilege of drinking "the Master's bath water."

anon #108 said...

Mysterion wrote - Brad happens to know a little about Soto Zen and Dogen. And that he is willing to share at little or no charge.

That's a fair summary, I think, mumbles. Far as I know, these tours of Brad's aren't so much book-selling/signing guest-appearance-type events as visits to Zen centres and venues, at which he introduces himself and answers questions about Zen/Buddhism. At the public talks his books are laid out on a table if you want to buy one, or three. There's a very small entrance fee. Also, Brad attends/leads retreats while 'on tour'.

In fact, at the London retreat Brad attended last year I recall seeing no books on tables. They were in a bag on the floor, I think.

So he's teaching - and the books are there too. That's how it was when I saw him.

Anonymous said...

Ben a fan for a while and appreciate what you are doing. I have been doing Koan interviews with my Zen teacher over Skype - way cool. It's my path and it is working for me.

anon #108 said...

PS

Being mildly and conveniently hearing impaired I didn't hear the guy on the door at the London public talk asking for my £5. I walked straight on. I also bought no book.

But Brad owes me, so that's ok.

john e mumbles said...

"And Mr. Mumbles I don't think I have ever made any secret of wanting to sell as many books as I possibly can. I work hard at it. It's my job."

Well guys, I'm just going by what Mr. Brad said up there. I have never been to his gigs. Never read his books, although I've stood in a bookstore and tried for a few minutes before re-shelving them. Not my thing. If I want Dogen, I'll read it somewhere else.

And Mister Ion, you miss my point, that the passage from what you describe at a gig of Brad's, as humble as you make it sound, and drinking the pricey bath water is a very, very thin line, a razor's edge...and reallly, in intention, no different at all.

Cartman's Penis said...

I have been doing Koan interviews with my Zen teacher over Skype - way cool. It's my path and it is working for me.

Damnit! Brad has told you; Zen is not a what works for you philosophy!
And koans...
They're complete B.S., not real zen at all. They're just thinking and zen is about not thinking...err..I think.
And skype...ha ha ha! Talking to a "zen master" from your momma's basement. What a loser.
Get with the program.

jundo cohen said...

Hi,

I wish to speak up for the "online" Zen experience.

Can you learn to drop from mind all thoughts and divisions of "here" "there" "now" and "then"? If so, the distances which separate us can be seen as but a state of mind. The hard borders which separate "you" and "me" and all of life will also soften, sometimes fully drop away.

In fact, all of our experience of life is a "virtual" recreation of the skandas, incoming data of the senses recreated by the mind into a mess of divisions, categories, names and judgments. Buddhist practice is greatly focused on realizing this fact and reversing the process.

Dropping divisions, time and space, judgments ... realizing that all of life is, to a greater or ultimate extent, a "virtual" creation of the mind ... realizing the heart to heart, face to face "menju" is not a matter of limited time or place ... REALIZING ALL OF THIS may truly be helped by the nature of Buddhist practice "together virtually yet really".

Is the "online Zen experience" perfect? No. Is it sometimes filled with limitations and frustrations? Yes. Is all of life imperfect and sometimes filled with limitations and frustrations? YES! Is the "online Zen experience" thus just one more way to practice with this wonderful terrible life! You betcha.

In these past 4 years of our "online" Sangha experience at Treeleaf (an "online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online"), so many of our members have discovered the possibilities for depths of intimacy in communication which are made possible by the medium of the sincere, penetrating written word in which we pour our deepest hearts. (Just this morning in our forum, the subject came up of some of our members' experiences of child abuse and painful childhoods ... and our living with the scars, honoring the past and letting the past go thoroughly, all at once). Is honest communication, heart to heart, merely a matter of whether spoken or written? Our is a way beyond, behind, above, below and right through and through the very core of words.

We have members who are visually and hearing impaired. They assure me that, when certain senses are denied one (much as we are denied the gift of touch online, and, via skype or other one way and two way video technologies which we use, certain visual and like cues), the remaining senses will gain in sensitivity. In fact, our members learn to touch each other in way not dependent on proximity. Heck, walls and barriers can divide people, separate people, hide people from each other who are sitting Zazen in the same room, only an inch apart. One can look right into another's eyes and see nothing but eyes.

(to be continued)

jundo cohen said...

The typical "drive to, drive home" drive by Zen experience of most Zen practitioners in the west ... joining with a group maybe once a week ... coming to a place, having little time to socialize, sitting silently, listening to a talk, heading back ... does not allow the degrees of sharing that our members can achieve by their communicating together and with other practitioners and teachers daily, constantly, opening themselves up as much as they wish. The privacy of the online world sometimes allows an opening up to things that is hard for some to speak about in other settings. Dozens of our members, in such contact now year in and year out, have truly come to know each other ... we are friends.

Is the "online" Sangha experience worse than the "drive to" Sangha experience in some ways. Yes. (I wish I could offer a physical hug to some people in pain at times, and must rely on words and video. We do miss out on some sensory clues, and must look meaning and contact in other ways) Is the "online" Sangha experience better than the "drive to" Sangha experience in some ways. Yes, for the reasons explained. And can both types of practice run in parallel ... hand in hand ... one complimenting the other? ABSOLUTELY! I always encourage our members to sit as many places as they can, with many teachers, learning from each.

Is the "online" Sangha experience worse than the monastic or residential experience in some ways. where folks can live and breath Zazen and Buddhist practice morning to night and little else. Yes. But is the "online" experience, or any practice "out in the world" better in some ways? Yes too. It is time for us to bring this practice out from hiding behind the protection of walls, into a world where the true fruits of these teachings can be realized and tasted.

So, our Sangha is not a "virtual" or "cyber Sangha" ... we are just a Sangha.

Gassho, Jundo

alan said...

Mr. Mumbles,

I guess what I find very puzzling is why, if Brad and his books are not your thing, you are spending any time on Brad's comment section.

I read a few pages from one of Genpo's books and listened to part of a set of his CDs.

It was not for me, so I stopped there. I never met the guy, so my active judgment of him and his techniques stops there.

I don't spend time at Genpo's blog (if he even has such a thing) reading anything or disputing anything.

He just does not appeal to me. So I dropped it.

Why bother with Brad if he so obviously lacks appeal for you?

Not that I'm expecting an answer.....

Cheers.

Steven said...

Hello Brad, I just emailed you asking if is it acceptable to sit on a sezia bench at one of your sesshins?

Mysterion said...

Blogger john e mumbles said...
"Well guys, I'm just going by what Mr. Brad said up there. I have never been to his gigs. Never read his books..."

and that kinda back fills where your perch is...

perspective

You speak with authority from a position of relative ignorance [having neither read a book nor been to a gig]. That's actually just fine, still, attend to your own path.

Carman's Penis said...

That's right mr mumbles (is that even your real name?)
Only brad warner fanboys are welcome here. Why would you read anyone's opinion that differs from your own? Republican theocrats should only watch Fox news. Liberal crybabies should only watch MSNBC.

Find a zen master that you agree with 100% and follow / faun over him. Disregard brad and any other teacher you disagree with. If you think brad is wrong...keep your opinion to yourself. If you agree with brad, please join us here in our celebration and worship of one of zen's most gifted masters.
Damned trolls.

And Jundo Cohen, stay out of Brad's cyberspace! Haven't you got your own room somewhere? Only Bradites are welcome here, not heretics like yourself. Nothing personal, we'll pray (to buddha) that you see the error of your ways and rejoin the one true faith, ask Brad for forgiveness and admit that cyberzen is shit. Until then, STFU!

Mysterion said...

Blogger Steven said...
"is it acceptable..."

If Brad doesn't get back to you, I'll just say he's very tolerant (e.g. you decide).

"In the chapter on doing zazen in my book I mention only sitting on a cushion in the full lotus, half lotus and Burmese positions (what we used to call "sitting Indian style" when we were kids). I thought hard about adding some lines about doing zazen on a wooden bench they call a seiza bench or doing it while sitting in a chair, but I decided against it. I didn't do this lightly either. I had some very good reasons based upon practice and experience."

Nishijima is against the bench.

Most Zen folks sorta don't get too judgmental about it.

seiza is generally for tea.

Brad Warner said...

Hey Steven,

You can sit seiza, sure! I'm not a big fan of it myself. But fine.

anon #108 said...

Hi Cartman's Penis -

If you think brad is wrong...keep your opinion to yourself.

Your snarky sarcy ejaculate misses the target, I think. Here is one place amidst the Buddhist interblogs (unlikley to be the only place, I guess) where all opinions are allowed unmoderated free rein. That means any prick may disagree with any other prick. In fact, I can't recall an occasion when one schlong seriously told another schlong to STFU.

gniz said...

Wow, people are getting riled up in this dojo. I've been pretty tough on Brad in the past regarding these kinds of "rants" he sometimes goes on.

Brad tends to oversimplify things and it's part of what makes his writing so interesting and engaging. In truth, I think he understands the subtleties a little bit better than he sometimes lets on, and I also think he might like to push buttons (thanks captain obvious!).

So as much as I might disagree with the hard lines he draws, I don't think Brad is so intolerant as he might come across.

He seems to anger people a lot and I used to be one of them until I had a bit more interaction with him (funnily enough, only in cyberspace!) that gave me a different view.

He seems to me to be genuine, deliberate, but fairly laid back with a sense of humor about what it is he is doing.

That was enough to make me reconsider flaming the guy every five minutes. Some will say I'm now just a Brad "fanboy" but I think I maintain a critical view. I just don't see him as this a-hole that needs to be taken down a peg the way I used to...

anon #108 said...

There ya go!

So all you trolls can STFU!

K?

Anonymous said...

gee willikers
I wish jundo would attend to his own cyber zendo and his many other places where he inserts himself
what is it he needs so badly from this space

it's not as if folks here have never heard of treeleaf before or don't know how to google cybersangha or jundo

john e mumbles said...

Alan's right. I thought this would be interesting, but its not. Have fun.

everybody said...

Byebye john e
\o

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Anonymous said...

is it my imagination or did something happen to the last third of the comments here?

probably for the best

so, thank you!

Anonymous said...

my bad
I just went to the wrong comment section

the brawl is still going on see comment section in 'car chase' above

Anonymous said...

you got to step it up Brad. Q&A won't do. you're being lazy in how you present yourself.

Harry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john e mumbles said...

To clarify what I meant by sarcastically saying "Alan's right:" this blog is wide-open for anyone to say anything they want about anything they want regardless of what they have read or done or said or where they've been or who they are, etc. It is Not, by its very nature, exclusive to Alan, or anyone else based on whatever crap they believe or don't believe. You don't have to be a member of DSI or have a key to the executive washroom in Brad's PT Cruiser to leave the comment of your choice. So don't act like this is the case. I lost interest because there is nothing I can say further that will better point out the obvious: that Brad is a hypocrite who criticizes other teachers for being "successful" at what he calls his "job" (sorry all of you who thought he put leadership of DSI at the top his his priority lists:)

"And Mr. Mumbles I don't think I have ever made any secret of wanting to sell as many books as I possibly can. I work hard at it. It's my job."

So go on and feed his ego and his wallet, Alan, Anon 108, Mysterion (why are you named after my favorite Big Daddy Roth creation? You disgrace the name of that car with your pompous ass entries here) and all the other Brad bottom-feeders that regularly haunt this would-be "members-only" blog. Someday maybe he will really cash in and then you will wake up to what a fraud you have here. But I sincerely doubt it. With such pathetic offerings as his books represent, and even more pathetic "followers" it's doubtful, Especially considering the content of this blog and its commentators, that DSI will grow into anything containing clarity, as it is full of opinionated cyber boys who misunderstand anyone who doesn't agree with them. Puzzled, Alan? Not suprized, misled and sucking on the tit of Mysterion's "perception, perception" more likely. If you don't believe me, read on and on in these endless, pointless blogs & comments and weep. And go look in the mirror, you need some vitamin D.

john e mumbles said...

P.S. Take another long hard look at Brad. Are you sure you haven't mistaken this for Harry Potter's blog?Perhaps he's got you under his spell??

He's not giving Anyone transmission, so stop jockeying to suck on his wand, fools.

Mr. Reee said...

Pfft. If I want a transmission, I know where AAMCO is.

That's Double-A (beep beep) Em, See, Oh, y'know.

Bottom feeding drone said...

john e mumbles -

You keep going.
Then you keep coming back.

Most of the people who post here don't give a flying fuck what Brad Warner says or does.
Only you do.
What's wrong?

You keep returning - just to tell everyone not to follow Brad Warner.

No one does, mate.
It's cool.
You've won!
Relax.

Bottom feeding drone said...

john e mumbles -

You keep going.
Then you keep coming back.

Most of the people who post here don't give a flying fuck what Brad Warner says or does.
Only you do.
What's wrong?

You keep returning - just to tell everyone not to follow Brad Warner.

No one does, mate.
It's cool.
You've won!
Relax.

john e mumbles said...

Hey BFD (Lol),
hey bfd (lol),
Do do You you Hear hear An an Echo echo In in Here here?

john e mumbles said...

Whoops! Guess I was wrong (see top of my comment at 1:34 PM) Brad has as of now 3/2/10 decided to screen the comments section of the blog. So much for free speech. Why, oh why, do you suppose, is there so much continued drama, conflict, and consternation here? Could it be the Emporer's new clothes?

The Waverly Inn said...

Right on Brad! I gave up watching the news and reading newspapers years ago and my life immediately became more peaceful than it was. Limiting and disciplining my on line time is more of a challenge but I'm working on it. I'm new to Zen (just about 90 days now) so I am hesitant to come to a retreat with others. I would not want to ruin their experience by doing something inappropriate. That said, I will continue to check to see when your next visit to NC might be. Thanks for your blog.