Sunday, December 12, 2010

THE ECONOMICS OF ZEN


The sexy website Lucrezia Magazine has published some stuff from my new book Sex Sin and Zen.

Here's their review.

And here's an except they published from the book.

Thanks!

And speaking of that book, I have about 6 copies of Sex Sin and Zen, maybe eight of Hardcore Zen and a few Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in Chocolate but no copies of Sit Down and Shut Up (sorry!). So for a limited time, I will sell you a personally autographed copy for just $25 (it's a rip off! You can get 'em for way less than that without someone's writing inside!). Send in a donation (the button is on your left) and attach a note saying which book you want and who you want it signed to and the address to send it to. I can't promise they'll make it in time for Christmas. But I'll do my best. If I happen to get orders after the books are gone, I'll refund your donation.

Why am I doing this? Because New York is like a giant vacuum cleaner sucking up all my money -- even though I have the most amazingly cheap rent you could ever imagine.

So I thought it's about time I wrote an article I've been thinking about for a good long while. I've called this "The Economics of Zen." But it's more the economics of Brad. Still, I think there's a lot in my specific personal experience that relates to many people in this business. I hope this post won't come off like a bunch of whining, but instead be somewhat instructive and useful.

Before I begin, I want to state clearly that even though I will be referencing some future speaking gigs that I'm in the process of setting up, none of what I'm going to say here should be taken as any kind of a veiled message to the people I'm organizing those gigs with. Whatever I've needed to say to you I have said or will say directly. But the examples are too good to pass up. So I'm going to use them. Just don't read anything into this stuff. OK? Thanks!

OK. I often receive invitations to speak in cool exotic places. And I love speaking in cool exotic places. This year I've been to Tel Aviv, Warsaw, Helsinki, Belfast, Wupetal and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, just to name a few! It's great.

But I think a lot of people who send me invitations don't really get what all's involved. Many people assume, for starters, that I make a decent living off of book royalties. Not so. What I get from book royalties alone keeps me well below poverty level. There is no way I could live off just book royalties unless maybe I moved to a corrugated cardboard box in the basement of Shinjuku Station or something. Seriously, though, I did search for a place in the USA that I could afford just on book sales and came up with nothing. Not even in Akron, Ohio!

Like almost every author I have to supplement my income somehow. What I've been trying to do the past two years is to do what lots of writers do and supplement my book earnings through speaking gigs.

Let's say you invite me to come speak in Bloomington, Indiana. You get me for two days. You offer me a generous $200. Hey! That's $100 per day. Not bad! And really, if you think of it that way, it's not.

But for me to get to Bloomington, Indiana, I have to spend three or four days just getting there and getting back home. And in order to be able to be available for a gig in Bloomington, I can't be holding down a regular five-days-a-week 9-5 job. No job I can think of would be happy with me running off at random intervals for a week at a time.

This is why I usually ask for traveling expenses and a speaking fee. My fees, by the way, are really low from what I've been able to learn about what other writers and Buddhist teachers charge.

Some people invite me saying that I can collect donations (dana) and sell books. That's OK. But sometimes I get to a place and sell three books and the dana ends up being like $75. It's too risky for me to give up other potential income (like a 9-5 job, for example) on that kind of a gamble.

Remember there's no retirement plan in this and no health insurance scheme. Then there's the car and its insurance. It's all gotta come out of my pocket.

Various people I've encountered or read about in the Buddhist teacher business have different means of dealing with this sort of thing. Many belong to large organizations who have networks of temples and can support them should donations not be enough. One guy, a Canadian I met in Japan, was from a sect that doesn't allow him to handle money. But I found his tactics a bit suspect. He was very slick about getting the people around him to pay for all kinds of stuff that I couldn't afford -- and I was working a real job at the time I encountered him. I wouldn't feel right doing that kind of thing. I'm too proud and Midwestern maybe. I could do the Genpo Roshi thing and ask for $50,000 to spend five days in a luxury hotel with me. If anyone wants to make that offer, I'm ready to talk. Yeah, right.

I talked to a Zen teacher I respect in California who told me that what he does is ask for a "minimum dana." I haven't tried this myself yet. But I might.

So now I'm thinking about what to do next. All the traveling I'm doing is fun, but it wears a fella out! Plus it's only just barely covering basic living expenses. I'm really grateful for all the donations and suchlike I've received. It's a beautiful thing. I can't tell you how wonderful. I know a lot of people are digging deep for my sake. It's a tremendous thing. But, at the level I'm at now, I'd have to be traveling almost constantly just to get by.

I made things work for most of 2010 by not having an apartment of my own and just trusting things would work out. They did. But being homeless is tough. Think about it. Where do you pick up your mail? I've had about six temporary addresses this year. A lot of important stuff has gone missing.

I have gigs in February and March that'll probably come close to covering my rent. Hey, I may even make a little scratch. But after that I'm seriously considering packing in the traveling author/teacher thing and just getting a normal job again. That is, if there are any of those left anymore.

I hope this doesn't sound too complaining. Sometimes the few people who already understand what's involved take things I say about this stuff way too personally and think I'm whining about them. I'm not. Or else people bitch in the comments section about how I promote my books and stuff. Yes, I do. I have to. Nobody else is doing it.

I'm not really complaining. Life is good. I just feel like, since I get so many invitations all the time, it's good to let everyone know what it is they're asking when they invite me to come speak somewhere.

And for all of you wondering where the "dharma" is, well, this is it. Lots of folks don't talk about this side of it. But it's there and it always has been.

Thanks for listening!

136 comments:

Hare said...

Cheesewhiz!

Gordon Gekko said...

The great and almighty dollar has spoken!

All prostrate and prepare to receive great economic wisdom from your creditors.

Anonymous said...

Off their heads!

Anonymous said...

the most dangerous man in america

merciless said...

Damn Brad.. You move to New York and then complain about not having any money. It's one of the one of the most expensive cities in the world. That's like buying a new Mercedes and then bitching about your car payment every month.
If you're not rich and want to be free of a real job, you live in Bumfuck. If you want security and a nice paycheck you find a 9-5 in the City.

You might also try finding a single older woman to help out. If she had some money an arrangement could be made.. There's no shame in that nowadays.

These are hard times. It's tough being a free bird and staying cool when you're pushing fifty. Good luck to you!

Uku said...

Great post, Brad! I totally understand your situation based on your gigs in here Finland. It's interesting that in general folks doesn't seem to understand the meaning of dana, not even when it's mentioned where it's needed. And when charging fees instead of dana, people are starting to whine about how Dharma should be free and so on. Voluntary payment or fair fee, there's always someone who doesn't play along. People doesn't understand that living in the society is not free. Yeah, people are ready to come and listen teachers for free but not supporting them. Fortunately, there are always good people involved!

You could start making "low-class" jobs, doing the Bodhisattva thang and write a book about it. Millionaire scumbags like Genpo could then bite your wire.

Anonymous said...

these are the good old days


enjoy NYC while you are there to enjoy it

we could start taking bets as to what's next

I say a zendo in Finland for Brad in 2011!

Anonymous said...

I don't know any teacher who doesn't or hasn't faced the same thing

solutions come from the sangha

the sangha grows around the teacher

the teacher


How does a teacher grow a sangha?

Staying in one place helps

For Kodo, I guess not staying long in one place...

it is an interesting dilemma
a fine kettle of fish you've got us into now, Ollie

Anonymous said...

If memory serves me, you were offered a job back with the Ultraman company last summer.
Maybe they would like to extend that opportunity again. Nishijima is getting older and I'm sure would appreciate your being close.
There isn't anything really holding you 'here' so to speak, except maybe your car...

As far as mail goes: you designate a 'permanent mailing address': your father, your sister, a friend: someone who is settled, and you have them forward to you that which requires forwarding.

Good luck with all of it.

Anonymous said...

broken link to the lucrezia magazine
(missing h in http)

Anonymous said...

Wuppertal, dear. Wuppertal.

PA said...

- Freelance Japanese interpretor/Translator?
- Rent a place somewhere cheap, treat it as the 'Hardcore Zen Temple' and people can come and train with you for a fee to cover your rent and stuff.

Hmmm. It's a tough modern world though,eh - you have something pretty cool to offer people but life's so expensive it's getting harder and harder to do it!

Mumon said...

Yes, well, my teacher, like others in his tradition had a craft.

I suppose writing's your craft as it were.

But at a certain point the practice of "Right Livelihood," in today's environment, is not going to include being a real monk and possessing nothing.

That means the prerequisites of what is middle class living, an increasing rarity these days, which should include stuff like knowing how your medical bills will be paid and where money will come from when you're aged.

Somehow my teacher's able to do those sort of things, sort of. But he's Japanese, and does belong to one of those big schools of which you speak.

I wonder if you're on Linkedin.com...

I'll have more to say on this on my blog later.

john e mumbles said...

I say go back to Akron or wherever your band is, so you have a steady gig. Get a cheap place there or join a commune. Work at the mercantile part time and get a discount on good food and vitamins. Write every day. Maybe you already do, but make a list of articles you could write and do it. Constantly send them to all the obvious magazines. Offer Buddhist stuff too, make 'em come to you from all over the world. You have a marketable commodity, and its You.

Anonymous said...

I think you should get a job. I think every writer should have a day job. I'm the author of six books, none of which did particularly well, and I had a period of fifteen years or so when I tried to live by writing (also being supported by my wife's salary). It was just too hard, and I kept having to write things I didn't really want to write in the hope of making money. Finally I got a decent teaching gig, which left me time to write only in the summers, but I've learned to get a lot done in four months, I have enough money, and--most important of all--I can write what I want, without worrying about money. Making a living as a writer is just too tough. When that Japanese company offered you another job several years ago, I thought at the time that you should have taken it.

Professordave

Anonymous said...

Yeah, why NYC? Doesn't sound like a great spot for what you do. I hear you on the traveling and money thing - it's killer. You should have healthcare and savings, so "charge" what you will, I'd say.

I like the blog. Keep it up.

Uku said...

John had good points. PA also mentioned the temple/group thing. That's always a great option for a teacher if interested of those things. Did you have some plans for DSLA? There's something about in their blog. I'm sure your reputation would draw people and they'll be willing to support you. I think your plans in DSLA's blog sounds great!

Uku said...

And here's the link for the blog post I mentioned: http://dogensanghalosangeles.blogspot.com/2010/08/letter-from-brad-re-possible-return-to.html

Anonymous said...

In our sangha we organize sesshins at quite moderate fees and if we invite people from outside then half of the money (after expenses) goes to the organizing dojo, half to the teacher.

But most zen teachers I know have low profile jobs where they can quit any time and also find a new job any time.

Check out online places such as odesk.com or elance.com There are always various jobs for people who know Japanese.

Lucius

Blake said...

I'm here to help in any way I can!

Anonymous said...

I don't think NYC is necessarily a bad idea but it depends largely on your long term goals. Yeah, it's expensive but there are 8 million plus peeps there and if there are only 0.000001% in any given population that want to study the Zen with the Brad, then you're going to find more of them there than Bumfuck. But that's if you want to establish a Zendo. Of course, you can do that in Bumfuck as well, but you're more likely to need a 9-5 job. And you may need a 9-5 job to get started.

If you want to do the writer thing, then it depends on what you want to write about. Is it going to be "Zen and X" for the next 30 years? Do you want to write fiction? Non-fiction? You don't necessarily need to be in NYC for that but maybe you could take the opportunity while you're there to brush up on character development, plot devices and avoiding deus ex machina (for example). Take some classes. Have other people read your stuff. Hone your craft with other writers.

This may mean taking a 9-5 job, too. This may mean that you're only available for weekend talks and only within driving distance...Saturday night, Sunday afternoon...but if you're in NYC, that's Philadelphia, Washington, Boston...bigger cities, bigger crowds.

Then there are these Interwebs. There are a large number of new artist support systems running these days such as micro-patronage. I think one of them is Fundable. You put in project (write my next book) and a monetary goal/budget and people donate. This is probably less skeezy if the topic isn't "Zen and X" but even if it were, I'm sure you'd find a way to avoid the skeeziness.

anon #108 said...

Hi Brad,

I read the review of "Sex, Sin and Zen" and then, as I haven't yet read the book, clicked the link to the excerpt from the "Is Orgasm the Highest Form of Meditation?" chapter. In it you wrote:

"In a very real sense you chose to live because you wanted to experience life..."

I guess you don't mean *chose* as in *chose*, but more as in *chose*....What do you mean? Would you tell us some time. Thanks. (Perhaps you have already - in another of your books I haven't yet read [only HCZ so far] ?)*


*Nothing personal - I'm very poor these days. Book buying is on hold.

OsamaVanHalen said...

What would Kwai Chang Caine do?

Anonymous said...

Brad, speaking of book royalties, do you get more or less for the ebook versions they sell?

And regarding the minimum dana, don't. Asking for donations is okay, but asking for donations with a set minimum is just another way to say "It costs this much to see me".

There was this Hare Krishna temple near where I used to live. They had breakfast every morning you could attend if you tolerated some singing and chanting and they also had "Suggested donations" list for the food. What happened in reality was that if you went and wanted food they'd say "Okay, that's XX dollars, thank you".

I understand and completely agree that stuff like that shouldn't be free, but if you're gonna call it a donation, don't act like it's a pricetag then.

So, please, find another way of suggesting more dana at your gigs.

Also one thing to consider regarding the donations is that people might be more willing to donate to the speaker if they don't have to pay to come see the gig in the first place. If you have to buy a ticket you'll probably feel like you've already given something, so if the gigs are not free you probably should arrange the "minimum dana" to be hidden in the ticket price already.

25 said...

I think the #1 should be 10$.

#2 could be 5. [$]

3-5 - 1.

#6 and on could be free.

Irish currency not accepted.

Mysterion said...

FIRST!

Oh, I'm not?

oops...

anonymous anonymous said...

an understandable mistake for someone your age hysterion..

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brad Warner said...

Yeah, Merciless. NY is expensive. But as someone else said, there are lots of opportunities here that don't exist in cheaper places. It's a trade-off that I'm trying out. I'm living with a friend and the rent is cheaper than most places I could get even in Akron. But then there's all those "living in NY expenses."

I need a sugar mama, that's for sure! More of them here too! And thanks Uku. I hope I can make it out to Finland.

Thanks everybody else too, for not getting all weird over this blog post.

merciless said...

Yeah, Brad. You need to check out NYC for yourself. Maybe it would rock for a person with your skills set. I don't know how you managed to get the cheap rent. Usually you need about the cost of a small house in Albany to rent for a year in the city. Are you going to Henry Rollin's birthday gig at Joe's Pub?

john e mumbles said...

Lessee, I met Henry Rollins when he was 25 years old, so that would make him 50 or about to become 51now...my, how time flies..

merciless said...

Can you get me in free Mumbles?

Fregas said...

Doesn't sound like whining at all. I know I've wanted you to speak at our zendo but was really unsure how we'd pay your expenses since we're relatively small. But your expenses sound totally reasonable. I think you're just being honest about the realities.

john e mumbles said...

sure,merciless, I bet he remembers me from back when, just drop my name. uh huh. Its been about 20 years since the last time I talked to him...he's met a few people since then I bet. I turned him onto (the Viet Nam vet/poet, a co-collaborator, see "Drinking Gasoline In Hell") Bill Shields among other stuff.

Anonymous said...

You are good Brad Warner. Genpo Roshi is bad. Is that your point?

Anonymous said...

You are lucky to have friends to let you rent with them.

Even people who had homes are finding themselves homeless.
Even people with health insurance don't necessarily get access to health care worth mentioning.
Retirement? Who can?
I'm afraid your predicament is felt by a majority of folks.

so we find our way through

Damion said...

Good post Brad. My wife and I are going through a similar circumstance. We both have the same job, and are starting to realize that the frustration and negative qualities out-weigh the positive qualities. We would like to start our own business or something. So many choices.

I hope you find your place soon. A place where you can work and live comfortably. I want that for everyone, as I am sure they do too.

And to Anonymous who said, "You are good Brad Warner. Genpo Roshi is bad. Is that your point?" I don't think so. I think that maybe they are two sides to a coin. A coin that really dislikes itself. Peace and above all....keep it real. LOL!

Anonymous said...

crime to be broke in america

Anonymous said...

times gettin tougher than tough

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

You think its tough living off Zen/punk rock, try the outsider poetry/etc. racket of some 30 odd (and I mean ODD) years ago...

(from the cobwebs of the interwebs:) Greg Huth (reviewer) in Factsheet Five circa 1990:

I think this book has made it into a few academic bibliographies, but not recognized as the key document it is. See above about the blockheadedness of the Establishment.

"Libght/ ye kid/ i will/ I'll/ ill/ il/ i"--so goes a passage from a John Eberly book published last year but new to me called The Book of Flies. When I first saw that, and what follows it ("Spork/ Loedly/ spork/ ok/ Spork 3X/ lordly." and "ink fib tar hair/ finger/ moist/ La-bas"), I thought it terrific! A few minutes ago, coming to it again several weeks later, it at first did nothing to me. How could I have thought so much of it, I wondered. But this is typical in outre arte. One can't always connect with it--even at points one previously connected with it. Fortunately, however, my brain eventually came back on (or went off, as you wish). And I re-experienced my initial thrill. I saw the text as a variation on the opening of "Genesis": light as where b-ing b-gins--ibg . . . I mean, "big." I watched "liberty" begin, too, only to swing (like a b into a g) to "light." "Ye" asserted the proper archaic tone, "kid" addressed with a contrasting banter. Then the dwindle of willing through a state of about-to-ness and being sick--a "the," in fact ("il" being wop for "the," I'm pretty sure)--to a final minimal "i." "Loedly" then suggested loudness and Lordliness, and the rest of the text developed similarly appropriate ideas and images through me. And thus the book, full of paleo-resonant magical mostly abstract drawings/markings and other poems, works as a whole on me.

I take most pride as a critic for passages like the one above (which is also in Of Manywhere-at-Once). The ones that no doubt most keep me outside the outside.

Eberly's work, in the form of spaced-out near-exactly appropriate drawings, is also an important part of Solid Gas, a collection of short stories by Willie Smith. These latter are brilliantly funny/double-real re-enactments of delerium in the dentist's chair, or with Beethoven when caught without one's lithium tablets in the cafeteria, or in second grade, or . . .

Harry said...

Hi Brad,

Here's a suggestion for making some dough that seems perfectly legit and fair to me:

Paid on-line 'dokusan-ish' type meetings with a minimum dana tag of, say, 20 bucks: You meet someone by skype for a half hour where they run questions about practice past you, maybe you sit a bit of zazen, shoot the shit etc etc. They drop you a few bucks by paypal for your time. May go against your previous rants against 'virtual dharma', but, hey, it is what it is, and we don't have to pretend otherwise, and many people are glad of such opportunities (for e.g. I have no teacher locally here that I can talk to, and even if I did I'd avail of such things if I could).

...and/or a series of on-line webinars, themed series of talks on Dogen and/or zen practice, where you charge 'admission' to the series. That sort of things is pretty easy set up by this stage. Pretty much like having talks up on Youtube except that, if you do it live to an on-line paying audience then they can get interactive, ask questions and all that... we'll take your word on it that you smell in 'real life', or you can send us some used underwear to sniff if you want to emphasise authenticity.

Regards,

H.

minimum dana tagger said...

Harry: Nice idea but fuck you. Brad needs stinky breath of real human contact. If he takes up your suggestion, he will lose face big time. Do you think he is a whore?

Hare said...

fffffffffortyfffour.

Harry said...

Dear Min. Dana Tagger,

If I grasped the finer points of your expertly crafted argument:

Yes, I think capitalism does indeed reduce people to forms of pimpdom and whoredom. We can dress it up in various ways, and deny it and rail against it in 'alternative', cool and edgy ways and all, but we're only kidding ourselves because we have to live in it if that's what we're doing. Brad's polemic thing with Genpo rings pretty hollow to me. While Brad needs to make money he is in the same market as Genpo. If I where him I would be more concerned with doing it right and doing it well than with not doing what Genpo is doing.

It's a requirement of serious practitioners to loose face, to substantially practice not having one (as we generally understand having a 'face'). Stancing and strutting and rejecting everything because I could ceased to impress me when I realised that it would take quite a bit more effort than that to be a revolutionary.

Regards,

Harry.

Rick said...

Why would I pay you $25 when I could deface a perfectly good book myself?!

Seriously, have you thought of supplementing your income by being a giggolo? You could rationalize it as research for your next book.

Mini Tana Dagger said...

Harry: You make the expertly crafted arguments. I only say what I'm thinking.. I think you were taking a passive/aggressive shot at Brad fully knowing what his feelings were on the subject. I can admire that kind of cruelty.

MTD said...

Harry: If I am mistaken I apologize. Sometimes things aren't the way they seem to me. I hope you are not similarly affected.

Regards to you.

Harry said...

MTD, no probs, I think we're all similarly affected.

Regards,

H.

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

Buddhist Economics I brought this up this past Saturday at zen class. I don't remember how the discussion wandered there from the Uchiyama/Wright translation of Dogen's "Instructions to the Cook", but we did. It doesn't directly pertain to Brad's situation, but since it's Buddhism and since it's economics, I thought I'd share.

As for Dogen Sangha Los Angeles incorporating and bringing Brad back to L.A. as a full-time-ish teacher, I mailed the articles of incorporation in November when Brad was in town. The Secretary of State of California gets to these things in their own time, and we have to wait before anything else (legally) can happen. We can't open a bank account, for instance. And after that, I have no idea how much financial interest is out there to support the non-profit corporation, which could in turn hire Brad to teach, lead retreats, etc.

mtto said...

Brad Warner mini-interviews by Dogen Sangha Los Angeles

We did these in November when Brad was here. There are more questions that haven't been posted yet. The videos don't have a lot of views, so I figured I'd give them a plug here.

Also, here

Sai Kumar Reddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sai Kumar Reddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Finn said...

Brad: throughout history, Buddhism has been extraordinarily able to adapt to different cultural contexts. I think this is one of the basic reasons why it has succeeded (and sometimes succumbed) in different places and times.

Applying this to economics, I think dana - at least in protestant-based, Northern European cultural context - is perhaps not such a central dogm that should be clung to, at least considering the simple goal to make ends meet.

I get very stressed if I don't know the exact financial rules of access to events, property, housing, internet etc. Either they cost sum A or don't cost anything. If it's something in between I get very, very frustrated.

Summa summarum: why not just sell tickets? In my country, it is possible for vendors to ask for avoluntary extra payement in addition to the original price. In this way, people could have a good conscience with by paying just the minimum ticket price. And you might get some extra "dana" too.

Teddy Bear Jung said...

MTD? Isn't it MDT? Anyway, beware:

Harry is the passive/aggresive whisperer.

He'll set our balls on fire and then pour cool coolwater on your angst.

Captcha: bunwiz

anon #108 said...

Brad,

Sorry, I missed the part where you asked for lots and lots of advice...Here's mine:

Write a hit.


(BTW, my earlier question to you: 'What do you mean by "In a very real sense you chose to live..."' was a sincere question. I don't expect an answer here and now, but some time, somewhere? Perhaps someone else fancies getting deep into the subject* ?)


*Heh heh. I said.....never mind.

gniz said...

Brad,

I sent you an email along these lines (ideas for making $$) but I also want to say that Harry's idea is a great one.

Firstly, it's fairly simple to set up. It would allow you to give talks from where you live and not have to travel so much.

I think you can still be clear that you are not truly teaching in the fullest extent possible, that the online talks are missing qualities that you view as important.

And yet, that doesn't mean you can't still make use of the medium and also make some money. There is value there, just not the kind of value that face to face contact brings.

I see that as consistent enough--and bottom line, if you're willing to beg or take donations, I don't see why you can't provide some extra value with it.

Take Harry's idea, it's the best one to come along in a while. Also, you still can refrain from being a scumbag like Genpo Roshi even if you do online zen talks.

Aaron

MDT said...

Hi Harry: Did you delete a comment? Usually when a comment is deleted a notice will follow,

Comment deleted

This post has been removed by the author.

Your comment between 704 and 718 is missing with no such notice. What gives?

anon #108 said...

Hi MDT,

Pending further information, Harry's now-you-see-it-now-you-don't may be an example of the Curse of Mumbles: you post it, it briefly appears, then disappears without trace. This can go on for some time, particularly in the morning US time. It's happened to me, to Ran, and I guess to others.

John - just pack it in, mate. It ain't big or clever.

MDT said...

Can Brad give talks in an empty bedroom to a faceless group with no real human interaction and say that it has anything to do with Zen, after all his criticisms of Jundo and Genpo? Or, could he approach it from the angle of the short-term thrill of a semi-private paid interview with a semi-famous writer that slips in some Zen insights without calling them Zen? I don't see Brad doing this.

"But all these dudes out there hawking Zen but not calling it Zen, why would that bug me? It bugs me because they seem to want to imply that you can just decide to be more "in the moment" and it'll happen. Or they offer some new miracle method to get you there "quickly, easily and effectively" (the verbatim claim of one such method I just came across). Those methods don't work, of course. Though they might provide some kind of short term thrills."

Anonymous said...

I agree that Harry's idea of sending out used underwear sounds like a terrific idea. There might be more market for that sort of thing in Japan though? I hear they even have vending machines for that!

PA said...

You missed off an 'h' in your first link by the way, Brad! :-)

Harry said...

Hi MDT,

What 108 said... I don't know what happened there.

Re 'what Brad said' about this and that in the past: I always like to think (naively maybe?) that I'm 'talking' to Brad Warner, a person who recognises that we live in the real world where things/situations change, a chap who is prepared to consider things outside of the little boxes that we so lovingly construct for ourselves and each other.

In other words, I'm not so interested in wasting my time in trying to talk to 'Brand Warner'.

Regards,

Harry.

MDT said...

Hi Harry, I can agree that not boxing things up into tidy little compartments and being done with them is a good idea. However, Brad and Gudo both seem to have some inflexible ideas about what Zen is and what Zen isn't. Neither of them are very adaptable in regards to their.. basic insights. It seems to me that for Brad to do what you suggest would be for him to go against what he has learned in his many years of practice. Brad's problem is only about money. He would be changing what he knows is best in order to make more money.

Harry said...

Well MDT, that's his business. I was really just making a simple suggestion that may meet a need for some people; it's not like he'd be setting up the sort of 'online sangha' that irks him so (I'm wary of the idea too, as I mentioned in the disappeared post).

I don't think that Brad even asked for advice, and you know what they say about free advice besides...


Regards,

H.

Anonymous said...

My free advice to Brad is to quit Buddhism and run for office. Successful politicians make good money and have fewer problems with ethics.

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

Speaking of variables, the Buddha imagines the unimaginable and gets it right!

Holy Jebus I think I'm turning into Mysterion.. or maybe I am Mysterion. ;)

CAPTCHA : redies : I kid you not

Anonymous said...

zen isn't how one makes one's living it is how one does one's living


in the doing one's living the ways for making one's living arise

for everyone a crossroad appears, there is no corssroads, it is an appearance of crossroad

there is no choice in the matter, at the same time it looks as if there is a choice to be made
everything depends on it

with what is this struggle?

Relax

the obvious is obvious

R said...

Rick @ 6:52: - (pm) I wouldn’t pay 25$ (or generally at all) for anyone’s signature, but your question is like asking why should I listen to a Dharma talk when I could give myself one.

And, - 108, - how’s his wisdom as an example of stupidity? - SWIM? - Somewhat? It is somewhat typical.

And back to Rick - if you’re really keen about getting a prefect book, you could get a blank one, not even defaced with the characters which were too fashioned by the same vandal. Though it may be somewhat expensive furnishing it all by yourself. - Try kindle.

Anonymous said...

I am totally surprised at your move to NYC. Have no idea why you did that but you need to get the hell out of there ASAP. This is not a good thing. Reading your first three books twice (glutton for punishment!!!)I detect an innocence and honesty that I think can be easily corrupted by how you need to do what you need to do to survive there AND what you would have to do to continue what you're doing...like Genpo what's his name as well as playing havoc your health. Doritos may be a vegetarian item; not a vegetarian food. I totally agree with mumon and professor dave. You have a lot to say that needs to be said to folks who need to hear it presented in your inimitable way. A 'day job' would free you from all the shit you need to deal with just to survive and give you more time to write, sit zazen, whatever. Think about it but not too long.....

john e mumbles said...

You raise a good point, Ran, what will Kindle do to the "signed 1st edition" rare book racket?

And anon 108 at 7:55 AM, Abracadabra THIS.

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

You raise a good point, Ran, what will Kindle do to the "signed 1st edition" rare book racket?

Now you're getting into the territory of the value of the 1st comment. Imagine 100 years from now when Brad is all famous and the entire site is archived and studied. Harry becomes known as this fellow with incredible powers!

Anonymous said...

The founder of whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, Julian Assange, has been granted bail in London on conditions including cash guarantees of £240,000.

Mr Assange was granted bail on condition he provides a security of £200,000 to the court, with a further £40,000 guaranteed in two sureties of £20,000 each.

He must also surrender his passport, obey a curfew at an address in Suffolk, wear an electronic tag and report to a local police station every evening.

OsamaVanHalen said...

Zen Buddhism is a religion.

Religions are forms of government.

Governments need to take in money in order to continue to exist.

L. Ron Hubbard was much more honest than any Pope (and likewise had a fondness for young men and boys).

TM sells mantras for about $1,500 each (and they are all used and far from mint condition).

The closest thing to a mantra in Zen Buddhism is a koan.

Don't charge for each koan.

Charge for each dokusan.

And remember, the student's answer is always wrong.

If you're not playing the game, the game is playing you.

dirty sanchez said...

"L. Ron Hubbard was much more honest than any Pope"

"If you say one stupid thing everyone knows you're a retard so be careful." - Pope Paul

Stephanie said...

I appreciated my time in the New York metro area for what it was but it was definitely not where I wanted to live, and I don't see how it's going to be for Brad. The stress, the hassle, the expense, the unnecessary difficulty of even simple things due to the population density, the pollution, the disconnection and constant turnover of people... New York may not be the ridiculously romanticized violent jungle it was in the 70s (all the hipsters who say they wish they could have lived in NYC in the 70s are idiots, no one wants to live with the threat of violent victimization, but of course hipsters base everything on self-image and not on actual felt experience), but it is still a tough place to live, unless you're wealthy enough to cushion yourself from it, which most people aren't.

I adapted, learned how to survive and how to win the little wars you have to wage every day to get an advantage. But I wasn't happy, wasn't happy with the way I felt dealing with the commonplace activities of daily life, and the person I slowly became in order to win out over others to get the resources I needed.

I got to where I stopped giving change to beggars at all; the bites that city living took out of me made me irrationally resentful of people I otherwise wouldn't resent, like beggars. My attitude became more and more, "Live or die according to your own ability, I don't want to help you because no one is helping me." It sucked the life out of me, because I truly do take joy in acts of giving and kindness when I don't feel totally pinned against a wall by my life and environment.

I met some awesome, very good people in New York, but the average person I encountered did not stay true to their word, I can't tell you how many times people said a bunch of bullshit to me and never followed through. I used to resent my small hometown, but I got to where I realized that, yeah, the average New Yorker is more sophisticated and intelligent than the average person in Southwest Virginia, but the average person in Southwest Virginia has more gratitude, kindness, and charity than the average person in New York, and, well, I've realized that intelligence and sophistication don't amount to nearly as much as kindness and neighborly charity.

I don't think that New Yorkers are bad people, I just think it's a natural adaptation to the environment that takes place when people live there long enough. In a place that big, you just can't afford to care as much; whatever you invest emotionally in the community seems to fall through a bucket with a hole in the bottom, because people come and go so much. I became more and more of what I disliked while living there because it would take someone of a much greater spiritual realization than me to maintain a soft heart in a place where people will dick you over for the tiniest personal advantage, where 'friends' don't have your back, where the long dick of the government is always waiting to fuck you in the ass with a fine or a toll or a ticket...

For all the cool things there are to do, I just found it was never worth the cost. Never worth the time and stress it took to get anywhere, whether driving, walking, or using public transportation. I understand that some people get into the crazy energy of it all, but I just don't have that kind of energy. And I don't think Brad does, either. If he's already crying now, just wait...

Greg Dulli sings:

"You want a ride? Ain't nothin' free, see something you like, you got to pay me... Pay me now, or pay me later... you're gonna pay me, girl."

And if you don’t have money to pay, trust me, they’ll find something else to take from you, including whatever you lose when you become one of the takers, and hustle that hustle like Barry or Genpo Merzel...

Stephanie said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_h7A7ilzF9E

Anonymous said...

ya mean it's not like THIS?

Anonymous said...

or this?

Anonymous said...

Frankly, NYC sucks.

Been to Hamilton Heights yet?

NYC is the best place I ever left.

Anonymous said...

Brad,

The practice of modulating fear is known to you, I'm sure. My teacher phrased it as 'wise effort', by which I interpreted him to mean, "knowing when 'just enough' becomes 'too much'", and knowing how to correct that. However, I would imagine that my interpretation reveals the blind spot in my perspective to you. Still, the concept is 'wise effort'.

Perhaps the question is: What does 'stability' mean to me now, within the context of my current resources?
And if I feel myself lacking to feel stable enough to investigate my 'edge', what is it that I need, that my blind spots are preventing me from seeing that I can have?

Anyways, that's where this anon is at 2nite.

Ravaged B-Hole said...

Stephanie, quit talking about Mumbles long dick.

My niece lived in NYC and worked for a couple of magazines, back when Nelly was a big deal, she hung out with him. Had a glamourous time till some creep started stalking her, and then one night she came home and saw a body fall past her 7th floor window. She moved back to her hick small town, married her high school sweetheart, and lived happily ever after.

anon #108 said...

...ave a banaaana!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 25 said...

"Irish currency not accepted."

for fuck's sake, where are me lucky charms?

Patty O'Wagon said...

They're Always After Me Lucky Charms

winter o 52 said...

Anonymous Ravaged B-Hole said...
"...married her high school sweetheart, and lived happily ever after."

and the next day it snowed.

Anonymous said...

What the fook is this?? Hardcore Ireland.. Fook off!

Brad.. Stay away from

* Bainbridge, Bronx
* North Riverdale, Bronx
* Woodlawn, Bronx
* Bay Ridge, Brooklyn
* Gerritsen Beach, Brooklyn
* Marine Park, Brooklyn
* Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn
* Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn
* Broad Channel, Queens
* Belle Harbor, Queens
* Breezy Point, Queens
* Sunnyside, Queens
* Maspeth, Queens
* Woodside, Queens
* St. George, Staten Island
* West Brighton, Staten Island
* Randall Manor, Staten Island

I'm just sayin

john e mumbles said...

http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=gangs+of+new+york+trailer&aq=2

Anonymous said...

stay away from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn? i used to live there...it's pretty quiet and boring. like a small town. i guess if you don't like Russian grocery stores and nothing to do, yeah, stay away from there.

Anonymous said...

anon@535 Take it easy.. just joking. Those are primarily Irish neighborhoods.

Bob Guccione's spirit said...

me to maintain a soft heart in a place where people will dick you over for the tiniest personal advantage, where 'friends' don't have your back, where the long dick of the government is always waiting to fuck you in the ass with a ....

It's so hot when chicks talk dirty on the internets! I'm closin' my eyes and imagining Steph gettin' it in the arse from the government right now. Oooops! Now I gotta clean my mousepad.

Harry said...

Great, racial slurs and now the woman hater's back. Must be time for the Christmas (lucky?) charm offensive!


Beggorah, soir, tis a horrendious carry on altagethur,

Paddy.

Anonymous said...

Paddy and Murphy were walking down a road one day. Paddy says, Murphy, can you see that beautiful wood over there? Murphy says, I can't see it Paddy, there's too many trees in the way!

Anonymous said...

A Irishman is speeding his van down a narrow mountain road, when a woman in a car comes hurtling round the corner. He swerves to avoid her, but as she passes she leans out the window and screams 'PIG!'

Astonished, the man turns and yells back, 'BITCH!' as he reaches the bend and crashes into a pig.

R said...

Happened to me too. American women have no sense.

R said...

The pig survived.

Anonymous said...

Why was the cop in the road?

R said...

He was trying to cross the road.

R said...

I mean she was.

Irish women (cops) have no sense too.

(10:19 is a fake, trolls are back in town and I'm out for the day)

Anonymous said...

Nice post. Didn't sound whiny but all.

R said...

10:32 is a fake. I don't have time to fully review these jokes now. [I might comment on them later]. The first joke was childish but the second caused me to urinate.

OsamaVanHalen said...

Did you hear the one about the two gay Irishmen?

Patrick Fitzgerald and Gerald Fitzpatrick.

Jundo said...

Heh.. and their neighbors, Ben Dover and Phil McCrakin

Anonymous said...

Buddhist yoga -


Chai Yuth - Muay Thai Vol 3 Basic Preparation Practice pt 1


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ef7ov9Ek2u0&feature=related

Harry said...

...re the two gay Irishmen. What does that make Patrick Fitzpatrick???

http://www.raretunes.org/performers/patrick-fitzpatrick/

Regards,

H.

Harry said...

A personal favourite: Hear about the Irishman who put the condom on inside out?

He went.

Regards,

H.

Ron Jeremy said...

Hate women? I don't hate women. I love me some women. They make fine receptacles.

Harry said...

With insight such as that, if you make yourself contagious to the US Zen scene, you may go a long, long way (and not even get caught)!

Regards,

H.

Anonymous said...

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was Irish.

anon #108 said...

Paddy, Mick and the Eternal Mirror. With apologies for a Hackney boys's efforts at the Irish vernacular.


So Paddy and Mick are having a drink in one of those old bars with mirrors all around the walls...

Sippin the first pint, Paddy turns to Mick and he says -

"Will you look over there opposite - there's two fellas, and I swear th' one of 'em's the spittin' image of you."

Mick turns to Paddy and he says -

"You're right y'know! And look at the fella sittin' next to him - if he isn't the spittin' image of you!"

Paddy gets another pint in. They're both staring across the room at the two men opposite, sipping their pints. Paddy turns to Mick and he says -

"And will you look'it! If they're not talkin' about us at the same time too!"

Suddenly, Mick gets up and says to Paddy -

"You know, I think I'll go over and buy those fellas a drink."

"Sit down, you fool!" says Paddy, "One of em's comin' over to buy us one."

Anonymous said...

emp cannon

anon #108 said...

Name drop:

- As told to me by Rusty Egan's* father, whose first name, to my great shame, I've forgotten. I played in his (dad's) modest Irish showband for a year or two. I heard enough Irish jokes to fill a few lifetimes, but that's the only one I remember - - apart from one about a mongrel fightin and fuckin at Croft's dog show. Not so funny.


* Drummer in Glenn Matlock's (original Sex Pistols bass player) band, The Rich Kids, and DJ at Blitz, the influential New Romantic nightclub in London where he worked with Steve Strange from 1979 until 1981....Boy George was hat-check girl for a bit. Not really my scene.

Scottie said...

""...modest Irish..." Now THAT'S funny!

anon #108 said...

Not Croft's, Crufts (yes, no apostrophe). Dogs - not really my scene.

Anonymous said...

What does that make Patrick Fitzpatrick???

talented!

anon said...

"With insight such as that, if you make yourself contagious to the US Zen scene, you may go a long, long way (and not even get caught)!"

You too Harry?? I thought you might be above it all.

Verification regal

anon said...

That is my problem.. I alway think someone is above it all.

cologge

Anonymous said...

    ~ THE END ~

Patricius said...

What hardly ever moves and stays under cover all winter"

Patty O'Furniture.

How can you tell it's an Irish wake?

One less drunk (the stiff in the box).

The priest is driving his Ford in NYC and not paying attention. He slams into the back of a Rabbi's Chevy.

A NYC Cop comes up and says: "Tell me father, how fast was the heathen drivin' when he backed into you?"

There was a knock on the door and the man of the house answers. It's Patrick who wants to date his daughter.

"What are you doin' Mary?" the man shouts.

"I'm upstairs playing solitaire." answers young Mary.

"Well wash your hands and come down here. Patrick is calling."

enough?

Anonymous said...

What does it take to put a smile on the Pope's face?

Acrobats strip for Pope Benedict XVI, perform topless in Vatican

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rbxov7CVi8&feature=player_embedded

Anonymous said...

In London, several reporters, including Ravi Somaiya, Alexi Mostrous, a Times of London correspondent, Jim Sciutto of ABC News and Vikram Dodd and Esther Addley of the Guardian had been poised to post text updates on the Wiki-leaks proceedings from the courtroom using Twitter.

There are now more than a few disappointed and silent journalists inside the courtroom. According to the New York Times:

According to the Guardian, the judge in today's hearing has banned journalist from using Twitter in the courtroom.

Why Was Twitter Banned From Court?

The Guardian's Esther Addley is reporting that the judge banned Twitter because it could be a "distraction." Addley left the court to tell the Guardian:

He said tweets from the court would represent a distraction. "I recognise the calls for debate ... The issue involving Twitter may involve the potential for disruption to the atmosphere of the court, which one might call its dignity."

Vonda S. McLeod, Esq. said...

What really irks me is a recent Huffington Post article about the David Lynch Foundation raising money to spread TM to children at risk and veterans. Lynch talks of TM as making a transformation in his life and how it is not "just meditating" and that it is scientifically proven. So, I do a little research and find out that this bliss will cost me $1500. Are you kidding me? Of course I immediately posted comments questioning how you could charge for enlightenment. Almost 100% of the comments to the article were glowing responses by current TMers. All but a couple of my posts were deleted. The moderator even questioned if any criticism was allowed (of course my response to that was deleted). I just got so tired of reading the same old posts from the TMers. "We have to pay qualified teachers". "Life changing experience". "Scholarships are available" (not true for everyone just a select few). To me this is pure spiritual elitism and it make me angry.

Here's the link:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeanne-ball/david-lynch-talks-about-m_b_795399.html

Vonda S. McLeod, Esq. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

the good thing is that we have "priests" like brad warner or the real "punks" on the board who show the greedy david lynch guys how bad they are.

john e mumbles said...

What!?! HC ZEN not even nominated for a Blogisattva "best of" award??

Visigoths!

See the winners here:

http://www.blogisattva.org/

ironpop said...

This blog horrifies most Buddhists. That's the best thing about it.

Anonymous said...

Why be horrified by the obvious?

proulx michel said...

You might write a letter.
It might go along those lines:

"Dear Sir or Madam,

Will you read my book? It took me years to write, will you take a look? Based on a novel by a man named Lear, and I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer..."

Nixels said...

Thanks for this discussion. I appreciate your integrity in your choices. NYC may be expensive, but it's the best place to be to find and build a paying audience. And what you write about and speak about will find an audience that will support you.

What you are doing is of value and figuring out a way to be paid to transmit some of it without mucking up your practice indicates your integrity.

Good luck with this aspect of your endeavor.

Anonymous said...

Get a fucking job cleaning toilets!
Or put a an even bigger donate button on your blog.

Anonymous said...

You could do what other New York-area Zen teachers do: specialize in Zen for Billionaire Limousine Liberals. Then you can move into a posh office suite in Soho give bitter dharma talks about your landlord daring to raise the rent.

Regina said...

Here, I do not really imagine it is likely to have effect.