Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Anti Wisdom Manual

One of the coolest things I got to do in France happened right at the very ass end of my trip. My host, Arnaud, arranged a meeting for me with Gilles Farcet, author of the book The Anti Wisdom Manual. In fact, the meeting very nearly made me miss my flight to Karkow. But even if I had, it would’ve been worth it.

A lot of times when someone recommends some spiritual book by some spiritual teacher that he thinks is “saying exactly the same things as you,” I take one look and go, “Oh shit! People think I’m saying that kind of stuff?” So when Arnaud told me he’d set up this meeting I wasn’t overly enthusiastic. I mean, I like meeting pretty much anybody, so I figured it wouldn’t be so bad. But I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy about it.

That was until I started reading the book.

Rather than trying to write a book about what one ought to do on the spiritual path, Farcet has taken the opposite approach. He positions himself as your “Spiritual Enemy” and tells you exactly how to sabotage even the bravest attempts at coming to stabilize oneself in reality. He does this because, he says, he has had a lot more experience in sabotaging his own journey than in doing it right. He bases his advice firmly in all the things he himself has done. Here’s one of my favorite passages among many favorite passages:

Remembering the importance of poor posture begin by pretending to meditate without seriously worrying about posture. Used to holding your body any which way, do not seize the opportunity of an initiation to meditation in order to change your habits. Have the incoherence to approach the exercise often called “sitting” without taking the trouble to learn how to sit. Decide right away that the proposed posture, generally with the buttocks on a cushion, crossed legs touching the floor, is “too hard for you.” Feebly attempt it once, just to say you have tried for appearances sake, then give up at the first twinge of pain. Justify your inability to be asked to make the slightest effort with an argument that stresses the necessity to not abuse oneself, and the absurdity of suffering. Confuse goodwill with complacency, exigency with mistreatment. Never take into consideration, even for an instant, that generations of meditators have, for millenniums, taken the trouble to accustom themselves to a traditional posture in order to later reap its benefits. In brief, don’t give yourself the slightest chance to find yourself one day at ease in a posture which in itself is a teaching.


As regular readers know, I’m not a big fan of the word “spiritual.” But Farcet uses the word differently from most. He doesn’t talk about the spiritual as somehow higher and truer than the material aspect of reality. The Spiritual Enemy goes to great lengths to remind readers to think of their body as “the body that one has rather than the body that one is.” So “spiritual” in his use of the word refers to a point of view that questions society’s usual approach to things and aims at a clearer understanding of true reality, which is neither purely material nor purely spiritual.

Anyhow, I just felt like I ought to mention this book because I really like it. Highly recommended.

One nice surprise of this trip is the discovery that I actually speak a little bit of French. I'm not good at it by any stretch of the imagination. But in France I could read most of the street signs and follow at least the basic thread of most conversations. Here in Wroclaw, Poland, my host speaks better French than English and we've gotten by so far mainly in French. Thank you Mrs. Parillo and Mrs. Petrie, my high school French teachers!

And, amazingly, years of watching Cleveland-based horror host Big Chuck Schodowski has provided me with a tiny little bit of Polish. They really do say "kapusta" and "gatches!" Plus the word for vegetarian is "vegetarianski," which sounds like a joke from a Keilbasi Kid episode!

Polish tour dates are at this link.

Now I gotta go. I got bunches of stuff to do here in Poland. See ya later!

316 comments:

1 – 200 of 316   Newer›   Newest»
Lucius said...

First.

As far as I have understood the first one is obliged to do this. Otherwise the world will be in big trouble.

captcha: prefsku

Mumon said...

Yes, don't forget Poland.

What about Ikkyu?

proulx michel said...

Had I known that Farcet's book existed in English, I would have already recommended it to you (all). It is truly an uplifting book. Just like Jamyang Khyentse's "What Makes You Not a Buddhist", there are rare books which, instead of droning on and on on what the author would think as "buddhist", tell us some practical things on what is to be done.

I remember a book entitled (in French) "The Secrets of Tibetan Medicine", in which nothing was said about actual medicine, which was but a pretext for droning about the life of a Tibetan monk and physician, in the end, a mere pretext for felling trees, mushing them to pulp and sell books.

john e mumbles said...

Force!!!!

R said...

To be honest Brad, I don't think I read anything as good by you as the quote you quoted.

[Though I don't really know your books, just this blog.]

anon #108 said...

This Farcet guy - another one of Gudo's crank "correct posture" "Dharma-heirs", I suppose. Pfffttt!


[A guide for the gullible: ^ This is sarcasm. Thank you.]

R said...

I wanted to reedit a bit of the quote,

Here’s what I came up with:

“Feebly attempt it once, or two or three times, just to say you have tried for appearances sake, then give up at the first twinge of pain, - or otherwise at what you, and many others perhaps, consider reasonable according to the ignorant views of those who have not carried out practice, or have in the first place been fit to participate in it. Justify your inability to be asked to make the slightest effort with an argument that stresses the necessity to not abuse oneself, and the solidly claimed absurdity of suffering, firmly rooted in fully justified self pity seen as one natural right according to common modern thought. Confuse goodwill with complacency, exigency with mistreatment. Never take into consideration, even for an instant, that generations of meditators have, [though truly - in other cultures] for millenniums, taken the trouble to accustom themselves to a traditional posture in order to later be able to reap its benefits. In brief, don’t give yourself the slightest chance to find yourself one day at ease in a posture which nothing may be as joyful as, and which may be an incomparable means of teaching in itself.”. [1]

However – during the writing I came to think about a point Brad does not mention. - Coming to be able to sit in the posture is not easy. I’ve had quite extreme pain through the first years. Sometimes at least. I recall during the first seshins in a monastery (qwhich is after a few years of sitting) I got up in the morning [3:30 am actually] and I didn’t know if I’ll be able to make to the end of the day. [9 pm.]

So perhaps for some people this stuff really isn’t recommended.

I can’t really see the value of even sitting in seiza without a bench. But perhaps I don’t know.

However my first thought of people who won’t do the posture (either due to objective obstacles or due to insincerity) is of the school of Advaita. [jem’s Ramana Maharshi may be a central example.] There are other paths and not all demand the posture and going through physical pain. The school of Advaita, though nondualistic and relying upon meditation, does not rely on the posture at all. [unless there is some example I missed] - I wouldn’t trade Buddhism for Hindu but perhaps some would. Quite surly some would.

So whatever Dogen meant in his title of the Fukan-zazengi – I can’t see this practice as recommended for everyone in the west today.



[1] - Had more time perhaps I would have been able to improve - but it seems quite nice that way.

edit said...

should be "one's natural right" instead of "one natural right", of course

Fregas said...

Brad,

I'm curious why you always find the posture so important, even more so than the mental state it seems? I agree it has value to zazen, and I think learning to sit lotus or half-lotus is kind of a good spiritual exercise on its own. However it seems to me that disciplining your mind is just as important, and you can do that in a chair or indian style or whatever. We have older people and people with handicaps in our sangha that cannot sit on a cushion. Are we to think they are spiritually inferior or incapable of greater insights because of their physical issues?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking it and I definitely think people gloss over lotus because its "too hard" (although I wonder whether these people will last more than a few months doing zazen when their mind attacks them with every possible distraction and itch.)

I'm 37 and after a year i was able to sit full lotus for an hour so for us young healthy people I think its definitely worthwhile.

Just curious,

Fregas

proulx michel said...

Fregas wrote:

I'm curious why you always find the posture so important, even more so than the mental state it seems?

Yours has value only if you consider mind to be separated from body. But how does your mind function when you are ill, with flu, for instance? You know very well that your mind will function properly only in good physical conditions.

So that ought to give you a hint about the reasons for the practice.

anon #108 said...

Ran - if its too painful, or you can't do it, then don't. I don't think Brad has ever said otherwise.


Hi Fregas,

I know your question's addressed to Brad, but just in case he's busy...

I'm curious why you always find the posture so important, even more so than the mental state it seems?

I think you've hit the nail on the
head. Your question assumes a posture...and a mental state. In other words, a seperate mind and body. It also assumes that zazen is something you do with your (seperate) mind, while your body is some position or other, it doesn't really matter what (as long as you can stay still?).

What if there is no seperate mind and body, but just one organism/function which we split into physical and mental? What if zazen is more about letting go/dropping off your "mind" and your "body" than encouraging the reliance on your 'mind' to 'understand' or 'work on' your 'mind'?

anon #108 said...

Sorry, PM - I crossed your post. But the more the merrier.

YKW said...

“If it's too painful” - I don't agree.

“if (...) you can't do it” - you won't do it anyway.

“I don't think Brad has ever said otherwise” - Brad and others seem to sometimes refer to those who either have objective difficulties, or are of certain weakness of character, or are insincere. I thought there may be another attitude or solution.

Else I can't really see why you have to disagree with me.

Seagal Rinpoche said...

Not always so.

Anonymous said...

Yes, your brain is a part of your body, which is why something like a flu clouds it (hint, it has to do with white blood cells). But to extrapolate that to explain why the position assumed during zazen is important - that's rather silly. I highly doubt there's a chemical reaction caused solely by arranging my legs in a specific position.

As to the other point raised - is it really just too bad, so sad, for all the people who truly cannot get into the 'proper' position? If for some people, it's okay not to get into position, and they can still have the benefit of practice, why should anyone bother with the specific sitting technique? If, on the other hand, the experience of zazen had by those with physical difficulties really is inferior or ineffective in comparison to the experience had by the able bodied (no one said that the Universe was sensitive to ableism, after all), that raises a whole host of other problems, doesn't it?

Anonymous said...

For me, for what it's worth, I've always felt that people's perceptions that Brad is being overly harsh in the posture category are off-base. I've taken his comments to mean that the physical and the mental are one and the same, and that the posture is on the same level as anything else that anyone thinks is of value in sitting. Further, that too many people are looking to someone else to tell them that it's okay to sit in a chair or whatever.

It's just his word on the topic anyway. Take it for what it's worth. If you don't like it, fine.

Just sit.

Anonymous Bob said...

108 wrote: "What if there is no seperate mind and body, but just one organism/function which we split into physical and mental? What if zazen is more about letting go/dropping off your "mind" and your "body" than encouraging the reliance on your 'mind' to 'understand' or 'work on' your 'mind'?"

Yeah.. Dropping mind and body is nothing more than dropping the idea of a separation. No separate body, no separate mind. Stress the 'and' in the sentence and bingo, Shin-jin-datsu-raku.

CAPTCHA : bulshu : I kid you not

Anonymous said...

"I highly doubt there's a chemical reaction caused solely by arranging my legs in a specific position. "

Don't doubt. If your legs hurt, pain is transmitted by electrical/chemical reactions.

More generally, changing the way you sit modifies the way you breath, etc. which in turn modifies your inner ambiance, with consequences back on your posture.

anon #108 said...

We (commenters) thrashed the posture thing to death at great tedious length quite recently (and on...to the following post). "Backbone" and I were particularly tedious, I thought.

Eventually, Brad found a moment to step in:

"My dogmatism is mainly about sitting with the back straight and balanced on the hips (ie not supported by the back of a chair or something). Also not "meditating" by laying on the floor or something (tho I did once talk to a guy who literally had no other option due to MS and told him to just do whatever he could. But that's a drastic situation that you, dear reader, are most likely not in).

I'm not so much on about how well you can twist up your legs."



By all means let's do it all again. But I conclude: Sit how the fuck you like - or not. You're gonna anyway. I shall do likewise.

Anonymous said...

There are a few common themes around here that are guaranteed to take over any otherwise mundane discussion.

This is one of them.

Anonymous said...

yep, brad is definately a posture nazi, and from the wstern pespective it seems strange, body is body and mind is mind.

All i can say is that for me the first time i went from sitting seiza to sitting half lotus it was a "wow" moment. my mind was so much calmer, so much more stable -until the leg pain started!

I would say try it, and if you cant tell the difference, then maybe give up for now, but for me the difference is huge.

anon #108 said...

Forgive me, I should also have put another sentence from that bit of Brad in bold:

"I did once talk to a guy who literally had no other option due to MS and told him to just do whatever he could. But that's a drastic situation that you, dear reader, are most likely not in)."

Lke this:

"I did once talk to a guy who literally had no other option due to MS and told him to just do whatever he could. But that's a drastic situation that you, dear reader, are most likely not in).

a small hero said...

“To practice zazen is to get free of body and mind. Just to sit is to have attainment from the beginning. It is not necessary to burn incense, to do prostrations, to recite the Buddha’s name, to confess, or to read sutras.”

Or for that matter, it is not necessary to wear special clothes, make special hand signals, shave off your hair or adopt the customs of a foreign culture. It is not necessary to exit zazen with three forward somersaults. What might be necessary is to not think about body and mind dualistically..

Seagal Rinpoche said...

If you continue this simple practice every day you will obtain some wonderful power. Before you attain it, it is something wonderful, but after you attain it, it is nothing special.

Anonymous said...

So Steven, Is it better to never attain anything so that it remains wonderful.. Or is it better to attain something that's not so special?

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking of Jundo and Brad for some reason..

anon #108 said...

Mr Seagull is quoting S Suzuki - aren't you, Steven?

Do not question the small Suzuki, for He is the shizz.
(Unto the Rinpoche, however, you may give an hard time).

Anonymous said...

Suzuki Roshi is unavailable for questioning. You want to take a stab 108?

Anonymous said...

LOL@anyone who doubts the bona fides of Master Seagal. We're lucky to have him here. He's like this blog's equivalent to that Zen Elephant site, but somehow better.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I saw one of your movies last night, Master Seagal. "Marked for Death" was the name of it. You killed many Jamaicans in this movie, thus proving Buddhism's superiority over Rastafarianism.

Harry said...

Don't be silly; they were just actors he killed.

Regards,

H.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps so, but the message was undeniable.

anon #108 said...

You want to take a stab 108?

MOI??...Modesty forbids, anon :)

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

Oh alright then.

Lemme think....

Q "Is it better to never attain anything so that it remains wonderful.. Or is it better to attain something that's not so special?"

A This Dharma is abundantly present in each human being, but if we do not practise it, it does not manifest itself, and if we do not experience it, it cannot be realized.

Any help?

Anonymous said...

108: Thanks.. Reading your comment, I was much surprised for your so brave ignorance in the fundamental theory of Buddhism.

Anonymous said...

What is ignorance?
How is 'not knowing' possible?

Captcha = achanspi

Anonymous said...

Ack! That was not meant for 108. It was a quote from Gudo cut and pasted earlier. Sorry 108..

Anonymous said...

heh.. it's kind of funny taken out of context and attached to 108.
But it doesn't make any sense.

anon #108 said...

So Gudo thinks I'm brave, but ignorant?...After all I've done for him?!

ANS my arse :(

Dirty Aghori said...

THE ANTI WISDOM MANUAL

I commend the author for sharing his "Anti-Wisdom" and experience in this powerful book. This book can operate on your psyche on many levels. It is a dazzling engine, a mirror, an infuriator of spiritual pride, it accuses, provokes, yanks on the Heart -the deepest recesses of the Heart.

If you read it carefully and let it get in to your psyche, it will begin to churn, in the same way a mantra can. It will stir up layers upon layers of egoic silt,inflaming your inner dragons into a combustable roar(or whimper) of screeching protest.

This book is essentially a Sufi manual that a sincere practioner can use in the spirit of the Malamat, or Path of Blame.

"Blame is the result of "true love". [The master] told me: blame will arise if you get involved with love. I do swear to God; we have not seen love without blame.
A blamer Sufi is "faithful", suffers the blame of others and "happy" and paradoxically does not suffer at all! -Hafiz

If you wish to avoid involvement with Love and an awakend heart, proceed with extreme paranoid egoic caution. This book is in essence a prayer for your awakening.

It is a hammer sounding out false idols of spiritual materialism and an invocation of "Remorse of Conscience". I am so grateful to own a copy.

*Note: If you live in a spiritual community this book is a must. An 'Complete Idiots Guide to Living in an Ashram'!

Anonymous said...

108, I'm quite sure you're jesting but just in case you're not, Gudo was speaking about another person.

Ran K. said...

http://win7dl.com/download/anti+wisdom+manual+rapidshare.html

anon #108 said...

Gotcha, 12.16 ;)

There's another bold, ignorant fool?

Anonymous Bob said...

“the body that one has rather than the body that one is.”

What are we without our bodies?

CAPTCHA : druci : I kid you not

Anonymous Bob said...

CAPTCHA : druci : I kid you not

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CAPTCHA : druci : I kid you not

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CAPTCHA : druci : I kid you not

CAPTCHA : druci : I kid you not

CAPTCHA : druci : I kid you not

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CAPTCHA : druci : I kid you not

CAPTCHA : druci : I kid you not

CAPTCHA : druci : I kid you not

CAPTCHA : druci : I kid you not

CAPTCHA : druci : I kid you not

CAPTCHA : druci : I kid you not

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Anonymous Bob said...

Quit playing on your Mom's computer dummy..

anon #108 said...

“the body that one has rather than the body that one is.”

I don't get that either, Bob.

"CAPTCHA : druci : I kid you not"

I don't get that either, Bob.

Anonymous Bob said...

Nothing to get 108.. Just an expression of sincerity and occasional synchronicity.

Jinzang said...

What is ignorance?

Ignorance is not seeing the truth.

How is 'not knowing' possible?

You're doing it right now. Why would you doubt that it's possible?

Anonymous Bob said...

Jinzang you were the 50th comment @ 1:11 on the 11th. Play the lotto tonight dude!

CAPTCHA : oneers : I kid you not

Mike Masters said...

"Quit playing on your Mom's computer dummy.."

LOFL! Well played. The imp has been burned and will likely never return to this site.

corrine. said...

get stoked on that polish pickle soup!

Anonymous said...

No, jinz, how is it possible not to know?

How is it possible not to know?

As in

How does 'not knowing' happen?

Why is ignorance? :)

Rinzai till i die said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Igor said...

Seems like a perfect book to reverse engineer stubborn people like me.

Anonymous said...

Are you ignorant?
How do you know this?

john e mumbles said...

Rinzai till I die at 3:12, You said it brother!

"Once having understood that it is all Maya, one
becomes speechless." -Nisargadatta Maharaj


There is nothing to understand except that the personality construct that wants to understand is an illusion.

Igor said...

I can tell that I perform acts out of ignorance by examining situations I have acted in in retrospect.

Anonymous Bob said...

You're making yourself look more idiotic by the post, Igor. Just stop.

Anonymous said...

Aww...come on Bob!
What makes you so sure?

Igor said...

Must... resist... troll... comments.

anon #108 said...

Hi again Anon @10.49am, 11.22am and 12.16pm,

Nearly bedtime...I googled the Gudo quote. Who could this "brave ignorance of the fundamental theory of Buddhism" person be? Why - none other than Mike Cross, co-translator with Gudo of Master Dogen's Shobogenzo. I won't give an one-click link; it'll only start a fight, but it's a very good summary of the main practice/theory dispute between them.

I'm in good company :)

anon #108 said...

"brave ignorance of the fundamental theory of Buddhism"

Oops!

anon #108 said...

Oh! I just noticed Gudo quotes the same passage from Bendowa wot I earlier quoted. Fancy!

Troy said...

Is Mike Cross also a dharma heir of Ven. Master Nishijima roshi too? So, so many dharma heirs. One big happy dharma loving Buddhist family! Obviously one must attain a high level of personal development and deep insight to be a dharma heir of Ven. Master Nishijima roshi. I would love to be a highly developed, wise, compassionate, deeply insightful dharma heir too. But alas, I am only a miserable deluded bumpkin stuck in samsara. I am still full of conflict and anger. I still see myself apart from other beings. I could not hope to attain the oneness of the dharma heirs. I will only continue to sit in the correct posture and breathe in hopes that one day I can sit at the feet of such highly developed beings and be worthy of receiving their wisdom. Perhaps one day Ven. Brad Warner sensei may even bless me with a "Fuck You" or even a "Fuck Off". In the meantime, I will just worship from afar.

Anonymous Bob said...

Well, well, well.. I see the little girlie boy troll at 5:17 is pretending to be me now. Thats the same anti-Semite bitch who likes to bring up Jundo's name. Fuck that sick coward. Too strong? I think not.

CAPTCHA: asshole

anon #108 said...

I have woken in the UK night with an urge to pee. Having peed, I cannot resist the temptation to see if there's been any response to my reference to Mike Cross.

Sure enough, young "troy" has made a re-appearance to deliver more unenlightening third-rate sarcasm regarding things of which he clearly knows very little, even in a dream.

Troy, you silly troll, you should be so lucky to have pursued the truth with the dedication of a Mike Cross or a Gudo Nishijima. If you ever do, you too might be able to fiercly debate it like them - with sincerity, respect and gratitude. As it is, all you can do is make efforts to be dismissive of those whose boots you are not yet fit to lick.

Keep making efforts, Dharma-bro.

Troy [by attorney Ran K.] said...

I thought I got much better at my last post.

btw said...

There isn't realy a person by the name Mike Cross.

glen said...

The monks who i sit with mainly stress the importance on the hip tilt forwards to open up your lower back to help you keep a straight but relaxed spine. Some of the older monks sat on chairs with a special cushion. They had sat on the floor and a chair and said from the experience they had of both, they said the key is the hip and back area. I sit on the floor personally because i can. Your posture does have an effect on your state of mind, it also gives off communication via body language which has an effect on you too.

- to glen - said...

- You don't tell us whether you are Soto or Rinzai.

- The stress on the posture may be different in Soto or Rinzai.

A Rinzai Master who emphasizes the Tanden and the breathing through it might stress the point you are referring to.

In Soto it seems to me it would generally be different.

I have been with one master who says that if you keep your back straight your breath will naturally deepen, and with another who said if you breath properly through your tanden your back will become straight.

Both were right.

For me personally there a period in which severe [leg] pain would cause straightness of the spine. This too can happen. [But then I had very strong concentration. This may be the reason. I don’t know.]


- Monks sitting on chairs sounds strange, funny, - to me.

You don't tell us what Sangha you’re with, or what school does it belong to.


Of course your posture does have an effect on your state of mind.

Someone who thinks otherwise knows nothing about zazen.

Helen of Troll said...

Nail me to my car and I'll tell you who you are.

anon #108 said...

One or two people have implied that the pain caused by sitting in the lotus posture is the purpose of forcing yourself into it and staying sat that way. It's not.

Tolerating a limited, safe degree of pain is useful; it teaches us - but that's not why meditators have sat in lotus for millenia. Dogen describes zazen (half or full lotus assumed), as "The peaceful and joyful gate of dharma", not the 'grin-and-bear-it-till-you-zone-out gate to transcendant states.'

If you take is gently, slowly, and suffer no unusual physical disability, you should be able to stretch your ligaments so that you can comfotably sit in half or even full-lotus within a year. Maybe sooner, maybe later. Maybe for the very few, never - but you won't know unless you try. (It took me, starting at the age of 52 with an awkward quarter lotus, about 6 months to feel comfortable in half lotus, and about 18 months to get to full lotus. Having strained my right knee meniscus a little during a sesshin, I'm giving full lotus a long rest). You'll very likely experience a little discomfort along the way, but pushing yourself to tolerate severe pain is not only asceticism, and therefore "un-Buddhist" (tut!), but could also cause you permanent injury.

Learning to tolerate severe pain by forcing your legs to do things they're not ready for is not the point of zazen. Not even one of them.

john e mumbles said...

For what it's worth, and it's not worth much: I sit in full lotus, or half-lotus when I feel lazy. Ha!

Either one is comfortable, but for stability and solid hardcore long sitting in a single stretch, full-lotus serves better.

If sitting a retreat, where you get up and down, sit and walk, after awhile full-lotus makes my legs ache, half-lotus not so much.

As to how either affect the serenity and joy of just sitting, for me, they are both good.

... [ykw, 108] said...

I don't think asceticism is "un-Buddhist".

It may be one helpful mean among others.

I am not saying Gudo is wrong, but you don't have to accept what he is saying without thinking.

Dogen tells us when he was in Tendo's order they used to get up at 2:30 am and sit until 11:00 pm.

Sounds pretty ascetic to me.

And since you have "worked in the law", - please note - I haven't said anything more than I did.

... said...

...

... said...

What's jem doing there?

anon #108 said...

I am not saying Gudo is wrong, but you don't have to accept what he is saying without thinking.

Ok, Ran - I'll try to think for myself. But it wasn't Gudo who said asceticism is 'un-Buddhist', it was G. Buddha, who, as I'm sure you're aware, expounded a philosophy and practice he called "The Middle Way".

Nevertheless, thinking for myself, I shall ignore the recommendations of the Buddha - after all, I never met the guy - and do what I think is best, which is certainly NOT to indulge in any form of asceticism, like learning to tolerate severe pain, or only get three and a half hours sleep a night.

My choice ;)

Captcha = psyclart. Hmm.

glen said...

to the dude who asked i sit at throssel hole soto zen buddhit abbey in the UK.

Think For Yourself [LTD] said...

I don't think The Middle Way says asceticism is "un-Buddhist".

I won't refer to that now, though I do think I could say that quite univocally, [I might quite often regret getting into discussions around here, pardon] because it might be a bit [?] long.

Else - I am not that familiar with the facts - But I think the theory of the middle way did not emerge at the time of the Buddha.

Perhaps at the time of Nagarjuna.

edit + P.S. said...

1. "Univocally" should be "unequivocally".

2. The Due was me.

edit said...

Fuck.

anon #108 said...

Else - I am not that familiar with the facts

The Middle way: it's first appearance in the written record.

Not to be confused with the "Middle Way" school associated with Nagarjuna.

btw said...

The middle way also has to do with balancing and finding the right cooperation between thinking for yourself and trusting those who know better. [Your reliance upon which unavoidably relies upon your own consideration, while at the same time many may not be aware that what they consider to be the fruit of their own thought is actually absorbed from the soroundings]




I don't usually mention the captcha - but it's "dhume".

Else - I am not that familiar with the facts said...

Note the "alternative viewpoints" on the link you supplied.

I don't want to comment irresponsibly, but knowing what the Sutras say is not always true, - the matter still seems unclear to me.

However - it is far from being essential to the matter we discussed.

btw again said...

You may be absolutely right for yourself while for others other things may be true.

anon #108 said...

Note the "alternative viewpoints" on the link you supplied.

Yes, Ran, I'm aware of the point Prof Gombrich makes - that's why I was careful to type "The Middle way: its first appearance in the written record."

You wrote, "But I think the theory of the middle way did not emerge at the time of the Buddha. Perhaps at the time of Nagarjuna."

You were wrong about that, Ran. That's fine, because you were "unfamiliar with the facts." I have clarified them for you. Make of them what you will.

You may be absolutely right for yourself while for others other things may be true.

With that I wholeheartedly agree.

Ran said...

I kind of figured out how to say what I wanted to say at 5:13 am in short: -


The middle way doesn’t say to completely avoid extremes, - but that - the more extreme a thing is - the more rarely there would be room for it.

anon #108 said...

That's an interesting interpretation of the middle way, Ran. Thanks. But it isn't how generations of Buddhist scholars and practitioners have understood it....Doesn't make them right, though, does it? ;)

Anonymous Bob said...

I just made an appointment to get my asshole bleached. Nervous but excited is probably the best way to describe me right now. Will be back later to give results.


CAPTCHA : swizzle

Ran K. said...

Glad about yours at 6:57.

Ask Mike.

Mumon said...

Hey Ven. Warner:

Just what you've always wanted! I've juxtaposed your mug with the ancients, and...Genpo!

You come off fairly well, IMHO. My secret codeword by the way, is "manure." Did you choose that, or is that simply a cosmic coincidence?

Enjoy your travels.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mumon,

Looks to me like Ven Warner is whistling a merry tune...or maybe saying "weeell..."...or, more likely, asleep.

Anonymous Bob said...

Troll@658: When are you going to make the effort to calm your nervous, wiggling little mind? You have to start somewhere.. Make the effort not to be such a lying little douche-bag troll. You can do it. You might even learn like yourself.

CAPTCHA: sila-visuddhi

Mumon said...

Anonymous :

Yeah, like some of the ancients, he comes across as a human being. Pretty good. I'd also say, out of the bunch of moderns, given that it's Genjo Marinello au travail, he comes across fairly well too.

back to anonymity said...

I don't understand what you are saying (- 108, at 6:45, - you run) though I am still not familiar with the facts: - we don't know if the Buddha actually said it at the time, I don't know when the Sutra was written, in case the Buddha didn't say it it's an attempted fake, and I don't know whether the claimed date of the sutra’s writing would be correct too.


I suppose some people know these things. - It may be that you are right. - But from what you have written I can not tell.

Helen of Troll said...

You shouldn't speak to him that way, Bob.

Nail me to my car and I'll tell you who you are.

anon #108 said...

Ran...If you're really interested, why don't you investigate for yourself, and come to your own conclusions - like I do! Then you won't have to ask me, or anyone else. Not even Mike.

Anonymouse Robert said...

Ran K- I wonder if you're such an annoying, arrogant, argumentative, ignorant wind-up merchant in real life. Or is something lost in translation?

YKW said...

To 108 - I'm not really interested, I've written before that "it is far from being essential to the matter we discussed". [5:52 am]

As for mine at 6:52 am, I don't have to ask anyone. Doesn't matter what generations may have said. - If you don't believe me ask Mike. - If You don't want to, let me know and I'll ask Gudo on his blog.


As for AR - I was going to refer to Igor's @ 4:14 pm.

I probably will within several hours. (Actually it's already written.)

When I do - see it as adressed at you.


Bob, I posted 7:31 pm, meant no harm at you.

Anonymous Bob said...

The confused troll has taught me a valuable lesson. So I thank him or her for that. It seems that the more angry or frightened you make someone, the more likely they are to continue their wayward behavior. So I want to say to the troll who so afraid of himself and others that I am sorry that I lashed out at you. That I really do not dislike you because I don't even know you. This is a stretch but I might even like you if I met you on the street. So please forgive my ignorance. I'm a work in progress.

CAPTCHA : dipar : If the dipar fits

Stephanie said...

The tone of that passage is so smarmy and smug, it hardly stands as a good advertisement for the book. This is "wisdom"? No, this is the ancient game of ego; let me find a way to make myself feel good for being "right." Let me shame other people who don't share my opinions or practices, try to make them feel weak and deficient for not forcing themselves to sit in a painful posture, while I glory in my sense of superiority that I, unlike the unwashed masses, sit in the 'correct' posture.

It is one thing to argue that the mind and body are separate and that the position of the body has no effect on the mind; another to argue that a very particular configuration of legs is required for a practice in which one develops the ability to see the action of the mind more clearly and consistently and to identify with it less.

It would make more sense if the people treating one particular posture as sacred were members of some obscure yogic cult in India, but these are teachers in the Soto Zen tradition, the heart of whose teaching is that no particular experience or state should be sought out as more holy and true.

The author of the Anti Wisdom Manual makes it seem that one of the most difficult things to do is to submit to the discipline of a particular posture. I counter that one of the hardest things for us to do is to give up the idea that there is some special totem we can obtain--some item, practice, state, or piece of knowledge--that will protect and save us, give us special status and power. This is the primitive magic of the child, and the perpetual delusion of the ego. That through special knowledge we can become special, with access to powers that put us beyond the reach of life's pain and shame. And that's really what the effort at feeling like part of a special club, the membership of "the Right Ones," is about: warding off shame, uncertainty. I feel better now, because I am one of the people who is "right." I'll show all the bullies who used to make fun of me for being dorky.

Thank goodness that none of this has anything to do with Zen. Or perhaps I should say that Zen teaching and practice gives us the opportunity to see and let go of our struggle to fortify ourselves against vulnerability.

Of course, I and many others have gotten it wrong, over and over again, thinking this practice is the one that will finally make me invulnerable. But it's not true. I still make embarrassing mistakes, I still lose things I love and have to deal with things I hate, I still feel stupid a lot of the time, I still find there are more things I don't know than I actually know. I am just another naked ape, taken to living in caves to protect my skin against the wind and sun, hoping I won't die before I get a chance to live with the benefit of wisdom. This is everyone's condition, and nothing changes it. All we do in Zen is see that this is so; it does not make us better or more special than anyone else. It just means we can drop a lot of unnecessary suffering. And it has nothing to do with what fucking posture we utilize when we sit down. Really. Sure, certain postures have certain benefits (I find sitting in a chair abysmally difficult compared to sitting on a cushion), but none are required to wake up.

Anonymous Bob said...

I have registered the name so that I cannot be impersonated any more. Let us all start out refreshed and all bitterness removed. No harm or illwill towards the troll.


CAPTCHA : namaste

Anonymous Bob said...

I give you credit troll.. You work hard at your craft. It seems rather misdirected to me but you're the teacher and I'm the student. Carry on.

CAPTCHA : monaerve : I've got nothing

Anonymous said...

Stephanie,

You have really read a lot into that post. Holy cow.

Unless you didn't read any of that and merely created a straw man so that you could go into your usual stuff.

Anonymous Bob said...

Furthermore, now that my feeble attempt at reaching a cyberpeace by way of one ersatz semi-reconciliatory post with you has failed, I shall go back to referring to you as what you really are: a feminine troll.


CAPTCHA : address : I kid you not

Anonymous Bob said...

Troll: Sorry about mocking your masculinity. That had to be hurtful. I'm so sorry.

CAPTCHA : swishi : I kid you not

Anonymous Robert said...

Sad but true fact of daily life, I guess. Misdirected anger possibly stemming from mommy issues. Trolls ruin blogs.


CAPTCHA : escape : I did what I could

Anonymous Bob said...

I don't know if I should laugh or cry at how pathetic you are. If you wilt after being called "feminine" then you should be examined by medical personnel. You are starting to scare me.


CAPTCHA : psychosis

Anonymous Bob said...

This is a little like the dualistic voices of Genpo's Big Mind Process in one troubled little troll.

CAPTCHA : disco : For real I swear

Anonymous Bob said...

Troll: I know we are boring the others here but I'm having a lot of fun. You really are a riot. I didn't make up the disco captcha either. That was GOD.

CAPTCHA : schso : ???

Anonymous Bob said...

You're OK with me. Always were.

CAPTCHA : autem

Anonymous Bob said...

Thanks Troll.

CATCHA : cralip : I kid you not

Anonymous Bob said...

No, thank YOU, troll.

CAPTCHA : lunch : I got to eat

Stephanie said...

Anon@8:23,

All any of us ever do is "go into our usual stuff." Welcome to the human condition!

That said, I ask myself why I keep coming back and posting here when I disagree with or dislike what is being said. It may just be another form of stupidity, as I find so much of my behavior to be. Hopefully, I'll drop it again.

There are certain things I have learned through experience, and when I see people acting or speaking in ways I have learned are simply not true, I feel a sense of urgency: I must challenge this! I suppose it's all any of us do.

I suppose all of us are involved in at least one personal quixotic quest. And yet I am truly bothered to see people going on using Zen and spirituality to enforce further, ever more refined distinctions between "us" and "them," "wrong" and "right." It's using a beautiful tool that could set us free to further entrap us in hatred, arrogance, and self-cherishing.

So I keep tilting at the windmill...

And as for "reading too much into things," I don't think it takes Freud or Sherlock Holmes to determine that Brad's Zen teaching stance is primarily rooted in how he and his approach is right and someone else is wrong. Of course, this is far from the only way to teach. And it's suggestive of there not being much to the teacher's approach, when the value of what he teaches is determined by how it differs from what others teach.

I don't think this is true--I think Brad has a lot of good things to teach that are lost in his focus on trying to prove others wrong. I like a lot of elements of Brad's style and personality. I think he'd be one hell of a fun teacher if he got some humility and wasn't so sure of his rightness and everyone else's wrongness.

Anonymous said...

"And as for "reading too much into things," I don't think it takes Freud or Sherlock Holmes to determine that Brad's Zen teaching stance is primarily rooted in how he and his approach is right and someone else is wrong"

And that's where I can't necessarily agree with you. I simply don't see what you are saying is there.

I'm not trying to obtuse about it, but that's my honest reading of what he writes.

Anonymous Bob said...

Feel the love..

CAPTCHA : halsider : hmmm

Anonymous said...

"I'm not trying to obtuse about it, but that's my honest reading of what he writes."

I'm not trying to BE obtuse about it, but that's my honest reading of what he writes.

Again, I think you're misreading him or you're trying to create the straw guy I mentioned earlier. Of course, I could definitely be wrong!

Anonymous Bob said...

Stephanie: I don't think Brad spends an inordinate amount of time on trying to prove others wrong. He was taught certain things and he is passing it along. He teaches the face-to-face transmission of the dharma outside the sutras. Face to face as in being in the same room.

CAPTCHA : achant : gesundheit

Jinzang said...

How does 'not knowing' happen?

Ignorance is just putting an interpretation on reality that is not true to the facts. It's like everyone thought the sun went around the earth because it "looks like" that. No one told anyone else that, they just assumed it. Then Copernicus wised everyone up.

It "looks like" you have a self, but you don't. No one told you that, you just assumed it. And you practice meditation to wise yourself up.

anon #108 said...

Hi Stephanie,

I have to agree with anon @8.23am. But, being the kinda guy who needs to 'find a way to make myself feel good for being "right"', I can't leave it at that.

It is one thing to argue that the mind and body are separate and that the position of the body has no effect on the mind; another to argue that a very particular configuration of legs is required...

Who said that? Brad didn't: "My dogmatism is mainly about sitting with the back straight and balanced on the hips...I'm not so much on about how well you can twist up your legs." (Brad, from a previous discussion). And all Farcet says here about leg configuration is "crossed legs touching the floor".

If you're sitting (are we at least agreed that sitting is best for 'meditation' than standing or lying down?...maybe not...), then you gotta do something with your legs. They'll end up Burmese or some form of lotus: 'Indian' style, with the knees off the floor, I find - and I assume others do, too - sends you falling backwards. So there's nothing magic about sitting cross legged, on a cushion, with a straight back (and I don't hear anyone saying there is) - it's just comfortable ergonomic sense to sit that way, if you intend to sit still and stable for a while.

Neither do I hear anyone saying you can't get enlightened unless you sit in full lotus. But then the Soto approach, as you know, isn't about "getting enlightened" by sitting zazen. Of course, if you've tried sitting cross-legged, and don't like it/can't do it, then do whatever you like. We all do anyway. (I seem to remember you sit Burmese).

All we do in Zen is see that this [suffering] is so...And it has nothing to do with what fucking posture we utilize when we sit down. Really. (Forgive my editing, but I don't think I've misrepresented what you're saying).

For me, the two things - the insights and the sitting aren't mutually exclusive. 'When we sit down', the way we sit down has a lot to do, surely, with how we are/how we feel when sitting. Insights/wisdom will come - and go - anyway; on and off the cushion. I'm not aiming to become Buddha when I sit.

You say it's all about the mind "waking up"; having a chance to live with the benefit of wisdom...for which purpose it doesn't matter how you sit. Well, Buddhism may be all about waking up, but sitting, for me, is all about sitting. The wisdom, the 'waking up', paradoxically, is arrived at more by 'dropping off'/letting go than 'getting'; losing something rather than winning something.

But do your thing. None of us are under any obligation to do what Brad or anyone else says - whether he said it or not!


captcha = bumit. Fancy!

Jinzang said...

Steph, sitting in lotus position, is just the best position to meditate in if you can manage it.. Not because Brad said so, or because I say so, but because generations of teachers have tried all the different positions and figured out which one is best. If you can manage to sit in lotus comfortably, you'll verify that what they said is true. If not, you really have no basis to argue the point.

It's not a secret handshake to separate insiders from outsiders. And it's not a huge deal. If you can't manage lotus position, sit however you can. No one is implying you're a second class buddhist for not sitting in lotus.

Harry said...

Jinz: "Ignorance is just putting an interpretation on reality that is not true to the facts."

Putting an interpretation on reality is a fact of reality itself, a fact that we should not, and cannot, avoid in tackling the activity that may actually be the source of the problem.

Dogen was big on this: "Buddhas greatly realise delusuion".

An implication is that, when we're actually REAL-ising it/doing it, where does 'realisation' that is in any way opposed to 'delusion' go?

Ignorance may be accepting 'realisation' as 'reality' while neglecting the very real truth of human ignorance.

Regards,

Harry.

anon #108 said...

EDIT

- a little bit added to the penulimate paragraph:

You say it's all about the mind "waking up"; having a chance to live with the benefit of wisdom...for which purpose it doesn't matter how you sit. Well, Buddhism may be all about waking up, but sitting, for me, is all about sitting. The wisdom, the 'waking up', paradoxically, is arrived at more by 'dropping off'/letting go than 'getting'; losing something rather than winning something: that, for me, is what zazen is.

Anonymous said...

Oldish Newbies

A few years ago, during a period of unemployment, I used to go to the park each each morning and shoot some basketballs to keep myself fit and alert.

It had been some time since I used to play at school, where our teacher taught us to crouch down with the ball held at the forehead, before making the shape of a swan while slowly springing upwards and slightly forwards.

So I started from scratch, looking like a bit of a fool, until the exaggerated movements started to become more sleek and efficient -- as they had done as a kid. To begin with doing this felt awkward again and a little painful where I wasn't used to doing it, resulting in a few sore muscles and joints.

I had my own body shape and style, but as with others there were the hallmarks of good technique: from the outside one can see the grace and ease with which extra power and accuracy is achieved; on the inside one could feel the pure movement when one's own body and the technique worked as one giving you that lovely sense of knowing when the ball would flap through the hoop and net as it left the tips of your fingers.

After about a month, a boy of about eleven used to come and cycle up and watch from a distance, until he got the courage to ask if he could have a go. Over the summer, every now and again he would return for his impromtu lesson, a bit perplexed at my insistence on him 'doing the swan'. I told his that there were probably different ways to learn do the real swan, and maybe not everyone began 'doing the daft swan' at first. But if he watched TV and saw those Yanks do it on the NBA, you wouldn't catch any of them not doing the real swan.

After a good few lessons, I could see he'd got: you could see on his face too when he had -- that little bit of magic at the sudden freedom and not whether the ball went through the hoops or not.

At that point I told him that that was all, in my limited knowledge could help him with, that as far as shooting the ball, the rest would be down to him and, if he joined a club, a real expert could help him fine tune his skills - his ability to express himself through the swan, so to speak. And besides, I'd got a job and wouldn't be back. I'd like to think that kids taught someone else the same, in whatever cack-handed way like mine.

When I watch folk on TV in wheel chairs, I can see them doing the swan too - the best swan their bodies can achieve. This is true and there is nothing I can do to change it, other than somehow forget.

At the mo, I'm doing the half-lotus every day and giving my left leg a rest as it has been hurting a bit too much. I think I've been pushing a bit too hard too quickly for the last few months. Maybe I won't be able to do full, but I'll keep trying.

I'm trying to maintain a balance between my efforts to, as it were, get closer to my best swan, and not be too pushy and egotistical about it, while at the same time not settling to easily into a comfort zone and being to egotistical about it.

So that when I sit I'm sitting knowing that this is the best posture right now, and that this will change over time.

For these reasons, I feel less affinity towards Stephanies recent posts on the matter. Perhaps I'm just mis-reading her.

Seagal Rinpoche said...

Treat those who are good with goodness, and also treat those who are not good with goodness. Thus goodness is attained.

Be honest to those who are honest, and be also honest to those who are not honest. Thus honesty is attained.

anon #108 said...

Harry, Jinz, Steph, anybody,

I just came across this in Shobogenzo Hokke Ten Hokke:

"Therefore the delusion of our minds is the situation in which we are moved by the wonderful Universe. The meaning of this theory is this: even though we say that the delusion of the mind is a part of the reality of the world, concrete things in front of us are being moved by the Universe constantly. This state of being moved is not one of joy, not something to desire, not something we can get, nor something which is to come; the wonderful Universe which is being moved is not two things or three things – it is only one. And in the Universe there is only one Buddhist world. In other words, our sincere conduct at this moment is all there is. So we need not have regrets about the delusions of our minds. Everything you do is a normal part of the conduct of a bodhisattva..."

Anonymous Bob said...

One person's realization is another person's delusion. Our views are not considered and chosen, they are conditioned. Usually we look around and find the position that is most similar to what we already think. This works well because we already know the truth, we just don't understand it.

CAPTCHA : prest : on

Ran said...

I have written this several hours ago.

I wasn't sure whether I would post it, until Anonymous Robert's @ 7:34 pm.

I'm not even reading it again, I hope I won't come out foolish due to not reading most of the stuff - generally I just read here and there.

I also wanted to refer to some things Rtid has written @ 3:12 pm but I don't know if I will.

Here it is: -

R ... [- K.] said...

Igor @ 4:14 pm said: - "I can tell that I perform acts out of ignorance by examining situations I have acted in in retrospect".

I would say this is not so much the situation.

If your room is always dirty, if you live in dirt, - (no offence intended) you don't realize that this is the situation.

- To a certain degree at least.


After you clean, and you come to the habit of cleaning, or you live in a clean surroundings for whatever the reason, - you come to notice the dirt you've been used to before.

Same with your mind, when it gets clean - you notice it's been dirty before, and you notice the same phenomenon in others you meet, (sometimes! only sometimes!) in a kind of sense perception - it seems to me - though it wouldn’t make sense to many of these.

Also this dirt is also blocking your mind, - (nobody quote the famous poem from the sixth patriarch please!) keeping you from being able to notice it.

You can only kind of [?] understand or see what ignorance is to extent you get rid of it.

Especially since everybody in your surroundings is usually ignorant, now days at least, without any hint that this is the situation; - ignorance is the common standard – most people thought is to a great deal unclean and unable, - though the fact is not recognized – since the other possibility is not familiar with, - and the acceptance of the possibility of its existence is generally not even considered.

Had we been living in an enlightened society the situation may have been different, - while the main part of what I said would obviously be the same, - common line of thought would have been different, and willingness to become aware of the situation would have to a reasonable extent prevailed.

However – the situation is that ignorance is the standard, - and mentionings of the alternative are almost-normally-perhaps ridiculed. Since it is not easily known, and as I tried to explain in the beginning – [which carried me all this way – the ignorant despise and dislike] as long as not known – its nature is not easily understood.



Angry responses - I suspect - might serve as examples.

Rinzai till i die said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
a small hero said...

It really does seem like the easiest thing in world. But to do the practice day after day after day, twice a day for 30 minutes without miss. Then it becomes a different animal.

Rinzai proponent said...

Shut up, "small hero."

a small hero said...

ok

Anonymous said...

Thought y'all might enjoy this:

Titled Let's go after the buddhists

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dtMpjeAMtk&feature=channel

Anonymous said...

Jinz: "Ignorance is just putting an interpretation on reality that is not true to the facts."

Harry: "Putting an interpretation on reality is a fact of reality itself, a fact that we should not, and cannot, avoid in tackling the activity that may actually be the source of the problem"


Harry, this is like saying a dream is reality too. It is in some sense. It is a real dream. But to mistake a dream for reality is delusion. It's one thing to be in a dream and keep telling yourself; "well, this is reality too." without knowing you are dreaming. It's another thing to wake-up.

Asserting this is a dream or that dreams are a sort of reality is no big deal. Waking up is another matter. Just 'calling' delusion "reality" is worthless. Zen is waking up, not substituting labels.

"This Mind is no mind of conceptual thought."---Master Huang Po

Ignorance is not knowing the actual nature of reality / ourselves. It's there before us plain to see, but we 'ignore' what is in favor of our endless interpretations or conceptual models.

Anonymous said...

Link for the HTML deprived Anonymous.

Anonymous said...

"But to mistake a dream for reality is delusion."

To that, I say baloney. A dream is reality. Who are you to say otherwise?

Harry said...

"Harry, this is like saying a dream is reality too. It is in some sense. It is a real dream. But to mistake a dream for reality is delusion. It's one thing to be in a dream and keep telling yourself; "well, this is reality too." without knowing you are dreaming. It's another thing to wake-up."

Hi,

Yes, to mistake a dream for 'reality' is also delusion. Rather than say it is a 'mistake', from the point of view of zazen, I would say it is a habitual activity. From another perspective, to mistake waking up as 'another thing' to dreaming is delusion too.

A dream is actually reality, as is mistaking a dream of being awake. Every thing in reality is reality, including delusion. I agree that realisation is not a matter of just telling ourselves that things are 'real', but it is not about chopping things up to 'realise' 'real' vrs 'false' as we might do in the simplistic way that we are designed to think (nothing exists like that outside of what we think).

The actual relationship between delsuion and realisation, as we can experience in zazen, is not like a cut-off, dualistic model of 'dreaming' vrs 'awake' because we must neccesarily be deluded in order to realise that we are realised: So it would be like saying that we would have to be dreaming in order to realise that we are awake.

Further to this, when we're actually right there doing it (if we're doing it sincerely) there is no delusion, no realisation, no method, no path, nobody to be realised or deluded, nobody to be dreaming, or awake etc etc etc...

Regards,

Harry.

Troy said...

anon108 said:

"Troy, you silly troll, you should be so lucky to have pursued the truth with the dedication of a Mike Cross or a Gudo Nishijima. If you ever do, you too might be able to fiercly debate it like them - with sincerity, respect and gratitude."

Thankyou again for your teaching mr. 108. So that I may learn to debate with the immense Sincerity, Respect and Gratitude that the Ven. dharma heirs exhibit (& that I sorely lack) I have copied some of their past repectful, sincere, grateful correspondence and comments to each other below:

In my life there are not two Dhammas, and not two kinds of Work. Only pursuit of the one Truth which, when we investigate it, pervades everywhere.

So in response to the words “he wanted to insist that AT was the same as Buddhism,” I say: Fuck you, Gudo, you old bastard. Go to hell.

The great obstacle to guard against, in this learning, is trying to be right. I have done far too much of that.

It is in that spirit that I repeat my exhortation to Gudo: Fuck off, you meddling old goat. Go to hell.

The inflated ego of a small vain man turned him into a liar and revealed me to be a foul-mouthed Zen bastard.

To hell with you, Gudo, you vain bag of shit.

The Master’s blindness is sad. His students’ state of denial is doubly sad.

/////Ven. Zen master & dharma heir Mike Cross to Ven. Master Nishijima roshi.


Jundo Cohen is a phoney who does not know Master Dogen's teaching at all.

////Ven. Zen master and dharma heir Mike Cross on fellow dharma heir, jundo cohen


"And, yes folks, I did once send Mr. Cohen an email that said, "Go fuck yourself."

///Ven. Zen master and dharma heir Brad Warner to VEn. zen master and dharma heir Jundo Cohen


I hope that I may one day learn to exhibit the great sincerity, gratitude but mostly respect that these highly developed compassionate beings exhibit in their dealings with one another.

Do zen masters wear boots in the zendo too? Should I lick their boots before gasshoing or after?

Harry said...

BTW,

It reminds me of the chapter of Shobogenzo called Muchu-Setsumu. Here's Nishijima Sensie's intro to it:

[38] MUCHU-SETSUMU
('Preaching a Dream in a Dream')

Mu means "dream," chu means "in," and setsu means "preach." So muchu-setsumu means "preaching a dream in a dream." In Buddhist philosophy there is an idea that our life is a kind of dream, because in everyday life we cannot recognize our life itself. In other words, our actual life is just a moment here and now, and we cannot grasp such a moment. We are living at every moment of the present, and every moment cannot be expressed with words. So we can say that we are living in something like a dream. At the same time, to preach Buddhist theory is a kind of preaching a dream, and furthermore to live our life is also a kind of preaching, telling, or manifesting a dream. So Master Dogen compared our life to preaching a dream in a dream.

Rinzai till i die said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...

Hi Troy,

Thanks for the quotes. I thought it wouldn't be long before someone put a few examples up. (There are other, more loving, conciliatory quotes to find as well, but we don't need them).

Can't you hear the sincerity, respect and gratitude...the honesty in that ferocity?

I can.
You can't?
Never mind.



There's a story, the veracity of which I've no reason to doubt, that during one of MC and Gudo's frequent rows during the translation of the Shobogenzo, Mike picked something up - I can't recall what - and smashed it with some force. He felt ashamed and apologised. Gudo, however, seemed pleased: "That's real action", he approvingly remarked.

Zen Masters, eh! Pffft.

anon #108 said...

I'll make it easier for you.

It has been said that love and hate aren't so far apart - like two sides of the same coin.

...Or like when a couple very much in love say the most hurtful things to each other. It's because they care.

Don't mind me...I'm a soppy old romantic :)

anon #108 said...

...I should be clear that I'm talking about the relationship between Gudo and MC, here - not what MC or Brad have said about Jundo Cohen.

IMO, FWIW, I think Brad and MC have been very rude to Jundo on occasion. Rude, but honest. As Jundo has to them. Yet, that rude honesty has resulted in the parties learning some home truths, it seems, and coming much closer to the public group hug I'm sure we'd all like to see.

Is it more "compassionate" to keep your mouth shut, or lie, rather than reply with honesty, even if it's rude? I'm not sure. It's a tough call.

Fortunately, neither my opinion, nor yours, matter one jot.


Anyway, when did you get so sensitive about right speech, you sarcy sack of shit? (geddit?)

Anonymous said...

*breaks into six day marathon lovingkindness meditation*

Jinzang said...

Yeah, Harry, delusion is enlightenment because there is only one reality. But because we do not perceive that reality as it is, it is called delusion. When we perceive it correctly, that is enlightenment.

There is only one sun in the sky and it looks the same to a person who thinks it goes around the earth and to the person who knows that the earth goes around the sun. But one is mistaken and the other is not.

There are many levels of thought, from very gross to subtle. In practice we do not indulge in the grossest levels of thought, so we don't mentally consider the thoughts of delusion or enlightenment. But delusion is still present in the subtle thoughts, even though we are not aware of them.

Anonymous said...

Jinzang - Do you think it's ever possible to live permanently in a state of non-deluded, or 'enlightened' thinking? Or does delusion and enlightenment - as you describe them - come and go?

Anonymous said...

This has got to be the biggest congregation of keyboard jockey desk buddhas that exists on the internet. If all the of time wasted in these comment sections battling for intellectual supremacy was spent...picking up trash off of the ground or even masturbating...that time would be better spent. Most of these comments.... it's like where there are a million salmon with boners all smothering and jumping and shitting on each trying to get upstream to get laid. But instead you're all trying to usurp Brad and each other. LOOK CHODES, Brad keeps this blog to shoot the shit about his adventures and to share ideas with those of us that want them. If you're so hot to get YOUR ideas out because you're so brilliant, get your own book deal, and start your own ChodeyNerd dot blogspot. What I really mean to say is that you're all awesome and let's get off the computer and sit, and when we're not sitting be nice to each other.

Rinzai till i die said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jinzang said...

I don't think there's much point in speculating on what's going to happen eventually. Enjoy the ride.

Generally speaking, there are levels of delusion and you cut through the grossest levels first, then the subtler ones. It goes all the way from the everyday level of "no one appreciates the hard work I do" up to anuttara samyak sambhodi. It's a two steps forward, one step back deal, so you will understand something, then lose it, and then understand it again.

Jinzang said...

If .. you're so brilliant, get your own book deal

Yeah Brad, send me your agent's email addy.

LOOK CHODES, ... not sitting be nice to each other.

You go first.

Anonymous said...

"This has got to be the biggest congregation of keyboard jockey desk buddhas that exists on the internet. If all the of time wasted in these comment sections battling for intellectual supremacy was spent...picking up trash off of the ground or even masturbating...that time would be better spent. Most of these comments.... it's like where there are a million salmon with boners all smothering and jumping and shitting on each trying to get upstream to get laid. But instead you're all trying to usurp Brad and each other. LOOK CHODES, Brad keeps this blog to shoot the shit about his adventures and to share ideas with those of us that want them. If you're so hot to get YOUR ideas out because you're so brilliant, get your own book deal, and start your own ChodeyNerd dot blogspot. What I really mean to say is that you're all awesome and let's get off the computer and sit, and when we're not sitting be nice to each other."

Now we're getting somewhere.

anon #108 said...

I agree. Well said, 4.57pm.

anon #108 said...

Irony, right, 108?

anon #108 said...

Yes. Irony.

Rinzai till i die said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
What's a CHODE? said...

it's like where there are a million salmon with boners all smothering and jumping and shitting on each [other?]...

Jesus! Is that what they do?
Feh.

Anonymous said...

Rinz said: "Though a dog has buddha nature it can never comprehend the actions and speech of a buddha. Anonymous comments are like this. They are like dogs barking at things they can't understand. They want to bring everything down to their narrow world of monosyllabic grunting.

This has to be a joke.

Rinzai till i die said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

You are anonymous too Rinz.

Oh... a CHODE is a thick dick! said...

This has to be a joke.

Yeah... Rinzai is just another salmon with a boner all smothering and jumping and shitting trying to get upstream to get laid and stuff.....talking about a dog.

Rinzai till i die said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Anonymi with anonymous accounts get so big-headed. They forget that they are afraid to come out too.

john e mumbles said...

If you think you know you're enlightened, you're not enlightened.

Anonymous said...

Remember what that was like 108?

Rinzai till i die said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

The Rinz.. Can I ask you how old you are Rinz? 15.. 16?

Rinzai till i die said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
corrine said...

My dick hurts. Badly.

Anonymous said...

Ok Rinz.. No punchline. None of us here have egos either. Except 108. He thinks he's better than the Beatles.

corrine said...

The Beatles have painful dicks.

Stredtyong said...

On, and had I known that Farcet's book existed in English, I would have already recommended it to you (all). It is truly an uplifting book. Just like Jamyang Khyentse's "What Makes You Not a Buddhist", there are rare books which, instead of droning on and on on what the author would think as "buddhist", tell us some practical things on what is to be done.

I remember a book entitled (in French) "The Secrets of Tibetan Medicine", in which nothing was said about actual medicine, which was but a pretext for droning about the life of a Tibetan monk and physician, in the end, a mere pretext for felling trees, mushing them to pulp and sell books.

Hieronymus Bosch said...

Today's key news in the world of Buddhism:

ORLANDO, Fla. — Tiger Woods said tests Wednesday showed an inflamed neck joint that causes pain and makes it hard to turn his head, an injury that will require little more than medicine, massages and rest.

Woods had an MRI that revealed inflammation in a facet joint of his neck. He said on his website that when facet joints are inflamed, it causes pain in the area along with headaches and difficulty rotating the head.

He withdrew from the final round of The Players Championship on Sunday after a week in which he was seen stretching and rolling his neck. Woods said his neck had been bothering him since before he returned from a five-month layoff at the Masters, and that it was not related to the Nov. 27 car accident when he ran into a tree, setting off revelations of infidelity.

"I now need to take care of this condition and will return to playing golf when I'm physically able," Woods said.

Woods said treatment will include physical therapy, such as soft-tissue massage, rest and anti-inflammatory medicine. He said the prognosis was for a full recovery, and while the layoff is not expected to be long, rehab can vary.

Woods said in a press conference this week that he hoped to be able to defend his title at the Memorial, which starts June 3 at Muirfield Village. His next tournament will be his first without swing coach Hank Haney, who stepped aside Monday.

Taigu said...

Is Buddhism a religion? Let's turn to Wikipedia for answers.

Wikipedia has adopted the definition of the late Clifford Geertz, an anthropologist from Princeton: Religion is: "an organized approach to human spirituality which usually encompasses a set of narratives, symbols, beliefs and practices, often with a supernatural or transcendent quality, that give meaning to the practitioner's experiences of life through reference to a higher power, God or gods, or ultimate truth.

Under this, Buddhism would be considered a religion.

Kerry Trembath said...

Very interesting discussion. My take on it is this:

Buddhism does not deny the existence of gods or of other worlds, and indeed the devotional practices of many Buddhist traditions involve the veneration and invocation of special beings such as Avalokitesvara (known as Kwan Yin to many Chinese, or Kannon to the Japanese). However, at its core Buddhism is a non-theistic religion and, unlike other world religions, Buddhism is not a doctrine of revelation. The Buddha did not claim to be the bearer of a message from on high. He made it clear that what he taught he had discovered for himself through his own efforts.

The Buddha himself is revered not as a deity or supernatural being but as a very special kind of human being. He was a human who achieved the ultimate in development of his human potential. The Buddha taught that this achievement is within the reach of every human being, and he spent his life teaching a practical methodology which, if followed with purity of mind and great diligence, would enable others to reach the same objective. In other words, he taught a method rather than a doctrine. When questioned about the validity of his teachings, the Buddha did not refer to the higher authority of a deity. He explained that his teachings were based on his own direct personal experience, and he invited all who were interested to test for themselves whether the method he taught was effective.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie at 8.58:


There are certain things I have learned through experience, and when I see people acting or speaking in ways I have learned are simply not true, I feel a sense of urgency: I must challenge this!

Before you go jumping all over Brad for saying things that are "simply not true," better take a read of your teacher's famous "Affidavit" again and see how true it appears. If you feel it's not true it means perjury. Maybe you need to challenge that some more before you come barking at old Brad.

Anonymous said...

anon @7.26pm.

Just don't. It serves no purpose, except to upset people. Nothing can be gained or changed.

Troy said...

Mr. onezeroeight, I thought it was only about respect, sincerity and gratitude. Haisheee! Now I see it is only about honesty. Thankyou. So, now I can say or write anything to anyone and if I am honest that is all that matters? I think I understand. My neighbor is a piece of shit bastard and I will tell him this tomorrow. My mother gets on my nerves with her endless complaining ("cancer is just soooo painful, blah blah blah") I will set her straight and explain how selfish and obnoxious her complaining is. My wife has gotten really fat. I just told her using my newfound wisdom (thanks to you 108) and now she isn't saying much. Honesty rules! Now I understand why Brad and Mike seem so rude and mean. It is just honesty. Thankyou you arrogant fuckwad!
(how'd I do?)
Bows
(that's bows, not bows...not the tie)
Troy Troi Troll

Anonymous said...

Stephanie carries the stink of zen.

She has tons of growing to do. It's like she's an idiot savant, without much in the savant category.

Anonymous said...

anon @7:41pm

"It serves no purpose, except to upset people. Nothing can be gained or changed."

Don't agree. Helping Steph find out about someone with influence over her could save her lots of trouble later on.

anon #108 said...

Thankyou you arrogant fuckwad!
(how'd I do?)


That's good, Troy. It's honest, and true. I am arrogant - or I'd prefer to say, confident. As I wasn't when I was younger, I'm making the best of it now.

But all that stuff about your neighbour and the cancer...silly. And you know it.

Can I make a sincere suggestion, with a view to stopping all this nonsense? If you make comments on a blog that amount to nothing more than sarcastic attacks, what do you expect to get back? Perhaps if you could express an opinion in an honest, straightforward way, rather than being an arrogant, angry sarcastic smartarse, you wouldn't get an arrogant smartarse like me giving you a hard time.

It was fun for a while, but I think neither of us are enjoying it any more.

Captcha = usness! Come here, Troy. Lemme give you a big hug :)

Anonymous said...

anon@7:41pm & anon@8:03pm

Sounds like you know stuff we don't.

Wanna share???

anon #108 said...

(BTW, Troy, the relationship between Gudo and MC does include a lot of respect, sincerity and gratitude. If you've followed Mike's blogging closely, you'll have seen him testify to that many times. But there's been alot of pain too, hence the harsh 'honesty').

Anonymous said...

Anons@741,48,59,8003 You guy/guys have no idea about what your talking about. What a bunch of honkies.

Anonymous said...

Scratch 803, add 815

Anonymous said...

Where's Seagal Rinpoche? We need some wisdom around here.

Affidavit said...

Before you go jumping all over Brad for saying things that are "simply not true," better take a read of your teacher's famous "Affidavit" again and see how true it appears. If you feel it's not true it means perjury. Maybe you need to challenge that some more before you come barking at old Brad.

Jundo's Affidavit and photos are still up and available for anyone to read. I read it, and I think the story makes sense and I see why some people here would want to say it doesn't. I don't see why anyone doubts it, seems like a big nothing, and I hope the parties do have their "tea and Zazen" sometime soon.

Affidavit

Anonymous said...

anon@8:15

Wanna share???

2+2

Affidavit said...

Sorry, wrong link I guess. This is the right one.

Affidavit

http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=33053#p33053

Anonymous said...

Affidavit, This is old news that wasn't very interesting even when it was new. You are right, It was a big nothing. Let it go.

193 said...

Is this a joke?

194 said...

Anti wisdom manual?

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps if you could express an opinion in an honest, straightforward way, rather than being an arrogant, angry sarcastic smartarse, you wouldn't get an arrogant smartarse like me giving you a hard time."

Are you talking to Troy or explaining to Brad why there are so many angry trolls here?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if you could express an opinion in an honest, straightforward way, rather than being an arrogant, angry sarcastic smartarse, you wouldn't get an arrogant smartarse like me giving you a hard time.

108 is like a drunk on a white knuckle sober, finding and clinging to his religion of choice, who has taken it upon himself to be the gate keeper for Dogen Sangha, fending off all criticisms of the group on their behalf. You can feel the tension under the surface.

R [- to 11:58 PM] said...

I hate to interfere but you’re kind of demonstrating your own poor observation.

P.S. [Keep me out of it] said...

That is not to say I justify everything 108 says.

Harry said...

"Yeah, Harry, delusion is enlightenment because there is only one reality. But because we do not perceive that reality as it is, it is called delusion. When we perceive it correctly, that is enlightenment."

Hi Jinz,

Even within delusion we are actually in reality regardless of our perception.

"There is only one sun in the sky and it looks the same to a person who thinks it goes around the earth and to the person who knows that the earth goes around the sun. But one is mistaken and the other is not."

Realisation, as far as I am concerned, is not a relative, human perception nor a relative idea or point of information. Both people you mentioned could be practicing realisation despite their relative ideas or perceptions by allowing those relative views to 'drop off' in sitting/non-thinking.

"There are many levels of thought, from very gross to subtle. In practice we do not indulge in the grossest levels of thought, so we don't mentally consider the thoughts of delusion or enlightenment. But delusion is still present in the subtle thoughts, even though we are not aware of them."

That realisiation is some 'inner thing' or 'thing to be found that is hidden' or 'subtle level removed from everyday normal things' is quite strongly denied in Zen tradition. Everything in reality is as real as everything else and we must neccesarily use what is here right now to practice realisation. When we start doing this it is (i.e. zazen) it's not useful or correct practice to *consider* things in terms of gross/subtle, deluded/enlightened. There really is a difference between delusion and realisation, but it is the difference between the activity of habitual identification with thoughts and feelings and the very real, tangible process of sitting upright and letting them go right here and now. In this way, in Dogen's rationale of sitting, every thing without exception, regardless of their relative qualities, becomes enlivened in the realisational activity. As Dogen put it:

"To practice by pushing ahead, meeting the numberless experiences as a self and witnessing them thus, is delusion. When the vast expanse of experiences move forward and practice and realize the self, this is Awakening."

...But I know there are many different ideas about this in Buddhism, and it's not their fault that this one just happens to make most sense! :-)

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

200 comments!

About 180 of which are insults, stupidity, babbling, burping and a general waste of time. The other 20 were okay.

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