Wednesday, May 05, 2010

MAD Non-Conformists and More Bitching About Internet Zen

There are a lot of people out there who enjoy adopting the pose of being "freaky" and "alternative." And they do some very superficial things that make them look a little weird. They'll buy some funny clothes, maybe get a couple of body parts pierced or tattooed. All of this shocks those who are easily shocked.

But internally these same people are often extraordinarily conservative and judgmental. Sometimes they're even more conservative and judgmental that more "normal" people. Now that punk rock has become so trendy as to be ubiquitous, you meet a lot of these kinds of people wherever you go.

Long before even I was born, MAD magazine ran a piece in which they contrasted ordinary conformists, ordinary non-conformists and MAD non-conformists. It points out how regular, so-called "non-conformists" always conform to other "non-conformists" but at heart are really just like everyone else. Yet the MAD non-conformist is truly not conforming. I have a copy of this locked away in storage, so I can't quote the whole thing. But I managed to find a couple bits of it on line, where people had referenced it in blogs and suchlike. Here's what I found:

PETS -
ORDINARY CONFORMISTS raise parakeets, cocker spaniels, boxers, collies, turtles, snakes, cats, white mice, snakes and tropical fish.
ORDINARY NON-CONFORMISTS raise Russian wolfhounds, French poodles, Weimaraners, ocelots, minks, deodorized skunks and rhesus monkeys.
MAD NON-CONFORMISTS raise ant colonies, anteaters, falcons, leeches, octopii, anchovies, water buffaloes and performing fleas.

MOVIES -
ORDINARY CONFORMISTS go in for uninspired Technicolor musicals, stories with happy endings, migraine-provoking Cinemascope, and 6 1/2-hour double features that destroy the eyes, ears, nose, and spine.
ORDINARY NON-CONFORMISTS patronize stuffy out-of-the-way movie houses that show "experimental" films, arty-type films, documentaries, and obscure foreign language pictures with the sub-titles in pidgin Swahili.
MAD NON-CONFORMISTS enjoy hand-cranked penny arcade machines which contain film classics like the Dempsey-Firpo fight, Sally Rand's Fan Dance, old Ben Turpin comedies, and Tom Mix pre-adult westerns.

I kind of feel like real Zen practice may be for MAD non-conformists. It's fun and cool to learn a few of the trappings of Zen and show off to people who don't know any better. It's not hard to learn how to ape the Hollywood stereotype of what a Zen guy is supposed to be. But it takes a MAD non-conformist to really do what must be done. You have to be just a bit crazy. Or cracked. Or, uh, National Lampoon....?

I know there's gonna be people in the comments section going, "But I don't own a pet octopus or watch Ben Turpin movies! Are you saying I can't be real Zen????" Or variations thereof. Go for it.

*****

Also, I know that a lot of people don't read the comments to this blog. Which is generally a good thing. Though they've been getting much better lately. So I thought I'd share something here that I posted in the comments section. To wit: I'd like to comment on some of the "benefits of an on-line sangha" posted by James:

- Regular access, no matter where you are.

• This creates too much dependence on the teacher. Things that are too convenient tend to weaken people and make them unable to do stuff for themselves. A teacher or sangha should not be so readily available. It's better to have to work for it. It wouldn't be good for someone in therapy to have 24/7 access to their therapist. It'd be a nightmare for the therapist and it wouldn't do the patient much good either. And while Zen is not therapy, I think it may be useful to make the comparison in terms of access.

- Expanded access to much more information and many more teachings than would be available in person.

• Encourages people to be over-intellectual. You don't really need that much information. Most of us have far more information than we can ever process anyway.

- Your choice of teacher, instead of just the teacher who’s closest to you geographically.

• Sometimes choice is the worst thing you can have. I certainly would not have chosen Nishijima Roshi if I'd had a world of Zen Masters only a mouse click away. And that would have been a shame. I really do not believe in random chance. To my way of thinking, and from my experience, there is always a reason you are geographically close to those you're geographically close to. Ignoring or avoiding those near you leads to alienation and loneliness.

- Communication is recorded and saved (via video and forums) so the teacher is held responsible for his or her words.

• Would life really be better if every bit of communication we ever had with anyone was a matter of record, available to be re-examined and re-thought-through, re-interpreted, second guessed, shared with others who were not there when it happened and have no business knowing it? It seems to me a lot of people these days think so and are making efforts to move in that direction.

Some kinds of communication are better left unrecorded. Recordings don't preserve very much of what was shared by people no matter how detailed they are. It's one of the most confused and damaging myths of our time to believe that they do. Someone who was not involved in a conversation can't really know the content of it just by watching a video tape.

This may, in fact, be one of the main reasons an on-line Zen teacher can never be anything like a face-to-face teacher.

When I first started working on what was to become Hardcore Zen, I had an idea that part of the book would consist of conversations between me and Nishijima Roshi. We'd had a lot of really interesting ones in the past, so I thought I'd preserve them.

In order to do this I brought a tape recorder with me and would turn it on when we started talking. To my surprise, the conversations when the recorder was switched on were never the same. That intimacy was gone. The tape recorder became a third person in the room. No. Not a third person, even. It became a potential audience of who knows how many. It was no longer a person-to-person conversation, or even a tight manage-a-trois. It was a performance for an audience. And that's a very different thing. I never used those tapes. My memories of our truly one-to-one conversations were far better.

When you're conversing in some manner that can be preserved and recorded, you're not as free to speak openly as you are when there is no potential audience. Sure, OK, maybe that means a teacher can hit on a student when nobody's watching and then deny it later. But, really, that's hardly the only kind of thing that people share and want to keep private. And, in spite of all the books and net postings it's really not a major component of teacher/student relations in Zen.

Things aren't always private for nefarious reasons. In fact most of the time when something is kept private, there's nothing scandalous about it at all. It's just that the participants know that others would be likely to misunderstand what was said because they wouldn't be aware of a whole world of context outside of the conversation.

In this sense, all conversations held via any kind of media that can be preserved have to -- they absolutely must -- lose the true intimacy necessary for genuine deep communication. Accountability comes with a very high price.

*****

Can you believe I wrote all that while I should be having fun seeing London? The things I do for you people!

121 comments:

anon #108 said...

Hey Brad,

Is that you asking about me while you're staying at Andrew's? Gimme a call - and I'll tell all...we can chat fame!

NUMPER ONE!
THE FIRST!
THE BEST!
THE ELECTED!
THE CHOSEN!

..alright,already enuf with the bloody jews.

Anonymous said...

Real Zen practice is for anyone who wants to do real Zen practice. Just be whoever you are, conformist or not, and quit thinking about this crap.

Lisa

anon #108 said...

...and if you're still in London Town, you simply must to come see my band play tonight, in a bijou little place in Denmark St, called Peter Parker's Rock n Roll Club. Andrew'll give you my number.

Timmy Mac said...

So basically you're saying that Zen boils down to "What, me worry?"

Shonin said...

Tenuous. Zen has absolutely nothing to do with being 'more MAD', 'more punk', 'less conformist' or 'more individual' than others. It's completely irrelevant.

Also, I think that the youth culture (sometimes obsession) with being 'non-conformist' (yes I did it too) is not really about true independence from mainstream culture, but is about reacting and protesting against that mainstream culture (which one feels doesn't serve one's self-esteem) and forging an identity in a counter-culture.

The people who are really closer to being independent of social pressures tend to be old people.

Anonymous said...

Does Brad think about some of his statements before or after he pulls them out of his ass?

Anonymous said...

Thanks brad, i`ve really enjoyed reading your blog.
But this comments section is quite horrible

anon #108 said...

Zen: nothing to do with being non-conformist, some of you say?

Surely the very fact that Zen is such a tiny thing in the tiny world of Western Buddhism tells you something? It's pretty niche stuff. For you to be remotely interested in the first place you have to be a bit 'different' from most people/mainstream society. In that sense, and so you can provide the hook for an amusing Mad article to make an entertaining blog post, I think it's perfectly OK to use the term "non-conformist".

Sorry, MAD non-conformist (VERY niche).

Anonymous said...

Anon 108, the very fact you put yourself in the "MAD" category makes you a conformist. Everyone conforms.

Lisa

Anonymous said...

"There are a lot of people out there who enjoy adopting the pose of being "freaky" and "alternative." And they do some very superficial things that make them look a little weird. "

I have to plead guilty to this. I often exploit my connection to punk rock, which might seem like golden oldies to many of you but was really rad back in the day. I've also been known to wear monster logo t-shirts to sesshin. I'm fucking wild, bro!

anon #108 said...

Hi Lisa,

When I wrote "Sorry, MAD non-conformist (VERY niche)", I wasn't signing my post. Perhaps I should have conluded my comment this way:

"I think it's perfectly OK to use the term "non-conformist"...I mean 'MAD non-conformist' (VERY niche)" - for that's the phrase frm the MAD article Brad chose to associate practising zennies with.

So I wasn't making any statement about myself, putting myself in any category, or denying that we all conform. You're quite right, we all do. That doesn't mean the term "non-conformist" is meaningless.

I don't think Brad was getting deep on this one. Just having a bit of fun and throwing something out there.

Anonymous said...

When you are not worried about conventions you don't look to see if you are conforming or rebelling. It doesn't feature.

Genpo Roshi said...

Don't think that I have forgotten about you, Warner. Any time, any place.

You have a big mouth, and for that I will kick your ass.

Google said...

So Brad are you saying that you don't think much of the online sangha?

What is your opinion of Jundo Cohen of Treeleaf Sangha?

Do you really think that there is too much information available on the internet and that is a bad thing?

It has been suggested that you are somewhat jealous of Treeleaf. While I think this is a silly notion, I'd like to see your response.

Would you like to see an overall contraction of Buddhism in America?

Anonymous said...

In using the word morality for sila I would also suggest the words “discipline” or “restraint,” perhaps even in place of the word “morality,” which has a philosophical connotation. And, yes, it is correct to say that practicing sila—acting with discipline and restraint in daily life—lays an essential foundation for a good meditation practice.

Depending on how disciplined we are, our practice becomes successful. When we don’t have sufficient discipline, our practice will be difficult. Mindfulness may then be hard to attain or to sustain. We must have good discipline to be mindful. Most of the time we don’t remember to be mindful—we are not mindful of mindfulness! It’s harder yet when our minds are distracted or bothered by unwholesome actions we may have undertaken or be involved in.

The Pāli word sila recalls the word “sealant” in English. When you want to close a crack, you use a sealant and seal it off. You lay the foundation for a house and cover all the cracks, so no water will seep in, no insects will enter, and the foundation won’t collapse. As a result, the foundation for your house remains firm and is sturdy enough to build upon. Sila is like that when it comes to meditation. It’s the foundation. Through restraint, through wholesome actions and decisions made in our daily lives, we lay this foundation.

If we don’t lay a good foundation for meditation, we can directly see the results in our practice. You may be meditating regularly, sitting a half-hour or an hour. All of a sudden one day, you can’t even sit for 10 minutes. Your mind is agitated, you’re constantly distracted, you simply can’t focus. Something you have done in your life—becoming enraged with someone, sexual misconduct, addictive behavior of all sorts or some other unwholesome action of body, speech or mind—has deeply registered in your subconscious mind. It keeps coming back up, making you feel remorseful, guilty, restless, full of worries. You just can’t sit!

On the other hand, it’s unrealistic to expect people to become paragons of virtue before they ever begin to meditate. If we wait until we are saints, if we put off meditation until our sila is perfect, then we will never meditate!

Sebouh said...

About internet intimacy - I tend to have better conversations with people I do not stalk on Facebook.

The Smiths were a treat in the last post. I have a confession to make. I still enjoy Iron Maiden. Somehow that doesn't come up in too many conversations.

Daigan Gaither said...

Dude.. You can't have fun, your a zen teacher.. How dare you manipulate my fantasy of who you are. Let me project all my issues on you, so that I can be fixed!

Jundo's mini me said...

It is obvious brad's views of internet zen are completely objective and involve no elaborate rationalizations or questionable reasoning. Plus, he never even thought of Jundo or treeleaf while writing that piece. Really. It has nothing to do with his feelings about Jundo, nothing at all. And Brad never reads the comments here. Well, almost never. Except when he does.

Anonymous said...

What is your opinion of Jundo Cohen of Treeleaf Sangha?

Brad has a bad case of "Jundo on the Brain". That's what all this is about. A couple of people said something nice about Treeleaf on the previous thread, so Brad even has to take time from touring the Tower of London to respond - twice.

Maybe we should wonder why of all the subjects he could have responded to like anti-zemitism in Dogen Sangha, he had to comment on "online Sanghas" again.

The Mini Me of Shakyamuni said...

Let's be clear here:

1. Brad is either a zen master or writer, depending upon the circumstance and what he needs to fall back on to justify what he is currently arguing

2. When he engages in sophistry, it is NOT your place to question it

3. He is clearly above all of the crap that goes on here in the comment section

4. His hips, though very wide, are not a bad thing --- better to be a pear than an apple

Stephanie said...

Whether or not something is judged as good or worthwhile depends on what someone wants to get out of it. An online sangha might not give some folks what they want or are looking for. I think that's got to be up to people to decide and figure out for themselves.

Participating at Treeleaf has had a greater impact on changing the way I practice than my involvement with any other sangha has done. I've stopped making zazen into another way to try to gain control. I've learned how to practice awareness in a way I actually find myself naturally doing at times throughout the day. I've found friendship and encouragement there. I've learned with the help I've found there that truth is nothing that can be looked for. It's right here, all the time.

I shared some of the same reservations about how an online sangha might not work, might not be as effective as a non-online sangha. But simply by virtue of continuing to participate in Treeleaf, all the while not expecting or believing it would have any real impact on my life or practice, it did. That's how life is: it does what it does regardless of our ideas about whether it should have worked that way or not.

The only person who can judge whether what you're doing is bringing you closer to the truth is you. The path is self-correcting as long as you are honest with yourself and have a will to the truth. Don't worry about being fooled--you will be fooled, again and again. There's no way to avoid that by identifying the "right" way or place to practice.

All that matters is, are you waking up? Are you seeing through your delusions? Are you dropping your clinging to ideas? If so, who cares how you're doing it?

NOT Fran Tarkenton said...

Stephanie, with respect, did you not read what BRAD WARNER wrote about the topic? Further debate on the topic is moot. We've had a PUNK/zen MASTER speak on it.

Suck it!

Same old same old said...

What very silly comments, jundo's mini me/anon/shakyamuni's whatever.

So Brad can't have an opinion on internet zen because his opinion is always a thinly-veiled snipe at Jundo? Like he hates him so much that he just 'pretends' to have an opinion about face-to-face teaching v net zen - he makes it all up - Brad must never speak of net zen again. Totally convincing argument.

It's obvious Brad quite often reads the comments here. I guess more so now it's got some thinking people posting more regularly. But sometimes, just maybe, he doesn't have the time or inclination to read every one of the 300 or so that get put up. Could that possibly be true? Could it?

Your insight into Brad's motives are remarkable for a vey silly, cocksure troll.

Get some new material.

Anonymous said...

I guess the Bradster is just not "non-conformist" enough to get his head around the idea of an "online Sangha"? He's kind of into the old technology because "MAD NON-CONFORMISTS enjoy hand-cranked penny arcade machines which contain film classics like the Dempsey-Firpo fight."

Anonymous said...

So Brad can't have an opinion on internet zen because his opinion is always a thinly-veiled snipe at Jundo? Like he hates him so much that he just 'pretends' to have an opinion about face-to-face teaching v net zen - he makes it all up

Yes. There was no reason for Brad to interrupt his touring when he "should be having fun seeing London" to make an urgent post twice on the topic of internet Zendos except that Stephanie and some other guy had said something nice about Treeleaf and critical of some of the shenanigans around here.

What's more, if you look at the comments he pulled out of his ass like "it's better not to have choice of a teacher" you can tell he is really stretching just to be critical.

Like was said by someone, I am sure he "he never even thought of Jundo or treeleaf while writing that piece. Really. It has nothing to do with his feelings about Jundo, nothing at all. "

Anonymous said...

"Same old same old said..." might be our blogmaster posting anonymously. ;)

- The real Anonymous

Fregas said...

I often wonder if the Christians in Japan, India or China are considered as "non-conformist" as those of us in the west studying zen.

I think you are right on about real non-conformists and fake, trendy non-conformists. I know that in various times in my life, I had a tendency to adopt some of the trappings of eastern spirituality, because I just didn't have the discipline to learn it deeply and meditate on a daily basis.

Now that I've been doing it consistently for a couple of years, the need broadcast my "Zenness" has become far less important than it used to be, although I still tend to be probably a little more outspoken than is probably healthy.

I think ultimately though, being conformist or non-conformist makes no difference. If you are in a buddhist country and everyone is practicing buddhism, at least in name, it doesn't matter if you are too. What matters is your dedication to finding the truth, to seeing your true nature, to see things as they really are and not as we wish them to be. That to me is what zen is all about.

Shonin said...

Stephanie,

I felt some real maturity and wisdom coming through in your comment.

Glad Treeleaf is working out for you.

Justin

Anonymous said...

haha, i remember painting the anarchy A on my t-shirt with very careful brush strokes, consciously buying my first pair of black shoes, and reciting lyrics to 'i saw your mommy' with friends in the lunch room, while drinking milk. what's wrong with being a sheep ?

Anonymous said...

Even people as different as Justin is to Brad still conform to the uniform of Blue denim pants..

Anonymous said...

Environmental carcinogens are responsible for a far greater number of cancers than previously believed -- a fact that suggests eradicating these environmental threats should be a priority for President Obama -- according to the report of a presidential advisory panel.

"The Panel was particularly concerned to find that the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated," wrote the authors of the report, "Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now."

"The panel urges you most strongly to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our Nation's productivity, and devastate American lives," the report's authors wrote in a letter to President Obama.

The singling out of environmental causes for cancer in this year's report is considered a major -- and some said welcome -- departure from previous reports, according to a number cancer specialists contacted by ABC News and MedPage Today.

"For the past 30 years ... there has been systematic effort to minimize the importance of environmental factors in carcinogenesis," said Dr. Philip Landrigan, director of the Children's Environmental Health Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City.

"There has been disproportionate emphasis on lifestyle factors and insufficient attention paid to discovering and controlling environmental exposures," he said. "This report marks a sea change."

Anonymous said...

Environmental carcinogens are responsible for a far greater number of cancers than previously believed

This toxic blog is filled with environmental carcinogens. It is a cancer.

Same old same old said...

There was no reason for Brad to interrupt his touring...to make an urgent post twice on the topic of internet Zendos except that Stephanie and some other guy had said something nice about Treeleaf and critical of some of the shenanigans around here.

The topic was topical, so BW commented. He does it quite often.

Hey, perhaps Stephanie hates Brad so much that all her reasoned arguments about online sanghas are thinly-veiled poison too. Yes, that makes sense. I'll ignore her from now on.

...you can tell he is really stretching just to be critical...

No. You can tell. I can tell something different. You've got an opinion, that all. Only you present it like it's an obvious fact. Indicates you don't get it. That's my opinion.

Mumon said...

I liked one part.

But the other part... no dragon there.

Rza said...

You are where you are because the universe put you there. Nature doesn't make mistakes. So why are you shopping around on the internet for some special zen teacher? Why are you trying to be somewhere else? Why do you think that choice is such a great thing? And who is it that chooses? Stop shoppin, start observin. Here it is.

Same old same old said...

And -

Why respond to Stephanie? Coz she's articulate; she can express herself; you know what she's saying, whatever you think of it. So maybe that's why Brad chooses to debate the subject with her. Her post gave him an opporunity to express his opinions on the subject in an articulate, sytematic way,

BTW, you've said nothing at all about the points he made. Not one word. Just dismissed it all with "Brad don't like online Sanghas cuz he hates Jundo."

Silly.

Stephanie said...

I don't hate, or even dislike Brad, BTW.

The point I tried to make in the comments section of the last post about Brad didn't come across, I don't think, due to my wording being too strong.

My opinion about Brad has changed, but that doesn't mean I dismiss him or don't think he makes some good points. But I maintain a certain skepticism when I read his points, because I think he is mightily invested in crafting and promoting his Hardcore Zen "brand." And I don't think he sees it, or recognizes how much of his writing comes out of a desire to define and promote an image.

It's something we all do, to one extent or another. It's just that most of us don't have as much of a stage or an audience as Brad, who certainly has less of a stage and an audience than many others.

But as long as we are doing this, we are stubbornly turning away from Reality, because our "brands" have nothing to do with it. This idea of the RIGHT way and the WRONG way--just delusional ego product. Like bile that the ego-liver secretes. There is no "one right way to do it." There is just THIS and THIS and THIS, whatever THIS happens to be in your particular case.

Some people like green, some people like blue. And then some people take it to another level where they start arguing why green is ultimately a better color than blue and anyone who likes blue more than green is deluded because of x, y, and z.

One of my favorite Zen phrases is "putting a head on top of your head." It's what we do 24/7, making things so much more complicated than they really are. We don't just perceive, we have an idea, and then have ideas about our ideas, and so on.

Culminating in the ironically self-aware hipster who likes wearing trucker hats non-ironically as a statement on people who wear them ironically, with ideas about what kind of person he is because he wears them ironically rather than non-ironically. How many heads can we put on top of our heads??? It's amazing.

None of this shit matters.

Jundo's mini me said...

"All that matters is, are you waking up? Are you seeing through your delusions? Are you dropping your clinging to ideas? If so, who cares how you're doing it?"

Short answer....Brad does.
You can't do all of that with a koan. You can't do it sitting in the wrong posture. You can't do it with your eyes closed. You can't do it as well by any other means than Brad's version of soto zen.
To Brad, zen is not a whatever works for you philosophy. If you disagree with his version of zen, you are being egotistical and he'll quote Shunryu Suzuki about how imporant it is to accept things even when you disagree....meaning accept his zen and his teaching as the only version.
It's like you must accept the inerrancy of the bible even if your intellect questions it.

"You've got an opinion, that all. Only you present it like it's an obvious fact. Indicates you don't get it."

You mean like virtually everything Brad writes here? He consistently presents his personal opinions as if they were 'zen'. Not just zen. But real zen. Authentic zen.

Authentic Zen said...

Shut up, moron.

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, alongside her co-dingleberry, Chet, has settled on the Soto message as repeated by Jundo (repeatedly). She and Chet, when he is not posting half-naked pictures of himself on the Treeleaf forum, like to trumpet their message as if they're in some sort of strange de facto leadership role. When you filter through all of Steph's stuff, nowadays she always gets back to her central message, which is you must not turn you back on reality as it presently exists and you must hear this from her. The second part of this message is no less important than the first.

Because she writes a notch better than most, some like to give her more credit in areas other than writing than she deserves. They also can personalize her and attach something to the picture and name they see beside her posts. All of this fits nicely into what she seeks, so it works out well. It works out well for now, at least. Soon enough, she'll be slamming Jundo again, just as she was some six months ago.

Anonymous said...

Dharma combat at its finest.

Anonymous said...

Oldish Newbies

For a long time I felt on the outside, trying to find a niche on the inside.

It was like wanting to vote for one of the above, because I gave a shit, but also not wanting to vote for any of the above, because I gave a shit.

That sort of thing can kind of make you crazy angry or fatalistically disengaged.

But when I except I'm a little nuts this way, I can except you're a little nuts your way too.

And avoid the sociopathic or narcisstic behaviours - the ones that'll read Brad's post on MAD non-conformists and now try to suck you in with their Tom Mix pre-adult western collection.

The Scoop said...

I hear that Stephanie is sleeping with Jundo. That's what this is all about.

gniz said...

Hey Steph,

Not sure why, but lately I find your posts to be more holier-than-thou, as opposed to the past where you frequently went on long intellectual tangents but at least seemed a bit more humble. Perhaps it's that you've solidified your practice and are in a better place. This is obviously a desirable situation.

However, I would caution that sometimes when you seem to be standing on solid ground and feel you've gotten some insight, is when you are most prone to becoming kind of self-satisfied.

This makes you come across a little bit like a know it all, from my pov (perhaps some will see it as pot calling the kettle back, and maybe it is).

Your posts are sounding a lot like the typical "zen teacher" posts, with lots of use of the royal "we" instead of good old-fashioned "I" and making it sound like you're giving a dharma talk rather than discussing in a blog forum.

See below excerpt as an example--this is somewhat a stylistic thing, but talking about how "we" do this and that as if you've got it sorted out for Brad or anyone else is rather disingenuous, I think.

"But as long as we are doing this, we are stubbornly turning away from Reality, because our "brands" have nothing to do with it. This idea of the RIGHT way and the WRONG way--just delusional ego product. Like bile that the ego-liver secretes."

Zen Entertainment News said...

On tonight's episode of The Hills of Treeleaf Sangha...

Anonymous said...

"Because she writes a notch better than most, some like to give her more credit in areas other than writing than she deserves."

Change the *she* to a *he* and you could be talking about the Bradster.

Anonymous said...

Surprise
Surprise
Surprise

Stephanie criticizes Brad
Gniz attacks Stephanie

You've lost your objectivity man.

gniz said...

Anon,

Maybe you're right. I'll tell you what post I sort of agreed with, even though it was written in a very sarcastic tone.

Jundo's mini me said...

"It is obvious brad's views of internet zen are completely objective and involve no elaborate rationalizations or questionable reasoning. Plus, he never even thought of Jundo or treeleaf while writing that piece. Really. It has nothing to do with his feelings about Jundo, nothing at all. And Brad never reads the comments here. Well, almost never. Except when he does."

gniz said...

I thought Brad's post was a bit inconsistent, in that he equates geography with destiny. We live everywhere for a reason and come into contact with people (teachers for a reason). Well, couldn't the same be said for coming into contact with Buddhism via the internet and finding an internet sangha?

I don't agree with Brad's distaste for online teaching although it does have limitations. He seems to take particular issue with it, which is his business if that's how he feels.

I sort of take a lot of what Brad writes with a grain of salt. It's often provocative and sometimes mundane or ill-thought out. Sometimes though he has a really good nugget or two, and he's pretty much always readable--sometimes the writing is quite good.

So overall, I'm still mixed about BW even if I don't harp on it like I used to. He's not anywhere near in the league of a Genpo Roshi or Andrew Cohen in terms of deviousness or scumbaggery, so I tend to save more of my ill will for them.

That's my explanation for the lack of criticism of BW. As for attacking Steph, she's rubbed me the wrong way recently because of what I said previously.

Anonymous said...

I'm sitting in my car in a parking lot on a warm sunny day reading this shite on my iPhone, hahahahaha!!! Jokeis on me. You're all great ... Thanks for the diversion. Come on, time to quit this crap and take a closer look at the feelings in my body that I'm avoiding by reading hard core zen. What a great show. Thanks all. Gniz, lighten up.

Newsman said...

"Law enforcement sources tell TMZ Lawrence Taylor's accuser told police that the NFL legend paid her $300 for sex.

As we previously reported, LT was arrested this morning on suspicion of raping an underage girl in a Holiday Inn outside NYC.

Cops have already confirmed that the accuser was under the control of a pimp -- who was later arrested.

Sources tell us the pimp was arrested on charges of unlawful imprisonment, assault and endangering the welfare of a minor."

Anonymous said...

"We live everywhere for a reason and come into contact with people (teachers for a reason). Well, couldn't the same be said for coming into contact with Buddhism via the internet and finding an internet sangha?"

What does it mean to come into "contact via the internet"? Is that really contact?

Pilot said...

Gniz, It's really sort of amazing how you have been turned completely around. And all Brad had to to was toss you a small bone. He's good.

Anonymous said...

It's contact in the sense he obviously meant it and I took it.

Some people come into contact with it via books and whatnot.

Right?

Rza said...

Internet contact is not human contact. Participating in Treeleaf Sangha is like fucking a blow-up doll. It is only as fun as your imagination makes it

Anonymous said...

Fun? I don't find sitting particularly fun. I don't find going to the zendo and sitting any fun at all. Makes my freakin knees hurt.

gniz said...

Glad I could amuse you.
I'm amusing myself also, while alternating between trying to finish the work at my day job that I should be doing.

But this is better right now. I should either be working 100 percent at my desk job or at least doing my creative stuff, but somehow arguing on the internet is easier.

Anonymous said...

Oldish Newbies

There's something about reading Stephanie's posts that remind me that we are also writing to ourselves via folk I think I'm not.

Anonymous said...

Gniz: Are you angry at Stephanie because Brad mentioned her by name in one of his recent posts.. Do you see her as a rival for his affections?

The real Anonymous said...

Would these internet personalities be more frustrated if they didn't have forums like this one to hold forth on?

Anonymous said...

moon

Anonymous said...

Oldish Newbies

What really matters said...

Um the Dow Jones is down over 500 points. The world is coming to an end. Wake up while you can. Holy crap it's still going down jesus christ have mercy on us, i'm gonna lose everything sell sell sell!

what matters most said...

800 points, hail mary full of grace! I repent I repent!

Anonymous said...

"Who in the world am I?" asked Alice (in Wonderland). "Ah, that's the great puzzle!" The question may make you wonder about taking time to ponder such philosophical babble. The answer is usually defined by what you can control. A reply might be, "I can wiggle my toes but I can't move the legs of the table." The dividing line between self and nonself is taken to be the skin. This is reinforced every day of our lives -- every time you fill out a form: I am ___ (your name here). It's such an integral part of our lives that the question is as unnatural as scrutinizing breathing.

Years ago I published an experiment (Science, 212, 695, 1981) with Harvard psychologist B.F. Skinner (the "father" of modern behaviorism) showing that like us, animals are capable of 'self-awareness.' We taught pigeons to use a mirror to locate a spot on their body which they couldn't see directly. Although similar behavior in primates is attributed to a self-concept, it's clear there are different degrees of self-awareness. For instance, we didn't report in our paper that the pigeons attacked their own reflection in the mirror. Biocentrism suggests we humans may be as oblivious to certain aspects of who we are as the pigeons.

We are more than we've been taught in biology class. Everyday life makes this obvious. Last weekend I set out on a walk. There was a roar of dirt bikes from the nearby sandpit, but as I went further into the forest the sound gradually disappeared. In a clearing I noticed sprays of tiny flowers (Houstonia caerulea) dotting the ground. I squatted down to examine them. They were about a quarter-of-an-inch in diameter with yellow centers and petals ranging in color from white to deep purple. I was wondering why these flowers had such bright coloring, when I saw a fuzzy little creature with a body the size of a BB darting in and out of the flowers. Its wings were awkwardly large and beating so fast I could hardly see their outline. This tiny world was as wondrous as Pandora in Avatar. It took my breath away.

There we were, this fuzzy little creature and I, two living objects that had entered into each others' world. It flew off to the next flower, and I, for my part, stepped back careful not to destroy its habitat. I wondered if our little interaction was any different from that of any other two objects in the Universe. Was this little insect just another collection of atoms -- proteins and molecules spinning like planets around the sun?

Anonymous said...

It's true that the laws of chemistry can tackle the rudimentary biology of living systems, and as a medical doctor I can recite in detail the chemical foundations and cellular organization of animal cells: oxidation, biophysical metabolism, all the carbohydrates, lipids and amino acid patterns. But there was more to this little bug than the sum of its biochemical functions. A full understanding of life can't be found only by looking at cells and molecules. Conversely, physical existence can't be divorced from the animal life and structures that coordinate sense perception and experience (even if these, too, have a physical correlate in our consciousness).

It seems likely that this creature was the center of its own sphere of physical reality just as I was the center of mine. We were connected not only by being alive at the same moment in Earth's 4.5 billion year history, but by something suggestive - a pattern that's a template for existence itself.

The bug had little eyes and antenna, and possessed sensory cells that transmitted messages to its brain. Perhaps my existence in its universe was limited to some shadow off in the distance. I don't know. But as I stood up and left, I no doubt dispersed into the haze of probability surrounding the creature's little world.

Science has failed to recognize those properties of life that make it fundamental to our existence. This view of the world in which life and consciousness are bottom-line in understanding the larger universe -- biocentrism -- revolves around the way our consciousness relates to a physical process. It's a vast mystery that I've pursued my entire life with a lot of help along the way, standing on the shoulders of some of the most lauded minds of the modern age. I've also come to conclusions that would shock my predecessors, placing biology above the other sciences in an attempt to find the theory of everything that has evaded other disciplines.

Anonymous said...

We're taught since childhood that the universe can be fundamentally divided into two entities -- ourselves, and that which is outside of us. This seems logical. "Self" is commonly defined by what we can control. We can move our fingers but I can't wiggle your toes. The dichotomy is based largely on manipulation, even if basic biology tells us we've no more control over most of the trillions of cells in our body than over a rock or a tree.

Consider everything that you see around you right now -- this page, for example, or your hands and fingers. Language and custom say that it all lies outside us in the external world. Yet we can't see anything through the vault of bone that surrounds our brain. Everything you see and experience -- your body, the trees and sky -- are part of an active process occurring in your mind. You are this process, not just that tiny part you control with motor neurons.

You're not an object -- you are your consciousness. You're a unified being, not just your wriggling arm or foot, but part of a larger equation that includes all the colors, sensations and objects you perceive. If you divorce one side of the equation from the other you cease to exist. Indeed, experiments confirm that particles only exist with real properties if they're observed. Until the mind sets the scaffolding of things in place, they can't be thought of as having any real existence -- neither duration nor position in space. As the great physicist John Wheeler said, "No phenomenon is a real phenomenon until it is an observed phenomenon." That's why in real experiments, not just the properties of matter -- but space and time themselves -- depend on the observer. Your consciousness isn't just part of the equation − the equation is you.

After she left the pool of tears, the Caterpillar asked Alice "'Who are you?' This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, 'I--I hardly know, Sir...'" Perhaps the Hookah-Smoking caterpillar, sitting there on his mushroom, knew that this unusually short question was not only rude, but difficult indeed.

Anonymous said...

The stock market is going back up. Blame the drop on the UK elections.. The the riots in Athens.. The European debt crisis.. Jundo's internet sangha..

CAPTCHA : UNNICE - I kid you not

Anonymous said...

"Leilani and I fucked way more than Richard Baker ever did, I'm sure. We'd been saving it up for weeks, having no place we could be alone. I had no idea sex could be that intense."

- Brad Warner, Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate

Anonymous said...

She was doing Richard Baker too??

Rich said...

Stephanie, I think we are all just trying to make a living so I can appreciate Brad's Hardcore brand. I think we all have our own little 'brand' going. Brad made some good points about online zen and in the ideal world everyone would have their own real live teacher and sangha. What I would like to point out is that even if you have a real live teacher and sangha, an online teacher and sangha can be helpful. In the old days BI (before internet) letter writing between teachers and students was big. One big difference between here and Treeleaf is that at Treeleaf the teachers respond and guide in a more personal way and hence the students are more supportive and personal with each other. This place is more like the Zen Asylum where everyone just shoots off whatever comes into their consciousness which can be offensive, entertaining, educational and even insightful. But i think Brad has said this is not his teaching forum but his marketing and promotion forum which is fine with me.

Jinzang said...

So people have a difference of opinion on the merits of internet sanghas. Just makes the world a more interesting place. So why does everyone get so upset and feel the need to hurl accusations around? Makes no sense to me.

Brad Warner said...

Didn't anyone get the memo? I do read the comments now. But certainly not all of them. That's why I'm posting responses to them. Duh! So stop making sarcastic remarks about at least that point. OK?

As for the rest, I'm just too fucking tired right now and I have to be up at 3 AM (no exaggeration) to catch a plane tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

The next morning I checked in on the bathroom and found the floor covered by nearly two inches of foul-smelling, brownish-green water that was literally flowing out of the toilet bowl like it was a really gross ornamental fountain. I saw bits of other people's toilet paper - I never use green toilet paper with flower prints - and undigested corn in there.

- Brad Warner, Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate

107.5 said...

Brad did you go see 108's band?

Rich said...

Yes, you have been responding more and I think that's a good thing. Thanks.

Mumon said...

OK, as long as you're readin' I think the Mad Magazine/etc. conformism was jejune; it had very high jejunosity to me (as I blatantly rip off and hence conform to Woody Allen's type of humor).

Seriously the question of conform or not is again one of those clingy-potential things. Too too too easy to assume that stance.

Besides, ever hear of Kazuo Inamori?

Mumon said...

Put another way, this practice makes you "more yourself," that is, "you become you," as Suzuki said about the polishing the tile koan.

You become more Mad Magazine; Inamori-san goes on to CEO and Rinzai priest salaryman-ness.

All good.

Anonymous said...

That passage about the undigested corn was vile. Why would that be in Brad's zen book? I guess it was taken out of context. And I won't even go into that sex quote.

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

" This place is more like the Zen Asylum where everyone just shoots off whatever comes into their consciousness which can be offensive, entertaining, educational and even insightful ."

I'm wearing an adult diaper, sitting on an inflatable shark raft, shooting nerf darts at the TV. But I'm in the moment.

Anonymous said...

thanks brad, this post was very helpful for me. i've discovered that there is a tibetan buddhist center near where i go to school, and have been trying to work up the sack to visit and possibly begin formal practice. im a little more inspired now.

Anonymous said...

Your posts are sounding a lot like the typical "zen teacher" posts, with lots of use of the royal "we" instead of good old-fashioned "I" and making it sound like you're giving a dharma talk rather than discussing in a blog forum.

'We' think that Gniz is a hypocrite, but we think it is not the first time. Roshi Gniz's words from Gniz's royal blog.

__________________________

First, I think it's clear the meditation can relax our bodies, our muscles, etc. At times it has the potential to also lower awareness (notice I am not saying all of the time). --We-- are not often in that "balanced state" of perfect alertness mixed with relaxation. Often, when sitting zazen or doing insight meditation, --we-- may be starting to nod off and go into periods of REM sleep, dozing.

--We-- may even have auditory and visual hallucinations when sitting for extremely long periods of time on retreat.

It's important to understand that meditation is a constantly changing process, and as such, --our-- brain is going to be in varying states throughout. At times, the act of meditation could lead --us-- to being in a more receptive, less intellectually critical mindstate.

In fact, a lot of teachers will tell --us-- that this is EXACTLY where meditation leads. They won't say that it's a less intellectually critical mindstate, they'll call it "being free of opinions" or "emptying your cup" or "thinking non-thinking."

....

--Our-- mind can do funny things while meditating, and --we-- can have confusing experiences. ....

It's not meditation that is the problem, in other words, but what --we-- use to EXPLAIN the kinds of things that happen to --us-- while meditating and experiencing life from that perspective.

It may be innocuous stuff such as, "I am everything and everything is me."

"The whole world just is."

These kinds of statements and concepts attach to experiences that --we-- have during meditation and allow --us-- to construct whole new belief systems around those experiences. ....

Posted by gniz at 9:00 AM

http://rebloggingbradwarner.blogspot.com/2010/03/cautions-about-meditation-and.html

Anonymous said...

I like how people constantly attack Brad for his orthodox views on Soto Zen practice. As he has said before, if he thought that there was another practice better than shikantaza, he would be doing it. The problem with western buddhism in general, is this belief that it needs to be added to, that we can make it more complete and better. Big Minds a good example, adding pseudo-psychotherapeutic techniques to Zen to make their Zen brand better and more Unique therefore better selling than the next brand (And before you jump on me I am aware that Brad does this too, cept in his case, his brand alienates more people than it attracts). I've seen western buddhist brands that will take a bit from theravada, add a liberal dose of tantra, chuck in some mahayana, add a chunk of western philosophy, throw in a bit of Evangelical christian zeal (and pop music!), shake it up and serve it on a Vegan platter. Which is fine if your into that, just don't expect not to walk away confused, with half a dozen different practices under your belt and a whole heap of philosophy pinging around your skull.
This was why I turned to Zen in the first place, cause it strips everything down to the absolute bare minimum. Before I was doing Mindfulness of breathing, metta Bhavana (development of loving-kindness), shikantaza, Karuna bhavana, Upekkha bhavana, Yidam visualisation, Lamrim cycle, etc, etc, and always ready to do another retreat on a new technique, from a new master in some different tradition.
Zen blows that away by definitively saying this is how you sit (shikan taza), this is how you walk (Kinhin), this is how you eat(oryoki)etc. It doesn't say oh if you would like to do some extra stuff on the side thats good, it says all you need to do to attain the way is to follow these simple insructions. Funnily enough so does Theravada, so do the Tibetan schools, so do the pureland schools, so does every religion on the planet, "just do these things and you will find god/enlightment".
So Brad is simply following in the tradition of all schools of thought in saying that in HIS experience, he has found no better way of practice than Zen. If you do not want to do Soto Zen practice, then that is cool, you have freedom to practice in whatever way you want.
OzMatt

Stephanie said...

I admit I am bad about using "we" sometimes instead of "I"--not "the royal we," but to make universal statements because there are certain things I think are pretty much human nature. I may be wrong and may only be speaking for myself in those instances.

When I post here, or Treeleaf, or anywhere else, I am sharing my experience and opinion(s)--nothing more, or less. My hope is to connect with people, or get a dialogue going. I don't think of myself as an authority. I've learned certain things, which I share; I'm not going to pretend to be demure or second-guess myself when I'm confident in what I'm saying. But I don't have some complex agenda.

I did want to share my experiences with Treeleaf here to counterbalance the assumptions or negative opinions as to its value. There really is no special magic value in close social interaction when it comes to teaching, learning, and practicing Dharma. That's been my experience. People go to sanghas for many reasons, some of which won't be addressed by an online sangha. But if you're primarily interested in waking up, turning words can come in any format.

Anonymous said...

Zen blows that away by definitively saying this is how you sit (shikan taza), this is how you walk (Kinhin), this is how you eat(oryoki)etc. It doesn't say oh if you would like to do some extra stuff on the side thats good, it says all you need to do to attain the way is to follow these simple insructions.

In other words, a ton of "conformity" is part of Zen practice.

thanks brad, this post was very helpful for me. i've discovered that there is a tibetan buddhist center near where i go to school, and have been trying to work up the sack to visit and possibly begin formal practice. im a little more inspired now.

Brad would probably rather have you head down to the local tibetan center if the only other option was to practice Shikantaza with his dreaded rival Jundo. Or, Buddha forbid, the evil GENPO!

'We' think that Gniz is a hypocrite, but we think it is not the first time. Roshi Gniz's words from Gniz's royal blog.

That was funny! You sure caught Gniz' Imperial two-facedness. Same something critical about Brad these days and his puppy Gniz comes barking. Tell Gniz that he is acting like Brad's lapdog (butt buddy?), and like clockwork he will pull out a couple of mild criticisms of Brad to show how even handed he still is.

Anonymous said...

So Brad is simply following in the tradition of all schools of thought in saying that in HIS experience, he has found no better way of practice than Zen..

The thing is, it's not even his experience. He's admitted he knows very little about other sects of buddhism. But then goes on to proclaim his way the best. He should only say 'it is what works for him' and let it go at that.

And jinzy, as usual, why do you assume bradley's critics are 'upset' but brad is not? You're almost as bad about projecting as brad is.
Self-awareness.

Rinzai the corn fed said...

Stephanie.. It's not always about you dear. It's about we.

Anonymous said...

People often ask "Why Zen? Is it relevant in today's world?" The answer is yes, very relevant! Zen training -- of which meditation is a key component -- is designed to produce people who can be effective in any situation. Far from the popular notions of bliss, tie-die and tree hugging, Zen is rigorous, direct and extremely challenging.

Zen is not about tips, tools and strategies. Instead, it's a meditative and reflective practice which seeks to cultivate a certain character and quality of being that leads to greater life satisfaction. This only comes from understanding yourself and the true nature of things. My Zen teacher refers to Zen training as that of making a sword. First you have to heat the metal until it is red hot, then you have to pound out the impurities and finally let it cool. Only then will you have an effective sword. That's Zen; an all-out assault on anything which prevents us from expressing everything that we are. For those who expect wind chimes and ripples on a pond, the real experience of Zen can be quite unsettling at first.

When I arrived at the Santa Monica Zen Center in 1998, I was desperately seeking answers. At that point in my professional career I had worked in marketing and business development across a number of industries. Over and over again, I had been confronted by an impenetrable dynamic amongst people -- a win at all costs mentality that prevented businesses and professionals from taking responsibility for something greater than themselves or their inner circle. "It's just business," a popular catch-phrase that I often heard, was used to justify certain actions and the pursuit of profits at the expense of people. I knew something was off but I couldn't put my finger on it.

This experience led me to seek answers. I wanted to know what would prevent good, connected and powerful people from using their resources to improve themselves and their everyday work environment; the argument "they just don't care" didn't satisfy me. I explored several methods for self-development, and none provided me with the answer to the question "WHY?" As in, "Why do I feel the way that I do, and why do people do the things that they do?" Ultimately my seeking led me to Zen Buddhism."

Anonymous said...

My first encounter with Yoshin Sensei, Abbott of the Santa Monica Zen Center, didn't take long to reveal that he did not fit the typical Zen Master stereotype. He was white, from Virginia, a conservative and 100 percent politically incorrect. Within minutes of speaking with him, he had me questioning the very makeup of who I was. As embarrassing as it was, no one had ever done that. It was exactly what I needed.

I knew from my initial experience with Sensei that Zen Training would provide me with the answer to the question 'Why?" It has, and more. As a former competitive athlete and professional musician who aspired to excellence, I was drawn to the "training" aspect of the practice. I don't care what the typical two-day self-improvement workshops promise; there is no substitute for consistent personal development over time. As the saying goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

For over a decade, I have -- like thousands of monks throughout the world -- engaged in the pursuit of understanding the nature of myself and all people by maintaining a regular schedule of training and practice. Several days a week I sit Zazen -- which is Zen meditation, conduct service -- Zen liturgy, study directly with my Sensei, give talks and train to lead groups and support other students in their practice. It is all about developing understanding and triggering realization of who we are. Like everything else, there are times that I love what I do and times when I would be happy to call it quits.

When I took my vows to be a priest in 2007, I had a visceral experience the moment that my kesa (outer garment that lies over the right shoulder) was wrapped around me. It was then that I realized that I had become part of a 2,600 year-old lineage that extends back through Japan, China, India and ultimately to the Buddha himself. Talk about powerful and overwhelming all in one.

In spite of the challenges, I became a Zen Priest because of what it requires of me. It is a powerful, ancient structure by which a person can access their full human potential. It's a standard that demands mastery, excellence and integrity. It insists that I make an impact NOW! It represents the possibility of being fully functional and integrated as a human being and leader.

People often ask me about what it is like to be a Zen Priest. Well, it is profound and very normal at the same time. To my family and childhood friends back in Claremont, California, I am just Mark. To my colleagues and peers at work, I am also just Mark - that's the point. Last July, I got married, and now my wife Malene and I are expecting our first child in late April. We also have a really cool dog (Nahla) and enjoy hanging at the house, taking walks, eating good food and making the trek to my mother's home in Sonoma whenever possible.

I have seen a lot of people come and go from the Santa Monica Zen Center. In Zen the expectations are high, as are the hurdles you must navigate on a constant basis - not everyone makes it. Throughout the years good friends have challenged my level of commitment and encouraged me to quit. Through it all one thing has remained a constant. It is the words - Do Not Squander Your life! - that remain present in my mind. These five words are read aloud each night during intensive periods of training. They keep me going, and they are what drive me to support other people in making the most of their life too. This is why I am a Priest.

Time swiftly passes and opportunity is lost - Do Not Squander Your Life!

Anonymous said...

Stephanie.. It's not always about you dear.

She is young and she thinks that she's really on to something ultimate this time. She fails to realize that her ego and selfishness come across with virtually every post.

Rinzai the prepubescent said...

She's not young. She's in her twenties already! I'm young.

Anonymous said...

"Turning words can come in any format" See guys, Steph is right. Zen is all about the words, the pretty, pretty words. Join your online sangha today.

sharpie said...

Anon, you missed the point completely.

Anonymous said...

If anyone who posts with a screen name is subject to attack simply because he/she has a screen name, then everything is out. Anything posted means nothing. Calling someone young, dumb and egotistical typically should take more than the evidence you have presented, which is non-existent.

Anonymous said...

Good point Anon.

gniz said...

You caught me using the royal we and sounding like a dipshit zen teacher. I already admitted it was a case of pot calling the kettle black. I feel like I've hit those points in my life and practice where I "got it" and started lecturing about what happens when "we" do such and so forth.

Some of it can be true, too, but it doesn't make it any less obnoxious.

In other words, yes, I've also been an ass on a regular basis. I did it again by being rather troll like on Brad's blog and arguing the last couple of days.

As for criticizing Brad, for some people no amount of criticism is enough. For others, any is too much. I think I've done my fair share and sometimes what he says doesn't interest me enough to comment either way, whereas what other people say interests me more.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 7:44
you said
"The thing is, it's not even his experience. He's admitted he knows very little about other sects of buddhism. But then goes on to proclaim his way the best. He should only say 'it is what works for him' and let it go at that."

He has said that many times. Does he need to put a disclaimer on everything he says? If you found something that worked for you would you then throw it out for something else which might also work? If it works why bother changing it? And why wouldn't you then recommend what is working for you to others?
OzMatt

Rinzai till i die said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Internet101 said...

Don't feel so violated Rinz.. It's the internet.

Samuel said...

Brad, at your best you're a wonderfully coherent teacher, but at your worst, you're way too stuck on who's not authentic or not real and slamming other people. You spend a lot of time and energy diminishing others. It's a shame really.

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

The Rinz.. Ha!

Brad Warner said...

When do I ever diminish anybody?

Brad Warner said...

...other than Genpo and Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber, I mean.

Just saying said...

Next one is 108.

Not Brad's Butt Boy said...

It is actually the opposite question, Bad Brad. Where can you find many posts by you that -do not- involve you primarily bitching, telling to "fuck off", complaining, comparing negatively, snarking, pissing on, mocking, mud slinging and deriding somebody or something? Let everyone conduct their own survey through your posts and see how rarely you present your own message in your own constructive voice that does not mostly involve you bitching about someone.

Not any more [Ran] said...

Nobody denies that Genpo received the transmission [and nobody (as far as the little I've read) seems to mention it - which I don’t understand] but I don’t really see why Andrew Cohen would be seen as worth mentioning.

[- and if this Wilber guy chose to be his couple, he can't be that brilliant - or that honest - can he? - for the little I know.

it seems enough.]

110 (hopefully) said...

"Not any more" refers to "Just saying" @ 3:56 am. (also me)

Not just saying (or else) said...

Next one is 112.

Not Harry said...

Do stop this.

Anonymous said...

fans?

Anonymous said...

"If you found something that worked for you would you then throw it out for something else which might also work? If it works why bother changing it? And why wouldn't you then recommend what is working for you to others?"

That all seems rational and balanced. But Brad doesn't just do that. He's also quick to say that other ways are 'wrong' or inferior. It's one thing to tell someone (who is perhaps practicing theravada or vajrayana)'zazen works great for me' and another to insist your way is incorrect, not authentic buddhism, etc. And it's really silly to insist it is better than all others while admitting you know very little of these other ways.

Brad should spend more time reading mainstream buddhist texts or even mainstream zen texts (not just Dogen).

Jinzang said...

And jinzy, as usual, why do you assume bradley's critics are 'upset' but brad is not? You're almost as bad about projecting as brad is.

In my post I said "everyone," which was deliberately vague and inclusive, mostly out of politeness. I was not drawing a distinction between good Brad and bad commenters, that is something you found in what I wrote, but I had not intended.

Anonymous said...

If you meant to include Brad, but were just being poiite, as you say, then I apologize for misreading you.

Boonton said...

I think Brad's comments about online sanghas are accurate. I've done online academic classes and despite web cams, discussion boards, email etc. something is lost in forcing communication through the net rather than face to face. Also going out the door to sit with the sangha is part of practice too. It requires you to arrange your schedule, apply discipline (going even when its raining, when your friends want you to do something fun with them etc.), in other words make a concentrated effort.

I disagree that an online Zendo is bad in itself. I think it has serious challenges just like an online gym would and online schools do. We should be direct and honest about these challenges and point out that in many cases the cost of overcoming these challenges is probably greater than finding a local zendo for sitting an instruction. But there are people who simply do not live near anything acceptable and there are people who live in places without religious freedom. I wouldn't want the option denied them and I think such a place could be helpful.

There is a reason, though, why nearly all major religions have not embraced the idea of 'going to church' through the web. And it's not just about money. While most do not object to the internet as a supplement, to make it a substitute for real life interaction with fellow seekers is a mistake.

That being said, I enjoy Trealeaf's online meditation timer. I use it to sit at home and don't have to be glancing at my watch every five minutes. It gives you the chimes at the start and end and the little animated incense stick burning provides a nice 'zen flavor'.

Seagal Fan said...

"That being said, I enjoy Trealeaf's online meditation timer. I use it to sit at home and don't have to be glancing at my watch every five minutes. It gives you the chimes at the start and end and the little animated incense stick burning provides a nice 'zen flavor'."

You're obviously a nice guy and wanted to say something nice about Treeleaf. I have to say, though, that what you came up with comes across as pretty funny. (No offense to you or to Treeleaf. Just making an observation. I'm just sayen',)

Moon Face Buddha said...

Brad, you do not "diminish" any of those folks. You just diminish yourself by calling them bad names.

The 'mad' non-conformists that I have met on my travels do not think of themselves as non-conformist, they just live their lives the way they want.

"Each and every extraordinary activity, is simply having rice." - Dogen

Boonton said...

You're obviously a nice guy and wanted to say something nice about Treeleaf. I have to say, though, that what you came up with comes across as pretty funny. (No offense to you or to Treeleaf. Just making an observation. I'm just sayen',)

No offense. Actually I just wanted to say something about that online meditation timer. I don't really know much more about Treeleaf but since sitting is supposed to be so much what more is there to know?

Kelly said...

I don't really know much more about Treeleaf but since sitting is supposed to be so much what more is there to know?

Treeleaf has been really great these last couple of years for me. I lived about 150 miles from the nearest Zen group in the middle of the Bible belt. What's more, even when I moved to a place where there was a group, I could only get there about twice a month because of my work. I have found the people at Treeleaf really warm and helpful. They encouraged me in sitting every day, although I do not always manage. I especially recommend the online live sittings.

http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=11

the forum

http://www.treeleaf.org/forum/index.php

and Jundo and Taigu's usually great little talks at Shambhalasun

http://www.shambhalasun.com/sunspace/?author=101

Stephanie said...

I live in the NYC metro area, where you can practically throw a rock in any direction and hit a zendo. While here, I've sat with different zendos, depending on location, work schedule, etc. I'm currently making the effort to start sitting with yet another group with a more Soto perspective, even though I expect to be moving away within a few months.

Throughout this time, I've also continued to participate at Treeleaf.

Treeleaf has had more of an effect on my practice than any of the sanghas I've sat with in person. I was even committed enough with one of these sanghas to be doing interviews with the teacher and monthly zazenkai. I started getting a weird vibe from the teacher, who liked to talk about The Secret, which I find to be one of the most blatant examples of spiritual hokum on the market. And the feedback and direction he was giving me felt like it was pushing my practice in the wrong direction, back into a focus on control and technique, rather than letting go of control. Then the other local sangha I was sitting with, while a nice place with likable people, is headed by a Christian/Buddhist, and while I have nothing against Christianity, I'm a Buddhist, not a Christian, and the emphasis on Christian texts was off-putting.

While all this was going on, the discussions and feedback at Treeleaf led to some breakthroughs in my practice and understanding. I was able to see more and more clearly the subtle attempts to control and change my experience while on the cushion, and to start dropping these efforts. Taigu's talks on the ox-herding pictures offered an excellent teaching on how we can use spiritual practice to reinforce 'the witness,' which is actually a barrier to direct experience. I've started enjoying my practice again, and sitting more often (though I'm not yet back to a daily practice).

At this point, the reality is that Treeleaf has become my primary zendo. I still go to 'in-person' zendos because I like to, and there are obviously things you get in a local group that you don't on an Internet group. But it is now the case that the local zendos are "extra," while Treeleaf is the main place I go for teaching, guidance, and support in my practice. It is through Treeleaf that I've finally experientially understood the Soto approach to practice, which goes more against the grain of my delusion than the Soto/Rinzai hybrid style (White Plum Sangha) I'm used to.

The people that dismiss an online zendo are reacting to their own prejudices, concepts, and fear / lack of knowledge of technology (people are still people, even over the Internet), not actual experience. Treeleaf has helped and made a real impact on the practice-lives of a lot of folks. It's the real deal.