Sunday, July 11, 2010

JAPAN RETREAT and AM I A MONK?

I'm back from the retreat at Tokei-in temple in Shizuoka Japan. A fun time was had by all.

Usually we get about 20 people at these things. But with the change from September to July we didn't have so many participants this year. But that's no big thing. In fact it was kind of nice to have just nine people. It makes things a lot more manageable and provides an opportunity for everybody to get to know each other. I thought it was great. And the weather, which I'd feared would be intolerably hot and humid, was actually better than it usually is in September. You shoulda been there!

I've been on this computer all morning trying to sort out where I'll be going after I get back to the USA. Anybody got a cheap apartment they want to rent to a guy who's hardly ever around? Seriously. I'll consider pretty much anywhere in the world. Hit me up.

Anyhow, I'm sick of being behind the computer so I'm gonna make this another short one (notice that I deftly resist saying "That's what she said" here. It is because of my tremendous will power!).

About the previous post, people keep thinking I'm saying there's no value at all to the sutras. I'm not. They are very valuable. But Buddhists view their so-called "sacred texts" in a way that is utterly different from how such texts are viewed in most religions.

I think that when I say "Buddhist texts are not the inerrant word of God" or words to that effect, people tend to stick "...and therefore we can discard them" at the end of that statement in their minds. They do this because that's the way we've been taught to look at the scriptures of the Western religious traditions. Either they're the inerrant word of God or they're trash. That's why religious people get so bent out of shape when anyone questions their scriptures.

But there's a huuuuuuuuge middle ground between "inerrant word of God" and "trash." This is the ground that Buddhist sutras occupy.

Somebody quoted Nishijima saying:

"In Buddhism there are fundamentally two ways that can be used to pursue the truth. One is practising Zazen and the other is reading the scriptures (sutras). But some people deny that there is any value in reading Buddhist scriptures and place too much emphasis on the value of practicing Zazen. They insist that Buddhism does not consist of philosophical theories. They say that practicing Zazen only is sufficient to attain the truth and that Buddhist scriptures are useless and in fact harmful to this purpose. Master Dogen, however, did not think so; he esteemed the value of reading the scriptures. He thought that reading the scriptures was an indispensable part of attaining the truth. So he wrote down the true meaning of reading the Buddhist scriptures in this chapter. In his opinion, Buddhist scriptures are not only the Buddhist sutras, but also the Universe itself which shows us and teaches us the true meaning of our lives."

Then someone else said, "That sounds like the Old Nishijima, before the 'all you need is to straighten the spine and balance the Autonomic Nervous System' Nishijima." There is no "all you need is to straighten the spine and balance the Autonomic Nervous System Nishijima." His view on the value of Buddhist philosophy has not changed at all. He busts his ass even at age 90 to try to explain Buddhism in a philosophical way.

I feel the same way as Nisjhijima about the sutras and the writings of Dogen. Or else why would I have written a whole book trying to explain Dogen? Duh!

Whatever.

Also on the "things that bug me" tangent, there's a guy in Europe saying to some of the Dogen Sangha people there that monks in the Japanese Zen tradition don't deserve to call themselves monks because they're not celibate and don't follow the Vinaya regulations to the letter.

To that I can only answer in the words of the great 60s cult band The Monks, "I'm a monk, you're a monk, we're all monks!"

There are a lot of people who feel this way about Japanese-style Buddhist monks, and a lot who don't. The guy who said this comes from the Korean Zen tradition, where this is a thorny issue. When Japan occupied Korea from the early 20th century until 1945 they changed the rules there and allowed Buddhist monks to marry. When the Koreans threw off the shackles of Japan, some of the Buddhists decided to go back to the old celibate system and some did not. This caused some friction that remains today. Those who reject the non-celibacy thing do so because they see it as a corruption brought over by the nasty Japanese. Those who stayed with the non-celibate style see the easing of regulations concerning celibacy as a good and natural progression of Buddhism.

For Westerners, the idea of non-celibate Buddhist monks doesn't seem so outlandish. We had the Protestant Reformation a few hundred years ago that allowed Christian clergy to marry and generally not be celibate. And Rabbis and Imams have never been required to be celibate. So we generally don't worry ourselves too much when we hear about non-celibate Buddhist monks. But in Asia it's still controversial. And some Westerners who have lived in Asian cultures have picked up on this as well.

It would be different if non-celibacy for Buddhist monks in the Japanese tradition was something that was made up just to placate Westerners, or if it was something weirdos like me had invented. But that isn't the case. There is about 150 years of tradition behind it. In fact non-celibacy for Buddhist monks goes back a long ways before the Japanese government made it official in the 1860s. How do you think the sex based meditation exercises in the Tibetan Tantric tradition developed?

In any case, I'm a bit uncomfortable with the term "monk" myself, but not because I'm not celibate. I think the word "monk" tends to make Western people envision something like Catholic-style monk-hood. For example, it makes them imagine people who enter a monastery and live there for the rest of their lives. But that's not the case in Zen and never has been.

I use the word "monk" sometimes for lack of anything better to call myself. Gradually people are coming to understand what a Zen monk is. I also use it because once my teacher, Nishijima Roshi said to me, "You're a monk." So I accept his definition.

This is a pretty convoluted subject and maybe I'll get into it in a more detailed way one of these days.

ADDENDUM
Here's a good article on this subject by James Ford.

240 comments:

1 – 200 of 240   Newer›   Newest»
Kevin said...

Might as well take first on this one..... monks

Sebastian said...

I see Kuroda sensei in the photo. Hope he and his family are doing well. Maybe see ya at the West Coast taikai.

Anonymous said...

Nine people for sesshin? OMFG!

Where have all the zennies gone, long time passing?
Where have all the zennies gone, long time ago?
Where have all the zennies gone?
Mara has picked them everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn?

Anonymous said...

Your discussion of the relationship between monasticism in Korea and Japan is ill-informed and biased. Before spouting off you might take the time to learn something about this matter.

Mysterion said...

ahhh...

"monasticism in Korea and Japan" is not the same as monks marrying or not. Korea... is not Japan.

And comfort girls are not Geisha.

Culturally, Japan and Korea have never been that close.

Neither is Nikkō, who established the Nichiren shō-shū, Sun Yung Moon.

And I am neither.

Mysterion said...

p.s. 20 - in a retreat?

I'ld cap it at 12!

9 is great.

(the economy sucks - thanks to the Banksters, CEOnistas, Investment breakers, and republican deregulation and the two Bush Presidents)

Anonymous said...

In Finnish monk is 'munkki' which also means a doughnut-like product. So I'll take my monks with sugar on top, please!

Anonymous said...

Just curious.

"Anonymous said...

Your discussion of the relationship between monasticism in Korea and Japan is ill-informed and biased. Before spouting off you might take the time to learn something about this matter."

What is the relationship ?

Anonymous said...

Negative, I am a meat popsicle!

Aren't those catholic monasteries where they send priests who raped kids? The same priests who look at normal sex as unholy because it is forbidden by the church? Just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

He covered every topic except Jundo's invitation to tea. I can read the tea leaves, and it ain't going to happen.

Invitation to Tea and Zazen Sat, 03 Jul 2010

Dear All,

I would like to invite Brad, Peter, Gerhard, and all of my Brothers and Sisters in the Dharma who may be in or visiting Japan, to visit our Zen Center, join me for a quiet meal and to sit Zazen together. As Brad is visiting Japan next week, it would be a very rare time.

Of course, you are always welcome at our place (a short distance from Tokyo and very close to where Peter lives), and even to spend the night. If that is not convenient for you, I would be happy to meet together at Roshi's apartment. If that is not convenient, we can meet at some place where we can have some time alone, to share a little private time and sit together.

I very much believe that Buddhists should let all hard feelings float away, like water under a bridge. Whatever people feel, it is just a viewpoint. It is all just thoughts, and passed time. Any perceived differences in religious and philosophical opinions, personality, or past events and emotions are obstacles to nothing, dropped away in a moment of Zazen. I believe that all people should learn to put such things aside and get along, maybe most especially 'Buddhist' people. It is best to shake hands, mutually and constantly forgive, apologize for and forget any and all perceived wrongs and offenses, one to the others. I would like to have a good friendship for the future, and I am sure you do too.

As well, I anticipate that I will be in Europe and the U.K. in the coming year sometime, and I hope that many of us will have a chance to meet, eat and sit together then.

Gassho and Peace, Jundo


Anonymous said...

Fuck you Jundo. I hope you get a brain tumor

Mysterion said...

Buddhists Texts are not WORSHIPED like some worship the KJV. To do so is IDOLATRY - and yes, Buddha spoke against that. So those fat (or even thin) statues of Buddha (or Hotei) are kinda idolatry - think about it.

There is plenty of hypocrisy in Buddhism to satisfy Buddhist hypocrites (and non-Buddhist hypoctites too!). If you are a hypocrite, you are welcome. There's always room for one more.

But in the pure sense, you just cut the bullshit, accept the sutras as hearsay (e.g. This I have heard. Once upon a time the Buddha Shakyamuni was staying near Shravasti in the cloistered garden that Anathapindada gave to the Buddhist Order in Prince Jeta's grove...) and get on with your life. and get on with your practice.

Buddhism is not a religion of devotion, but of morality and meditation. It does not consist of a worship of the Buddha , or of a multitude of Buddhas. Buddhism is one following the example of Gautama Shakyamuni. Moreover, the adoration of statues representing the Buddha and the Buddhist pantheon is separate, Chinese (also here), and a much much later phenomenon.

As I previously stated, Chinese Quan Yin became Japanese Kannon. Neither are Buddhist. Both, like Mary, are recycled Isis through some genetically encoded memory mechanism at play.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

Fuck you Jundo. I hope you get a brain tumor"

WOW, istn't that an incarnation of YUNMEN here commenting this blog????

Ibrahim Ahmad Abu El-Hawa said...

He covered every topic except Jundo's invitation to tea. I can read the tea leaves, and it ain't going to happen.

I guess that Brad did not learn very much from his meeting with Ibrahim Ahmad Abu El-Hawa "a 60-something year old Palestinian who travels the world talking about peace. He opens his home to visitors to whom he preaches his message of unity and understanding.

They greet each other with an extended hug, firm pats on the back and kisses on the cheek. They are dear friends, even though many of their countrymen are dire enemies.

Eliyahu McLean is 33, lives in West Jerusalem and is an Orthodox Jew, with a beard, long side curls and often a tefillin, a small black box filled with parchment from the Torah.

Ibrahim Ahmad Abu El-Hawa, 60, is a devout Palestinian Muslim who lives on the Mount of Olives, the Arab sector of the holy city, and wears traditional white robes, an embroidered skullcap and pale yellow prayer shawl.

Together they travel the world to share the story of their friendship, and are in the Bay Area to give a series of talks spreading the message that it is possible for Jews and Palestinians to live harmoniously in the Holy Land.

"I just see how much we love each other, and it makes me sad that others can't share that on a broader level," said McLean, now director of the Middle East Chapter of the Peacemaker Community -an international spiritual group that focuses on reconciliation efforts.

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_-cmMiMA6qL4/TCt_1ZIC9gI/AAAAAAAAA2o/Ev55m_XbUtw/s1600/Ibrahum%26Me.jpg

Anonymous said...

Brad,

I don't believe that e.g. so many Western Christians think the Bible is either inerrant word of God or trash (at least not in Europe, not today).

Nowadays people tend to accept the results of biblical exegesis which, among other things, tries to explain how the collection of literature known as the Bible was written - by normal people.

However, as for me and many others, I find many biblical stories useful in my endeavour towards a Christian lifestyle based on understanding, forgiveness and love. Some, on the other hand, are definitely useless, and my sacred duty as a Christian is to consider them trash.

But not because of their origin; because of their content.

proulx michel said...

Monk is a deformation of greek "monachos" --"he who lives alone".
By extension, it has come to mean people who live in a community.

It is quite obvious (for any who have attempted this) that sexual relations (of any kind) in a community are a seed for trouble. Even hippie communities. Therefore, people living in a community whose goals are essentially either spiritual (for xtians, for example) or buddhist (which is neither physical nor spiritual but both) will quite obviously avoid sex.

On the other hand, lay teachers have no such obligation. Celibacy for catholic priests was imposed rather late in the middle ages (a period which lasted a 1000 years, by the way), essentially in order to avoid the kind of patrimonial problems that are attached to this in Japan. That is diverting the money pertaining to the Church upon their families. It seems to me that the word commonly used in Japanese is not monk, but bouzu. Or bonze.

On the other hand, Nishijima chose to remain celibate after receiving the precepts, so it is also a matter of personal choice. If ever Brad decides to remain celibate, what will trolls write?

And last: Talleyrand once said that "Hypocrisy is the homage that Vice gives to Virtue". When there is hypocrisy, it means that Virtuye remains the important value. Throwing away hypocrisy (as did our Omnipresident, Sarkozy) means that Virtue is no longer an important value, and that one doesn't even need to feign it.

anon #108 said...

Hi Brad,

There is no "all you need is to straighten the spine and balance the Autonomic Nervous System Nishijima." His view on the value of Buddhist philosophy has not changed at all. He busts his ass even at age 90 to try to explain Buddhism in a philosophical way."

I posted the Nishijima quote. An anonymous responded (and to my ears sounded appreciative of what Gudo had written, but disappointed that s/he didn't get to hear that kind of thing more often from Gudo these days).

I get that it bugs you that some people think that Gudo no longer cares about anything but the ANS. You have the advantage of knowing and speaking with the man personally - all the rest of us get these days is his blog and an occasional youtube clip. On the blog (perhaps less so on youtube?), he quite often answers questions about all sorts of aspects and Buddhism and life with some variation on "all you need is to straighten the spine and balance the Autonomic Nervous System."

So anonymous's response is very understandable, I think.

Jim T said...

Just found this story about the courtney love and eric erlandson not being able to play together anymore since they're in different buddhist sects:
http://theworsthorse.com/2010/07/buddhism-keeps-original-hole-line-up-from-reuniting/

Was wondering, Brad, you're pretty down on big mind, but how far would you go to stop people trying it?

David Chapman said...

"How do you think the sex based meditation exercises in the Tibetan Tantric tradition developed?"

According to the Tantric scriptures themselves, they developed outside the monastic system. Skipping some mythology, they appear to have been imported into Buddhism by "siddhas", who were non-monastic Buddhist practitioners. They came from "dakinis", who were likely the shamanistic priestesses of a non-Buddhist, non-Hindu tribal people of Bengal.

Tibetan Tantra is still pre-eminently practiced by non-monastics. There is a system of "Ngakpa" ordination that is *not* "lay" and not monastic. Ngakpas are rarely celibate; they are expected to engage in sexual practice.

Tibetan monks do engage in Tantric sexual practice, but this involves some contradictions and compromises. Sometimes they take Ngakpa ordination (temporarily or permanently) in order to engage in sexual practice.

Brad Warner said...

Anonymous said:
"Your discussion of the relationship between monasticism in Korea and Japan is ill-informed and biased. Before spouting off you might take the time to learn something about this matter."

This is the way I heard it. Am I incorrect?

Mumon said...

But there's a huuuuuuuuge middle ground between "inerrant word of God" and "trash." This is the ground that Buddhist sutras occupy.


You know, Brad, when I see a comment like this, I get the feeling whether you've actually "get" the sutras, outside perhaps of whatever Dogen might have said.

I mean... I mean... There are passages in the Buddhist sutras, that whatever their spiritual provenance, are, in the history of humanity, among the most elegant and profound thoughts ever to be articulated by a human mind and recorded.

And calling things like that (as well as the admittedly crappier ones) as occupying a middle ground like that is kind of like saying you have an income somewhere between the poverty level in Haiti and Warren Buffett's.

Blake said...

You could rent our house!

Anonymous said...

To #108 who said:

>"I posted the Nishijima quote. An anonymous responded (and to my ears sounded appreciative of what Gudo had written, but disappointed that s/he didn't get to hear that kind of thing more often from Gudo these days).

I get that it bugs you that some people think that Gudo no longer cares about anything but the ANS. You have the advantage of knowing and speaking with the man personally - all the rest of us get these days is his blog and an occasional youtube clip. On the blog (perhaps less so on youtube?), he quite often answers questions about all sorts of aspects and Buddhism and life with some variation on "all you need is to straighten the spine and balance the Autonomic Nervous System.

So anonymous's response is very understandable, I think."


The anonymous who responded to your quote, responded ONLY with:

> "That sounds like the Old
Nishijima, before the "all you need is to straighten the spine and balance the Autonomic Nervous System" Nishijima"

I'm not sure that one can read this terse response to mean "appreciative of what Gudo had written, but disappointed that s/he didn't get to hear that kind of thing more often from Gudo these days".

Surely it would be higher on the list of interpretations to read it simply as an off-the-cuff remark, expressing the view that Nishijima had changed his view, or maybe secondly, as an off-the-cuff snipe, given the terseness of the comment.

Isn't your apology of the anon more likely due to your 'Yep' agreement in response:

>"That sounds like the Old Nishijima..."

Yep, anon.
And apologies for the tech hitches."

It seems clear to me that Brad is merely correcting some ill-informed and half-thought-out chatter about Nishijima, where folk are being a bit slap-dash, and maybe even tad ad hominen about Nishijima - especially given the focus applied to that chatter with such an extended quote.

From your post, it seems you are finding your own views, which you detail here, 'understandable'. Or are at least attempting to get out of being embarrassed with some back-to-the-wall sophistry, via a defence of the anon.

And surely these views are more 'understandable' as a way to worm out of being a little, yet understandably, slack. Comments sections are like this, so some belt-straightening is worthwhile, it seems, from time to time.

I'm sure if anyone had any serious questions about his views on philosophy/practice, they'd get a generous reply on his comments section.

That you point out "On the blog (perhaps less so on youtube?), he quite often answers questions about all sorts of aspects and Buddhism and life..."

Doesn't mean that your

"...with some variation on "ALL YOU NEED is to straighten the spine and balance the Autonomic Nervous System" is valid, either as a characterisation of a teachers views on philosophy/practice, or as a 'defence' of what you have decided or need to convey is an anon's opinions and feelings on the matter. The all-important "All you need" part is being taken out of context, it seems.

Brad Warner said...

Jim T asked:
"Was wondering, Brad, you're pretty down on big mind, but how far would you go to stop people trying it?"

I wouldn't do anything to stop people trying it. People do all kinds of stupid things.

Anonymous said...

You say that buddhism is a face to face transmission. This idea has been pretty thoroughly demolished by modern buddhist scholarship. There are huge gaps in this face to face transmission. While I agree that the substance of zen can not be transmitted via words, even those of the Buddha, in my view zen cannot be transmitted face to face either. A teacher is like a sutra. She can be an excellent pointer towards zen, but can never actually transmit zen. A good live teacher is probably an even better pointer than a sutra, but this does not negate the importance of the sutras or records of the patriarchs. Bottom line, you quote Dogen regularly and Master Nishijima seems to regard him as a kind of final authority (from reading his blog) but you rarely, if ever, quote either the sutras or records of other zen masters. Why?

JoSatori said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous Bob said...

"But there's a huuuuuuuuge middle ground between "inerrant word of God" and "trash." This is the ground that Buddhist sutras occupy."

That comment seems exactly right to me. And it is a core lesson in life too. It's all middle ground. If you really love the sutras you should recognize that central truth because it is expressed in them very often.

And.. I don't get why some people equate not taking the sutras as records of undeniable truth with negating any importance in them.. It ain't the same thing.

CAPTCHA : curbit : I kid you not

JoSatori said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jinzang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Glen said...

Some suttras are cool.

Also, some feel that if Buddhism remains as a strick monastic religion as in Thailand as an example, it will continue to die.

Times change, maybe buddhism is too but needs to keep its core as well as plenty of zazen.

Some seem to obsess over scriptures, rules...but the i have trouble trusting them too much and for good reason in my opinion. I mean the people who wrote them, they could be full of shit. Who knows really.

JoSatori said...

In my opinion, the Dharma is not something that originated with Shakyamuni Buddha. On the contrary, the true law has ALWAYS been around. It was here before the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. Old-Man Gautama just experienced it for himself (you can say he "discovered" it).

What people forget, however, is that truth has two sides. It has an objective side and a subjective side (I think Shunryu Suzuki said that). Putting it more specifically, Shakyamuni experienced the same thing as Dogen Zenji. However, both of them were already part of their respective times and cultures when they were "enlightened". Objectively, it's the same truth, but subjectively each person perceived it through their own sunglasses (so to speak), which were tinted by cause and conditions, past experience, etc.

Siddhartha Gautama was a former prince who lived in India about 2,500 yrs ago, and so the Dharma has he explained it naturally had he Indian flavor of that period. Master Dogen was a former Japanese aristocrat living in his own country and time, and the Buddha Dharma as he explained it naturally had the Japanese flavor of that period. It's always the same good food, but the seasoning is always different. Nothing's ever the same twice.

That's why I don't think a digression from the Vinaya's strict rule against sex is a such a crime. Shakyamuni made that rule based upon his personal experience of the truth and that was good. Zen monks do not follow that rule, and that is also good.

And besides, although I might be wrong on this, Buddhism is not about following rules. Buddhism is about seeing Buddha Nature directly. Of course we must follow the Precepts to the best of our ability and do so under the guidance of a good teacher; but it's the moon we have to focus on, not the finger that's pointing to it. Rules are good. But they're not the truth in themselves. Way I see it, they're just what's pointing us in the right direction.

Moral of the tirade: things change, knock boots.

gniz said...

Anon said: "in my view zen cannot be transmitted face to face either. A teacher is like a sutra. She can be an excellent pointer towards zen, but can never actually transmit zen"

One of the most accurate statements I've ever come across.

Mysterion said...

Rules are made by men for men.

Buddha's rules of monastic conduct.

"The Community Rule" and "The Messianic Rule" were originally on the same scroll contained rules to be followed by the monastic community in Israel.

And so forth.

Rules are a guide to conduct that are purposed to maintain harmony - that being the true strength of a close society.

But rules are now WHO you are or WHAT you are. Rules only guide your conduct to preserve the peace.

WHAT you are is consciousness. And a growing awareness of your own consciousness is an awakening. What that means to different people is based upon their individual ability to sort it out for themselves. We each have a Bodh nature that is a different as our fingerprints. That Bodh nature is the fingerprint of our consciousness. Realization of that is about all there is - unless you happen to be a quantum physicist (which I am NOT).

Mysterion said...

Steven Seagal claims he`s "God" - Controversial Interview

it's only controversial if you are a button-down-collar fundie.

to an Oriental Mind, this is ~ normal. To me, it's poor timing.

We make not only the rules of the community, we make also the rules of the universe. Go back and read THIS for a second time.

Any buy or borrow THIS book.

or read a rough translation on line

Mysterion said...

necessary correction:
But rules are NOT WHO you are or WHAT you are.

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

Hi anon @7.21am,

I really don't enjoy this kind of line-by-line analysis of blog posts. But as much of what you wrote made sense to me...


I'm not sure that one can read this terse response to mean "appreciative of what Gudo had written, but disappointed that s/he didn't get to hear that kind of thing more often from Gudo these days".

I'm not sure either. But it IS the way I read it.

Surely it would be higher on the list of interpretations to read it simply as...

"Higher on the list of interpreatations?

Believe it or not, I chose the interpretation that accorded with my initial reaction. That reaction was a significant aspect of the stimulus that led to my respoding to Brad's reaction - I felt his reaction was unecessarly defensive. He seemed to me to want to clarify something about Gudo because, as he put it, he'd been 'bugged' by anon's response. I could have (chosen to) see it the way you suggest, but it served my purpose, was consistent with my intial reaction, and reflected the honest conclusion I'd reached about the tone and motive of anon's reply, to say what I said in the way I said it.

Isn't your apology of the anon more likely due to your 'Yep' agreement in response...

I believe I've dealt with this point above. BTW, the apology for the tech hitches I intended as an apology to blog readers in general, not specifically to anon. Perhaps I should have double-spaced. (I can't be sure what you're reading into what, from what so...)

It seems clear to me that Brad is merely correcting some ill-informed and half-thought-out chatter about Nishijima...

I heard something else in Brad's reply: a reluctance to acknowledge that Gudo's communications these days (I'm talking primarily about the blog) are not having the effect some of his supporters would like to see. They are creating confusion. As a student of a Dogen Sangha teacher - a "member" of Dogen Sangha, if you like - I know I'm not alone in feeling that, and regretting it.

From your post, it seems you are finding your own views, which you detail here, 'understandable'.

Of course. I also find responses like those of anon understandable. And that's the point I believe I made.

I'm sure if anyone had any serious questions about his views on philosophy/practice, they'd get a generous reply on his comments section.

I have to assume that you regularly read Gudo's blog. His replies may be "generous", but they're often, IMO, fail to answer the question. Not always, but often. I think this is apparent to anyone who reads it regularly. I don't doubt Gudo's generosity or sincerity - I don't know him.

That you point out...Doesn't mean that...

Sorry, but I don't understand your point here.

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

Much of your analysis occurred to me, at some level, as I was considering and writing my post. But I chose the form of words that I believed would make the point I wanted to make based on my understanding of what Brad written. Having considered your comments, I'm content to stand by what I wrote, as I wrote it.

If this reply strikes you as yet more sophistry, that's fine. It's all I can do. We may never see my posts the same way.

Anonymous said...

Brad,

My mother-in-law has an apartment for rent in St. Petersburg, FLorida. It's cheap, nice neighborhood, and nobody cares when or how often you come and go.

So. There's an offer.

Geoff Nelson

Anonymous said...

I should mention: there are sanghas in Tampa, nearby. I don't know of any Zen centers in St. Pete. There's a Shambala place on the same block, but I don't think that has much to do with you. I could be wrong; it's kind of a hobby of mine. There's are strong yoga and martial arts communities in St. Pete, as well as a groovy arts scene. Lots of places advertise "meditation". I'm not sure what they mean; I've never been.

Hm.

Music in St. Pete is OK. Lots of blues, and we have the Tropical Heat Wave, an annual alt. music festival sponsored by WMNF, the best little radio station on the planet. They used to play Alan Watts on Sundays; I'd listen on my way home from church.

Any other questions, lemme know.

G Nelson

Mysterion said...

Anon @ 7:21 AM:

It's not about higher and lower.

It's not about nearer and farther.

Even these concepts become obstacles in the path.







archives

Anonymous said...

"Once you receive transmission and form the guru-disciple bond of samaya, you have committed yourself to the teacher as guru, and from then on, the guru can do no wrong, no matter what. It follows that if you obey the guru in all things, you can do no wrong either. if you keep your samaya, you cannot make a mistake.” - CHÖGYAM TRUNGPA

The Librarian of Congress James H. Billington announced last week the appointment of W.S. Merwin as the Library’s 17th Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry for 2010-2011.

W.S. Merwin.. In the fall of 1975, he and his wife were attending a three-month Buddhist retreat led by Tibetan master CHÖGYAM TRUNGPA. But they made the mistake of keeping to themselves within a crowd mentality where that was viewed as offensive “egotism” on their part. Consequently, their perceived aloofness had been resented all summer by the other Tibetan Buddhists ... and later categorized as “resistance” by Trungpa himself.

Thus, Merwin and his companion showed up briefly for the aforementioned Halloween party, danced only with each other, and then went back to their room.

Trungpa, however, insisted through a messenger that they return and rejoin the party. In response, William and his wife locked themselves in their room, turned off the lights ... and soon found themselves on the receiving end of a group of angry, drunken spiritual seekers, who proceeded to cut their telephone line, kick in the door (at Trungpa’s command) and break a window (Miles, 1989).

Panicked, but discerning that broken glass is mightier than the pen, the poet defended himself by smashing bottles over several of the attacking disciples, injuring a friend of his. Then, mortified and giving up the struggle, he and his wife were dragged from the room.

[Dana] implored that someone call the police, but to no avail. She was insulted by one of the women in the hallway and a man threw wine in her face (Schumacher, 1992).

And then, at the feet of the wise guru, after Trungpa had “told Merwin that he had heard the poet was making a lot of trouble”:

[Merwin:] I reminded him that we never promised to obey him. He said, “Ah, but you asked to come” (Miles, 1989).

An argument ensued, during which Trungpa insulted Merwin’s Oriental wife with racist remarks [in return for which she called him a “Nazi”] and threw a glass of saké in the poet’s face (Feuerstein, 1992).

Following that noble display of high realization, Trungpa had the couple forcibly stripped by his henchmen—against the protests of both Dana and one of the few courageous onlookers, who was punched in the face and called a “son of a bitch” by Trungpa himself for his efforts.

“Guards dragged me off and pinned me to the floor,” [Dana] wrote in her account of the incident.... “I fought and called to friends, men and women whose faces I saw in the crowd, to call the police. No one did.... [One devotee] was stripping me while others held me down. Trungpa was punching [him] in the head, urging him to do it faster. The rest of my clothes were torn off.”

“See?” said Trungpa. “It’s not so bad, is it?” Merwin and Dana stood naked, holding each other, Dana sobbing (Miles, 1989).

Finally, others stripped voluntarily and Trungpa, apparently satisfied, said “Let’s dance” (Marin, 1995). “And so they did.”

And that, kiddies, is what they call “authentic Tibetan Buddhism.” - From; Stripping the Gurus by Geoffrey D. Falk

captcha - alkylofti

Anonymous said...

blah blah blah. i hate all of you.

Uku said...

Kôdô Sawaki Rôshi wrote regarding monks:

The Buddha’s teaching has declined these days because practice has declined. People just can’t get it into their guts that practice itself is awakening.

Are Zen monks real monks? Who cares. The practice itself, Dharma itself is somewhere else.

anonymousmaximus said...

"blah blah blah. i hate all of you."

That's funny.. so what the fuck are you doing hanging out with us?

Mysterion said...

Anony @ 1:17 PM sed:

And that, kiddies, is what they call “authentic Tibetan Buddhism.”
**********************************
Who are these "they," and what is authentic about any of this?

There are no "Gurus" in Buddhism. There are no "Authorities" in Buddhism.

There are people who have read items and give you an impression of the item that they have read (or even studied). But these people are neither "Gurus" nor "Authorities."

Anonymous said...

In theravadan thai sanghas you can't teach until you've experienced stream entry. Know what that's about Mysterion?

what do I know? said...

2.21pm - are you a stream enterer in a theravadan thai sangha - or is stream entry an impression you've formed from an item you've read?

Mysterion said...

P.S. I think there are some enema fundies trying to spray some cereal shit in this blog - seriously!

Anonymous Bob said...

You're a katukomazi (porn) monk, Brad. Haha!

Mysterion said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"In theravadan thai sanghas you can't teach until you've experienced stream entry. Know what that's about Mysterion?"
2:21 PM

Don't confuse that which you think you have learned through Crowley's OTO with the actual practices in Thailand or elsewhere.

Crowley was merely a wealthy homosexual drug addict and therefore projected his values elsewhere. I am not passing judgment on Crowley, his writing speaks for him.

Jack Parsons, and others, were swept away by his Guruship.

Stevo said...

Get a lifelife, AB!

Anonymous said...

M...

After sustained concentration practice the unexamined lower level mental processes that create the sense of a solid body dissolve as they appear and are seen to come and go. Sustained concentration practice increases the 'frame rate' of awareness such that more rapid comings and goings can be directly observed. So first seen are mental movements, which are still gross level phenomena. At stream entry the body is experienced as being made of glass and then shatters. This is the point where awareness can perceive the individual quarks that comprise the body's atoms, coming into and out of existence. Sort of like the fizz of soda. One insight is that there is obviously no permanent 'self'. From this awareness monks may teach because they are quite safe to do so. Ego clinging is disposed of, with all of the wantings and not wantings related to other beings that it engenders. Seems like a sort of 'authority' level that works for this tradition.

I'm not there, but have heard a talk from a Burmese master, which implies he is, though he was not wearing a badge :) The talk was astounding to listen to, not at the cognitive level, but at the way it felt to listen to the clarity. Stunning. Encouraging.

john e mumbles said...

For a detailed overview of how Indian Tantric Buddhism came to Tibet through the adept Padmasambahava, see this:

http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/05/maha-ati-natural-liberation-through-primordial-awareness/

Anonymous said...

To Mysterion who wrote:

"Anon @ 7:21 AM:

It's not about higher and lower.

It's not about nearer and farther.

Even these concepts become obstacles in the path."

Thanks for stating the Buddhist obvious, Mysterion!

My 'higher on the list' line was a little clumsy though, so I probably deserved that. (I don't re-edit and revise my posts - a bad habit I'm quite happy with).

I did find your various links to the Sandokai very interesting, as I've only read Suzuki's translation. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

Gradually people are coming to understand what a Zen monk is. I also use it because once my teacher, Nishijima Roshi said to me, "You're a monk." So I accept his definition.

Your teacher says you are a monk...so therefore you are a monk. Ooookaaay.
Brad accepts Nishijima's definition, isn't that shocking to everyone?

If my teacher tells me I'm a god, I'm a god. If he tells me I'm a dumbass, I'm a dumbass. Obviously. Good thing Trungpa wasn't your teacher I guess.
"Get naked and dance, Brad!"
"Yes, master."
"Go beat that guy."
"Yes, master."

Anonymous Bob said...

Troll: Me and your mom laughed and laughed over that one. She thinks you're special. I told her I thought so too.

CAPTCHA : dednes :I kid you not

Anonymous said...

Which troll is Anonymous Bob trolling? You're like the jock stud of the comments section AB. You can have my dinner money upfront. Just please don't hit me.

Hokai said...

to be a monk is a statement, a stance, a commitment and like comming back to the certain points of the posture.
I don't tell people about that issue, cause its not certain to tell.
In the buddhist scene it might be usefull to be a monk to be taken seriously.
But you could act like an idiot even if you're a monk. Man, I try hard....
Information for lay-people:
yes, you can have sex as a monk, but there's nothing holy, only sex.

I am curious about new information from the sex life of our bradness in his forthcoming book.
Brad, tell us the truth and all the little dirty details.
No seriously, I don't expect anything new, probably some undiscovered mess out of the Shobogenzo :-))
Banzai,
Gerald

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 3.29 - did you really read Brad's comment that way? Or are you #108's doppleganger letting it all hang out for once?

icehac said...

Brad, just finished your book 'Hardcore Zen', and has been one of the most influential books i've read so far.

Alexa said...

Cozy house in Santa Fe, NM available. I know someone who would be stricken with glee if you lived here even one day out of the year.

Brad Warner said...

Good article on this subject by James Ford

Mysterion said...

Anonymous Anonymous @3:29 PM said...
"Brad accepts Nishijima's definition, isn't that shocking to everyone?"

No. Not in the least.

Read: Zen at Work.

I won't spoil it for you.

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

on another matter:

The Twelve Causes of Suffering:
Ignorance
Unnecessary Activity based on Ignorance
Mistaken perception arising from ignorance
Deceptive Objects of Consciousness (e.g. I want one of those too.)
Six Points of Entry for Deception (eye, ear, nose, tongue, touch, and intuition)
Unnecessary Contact with Marginal Objects (e.g. beyond the realm of food, water, shelter, clothing)
Unnecessary Sensation (e.g. thrills)
Hedonism and Hatred
Clinging to material things (a BMW 325i)
State of Transmigration (Wanting to 'do it all over.')
Birth and Illness (our rebirth reflects cause and effect)
Old Age and Death (the law of causation means that humans must grow old and die)

Harry said...

The Seven Stages of Pristine Interblog Relaxalisation:

1.Sneezy
2.Sleepy
3.Dopey
4.Grumpy
5.Bashful
6.Happy

and, er...

7.Doc

Regards,

Harry.

Brad Warner said...

Anonymous said:
"I don't believe that e.g. so many Western Christians think the Bible is either inerrant word of God or trash (at least not in Europe, not today).

Nowadays people tend to accept the results of biblical exegesis which, among other things, tries to explain how the collection of literature known as the Bible was written - by normal people.

However, as for me and many others, I find many biblical stories useful in my endeavour towards a Christian lifestyle based on understanding, forgiveness and love. Some, on the other hand, are definitely useless, and my sacred duty as a Christian is to consider them trash.

But not because of their origin; because of their content."

Great stuff! Why post in anonymously?

Anyway, I'm aware that more & more Christians are seeing things this way nowadays. But not all. A lot of Christians, particularly in the US, would still find the notion that parts of the Bible are "trash" highly offensive -- even though they themselves disregard much of what's written in the Bible.

I'd like to see a more Buddhist-informed interpretation of the Bible become the norm. It would be possible to view the Bible the way Buddhists view the sutras. It can still be sacred and yet be open to being questioned.

The fact is, most contemporary Christians do question and doubt the Bible, even if they don't openly acknowledge this fact. But that doesn't make the Bible useless or obsolete.

On second thoughts..... said...

anon 7.21am and 3.01pm writes:

"(I don't re-edit and revise my posts - a bad habit I'm quite happy with)."

Yep. Makes sense. Just blow off anonymously in the certain knowledge that you're right. Very useful.

Anonymous said...

another #108 doppleganger picks and chooses whose allowed an opinion

former christian said...

"But that doesn't make the Bible useless or obsolete."

No, it doesn't. The fact that it was written by and for ancient, superstitious, scientifically ignorant people makes it useless and obsolete. You say all of that Brad, but have you actually read it? All of it? I have. It's mostly crap. The Tao te Ching or even the godawful upanisads are much better. The bible is right down there with the glorious koran. Read that too. It's even worse crap.

anon #108 said...

Just WHAT is so fascinating about ME that some anonymous obsessive chases me all over this blog looking for opportunities to 'expose' me - or people s/he thinks are me, or speaking on my behalf?

I'm talking to 5.34pm/3.44pm - - who was so well-behaved this morning at @7.21am!

Please direct your infatuation elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

To former christian...

My gran read the bible and was a christian most of her life. When my uncle was in a coma she sat at his bed and read him the bible, although he wasn't a christian - and was in a coma.

When I sat at her bed when she was dying of bowel cancer she recalled how much it had helped her to read the bible to him, and that the faith she felt when reading it carried her through. And that that faith meant that she wasn't scared of dying - just the pain.

My sister then ventured, reassuringly, that grandad would be there waiting for her. To which she snapped back that she didn't want 'to see HIM there'.

I think certain things are useful only so far; while also, in a different sense, the 'use' she made of the bible at my uncle's bedside was a kind of perfect and beautiful thing (I think she read from Job), and the peace of mind radiated back up before the pain of her marriage left everyone feeling a bit crap about heaven.


To On second Thoughts..Said...

who said: 'Just blow off anonymously in the certain knowledge that you're right. Very useful.'

The 'anonymously' part of that bit I am aware of, and understand as a criticism. I have preferred to let the line of this particular thread of discussion be the beginning and end of my 'identity'.

As for me writing 'in the certain knowledge' I am right. Like your own comment, I'm sure we all back ourselves when we are in the process of writing or debating. I did use conditionals to convey possibility rather than certainty in places - which of course can be a protective measure, so it's really down to how you read it.

But I don't think I'm blowing off with any greater feeling of certainty than whoever I'm responding to. My post contained an attempt at rationale argument, as did the respondee's.

I am aware of the failure of all rationale argument, and so it feels healthier not to be too concerned with going over and over what I have written.

Now back to that really important stuff I was having a break from that's kept me up all night...

Anonymous said...

To #108:

I respond to posts, not to people. I felt the matter on that was done with - especially when I read:

"I felt his reaction was unecessarly defensive. He seemed to me to want to clarify something about Gudo because, as he put it, he'd been 'bugged' by anon's response. I could have (chosen to) see it the way you suggest, but it served my purpose"

and

"I heard something else in Brad's reply: a reluctance to acknowledge that Gudo's communications these days (I'm talking primarily about the blog) are not having the effect some of his supporters would like to see. They are creating confusion. As a student of a Dogen Sangha teacher - a "member" of Dogen Sangha, if you like - I know I'm not alone in feeling that, and regretting it."

anon #108 said...

For the record:

"...but it served my purpose, was consistent with my intial reaction, and reflected the honest conclusion I'd reached about the tone and motive of anon's reply, to say what I said in the way I said it."

Anonymous said...

Done!

oxeye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
oxeye said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Is it me or does the guy on the far left of the retreat photo look like he's related to Brad...?

oxeye said...

Alexa said... Cozy house in Santa Fe, NM available. I know someone who would be stricken with glee if you lived here even one day out of the year.

Brad: Look into that offer. One of the best places on Earth. Great veggy food, Art, Buddhism, and.. The Santa Fe Institute.

#108's doppelganger said...

Hey #108, pay no mind to your anonymous stalker. It's a waste of time explaining yourself to him. He’s really not interested. He needs you to be wrong.

Miss Manners said...

"Hey #108, pay no mind to your anonymous stalker. It's a waste of time explaining yourself to him. He’s really not interested. He needs you to be wrong."

I disagree. He was infatuated and now feels rejected. You wounded him somehow Malcolm. I think it is Oldish Newbie.

Anonymous said...

faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaart !

Mysterion said...

Perhaps Gudo is simply no longer a part of Brad's world.

It seems reasonable.

Mysterion said...

Along with Palin republicans (who leave their brain in a mayonnaise jar at the door), there are those KJV only folks who, having long ago deposited their brain in a mayonnaise jar at the door, venerate the KJV as "Every word of God is pure in the King James Bible."

O.K. Fine.

The term “unicorn” is found nine times in the King James Version of the Bible (Num. 23:22; 24:8; Dt. 33:17; Job 39:9-10; Psa. 22:21; 29:6; 92:10; Isa. 34:7).

Shakespeare is in Psalm 46.

KJV was stylized by Fr. Bacon.

Things are not what they may appear to be - at all.

Fr. Bacon & Eggs said...

With the crest of Bacon, and also the crest of Cooke, a unicorn's head coupled to wings at the shoulders.

And, of the 1611 ver.

Fr. Bacon 'had his way' with the 1611. He is affectionately called Fr. Rosicross by some.

a bit more

even more

and finally, two words:

Northumberland Manuscript.

cheers

Anonymous said...

Uku said...
"Are Zen monks real monks? Who cares."

Well apparently you do! From your blog:

"Markus "Uku" Laitinen Espoo, Finland 30 years old Buddhist Zen monk (Sôtô Zen), happily married, three awesome kids."

Why "Zen monk"?

Not because you're celibate - you're not.
Not because you follow the vinaya - you don't.
Not because you live in a monastery - you don't.
Not because you're ordained - you haven't.
Not because you've received dharma transmission - you haven't.

But rather, like Brad, simply because Nishijima said so.

Uku said...

Hi anonymous (1:58 AM!

You wrote:

But rather, like Brad, simply because Nishijima said so.

No, that's your assumption.

This all seems to pisses you off because...?

anon #108 said...

I had to google you, Miss Manners. Just had to.

"In an age where civility and charm are often left by the wayside, Miss Manners reminds us that etiquette and grace never go out of style."

I assume from your title, Miss Manners, that you are unmarried. I do hope so. You are a very wise and beautiful woman. May I take the liberty of sending you a small bunch of English roses? I shall write my address and telephone number on the accompanying note, and would be delighted if you would honour me with a reply.

Malcolm
xx

Miss Manners said...

#108 Stop playing with yourself. It's unseemly and you're likely to go blind in the other eye too.

anon #108 said...

Ooo Miss M!
You tease, you ;)

Anonymous said...

About the career of a monk:

http://antaiji.dogen-zen.de/eng/201007.shtml

Miss Manners said...

Gentle Malcolm: Miss Manners is sorry but we cannot play cops and robbers and you cannot go around arresting my heart.

P.S. The second post was not me.

On second thoughts...said said...

Now look here #108.

Miss Manners is my girl, she's very soothing!!!

anon #108 said...

To the real Miss Manners,

I fear our correspondence may have to end. A jealous rival is vying for attention. I can't be doing with it.

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


This is from "To Shine One Corner of the World - moments with Shunryu Suzuki":

"The monks at a Japanese training temple had questione a student of Susuki Roshi's about the validity of the student's ordination. They said that it wasn't real because he hadn't gome through the proper ceremony, hadn't done any monk's begging, and hadn't had his shaved or received robes until he arrived in Japan.

"So am I a monk or not a monk?" he asked Suzuki.

"Things go the way the mind goes," Suzuki told him. "If you think you're a monk, you're a monk. If you don't think so, you're not a monk."




That's what little Suzuki is recorded as saying to one student, on one occasion.

(Me, I don't relate to the word at all. I very much doubt if I'll call myself "monk" if/when I ever take the precepts. I certainly shan't consider doing so before then. If others, who haven't complied with the formal steps detailed in anonymous's Antaiji link, for any reason like to, or find it convenient to call themselves "monk" - I don't mind. That, FWIW, are my personal feelings about the use of the word "monk" in contemparary Western Soto-derived Zen Buddhism).

Carl Jerome said...

Recently, I have seen advertisements for a variety of classes in mindful eating. Some with yoga. Some meditation. Some on their own. But when I look closely at the descriptions I notice that rather than mindfulness, in the Buddhist sense of being wholeheartedly present in the moment with whatever is happening then letting go and moving to the next moment, these classes are actually teaching sensory desire and attachment. It is a common mistake.

People often mistakenly think that because our experiences are impermanent and fleeting we should focus our attention on enjoying each experience “to the fullest.” That makes us more attached and more desirous, not less. That’s makes us more greedy, not less.

Like brushing our teeth mindfully, showering mindfully, urinating mindfully, eating mindfully is a meditative practice we should all do with the intention of mastering it. The liberated mind, after all, is the mindful mind.

Mindful Eating, Just Do It

If you really want to do an exercise in mindful eating, this is what I suggest:

Pick a restaurant that you like. Make a reservation there as early as possible for dinner, just when the restaurant opens and when there are the fewest patrons in the restaurant–maybe a Monday night at 6:00 PM. The quieter the restaurant, the fewer distractions to pull you away from your mindfulness. Make the reservation for one. This is an “eat alone” meal.

Arrive a few minutes early. If you are asked where you would like to be seated, say, “Anywhere is alright.” When the server arrives and asks if you want a drink, ask for a glass of water without ice. When it’s time to order dinner, ask the server to pick an appetizer and an entrée for you. Mention that you know the restaurant and just want to be surprised. Do mention if you have any allergies.

Mindful eating is about being present with the eating, not about picking and choosing. So far in this exercise, you really haven’t picked or chosen much, other than the restaurant.

While you wait for the food, just sit there, still and calm, hands in your lap and mind on your breath. Don’t look around to visual stimulation. Don’t concern yourself with what others in the restaurant might be doing or what food might be coming for you.

When the food arrives, nod thankfully. Eat slowly. Put your knife and fork down between bites. Fully address your attention to the experience of eating–to what it feels like to press the fork into the food, what it feels like to lift the food to your mouth, how the food feels and tastes in your mouth as you eat it and swallow it. Then let it go and take the next bite. Immediately let go of any judgements about the food. The point here is to experience the moment, the eating, not to savor or attach to it. Let each moment go so you can greet the next. Mindful eating is about being present with the eating, not about judging, not about liking and disliking. It should be no different from mindfully urinating.

When you have finished the entrée, order a dessert if you want. Do it with a minimum of words or mental commentary.

When you leave, just leave, mindfully. Be mindful of each movement and step. Then let go of this entire experience. Get into your car and drive home. Drive mindfully. No music, no radio, no cell phone, no thinking about the meal. Just drive when you are driving.

When you walk into the house, walk into your house. Don’t think about your driving experience, and don’t think about your dinner. Just do what is next.

That’s mindfulness. That the source of peace and well-being.

Carl Jerome said...

Recently, I have seen advertisements for a variety of classes in mindful eating. Some with yoga. Some meditation. Some on their own. But when I look closely at the descriptions I notice that rather than mindfulness, in the Buddhist sense of being wholeheartedly present in the moment with whatever is happening then letting go and moving to the next moment, these classes are actually teaching sensory desire and attachment. It is a common mistake.

People often mistakenly think that because our experiences are impermanent and fleeting we should focus our attention on enjoying each experience “to the fullest.” That makes us more attached and more desirous, not less. That’s makes us more greedy, not less.

Like brushing our teeth mindfully, showering mindfully, urinating mindfully, eating mindfully is a meditative practice we should all do with the intention of mastering it. The liberated mind, after all, is the mindful mind.

Mindful Eating, Just Do It

If you really want to do an exercise in mindful eating, this is what I suggest:

Pick a restaurant that you like. Make a reservation there as early as possible for dinner, just when the restaurant opens and when there are the fewest patrons in the restaurant–maybe a Monday night at 6:00 PM. The quieter the restaurant, the fewer distractions to pull you away from your mindfulness. Make the reservation for one. This is an “eat alone” meal.

Arrive a few minutes early. If you are asked where you would like to be seated, say, “Anywhere is alright.” When the server arrives and asks if you want a drink, ask for a glass of water without ice. When it’s time to order dinner, ask the server to pick an appetizer and an entrée for you. Mention that you know the restaurant and just want to be surprised. Do mention if you have any allergies.

Mindful eating is about being present with the eating, not about picking and choosing. So far in this exercise, you really haven’t picked or chosen much, other than the restaurant.

While you wait for the food, just sit there, still and calm, hands in your lap and mind on your breath. Don’t look around to visual stimulation. Don’t concern yourself with what others in the restaurant might be doing or what food might be coming for you.

When the food arrives, nod thankfully. Eat slowly. Put your knife and fork down between bites. Fully address your attention to the experience of eating–to what it feels like to press the fork into the food, what it feels like to lift the food to your mouth, how the food feels and tastes in your mouth as you eat it and swallow it. Then let it go and take the next bite. Immediately let go of any judgements about the food. The point here is to experience the moment, the eating, not to savor or attach to it. Let each moment go so you can greet the next. Mindful eating is about being present with the eating, not about judging, not about liking and disliking. It should be no different from mindfully urinating.

When you have finished the entrée, order a dessert if you want. Do it with a minimum of words or mental commentary.

When you leave, just leave, mindfully. Be mindful of each movement and step. Then let go of this entire experience. Get into your car and drive home. Drive mindfully. No music, no radio, no cell phone, no thinking about the meal. Just drive when you are driving.

When you walk into the house, walk into your house. Don’t think about your driving experience, and don’t think about your dinner. Just do what is next.

That’s mindfulness. That the source of peace and well-being.

The mannerly Miss Manners said...

Done!

Anonymous said...

"So am I a monkey or not a monkey?" he asked Suzuki.
"Monkey men all in Japanese robes, Suzuki told him.
teachers and students all dancing the poot.,"

Anonymous said...

I'm a monk, you 're a monk ---like The Monkey's sang eon's ago.

Anonymous said...

Sing it boys!

"Abba dabba dabba dabba dabba dabba dabba"
said the monkey to the chimp.
"Abba dabba dabba dabba dabba dabba dabba"
said the chimpee to the monk.
All night long they chattered away.
All day long they were happy and gay,
swinging and swaying in a honky, tonky way.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Hey Brad,

What if you started from scratch? How would you choose to define zen monk in our culture so the concept is understood clearly?

Anonymous said...

Anagrams for Mysterion

Troll said...

Interesting observation. Only those posting anon might be in need of therapy. Only those posting with those nasty black lettered names are clueless. Anons are all trolls. Isn't all that sort of a stretch? Too many assumptions. You can be critical of Brad, Gudo, Zen or even Buddhism and not be a troll. Unless you just insist upon defining troll the way you want.

This is exactly what Ken Wilber appears to do on his blog. Anyone who has even the slightest bit of criticism of his wonderful teaching or disagrees ever so politely...he calls them morons, regressive, clueless to his teachings, etc.

As for the monk thing. Maybe a good choice for married zen teachers would simply be Zen Priest. I realize the P word has gotten really bad press lately. Using monk is just a bit misleading, imo. But again, like troll, you can just choose to define it any way you want I suppose. But if we keep doing that words lose all meaning and communication becomes impossible.

Anonymous Bob said...

"There are some trolls in here with issues that need serious therapy."

Mysterion: Yeah, There are some badly disturbed dudes following Brad's blog. All kind of strange characters with weird mental and personality quirks, and I'm not even talking about the trolls. wink wink.

Troll: You make a good point about definitions and a very good one about meaning and communication.

"But if we keep doing that words lose all meaning and communication becomes impossible."

That was well said.

But you can't have meaning without honesty and you can't have communication without dialog. Making anonymous speeches ain't really very good communication. If you really want those things you mentioned you might try being more consistent and open with the name you use here, like using the same nick more than once and ditching the use of 'anonymous'. I understand the blue names are anonymous too but at least with them you get a sense of the person.

CAPTCHA : sendtic : I kid you not

Hokai said...

@ Anonymous Bob
"I understand the blue names are anonymous too but at least with them you get a sense of the person"

I agree with that. What are names?
The blue names are like a seal that I can trust in.
Without knowing the person personally, I get openness.
That's fine for me.
What does all the anons fear,
asked
Gerald

Daniel said...

Still looking for a cheap apartment? Look into Venice, Florida. My best friend is looking for someone to rent a room too, its him and his roommate living there now, they just renovated a lot of the house, its and awesome beach town not far from everything. And besides,I would get to meet you that way as i am always here. They are a 20 and 25 year old laid back guys. I've read all your books and am re reading them now. Shoot me an email if you want to know more about the place.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anonymous said...

Is this really a seal you can trust in?

Tom said...

Brad,

I posted the comment about the Bible anonymously because I wasn't clever enough to do otherwise. Thank you for replying.

Buddhism could indeed help Christians in finding a reasonable attitude towards sacred texts. On the other hand, every culture has its own seeds for development: I believe that truth is the ultimate aim for Christians as well as for everyone else. In Finland, for example, there has been a long tradition of interaction between universities and the church. Gradually the church has accepted the results of science while maintaining a supportive network for people. This is why I still belong to the church.

If you read John 1:1-17 you have a different opinion of what the Word of God is, namely Christ. For me, Christ - the incarnation of a transcendent God into our reality - is a statement saying the world here and know is completely adequate, beautiful and even good enough for God! Whether there really is God, incarnation or Christ is irrelevant - in any case, the message is the same.

Christ or Love also provides a way to responsibly interpret the Bible . If the words of the Bible contradict with the principle of love (Word) they should not be regarded as sacred. By following this rule, there are no reasons to use the Bible against sexual minorites, other religions or the so called "pagans".

This is not my idea but a very popular view among Christians I know. Still, you are right that Christian fundamentalism is a problem far from being solved. Time will help, I hope.

Anonymous said...

"We all have issues and baggage. It's just that some of us recognize that fact and deal with it on some level or another and others are in denial."

The question is how can anyone recognize that another is not recognising, or that they themselves are? I think there is always another it, waiting around the corner.

My assumption since I was quite young was always that there was something I could not see, which later developed into an awareness that many of these things are what I do not want to see.

Though some have a preference for a blue name identity, the reality is that anons are allowed here.

The natural affiliation towards a stable identity can also produce tunnel vision when critically engaging with the content of a post or a sequence in a disagreement. This can often result in a situation where, if established identity is in denial, he or she can more easily play the victim card as a way to avoid what is being dealt with in the posts, and in doing so garner the approbation of a mob that has a tendency to feel it is above that sort of behaviour.

There can also be a strain in anti-authoritarian sensibilities of different kinds that is moved to be dismissive at an assertive rational argument, and I think this blog attracts more of that ilk.

There doesn't need to be any response to an anonymous, or we can engage with the the content of the post. Either way, assumptions will creep in, as well as confusion at times.

My own view is that these things can find their own balance, when allowed to play themselves out, with intervention by the controller when thought wise. Or that things can appear balanced when control over input and identities is exerted - for a cleaner, less noisy space.

Does it not all amount to what we walk away from the screen with that draws us back, the amplitude and the clarity? You chose your ticket and bear the ride.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"For example, cosmologists approximate the age of the Universe at 13.7 billion years +/- 120 million years. So the 'true' age of the (present) universe is not known. But the approximate age is accepted for academic discussion."

I agree Mysterion. I would add for fun, that the age of the universe from any point could be different: that if we could measure the age exactly, one would find at another juncture that that measurement had changed. Not only that, but if one could fix on a concrete point in a similar way, that the past had minutely altered too.

Scientists might then venture that what we call the universe keeps happening, the whole shebang, over and over, with a seed of difference to keep the frames similar, or rather that all possible universes are ever present, but that we can only 'know' those that we make 'sense' of.

Could it be that those darn Christians were utterly justified in their actions and popped up in a heaven of their deepest yearnings - and then...

Anonymous said...

A true monk has balls of steel...

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Yes Mysterion. Although I did say from. My largely science illiterate point was about measurement. And if I understand correctly, the attempt to measure exactly might just end up creating a black hole or something. So the fun keeps going or quits at bottomless!

Troll PhD said...

@3.38pm.....

Where to start?

"The natural affiliation towards a stable identity..."

What does that mean? ("The natural affiliation towards" is very poor English). Do you mean the natural tendency to want to adopt a stable identity?) It clearly isn't "natural", as many choose not to do it - I mean those, like you, who post anonymously, as is your prerogative. For you it is not "natural".

"...can also produce tunnel vision..."

How so? What evidence do you have of any connection between "tunnel vision" and "the affiliation towards a stable identity"? And what do you mean by "tunnel vision"? You have asserted a wholly arbitrary connection to support the point you're about to try to make...

"...when critically engaging with the content of a post or a sequence in a disagreement."

So: you've supplied a putative non-anonymous poster, who, by dint of succumbing to some "natural tendency" might also develop "tunnel vision" when "critically engaging" or 'disagreeing'. Vacuous, self-serving sophistry, completely devoid of logic or coherent argument.

"...This can often result in a situation where, if established identity is in denial, he or she can more easily play the victim card as a way to avoid what is being dealt with in the posts..."

Another conveniently self-serving, baseless non-sequitor. Your imaginary 'name' poster has been supplied with "tunnel vision", is also "in denial", and now plays "the victim" - not because any of these characteristics imply, or follow on from, each other - but because it serves your purpose (a blame-shifting complaint of unfair treatment, as we shall soon see) to present him/her thus.

"...and in doing so garner the approbation of a mob..."

A "mob"? Sometimes - not always, but often - a consensus of opinion indicates a shared perception of something apparent. By calling those who might share a view you find inconvenient "a mob" you cheaply try to dismiss any value their observations might have. In any event, if someone has in fact been victimized, sympathy, approbation even, might be appropriate responses.

"...that has a tendency to feel it is above that sort of behaviour."

Again, you have conjured characteristics and attributed them to suit your purpose: this particular mob "has a tendency" to feel itself above victimising others. Pure fiction? Or are you merely ascribing "tendencies" to people you have never met?

Your attempt at placing blame elsewhere in the guise of rational analysis fails miserably. Your "argument" is fallacious, meaningless, dishonest sophistry. The rest of your post is a combination of platitudes and half-baked observational space-fillers that divert from your true purpose: to justify your earlier, unsuccessful smartass trolling.

Just a few personal observations, you understand, containing nothing of any consequence or real value.

Jinzang said...

A monk asked Joshu, "Does Anonymous have troll nature?" Joshu blocked his comments.

Has anonymous troll nature?
This is the silliest question of all.
If you reply
You become a troll yourself.

Anonymous said...

"Truth is not in conflict with archeology, geography, history, linguistics, or critical thinking."

I see your point, but what about the truth of conflict?

Anonymous said...

Either they're the inerrant word of God or they're trash. That's why religious people get so bent out of shape when anyone questions their scriptures.

But there's a huuuuuuuuge middle ground between "inerrant word of God" and "trash." This is the ground that Buddhist sutras occupy.


Excellent points, Brad. You really should consider applying that same standard to both the writings of Dogen and your teacher. Do you get bent out of shape when anyone questions what Gudo asserts? How do you feel when people call Dogen into question? The same critical examination that you rightly advocate for Buddhist sutras should also be turned upon the shobogenzo. It might be that it too is not the inerrant word of god nor total trash....but somewhere in-between. Yet Gudo and yourself seem to regard Dogen as a final authority as much as christians regard the bible as such by always trying to make sure your views accord with Dogen. Perhaps he too was mistaken in some areas. You admit the Buddha may have been. Why not Dogen?

Jinzang said...

Master Po, I don't understand.

Troll PhD said...

Jinzang wrote "If you reply
You become a troll yourself".

The subject of my brief critique wrote:

"There doesn't need to be any response to an anonymous, or we can engage with the the content of the post."

While I'm here...6.30pm - you are making shit up. Like this: "Yet Gudo and yourself (Brad) seem to regard Dogen as a final authority as much as christians regard the bible as such by always trying to make sure your views accord with Dogen".

Provide evidence to back your assertion, or accept that you are attacking a straw man.

Anonymous said...

funny :) neither do I...

Troll PhD said...

(Original) Troll (10.02 am)said, commenting on Mysterion's "There are some trolls in here with issues that need serious therapy"...

"Interesting observation. Only those posting anon might be in need of therapy. Only those posting with those nasty black lettered names are clueless. Anons are all trolls. Isn't all that sort of a stretch? Too many assumptions."

The assumptions are all yours. M made no mention of the word "anonymous". (The same assumption is covert, but implicit, in 3.38pm's post, which concerns his own previous anonymous contribitions and the reactions they received).

Most trolls are anonymous posters. Not all anonymous posters are trolls.

Master Pho said...

Master Pho said:

"Soup, anyone?"

Anonymous said...

Evidence?

A brief search of Gudo's blog;

"I have never had a method of Kinhin to run a Dojo at all. I usually follow Eihei Shingi solely, and I generally do not follow what were not written in Master Dogen's books.

Therefore it can be said that we should also follow the criteria, that is, we should follow "Bendo Ho," which Master Dogen has established.

Generally speaking I have studied Buddhism relying upon Master Dogen, and Master Tendo Nyojo is the teacher of Master Dogen, and so I have also studied Master Tendo Nyojo's teachings.

Therefore I have concentrated my whole efforts for studying only Master Dogen's Buddhist thoughts throughout my life, and so I would like to have your permission

Frankly speaking, a Dharma Talk/ Kusen during Zazen is very wrong habit in Buddhism.
According to Master Dogen's teachings during Zazen we should not speak anything. Therefore the habit to speak anything in Zazen is a serious violence of Master Dogen's teachings.

You can go on and on if you take the time to read. Brad and Gudo are always writing; 'Dogen says, According to master Dogen, According to Dogen we should.., but this is not what Dogen teaches, etc etc.'

Should be pretty obvious to anyone who doesn't buy into it all already that Dogen is their final authority. I've never heard Rinzai zenists quote Hakuin or even Rinzai this way to support their every position or thought. Much more like Muslims or Christians or those fundies from e-sangha.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...

Evidence?"

Of what ????
That Gudo thinks Dogen is right in
these issues.

Mysterion said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Evidence?... Dogen, &c."

If this were McDonald Sangha International, then you would expect Brad & Gudo to say: "According to MacDonald..."

so what is the issue here?

Brad and Gudo are not saying: "Dogen is the way and Dogen is the light."

That position is already taken by the light bearer - Lucifer (and Apollo before him). And Lux, or Luke (as in Gospel of Luke) are of the same name tradition.

Who is 'the morning star,' Jesus or Lucifer? Partial answer

The real answer is, of course: "The morning star is not a star at all. It is the planet Venus."

Only in dumb-ass Texas is the Moon a light (rather than a reflector of light).

john e mumbles said...

Whale, being a native Texican, I am not reel fond of the "dub-ass" comment, but, what the Hail, you gotta be born somewheres, and I suspect you were, too.

Ah ass-ume you are referirng to the late, Great Lux Interior of THE CRAMPS fame, biblical in the, err...biblical sense, so Luke, use the Force, or the Farce..

And Venus, you won't unnerstan, she's makin' every man she met, cause Venus was her name...& brother, She's Got It. Yeah Baby. She's F'in Got it.

Tom said...

Mysterion said...
Christianity is in conflict with archeology, geography, history, linguistics, and critical thinking.

Mysterion, could you give reasons why you believe so?

For example, archaelogic research has found out that the Exodus most probably wasn't a historical event. I'm a Christian and I couldn't care less. Historicity has very little to do with anything important in the Christianity I know.

I love cosmology. I even own a Maksutov telescope.

Of course there are as many Christianities as there are Buddhisms. You simply can't label either of them as one, single, horrible dinosaur.

So to preserve quality in a discussion, we should use concepts very carefully.

proulx michel said...

One of the problems in archaeology was pointed out by Velikovski, years ago.

That is, all the chronology of the Middle East and the Antiquity is based upon the Egyptian chronology.

However, the Egyptian chronology was computed by Athanasius Kircher, a 16th Century jesuit, who based himself upon what little remained of the litterature of the Antiquity (mostly destroyed by the Xtians, as they don't boast too much). At a time when no one knew any longer how to read hieroglyphs.

Which makes some events appear twice, and also a 500 years gap appear in Greece, where not a single human being is reputed to have lived for that period of time, and where civilisation resumed exactly where it had left 500 years earlier.

So much for the scientific exactness of archaeology...

Harry said...

BTW, Brad, Gudo and old Dogen, in all their omniscience, know who blew up the Twin Towers; they told me the secret... but don't go getting paranoid or anything...

Regards,

Harry.

Uku said...

Harry, you wanker! You have no rights to reveal The Secret! You're not obeying the Ancient Code! Shame on you! I'm gonna report to the Council about you.

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

Hi anon @ 8.34pm,

There's little doubt that Gudo has found Dogen's writing and philosophy inspirational and, for him (he has said), a complete explanation of Buddhism. Brad, having been taught by Gudo, is enamoured too.

But, as Mysti points out, NEITHER of them say you have to accept Dogen as your Lord and Saviour, or burn in hell. In fact, Gudo has written "Buddhism thinks that everyone is just the King of the Universe...I think that everyone has his or her perfect freedom to select his or her own way."

So not really "like Muslims or Christians or those fundies from e-sangha" at all.

Now some evidence of what "Brad is always writing" ?

anon #108 said...

AND -

...Should be pretty obvious to anyone who doesn't buy into it all already that Dogen is their final authority...to support their every position or thought.

Not "final authority". More like "This is the teaching and practice I know and teach", rather than "This is the only teaching and practice that is correct."

Don't confuse these two very different positions.

Anonymous said...

To Troll PhD

Thank you for your attentive response. I think dialogue helps to give us the opportunity to clarify meaning, so I take the opportunity to do so here.

"What does that mean? ("The natural affiliation towards" is very poor English). Do you mean the natural tendency to want to adopt a stable identity?)"

Yes thank you for clarifying my weak language there. "The natural tendency to want to adopt a stable identity" is closer to what I was thinking of. My point was recoverable though, as your interpretation bore out.

"It clearly isn't "natural", as many choose not to do it - I mean those, like you, who post anonymously, as is your prerogative. For you it is not "natural".

I disagree with your analysis there. That people have a natural or innate tendency doesn't mean they can't be aware of it and chose not to act upon it. I have a strong tendency to think and act as a stable identity in the real world, which is most probably wired into me as an evolutionary necessity. Maybe you were arguing from a literal interpretation of my phrase 'natural affiliation' rather than what you understood it to be referring to when you corrected me on my expression of that idea.


You're quite correct to point out that I failed to make a connection between what I referred to as 'tunnel vision' and my subsequent assertion. My apologies for that omission. Your response gives me an opportunity to fill in the gap there, that my laziness produced.

Having established that I was talking about a tendency, then my assumption was that that tendency involved a choice not to act upon it, yet nevertheless we all do to various degrees and in certain circumstances.

What I failed to add is that, in my view, when a person is in thrall to such a tendency, their affiliation to those with stable identities will be stronger than towards those without. A prejudice can grow supported by others with that strong tendency. I think this is the way groups work for very good reasons, and I don't think that's breaking any new ground in the field of psychology.

I also don't think its news, if I claim that it is often the case that human beings can be in thrall to a prejudice and that prejudice becomes a codified form of behaviour.

I think people who fall under the category of that prejudice can experience being tarred with the same brush to the extent that, in the instance of this comments section, that the content of their arguments is filtered through that prejudice, hence 'tunnel vision'. I hope that clears that up.

It is of course true that a group can make correct judgements, but then that is already the assumption that a group would make about itself. The warning signs are surely when engagement with what is written starts to slide or become minimal.

My post was pointing out that that group assumption can be wrong and reaction to posts can be filtered through a prejudice that can be exploited.

It can (note the 'can') be exploited by an established identity playing the victim card. And yes, of course, that may not be the case, and an aggressor can accuse someone of playing the victim card in a process of justifying their fixation upon a victim.

This is why I feel it is important for us to be reminded to look at what is being written, the content of what an anonymous writes.

If I feel that that is the case then of course I'm going to bring it up and either refer indirectly and thus more widely to a particular, recent, or persistent case, or more specifically to that identity. And of course I am going to justify my point of view and I don't mind if said identity or anyone else wishes to bring that to the surface.

cont...

Anonymous said...

To Troll PhD

Thank you for your attentive response. I think dialogue helps to give us the opportunity to clarify meaning, so I take the opportunity to do so here.

"What does that mean? ("The natural affiliation towards" is very poor English). Do you mean the natural tendency to want to adopt a stable identity?)"

Yes thank you for clarifying my weak language there. "The natural tendency to want to adopt a stable identity" is closer to what I was thinking of. My point was recoverable though, as your interpretation bore out.

"It clearly isn't "natural", as many choose not to do it - I mean those, like you, who post anonymously, as is your prerogative. For you it is not "natural".

I disagree with your analysis there. That people have a natural or innate tendency doesn't mean they can't be aware of it and chose not to act upon it. I have a strong tendency to think and act as a stable identity in the real world, which is most probably wired into me as an evolutionary necessity. Maybe you were arguing from a literal interpretation of my phrase 'natural affiliation' rather than what you understood it to be referring to when you corrected me on my expression of that idea.

You're quite correct to point out that I failed to make a connection between what I referred to as 'tunnel vision' and my subsequent assertion. My apologies for that omission. Your response gives me an opportunity to fill in the gap there, that my laziness produced.

Having established that I was talking about a tendency, then my assumption was that that tendency involved a choice not to act upon it, yet nevertheless we all do to various degrees and in certain circumstances.

What I failed to add is that, in my view, when a person is in thrall to such a tendency, their affiliation to those with stable identities will be stronger than towards those without. A prejudice can grow supported by others with that strong tendency. I think this is the way groups work for very good reasons, and I don't think that's breaking any new ground in the field of psychology.

I also don't think it's news, if I claim that it is often the case that human beings can be in thrall to a prejudice and that prejudice becomes a codified form of behaviour.

I think people who fall under the category of that prejudice can experience being tarred with the same brush to the extent that - in the instance of this comments section - that the content of their arguments is filtered through that prejudice, hence 'tunnel vision'. I hope that clears that up.

It is of course true that a group can make correct judgements, but then that is already the assumption that a group is likely make about itself. The warning signs are surely when engagement with what is written starts to slide or become minimal alongside broad or cliched dismissals.

My post was pointing out that that group assumption can be wrong and reaction to posts can be filtered through a prejudice that can be exploited.

It can (note the 'can') be exploited by an established identity playing the victim card. And yes, of course, that may not be the case, and an aggressor can accuse someone of playing the victim card in a process of justifying their fixation upon a victim.

This is why I feel it is important for us to be reminded to look at what is being written, the content of what an anonymous writes - and the responses.

If I feel that that is the case then of course I'm going to bring it up and either refer indirectly and thus more widely to a particular, recent, or persistent case, or more specifically to that identity. And of course I am going to justify my point of view and I don't mind if said identity or anyone else wishes to bring that to the surface.

cont...

Anonymous said...

To Troll PhD

Thank you for your attentive response. I think dialogue helps to give us the opportunity to clarify meaning, so I take the opportunity to do so here.

"What does that mean? ("The natural affiliation towards" is very poor English). Do you mean the natural tendency to want to adopt a stable identity?)"

Yes thank you for clarifying my weak language there. "The natural tendency to want to adopt a stable identity" is closer to what I was thinking of. My point was recoverable though, as your interpretation bore out.

"It clearly isn't "natural", as many choose not to do it - I mean those, like you, who post anonymously, as is your prerogative. For you it is not "natural".

I disagree with your analysis there. That people have a natural or innate tendency doesn't mean they can't be aware of it and chose not to act upon it. I have a strong tendency to think and act as a stable identity in the real world, which is most probably wired into me as an evolutionary necessity. Maybe you were arguing from a literal interpretation of my phrase 'natural affiliation' rather than what you understood it to be referring to when you corrected me on my expression of that idea.

You're quite correct to point out that I failed to make a connection between what I referred to as 'tunnel vision' and my subsequent assertion. My apologies for that omission. Your response gives me an opportunity to fill in the gap there, that my laziness produced.

Having established that I was talking about a tendency, then my assumption was that that tendency involved a choice not to act upon it, yet nevertheless we all do to various degrees and in certain circumstances.

What I failed to add is that, in my view, when a person is in thrall to such a tendency, their affiliation to those with stable identities will be stronger than towards those without. A prejudice can grow supported by others with that strong tendency. I think this is the way groups work for very good reasons, and I don't think that's breaking any new ground in the field of psychology.

I also don't think it's news, if I claim that it is often the case that human beings can be in thrall to a prejudice and that prejudice becomes a codified form of behaviour.

I think people who fall under the category of that prejudice can experience being tarred with the same brush to the extent that - in the instance of this comments section - that the content of their arguments is filtered through that prejudice, hence 'tunnel vision'. I hope that clears that up.

cont...

Anonymous said...

To Troll PhD

Thank you for your attentive response. I think dialogue helps to give us the opportunity to clarify meaning, so I take the opportunity to do so here.

"What does that mean? ("The natural affiliation towards" is very poor English). Do you mean the natural tendency to want to adopt a stable identity?)"

Yes thank you for clarifying my weak language there. "The natural tendency to want to adopt a stable identity" is closer to what I was thinking of. My point was recoverable though, as your interpretation bore out.

"It clearly isn't "natural", as many choose not to do it - I mean those, like you, who post anonymously, as is your prerogative. For you it is not "natural".

I disagree with your analysis there. That people have a natural or innate tendency doesn't mean they can't be aware of it and chose not to act upon it. I have a strong tendency to think and act as a stable identity in the real world, which is most probably wired into me as an evolutionary necessity. Maybe you were arguing from a literal interpretation of my phrase 'natural affiliation' rather than what you understood it to be referring to when you corrected me on my expression of that idea.

You're quite correct to point out that I failed to make a connection between what I referred to as 'tunnel vision' and my subsequent assertion. My apologies for that omission. Your response gives me an opportunity to fill in the gap there, that my laziness produced.

Having established that I was talking about a tendency, then my assumption was that that tendency involved a choice not to act upon it, yet nevertheless we all do to various degrees and in certain circumstances.

What I failed to add is that, in my view, when a person is in thrall to such a tendency, their affiliation to those with stable identities will be stronger than towards those without. A prejudice can grow supported by others with that strong tendency. I think this is the way groups work for very good reasons, and I don't think that's breaking any new ground in the field of psychology.

cont...

Anonymous said...

To troll phd cont..

I also don't think it's news, if I claim that it is often the case that human beings can be in thrall to a prejudice and that prejudice becomes a codified form of behaviour.

I think people who fall under the category of that prejudice can experience being tarred with the same brush to the extent that - in the instance of this comments section - that the content of their arguments is filtered through that prejudice, hence 'tunnel vision'. I hope that clears that up.

It is of course true that a group can make correct judgements, but then that is already the assumption that a group is likely make about itself. The warning signs are surely when engagement with what is written starts to slide or become minimal alongside broad or cliched dismissals.

My post was pointing out that that group assumption can be wrong and reaction to posts can be filtered through a prejudice that can be exploited.

It can (note the 'can') be exploited by an established identity playing the victim card. And yes, of course, that may not be the case, and an aggressor can accuse someone of playing the victim card in a process of justifying their fixation upon a victim.

This is why I feel it is important for us to be reminded to look at what is being written, the content of what an anonymous writes - and the responses.

If I feel that that is the case then of course I'm going to bring it up and either refer indirectly and thus more widely to a particular, recent, or persistent case, or more specifically to that identity. And of course I am going to justify my point of view and I don't mind if said identity or anyone else wishes to bring that to the surface.

It is of course true that a group can make correct judgements, but then that is already the assumption that a group is likely make about itself. The warning signs are surely when engagement with what is written starts to slide or become minimal alongside broad or cliched dismissals.

My post was pointing out that that group assumption can be wrong and reaction to posts can be filtered through a prejudice that can be exploited.

It can (note the 'can') be exploited by an established identity playing the victim card. And yes, of course, that may not be the case, and an aggressor can accuse someone of playing the victim card in a process of justifying their fixation upon a victim.

This is why I feel it is important for us to be reminded to look at what is being written, the content of what an anonymous writes - and the responses.

If I feel that that is the case then of course I'm going to bring it up and either refer indirectly and thus more widely to a particular, recent, or persistent case, or more specifically to that identity. And of course I am going to justify my point of view and I don't mind if said identity or anyone else wishes to bring that to the surface.

Anonymous said...

To troll phd cont...

All of us can see different things at different times, and I'm glad when posters critically engage and spot something I might have overlooked in an attempt to bring it to the surface.

I think it's a weak point of view that claims behaviour encoded into posts can be dismissed as "merely ascribing "tendencies" to people you have never met?"

One can point to the behaviour of a poster with regards to one local issue, either in a single or subsequent posts.

One can point to the same or similar behaviour over the course of many posts over time.

Both of the above cases need only be critically engaging with the 'personality' of the poster as an identity that seeks to negotiate itself in a particular arena. That 'personality' can be referred to as a set of habitual behaviours without recourse to the actual person.

Nevertheless that 'comments section' set of behaviours can point to behaviours that are similar in other areas of interaction. Psychologists and forensic scientists can deduce much that is useful about how a person behaves, or is likely to behave in the outside word under certain conditions, based on the traces that are codified in written evidence.

I prefer to refer to the behaviour I see in the posts.

I have often had quite friendly and interesting discussions with posters without there being the burden of previous disagreements. And with the same posters I have been able to engage with examples of what I disagree with and find dishonest in a more localised manner.

There are positives and negatives to any level of anonymity - for the individual's participation in a group and for the group itself.

And let's face it, if an anonymous is responding, then their responses get stringed together in the same way as a localised identity. What is foregrounded more, hopefully, and for a while at least, is their line of argument rather than their established identity.

The draw-back is of course confusion, but as I said, we buy out ticket and bear the ride. I understand that people can make their own views as to why I am moved to respond and will form their own opinions.

I also understand that critical engagement works both ways.

Meaning is produced through inter-personal and intra-personal dialogue. This meaning can't, ultimately be controlled.

My view is that some things are worth bringing to the surface on occasions for people to make their own minds up.

Thanks again Troll Phd, for giving me the opportunity to clarify my opinions. I should be more attentive to what I have written.

And I hope that your adoption of your guise leads to an empathic understanding of your own intentions as well as others.

When folk take it upon themselves to criticise then we note how we feel when our criticisms are examined.

(You know, I still don't want to read this back - so apologies for any rubbish)

Anonymous said...

To troll phd cont...

All of us can see different things at different times, and I'm glad when posters critically engage and spot something I might have overlooked in an attempt to bring it to the surface.

I think it's a weak point of view that claims behaviour encoded into posts can be dismissed as "merely ascribing "tendencies" to people you have never met?"

One can point to the behaviour of a poster with regards to one local issue, either in a single or subsequent posts.

One can point to the same or similar behaviour over the course of many posts over time.

Both of the above cases need only be critically engaging with the 'personality' of the poster as an identity that seeks to negotiate itself in a particular arena. That 'personality' can be referred to as a set of habitual behaviours without recourse to the actual person.

Nevertheless that 'comments section' set of behaviours can point to behaviours that are similar in other areas of interaction. Psychologists and forensic scientists can deduce much that is useful about how a person behaves, or is likely to behave in the outside word under certain conditions, based on the traces that are codified in written evidence.

Anonymous said...

to troll phd cont

I prefer to refer to the behaviour I see in the posts.

I have often had quite friendly and interesting discussions with posters without there being the burden of previous disagreements. And with the same posters I have been able to engage with examples of what I disagree with and find dishonest in a more localised manner.

There are positives and negatives to any level of anonymity - for the individual's participation in a group and for the group itself.

And let's face it, if an anonymous is responding, then their responses get stringed together in the same way as a localised identity. What is foregrounded more, hopefully, and for a while at least, is their line of argument rather than their established identity.

The draw-back is of course confusion, but as I said, we buy out ticket and bear the ride. I understand that people can make their own views as to why I am moved to respond and will form their own opinions.

I also understand that critical engagement works both ways.

Meaning is produced through inter-personal and intra-personal dialogue. This meaning can't, ultimately be controlled.

My view is that some things are worth bringing to the surface on occasions for people to make their own minds up.

Thanks again Troll Phd, for giving me the opportunity to clarify my opinions. I should be more attentive to what I have written.

And I hope that your adoption of your guise leads to an empathic understanding of your own intentions as well as others.

When folk take it upon themselves to criticise then we note how we feel when our criticisms are examined.

(You know, I still don't want to read this back - so apologies for any rubbish)

Anonymous said...

oops - sorry for that - it kept coming up that it hadn't downloaded, so I tried in different sections when it had on some!

Anonymous said...

For those who wish to trawl through what I have written 7.39, 7.40, then 7.41 I think is the whole piece in sequence. I didn't realise it was so long. Sorry.

Permaculture media blog said...

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movie critic said...

I've never been to Tex-dumb-ass
But I have seen the movie.
I really liked it.
It's not realistic like Kalifornia.
In real California people are all old hippies. Everyone of them.
But go see the movie Tex-dumb-ass. It's great.

Cast:

* John E Mumbles as the Texas hick
* Juliette Lewis as Anonymous
* Harry as the crying Mexican
* Brad Warner as the sheriff
* David Duchovny as troll PHD
* Uku as the Waitress
* Gudo Nishijima as the Bus Driver
* Mysterion as the Blind Old Man
* Jinzang as Lyndon Johnson

Anonymous said...

Not "final authority". More like "This is the teaching and practice I know and teach", rather than "This is the only teaching and practice that is correct

I wish you were right about this anon108.

People ask for evidence. When it is given it isn't enough or they twist it to suit their views. It's ok. It's human nature. Master Gudo wrote in one of his posts that working with koans during zazen is a mistaken and wrong practice...not that it is 'not our way' or 'not what I teach' or 'different than our approach'...but wrong. Brad says the same thing when he disagrees with some doctrinal point. He condemns it as inauthentic, wrong or inferior...not just different. And he'll often throw in a quote from Dogen or Gudo for good measure to prove his point.

He naturally gets this from his teacher. Please don't ask for specific examples. I've read this blog and Gudo's for years and they are overflowing with them if you choose to look.

It would just be nice if more people would carry their critical thinking along with them when they choose a spiritual path. Brad is very honest and exhibits genuine humility when it comes to his personal behavior. This is a strong asset, maybe the single best basis for practicing zen. I do not question his insight...as far as it goes.

Yet when it comes to points of doctrine or practice, Brad exhibits an unwillingness to critically examine any of his views or ideas, preferring to simply stand by what he's been taught. This quality is detrimental to a deeper understanding, imo.

We all have faults and good points and can easily see others' but have a much harder time examining our own shortcomings. If he would turn that same brutal honesty that he exhibits toward his behavior and personal foibles onto his dogmatic assumptions and have a bit of humility in that area, Brad might be one of the truly great zen teachers of our time and far surpass his own teacher. (which is what good zen students are supposed to do) All just my view, of course.

Harry said...

I seriously doubt Brad will ever be what I expect him to be... should I expect him to apologise to me for that?

Same goes for the rest of the world.

Regards,

Haaaaaareeee... and naow ai eess go-eeeen to hhhhlav a lee-tell weeeeep in mai soooommmmbrayyyyro.

Anonymous said...

How can I surpass cessation?

Anonymous said...

To anon 8.26 who wrote:

"Yet when it comes to points of doctrine or practice, Brad exhibits an unwillingness to critically examine any of his views or ideas, preferring to simply stand by what he's been taught. This quality is detrimental to a deeper understanding, imo.

We all have faults and good points and can easily see others' but have a much harder time examining our own shortcomings. If he would turn that same brutal honesty that he exhibits toward his behavior and personal foibles onto his dogmatic assumptions and have a bit of humility in that area..."

I note that both you and #108 have claimed that Brad is in some way avoiding or in denial about something - admittedly #108 only did when challenged.

I just don't feel what I have read on his blogs or books is enough to make such claims. I take his written output to be only a tiny part of what might constitute his views on such matters.

Could it be that some readers are investing too much in a written persona?

The way I see it, Brad is experienced in a certain approach to practice in which it is consistent to say that working with koans during zazen is 'wrong'. But then on another day he may say it's 'right', if your definition of zazen includes that.

The important thing for me is that I don't know and take some statements as broad strokes that can be both true and not true, slip ups, mistakes, or something taken out of context.

He's not my face to face teacher, and even if he were, it would be up to me to work it out.

For example, one could say counting the breath or watching the breath was not strictly speaking zazen, but for a beginner a teacher could say that it was.

I was told at school that gases were composed of discreet molecules bouncing around. And then I found out that this was not, strictly speaking true. I didn't feel the need to doubt my early physics teacher as a secondary school physics teacher, or that he was being too dogmatic etc, or in denial.

Anonymous said...

Out of respect for my Physics teacher, he taught me that there were discrete, not 'discreet' molecules.

anon #108 said...

Hi 8.26am,

Thank you for the clarification. Of course, I have to be careful that, as someone who's 'bought into' the Dogen Sangha approach, I'm not suffering from selective hearing. As you suggest, we all do it.

The sum of what you read and hear from Brad and Gudo amounts to something different from what I hear. The reality of "Dogen Sangha" - I mean the experience of practising with, and listening to a Dharma-heir of Gudo Nishijima - is very different to the impressison you've formed from the writing. So I feel some sort of duty, or need, to defend and clarify what I see as a misunderstanding of an important, useful teaching.

As a student (I guess I am) of Mike Luetchford, one of Gudo's earliest disciples, who studied with him for over 20 years in Japan, I feel no obligation to accept as "authority" his word, the word of Gudo Nishijima, or Dogen, or G.Buddha. As a result of what I've heard from Mike, I believe that lack of dogmatism to originate with Gudo - despite the seemingly narrow, inflexible attitude the quotes you provide might indicate.

Miss Manners said...

"I seriously doubt Brad will ever be what I expect him to be... should I expect him to apologise to me for that?"

Gentle Harry, Expecting anything from anyone is mostly a waste of time. I would have expected you to know this.

And to you gentle anonymous trolls. It is very rude to write an opinion and sign off as anonymous. While sometimes discretion is called for, Miss Manners believes the polite thing to do is to state your chosen name proudly after your hasty screed has been delivered.

Miss Manners said...

I apologise for my last silly post. I have an addictive personality and just can't resist the bait sometimes. Oh well back to the jiblets. I won't expect anything from anyone, even anons anymore.

aunt tia said...

Do you mean this Mike Luetchford?

"Do you perhaps believe that somehow Sensei :(gudo) is acting from a deep and pure buddhist intuition that may be infallible? Because it seems to me that is what Sensei has started to believe about himself in his old age." === Mike Luetchford

john e mumbles said...

To Movie Critic said at 8:26 AM:

I laughed, I cried, I dribbled BBQ sauce into my draft beer, I give it 3 stars. Jinzang as LBJ was pure casting genius (although casting yours truly as a hic -up is dead-on type-casting).

OK, None of the above is true, but everything IS permitted. I did laugh though, thanks.

-The Old Man of Franklin Mountain

aunt tia said...

I apologise for that last post. I hate myself and will often lash out at people for no good reason. Well.. I had a good reason, but I take a stool softener now.

aunt tia maria said...

Not being mean or lashing out. That's just projection on your part.
It's just that this:

"As a result of what I've heard from Mike, I believe that lack of dogmatism to originate with Gudo"

seems to be negated by this:

"Do you perhaps believe that somehow Sensei :(gudo) is acting from a deep and pure buddhist intuition that may be infallible? Because it seems to me that is what Sensei has started to believe about himself in his old age." === Mike Luetchford

Mike himself, at least in the quote above, does not seem to think that Gudo is exactly free of dogmatism.

Uku said...

movie critic, yes! My pink dress and cucumber in my arse is looking lovely! Just wait the action figures!

Adam said...

I liked it better when you closed the comments here.

Uku said...

Adam, feeling too serious today, maybe? :)

Gudo said...

Uku: I shall never be able to think of you without the cucumber again forever.. Therefore I will not be enjoying my cucumber salad this evening at all.

Friut Loops said...

162

approaching 200 at 1/3000000000ths the speed of light.

engage said...

163

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan_A said...

Brad and Tom -

Good discussion - nice to find it floating in the usual sea of madness.

You'd find a similar style of Bible reading in certain Jewish communities - not all of them, but definitely among Reconstructionists, some Conservatives, and maybe to a lesser extent Reform and Renewal.

Modern biblical scholarship (that is, identifying the different authors and strands through close reading, textual analysis and archaeology) is pretty fully applied to the Hebrew Bible.

I ran through my Zen reading of Job here a while ago - won't do it again unless provoked...

Anonymous said...

"Gudo is a human being. He is not a closed system. He is an open human system, who has a very strong will to the truth, but at the same time a strong wrong tendency to be fixed in his views.

On his blog, Gudo writes of knowing True Buddhism, as if there is something called True Buddhism, with a capital T and a capital B, that he knows. From where I sit, the Buddha’s teaching of the Middle Way encompasses truths that the Buddha knew but Gudo is very far from knowing, and furthermore Gudo, in his arrogance, does not even begin to suspect the depths of his own unknowing.

Michael Luetchford and Brad Warner are not the enemies of Buddhism because they have the will to fame and power. In my opinion, they might be the enemies of Buddhism because they do not know their own minds. Their will to fame might be unconscious. That might be the problem."

+++Mike Cross

epic fail said...

166-6

Mysterion said...

Mike -

nobody is ever far from the teachings of buddha. they may be distracted or deceives, but they are never distant.

there is a distinction worth considering.

this is one and the same reason I tell people: "Buddhism does not take converts."

Mysterion said...

deceives - deceived

oops...

Mysterion said...

All:

Let me make this clear:

"Brad is on a mission."

His duty in this life is to make an imprint that

Buddhism exists.

nothing more than that, nothing less... and so far, so good.

There are those of us out here in other sects, traditions, and disciplines, who wish him well with every step and misstep as he advances.

Anonymous said...

Was yoda really modeled after Suzuki Roshi?

Anonymous said...

With that joke I will have funny dreams, good night all!

Anonymous said...

173

Anonymous said...

To auntie tia maria @11.52 who said:

"Not being mean or lashing out. That's just projection on your part"

That's because auntie tia maria @11.32 thought you were one of the Miss Manners etc...

anon #108 said...

Re Gudo, Luetchford, Cross, Warner...

I'll not entertain any fault-finding. These are all fully realised buddhas, Patriarchs who have received the True Dharma Eye.

Those of you who defame this dharma will BURN IN AVICI HELL for asamkhaya kalpas.

Anonymous said...

Too many heads to clear up after, M?

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

No - M for the original Miss Manners and Co.

Jinzang said...

Jinzang as Lyndon Johnson

I wonder how many here remember Lyndon Johnson. "LBJ, LBJ, how many kids have you killed today?' Almost half a century later and we are still making sacrifice to Moloch.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john e mumbles said...

"This aggression will not stand!"

Hey Movie Critic! I am watching THE BIG LUBOWSKI for the umpteenth time and it strikes me that there are several inter-changeable characters here and there.

I'll forgo the ample evidence of myself as a version of The Dude, but so far I am sure that Mysterion (aka Adam Weishaupt ?) could easily play Walter, and Brad is no doubt The Jesus.

Anon 108 is a possible Donnie, affable enuf, fer shore. Or perhaps the Philip Seymour Hoffman character...

movie critic said...

I love that movie Mumbles.. 5 stars.

Anonymous said...

a Troll Phd, an On second thoughts...said, a Miss Manners, a tia maria

Anonymous said...

Anyone else notice that Brad spends a major amount of time on his blog defending his status as a "real monks" or "real zen master". He seems to be awfully worried about what people think or do not think about him for a "real zen master". That's okay, but he seems very concerned about it even when he is joking about it. Kind of like saying "I am a real zen master by saying I am not, implying that I really am"

There is today's post and so many

Apparently some Polish Zen chatroom has been all abuzz with questions of my legitimacy as a Zen teacher. ...... My transmission comes from Gudo Nishijima, his transmission comes from Renpo Niwa, and I’ve got a piece of cloth at home that lists the whole lineage right back to Buddha his-very-self. Whether you believe the entire lineage or not -- and I don’t -- it does go back through verifiable generations at least a few hundred years.


I use the term because after I took jukai with Nishijima Roshi I asked him, "Am I a monk now?" and he said, "Yes. You are a monk now." His attitude is based on Buddha's who ordained monks by just saying, "Welcome monk."

OK. So there was this Chinese-style vegetarian restaurant I used to go to a lot near my house that was run by a Taiwanese woman who was a devout follower of some sort of esoteric Buddhist sect. She asked about my shaved head and I told her I'd done shukke. She turned red in the face and steam shot out of her ears. "You haven't done shukke!! It's just for show!!!

TRANSMISSION and HAYATA

He said it, not me. (And, again, if Gempo is a "Roshi" then so am I since I have also received Dharma Transmission. But really, as Tonen O'Connor pointed out last time I said this, no one ought to call her or himself a Roshi. Other people call you that. It's not a title or a rank, it's an honorific.)

The subject of my Zen pedigree has come up a few times recently. I’m sure some of you will remember when Bruce Lambson, Director of the Big Mind Big Heart Institute said I was “not yet even a Sensei” whereas his boss was a Roshi*. While I’ve been making the rounds trying to set up some speaking engagements it came up again. A Zen center someone was trying to talk into booking me for a speaking engagement asked to know if I had permission to teach and said my blog wasn’t very informative about such matters.

Anonymous said...

... and I was the Winged Monkey!!

BOO! said...

Yes, 7.01pm, I too have a feeling that anon #108 was, briefly, Troll PhD, fed up with THIS kinda thing from one particular, or more, anonymous. (Easy to spell smartarse as "smartass" to deflect suspicion). If so, the deception worked very well and had a positive outcome. I, for one, enjoyed it.

Miss Manners? Tia Maria? On second thoughts...said? Nah. I don't think so.

Miss Manners said...

Confused Anon@701. That might have been the stupidest thing I've ever read. Sit down and try not to think about penises for one minute.

Anonymous said...

I apologise Malcom.

Take it easy.

Mysterion said...

o.k. I ordered Big Lebowski from Amazon.

Anonymous said...

190

Word Verification = oness

mysterion's mama said...

P.S. About this time, last year.

Anonymous said...

192

Tom said...

Mysterion said...

The Bible has nothing to do with Buddhism - except that the sayings and parables were borrowed (lifted, or stolen) from the Buddhists.

In case you are referring to the Old Testament or the Hebrew Bible, you must understand that this compilation of literature includes writings based on oral tradition that dates way before the time Buddhism was born.

As for the New Testament, the sayings and parables of Jesus were mostly preserved by itinerant charismatics who followed Jesus' lifestyle after his death. The tradition was written down in the so called Logia ("words") or Q (from German "Quelle", source) document that has been reconstruced by scholars but not yet been found. After the destruction of the temple in 70 CE, the Gospels were written: Matthew and Luke both make references to Q.

Unlike the view you present, these are widely accepted scientific theories.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

196
almost overtime
for brads sake, let's talk about what monk means to us in our own lives. whaddaya say? tip of the hat to the original punk rocker?

Gordon said...

Anon, Why worry about what other people want to talk about? If you want to talk about what monk means to you in your own life, talk about it. It looks to me like you'd rather count.

Anonymous said...

198

hi gordon, i'm not anxious about it, it's an invitation!

Anonymous said...

199

Anonymous said...

200

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