Sunday, July 18, 2010

Zen Hobo

Here's another one of the shots I took of the Zen(?) monk in front of the Zen Mall. I originally didn't use this one because it's kind of blurry. It's the first of five shots I took and I was rushing to get it, hence the blurriness. But in retrospect this one shows the monk better.

I've been scratching my head over one of the comments regarding the previous post. It says, "I guess Brad does not know his Buddhist monks. Funny for a guy who says he was trained as a Buddhist monk in Japan. Oh, sure, clothes and sects are not important at all, but makes you wonder what else he doesn't know."

This was in response to my calling the monk in the photo a Zen monk. Actually I don't know if he's a Zen monk. He could be Jodo-shu. He could even be Nichiren-shu for all I know. I'm not sure what those guys wear. Though he looks Zennish to me. He is definitely a Buddhist monk or some sort. Or somebody who wants to look like one. And it's certainly funnier if he's a Zen monk at the Zen Mall. So I went for the joke.

I'm not sure what the purpose of comments like this is. I imagine the writer intends to cast doubts upon my veracity as a monk or as a teacher or some such thing. But why bother? I suppose I'll never understand this kind of behavior. Who are these people? Do they have some kind of agenda? Are they fans of Genpo Roshi or something? Anyhow, the comments section is still free to all who wish to use it. So there ya go.

My friend Regina in Frankfurt, Germany sent me an email that said, "Isn't it a wonderful discussion on your blog? You gathered a nice community together." I think generally that's the case, especially recently. I've been trying to encourage that trend a little by commenting in there myself now and then. But I rarely have time to read the whole discussion. This in itself is nice; that there's so much there I can't keep up with it.

I've been thinking about the life I've been leading for the last several months, and how much I like it. I gave up my apartment in Santa Monica as of March 1, 2010 and have been living in other people's houses, apartments and squats ever since. Initially this was supposed to be a transitional phase with the idea that I'd find somewhere and settle there at some point. But now I'm wondering when that will be or even if it's strictly necessary.

My current plans have me staying at my sister's house after which I will go to the Great Sky sesshin (there's still time to sign up, so do it!), after which I'll go to Tassajara and be a guest student, following which I'll be a guest teacher at Tassajara (ironic, huh?), following which I have some gigs in the San Francisco Bay area where I'll be staying with friends...

It just goes on and on and on.

Of course at some point I will have to stop being a leech on society. But for now this hobo existence is working out pretty well. Yet I'm still taking suggestions for places to settle. I've had a couple interesting ones that I've got to follow up on.

I wish I had some great Zen lesson to leave you with. But I don't. So instead I'll leave you with the trailer for Birdemic. The scene shown when the video is paused on YouTube doesn't give you even a hint of how awesomely insane the trailer is. It's not a sex film.


tattoozen said...


tattoozen said...

Oh and apparently sometimes the trolls just want to feel important by causing a little anonymous pain. Like kids making crank calls its a strange sense of power at making someone far away react to something they do. It seems like it would feel satisfying for a second or two but after that would feel pretty embarrassing.

I guess thats why they stay anonymous?

Anonymous said...

Hey, you can always get room and board here:

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.

Gassho and Peace, Jundo

Did you ever see the guy?

Harry said...

'How to Win Zen and Influence People'?



Fugen said...


Yes, sometimes you wonder why the trolls are trolling...
But it's all good practice as some would say...

And i wonder if there is a zen hall in the zen mall and if you go there wíth a phone can get a zen call... ;)

ROLL-CALL said...


One guy gets off by assuming the identity of other posters and making off-color or deliberately ignorant comments.

Another guy loves to try and swing the discussion back to Jundo Cohen. He has even successfully conjured up the real Jundo here once or twice.

Another troll gets his kicks by reminding us that Brad has said some unkind things on this blog in the past. I guess his point is that Brad is a bad Buddhist.

Another troll likes to disparage Gudo's ideas. I think he thinks this really bothers Brad.

One guys likes to post You-tube vids relating to 911 conspiracies.

Another guy specializes in tormenting any woman who dares to post on HCZ.

One guy hates Brad for his butt-buddy comments. He must have taken a lot of shit in his life.

The list goes on and on. I know I'm forgetting a few. Some of these trolls might be the same person. It's possible they are all the same person. If so, the guy is highly dedicated and completely nutz.

Osama Van Halen said...

What ever happened to "Mr. Angry"?

john e mumbles said...

Brad, if the hobo life is the life you enjoy, by all means, do it. If you remember I gave you alot of crap for the do-it-yourself lifestyle sleeping on couches, etc. when you left your apt. to hit the road a few months ago.

I thought it would be really hard at your age to go back to the "get in the van" lifestyle you had as an itinerant punk rocker.

But if it is working for you, for what its worth, I am impressed. Anyone who can make it living on their own terms, doing the thing they love to do is alright by me. That's the way I try to live, too. Rock on.

BTW that trailer has the feel of a 1970's porno, but the special effects are way to high tech. Just my opinion...

gniz said...

Well since everything's so nicey nice around here, come over to Reblogging Brad Warner, where I've made a new post about Jundo's latest Tree Leaf banning.

Blake said...

Well you know are always welcome here in the fine, Kansas City area! I could easily find you an apartment within your budget. KC is cheap and centrally located.

Anonymous said...

For all the sarcasm and pointed comments , though, the anonymice raise quite a few valid points and criticism

Dru. said...

"...makes you wonder what else he doesn't know."

Yeah, I bet there's tones of stuff Brad doesn't know, and that clearly makes his experiences (since that's what his books/talks are about) completely invalid; and let's not forget that his interpretations of what he's read, there's NO way we could EVER take that seriously.

my opinion: If you are putting stock in any monk/priest/etc., let alone what they have to say, you've missed the point; and if what clothes they wear are a concern for you you've really missed the point.

Search for a video on Google called 'Diamond Sutra 101 - Lecture 04 of 12 by Monk Hyungak' starting at 19:35 is a story, that's what I'm getting at.

Sebouh said...

By the way, no one can make Romantic Thrillers anymore, apparently the style has been trademarked by James Nguyen, "a budding John Carpenter."

Even the smoky-voiced movie trailer "in a world..." guy makes a cameo when he says the word "passion" right when the ex-schoolmate-now-model is introduced. I agree with mumbles, the effects are way too high tech, I hope no birds were harmed during filming.

Actually it looks like somebody had a lot of fun making that thing.

Anonymouse said...

Isn't another name for zen monks in japan unsui? It seems you are living this unsui life very well, Brad.

Unsui comes from a Chinese poem which reads, "To drift like clouds and flow like water." It means clouds and water.

Many of you insist on defining trolls or trolling as anyone with a different form of anonymity (nearly all blue names are also anon) and as anyone who makes any sort of critical remark at all. Perhaps it makes you more comfortable to band together and brand anyone making any sort of critical comment as evil 'trolls'. I suppose it's why religious groups label people heretics who disagree with revered leaders or doctrines.

Call us trolls if you like but it makes no more sense than calling anyone that ever agrees with Brad's posts fanboys, sycophants or asskissers. Since I've done both, I suppose I'm both a fanboy and troll. Instead of projecting your own ideas onto anonymous posters why not just read and determine if any of the comments are worth thinking about? If the points are valid then you may learn something. If not, just discard them. Apply the same logic as you would to Brad's posts.

It's silly to assume various motivations and mindstates about anyone making critical remarks. Some here make the same mistake with Brad. They read all sorts of things into his posts about his mindstate and motivation that they couldn't possibly determine based upon a few written paragraphs.

And to be fair..Brad has engaged in similar assumptions and projections at various times here. It works both ways. Maybe it's even a product of this type of communication. We have a need to know who we're talking to, so when the info we need isn't all present (like on a blog or email) we tend to project and manufacture a whole set of motivations and personality where none exists. Just some thoughts.

max radings said...

as far as i know, kodo sawaki was a "zen hobo" for most of his life too. they didnt call him the "homeless kodo" for nothing. its worked for many people throughout history. it just depends on what your needs are, i guess.

Seagal Rinpoche said...

Only when you have crossed the river can you say the crocodile has a lump on his snout.

Sebouh said...

nice one Seagal Rinpoche

The Rinz said...
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Bill O'Reilly said...

Well since everything's so nicey nice around here, come over to Reblogging Brad Warner, where I've made a new post about Jundo's latest Tree Leaf banning.

Yeah, Jundo pretty much cleaned Gniz's clock on that stupid post. I particularly like this line

Now, if you want to talk about something unfair on the internet, how about all the innuendo you posted about me and Treeleaf tonight that nobody can correct but you? You tell me about "open and honest, fair and balanced", but you are a little bit running the Buddhist Foxnews here, and the Zen Glen Beck. :-)

JoSatori said...
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JoSatori said...


When I occasionally look at these discussions, I'm honestly taken aback by the some of the things that are said. I know Hui Neng said not to judge the faults of others, but I can't help thinking that zen students (or at least those claiming to be zen students by using zenny vocabulary terms like "satori" (haha)) shouldn't use snide, vitriolic speech to make a point, even if they disagree with you.

Maybe they forgot to read your last book and still hold some asinine, preconceived notion of what a "Zen master" is. Apparently, you're not only supposed to know every line of the Shobogenzo, but you've also got to instantaneously know the difference between a Soto-shu monk, a Jodo-shu monk and a Nichiren-shu monk at a distance of 70 ft. away, all while still maintaining the ability to quote the Platform Sutra, the Lotus Sutra, the Diamond Sutra, and Zen Mind Beginner's Mind on cue and sit in kekkafuza in the middle of an open lake without a boat and still smell of sandlewood and lotus blossoms....(deep inhalation).

Well, I say fuck it. I think you have the right attitude. Let people say whatever the hell they want, because they're going to do it anyway. Bloggers say the damnedest things.


Ken Show said...

"I know Hui Neng said not to judge the faults of others, but I can't help thinking that zen students (or at least those claiming to be zen students by using zenny vocabulary terms like "satori" (haha)) shouldn't use snide, vitriolic speech to make a point, even if they disagree with you."

Good point. I agree. However, do you think Brad got the memo about snide, vitriolic speech? Or does this only apply to his critics?

And besides, Dogen thought the platform sutra was not Real Zen (tm):

"These are not the words of Master Eno. It is a complete imitation, and this being so, the true successors to the Transmission from the Buddha must not use this book. This book represents a danger to the understanding of true Zen." --Dogen

The Rinz said...
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Bruno said...


How are you doing? I've been reading your last book these days (having already read the previous two), and I am puzzled by one question: for the Soto headquarters, what are you exactly? I mean, they regard you as a monk, as a layperson, or what? This has absolutely nothing to do with your practice or your ability to teach (which, mind you, is freaking awesome), it's just a pointless curiosity. I've heard that among the rules for Soto monks is one that says you should have your head shaved. Is it true??

Anyways, thank you for books! They are really among the best Zen books out there, expressing the Zen of thing "as they are" without that whole crapiness of mind levels, other lives, and such bullshizzes.

Have you ever thought on adventuring yourself and writing your own up-to-date-vocabulary Heart Sutra? It would sure be enlightening.


Anonymous Bob said...

Ken Show, I don't recognize your new name but I recognize your style and substance. You've been around for quite a while.

So you agree with Hui Neng about not judging the faults of others? How interesting.

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

Ken Show,

Yeah, I think Brad did get the memo.

Listen: I've read all of Brad's books and I've occasionally looked at this blog and his responses to people; and, at the end of the day, I think Brad is really fucking diplomatic (at least when it comes to those people who criticize him for every little oversight mistake).

Sure he has a very irreverent, punk rock, fuck-the-man attitude when he talks about Buddhism. But he writes that way because it's funny, not because he's pissed off at some "Zen master" in East Bumblefuck who said that Brad didn't know the first thing about "Big Mind" or some other empty Zenny concept.

Honestly, it's kind of petty and juvenile. When I read these comments I can't help but think of dudes whose time would be much better spent doing anything else - e.g. going for a walk, grabbing lunch, or something even more productive like doing zazen - instead of nitpicking every little flaw they find with Brad. (By the way, from what I can tell, it's always the same guys).

Way I see it, everybody's got an opinion, and apparently there's a lot of people on this blog suffering from a serious case a verbal diarrhea. They're all clenching, wobbling from side-to-side and just aching to let it all fall out in one big glorious exhalation of excremental relief. They've just gotta proudly showcase self-garnered knowledge of Zen Buddhism by citing Shunryu Suzuki, or Dainin Katagiri, or more scholarly dudes Hee-Jin Kim (Dogen "...severely criticized the idea of 'seeing into one's own nature' and went to far as to regard the Platform Sutra as a suspicious work and not the words of the true ancestor." - pg. 56, Mystical Realist). And like I said, that's all well and good, because EVERYBODY, even the Buddha, has an opinion. But I think there's a problem, whether Dogen liked the Platform Sutra or not, when we take the time to point out what we perceive as somebody else's flaws and say, "Well, fie on you, oh pretentious and oh-so-wayward zen-man; here's what Dogen really said". I mean, are we in a fucking sewing circle or what? We don't need Dogen, Eno, or the Buddha to tell us it's not polite to point at people. Hell, our mother's told us that (or should have told us that) back when were being potty trained.

It's one thing to say, "Well, Brad, that's one way to look at it, but here's another", and quite another to look down from our lofty peaks of Zen all-knowingness condescendingly say, "Wow, Brad, you don't know what the fuck you're talking about; get a clue."

Again, I'm not saying that we should express our views and "knowledge" about Zen in this forum, because it wouldn't be much of a blog if that were the case. I'm just saying that there's a polite way to say something, and an impolite way to something. And any real Zen-geek should know that a true practitioner would either shut the fuck up and not say anything, or, if they've just have to say something (kudos to Katagir Roshi), say it politely and respectfully.

Ken Show said...

So you agree with Hui Neng about not judging the faults of others? How interesting

No. I think Hui Neng was a clown, fraud, butt-buddy of Ta Hui and of his slimy ilk. He was a useless piece of shit, asswipe, dickhead.
With respect, of course.

Regina said...

There one interesting thing to share: My daughter will have a highschoolyear in Kansas from August on. And for this reason she and the parents had an introduction into american culture.
We learnt that the pupils are not allowed to swear otherwise they will get extra school hours (detention). This would never happen here in our schools. Here they just say what they want and nobody cares, even at home (surely not at our home) and elsewhere.
And one can believe the vocabulary of my 12 year old son is tremendous.

Therefore it is nothing special to read all these f...words but anyway one could say things more charming, can't one? Finding the right words is also a challenge for differentiation and shows the ability of a person, f... is always the same f...

All the best

Daniel said...

"...makes you wonder what else he doesn't know."

This coming from a tradition that embraces "don't know" mind. *sigh* Freaking TROLL.

And as for your Zen Hobo life, you know you're always welcome up here in the Emerald City.

Mysterion said...


there are some people who crave 1/10th of the attention that THEY perceive you are getting.

they are just f*cked up.

but then there is a lot of that going around - the Palin groupies come to mind... ROFLMAO

john e mumbles said...

Regina, Kansas is a very conservative state. After killing, disenfranchising, and otherwise running off most of the indigenous populations (Kanza, Wichita, Pawnee, Apache, the Blue Earth People, etc.) a good part of it was settled by Germans, who to this day farm the land.

It follows that the schools still enforce dress codes, language restrictions, etc., as these kinds of boundaries are enforced socially as well. Yesterday my 15 year old daughter and I were enjoying veggie delite sandwiches at the Subway a block from my house when a kid walked in with a shirt stating "IF IT AIN'T BROKE, BEAT THE FUCK OUT OF IT" So I ripped it off his back and slapped him silly him with a handful of plastic spoons.

That's how we handle censorship on the High Plains.

Mysterion said...

btw HoBo or hobo means homeward bound. It dates from WWI when the dough boys were released at a port and then had to find their own way home (often in the Midwest). Cities were smaller and farms more numerous and family operated. With the consolidation of farms under corporatism, farms are big and few and cities are bigger and much more impoverished.

It is a natural result from America's drift to despotism.

Anonymous said...

Eat that hitchcock!

Cyril Coombs said...

Thank goodness it wasn't the fabled Jedi-shu; they have a mean force choke. Sorry couldn't resist. Lol

Mysterion said...

Who are the 'Jedi" modeled after?
(lost arts...)

And what is the 'empire?"
(__________ ___________ empire)

Lucas (ILM) is just up the road a spell and locals kinda know...

John E Mumbles may know, if he sits on it for a few days...

john e mumbles said...

Yeah, I know: Who gives a _ _ _ _.

Brad Warner said...

Bruno, I think the Soto-shu considers me to be to be the lowest level monk, an unsui. I'm eligible to become a full monk or master in the Soto-shu if I wanted to do the required training. But I have no plans to do that.

As far as my own teacher is concerned, I'm a fully ordained dharma-transmitted teacher and president of the organization he started, Dogen Sangha.

It's all very complex and I tried to explain it about a month ago on this blog. If you scroll back far enough you can find what I wrote.

Regina said...

yes, this impression I got too. When we learnt about the dress code my daughter wanted to cancel the whole trip. She will be at Heartland High School, Belten, and that is another callenge. Maybe I should provide her with some buddhist scripts....

Sean said...
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