Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sister Europe

I come to you today writing inside a train bound for Paris. We were supposed to take a plane. But the Icelandic ash cloud messed that up. Right now we’ve reached the suburbs and I’m being distracted by all the crazy graffiti and ancient stone churches with their flying buttresses.

The first four days of my European tour of 2010 were spent in London at the home of Andrew Deakin. Andrew is a student of Mike Leutchford, a fellow dharma heir of Nishijima Roshi. I didn’t do much Zen stuff in the UK except for having long wide-ranging philosophical discussions with Andrew. He kindly gave me his extra copy of Leonard Cohen Live In London DVD, though. Which, he says, has a very Zen feel to it. I’m looking forward to watching it.

After London I flew to Limoges in France. The flight was booked by my host in France, Arnaud Peuch. It was on Ryan Air, Europe’s cheapest airline, and left London’s Stansted airport at 6:45 AM. This meant waking up at 3:30 AM to catch a 4:10 AM Stansted Express train, which left from Liverpool Street Station, luckily a mere 25 minute walk from Andrew’s flat.

In spite of the massive ash cloud from the recent volcano in Iceland making its merry way around Europe, the plane for Limoges left on time. Limoges itself is a pretty nifty town. Not the kind of place I’d ever have thought of going on my own. But apparently it’s a popular destination for touring rock bands. The night I arrived, Atari Teenage Riot was playing a reunion concert there at the Centre Cultural de John Lennon. I wonder if Yoko Ono approved that name.

I did my first European talk at the Bibliothèque Francophone Multimédias, the town library. I wasn’t expecting massive crowds seeing as how none of my stuff is available in French except for on a now long-defunct website. And massive crowds I did not get. But I was pretty impressed that a healthy group of healthy people showed up to see some American Zen teacher they’d probably never heard of before they saw the fliers Arnaud put up around town.

This was the first time I had ever spoken through a translator. Last year when I did talks in Finland and Germany, I did them in English to English speaking audiences. In Finland pretty much everyone speaks English, while in Germany the retreats I led were advertised as being conducted in English so nobody would be surprised.

Nathalie, the translator, did a good job of making sense of what I was saying. But it couldn’t have been easy for her. In my work as a translator in Japan I found that what really made it possible was the fact that I always came to the job with a fairly deep knowledge of the Japanese monster movies the people I usually ended up translating for made. Nathalie wasn’t a Zennie at all and had a bit of difficulty finding French equivalents for words like “Heart Sutra” and suchlike.

The Q&A was interesting in that it seemed to be focused on my spiritual accomplishments. One guy wanted to know if I remained conscious even while dreaming. There were one or two others along those lines. I recorded the talk so maybe I’ll get it up on the podcast we’re working on one of these days.

The following day Arnaud and I sat Zazen with a group led by a female Zen monk who had been ordained by Jaques Brasse. It was one of those rare Zen groups with more women than men, which is always good to see.

After that Arnaud drove me to Toulouse, about three hours to the South. I did a talk there at a sort of collectivist co-op type art space and restaurant. The audience there was far younger. There was a bit of tension with one woman who had a beer in her hand and seemed to be quite upset by what I was saying. I think she wanted some more bells and whistles. It was hard to tell. My friend and fellow Nishijima Roshi dharma heir Michel Proulx, a regular contributor to the comments section, did the tranductions (translation). Got that one recorded as well. It should make for an interesting podcast.

It’s now the day after I began this post and I’m in Paris. Next stop Poland. All info is at http://web.me.com/doubtboy/Site/BookTour_2010.html

See ya!

PICTURES-
Top: Limoges
Middle: Toulouse
Bottom: Paris

71 comments:

Jordan said...

Number one number one everybodys talking bout number one!

108 Adams said...

Quick update to the Polish tour --- Brad's list is outdated. For more details pls refer to http://hardcorezen.pl

11 May: Opole, University
12 May: Wroclaw, Nalanda bookstore
13 & 14 May: Kraków

Monday 17 May: Bielsko-Biała
18 May: Katowice
19 May: Warsaw
20 May: Warsaw
21-23 May: sesshin and Tarabuk bookstore in the Sun evening

Monday 24 May: Warsaw/Łódź
25 May: => Germany

john e mumbles said...

Trace!!!

anon #108 said...

Hi Jordan,

everybodys talking bout number one!

Whether or not it's what you're suggesting, your coment made me think...

Why else would anyone, anon or otherwise, bother to blog or comment?

Whatever...I've been posting a lot here for some months, and I'd been considering lately whether to answer those critics of anon anons and registered anons like me and give my real name, with a picture: people ask - they say knowing 'who' they're 'talking' to helps. And it certainly does make a difference, of some kind.

I'd told myself that posting with a real name is always some kind of self-promotion, while posting anonymously is always some kind of cowardice.

My reason for posting as anon #108 is primarily, I think, some kind of cowardice/fear, with a little bit of "you don't know me anyway, what difference does a 'name' make/I'm not here to promote myself" justification.

So yesterday I decided to bite the bullet and reveal myself by linking to my band's myspace site, with the added advantage of, hopefully, getting some feedback on the band's recent efforts, with which I'm pleased. Folks will then know my name, what I'm doing - other than Buddhist-related stuff - and see a few pictures of me.

I assumed that some people would resent the link - it's nothing to do with the blog, and that some wouldn't like the music, or what I look like, and my safe anonymous rep will be blown. So yes, all about 'number one', but by no means in an entirely safe, conceited way. Putting your 'ego' out there risks it being attacked, or rejected.

As it happens, it looks like about 40 people (or 20 twice?) clicked on the page (it was too late in the UK for those to have been local hits), of whom many chose not to listen to the music, or look at the pictures (there are ongoing stats on myspace)...That's after one or two people assumed it was a joke, or that I'd been hacked. Only one person, john e mumbles, a fellow musician, checked the link, listened to the music and made a comment. Does that say anything? Something, certainly - but I'm not sure what.


Of course it's all about me, me, me - same goes for you, you and you. Who else is it about?

...Whether or not that's what you were suggesting ;)

anon #108 said...

Hey Brad!

If I'd known you were at Andrew's for four days - only a mile from my place - I coulda taken you out for tea and crumpets and wide-ranging philosophy.

Never mind.

Carry on enjoying Europe.
Haven't you learnt how to fly yet?? More work on your siddhis, I think.

proulx michel said...

Oh Dear, Anon #108, you have such a way with words...

anon #108 said...

Well thanks, PM!

I also play a mean bass guitar - and I'm no slouch on the flute, either :)

Apuleius Platonicus said...

Why does Brad Warner Hate America?

Sebouh said...

Wow, you're big in Poland. Just checked out the website. Maybe a Bulgarian translation soon (my homeland)? Those podcasts should be good, a Dharma talk with a translator sounds like a trip.

Have fun.

R said...

I've read the first paragraph so far.

Seagal Rinpoche said...

We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.

Harry said...

Johnathon Livingston Seagal?

Regards,

H.

Mumon said...

Some of us are shaped by hair dye.

a small hero said...

108 said: "Only one person, john e mumbles, a fellow musician, checked the link, listened to the music and made a comment."

Hi 108, I checked out your link and listened to the music. Every tune in fact. But I didn't leave a comment because I wanted to remain cowardly. I listened to Mumble's stuff too. A lot of talented people visit this blog.. Who would have thought?

Apuleius Platonicus said: Why does Brad Warner Hate America?

Because Yoko Ono lives here maybe.. Don't know, I never got that impression.

Anonymous said...

Hi, anyone here know where the talk in Berlin is held, and does one need to reserve a spot? Danke,
Christopher (ctlaux@gmail.com)

R said...

I have come to know about a Zendo that had opened recently in France.

[In the linage of Sawaki Roshi. I can't read French so the link is quite meaningless to me.]

anon #108 said...

Aaah..Thanks, small hero. The cockles of my heart are warmed :)

Or perhaps that's just my ego getting a boner.

James said...

Patience, the practice of patient acceptance, is the antidote for faulty frustrated desires (greed, the I-wants and shoulda-hads) and unwanted occurrences (negative greed: the I-shouldn’ta gottens, shouldn’t bes). We need to make the perfection of patience an omnipresent practice; not just a fallback position to use in desperation.

Patience is a mind that is able to accept fully whatever occurs. It is much more than just gritting our teeth and putting up with things, that’s the tolerance/intolerance thing. Being patient means to welcome wholeheartedly whatever arises, having given up the idea that things should be other than what they are.

When patience is present in our mind it is impossible for anger to gain a foothold. As we know from the cushion, since we can only have one thought at a time, if there is patience there cannot be anger.

It is always possible to be patient; there is no situation so bad that it cannot be accepted patiently, with an open, accommodating, and peaceful heart.

We start training ourselves to be patient on the cushion when we teach ourselves how to be patient with our thoughts and feelings as they arise. Then we take it off the cushion and practice patience by learning to accept the small everyday difficulties and hardships that arise. Gradually our patient mindstate increases and we remain peaceful in the face of our imagined adversities. There are many examples of people who have managed to practice patience even in the most extreme circumstances––Empty Cloud, for example, when he was being tortured. or those in the final stages of cancer, who, although their bodies are ravaged, maintain peaceful minds.

Anonymous said...

Do they have an answer as to whether the ash cloud is definitely dangerous, or are they just playing it safe?

Anonymous said...

Do they have an answer as to whether the ash cloud is definitely dangerous, or are they just playing it safe?

Anonymous said...

^ sorry about that

Anonymous said...

a brad warner podcast? AWESOMENESS!

Michel Billaud said...

Jaques Brasse -> Jacques Brosse.

Just in case someone is interested in reading one of his many books (see fr.wikipedia.org for a list, it's better to have the proper spelling.

john e mumbles said...

108 -Mal, or Malcolm if you prefer? Now that the "Cat" playing bass and just sitting otherwise is out of the bag: don't trust those Myspace counters, or anything on Myspace for that matter. Over time I've had every problem to be had there, the latest is I can't post upcoming gigs, they've changed the form and it doesn't work -yet, as they say when you complain.

Anyway, I bet most people here have listened up some to TOD and dug it like I did.

As to your confessional concerning to be anon or not anon, you are out of that closet now son, so beware. The criticism sometimes seems more cruel, but its good to tramp down the ego, so's why I think its a very good thing (for mine anyway).

The musician madman Eugene Chadbourne (Shockabilly, et al)used to stay at our place when touring the mid-west and told me -wisely- once upon a time: if you don't promote your work, how can you expect others to do it?

Brazen self-aggrandizement ever since for this kid. Yes, whoever leveled it at me last blog comment stew: I am in it for the attention, just like everybody else, "Anonymous" or not...

So waste no more time, go to Myspace now and listen to The John Eberly Band (all original tunes by yours truly) and The Other Dances (Malcolm 108's new band thing) because, well, we why not? You might like it...

anon #108 said...

All points taken and affirmed, jem.

(Yeah, we've been trying to put up a new gig in the new format edit, and it don't work. Not our incompetence, then. Good. But bad.)

Apuleius Platonicus said...

a small hero: "Because Yoko Ono lives here maybe"

no. he Hates Us For Our Freedom.

he Hates Yoko Ono because he blames her for the break-up of The Beatles. these are Completely Separate Issues. mostly.

Seagal Rinpoche said...

Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure. But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it. Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer.

a small hero said...

Apuleius Platonicus said: "no. he (Brad) Hates Us For Our Freedom.

No kiddin? I thought it was the Mullahs of Iran who hated us for our freedom. Damn! I've been reading the wrong propaganda again.

a small hero said...

Apuleius Platonicus: You know what? I've been thinking and you might be mistaken about Brad hating us for our freedom. I mean I might not be understanding exactly who you mean by 'us' and exactly what you mean by 'freedom'. Those two words can cover a lot of territory I know.. but I've never noticed it myself and I read this blog all the time.. Can you explain why you think this is so?

Rich said...

108/Mal - Originally I thought the link was a joke I missed. I am listening to your band now and thank you, I appreciate your music.

Mumbles - I'll get to you next.

Troy Troi said...

So many dharma heirs Nishijima has now. I too would love to be dharma heir of Nishijima roshi. Can someone tell me where I get an application? What are the requirements to have this wonderful job? Must I defeat Brad, Jundo or other dharma heirs in dharma combat? Ven. Sock Monkey? I gird my loins in anticipation. Will this traditional combat include nude wrestling? With oil? Do I get my own blog and comments? Fanboys and hating trolls? TIA

Jordan said...

Anon # 108,
Actualy it was a kids song I used to hear over and over again on Noggin while I was still in the states. One of those fun counting songs. I did not catch the band link in your profile though.

john e mumbles said...

Hey 108. I wrote a short review of TOD's Myspace Demo's, sent it to your Myspace inbox. let me know if you get it/don't get it...

And feel free to rewrite it and leave my name on it if you want :)

P.S. I used to write music reviews for SEEN mag (now long defunct) SOUND CHOICE (also gone gone gone), etc..hence the tag.

anon #108 said...

Thanks, Rich. I thought you thought that. Easily done ;)

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

LOL Jordan! Do they that call that serendipity or paranoia?

I briefly linked the link in a brief post yesterday, it's not on my profile, but if you inisist...LINK. I'm the elderly gent on bass.
(Web design/presentation ain't our strong point. We're working on it...)

Malc/Malcolm/108

(captcha = troje. I deny it!)

anon #108 said...

Hey thanks John!

Our first totally objective, unsolicited, blindingly positive review! Cheers. Great work! You have such a way with words...

proulx michel said...

Apuleius Platonicus said...

no. he Hates Us For Our Freedom.

You know, seen from here, what you call freedom is often felt like the freedom of the Fox (News?) in the Hen Roost.

Like the Freedom of LLoyd Blannkfeyn, for instance...

john e mumbles said...

108, No problem, it's all in who you know, you know, wink nod, wink..

It'll fly until they figure out that you and me and Ran are the same person...whoops!

Rich said...

John Mumbles - I really liked Not Your Fault - thanks

Anonymous said...

"Must I defeat Brad, Jundo or other dharma heirs in dharma combat?"

You might want to start off by denouncing the Jews.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff Malcolm and John E.

T said...

Nishijima isn't an anti-Semite, asshole.

Anonymous said...

Jundo Cohen said he was. Jundo also said that Nishijima had lost his mind, due to old age.

That's good enough for me.

Hokai said...

Yes !
Welcome back Jundo Cohen.
I suddenly know, that I missed something.
Thank Good I'm a Buddhist!

Anonymous said...

Your punctuation puzzles me.

Anonymous Bob said...

When Gniz used to troll here, he did it with a little style and elan.. You just come off as stupid and obvious. You might want to try trolling somewhere else girl. We have seen the best and you ain't him.

Anonymous said...

To whom was your post directed, Anonymous Bob? I believe that Hokai posted in earnest, and I was posting in the same vein.

Anonymous Bob said...

My comments were directed at the feminine troll who arrived and started in on Jundo and Nishijima at about 2:03

CAPTCHA : clogin : I kid you not

Anonymous said...

I posted that and I did so with pride.

As for you hurtful comment, sir, I hereby advise you that while I may be stupid and obvious, I most certainly am not ... oh.

Well, I'm certainly not feminine and I'm not a troll. Actually, I don't understand the use of those terms in the context you used them, but they don't apply to me under any circumstance. Kindly withdraw them as applies to me and you'll not hear a peep more from this anon.

Anonymous Bob said...

You must have some hormonal problems that you are unaware of. See a doctor.

CAPTCHA : haggit : I kid you not

Anonymous said...

I do have four testicles, each larger and more triangular than the next. Perhaps I'll get'er looked at.

Anonymous Bob said...

You're not funny either.. Maybe you're good at recycling.

Anonymous said...

:(

Jinzang said...

I'm the elderly gent on bass.

Thumbs up. It has a good beat and you can dance to it.

Jinzang said...

It should make for an interesting podcast.

A Hardcore podcast would be awesome. I can get enlightened while I'm at the gym.

Anonymous said...

JUndo wrote

Blogger jundo cohen said...

Oh my. Against my better judgment, I am going to jump in here just for a moment to say that Nishijima Roshi is not an "anti-semite" (meaning someone who hates Jews) and he does not have a racially discriminatory bone in his body.

He does have some strange and uncomfortable ideas about Jews that he has sometimes expressed privately and in lectures, and an irrational confusion and suspicion about many, many of his Dharma Heirs that extends to at least a dozen people right now (no one will contradict any of this, of course, except for two tushy kissers ... one with a vested interest in having things appear otherwise, and one who I still think is well meaning in his doing so). Roshi is wrong in both regards, but this is something I attribute primarily to his health, which seems to come and go, and his being raised at a certain time in Japanese history. I wish he would reflect on this, but it is probably now too late.

However, he is not an "anti-semite", and does not have a hating bone in his body.

Gassho, Jundo Cohen


https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=17340756&postID=1031385947640486286

Apuleius Platonicus said...

"Can you explain why you think this is so?"

yes i can. as stephen batchelor explains in his essay "deep agnosticism" the whole buddhism craze is nothing more than a naive adolescent rejection of OUR OWN CULTURE. but our culture is America, so what is brad doing riding a train (a veeeery unamerican thing even when done in America) BOUND FOR PARIS, WHICH IS THE CAPITAL OF FRANCE, WHICH IS THE OPPOSITE OF AMERICA.
http://www.stephenbatchelor.org/deepagnosticism.htm

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

I was expecting some racist pollack jokes.

a small hero said...

Platonicus: France is not the opposite of anything and Stephen Batchelor is a Brit. You seem very confused.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Sydney Pollack, that is...

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001628/

Jamal said...

Phil, You had to go and put that thought in Anon's pea brain didn't you?

Apuleius Platonicus said...

a small hero: why do you hate america??

a small hero said...

Apuleius: I can't say that I do. But I am not fond of Brussels Sprouts.

Jordan said...

anon # 108,
I finally got a chance to listen to your tunes.
I have no idea about what makes musicians successful or not, but since I did not find it to my tastes, you should be encouraged.

fractos

anon #108 said...

Thanks anon @2.04pm.

Thanks Jinzang.

Thanks Jordan, for your honest opinion, and hopeful prediction ;)

You wrote, I have no idea about what makes musicians successful or not...

That made me think, so I checked the dictionary to see if I am, or have ever been, successful:

1 achieving or resulting in the required outcome - 'The rescue was successful'.

A Yes, sometimes.

2 prosperous, flourishing - 'runs a very successful business'.

A No. Not now, or ever.

But I am, most of the time these days, a happy [feeling or showing pleasure or contentment] musician :)

proulx michel said...

This is something that always puzzled me, ever since my mother made me notice it; that is how and why Americans so much hate France.
One can understand the English for hating France, it's just near by, and we've been opposed for centuries.
In 1775, Insurgent forces attacked Québec City, but since even Ben Franklin's paper repeatedly asserted that French ought to be wiped out of Northern America, the French speaking Canadians, ended up siding with the British.

One explanation might be that, without French help and military involvement, the USA would never have succeded in winning their independence.
It is often that a debt leads to resentment.

Jinzang said...

That's easy to explain. France has not always been a reliable US ally and had pursued its own independent foreign policy. First under de Gaulle, and most recently by opposing UN approval for military action in Iraq.

Music Fan said...

Anon 108 your band is very pop. I dont normally like pop but I listened again cuz the tunes are catchy and quirky. Then I noticed some of the lyrics. I think 'Country music' is a beautiful song. Thats deeep pop, mate! And cool bass on 'She's not my lover' ....like McCartney! I'm going to listen again. Thanks.

John e mumbles, I liked your music a lot too. 'Roll and tumble' ROCKS! Smokin guitar, dude. Thanks.

anon #108 said...

Wow, Fan!

McCartney - a bigger compliment you could not pay. I have to say - I agree about "Country Music". The kid (Ben writes it all) has got something. Thanks. I think you 'get it'.

a small hero said...

Hi Michel: It is mostly a perception. The perception in the USA is that the French HATE Americans. Maybe Americans hate the French because we THINK they hate us. Another thing is our ridiculous accents. That is annoying to both sides.

Anonymous said...

"One explanation might be that, without French help and military involvement, the USA would never have succeded in winning their independence.
It is often that a debt leads to resentment."


That can work both ways. Without U.S. help France would be part of Germany. Or do you suppose The good general could have pushed the nazis out of france without u.s. forces? Why doesn't Japan really hate the u.s. then?

proulx michel said...

But the French DON'T hate the USA! Yet, this is, IMO a by product of authoritarianism: when you can't stand an ally who won't obey blindly your orders.

Actually, the French are much more friendly to Americans than you seem to believe. It's just that they won't admit that friendship is equal to submission.