Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NOW IN GERMANY! HARDCORE ZEN ÜBER ALLES! and MY IMPRESSIONS OF POLAND

I arrived in Germany yesterday. Here's the schedule of talks I'm doing:

•May 26, 2010 7:30pm - Frankfurt, Zendo - Verein für Zenmeditation Frankfurt e.V. Galgenstr. 18 Weitere Infos:regina@dogen-sangha-frankfurt.de Fon: 06101 813 383

•May 27, 2010 7:30pm - Bielefeld, J.Kamphausen Verlag & Distribution GmbH Buddestr. 9 - 15 Weitere Infos:dirk.grosser@j-kamphausen.de Fon: 0521 560 52 12

•May 28, 2010 7:30 pm - Berlin, Dharma Buchladen, Akazienstr. 17 Weitere Infos:info@dharma-buchladen.de Fon: 030 - 784 50 80

In mid-June I'll be returning briefly to Germany to do another talk in Wuppetal. I'll get that info up in a couple days. As usual all info for the European tour is at http://web.me.com/doubtboy/Site/BookTour_2010.html.

How about a run-down of some of the stuff I did while I was in Warsaw...

Lemme see. Yesterday I visited several of the record stores of Warsaw guided by my Brad-sitter, Kaja. That was her designation by the folks at ELAY, my Polish publishers. Luckily she is as big a record store fanatic as me and was eager to take on the task.

First we went to Megadisc. In spite of a name that conjures up images of a Amoeba Records style superstore, Megadisc is actually a tiny little shop situated in a courtyard between some big buildings. You go through an entrance way, look around, get confused, go back to the entrance way to make sure you did see a little sign that said Megadisc on the wall, go back into the courtyard, look around some more and then you spot the store owner putting a little sign out in front of a ramp leading into the little basement room that is the store.

It's tiny, but well stocked with psychedelic and prog rock reissues. You can sorta tell what kind of store you're in by seeing what they do with The Beatles section. This place did not even have one. Which shows that they are far too hip to carry anything as passe as The Beatles.

I purchased a copy of The Moving Sidewalks' "Flash" album on CD with 5 bonus tracks from their early singles. The bonus tracks are essential. This is a fantastic LP, but you must have the early singles to complete the picture. Some CD reissues don't include these.

For those who do not know, The Moving Sidewalks were a Texas psych band fronted by Billy Gibbons who later became the bearded guitarist of ZZ Top. They toured with Jimi Hendrix who, it is said, was highly impressed by Gibbons' guitar style. And you can tell from the album that he was equally impressed by Hendrix. Fave track: Reclipse, a psychedelic sound FX collage in the manner of Revolution 9.

I also spotted Time to Suck by Suck an early 70s hard rock band from South Africa. As I went to pay for this, Kaja snatched it from my hands and purchased it for herself. Darn her to heck!

Next we visited Muzant. This one was also impossibly hard to find. It was in the basement of what appeared to be one building of a large apartment complex. There was no way in Heck you'd ever spot it from the street. The stock was all used. They seemed mainly focused on jazz and blues, though the rock section was pretty good. The prices were great. I got the double disc reissue of Motorhead's Rock'n'Roll for 30 zlotys, which is like $10.

We also visited a place called Hey Joe, which looked very cool from outside, but the organization was really bizarre. The CDs were displayed in these weird bins with metal cages on top. So you could flip thru and see what was in there. But you couldn't pick them up and look on the back at the track listings. Annoying. Plus I couldn't work out any sort of order. Was it alphabetical? By genre? Completely random? I could not guess.

Last we visited a chain book and CD shop called Traffic. As we walked in I thought there wouldn't be anything much in the place. It looked like a Barnes and Nobles or something. I was very surprised to see they had a selection of psych and prog rock reissues to rival even Megadisc. Plus you could listen to anything in the store by scanning its bar code on one of the conveniently located listening stations throughout the store. I played The Jody Grind, The Legendary Pink Dots, Blue Cheer, Road (with Noel Redding of the Jimi Hendrix Experience) and a Hawkwind compilation before they came to take me away.

And where did they take me away to? To a rehearsal by the band Kryzys, Poland's very first punk rock act. Their drummer Magura came to the Zen retreat I led in Warsaw and asked me to jam with him and one of their two (!) sax players after the rehearsal was done. Groovy!

The rehearsal was held in the basement of a big ugly industrial building in central Warsaw. There were people inside washing massive mountains of dishes, but there didn't seem to be any restaurant nearby. Could it be that restaurants sent their dishes to this place to be washed? I don't know. Outside the place were flags for Solidarity '80, who, I was told, aren't actually the "real" Solidarity but a more radical offshoot group. Like all punk rock rehearsal places it was dank and dark, filled with musical equipment, junk food wrappers and discarded furniture with egg cartons nailed to the walls in the usual futile attempt to provide some kind of sound-proofing. Just like back in Akron!

Earlier in the week, as I mentioned in a previous entry, I had been the guest on a radio show hosted by Tomek Lipinski, who had been a member of Brygada Kryzis, which was an offshoot of the original Kryzis. Though Lipinski is better known for his band Tilt.

After the rehearsal we went and saw Men Who Stare At Goats, which I thoroughly enjoyed. But the drive back to the Bodhidharma Zen Center was the real entertainment for the evening.

I don't know if they're reporting this outside of Europe -- when I searched on CNN I couldn't find a word about it -- but Poland is getting flooded like crazy. The water under the main bridges throughout Warsaw was almost up to the tops of the pylons. We had to drive back along a whole bunch of detours since several main roads were closed. Eventually we were driving on a dirt road through the forest. But we made it back alive.

Oh and the Zen? Philip Kapleau visited in the 80s and established the center where we camped out for the last 5 days of my stay. We held a 3-day retreat there, which was attended by 10 people. Pretty much par for the course Zen-retreat-wise. A lovely time was had by all.

The folks from the center who attended were more used to the Rinzai style of shorter sitting periods but more of them and koans. But they did fine.

This little traveling Zen circus I'm putting on all over the globe these days is kind of fun. Hope to see a few of you at the talks!

92 comments:

R said...

Harry, - where are you?

Mumon said...

Amazing...you completely didn't notice the funky cool apocalyptic bohemianness of it all?

Ah, well. Glad you enjoyed one of my ancestor's ancestral hometowns.

john e mumbles said...

Achtung Baby

Anonymous said...

Did Nishijima Sensei really invite a Chinese hooker to his apartment? Look at his blog and click on the link. to Ven. 慧茹慧茹 San,

Or maybe he is just a fan of the Taiwanese Suicide Girls?

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=16723429&postID=4525513724848651363

Wink and Nod said...

anon #108 said...

Thanks 'wink and nod' for the info.

But I was thinking more of G.Buddha and Mahakashyapa - the flower/smile/"you have the true dharma eye" thing. Quite possibly an old wives tale too, but it makes the point well, I think.


You shouldn't buy into all those old Chan stories without a grain of salt. Don't buy into the legends and fairy stories.

8. The development of the story of transmission from the historical Buddha to Mahakasyapa is an illustration of how the Chan lineage myth has been constructed over hundreds of years. As the mythology developed, it was felt that the Chan lineage could not begin with Huineng, the Sixth Patriarch, or with Bodhidharma, the first Chinese Patriarch, but rather, for credibility, had to begin with Sakyamuni Buddha. A version of the story in a Chan text dated 801 CE does not have the Buddha holding a flower or Mahakasyapa’s smile, while the true teaching of the Buddha was presented as the collection of sutras preached by the Buddha and recited by Ananda. At this early stage in the creation of the myth, there was an “ambiguous understanding” of the Buddha’s true teaching. It was presented as “formless’ and subtle,” yet it still identified it as verbal, that is, with the canonical tradition as recited by Ananda. Even the important Sung Chan transmission record of 1004 did not mention the flower and the smile. The flower and Mahakasyapa’s smile is first mentioned in a Chan record of transmission in 1036 in a text that also, interestingly, promoted the idea of Chan identity as “a special transmission outside the teaching.” The first version of the story that explicitly connects “a special transmission outside the teaching” and the wordless holding up a flower and the smile transmission, occurs in an apocryphal text in 1077. Subsequently, this version of the story began to appear in Chan transmission records. It reached its full popularity only later in the unique Sung literary form, the collections of kung-an (koan) case studies such as the Gateless Gate (Wu-men kuan), compiled in 1228, where it is Case 6. For the full study, see Albert Welter, “Mahakasyapa’s Smile: Silent Transmission and the Kung-an (Koan) Tradition” in The Koan, ed. by Steven Heine and Dale S. Wright, Oxford Press, 2000, pp. 75 – 109.

http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/CriticalZen/Zen_Master_in_America.html

Anonymous said...

Ann the 25 minute sits is Rinzai. Perhaps I should loom for them then. I started sitting with a Maezumi lineage that I consider Soto but I have moved to northern California where all the Soto groups sit for 40 minutes which I am finding to be difficult to adjust to.

Harry said...

"Harry, - where are you?"

I'm right here... at number 7.

8-(
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Seagal Rinpoche said...

Understand clearly that when a great need appears a great use appears also; when there is small need there is small use. It is obvious, then, that full use is made of all things at all times according to the necessity thereof.

Harry said...

Thanks, Rinpoche, that helps.

Don't hit me.

Regards,

H.

anon #108 said...
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anon #108 said...

Hi again, wink and nod,

Trust me (why would you?), I try very hard not to be "bought into" anything. Like I said, the flower/smile thing is quite possibly an old wives tale. The historical truth of the event doesn't matter at all; like all stories, it illustrates something.

The kind of formal 'training' undertaken in religious institutions, of all persuasions, is a very different approach to the face-to-face, getting-to-know-someone-over-time-teacher-approval approach traditionally celebrated in Zen. The less formal approach might result in a teacher confirming someone else as a teacher regardless of their knowledge of scripture and liturgy. Not that such knowledge isn't a good thing, but is it necessary to pass on what Zen Buddhism is really about?

For me, there's a danger that the religious institutional approach comes to value religious study, knowledge, tradition and time-served over the kind of judgement/intuition/trust that can only develop from personal contact, and shouldn't depend on formal qualifications. That's how I feel it.

Of course, it's not an either/or thing...

...Fairy stories aren't confined to fairy story books, are they?

Sebouh said...

I remember hunting down record shops in the NY Metropolitan area and getting so psyched when I found a gem. Now my old friends send me links to downloads from obscure music blogs. Never got into that too much. Maybe a Bleeker St. Records trip is in order.

So about how some people at Dharma talks like to test the enlightenment status of the teacher from the last blog: I saw the Dalai Lama in NY this past weekend and someone asked him if you still feel things like fear and insecurity once you've experienced emptiness. He said he hasn't experienced emptiness. Then he laughed and said "maybe very little bit," and said that feelings like fear and insecurity just get less solid.

CAPTCHA: flesteig

Anonymous said...

Did Nishijima Sensei really invite a Chinese hooker to his apartment? Look at his blog and click on the link. to Ven. 慧茹慧茹 San,

Or maybe he is just a fan of the Taiwanese Suicide Girls?

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=16723429&postID=4525513724848651363


THAT IS PRETTY STRANGE. SOMEBODY SHOULD TELL HIM AND PULL THAT ALL DOWN.

Inappropriate language said...
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Inappropriate language said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Inappropriate language said...

Albert Welter sounds more like a wank and a fart to me.

I haven't checked, but if anybody intends to take him seriously he'd better. (take heed 108, - a stupid man is sometime worse than a big bad wolf)

Seems like an intellectual who does not know the real meaning of what he is talking about.

Rather like a person investigating cook books without ever having the experience of eating. [or cooking]

Note that by eating you do get an understanding of what eating is, which you can't get by reading what wiki says about it. (- right, - Jinzang? - assuming there aren't even any pictures)

I'd let this guy battle Mysterion [- btw, - where is he? - any idea, Harry? - Could you believe I’d get to miss this guy?] to death.

I like Mysterion better. [He says very stupid things but he may be a nice guy]



Though … - … on the other hand … , - … Brad said [- wrote] recently that he does not believe the whole linage.

- Perhaps this is the time to explain.



And I do not intend to get into a thread.

Perhaps Rtid will be interested.

I am most likely not to.

Jinzang said...

I didn't know that Rinzai sitting periods are shorter than Soto. Is there some reason for that or is it just custom? In Mahamudra and Dzogchen they advocate many short sitting periods.

Inappropriate language said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Fake Hans said...

We sit 25 minutes at a time, 3 sessions linked by kinhin, at the Sanbo-Kyodan I go to.

Nishijima's said...

Simply, when activity is great, usage is great, and when necessity is small, usage is small. Acting in this state, none fails to realize its limitations at every moment, and none fails to somersault freely at every place;

Jinzang said...

you can't get by reading what wiki says about it

Scholarship and practice both have their place and neither can replace the other. I'm a traditionalist, but if the nice professor in the tweed jacket says that something is so, I will usually believe him. All traditions of Buddhism have (partly) made up lineages and legends have grown up around the founders. Stories about Mahakasyapa in Zen are much like the stories about Naropa in Tibetan Buddhism, instructive fictions.

Ran K. said...

I don't think Rinzai sittings are shorter than Soto.

I think every teacher decides as he thinks right.

Ran K. said...

- "if the nice professor in the tweed jacket says that something is so, I will usually believe him".

This means I was right.

- It is well known that much of the stories in the Sutras has never occurred, and even Dogen brings up stories that are very stupid, though what I said still stands.


I'd be looking forward to Brad's comment. [though he probably won't]

Rinzai till i die said...
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The Fake Hans said...

"They will beat that ass."

That's big talk but we'd fuck them up in a sit.

Rinzai till i die said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stephanie 2 said...

***RE: Jundo's new Zen training thing***

Hans and Fugen, I think first and foremost, from what Jundo is saying, a priest is someone present to and fully engaged with the sangha, and I hope to get to know you both better as people and Dharma students as you embark upon this path. I suspect there is much richness in both of you that is yet to be seen, particularly you Fugen, as you often show unskillful means in relating with others.

I understand that undertaking priest training does not confer some special status, as you two seem to think. I'm a skeptic by nature and am not even that impressed with Dharma Transmission... I think it's a necessary and useful method of developing teachers, but it's not a perfect system and some real dull-eyed folks have gotten to ascend their own 'Roshi throne' to personal aggrandizement when their teacher bestows upon them what they imagine to be the title of 'Lord of the Universe.' It's comical, really. What do you get, for 'Dharma fame'? The 'respect' of people who project their own crap onto you and want you to be their Mommy, Daddy, etc.? All that matters is the freedom of knowing the truth. That's what I care about in my practice... freedom from my delusions, so I can fully appreciate this fleeting life, to be able to experience love and joy that is not dependent on my limited preferences.

My concern is that the people who become priests can fill the role well, do it whole-heartedly. Make this place (and Treeleaf as well) more powerful, make the teaching and support of the community stronger. If the priests are not clearly visible here as strong practitioners, then we run the risk of coming across as the Buddhist equivalent of an online university where it's easier to get a degree but no one really respects it. We already run that risk simply by virtue of being an online sangha.

While I certainly believe there are unique virtues to 'brick and mortar' sanghas, I do not believe these are as significant as some (Brad Warner, for example) do. Online interaction has unique strengths. I do not believe 'brick and mortar' automatically equals 'more authentic'; people are equally capable of bullcrap face-to-face. But I do believe it's a bit easier to 'hide' online, to airbrush one's virtual image... and because people don't have to leave home to participate here, there may already be a bit less dedication or commitment. It is not necessarily so, however, and I have great hopes for the capacity of this place as a Dharma training center that knows no geographic bounds (though unfortunately linguistic ones) and allows more open sharing of life experience and issues by sangha members with the entire community. We have a capacity to reach people here that have financial, psychological, or other issues that might have otherwise prevented them from ever setting foot in a 'brick and mortar' sangha. We offer an alternative to people disappointed by their 'brick and mortar' experiences. This place is potentially immeasurably valuable... and also potentially as worthless as a tin penny. I think we should be careful, and set a strong example of how this can be done well.

We now have the chance to see if "digital transmission" can work. I fully believe it can, but only if we are not sloppy about it.

I hope Shohei, Fugen, and Hans are up to the challenge, but fear that they aren't.

Stephanie 2 said...

I need to be honest, though, and admit that I have mixed feelings about this.

On the one hand, it is inspiring to see this sangha continue to develop, I suppose.

On the other hand, I'm a bit baffled as to what the criteria are for those set to become 'Treeleaf priests.' Why did Jundo pick them and not me?

I mean no offense to anyone, but think this is important enough not to censor myself: I don't see what Shohei, Fugen, and Hans have in common as Dharma students or Treeleaf members. Shohei's commitment to Treeleaf, dedicated practice, and patient and kind demeanor allow me to easily see him in a priest role. But Hans and Fugen? Sorry guys, I mean no disrespect--you both seem like good people, from what I can tell. But Hans' involvement here seems minimal and shallow to me, and after reading many of his posts, I'm not sure I have any idea who Fugen is as a real person. He looks like a dork in his profile pic, maybe like he's trying to be the WWF Undertaker or something.

This is the difficulty, and one of my reservations, about an Internet sangha, that it is easy to be casual, half-engaged about it. One might drop in every once in a while to post a comment, or one might be a persistent presence but not be engaged on any real or personal level. I mean, I'm on here all the time yet Jundo passed me over for this thing.

Lord knows there's a lot of nerds out there who like to imagine themselves as 'senseis.' How do we judge sincerity on this format? How does one demonstrate commitment to the sangha? Post a lot?

Something isn't right about that either. There's also a concern of... how many priests are we going to train at Treeleaf? I imagine an absurd scenario where eventually, half the people posting are priests or priests in training... priests 'priesting' at priests... like a Zen nerd convention... like some bizarre parody of modern Zen written by Beckett.

All this said, I trust Jundo to an extent and Taigu quite a bit more, so thta I'm optimistic that this experiment could work.

I am sorry if my words offend anyone, but it comes out of my respect.

anon #108 said...

That's very clever, Stephanie 2.
You must be very proud.

Seagal Rinpoche said...

It is important to recognize the power of our emotions -- and to take responsibility for them by creating a light and positive atmosphere around ourselves. This attitude of joy that we create helps alleviate states of hopelessness, loneliness, and despair. Our relationships with others thus naturally improve, and little by little the whole of society becomes more positive and balanced.

Hokai said...

Seagal,
what are you doing?
Is that all from your daily-dharma-calendar in your kitchen or is it one of Harrys Second-Life-Avatars?
Fancy anyway!
Maybe you bring along some friends of yours, Tendzin Gyatsho or so.
Bows,
Gerald

Harry said...

Hey, Herr Hokey.

You only seem to drop in here to poke hokey fun at poor old Harry vers 1.0

Poor old 1.0, for all its glitches and faults, does its poor best with 1.0 and doesn't feel the need to try and fuck people over with virtual e-shenanigans (he's done it for a bit of harmless fun at times tho, the silly old fart). In fact, 1.0 has been unusually frank and conspicuous to dysfunctional levels despite some pressure to hide things away in dirty little closets.

To misquote the old slogan "We don't have the technology" (lit. dorksprung duck techneek).

Regards,

Harry.

Elder of Zion said...

Oh, the troublemaker is at work again, changing peoples' words.

The liar's version:

All this said, I trust Jundo to an extent and Taigu quite a bit more, so thta I'm optimistic that this experiment could work.

The original:

All this said, I trust Jundo and Taigu enough to be optimistic that this experiment could work.

And the same holds true through the rest of the propaganda. Kind of a Zen version of the Elders of Zion.

Rich said...

I thought that the Mahakasyapa flower story was from one of the Pali Canon suttas. Whatever!

Maha seemed to think he had a special relationship with Gotama and the bottom line is he became the second Buddha boss = that's what I think.

Malcolm - I really like your posts but I was curious - is this your day job -)

Stephanie 2 said...

Stop trolling immediately, Elder of Zion. Those two posts above are mine and mine alone. Any similarity to some purported "original source" is merely coincidental.

It's time you grew up, kid.

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

"Day job", Rich?

Day..."Job"???

No, I am not currently gainfully employed. I'm what's know in the United Kingdom as a benefit scrounger - or, in the Buddhist world, a mendicant. My withdrawal from the job market makes work available for others; younger, and with responsibilities, who need a salary more than I - I'm making a useful contribution! The state, recognising this, gives me a meagre, but regular, stipend - just for being me! (Although the new Tory government are about to kick my lazy butt into community service very shortly, I believe).

So I play the flute, study Sanskrit, proof-read translations of Dogen, play in a pop group, do quite a bit of blog-bothering (all for no £££) do zazen, watch TV and go for walks.

Re "The Flower Sermon": wink and nod's link does seem to clarify that the story didn't appear in written form until 1077 CE. Who knew?

Am I bovvered?

anon #108 said...

Did you like that link?

Well, if you ain't seen it yet, America (I suspect some of you have)...check THIS out. It's well shameful! An I ain't lyin.

Brad Warner said...

Just once I'd like to see the trolls get all pissy about a post like this one.

"Brad Warner once again is being disingenuous. Hey Joe is the best record shop in Warsaw."

the trolls said...

Didn't really read it, mate.

Anonymous said...

108 said

My withdrawal from the job market makes work available for others; younger, and with responsibilities, who need a salary more than I - I'm making a useful contribution! The state, recognising this, gives me a meagre, but regular, stipend - just for being me! (Although the new Tory government are about to kick my lazy butt into community service very shortly, I believe).

So I play the flute, study Sanskrit, proof-read translations of Dogen, play in a pop group, do quite a bit of blog-bothering (all for no £££) do zazen, watch TV and go for walks.


A "sit on his ass" Bodhisattva!

Since you have so much time, why don't you go out and help some fellow sentient beings, clean a road, sit with the elderly, instead of sitting home, strumming your guitar, staring at your navel and whacking off.

Come on. Waiting for the smooth comeback - and the excuses.

Rich said...

Anon 4:24
"Since you have so much time, why don't you go out and help some fellow sentient beings, clean a road, sit with the elderly, instead of sitting home, strumming your guitar, staring at your navel and whacking off."

Telling others what to do is not a solution to your problem.

With all the talk of music, I'm motivated to start spinning some vinyl again.

anon #108 said...

Come on. Waiting for the smooth comeback - and the excuses.

Excuses: Thanks for granting me the opportunity, but I don't have to excuse myself to you.

Smooth comeback: My life is none of your fucking business.

Your turn.

Anonymous said...

"The folks from the center who attended were more used to the Rinzai style of shorter sitting periods but more of them and koans. But they did fine."

It may surprise you to know that those of us who have practiced koan zazen are also able to do shikan taza. In fact, everyone who finishes koan study does shikan taza. Even Rinzai teachers do shikan taza.

Anonymous said...

Anon #108:

If you want to be a monk be a monk - whole deal or no deal.

If you are unemployed the deal is you look for work not jerk off. It's not sponsorship. It's not a lifestyle choice. It's a deal.

Your part of the deal is to go find work, any work. Our part of the deal is to support you when you cannot do that.

If you want to be paid to play guitar join a band.

Anonymous said...

this place makes my head hurt.

word verification: conaggir

anon #108 said...

Thanks for the opinions, analysis and instructions, anon @ 7.19am.

I have no intentions of becoming a "monk". I'm just a bad person. Sorry.


(BTW, I am in a band; we have our first paid gig in a couple of weeks - did you miss the link I gave? The final mixes are now in...I'll give the link again soon, when the new tracks are uploaded. Be patient ;))

Anonymous said...

Anon 108:
Fantastic to hear that you are in a band. It sounds like the perfect job for you.

Shouldn't you now go and tell the Benefits Agency that you are no longer looking for work and can sign off?

anon #108 said...

Hold on a tick anon.....I'll upload my extensive, impressive CV, the details of my past and present "issues", the particulars of my current domestic, personal and financial circumstances...you'll then be a slightly better position to be my life coach.

Anonymous said...

Anon:
Another excellent idea. You already think I should be your sponsor (as a taxpayer) so why not life-coach as well?

No wait, I need to get a life. Sorry I'm busy.

Seagal Rinpoche said...

Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual everyday routine.

mtto said...

The record stores in Ventura are far superior to the record stores in Poland. Dogen said so in 1492. Brad is wrong. He has violated all the precepts and defamed the three jewels with this heretical blog post. He is doomed to the Hell of Dark Metal.

CynicalBoy said...

25 minutes?
30? 35? 40?
Zazen? OCD?

Rinzai till i die said...
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PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Actually, I think everyone should just quit their stupid corporate jobs and bring capitalism to an end. I mean it's already collapsing anyway. We're just delaying the inevitable. I say let's get this bullshit over with, so I can devote more time to zazen. We can all be full time beggars just like the Buddha was. There's no shame in that.

Are you saying that all of us working-class blue-collars will be responsible for making your sandwiches? Paying your subscription to "Warcraft"? We that make up the MAJORITY of humanity?

Fuck that

That boring ass corporate job of yours IS zen. But you probably already suspected that.

I just went back to work after 22 months of unemployment. I feel a lot better psychically and physically. You dang Englanders call it "on the dole" I believe.

Jinzang said...

I think everyone should just quit their stupid corporate jobs and bring capitalism to an end.

It's called a general strike. The Wobblies tried it in Seattle, but capitalism still stands. Solidarity was more successful in Poland. No doubt by mentioning it, your name and mine are being recorded in some government database.

Jinzang said...

Glad to hear that you found a job, Philbob.

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

Some years ago a friend of mine, a talented musician, being unable to make a living in this country at his chosen profession (despite having made 5 moderately successful albums), moved to France. He'd heard that in France (at that time), as long as you could declare and prove a minimal number of paid bookings as a musician each year, the state would provide you with a modest income to enable you to continue plying your trade. Thus cushioned, he was able to establish himself as a professional entertainer within a year, rarely needing further state support. The UK has no such scheme; I’m not sure that France still does. PM?

Artists who want seriously to devote time to their art have often chosen relative penury rather than the security and societal approval of a regular job. I have worked hard in the past - at useful, 'important' jobs - but a few years ago, having passed the age of 50, I made a choice to devote myself to music, and in the UK that sometimes means 'signing on the dole’. If I had been fairly paid for all the public performances I have given recently, most of which I’ve not received a penny for, I wouldn't need to rely on state benefits. I’m providing a service, but the current music market doesn’t ‘need’ me, so I have to pay to play. In the past, I've been paid silly amounts of money for a few minutes work as a musician. Did I deserve it? Should we only value poeple's contributions to society on the basis of market demand and price? Or should we pay people according to the extent they make the world a 'better place'? How do you evaluate that? - It is what it is and we are what we are.

So call me a bum and a scrounger if you like. I really don’t mind :)

Rinzai till i die said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Thanks J Zang.

Rinz-I T.I.D.,
I grew up in a pro-union family and my father is a proud, retired Teamster who places the importance of Jimmy Hoffa over his savior, Jesus Christ.

Just not sure if everyone dropping responsibilities they agreed to take on is the answer.

I'm using rap names 2night.

Peace,
Feel BQB

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

Buddha: "I've decided to leave my wife and child in the palace in order to find enlightenment."

Phil-bobSquarehead: "Just not sure if everyone dropping responsibilities they agreed to take on is the answer."

Buddha: "You're right Philbob. Fuck that whole idea then."

john e mumbles said...

OK, I'll bite, Rinzai, PhilBob, et al, what is the law these days in the states on unemployment, re; do you have to be fired or laid off to draw benefits?

You can't just quit, right?

I dunno, I have wives (current and ex), kids, dependents who need the paycheck and health insurance my present gig provides.

I've really been able to come to a place where it doesn't matter what I do all day, either doing my thing or working for somebody else, or whatever,its pretty much just what I'm doing at the moment, staying with the moment no matter what it brings, its alright just to be here... wherever that is.

Doesn't feel like "work" or "play" it just is what it is.

Mara's Mara said...

Buddha: "I've decided to leave my wife and child in the palace in order to find enlightenment."

But then he didn't say, like 108, where are the government forms to fill out, and when will you send my first check.

People will rationalize their entitlement to anything.

108 the merciless said...

In the sweet old country where I come from
Nobody ever works
Yeah nothing gets done
We hang fire, we hang fire

You know marrying money is a full time job
I don't need the aggravation
I'm a lazy slob
I hang fire, I hang fire
Hang fire, put it on the wire

We've got nothing to eat
We got nowhere to work
Nothing to drink
We just lost our shirts
I'm on the dole
We ain't for hire
Say what the hell
Say what the hell, hang fire
Hang fire, hang fire, put it on the wire

here's ten thousand dollars go have some fun
Put it all on at a hundred to one
Hang fire, hang fire, put it on the wire

J&R

Stephanie from Treeleaf said...

108 is a fucking bum. No shame and no pride.

Rich said...

A capitalist is just someone that commands enough resources to actually get something done.

Mumbles is pretty close to what is this.
"I've really been able to come to a place where it doesn't matter what I do all day, either doing my thing or working for somebody else, or whatever,its pretty much just what I'm doing at the moment, staying with the moment no matter what it brings, its alright just to be here... wherever that is."

PhilBob, congrats on your job. everything is in the doing of something.

I support the unemployment compensation system. Most of the money is just printed and doesn't come out of anyone's pocket in the present moment. When the economy is growing the government pays its debts with cheaper and more plentiful tax dollars.

108 the merciless said...

Hyakujo, the Chinese Zen master, used to labor with his pupils even at the age of eighty, trimming the gardens, cleaning the grounds, and pruning the trees.

The pupils felt sorry to see the old teacher working so hard, but they knew he would not listen to their advice to stop, so they hid away his tools.

That day the master did not eat. The next day he did not eat, nor the next. "He may be angry because we have hidden his tools," the pupils surmised. "We had better put them back."

The day they did, the teacher worked and ate the same as before. In the evening he instructed them: "No work, no food."

Trevor said...

When do you feel best about yourself?

After a long day of work you may feel tired, but how do you feel after a long day of doing nothing at home? Perhaps a day of rest is nice, but after three or four days of nothing, one can become restless and unhappy.

How often do you know people who want a job, not because they need the money, but because they want something to do?

How do you feel when you’ve helped someone? Done something for somebody which they couldn’t do for themselves?

We are made to work and create and provide. That’s the nature of our being.

Anonymous said...

Research shows that unemployment negatively affects a person's wellbeing, which in turn can impair their ability to regain employment. Studies also suggest a person's [`]psychological capital' (PK) (personality traits that influence the productivity of labour) influences the impact of unemployment on wellbeing and facilitates re-employment. Results support a simultaneous relationship and the partial mediating effect of PK.

Individuals with poor PK are at greater risk of being unemployed.

Jimmy Clit said...

There is a strong link between unemployment and deterioration in physical and mental health and well-being.

Unemployment is shown to increase rates of sickness, disability and mental health problems, and to decrease life expectancy. It also results in an increased use of medication, medical services, and higher hospital admission rates.

Anonymous Bob said...

ahem.. I just want to say that I support my bother anon #108 in his unemployment and do not mind helping him with food and rent and such. I am only 57 and don't mind working to help the elderly or less fortunate, but I worry about a society where everyone wants to be an artist and thinks "What about me?"

CAPTCHA : rykshaw : I kid you not

Anonymous Jimmy Clit said...

I too support anon #108 in his quest to remain miserable. His life is his to do what he pleases.

I really mean that.

To each his own, I say.

The guy(s) posting the anti-108 stuff? I support them as well. Whatever. Go for it.

If I dislike what I'm reading in here I can always choose to stay away. I think I know how to do that.

As Candide says, tend your garden. Sounds about right to me.

Anonymous said...

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

I really should provide a proper link for this wonderful vid but I'm too fucking lazy.

dewoler

Anonymous said...

^Okay, linked it up here.

Anonymous said...

that wasn't the vid.. That was a porno site with a horrible computer virus. Thanks dude.

Anonymous said...

Thanks troll. That makes tons of sense. People can put their cursor on it to see that it's a youtube link. Well done, trollboy.

James said...

I'D LIKE TO RECOMMEND THE FOLLOWING BOOK:

Stephen Batchelor. Confession of a Buddhist Atheist. New York: Spiegel & Grau, 2010


Stephen Batchelor is among the best known voices of Buddhism in the West, as well as one of its most respected teachers and thinkers. Trained in the classic traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and Zen in Korea, he has an easy familiarity with the Pali Nikaya tradition, thus holding citizenship in all the three major traditions of Buddhism. Moreover, he is not affiliated with any sect, school, or institution and maintains an independent status as a Buddhist thinker.

Written with brilliance and boldness, this autobiography is vintage Batchelor and an illuminating walk through the landscape of Western Buddhism in the last thirty or forty years. It is as much a personal story as it is a narrative about the coming of Buddhism to the West.

Anonymous said...

Troll: I'm rubber, you're glue.

James said...

Outstanding Stephen Batchelor interview.

Jerry Miles said...

LOFL@that html'd link. That guy is either insane or a comic genius.

CynicalBoy said...

It's all about greed:
My life would be much better
If only I could...

anon #108 said...

Hi Jimmy clit!

There is a strong link between unemployment and deterioration in physical and mental health and well-being. I too support anon #108 in his quest to remain miserable.

For the record -

Since giving up salaried employment my health and happiness has improved greatly.

Although I did my last, responsible, stressfull, all-hours of the day and night full-time job very well for 10 years, and was highly thought of (representing suspects under arrest at police stations: murderers, shoplifters, baby-rapists - the majority of whom were undoubtedly guilty... [did I 'make a contribution'?]), I spent most of my hard-earned £££ on hard drugs. I was one of the not-so-rare 'fully functioning' junkies. But I looked and felt like shit most of the time. No one - not my boss, not the police, not the clients suspected; they just thought I was naturally under-nourished, pale and over-worked. Since living on very little, I've given up drugs, put on weight, taken up the practice of zazen. I am very much healthier and happier.

I am not 'unemployed'. I work - I told you. My work isn't currently valued by the market, so I'm very poorly paid - by the government. Explain to me what's wrong with that excuse/justification? And while you're at it, tell me what you do, what you spend your money on and why it's all so much more important than what I do with my time. Let's hear some honest confessions from all you righteously indignant 'constructive' members of society.

To "Stephanie from Treeleaf" (108 is a fucking bum. No shame and no pride -

I toldja, I really don't mind what you call me. But 'no pride'? I have quite a lot of pride. Can't you tell???

Anonymous Bob - as a fellow 57 year old (hmm...) you needn't worry, not everyone in society wants to be, or can be, an artist. But the world's a better place for having a few knocking about, don't you think? It is what it is and I am what I am.

Philbob - congrats from me too on your job. Everyone needs to do something creative and constructive with their time.

Right. What shall I do now? Band rehearsal this evening...and I'm working on those Karg-Elert flute studies...and there's the Dogen proof-reading to do (36 chapters! phew!)...and checking reduplicated aorist causitives for Mike Cross... oh! Musn't forget to get some cheap, healthy food in.

CB - Nice to see you back :)

Mike Hinsley said...

Anon 108:

"I am not 'unemployed'. I work - I told you. My work isn't currently valued by the market, so I'm very poorly paid - by the government. Explain to me what's wrong with that excuse/justification?"

Go and explain that to the Benefits Agency and see if they agree with your understanding. If they do then that's fine. If not you are deluding yourself to justify not finding some sort of paid work. Since ISTR you can work up to 15 hours a week go and chat to B&Q they like mature part-timers to work helping people. They pay you as well.

I think the way things are going the benefits agency will probably find you something to do that is of benefit to the community and isn't paid which should be perfect.

anon #108 said...

Hi Mike,

Go and explain that to the Benefits Agency and see if they agree...If not you are deluding yourself to justify not finding some sort of paid work.

I dunno, Mike. Just coz the Benefits Agency don't see it that way, doesn't invalidate my point, does it? I don't see the Benefits Agency as the guardians of ethical standards.
Part time is the solution, of course - just enough £ to sign off would do me fine, and I'd prefer it. The Job Centre don't tell you these things - mine don't, and my occasional bouts of genuine job search have proved fruitless. Thing is, they've made it very easy for me to carry on as I am....but, like you say, that's unlikely to continue for much longer. And that's fine with me. I'd appreciate a little regular work. My point has been that I am not doing wrong, and I am doing 'work'. That's all.

Oh...Why would "doing something for the community" (isn't entertainment not a useful community activity?) and NOT getting paid be perfect? Is that some kind of punishment, or do I misunderstand?

anon #108 said...

Since ISTR you can work up to 15 hours a week go and chat to B&Q they like mature part-timers to work helping people. They pay you as well.

Anything you earn is deducted from your benefit, isn't it? Earn more than £65, and it cancels out the weekly allowance. It's working at B and Q, or wherever, for the sake of doing something. That's fine for folks who have nothing at all to do with their time. But I do use my time, doing things I'm good at, which use my particular training and skills, and which do benefit others. I'm just not "paid" for doing them.

Please explain what's 'delusional' about that. You may be right, but I can't see it.

john e mumbles said...

Its strange, over the years I have found it advantageous to my writing to have a job, as well as babies crying, dogs barking, cars honking, wives clamoring...somehow, squeezing the work in between the distractions makes it better than sitting there in the dead quiet, brandy in snifter, smoking robe on, pondering the vast expanse of blank page in front of me...like some nameless ghost looking in the mirror..

john e mumbles said...

But I guess what I'm saying is I've never had to deal with a flute practicin' neighbor whilst trying to nail down the poetic prose, Malcolm...;)

anon #108 said...

Wassamadda, John? Donhca like Karg-Elert?!
(I play them studies much better than the bloke on the clips ;) And he's only done the easy ones. Pfft.)

Captcha = tooddo (or not tooddo?) Nah...I better...Off to rehearsal.

Laters!

john e mumbles said...

dunno from Sigfried Karg-Elert, but I did hear Ian Anderson back on the Thick As A Brick tour and thought it mighty fine indeed.

Its just that as a saxophone player I know that to practice the thing properly one must oft times BLOW and unless you are in a padded room already (don't I wish!) well, the inadvertant audience may object.
You're probably the type what gets pies left at the doorstep for the melodious-ness emanating from the environs, eh?

Hokai said...

Harry, you weren't the first and you're the last...
but me!
Strike!!!