Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Panic On the Streets of London


I've arrived and to prove it I'm here! Here in London, England! Woo-hoo!

This is a brief stop before I go on to do talks in France, Poland, Germany, Finland, Holland, Ireland and Israel. Crazy, huh? But it's fun.

As a result of all this traveling, I haven't had much time to look at the nearly 300 comments posted on the last entry. But thank you for posting.

And before I go further, yet another Dimentia 13 record is now available as an MP3 download! So go get Mirror Mind! It's a trippy record, let me tell you! It features big hits like Twice The Speed Of Time, Roolz Is A Rule, and Psychedelic Mushroom Cloud Explosion! Plus Naked Truth, which is about J. Krishnamurti.

Anyway, I have noticed something funny every time I do a post about Big Mind™, which is that those posts always attract a number of anonymous comments whose purpose seems to be to move the discussion away from anything to do with Big Mind™. Not to get all conspiracy theorist on y'all, but I do know from past experience that some of the Big Mind™ crew take an interest in what I've been writing and have done this same sort of stuff openly on other sites where my comments have been re-posted. Elephant Journal, for example, where the head of the Big Mind™ organization got into some of this last year.

But whatever. But the latest thread started in this vein has to do with, "How dare Brad be so irresponsible as to give advice to sufferers of PTSD!!!" Some of the ensuing discussion has actually been interesting. But I do want to say that I'm unaware of having ever given any advice to sufferers of PTSD (that's post traumatic stress disorder, by the way, if you're not up on the latest American categorizations of life). One of these guys posted something I'd written on Suicide Girls that doesn't sound like advice to me.

In any case, whether I have or have not "given advice," I to tend to assume a certain degree of intelligence among my readership, and I will continue to do so. Dan Savage, who does give advice to all kinds of people, always says that his is an advice column and not binding arbitration, that his readers and listeners to his podcast are not obligated to take the advice he gives. Whoever reads or listens to him, he says, is responsible for themselves.

I completely agree. I assume that people who read my stuff know that I do not know them personally and that I am not omniscient and omnipotent. I don't present myself as having all the answers even for me, let alone for anyone else. I actually try not to say things that appear to be advice, but even if I do sometimes slip and give advice, I consider that whoever reads/hears that advice has to decide for themselves if it's useful or not. I further assume that a fair portion of my readership discards anything I might have to say as the ravings of a lunatic. Or as one guy in the comments said, someone not as "deep" as Genpo Roshi (I certainly hope I'm not!).

My own two Zen teachers were always very reluctant to advise anyone on anything. Even when I specifically asked them for advice, they'd almost never give me any. The best I could get from them was maybe something like, "Well, when I was in a similar situation here's what I did." That seems to me now to be a really good way of handling it. Though it was often frustrating when I really wanted guidance. But guidance is probably not what most of us really need. We need to learn to be our own guide.

In any case, carry on discussing. I'm gonna go see the record shops of Camden Town!

156 comments:

R [...] said...

#1.

Haven’t read it yet though.




What conclusions have been reached with regard to the last post?

[After the long discussion - i.e..]

Harry said...

Oh Eartha Kitt!

I didn't get number apple and plum.

I feel like such a Berkshire hunt.

Regards,

'Arry.

p.s.

http://www.cockneyrhymingslang.co.uk/

Still me (@ 3:13 am) said...

I liked "latest American categorizations of life".

This is ignorance becoming a standard, in a way.


I suppose "carry on discussing" means Genpo.

btw said...

My pleasure, Harry.

as well said...

don’t like the smiths.

never did.

morrissey sounds emotional to me.

so here's a video response.

john e mumbles said...

This is a great track, but perhaps more to the point would've been everybody (who likes The Smiths)'s fave:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHEhAd3KnoE

They had to record the reverb in chunks and cut and paste it together. Genius.

And Morrisey's vocals are always the McSnizzle.

Anonymous said...

Wow, touchy about reader comments.

Don't worry about it, Brad. Don't let your mind trick you into being worried about what the comments say. Just take'er easy.

Anonymous said...

We get it dude you were part of some music back 30+ years ago big deal. LOL@how you act like it makes you cool.

Glenn said...

ungh, I don't know why but Morrissey's vocals have always just gotten under my skin, and not in a good way. Him and Elvis Costello, ack ..

Jinzang said...

Brad, you just gave advice that you shouldn't give advice. And all you folks who are hating on Morrissey and the Smiths don't know what good music is.

coolcrap said...

"And all you folks who are hating on Morrissey and the Smiths don't know what good music is."

Oh please ignorant child! 99% of what passes for music totally sucks. Morrissey and the Smiths included.

john e mumbles said...

Wikipedia:
Rolling Stone, naming him one of the greatest singers of all time in a recent poll, noted that his "rejection of convention" in his vocal style and lyrics is the reason "why he redefined the sound of British rock for the past quarter-century".[6] Morrissey's enduring influence has been ascribed to his wit, the "infinite capacity for interpretation" in his lyrics[5], and his appeal to the "constant navel gazing, reflection, solipsism" of generations of "disenfranchised youth," offering unusually intimate "companionship" to broad demographics.[2] Journalist Mark Simpson calls Morrissey "one of the greatest pop lyricists -- and probably the greatest-ever lyricist of desire -- that has ever moaned" and observes that "he is fully present in his songs as few other artists are, in a way that fans of most other performers...wouldn't tolerate for a moment.[57] Simpson also argues that "After Morrissey there could be no more pop stars. His was an impossible act to follow...[his] unrivalled knowledge of the pop canon, his unequaled imagination of what it might mean to be a pop star, and his breathtakingly perverse ambition to turn it into great art, could only exhaust the form forever."

alan sailer said...

Now that the latest round of Big Mind(TM) kerfufflke has sort of run its course, isn't it about time for someone to insult Jundo so we can all have a go at battering that moldering horse once again?

I kind of like these cycles, they keep me from having to think....

Cheers.

Octodad said...

LOL@Jundo and his so-called "online sangha." He vacilates from claiming it's for people who don't have easy access to a brick and morter zen center to claiming that it's "just as good" as a real one.

You ever notice that Jundo has a history of establishing himself somewhere, earning praise, getting into it to some degree and then moving on, only to start all over again somewhere else? How long before this plays out at the Shambhala Sunspace blog?

Anonymous said...

Jundo is a bit Pete Tong in the head.

Anonymous said...

Did I say that right Harry?

Anonymous said...

This is a much better song with just as much panic..

(captcha: sings) I kid you not.

Anonymous said...

Advice: Tell others how to think and what to do?

"Please advise me how to be happy" - What a setup.

Give out personal advice and it usually comes back to slap you in the face sooner or later.

Darth Maul said...

Jundo Brad Genpo

larry moe curly

they should make a movie

john e mumbles said...

Brad could be Moe: "Why YOU..slaps up on them bitches)!!!" ...Genpo makes a good Curly as is, and Jundo in a Larry wig...

&Anon at 9:26 AM: Thats comparing apples to orange..colored hair (but yeah Great song, too).

proulx michel said...

Soon, you'll be flying from England to France, and, upon arrival, you shall be in the country of the Limousines. Nearly all the girls will be Limousines, and a good deal of the cows, too. However, it is rather unlikely that anyone shall be wearing a Limousine, unless it be for a costumed revival: they went out of fashion a long time ago (some local kind of a mac). As for cars, probably none will be Limousines, but that's the deal...

capcha : quatch

Rinzai gotta stay fly said...

I saw my Genpo nature. It was quite profound. And now it feels like the universe is telling me to write a hip-hop zen book, written all in ebonics. "Get Satori or Die Tryin'"

Crossman said...

According to Master Dogen's teaching, if you learn the backward step of turning light around, body and mind will spontaneously drop off and your original features will emerge.

This principle applies without distinction between different cultures. But the stronger the culture is, the greater the challenge. And I think Jewish conditioning tends to be relatively strong.

Anonymous said...

Brad, while in London, try to get your pals to take you to some kurdish restaurants. A buddy of mine patronizes one in Finsbury Park and raves about it every time we are on the phone.

London is THE place for Jamaican food. Look for all kinds of African food, too. Turkish, Algerian and Palestinian restaurants abound.


And, it goes without saying, Indian and Pakistani.

Look for Southern Indian food--thats hard to find in the United States, but you are likely to find it in London--look for masala dosas and idli.

And look for Gujrati food and Bengali, too.

Bengali, Gujrati and Southern Indian have highly sophisticated vegetarian ('veg') cuisines and are as different from each other as Italian, French and Spanish cuisines from each other.

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy...

James said...

I saw this online:

"Brad Warner recently wrote a post over at Hardcore Zen about Treeleaf Zendo and how online interaction is not the same as real life face to face contact with a teacher. I agree that it’s not the same. However, there seems to be an implied judgment there that “not the same” equals “not as good.” I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Both have benefits and drawbacks. Face to face time with a teacher, for someone who doesn’t have a sangha close by, might mean sacrificing time with a family or other responsibilities. However, online interaction doesn’t provide the “smell of the person, the shared physical space, that little bit of electrochemical interconnectedness that occurs when you’re near a person” as Brad puts it.

So what are the benefits of online communication with a teacher?

- Regular access, no matter where you are.

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

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

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

I don’t think one is better than the other. I see the benefits of both, and I even see the benefits of combining both. Web is Dharma, though. Dharma doesn’t just exist “out there” in the real world. Dharma is here on the screen and in your practice and in interacting with others, whether it’s online or in the “real” world or floating out there in space somewhere. Don’t let anything make you judge your practice as “not good enough,” whatever it is. Your practice is what it is in this moment. It couldn’t be anything else. Just keep listening for the Dharma."

Rinzai redistribute the wealth said...

Sorry, but the web is not the dharma. The web is more of a distraction than anything else. I don't see how looking at a screen and watching a video could help your practice. The internet was created by the capitalists of Small Mind to keep you imprisoned in the Matrix. How are you going to wake up from The Matrix if you are using one of its primary tools of psychological oppression? Can't be done.

Neo says, "Buy organic."

Anonymous said...

"...the teacher is held responsible for his or her words..."

What in the world is that supposed to mean? Responsible? What, so you can cross-examine them at a later date and expose their subsequent contradictions?

z said...

I like how the bitterest comments are from people who are too chickenshit to even leave fake names and choose to be anonymous. Way to stand behind what you write, cowards.

Here's proof Morrissey didn't need Johnny Marr to be good:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0AvuweztG4Q

Anonymous said...

"I like how the bitterest comments are from people who are too chickenshit to even leave fake names and choose to be anonymous. Way to stand behind what you write, cowards."

Sincerely,
"Z"

veggiedog said...

That's some bold chicken talk Z.. Boldest I've seen since Jundo told Harry not to play chicken with him. It gave me goose flesh..

Char said...

Following up on eating advice (something I tend to actually read)...

Brad, if you like southern indian and make it back to North Carolina, there's excellent southern indian here in Charlotte. Better have a cast iron digestive system, but glorious pain indeed.

Dorkus Anonymous said...

"too chickenshit to even leave fake names"

Is that a joke?

Oli said...

Hey Brad, welcome to London! It feels cheerier knowing you are in the city. Aww,. Did you see the bush planted on the side of a shop in Camden? Awesome stuff. Hope you enjoy your stay.

Stephanie said...

Treeleaf has helped my practice immensely, though I never expected it to. More than any sangha I've practiced with in 'realspace.' Some of the reasons I suspect this is the case: access to the teacher(s), lack of ritual aspect to interactions, open sharing of sangha members. The communication is very clear and direct. Lot of sincere practitioners sharing their life and practice on there. I'm grateful for it and grateful Jundo and I were able to resolve our conflicts.

I continue to sit with 'realspace' sanghas because there are things you get with them you don't with Treeleaf, but TL is actually my 'primary zendo' now in terms of its impact on my practice. I've dropped a lot of bullshit and started to taste more freedom in my practice thanks to guidance I've found there.

I understand why people would be skeptical of an online sangha, but hey, it actually works, as my experience and that of others has borne out.

And Jundo--like Brad, like me, and like anyone else posting here--has flaws, but he's actually also an effective teacher. Taigu brings a different style too and I find they work together quite well.

Honestly, it's the most bullshit free sangha I've ever dealt with, and I've dealt with a few, including many I like and respect.

All that matters at the end of the day: are you dropping and/or seeing through your delusions? Whatever helps you do that is good.

Daren Walker said...

"I understand why people would be skeptical of an online sangha, but hey, it actually works, as my experience and that of others has borne out."

Fair enough, but the real test is whether a person feels this way after experiencing it (whatever "it" is) for several years continuously. (In my humble opinion, of course.)

M. Azevedo said...

My favorite London record shop is the Rough Trade store in the basement of a skate shop near Seven Dials. (Also not too far from Forbidden Planet, a store a man of your geekery would enjoy.)

Anonymous said...

"...I'm grateful for it and grateful Jundo and I were able to resolve our conflicts..."

How many damned online conflicts and dramas does that guy get in to? Mike Cross posted on his Middle Way blog just a couple of months ago that Jundo apologized to him for past online conflicts. They had an ugly one.

Who knows? Maybe he really didn't apologize to Mike Cross.

Hugo Ornament said...

Both karma and free will concentrate on the active and dominant nature of the “mind” and the “will” in establishing the ethical responsibility of each individual. However, the two theories seek different purposes, at least in certain religious aspects. Buddhism, from its viewpoint of reincarnation (samsara), has pointed to the circle of time, in which an individual is born and reborn—not into one life, but multiple lives—depending on his or her karmas of the past. Even a Bodhisattva still has to cultivate good karma on his way to enlightenment. Thus, we cannot simply put the concept of karma into the frame of human ethics. At a higher level, the life of a Bodhisattva for instance, we cannot interpret or explain karma using only ordinary knowledge or human language since the realms between humanity and that of the Divine are not identical. For example, we may say that God absolutely knows the whole process of human karma or human free will; however, no ordinary person can claim that he or she knows precisely what the realm of God or that of the Buddha is. In this regard, D. T. Suzuki said:

We are too much of a slave to the conventional way of thinking, which is dualistic through and through. No “interpenetration” is allowed, there takes place no fusing of opposites in our everyday logic. What belongs to God is not of this world, and what is of this world is incompatible with the divine […] This is the way things or ideas go in this universe of senses and syllogisms.

Therefore, the karma about which we are talking is the karma that is explainable and applicable to the human domain only. As such, karma is the way in which the Buddhists cultivate and develop their sense of moral responsibility. Consequently, the effort to purify negative karmas in Buddhism is the most essential discipline not only for issues of human ethics, but also for practicing and cultivating the spiritual life.

Anonymous said...

Taigu and Jundo. Oy

ginger said...

Wow! You do get a lot of random comments, don't you?
I wanted to comment on the PTSD thing because of the weird way it's been mentioned. I got the impression that some folks think it's a bullshit fad or something.
I was diagnosed with that and my therapist will be the first person to tell you (or anyone) that a diagnosis for mental disorder is essentially a kick off point for the work that needs to be done for that individual and that the diagnosis will change as the person gets appropriate help. Why the label? I suspect it has something to do with insurance companies needing an official illness and with people just needing to know that what's wrong with them has a name and can be cured.
I don't think I have it anymore...it's still post trauma in the linear sense, but I am in therapy and no longer suffer from the SD portion.
And that big mind guy sounds disturbed.
Thanks, bye!

Jew Lover said...

Mike Cross said...

Speaking for myself, I reacted emotionally against James Cohen from the very first word of his that I read. I have never met James Cohen in person. But I formed an image of who he was, an image that gave an external form to my deepest unconscious fears about myself -- for example, being a pretentious fraud -- and I disparaged James Cohen on the basis of my immature emotional reaction. That is something I did, and I regret it. If my disparagement of James Cohen hurt him, I should apologize to him, and I do apologize to him.

This might be as good a place as any to say: I am sorry, James Cohen, that I disparaged you because of deep-seated doubt in myself.
2:38 PM


jundo cohen said...

To Ven. Mike Cross,

I apologize for all I ever have done, thought or said to you too.

I will write you. The past is gone.

I am sorry if my words to you in the past contained acid or anger, and caused you to have bad feelings towards me in any way. I am sorry if I hurt you too in any way.

Next year, when I come to the UK, I hope that we can meet for the first time.

Jundo

http://hardcorezen.blogspot.com/2009/09/transmission-and-hayata.html?showComment=1254433125880#c8699884163796047123

which is about Mike's blog postings like this (now deleted)

But sometimes the use of the word "fucking" is not gratuitous. Sometimes it expresses the negation of idealism, the negation of the Buddhist tendency to try to look and sound like Buddha. If you want to see that tendency in action, try looking up on the internet some of the things that Jewboy Jundo James Cohen has posted up on the subject of keeping the precepts and "politeness." Cohen has written several emails to me and other of his seniors in Gudo's order requesting us always to sign off with "gassho" or some such nicety when we write emails. Cohen, you are a jumped-up, pretentious, meddling, precept-peddling pest. Fuck off, you fishy-smelling, hairy cunt. Do not forget that I was busting a gut for years in the service of Gudo Nishijima before you even heard about the possibility of licking his arse! If you wish to uphold the precepts, then fucking well keep them yourself, you pushy two-faced cunt.

This too

http://the-middle-way.blogspot.com/2007_01_01_archive.html

More Jew Lover said...


Where does the pressure to conform to the anti-racist viewpoint come from? It seems to me that it comes largely from the media. I really do not know whether it is fair to talk of “the Jewish media” or not. I have no real evidence to go on, inductively.

From a deductive viewpoint, however, the mirror principle would lead me to think that those who are most commited to the anti-racist viewpoint are like that because they are projecting onto others a tendency which they fear in themselves. And who could defend Old Testament Judaism against the accusation that it a seminal racist ideology.

What I actually wrote to Cohen was as follows:

“Further to my rude email earlier on, and having reflected on it, I have a question about politeness in Buddhism. As a rude non-Buddhist non-monk, I would like to ask my question to the polite very Buddhist monk Jundo James Cohen:

Venerable Master Cohen! In Buddhism, is to be polite a choice, or is it an obligation, like a commandment?

If you say that it is a choice, then I would like to say to you, Venerable Master Cohen: Fuck you, you poser.

If you say that it is a kind of commandment, then I would like to say to you simply: Fuck off, jewboy.

I feel extreme anger to you, Cohen, because of the mirror principle. You represent everything that is unnatural, pretentious, insincere about the human condition, about my condition.”

That was the context of my racist insult.

In the end, racism is a view, to which people conform en masse. Anti-racism, political correctness, is also a view, to which people conform en masse. But non-racism, as the abandonment of both those views, cannot be a mass movement. It is the effort of one individual, in one chunk of existence-time, to get the whole body free of views.

When I was working closely with Gudo Nishijima in the 1980s, he was of the view that world history was moving inexorably in the direction of Jewish hegemony, and that the realistic Buddhist attitude in these circumstances might be to seek peaceful accommodation.

I don’t know if his view has changed since then, but I suspect that what he wrote in his Dogen Sangha blog last year about the United States being the world’s policeman, may be understood in the above light.

If that is Buddhist realism, Gudo can keep it. If that is Buddhist realism, I’ll strive to follow a different way: the way of non-Buddhist, non-realism.

anon #108 said...

Alan Sailer sarcastically suggested, "Now that the latest round of Big Mind(TM) kerfufflke has sort of run its course, isn't it about time for someone to insult Jundo so we can all have a go at battering that moldering horse once again? And so, inevitably -

Jew lover.

But now that it's done and (re-)posted I'm grateful that JL has selected the exchanges that are evidence that Mike Cross, in addition to being a foul-mouthed, inconsiderate, hurtful non-buddhist has a great capacity for honesty and self-examination.

As he hasn't insulted me yet, I look forward to MC's occasional distateful outbursts (although they're less frequent these days, I think) - they're great entertainment. My 'deeper' reaction is a kind of reluctant gratitude.

That degree of hard-to-handle honesty usually initiates a process of unearthing the actual truth of what most of us are: flawed works in progress, lovers and haters who include every shit-stained shade in the broad spectrum of human relations and reactions. Yes,even the Enlightened Ones! There are very few, paricularly in the "Buddhist" world willing to bare all and face the consequences - for themselves and others. Sometimes, MC fails - for a while - to face up, but he usually gets there.

The Cohen-Cross rucus has been previously flogged to death on this blog. So there's no need, I suggest, for all the compassionate buddhists to repeat their expressions of shock and horror, accompanied by recommendations that he be pitied, cast out from the village, and never spoken of again. But go for it if you missed out on the earlier opportunity.

Fuck you and gassho.
There - no harm done ;-)

anon #108 said...

BTW, if you're a 'don't look back' kind of a person, you'll miss the (currently) last post on the previous thread, from a bigmind participant and supporter. Interesting...if you're interested.

anon #108 said...

The comments from the MC post Jew Lover quoted are also interesting...whether you're interested or not.

Anonymous said...

David Genpo Merzel is Jewish, Glassman is Jewish, Andrew Cohen and his brother Jewndo are Jewish. Connect the dots. Most of the Buddhist teachers in America are Jewish. Mike Cross and Gudo were right. The Jews are taking over Buddhism and the world.

anon #108 said...

...gniz is jewish.

I'm sure there are other posters here who haven't yet fessed up....
Hey! I'M JEWISH!

You're right!
MUAHAHAAAA!!!

anon #108 said...

...and whaddya mean "taking over the world"? It's been ours for some time.

- Latter day Elder of Zion.

G said...

"When I was working closely with Gudo Nishijima in the 1980s, he was of the view that world history was moving inexorably in the direction of Jewish hegemony,"-MC

I'd never noticed this before...doesn't this actually validate (a little) what Jundo had said about Gudo harboring some anti-jew sentiments?

Some people said Jundo was full of shit about that, but this little nugget from Mike Cross, who is usually truthful in his own fucked up way, seems to assert otherwise.

-GNIZ

anon #108 said...

"...doesn't this actually validate (a little) what Jundo had said about Gudo harboring some anti-jew sentiments?

Yes, I think so, gniz. Such sentiments are not uncommon - and not hard to understand, either. For a world population of 13-14 million (0.2%), we are...prominent.

But God wants it that way. What can you do?

Lucius said...

I think it makes perfect sense to watch out for groups or organisations who want to take over the world.

Obviously taking over the Zen community is a logic step in such diabolic plans as Zen is such a minority sport that hardly anyone will notice it - until it will be to late.

However, I am not sure Jews are the right target. What if it is a male conspiracy? Have you noticed how many of the zen masters are male?

And how about the size of their shoes? Most of them - may be even all of them - all wear shoes with size > 7 (or something like 40 in Europe).

I think we must really really watch out and be ready to take action when the day comes ...

Evillene said...

Don't forget Goldman Sachs. Wow. So, Hitler was right, huh?

But seriously, I wonder if some of the attitude toward Jews held by Japanese people of Gudo's generation were formed when Japan and Hitler's Germany were in the axis alliance? This sort of view was common in that generation in many places. Can sitting in the right posture, balancing your anus, errr...ans, remove prejudice? Doesn't it 'cure what ails you?' If Adolf had practiced zazen would he have still tried to wipe out the jews?

nonbuddhist said...

Everyone loves old school Jewish culture.. well most everyone. But I'm afraid Gudo was right. Zionists have hijacked Jewish culture and they are herding us towards an Armageddon of our own making.

capcha : morytog - I kid you not

Stephanie said...

Is this the inevitable end result of a blog that promotes an endless adolescence of 'raging against the machine'--that things end up devolving into anti-Semitic conspiracy theories?

Truth is, whoever gets put on the spot as the object of hate, fear, derision, etc., whether that be Genpo, Jundo, "Jews," etc., is just a construction, a chimera of projections to allow the ego to affirm itself as the opposite of "that," whatever "that" is. It's just a show, a trick you play on yourself. And this blog is all about that.

Maybe one day Brad and this blog will grow up and realize there is no dragon to be slain, no fearsome conspiracy to uncover. No one that needs to be proven wrong.

ANS & PTSD said...

Somatic Experiencing is a form of therapy aimed at relieving and resolving the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other mental and physical trauma-related health problems by focusing on the client’s perceived body sensations (or somatic experiences).

The theory postulates that the symptoms of trauma are the effect of a dysregulation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS). It further postulates that the ANS has an inherent capacity to self-regulate that is undermined by trauma, and that the inherent capacity to self-regulate can be restored by the procedures of Somatic Experiencing.

anon #108 said...

...a blog that promotes an endless adolescence...Maybe one day Brad and this blog will grow up...

You're here too, Steph.

john e mumbles said...

This blog is pure Id. It will never "grow up." It refuses to. So do I. That's why I am here. My intellect can fuck off and go play elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

"...You're here too, Steph..."

Her gig is being "above it all" and an outside observer who has keener insight than the rest of us. This may change from time to time, depending upon the circumstance, and may be met with derision from her, but it is the case.

I do credit her for looking past the fact that she was once banned from Treeleaf and then talked about over there in a ..... weird ... way.

Yet another anon said...

Stephanie, in a recent post on Brad Warner's "Hardcore Zen" blog, rails against immaturity and the imaginary dragons of conspiracy theorists. Only 2 commenters out of 56 made any serious reference to the possibilty of a Jewish, or Zionist, conspiracy, yet Stephanie accuses her fellow bloggers of adolescent raging against what is merely "a construction, a chimera of projections to allow the ego to affirm itself as the opposite of "that,""

Stephanie, a highly articulate social worker from New Jersey, is 27.

Stephanie said...

You're here too, Steph.

I am. And I like this blog, and Brad, and many of the commenters.

But I think Brad would be a better writer and teacher if he stopped focusing on pointing out how he thinks others are "doing it wrong."

I like the arguing, the surreal non sequiturs, the humor of the comments. But I tire of the self-aggrandizing hatred that continually, and needlessly, arises and re-arises here. But I think it is inevitable: as long as Brad is energized by judging others negatively, that is the sort of atmosphere that will surround his writings.

I regret my own stupidities, the times I have hurt myself and/or others due to believing my own projections. I let my own self-righteous anger fuel my hurtful words toward Jundo, who has actually turned out to be quite a positive force in my life. We both learned how we had misunderstood one another, acknowledged it, and moved on. To be able to do that is the reward of humility. I feel stupid now, over the anger I felt toward Jundo, or rather the "Jundo" of my own projections. None of it was real. The relief and joy that people are never as simple or bad (or good) as my ideas of them far outweighs the embarrassment of my own stupidity, thankfully.

My opinion of Brad forever shifted when, in the midst of my anger at Jundo, I sent some e-mails back and forth with Brad. I had some questions about life and practice that I asked Brad, and some opinions on Jundo. Brad brushed over and did not respond to any of my questions about life or practice, but went on for paragraphs about Jundo. I remember distinctly the feeling of hurt that arose, recognizing that this person genuinely did not care about my life or practice. What was most important to me was not important to this person at all.

What he was interested in at the time was to have someone to support and cheerlead his "war on Jundo." I remember that distinct feeling of being used--my articulate anger at Jundo supported Brad's cause, but my questions about Zen, asked privately, did not serve his interests in any way, and therefore were not important. It reminded me of another Buddhist narcissist with whom I'd involved myself in the past, for whom all people were worth was their ability to support his self-image and make him seem or look or sound bigger and better than his rivals. Even if those rivals were only in his head. Brad did not evidence a passion for Dharma or teaching in that moment. I personally think he's more interested in self-promotion than teaching Zen, which is why this blog focuses more on the former, as Brad himself admits.

Brad's anger at Genpo? Brad attacking his own shadow, his anger at himself for caring more about fame and money and impressing women than he wishes he did. What Brad hates about the Genpo he sees is what he fears he might really be like. We all do this, of course; I don't mean to pick on Brad, but I think we could all learn from seeing this clearly.

It's all sad, really. I think Brad has a lot to offer as a teacher, but so much of it gets focused on promoting his "brand" ("Brad Warner, the Zen punk rocker who likes Godzilla and the f-word!") and attacking the "brands" of others.

I come here because I like tye weirdness, arguing, debating, insulting. I find all this stuff fun. But the self-promotion and hatred that goes on here always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

Anonymous said...

"Her gig is being "above it all" and an outside observer who has keener insight than the rest of us."

Her insights are keen. And she is courageous enough to put her name and photo next to them, unlike say.. Gniz or 108, or me..

anon #108 said...

"Yet another anon" is me, but I'm too much of an insecure, adolescent, jewish coward to admit it.

Stephanie said...

I know I have flaws.

I am a terrible know-it-all, certainly.

Fortunately, I become better acquainted with my stupidity every day.

gniz said...

Hi Steph,

Seems to me you're just caught in yet another judgmental and unreal stance towards Brad, same as you were previously about Jundo.

I think it is you who is seeing things in black and white, making over the top judgments and fooling yourself (yet again) about what you're really doing.

So now Jundo is actually a great guy and Brad is a selfish dick? Maybe Brad did a bad job of answering your emails, but for you to come away with all that bullshit about his projections and inner thoughts about Genpo is close to lunacy.

You don't know Brad or his inner world anymore than you knew Jundo and his inner world back when you used to lambast him and psychobabble him constantly.

Same shit, different day, sorry to be so blunt.

Anonymous said...

That's great 108.. Admitting anonymously that your previous anonymous comment was made by you who no one knows anyway. ballsy.

anon #108 said...

Thanks.
I thought so too, anon :)

Anonymous said...

that was cool. now let's argue about a vegetable or a mineral.

Anonymous A. Anonymous said...

Can someone explain how posting with a name attached is somehow MORE COURAGEOUS than otherwise?

We're not defusing explosives. We're posting silly crap that 25 people worldwide read and then immediately forget.

Anonymous A. Anonymous said...

"Now that the latest round of Big Mind(TM) kerfufflke has sort of run its course, isn't it about time for someone to insult Jundo so we can all have a go at battering that moldering horse once again?"

Happy now, motherfucker?

M said...

Gniz is another one.. He reads something that hurts his feelings and right away lashes out at all the "zennies" and their mindset. How is that any different from people stereotyping Jewish thinking?

Stephanie said...

Maybe you're right, gniz. I certainly don't know Brad's inner world. People's behaviors are clues to their motives, but not definitive proof.

To be clear, I don't hate Brad or think he is a bad person. But I do think he's rather invested in promoting a very particular self-image, to the extent his teaching role suffers.

Anonymous said...

"...But I do think he's rather invested in promoting a very particular self-image..."

Which is what most everyone who posts here with names attached might be in to. It's not bravery, courage or anything other than good old ego.

#108 said...

"I do think he's rather invested in promoting a very particular self-image"

Guilty. Oops, you were talking about Brad. Sorry

I said...

Steph said:

"But I think Brad would be a better writer and teacher if he stopped focusing on pointing out how he thinks others are "doing it wrong."

"It's all sad, really. I think Brad has a lot to offer as a teacher, but so much of it gets focused on promoting his "brand" ("Brad Warner, the Zen punk rocker who likes Godzilla and the f-word!") and attacking the "brands" of others."

I agree.

anon #108 said...

Anonymous A Anonymous,

We're not defusing explosives...

It's true! I'm ROFLing here already! My kishkas hurt.

******************************************

Hey Steph,

I think you have a point about Brad. The writing about Zen - cool, but lay on the Dharma transmission/President of Dogen Sangha International gig + rep...gotta be tough for a shy nerdy guy who says he didn't want it in the first place - and I believe him. But that's what he's got to sort out, somehow. Not for us, but for himself.

We'll see what happens.

******************************************

Hey "#108",

promoting a very particular self-image" Who ME???

Of course: A public persona, with a nom-de-plume, on a blog. No surprises there. But there's also what gets written - that is me writing it.

Rinzai for life said...

I only come here to reaffirm my sense of superiority as a Rinzai practitioner. Ya'll are some petty-ass people.

alan sailer said...

Anon. A. Anon,

"Can someone explain how posting with a name attached is somehow MORE COURAGEOUS than otherwise?"

I'm not sure if I can explain it to your satisfaction, but I'll try and give my viewpoint.

Posting with your own real name gives people a little bit more of a sense of responsibility for what they are saying.

I have not run any statistical analysis (oh, my bad) on this statement, but my impression is when I read something on this comment section that makes me wince, it is more likely to come from an total.

Your own statement calling me a motherfucker being a good example.

I don't know you, you don't know me.

And I can't in any reasonably easy way find out who you are.

So you have no meaningful responsibility for what you say.

And in my book, people who accept responsibility for what they say are more courageous than those who don't.

Oh and my stock question, what is your first name oh Anon A anon so I can get to know you better?

Cheers.

Anonymous said...

"So you have no meaningful responsibility for what you say."

No one here does. Or everyone does. Yeah, I like that better.

"And I can't in any reasonably easy way find out who you are."

That's a very strange statement.

Anonymous said...

"Of course: A public persona, with a nom-de-plume, on a blog. No surprises there. But there's also what gets written - that is me writing it."

#108: You are an asset here.. the oops comment was just a jest. Any name could have filled the bill but you're always on my mind as Willie Nelson said.. :)

Anonymous said...

Steph,
Gniz used to be really critical of Brad too. Now he and Brad share a hatred of Gemposan and you know...the enemy of my enemy...
He and Brad exchanged some nicey nice emails about Gniz's Reblogging B.W. and now they're buds. Instead of ignoring your personel issues and going on about Jundo, maybe if Brad had said nice things to you, you'd be a fan now. Gniz will defend his new friend as fiercly as he criticized him in years gone by. I am sure if Brad and Gempo could just sit down for some tea like Buddhist brothers are supposed to they'd be fast friends. Maybe they could invite you, Gniz and Jundo too. You could all meet at Ken Wilbur's chalet.

Anonymous Bob said...

Rinzai for life said...

"I only come here to reaffirm my sense of superiority as a Rinzai practitioner. Ya'll are some petty-ass people."

We're turning you Rinz. Turning you like Bobby turned Whitney. Come over to the dark side. We can give you things..

Herbert "Elephant" Anonymous, Sr. said...

Two years ago, scientists at Penn State University sequenced a large part of the mammoth’s genome from a clump of hair. They published the sequence along with the arresting suggestion that for just $10 million it might be possible to complete the sequence and use it to generate a living mammoth.

The suggestion was not as wild as it might seem, given that the idea came from George Church, a leading genome technologist at the Harvard Medical School. The mammoth’s genome differs at about 400,000 sites from that of the African elephant. Dr. Church has been developing a method for altering 50,000 sites at a time, though he is not at present applying it to mammoths. In converting four sites on the elephant genome to the mammoth version, Dr. Campbell has resurrected at least one tiny part of the mammoth.

proulx michel said...

As a youngster, I was quite a bit too disgusted with the prejudice that the priests and nuns would have tought me. And when I met Jews for the first time, I was adamant to avoid any preconceptions in my relationships with them.

What started tickling me though, was when an otherwise non-practicing Jew told us, during a friends meal that he felt he was something "more" than us for being a Jew.

And, more recently, I have to cope with a Jewish friend who's a totally off-balanced girl for the whole of her education (which she has both rejected and not...)

It is always tricky to speak, be it as mildly and rationally possible, of (and against) Judaism. The defence is ready. And sometimes amounts to 15 inch guns against a fly, but whatever.

I see a serious flaw into being both a Jew and a Buddhist, because Buddhism says that all men are equal (even though local practice has quite often been rather different...) and Judaism says that there is a "chose people".

The other day, with a colleague Nishijima's heir, we discussed a point which seems important to me.
Nishijima roshi often says something which Deshimaru already said, that is that study is not very relevant, that sitting zazen is enough in and by itself. What they forget I think is that they were raised in an environment completely suffused with Buddhism. In such a case, sitting will have that come up to the surface.

But we have grown in an environment completely suffused with Xtianity, where suffering is NOT to be avoided, but to be looked for! So if we practice without deliberately questioning our subconcious Xtian beliefs, they will be what surfaces with Zazen.
And considering the deep deep conditioning that is that of Jewish fellows, even out from families that couldn't care less, except for the basic things, I think that it might amount to even worse.

I think we ought to be careful of not attacking anyone on the mishap of having been born a Jew, but I don't believe that the doctrine itself ought to be left unquestioned.

Rinzai razor sharp said...

anon@10:23
Well there is that saying that nobody puts out like a Soto girl. But I, sir, am a man of principle, not to be swayed by your Zionist tactics.

Anonymous Bob said...

"Well there is that saying that nobody puts out like a Soto girl. But I, sir, am a man of principle, not to be swayed by your Zionist tactics."

Sorry Rinz, I assumed by your style that you were gay like me. I'm usually never wrong. You just seem so gay!

Rinzai reorientated said...

I've had my moments of confusion like everyone else.

Jinzang said...

Menken was asked why he lived in America, since was so critical of it. He replied, "Why do people visit zoos?"

108 the merciless said...

There was a club in Baltimore called the Maryland Club which had one Jewish member, and when that member died Mencken said "There is no other Jew in Baltimore who seems suitable."

So much for HL Mencken..

gniz said...

Proulx Michael said: "And considering the deep deep conditioning that is that of Jewish fellows, even out from families that couldn't care less, except for the basic things, I think that it might amount to even worse."
Mike Cross couldn't have said it better himself, Mr Proulx. But then again, since I'm a Jew, I already know I'm better than you and won't bother arguing any of your idiotic assumptions.

As to the Anon who spoke about me and Brad making nicey-nice, it's true that I've been easier on Brad since we corresponded a little. But I still criticize him from time to time and I don't at all think the guy has it all figured out. On the whole, his writing style is a bit flashy and "in your face" which tends to get people (including me) worked up. This also makes him a good writer. I don't think he always is internally consistent with his writings, but that's okay too.

anon #108 said...

Judaism says that there is a "chose people"

Not quite, PM. Or rather, Judaism doesn't mean what I think you think 'chosen people' means.

Many jews aren't religious; I'm not, but I'm still aware that I'm a jew; it's difficult to ignore for those of us who were brought up surrounded by jewish culture - by which I mean other jews. But it's my experience that non-religious jews do not think of themselves as 'chosen'. There's a difference between feeling - on occasion -different, and feeling (or worse, knowing) that you're 'chosen'. I've felt different (who doesn't?), but I've never felt - or been taught that I am - chosen.

Judaism is not Zionism. For many orthodox jews, secular zionism is heresy. Some of the most vociferous critics of zionism, and of the policies of the current Israeli government, are jews, and always have been. Most of the world's jews are not Israelis, or Zionists. Many of us are embarrased by what's being done there (in what people assume is 'our name').

Whatever learned or inherited characterstics jews may share, they are not old testament based, in the way you (and Mike Cross and others) suggest. The Christian, literal understanding of the Old Testament is very different to the rabbinical, talmudic tradition of commentary and exegesis.

There does seem to be a 'thing' that is jewish - but it's more complex than being 'chosen', an admirer of a vengeful god, and/or a supporter of Israel.

gniz said...

Anon #108, why do you bother with Mr Proulx when you know that idiotic non-Jew can't possibly grasp the complexities of your chosen Jewy thinking?

Don't bother with rabble like him, he can try dialoguing with the other unwashed and unchosen masses.

BTW, wanna swing by my place later for some potato latkes? I've got a really interesting torah reading I wanna show you.

anon #108 said...

Gniz,

Sorry, my brutha - I got some fresh christian baby blood simmering on the stove. I plan to stay in and gorge myself tonight. Mmmmmm.

(I gotta pretend we're rational, liberal, haven't I? Remember your protocols, Aaron!)

Anonymous said...

(reposted from last post... I didn't write this, but thought it could stimulate some useful discussion.)

I have been meditating since I was 14, I am 63 now, I have studied with Genpo for 9 years. I have found that I have more awareness of my mind because of Big Mind. I don’t buy into the automatic responses to life’s little dramas . I see “oh yea there the voice of the hurt child, or the insecure disowned ego”. There are endless voices to be looked at. This is all supplemental to Zen practice, Big Mind isn’t a stand alone process, without meditation it is just a interesting experience. What Genpo does is provide a way for people to look at what they don’t want to look at, and by owning it, by getting a handle on it, those voices don’t run their life. The transcendent voices ”Big Mind” “ Big Heart” “ The Way” are the result of getting past the blocks to experience them. It isn’t Enlightenment, it is more like a flight simulator, creating a environment for the mind to move freely through space in any direction or time.
The sesshins I’ve attended aren’t that expensive, for Zen retreats, the people there are most aware, sincere people with strong integrity, and belief that Big Mind will be a catalyst for awakening humanity. An boy does humanity need to awaken quickly.
I ve never seen anyone get neglected or not given great attention if they need it, on any level.
The kind of thinking that the person who had a bad experience, sounds like they would have had a similar experience at any long retreat. Usually there are so many
licensed therapist at his events its hard to tell who isn’t one.

gniz said...

"and belief that Big Mind will be a catalyst for awakening humanity."

Thanks be to god Genpo figured out yet another way to awaken all of humanity.

Andrew Cohen has Evolutionary Enlightenment, Ken Wilber has Integralism, and Gudo has balancing the ANS.

Luckily we got some folks with Messiah complexes to "awaken" all of humanity for us.

NOT God said...

Speaking of god complexes, this guy claims to be Maitreya. I'm fairly skeptical of his claim, but I suppose you never know.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iXPAC3OrLbw

NOT God said...

Link to above video

NOT God said...

Real link to above video.

Disregard the other link. HTML link above this post is incorrect.

108 the merciless said...

As a youngster, I was quite disgusted with what conservative radio talk show hosts taught me about the French. And when I met Frenchies for the first time, I was adamant to avoid any preconceptions in my relationships with them.

What started tickling me though, was when an otherwise normal Frenchie told us, during a meal of Freedom fries, was that he felt he was something "more" than us for being French. Hahaha!

It is always tricky, to be as mild and rational as possible when talking to a Frog. Their defenses go up and sometimes they will sneer and look down their noses at you.

I see a serious flaw into being both a Frenchman and a Buddhist, because Buddhism says that all men are equal and the French think they are so superior. Au contraire.

And considering the deep deep conditioning of the French, I think that it could even be worse.

But I think we ought to be careful of not attacking anyone on the mishap of their having been born French. But a word of caution.. Do not stand next to one with his arm raised on in a subway train. pew!

First said...

I like curly freedom fries.

Anonymous said...

100

GreenShadow said...

"But I do want to say that I'm unaware of having ever given any advice to sufferers of PTSD (that's post traumatic stress disorder, by the way, if you're not up on the latest American categorizations of life)."

That made me laugh. I'm in a psychology graduate program that teaches us to categorize alot of behaviors and mental conditions. Admittedly, these labels do serve their purpose. They help form our understanding of specific, tangible mental problems and to communicate with a kind of language of psychology. But it's not hard to see when this labeling process can go overboard. When people start categorizing themselves as "right brained" or "introverted" etc. it effectively puts their psyche into a box that excludes so much of reality.
basically, your world becomes categorized to the full until the charm is gone. (pulled that from a third eye blind song)

Our minds are unfathomably complex and our utter need to label and categorize our minds functions appears to serve the opposite of it's intention. Instead of furthering the understanding of the power of our minds, we choose smaller and smaller perspectives through which to view the world.

gniz said...

By the by, Mr. Proulx, what does this have to do with anything? Mr. Proulx said:

"And, more recently, I have to cope with a Jewish friend who's a totally off-balanced girl for the whole of her education"

What does the fact that this girl you've had to "cope with" is Jewish have to do with anything? Is this the start of your laundry list of Jews that rubbed you the wrong way over the years?

Do I really give a fuck if you've had negative experiences with a few Jews? People like you and MC are really frustrating to deal with. Mostly because you're not very intelligent and your insecurities make you go to astonishing lengths to mask this fact.

In general, less intelligent people like you and MC have a difficult time making sense of the world. As it so happens, a lot of Jews are fairly intelligent people. Not necessarily better than you--but more intelligent.

This probably makes you harbor some resentment because dumb folks don't like being made to feel dumb.

But you are a non-Jew and therefore dumber than most Jews on any given day.

Oh yeah, and we're also chosen and better than you...sorry, that shit I said about not being better than you was a lie. I'm better and also thriftier too!

:)

Allison said...

So, since I've been reading this blog, I've seen several posts vilifying Big Mind, but I still don't really understand what it is. I read the wikipedia article, and while it all made perfect sense, it wasn't obvious to me how the process could be either life-changing or dangerous. Can you either point me to a "what is big mind" post, or write one?

Anonymous said...

Allison:

Search YouTube for "Big Mind" and watch the vids.

Anonymous said...

Luckily we got some folks with Messiah complexes to "awaken" all of humanity for us.

Yes, Gniz, and lucky for us we have you to warn us about them!

Rinzai rise up said...

First Wall Street then Hollywood and now they're taking over this blog.

Can nothing be done about these people?

gniz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harry said...

Hey, my old buddy Mike also abused us thick bloody Irish... won't anybody PLEASE think of the stupid fucking Irish?!!!

... Jesus, those "Four by Twos" don't half love the limelight.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

gniiiiz, just playin with ya ;)

anon #108 said...

...must...post...again...

Aaron! Chill my Hymie.


Harry! You jew-baiting potato-muncher. "Four by Twos"!!? "Love the limelight"?!!....You think I wanna be doing this? Being chosen can be an awful inconvenience, you know.

I shoulda kept quiet. People were starting to like me :(

John McCain III said...

Can we talk about the Mexicans and how they're ruining Arizona?

Sebastian said...

Brad, great Vegi Curry in the Thai place off the Earl's Court stop.
The owner looks like a tall Chairman Mao, can't miss it!

Rinzai for Christ said...

Damn! I was really starting to like #108.. Until I found out he was a ZIONIST pig! I wondered why he was so afraid of coming out. Gniz, You have have some serious issues to resolve. You way over reacted to MP's post. Is there a 12 step pogram for alki Jews like you? I hope so for Buddha's sake.. Harry: Mike Cross or Mike Hinsley? Both are nuts.

G said...

Eh, it's just odd to me that the only time I've ever felt strange or singled out for being Jewish is amongst Zen practitioners. Kind of sad. Being Jewish is something I never even think about, I don't practice it and have absolutely zero interest. Don't even attend family cedars and have no idea when the holidays are.

The last time I really experienced prejudice against my religious background was when I was a teenager in my hometown, where it sometimes got pointed out by my friends.

And yet, recently, amongst this small group of Zennies, I've continually heard anti-Jewish sentiment. Whatevs.

Gniz/Aaron

mtto said...

Aaron,

Do you mean real Zen practitioners or virtual ones/comments on this blog?

-John

G said...

the virtual ones in cyberspace...but as far as i know they are actual people.

blackwater said...

G, You feel free to bash zennies but freak out if anyone says anything against jews. what's up with that? but no one hates you, so relax.

mtto said...

They are actual people, and some of them certainly practice Zen, but probably some of them don't. It's the internet.

G said...

Hey, when I "bash" zennies, it's usually with a light heart because i sort of am one. Also, most "zennists" choose to practice the religion and aren't tagged with it from birth.

And some of what I've heard has been much different in tone than what you're talking about. I think insinuating that people born into Judaism are "different" than other human beings is a nasty thing to say.

The biggest difference I know amongst Jews is that most of us know people who were in concentration camps or had relatives who died in the Holocaust (least i do). This makes us just a smidge more sensitive to those kinds of comments.

G said...

MTTO, point taken. But as far as I know, Mike Cross, Mr. Proulx and Gudo all practice zen.

Rinzai the merciless said...

mtto is right. it's the internet. I'm not a Buddhist. I had a few tequilas for Cinco De Mayo. What I thought was funny might have been hurtful. Story of my life.. G, if i hurt your feelings, I apologize.

G said...

Rinzai, no worries. It's less the anonymous comments and more the stuff coming from the mouths of people who should know better.

But they don't. Such is life.

Renzai Earth Kitt said...

Such is our sad life.

berboo said...

I have never actually met a real person who hated jews. I know they are out there but it must be secretive or something. Most of the jews I know are pretty nice people. More people seem to hate vegetarians or SUV drivers.

G said...

Most of them wouldn't admit to hating jews anymore than someone would admit to hating blacks or something...most people nowadays do it in a much more understated fashion. Doesn't make it any less despicable, though.

Anonymous said...

i like jews. i like people too. sometimes people get stuck.

108 the self-absorbed said...

I don't know.. Hate is more stupid than despicable. Stephanie nailed it when she noted that it was mainly self-directed. It's true. Haters are self-absorbed.

Anonymous said...

oohh that reads bad. oops. meant it like, i like people, whatever label, including genpo.

Anonymous said...

I like Andrew Cohen. I think he plays drums. I can totally understand how he'd really get into the spiritual thing like he does. He does seem to have some personal issues that play out in an unfortunate manner. I do wish him happiness and freedom from pain. He has a nice smile, in a goofy sort of way. That guy on SNL could probably do a great impression of him.

Rinzai on the real said...

Rinzai doesn't care if you've stolen his name for the fun of making boring commentary. However, next time make it a little more creative, don't use "G" instead, use "son". "G" is too 1993 westcoast Chronic ya dig? And another thing the Rza don't apologize to nobody for nothing, not even implied anti-semitism.

Life ain't sad, life is funny. Therefore make it funny like those silly Jewish hats. Rza don't like none a ya'll.

Rinzai the guilty said...

Jews seem really attached to their Jewishness unless they really want to break away. I don't know if that's good or bad. Most people I know don't like the religious/cultural tags that were put on them. But even secular jews cling to that shit. Is it a guilt thing?

Rinzai robbed of his livelihood said...

Great now I got to get a real account. Thanks for crushing all my hopes and dreams.

Rinzai the misbegotten said...

It's for your own good.

I kid you not said...

G said: Hey, when I "bash" zennies, it's usually with a light heart because i sort of am one.

I've never heard you say that before. You sort of are one? I can't say I remember any light-hearted Buddhist bashing coming from you. Usually it seemed rather bitter. Not that I care but I always wondered about that.

Anonymous said...

Some fascinating comments here. Brad must be proud.

Brad Warner said...

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 a person. A teacher or sangha should not be so readily available. It's better to have to work for it.

- 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 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.

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

• Would life 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?

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.

proulx michel said...

Anon 108 wrote:
Whatever learned or inherited characterstics jews may share, they are not old testament based, in the way you (and Mike Cross and others) suggest. The Christian, literal understanding of the Old Testament is very different to the rabbinical, talmudic tradition of commentary and exegesis.

That, I know, which is probably the main reason for the "superior" mental skills often displayed by Jews. A tradition which has, for centuries tried to elicit meanings that are to be read between the lines must need achieve something in that respect.

I knew beforehand that writing those lines would put me up for some bashing, but I am NOT criticinsing Jews for being Jews, that would be utmost immoral in my conception. .
It is just that I think that Judaism, as a religious doctrine, is to be criticised. Period.

But mind you, I'm much more critic on Xtianity and Islam than I shall ever be on Judaism...

proulx michel said...

And byt the way, Aaron, please write to me privately. There are things which you seem to have elicited from my writings which I fear you have not right.

mxl

Anonymous said...

how long are you in london for?

Are you giving any talks?

Anonymous said...

how long are you in london for?

Are you giving any talks?

anon #108 said...

It is just that I think that Judaism, as a religious doctrine, is to be criticised.

Fair enough, PM. Criticize away. I might join you.

The issue, I think, is to what extent that doctrine (I assume you mean the rekigious texts) has influenced jewish culture and 'behaviour': which came first - the jew or his 'doctrine'? Reciprocal influence, no doubt. But I do think it's simplistic, maybe even mistaken, to attribute individual (or collective) examples of 'jewish behaviour' to the influence of the 'doctrine' - which for many jews played little or no part in their upbringing.

I think the same about similar analyses of the West as 'Christian'. As in "But we have grown in an environment completely suffused with Xtianity, where suffering is NOT to be avoided, but to be looked for! I've grown in that environment, too, as did my parents.

It's complicated. Who knows?

gniz said...

Mr. P, I don't feel like having a private conversation. You aired your views on a public forum, so continue to do so. I don't see where making it private changes anything.

Please explain this statement you made:
"And considering the deep deep conditioning that is that of Jewish fellows, even out from families that couldn't care less, except for the basic things, I think that it might amount to even worse."

That sounds to me like you think Jewish people experience a deeper conditioning around being a chosen people, being special. Could you explain how someone who was raised without much religion would deeply believe themselves to be better than other people by virtue of being born a Jew?

And also, could you explain what in your life, besides an awkward dinner conversation, has given you such thorough insight into the "deep conditioning" of Jewish people as a whole?

Thanks!

Stephanie said...

Nice to see it only takes a slightly permissive environment for people's hidden prejudices to come out. And of all the stupid prejudices to have, anti-Semitism? Didn't people learn how stupid that was several decades ago? If you want to be up to date in your prejudice, you should be going off on Muslims, right? Are any of you secretly "birthers"? Jesus Christ.

One of the things I have loved about living in the New York metro area is getting to experience the richness of living in a place where so many different cultures converge. It is one of the things I will miss when I leave here. And undoubtedly one of the cultures that makes New York as awesome as it is, is Jewish culture.

As I studied different religions in college, Judaism made more intuitive sense to me than either of the other Abrahamic traditions. At least from an ontological standpoint or a conception of ultimate reality. I think a lot of the teaching and practice in Judaism has a lot in common with Zen, which is why I figured a lot of Jewish folks were drawn to Zen Buddhist practice. Unlike Christianity or Islam, Judaism isn't overly focused on 'the other world' or 'a world beyond' or 'the afterlife.' It's far more interested in, and celebratory of, this world and this life, than those other traditions. And the ideas of God in Judaism seem to mesh a lot more with ideas of Reality in Zen than ideas of God in Christianity or Islam. It seems to me there would be a lot less conflict and contradiction in a "Jewish Buddhist" practice than a "Christian Buddhist" or "Muslim Buddhist" practice. Just by virtue of the way the world seems to be approached and understood in Judaism.

This isn't to say there aren't problematic aspects of the religion. There's problematic aspects of any religion. I just have no difficulty understanding why or how Jewish people would be drawn to Buddhism; the worldviews of the two traditions are not that dissimilar when it gets down to the basics. You don't have to conjure up some silly notion of a conspiracy.

gniz said...

BTW, just to be clear, this does not mean I refute Mr. P's experience of having a Jew tell him that he believed himself better in some way, by virtue of his religion.

There are certainly Jews who think themselves better and special than others by virtue of their religion and birthright. These people are idiots, but they are no different than crazy Baptists or lunatic muslims or white supremacists or whomever you might run into that would like to think they are better than others because of something inherent in their DNA.

To assert that Jews or Jewishness is at the root of a fundamental difference or conditioning is to miss the entire point. All people are born with cultural conditioning. Most cultures have a portion of people that think they are "special" in some significant way based on what their mommy's and daddy's and clergy have told them for most of their lives.

For Mr. P. and others (like Mike Cross) to believe that Jews have a monopoly on this type of thinking is tantamount to lunacy and I'm pretty insulted when I hear that kind of talk.

gniz said...

Mr. P also says:
"...That, I know, which is probably the main reason for the "superior" mental skills often displayed by Jews."

I mean come on. I was being facetious when I talked about Jews being smarter than everyone else, or even you, Mr. P. I was making those comments because Mike Cross often says similar things about crafty Jews and their intellectual superiority.

Do you not realize that your comments about "superior mental skills" displayed by Jews plays into the same insane fantasies that led to many Jews being murdered not so long ago?

No, you probably don't understand it at all, you think your comments are modest and understated and that I am being paranoid. The funny thing is, I spend almost ZERO time in my life thinking about Judaism or the culture or Israel or identifying with any of it. I don't care normally to even discuss this sort of thing.

But when people like yourself start spouting nonsense and passing it off as common sense, I feel the need to step up and shut your mouth for you.

It's just plain ignorance that I can't stand, of which you display quite a bit.

Alan_A said...

M. Proux might be interested to know (but probably not) that, in the matter of "chose people (sic)," the idea of chosenness is very much debated in modern Judaism. Reform concludes that the term means, not an exceptional people but an exemplary people - that is, a people who are required to live up to the highest standard - in order to benefit everyone. This is similar to the notion that when you sit Zazen, the world sits Zazen - you improve the overall condition by virtue of your practice.

Reconstructionism dismisses the idea of chosenness altogether, and removes all references to chosenness from the liturgy.

Judaism (I say this as a practitioner) struggles with an internal contradiction - that between a universal message and a particular tribal history. In so doing, it's no different from other religions that struggle with internal contradictions - Christianisty (Jesus' message vs. the enthusiasm for spreading it by any means possible), Buddhism (withdraway vs. engagement), Zen (goals vs. no-goals). These create major problems but are also solvable by open-mindedness and good will. It'd be nice to see those more in evidence here.

Reading these comments greatly undercuts my attraction to Zen - if these are the fruits, why plant here? So maybe I'd better stop reading the comments.

gniz said...

Hey Alan,

I say we need more posters like you and insightful, educated posts like the one you just wrote.

As for your attraction to zen, i guess i'm not too concerned. As others have said, many of the commenters (myself included) are not necessarily Zen practitioners--I meditate and am certainly more identified with Buddhism than anything else...but still, not strictly a zennist.

Anyway, thanks for that.

proulx michel said...

I do understand I stepped into a wasps nest, and if I offered that we discuss privately, it was essentially because I think these subjects are not to be taken lightly. Here you are practically accusing me of being a frothing antisemite, which I am surely not, because I mentioned these things. And a civilised exchange between two individual is certainly more conclusive that squatting someone else's blog.

But you know very well that even if you're not a practicing Jew, I believe there is a matter of values. I come from a family which gave some very important intellectuals to QUebec, but I know that our society doesn't value intellect (in that we are very Northern American). But living in France, I have also noticed that the average French do not value intellect that much either: probably because the French Elite is so fucking intellectual and pretentious too.

French society as a whole does not value music. But in all the Jewish families I have known, knowledge, intelligence and music have (almost) always valued. This for me is a very important thing. But the Jewish ethos is also a patriarchal ethos, and women tend to be the lesser part of this.

This is a terribly complicated thing, and, having no sympathy for the kind of idiocies that led to the slaughter you're alluding to, your reaction touches me deeply.

But I cannot admit that there should be ideologies which ought not to be criticised. The way things are, at present, one may criticise Xtianity (at least here in France) but neither Judaism (for fear of being told an antisemite) nor Islam (for fear of being killed).

I think there is a reason for the number of American Zen teachers who are of Jewish origins, and I think it ought to be discussed, even if it raises problems.

I probably know more about Judaism than most Goyim, which is not an excuse, I agree. Don't put me on the same level as Mike Cross, please.

gniz said...

Hi Michael,

Your post makes things a little clearer here.
Well, it's a hornets nest if you aren't clear, and now that you've aired it out a bit, I can't say I have a problem with the discussion. Why is it you think so many people (particularly men?) of Jewish descent have ended up as Zen teachers?

I've certainly noticed the trend as well. What I feel you need to be careful about is the generalizations about Jews and "deep conditioning of the Jews" and those sorts of statements. You need to separate out the Jewish culture from being born a Jew (having Jew blood running through your veins).

Being born a Jew, but not buying into the culture or religiosity, I feel that I have not internalized much of the dogma that many others have who either practice Judaism or in some way celebrate their heritage, seem to buy into at times. But in general I'd say very few Jews that I knows actively embody the kind of "chosen people" rhetoric that many accuse us of.

However there are certain segments of the Jewish population which in fact do buy into some of the more stereotypical cultural elements of Judaism. I won't argue you there. These segments of Jewish people are much like the segments of Muslims, Christians, Southern Baptists, Mormons, etc. who believe they are privileged and special in God's eyes. In fact, that seems to be the point of most religions, to make people feel special.

Sure, there will be unique points about the Jewish religion and mythology that play out for some people. You allude to the importance of music and so forth in Jewish life. I think you could also find that appreciation in many other cultures, but perhaps not the pieces you are coming into contact with.

But back to your other point. Why so many Jewish people seeming to be Zen teachers? Not just zen teachers, but "spiritual" teachers (Andrew Cohen, etc).

You could probably do the same thing with comedians or screenwriters or music executives. I'm not sure that any good will come of it but everyone's entitled to an opinion. And you're right, I shouldn't put you on the level of a Mike Cross, but you also should be careful to speak more eloquently and with better insight and education than he's shown. Some of your previous posts did not hit the mark, and it was hard to tell the difference.

I apologize for the insulting tone of my earlier posts towards you.

Stephanie said...

Reading these comments greatly undercuts my attraction to Zen - if these are the fruits, why plant here? So maybe I'd better stop reading the comments.

Alan,

This is probably the most toxic and nasty site associated with Buddhism on the Internet. People get really personal and twisted here. Most of us who come here are twisted enough to be drawn to that. It's certainly not representative of Buddhism as a whole.

I usually regret coming back here,
personally. But I'm stupid enough to keep doing it...

Stephanie

Alan_A said...

proux michel and gniz - thanks for a thoughtful turn in the discussion.

@proux michel - women are the lesser part of Jewish households? You've clearly been hanging out in the wrong ones...

@gniz - thanks for that. When I read these discussions I'm often torn between letting them be (a Zen impulse?) and rushing in to set them "right" (a Jewish impulse?) I'll try to balance it out and engage at least occasionally.

Re: why so many Zen teachers have Jewish backgrounds - my own take, as I think Stephanie suggested earlier, is that there's a strong similarity in the fundamental outlook of the two practices. Don't forget that the Jewish god identifies himself (in Exodus 3:14) as "eyeh-asher-eyeh" - an untranslatable usually renedered as "I am that I am." But in the hebrew original, the forumlation has no tense - it can as easily be "I will be (there) howsoever I will be (there)" or "I am becoming what I am becoming." Which to my ear means that the jewish god is identical with existence itself - eyeh-asher-eyeh = existence-as-existence. Seen this way, the jewish god has a strong similarity to Shunryu Suzuki's "things as it is." What the practices have in common is a fierce concentration on, and an attempt to unravel, the things that are right under our noses, right here, right now. More hebrew - the folk derivation of "Israel" is "Yisra-el": "wrestles with it." The Jewish people are the people who wrestle with it. For those who are cultural but not religious Jews, that impulse produces its fair share of writers and comedians. For those who have a religious impulse but are not part of the Jewish religious tradition, Zen provides a framework for doing much the same thing - fiercly examining things as it is. There's the added benefit that Zen, and Buddhism generally (don't forget all the Jews involved in Vipassana/Insight Meditation) shift the emphasis to the personal and experiental. That's certainly a part of Jewish experience, but not recently - cultural issues have largely taken over the foreground, though that's changing now, as in the Renewal movement and elsewhere.

All this is debatable of course (how could it not be?) Nevertheless, I hope this helps.

captcha: urdose. I kid you not.

gniz said...

Hey Alan, From one Jew to another--I really appreciated both of your posts on this topic very much. You and Anon 108 do much more to make sense of this for people than I do with my machete, wacking away at anyone who disturbs me.

Your points were eloquent and well-founded. Dare I say it, educational!

As for Stephanie, you're right this place can be toxic but maybe there's a reason we all keep coming back to it. I find it alternately refreshing and repulsive...

Alan_A said...

@Stephanie - I think we cross-posted. Or at least, I hadn't seen your post before mine went up. Ah, yes. Toxic. Though I guess it has its own authenticity (suchness?) I'm learning to take it for what it is - not my most natural inclination, but useful. I've looked at some of the others, including Treeleaf (I see the value, though personally I thought Jundo's take on Chod was a little disappointing) and Zen Forum International. Each one has its place.

Personally, at the moment, I'm spending time reading John Tarrant, Bikkhu Bodhi's translations from the Pali Canon, and Red Pine's translation/explication of the Heart Sutra. Maybe too intellectual, but we are the people of the book, after all...

@Gniz - thanks yet again. Refreshing and repulsive - yes, agreed.

Oh, and for the ultimate interseaction of Judaism and Zen - try the Book of Job. All his friends have explanations - concepts - for what's happened. Job rejects all concepts and insists on direct contact/confrontation with naked reality ("Is it by your wisdom the hawk soars?" Merton thought that was a Zen moment). It isn't pretty - in fact, it's pretty psychotic - but it's real. In the end, Job's fortunes are restored - not as a reward, but because that's how things happen - random destructiveness, random renewal. And he knows enough to say nothing, because there's nothing to say. He sits down and shuts up.

My two cents...

proulx michel said...

Alan_A wrote


(...) In the end, Job's fortunes are restored - not as a reward, but because that's how things happen - random destructiveness, random renewal. And he knows enough to say nothing, because there's nothing to say. He sits down and shuts up.


Very interesteing rendering of the thing, which, in a theist sense, is absurd. But is no longer when you look at it this way.

My insistence (but the frame of such a medium as we are using here is not very favourable) was and is upon values.

As a historian, I worked in the University with Carol Iancu, who did an extremely interesting research upon Judaism in Southern France in the Middle Ages. Before the French conquered the SOuth, Narbonne, Montpellier and Lunel were the three major cities of Western Judaism. Narbonne was so much as being termed "The Jerusalem of the West".

What one has to realise, is that antisemitism has always been politically fostered by rival religions, such as Xtianity or Islam (the "Prophet" himself slaughtered 900 Jews in Medina, men, women and boys as soon as they had pubic hair).

In Poland even now, there is a radio aired by a priest who is rabidly antisemitic, although there are no longer almost any Jews in Poland.

And I quite well remember the various slurs against Jews uttered by the nuns when I was a boy.

There is a novel where a Reb goes to China to investigate the disappearance of the Jews from a city where they were supposed to have been quite numerous. He questions all those Chinese, accusing them of having slaughtered all those Jews, until he realises that those Chinese are the Jews. But because traditional Chinese society didn't give a f*** of them being Jewish, they have melted into the society.

The over enthusiastic participation of the Vichy Regime into the Holocaust was the result of a full century of antisemitic hysteria from the French Right Wing media. But what of the survival of more than 5000 Jews in Berlin itself during all those years of Nazi rule?

For this, I think that institutional propaganda has a lot to do with such problems. It means that individual people will have values which, at times, will make them do what needs to be done.

But, I repeat, What I have witnessed of "catholic" (not in the religious sense) values, is that money, arts and sciences are not highly valued.

Alan_A said...

@proux michel - no, that's definitely not a theistic take. Nor is it mainstream. There's some basis for it, though - it owes a bit to Merton.

And re: the non-theistic characterization of the Jewish god, there's a very interesting (and long) footnote by Robert Alter in his translation of the Five Books of Moses. He notes that one of the common name-forms in the Hebrew Bible involves the use of "Y'" - meaning "he" - plus a word defining an attribute. "Y'itzakh" (Isaac) is "he who laughs/smiles/rejoices," "Y'aakov" (Jacob) is "he who is lame." Alter points out that one of the alternative names for god is "Yi-yeh" - basically a redundancy or at least a repetition of "Y'" (Y'Y') which is read as "he who is without attributes (or qualities, or particulars)." In other words, existence in its pure state, before it becomes particularized.

A personal note - I remember reading that and suddenly thinking (a kensho moment?) that that's what's meant by shunyata, which is a formulation that I'd never really been able to grasp before. "Emptiness" sounded awfully depressing until I realized - at that moment when I was reading Alter - that what it meant wasn't an empty vacuum but rather emptiness (absence) of form. In Kabbalah (the real kind, not the Madonna kind), there's the concept of "ayn sof" - the "empty fullness" out of which all creation comes. Much the same thing as shunyata.

Sorry to be long-winded (more even than usual) but it remains interesting to me that this non-theistic take on Judaism gave me my first window into Buddhist philosophy - at a gut level (as in, "Oh, so that's what they were talking about!")

There's an argument to be made also that the Hebrew Bible itself provides for this kind of interpretation. Just after he calls himself eyeh-asher-eyeh, he tells Moses (in Exodus 6:3) that "I appeared to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as El Shaddai" - "the almighty one." In other words, he didn't use his true name, and he appeared in a particular, limited form. This suggests the non-theistic interpretation is possible, and that understanding of god can evolve to encompass something as abstract and difficult as "existence-as-existence."

So you can get there from here.

The further point of this long rant - that the common ground between Judaism and Buddhism/Zen may still be arguable, but isn't arbitrary - you can make the case from within the heart of both doctrines.

Re: anti-semitism - yes, it does seem to be revved up by vested interests, doesn't it? And it flourishes most when economic times are bad and resources are scarce. It's certainly having a revival in the U.S. at the moment - though anti-Jewish sentiment here never seems to get as extreme as it does in Europe, or as anti-Black and anti-Hispanic sentiment gets here. It seems that hatred gets directed most to the most visibly different part of the population. The more you stand out, the more you're apt to be a target.

The Jewish survivors in Berlin - they were a very small part of the prewar Berlin Jewish population, but a larger group than survived elsewhere. Credit likely goes to Berlin cosmopolitanism. As a native (now displaced) New Yorker, I always think cosmopolitanism is a good thing.

Thanks for opening the door further to an interesting conversation.

Seagal Rinpoche said...

Not always so.