Tuesday, December 21, 2010


My latest post on the Safe For Work Suicide Girls blog is up now. It's called "Jesus is the Reason for the Season?" Read it by clicking on the link.

I'm at my sister's house in Knoxville, Tennessee to celebrate Christmas. My sister is a Christian and so is her daughter Skylar. Her son is a Jew. Most of the rest of the family are committed agnostics. It's very confusing!

Back when Westerners first started encountering Buddhists it used to be the thing to do to show Zen Masters the Bible and ask them to comment about Jesus. There are a few stories like this still in circulation. One of them has someone reading some old Zen Master the parable about the lilies of the field. The Zen Master claps his hands and says something like, "This fellow is very close to Enlightenment!"

I remember someone asking Nishijima Roshi what he thought about Jesus. Nishijima said, "I think he was a historical person." Meaning he thought of Jesus as a figure from history and not as God incarnated in the flesh. Other than that he didn't have any opinions on the man or his teachings.

People aren't quite as interested in what younger Western Zen teachers think of Jesus. But I have a lot of interest in the subject myself. I've recently been reading a stack of books on the subject. While I was at Tassajara this summer I read Scripting Jesus: The Gospels in Rewrite. I've also gone through several of Bart D. Ehrman's books, the best so far being Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why, though I have yet to read his latest, Jesus, Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them). But it kinda looks like it's the same book. I also took The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition out of the library, which is pretty good, though I haven't finished it.

It seems to me that Jesus was, indeed, a historical person. The evidence isn't enough to absolutely prove his existence. But it's convincing enough. It's hard, though, to know just what exactly this person did or said. It seems unlikely he claimed to be divine, or of he did make such claims, they were much inflated after he died.

There are stories of someone similar to Jesus studying at a Buddhist monastery in Norther India during what would have been the "lost years." This is based mainly on evidence presented in Nicolas Notovitch's 1894 book The Unknown Life Of Jesus Christ. But lately the sources of those stories have been examined and found to be highly questionable.

Some other theories for the missing years even place Jesus in Japan studying Shintoism! Here's a nice webpage that lists most of the major theories.

The idea that Jesus was influenced by Buddhism is an interesting one. It's certainly possible he traveled to India or met Buddhist missionaries who were active in the Middle East during his lifetime. But there's no real compelling evidence, so all of that is just speculation, and probably will remain speculation forever. It's tasty brain candy. Nothing more.

A number of Buddhist authors have turned out books that compare the sayings of Christ and Buddha. Some want to claim Jesus studied Buddhism. Others just want to show how their messages are basically the same. I've leafed through a few of those, but they didn't look compelling enough for me to want to take them home.

I don't think the parallels between the sayings of Buddha and Christ suggest necessarily that Buddhism influenced Christ. To me it more suggests certain universal truths that underlie what we call "Buddhism" and what we call "Christianity." Both of these philosophies have grown and developed over the course of history to become something different from what their founders began.

But it's Christmas I'm in Tennessee to celebrate. I'm a vegetarian. I started being a vegetarian maybe 6 months to a year before I started doing zazen. I'd been a half-assed vegetarian for maybe 4 years before that, basically all through high school. YOU try being a full-assed vegetarian as a teenager in Wadsworth, Ohio in the early 80s!

None of the rest of my family is vegetarian and I'm in Knoxville, Tennessee, which is hardly the easiest place to go meat-free. But I'm sure I'll survive.

When I got into Zen, I started hearing all the counter arguments against vegetarianism. And there are a lot of them. The most compelling one I've heard recently is that conscious meat consumption is less environmentally destructive and can be personally healthier than the kind of willy-nilly vegetarianism most of us veggies practice.

To give just one example, a lot of vegetarians refuse to buy leather. I did for a long time. I'd go to places like Payless to get imitation leather shoes instead. Then I realized I was probably supporting child labor and sweatshops through those purchases.

I'm far too lazy to get as deeply into this kind of stuff as some folks do. But it's just one example of how a decision to be mindful of the suffering of animals can lead you to create more suffering among people.

Anyway, when I started hearing stories about Buddhist masters who weren't vegetarians, I asked my teachers, both Tim & Nishijima, if I ought to drop the vegetarianism stuff. Neither of them are vegetarians.

They both encouraged me to keep being a vegetarian. So I still am. I think it's a good habit. I would only advise vegetarians not to be too full of themselves about how much better we are. Of course, we are better. We just need to not be so full of ourselves over it! Because we may not be as angelic as we think.


Harry said...

Ho ho ho...

Hare said...

Ha ha ha...

Timmy Mac said...

Yeah, I recently went hunting for vegan shoes that weren't made out of petroleum products or assembled with child or slave labor.

Slim motherfucking pickings, let me tell you.

Charlotte said...

I grew up near K'ville - as a vegetarian. Haven't been back in a while, but since it's a college town, you should be able to find some good eats. Have a peaceful Christmas.

Ben said...

try tomato head, they have some awesome vegetarian pizza. Earth fare should have some good groceries. Sitar (I think) on Kingston pike has some good indian food. It's been a few years so there may be more.....If you go into old city there may be a coffee shop or two that serves some vegan stuff.....
Also check out Yee Haw.. great print shop downtown.

Anonymous Bob said...

Let me see.. If I want to avoid leather shoes I have to buy shoes made in sweatshops.. Of course in some countries people would kill for the chance to work in a sweatshop in order to have food. But, they might be able to afford meat then instead of tree bark.. But the land is being deforested rapidly so that isn't good. But trees are a renewable resource.. But there won't be any room for trees in the future with the way the population is growing. Maybe we should pass more laws limiting the number of children people can have and the type of shoes you can wear and maybe allow bark eating only on Thursdays.

Larry David said...

Thanks for the Tax Cut!

Anonymous said...

commonalities between Buddhism and (gnostic) Christianity perhaps due to Greco-Buddhism

Jesus (Yahshua) would not have had to travel to India to learn about Greco-Buddhism

The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies
By Thomas McEvilley ( I have the book)

Greek Buddhism Pt. 1 thru 4

Burke Lecture: Buddhism in a Global Age of Technology


Greco-Buddhist art

Buddhism and Christianity

Gnosis (from one of the Greek words for knowledge, γνῶσις) is the spiritual knowledge of a mystically enlightened human being. It indicates direct spiritual experiential knowledge and intuitive knowledge, mystic rather than that from rational or reasoned thinking. Gnosis itself is obtained through understanding at which one can arrive via inner experience or contemplation.

Prajñā (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञा) or paññā (Pāli) is wisdom, understanding, discernment or cognitive acuity.

In Sanskrit, jñā can be translated as "consciousness", "knowledge", or "understanding". Pra is an intensifier which could be translated as "before", "fore","higher", "greater", or "premium".

Sanskrit "jna" is a cognate of Greek "gnos" , "pra" is a cognate of Greek "pro"

The modern gnostic Christian group the Mandaeans speak Aramaic, the language Jesus is thought to have spoken.

And we should note that ancient Greek was closer to ancient Sanskrit than it was to Latin, so communication was not a problem

Ran 9 K. [and counting] said...

The Jesus stuff sounds like babies. But then babies need their talk as well. Assholes will always lie to them.

- Long live idealism.

(And I've been a vegetarian for quite some time and didn't feel I was better than others. In fact I thought it might just have been a mental block for me. Listening to brad does the change. Merry.)

talking points said...

"It seems to me that Jesus was, indeed, a historical person. The evidence isn't enough to absolutely prove his existence. But it's convincing enough." - Brad Warner

"What many people don't know is that there is almost no historical evidence to suggest that Jesus Christ ever actually existed." - Barry Graham

both 21-12-2010

Anonymous said...

The Triple Tragedy of Meat-Eating. 1 of 7 Professor Donna Quesada talks about the disastrous meat industry, from misinformation about human health, to environmental destruction, and animal cruelty


Letter from Thich Nhat Hanh

UNESCO reported that each day about 40,000 children die because of hunger or lack of nutrition. Meanwhile, corn and wheat are largely grown to feed livestock (cows, pigs, chickens, etc.) or to produce alcohol. Over 80 percent of corn and over 95 percent of oats produced in the United States are for feeding livestock. The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equivalent to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people, more than the entire human population on earth.



"By eating meat we share the responsibility of climate change, the destruction of our forests, and the poisoning of our air and water. The simple act of becoming a vegetarian will make a difference in the health of our planet."
— Thich Nhat Hanh (The World We Have: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology)

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
+ [r] ... 14 ... might have said...

- Yehshu’a - not Yahshua.

English do to Hebrew what Japanese do to English.

btw [15] said...

Wtf is a “historical person”?

buddy said...

fair trade, organic, vegan sneakers: http://www.autonomieproject.com/fair_trade/footwear.html

i bought a pair of black hightops and with shipping they were the same price as sweatshop converse!

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

The detail in this dung heap is positively astounding!

Dogen Haggard Swaggart said...

Imagine what Christian parishioners would think of their preacher if he said; "I've read lots of books about the Buddha. Lately, I've read the Dhammapada, the Lankavatarra and the works of several chinese masters."...but also said he rarely read the bible since it probably wasn't reliable and didn't really know much about various sects of christianity...but I'm really sure my sect is the one true bestest christian sect. A preacher that never quoted the words of Jesus or the bible but frequently quoted and appealed to some medieval theologian as the ultimate authority....since we are more sure that this more recent theologian's words were more accurately recorded.

Why not try something really new, Brad? Read some Buddhist books. Not the recent books "about" zen or buddhism, but the core texts themselves. There really were other masters besides Dogen.

ruairi said...

Alan Watts had an interesting take on Jesus. He argued that Jesus had a mystical experience similar to enlightenment, but having never read Hindu or Buddhist literature, could only understand it within framework of Judaism, with its talk of coming Messiahs etc.

He also claimed the King James Bible mis-translated "Son of God". It should be "a Son of God" so he recognized he was not unique in this...

It's an interesting take...

Anonymous said...

If you ask me, Jesus himself was pretty boring. A bit like superman. The various examples in the bible are what are far more valuable.

I also find it funny people try to justify eating meat(perhaps they were asked by a vegetarian). Why bother... that is how it goes, maybe one day vegetarian has to eat meat, maybe one day omnivore has to eat only vegetables. I am grateful for the choice and focus on doing other things rather than attaining perfection through some microcosm of vegetarianism.

As a side note, I don't know of any culture where Santa is from that values vegetarianism. This is probably because such cultures are from northern climates where you either eat meat during the winter or starve.

OsamaVanHalen said...

In the immortal words of Led Zeppelin, "Ramble On".

Anonymous said...

You can't just think of yourself

Anonymous said...

"I'm in Knoxville, Tennessee, which is hardly the easiest place to go meat-free"

Most every Wal-mart or Publix has vegetarian foods (Morningstar/Boca/etc.., Taco Bell has bean burritos, Subway/Quiznos have veggie subs, etc....

My wife and I got a Tofurky® Roast at Publix and I made it as a pot roast for Tofu(rky) day, very good!! We got another to cook for Yule-day


I searched "vegetarian restaurant Knoxville, Tennessee" and came up with lots:





But as vegetarian myself, I do understand what you mean!!!
Have a great time with family
and as Yoda would say:

Christmas Merry You Have !!!

Anonymous said...

Vegtarian Society of Tennessee

The Great American Meatout 2006, Knoxville

Vegetarian Scene in Tennessee

K-Town Vegans

john e mumbles said...

Hey buddy @ 1:25 PM, thanks for the sneakers link. They have white high tops, nothing like 'em when they get good and dirty...

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Soulagent79 said...

In Germany we have a fellow who claims to be a catholic monk AND a Zen master at the same time. How is that possible?

Harry said...

"How is that possible?"

Easy, you just get satori and then feel racked with guilt about it afterwards.



Anonymous said...

Hey Brad, how about for your next book
you write

"Money, Sin, and Zen"?

(I'm a recovering Catholic and am still
racked with guilt over the whole
"money is the root of all evil" thing :(

Anonymous said...

Harry knows about feeling racked.

Anonymous said...

Greetings, earthlings!

We come in peace!

Salvatori said...

Rack and Roll, Baby!

Harry's Balls said...

Conrack (1974) - IMDb


Rating: 7.1/10 - from 794 users
Directed by Martin Ritt. Starring Jon Voight, Paul Winfield, Tina Andrews. Conrack, a free thinking man, decides to expose his students not only to the ... Conrack is Los Angeles Clippers' great Elgin Baylor's favorite movie. ...



Your article was very well written and thoughtful. Your description of Christmas in Japan was particularly hilarious. Your recent writing seems to lack some of your previous hmmmmm...... what's the word? I don't know you just seem more 'settled'.

In my estimation Buddhist environmental extremism is just as nutty as fundamentalist Christian extremism. At least the fear that leads to needing to defend ones point of view is similar. OMG the sky is falling!!!!!

It seems to me that the whole "We will all die because we are killing our precious planet" phenomenon is similar to Christian fundamentalist views that "the apocalypse is close at hand because Jesus is upset with us."

This is just grasping. So, grasp away people.

I've got it! Let's have a holiday Graspathon!!!! Ha! Sounds familiar.

The fact of the matter is that this planet will become uninhabitable at some point whether it's by our hand, Jesus hand or Sol burns itself out. Good luck with your efforts to change it.

Inquisitor said...

Racked with guilt...

Rack of Lamb

Lamb of God

Lamb Chop.

Anonymous said...

"Buddhist environmental extremism is just as nutty as fundamentalist Christian extremism"

Yea, definitely a guy like Thich Naht Hanh writing a book like "THE WORLD WE HAVE: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology" and being all concerned about ethics, and human rights and all that, he's such a radical extremist just like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell with their racism and antisemitism, their condemnations of equal rights for women, gays, and minorities, and attacks on that evil of science and secular education

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

OK, Dogen Haggard Swaggart, which sutras would you recommend?

(P.S. I've secretly read more Buddhism than I usually let on. It's just that my heyday of reading tons of Buddhist stuff have pretty much passed about 10-15 years ago. I'll never be a scholar.)

Anonymous said...

Santa may be a vegetarian,
but is he a llbertarian?

Anonymous said...

Devadaha Sutta

Mysterion said...

I'll go way out on a limb with THIS Y2K publication.

The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, 2 Vols.

It's price is steep - $270

read the product description. (It's the guts and the glue)

I place this at the top of the reading list when the subject is the Buddha.

(other subjects have other reading lists)

Mysterion said...

for a single suttra:

""So, as I said, Kalamas: 'Don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, "This contemplative is our teacher." When you know for yourselves that, "These qualities are unskillful; these qualities are blameworthy; these qualities are criticized by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to harm & to suffering" — then you should abandon them.' Thus was it said. And in reference to this was it said.

"Now, Kalamas, don't go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scripture, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability, or by the thought, 'This contemplative is our teacher.' When you know for yourselves that, 'These qualities are skillful; these qualities are blameless; these qualities are praised by the wise; these qualities, when adopted & carried out, lead to welfare & to happiness' — then you should enter & remain in them."

it's no contest...
it's never been a contest.

The criterion for acceptance
10. "Come, Kalamas. Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing; nor upon tradition; nor upon rumor; nor upon what is in a scripture; nor upon surmise; nor upon an axiom; nor upon specious reasoning; nor upon a bias toward a notion that has been pondered over; nor upon another's seeming ability; nor upon the consideration, 'The monk is our teacher.' Kalamas, when you yourselves know: 'These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness,' enter on and abide in them.

Justin P said...

I went through the whole not buying leather conundrum last year and I came to a simple solution. I bought a pair of very high quality leather boots that are re-solable with the intent on not having to buy another pair boots. Rob Zombie has had the same boots for a good portion of his life and it seems to make sense, to me anyways.

45 have actually said...

- SM writes: -

“read: "Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and the Revival of Hebrew: HERE”.

(@ 4:01 pm)

- The story of EBY is known to every child in Israel.

However, before him as well, religious Jews would speak Hebrew on Saturday as “Leshon Kodesh”. Also I assume the reading of the Bible in the synagogue has always been in Hebrew. The Ianguage being “more often than not” misunderstood is probably about Christians who could not speak Hebrew but only scholastically studied it. English translations of the Bible I come across, - the little that I do - could not be said to be good. I doubt if any of them were made by a man who could speak Hebrew. (though the King James does seem to be better than others, checking it against the original Hebrew)

- SM’s posts or comments are best advised skipped.

46 said...

45 has actually said.

Anonymous said...


Seagal Rinpoche said...

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.


"Yea, definitely a guy like Thich Naht Hanh writing a book like "THE WORLD WE HAVE: A Buddhist Approach to Peace and Ecology" and being all concerned about ethics, and human rights and all that, he's such a radical extremist just like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell with their racism and antisemitism, their condemnations of equal rights for women, gays, and minorities, and attacks on that evil of science and secular education"

I have a lot of respect for TNH and little for Falwell or Robertson. However this is a comparison of apples to pomegranates.

In my post I wrote 'Buddhist environmental extremism' Even though you quoted my post you somehow missed the word extremist except when it came to the Christian ministers and even then it had nothing to do with their environmental views.

TNH is not but an environmental extremist. TNH is what used to be called a conservationist. Conservationists are still prevalent in the U.S. altough they are overshadowed in the media by extremists nowadays. TNH is more like the Joel Osteen of Buddhism although TNH has been around longer.

Anonymous said...

If you look at very early communities, as they made the transition from a hunting and gathering lifestyle to farming in the same region, they became less healthy. They ended up shorter, they tended to die younger, the skeletal structure changed in a way that's consistent with a decreased level of nutrition. So the question is why did farming win out?

It turns out the reason we became agriculturalists is that we were backed into a corner - a climatological corner. At the end of the last Ice Age, things were warming up, population densities at some locations increased significantly. And some people started to settle down.

Then as things continued to warm up, this ice dam in North America melted, letting loose the deluge of Lake Agassiz (a huge glacial lake in North America which drained around 13,000 years ago), killing the Gulf Stream which had served to warm up western Eurasia for the last few thousand years.

Basically, we were plunged back into Ice Age-like conditions during the Younger Dryas (12,800-11,500 years ago). Carrying capacity had not kept up - we had too many people moving on the land at the time, and they couldn't support themselves as hunter-gatherers so they had to develop an innovation. And that innovation was agriculture. It made total sense at the time, as a reaction to an extreme climatic shift - a crisis.

But unfortunately, it had lots of ancillary baggage. And the book is really about tracing that ancillary baggage.

We also talk about when we make these decisions, based on proximal stimuli, we need to be thinking longer term. Let's consider what some of these decisions facing us today might be: the applications of genetic technology, how we're dealing with climate change and finding a mythos for the modern age that's perhaps more inclusive than the mythos we have today.

Consider the rise of fundamentalism in the 20th Century as a reaction against some of the things which have gone on in the modern world.


The story of human evolution is one of adaptation in a patchy and dangerous environment. We are generalists, not specialists, and that is why we are adaptive two legged omnivores with broad territorial range, small stomachs and big brains. Humans embarked on a risky strategy for survival: we "chose" to live by our wits by exploiting a wide territory and many foods along with opportunistic capture of high nutrient, but fugitive and random, food sources. We lived virtually all of the 3 or so million years of human and prehuman history as scavengers or hunter-gatherers. Exploiting our generalist niche led to the elegant evolutionary design of the human body and mind. In order to exploit a patchy environment with plentiful low-grade nutrients and scarce and variable high value nutrients, the human mind had to become clever. We became adaptive opportunists. The human body had to solve the energy storage problem. Given a random food supply and variable energy expenditure, our metabolism is evolved to solve a complex stochastic energy management problem.

Many of the characteristics of our metabolism derive from the evolved solutions to the energy flow problem. We clearly are designed to live at an energy surplus, not at the balance preached by modern, steady state models of fitness. I won't go into that here, but it is enough to say that, given random energy intake and expenditure, a precise matching of the two is impossible and matching on average would guarantee an early death. One answer to achieving stochastic energy balance is male/ female pairing. Another is the ability to carry high-density nutrients in our hands so that nourishment can be taken to safer grounds and given to mates. Yet another answer is our ability to store energy as fat, along with the appetite to rapidly gorge fat-laden meat and bone marrow. These adaptations to the ancestral environment can turn against us in a crowded world where adaptive opportunism may have undesirable social consequences. Our metabolism can turn against us when calorically rich, but nutritionally depleted, food is all around us and available at little expenditure of energy.


Most of the third world lives on a few starchy crops and they exhibit the damage that a high carbohydrate diet with too little fresh plant and animal foods can inflict. Those people who populate the areas where agriculture began earliest show what is called a Mediterranean physical type characterized, according to Webster, as medium or short stature, slender build and small heads. Third world children, living in rural, agricultural areas, live almost entirely on grains. They rarely eat fresh fruit or vegetables and eat meat even less often. They achieve less stature and test performance than urban children and suffer skeletal and dental deficiencies. It is easy to tell from the skeletons of our ancestors whether they were agriculturalists or hunter-gatherers. The agriculturalists have bad teeth, bone lesions, small and underdeveloped skeletons and small craniums compared to hunter-gatherers.

The important metabolic revolutions to follow agriculture were the industrial and information revolutions. These energy-conserving revolutions lowered the level and variety of the metabolic challenges we face still more.

Our ancestors are us. It was only 10,000 years ago that agriculture changed the human lifeway from hunting and gathering to settled agriculture. And the dramatic decline in human energy expenditure of the industrial age occurred no more than 200 years ago. The information and television age is no more than two decades old. In this brief time span evolution has made few, if any, changes in what we inherited from the prior 3 million years.


Live as though you are in the world that existed before the invention of agriculture. There was no grain or cereal or manufactured food in the ancestral environment. Our ancestors ate fresh fruits and vegetables and meat. They got no milk beyond the age of 4. They ate no cereals and consumed no vegetable oils. Their diets were not particularly low on fats; indeed, for a few million years prehuman hominids may have lived on the fatty bone marrow and brains of scavenged kills more than on fresh meat.

Even when they became premier big game hunters, humans preferred the fatty cuts of meat because the wild animals they hunted were very lean. Modern meat contains around 33% fat as opposed to 4% fat in wild game. And, there is a higher proportion of saturated to unsaturated fat in grain-fattened modern meat. Consequently, even a diet moderate in fat, say 40%, is high in saturated fat when it is composed of modern meats. In addition, most individuals who eat moderate or high amounts of fat get it from fast foods and bakery products and eat few vegetables or fruits. The fat in modern grain-fed animals and in fried foods and baked goods is heavily weighted in Omega 6 fatty acids relative to Omega 3 acids and contains large amounts of hydrogenated fatty acids. Taken together, this imbalance of Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acids and the novel fat molecules that result from hydrogenation can play havoc with cell membrane health and function. Remember, your brain, nervous system and vascular system are comprised primarily of membranes; any dysfunction in these critical areas can be devastating.

A preference for fat was adaptive in the ancestral habitat, but is maladaptive in a modern world awash in abundant sources of fat. Nonetheless, fat intake is essential. Our brains use glucose for energy (and hence our preference for sweets) but are made of lipids. Some of these essential brain lipids can be gotten only from animal fat. The problem is to balance fat requirements against its over-abundance in the American diet and to achieve the desired fatty acid profile that is more heavily weighted to saturated fats in the American diet than in the Paleolithic diet. A similar point can be made for minerals: calcium, potassium, and magnesium are too low relative to sodium in the American diet and are far from the Paleolithic ratios.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Dean Ornish: The world now eats (and dies) like Americans


TED talks(Technology, Entertainment, and Design)

"Stop wringing your hands over AIDS, cancer and the avian flu. Cardiovascular disease kills more people than everything else combined -- and it's mostly preventable. Dr. Dean Ornish explains how changing our eating habits will save lives"

Dr. Dean Ornish: Healing and other natural wonders



Saturated fatty acids intake and the risk of developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a topic with a lot of controversy. In recent years a wide body of research has suggested that increased consumption of certain saturated fatty acids (Lauric acid, myristic acid and palmitic acid) down-regulate LDL receptor and thereby increase LDL plasma levels, and this has been associated to increased risk of CVD. On the other hand, stearic acid (a 18 carbon saturated fatty acid) has been shown to decrease LDL plasma levels. However, this view is too simplistic as they are several other factors contributing to CVD, such as smoking, exercise, trans-fatty acids, increased omega-6/omega-3 ratio, free-radicals, nutrient deficiency, homocysteine, alcohol intake and low-grade chronic inflammation among others.

Moreover, some studies have suggested that there’s not enough scientific data to support the view that increased total or LDL cholesterol is an independent risk factor for CVD, but rather oxidized LDL. Plaque production is mediated by oxidized LDL but not LDL. Oxidized LDL can produce shedding of the inner layer of the artery namely glycocalix. Then oxidized LDL infiltrates in the intima of the artery. Oxidized LDL is eaten by macrophagues, a process known as phagocytosis, and therefore macrophagues are transformed into foam cells which produce the fibrous cap.

Once the fibrous cap has been produced we need to break it down in order to produce an ischemic event. Lectins and low-grade chronic inflammation are involved in the activation of matrix metalloproteinases which break down the fibrous cap.

In summary, high total cholesterol or LDL levels do not increase CVD risk but rather oxidized LDL. To produce oxidized LDL we need the factors mentioned above. Hence, consumption of saturated fatty acids is not an issue if we control several other factors such as those mentioned before.


I have seen a number of people with total cholesterol levels over 250 who actually were at low heart disease risk due to their HDL levels. Conversely, I have seen even more who had cholesterol levels under 200 that were at a very high risk of heart disease based on the following additional tests:

•HDL/Cholesterol ratio
•Triglyceride/HDL ratios

HDL percentage is a very potent heart disease risk factor. Just divide your HDL level by your cholesterol. That percentage should ideally be above 24 percent.

You can also do the same thing with your triglycerides and HDL ratio. That percentage should be below 2.

Keep in mind, however, that these are still simply guidelines, and there's a lot more that goes into your risk of heart disease than any one of these numbers. In fact, it was only after word got out that total cholesterol is a poor predictor of heart disease that HDL and LDL cholesterol were brought into the picture.

They give you a closer idea of what's going on, but they still do not show you everything.

Anonymous said...

Dean Ornish, M.D. - Transform 2010 - Mayo Clinic


Dean Ornish, M.D. - Founder and President, Preventive Medicine Research Institute
Reflections from over 30 years of work in preventive care, and how powerful low-tech interventions in health care can be. By looking beyond just treating the symptoms for patients, and instead, treating the causes, we can transform patient conditions

Dr. Daniel Amen - Change Your Brain Change Your Life 1 thru 8

Change your Brain, Change Your Life 1 thru 7

Dan Rather Reports - Mind Science (Part 1 thru 6)


Dr. Dan Siegel Mind Sight

OsamaVanHalen said...


Anonymous said...

Episode 43 :: Stephen Schettini :: The Novice
Stephen Schettini speaks about his experiences as a Tibetan monk in his book, The Novice: Why I Became A Buddhist Monk, Why I Quit, And What I Learned.


Episode 29 :: Rick Bateman :: Secular Buddhism Canada Style



Episode 24 :: Stephen Batchelor :: Secular Buddhism Arising


do the dew said...

My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind. - Albert Einstein
German-born physicist (1879 - 1955)

sea-gull-ski is no Einstein.

Mysterion said...

the tale is in the teeth

and NOT

the tail is in the teeth

Anonymous said...

satori - as in

"Oh, I get it!"

capcha = flutlite

Anonymous said...

sea-gull-ski can perspire, but he can never aspire

capcha = boodown

Kevin said...


This is not only the rarest, but the strangest parrot in the world. Imagine a rather portly nocturnal bird that never flies, preferring to hike through hilly forest for miles every night. It weighs in as the heaviest parrot in the world at 8 pounds. Imagine this and you have the very real (but virtually extinct) kakapo. A resident of New Zealand, which is home to a number of rare birds, there are only 62 kakapos remaining on earth. (Bonus fact: New Zealand is full of unusual creatures. It originally had no native land mammals, so its many unique birds evolved in unusual ways – which unfortunately has made them very vulnerable to mammals that were brought in during European colonization.)

john e mumbles said...

As above, so below...

The tail IS in the teeth:


abby said...

Kakapos are viscous, horny birds that will dry hump you into submission if you happen on one in the wild. If you think that is an exaggeration? Watch this.

Chu said...

12 Trillion Galaxies
Guiltied to a
Rocket Society
Don't say I
didn't warn you.

Anonymous said...

Zizek talks ecology, Christianity and actually makes a bit of sense.

Mysterion said...

Actually Ouroboros is an excellent metaphor for the physical universe - one with neither a beginning nor an end.

In the beginning, there was no beginning. The rest of the myths do not apply to the case.

Anonymous said...

All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth

Dogen Haggard Swaggart said...

The Dhamapada
The Diamond Sutra
The Surangama Sutra
The Lankavatarra Sutra
The Avatamsaka Sutra

And in the chan / zen tradition:

The Sayings and Doings of Paichang
The Zen teachings of Huang Po
The Zen teachings of Hui Hai
Master Yunmen by Urs Apps
The Sayings of Layman P'ang
Instant Zen, the teachings of master Foyan
Swampland Flowers (the dreaded Ta Hui)
The Sutra of the 6th patriarch
(even though Dogen didn't like it or think it was credible...are you capapble of forming your own opinions?_
The Blue Cliff Record (I& II)
The Mumonkan
The Zen Master Hakuin by Yampolsky
Tracing back the Radiance, the Korean teachings of Chinul
The Linji lu
Mud and Water, the teachings of Bassui

I'm assuming you're already familiar with the Book of Equanimity and other Soto texts.

When you've finished with the above, it would be good to read some of the other sutras (they're free online) as well as works in other Buddhist tradtions.

Mysterion said...

how about THIS fellow.

i wanna see his inka...

capcha = beingov

ov = overt

Mysterion said...

Dogen Haggard Swaggart said...
"The Dhamapada...
blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah..."

I fear that:
The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, 2 Vols.
$60 in the 'outsourced' cheapie printing (limited shelf life*)

is more sincere than your long-winded hose job.

*paper is not acid balanced

Arhat Aryashakya said...

The word Buddhist, legally defines someone who is a legal member of the Buddhist religion: Buddhism. Consequently, the words: Buddhist Blog, legally defines a blog presenting Buddhism, the Buddhist religion, in accordance to the teachings of the Buddha, otherwise, it is against the Buddhist religion, Buddhism, consequently, it is not a Buddhist Blog, and therefore, it is crime of hate.

anon #108 said...

Hi Arhat Aryashakya,

Are you really an Arhat? I mean a proper Buddhist one...legal and everything?

What's it like?

OsamaVanHalen said...


Anonymous said...

Shaolin Kung Fu (exploding the meat myth)

Shaolin kitchen at 5:50


Soto Zen vegetarian meals:
daily life of a zen monk in a large soto-zen monastery in Japan

Eihei-ji kitchen at :59



Vijaya Samarawickama, A Buddhist Reflects on Happy Living, 2004

This day is a special day, it is yours.
Yesterday slipped away, it cannot be filled anymore with meaning.
About tomorrow nothing is known.
But this day, today, is yours, make use of it.
Today you can make someone happy.
Today you can help another.
This day is a special day, it is yours.

Mysterion said...

Anonymous Arhat Aryashakya said...
"The word Buddhist, legally defines..."

There may well be a legal definition of Buddhism within the plethora of law codes on earth. The legal definition imposed in the USA, for example, is not binding on anyone except in the the single case of that person testifying about Buddhism in a court of law - and even then the definition may not fit the case.

There are legal definitions for a lot of things that do not apply - the legal definition of Animism, as a case in point.

The concept that if there is a legal definition of "something" then we must apply that narrow definition at all times in every place is BULLSHIT.

In the U.S.A. Legal definitions of religions are used for the purposes of taxation and the application or relief of tariffs.

Take a look and India and "Hindu" for a starting point.

What is the "legal definition" of me ass? You can kiss it.

Mysterion said...

I do know, that since the Concordat of 1933, all Germans and Austrians are born Roman Catholic and, through the state, pay a tithe to the RCC. There is a procedure by which citizens of Germany or Austria may legally declare that they are NOT Roman Catholic and thereafter no longer pay the tribute to the Mother (of M.F.) Church through automatic payroll deductions.

Therefore, my 'legal definition' of the RCC inside of Germany and Austria duplicates my legal definition of "pick pocket."

Anonymous said...

Sōji-ji (總持寺) is one of two main temples of the Sōtō school of Zen Buddhism.

Vegetarian meals of Sōji-ji at :59


buddy said...

The supposed founder of zen, Bodhidharma, liked to say stuff like: 'A special transmission outside the scriptures,
Not founded upon words and letters;
By pointing directly to mind
It lets one see into one's own true nature and attain Buddhahood.'

So if Brad is being heretical in a strict Buddhist sense in his attitude towards sutras etc then he is at least being faithful to the school of zen. Not that I necessarily care one way or the other.

Anonymous said...


Awaiting your annual festive treat: the niece Skylar and uncle Brad skit.

That is if Skylar isn't off with friends this year, having outgrown hang'n out with her uncle!

(PaaLeeze Skylar, just this one more time for those of us who have come to associate you + uncle with holidays)

Mysterion said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Sōji-ji (總持寺) is one of two main temples of the Sōtō school of Zen Buddhism."

And how many other temples of the Soto Zen sect are there in Japan? 1,000?

Just asking.

(Hint: There are more than 1,000).

Japan has the remains of an aristocratic Buddhist hierarchy.

Early part of Kamakura period --
Two forms of Zen are brought from China to Japan by 2 monks:

Rinzai Zen by EISAI (1141-1215)
Soto Zen by DOGEN (1200-1253)

Rinzai Zen is of the lineage of Rinzai (Lin Chi) at the end of the T’ang period in China.

Soto Zen is a gentler Zen. Sitting zazen is enlightenment.

EISAI, who brought Rinzai Zen from China also popularized the drinking of tea. Trained at Mii-dera, he twice went to China.

DOGEN-ZENJI (1200-1253), born of nobility, he lost his parents early. Started training on Mt. Hiei. Then studied under Eisai’s successor Myozen at Kennin-ji. Went with Myozen to China where he spent 5 years (1223-127). He returned 'certified' to transmit Soto teachings. The authenticity of his certification is the endless subject of considerable debate. (He is considered by some in Club Buddha as being somewhat heretical).

He was a strong critic of other ways* -- Zazen alone was true gate and was an “easy and pleasant practice.” Early on, he taught that Zen enlightenment was open to all; later, he concluded that only clerics had the time and direction to practice Zen correctly. Driven from Kyoto, he established the monastery Eihei-ji in a mountainous province away from both Kyoto and Kamakura.

One of Dogen’s sayings:
"To study the Way (Tao) is to study the Self.
To study the Self is to forget the Self.
To forget the Self is to be enlightened by all things.
To be enlightened by all things is to remove the barrier between Self and Other."

from class notes HERE

*not very Buddhist behavior


BTW: "It just doesn't matter!"

capcha = dermo

as in "Skin a Cat"

Anonymous said...

"DOGEN-ZENJI...returned 'certified' to transmit Soto teachings. The authenticity of his certification"

I personally don't care about 'certification'

The Kālāma Sutta, a discourse of the Buddha contained in the Aṅguttara Nikaya of the Tipiṭaka

Do not go upon what has been acquired by repeated hearing,
nor upon tradition,
nor upon rumor,
nor upon what is in a scripture,
nor upon surmise,
nor upon an axiom,
nor upon specious reasoning,
nor upon a bias towards a notion that has been pondered over,
nor upon another's seeming ability,
nor upon the consideration, "The monk is our teacher."
Kalamas, when you yourselves know: "These things are good; these things are not blamable; these things are praised by the wise; undertaken and observed, these things lead to benefit and happiness," enter on and abide in them.'

Getting inka/shiho/jukai/tokudo or whatever, that's like getting a black belt in martial arts(which I've studied a few styles of), o.k. you've got the basics, so now real training begins.
Just like people make a big deal over "satori/kensho" o.k. you got some insight, that moments gone, now you just have the memory in your head of it (painted rice cakes), so now real training begins.
Having a teacher in Buddhism is kind of like having an A.A. sponsor, it's just some one who's gone through the steps and helps others to make their own journey through the steps, so to speak.
The validity of a zen teacher is evident in the teachings and in him/herself, not some magic papers that give "authority", I have great respect for the Dalai Lama NOT because I think he's some incarnated god-king/bodhisattva(which I don't), but because of the content of his own character, and the things he's gone through and tries to do. And I don't have agree with him on everything to respect him greatly.

Obaku said, “I do not say that there is no Zen, but that there is no Zen teacher.”

(Obaku quote from Karen Maezen Miller roshi's blog- "No teacher here"

Mysterion said...

I don't give a rat's ass (legal definition?) about Dogen's certification either. I just get a kick out of all the "certified" Soto folks in Amerika who go after Brad regarding HIS certification - or lack thereof. Those folks - who, at the seedling, may lack at the very foundation the certification they demand of others - just need a nice warm cup of STFU.

as a profession

the entire experience (of examining Brad's pedigree) made it a pleasure to pass my various and sundry 'course completion' papers and certifications through the paper shredder a few months ago. they were thence all relegated to the paper recycle heap where they would be put to questionable use in future Wal-Mart junk mail ads that few read and even fewer have the means (to purchase the crap depicted in the colorful displays).

it is all for naught. an exercise in going nowhere to prove nothing to anybody - especially your "self."


Anonymous said...

"I just get a kick out of all the "certified" Soto folks in Amerika who go after Brad regarding HIS certification - or lack thereof. Those folks - who, at the seedling, may lack at the very foundation the certification they demand of others - just need a nice warm cup of STFU"
( I love the STFU picture !! My wife wants it as a bumper sticker!!)

The Zen Master in America: Dressing the Donkey with Bells and Scarves
by Stuart Lachs

Modern day Zen masters/roshi, while enjoying the decided advantage of being part of a tradition that imputes to them quasi-divine qualities, suffer the disadvantage of living in an age of widespread information. Thus, while the image of the Zen masters of the past bask in the unquestioned glow of hagiography, modern day Zen masters risk widespread exposure of their private and public behavior, particularly when that behavior is less than exemplary.
"However, in practice, Dharma transmission is a much more ambiguous and flexible concept than the mythology would have us believe. Historically, it has been given for many reasons besides spiritual insight: for raising money to sustain a monastery, to establish and expand social connections, to spread a lineage and enhance the teacher’s prestige by having more Dharma heirs, to maintain the continuity of the lineage, to enhance the authority of a missionary, to acknowledge managerial skill, and so on. We will show examples of this same ambiguousness down into modern times. What’s more, though Zen, in general, makes superhuman claims for the master based on his spiritual attainment, in Sōtō Zen, the largest Zen sect in Japan, enlightenment is not at all a prerequisite for receiving Dharma transmission. Rather, only personal initiation between a master and disciple is required. Zen’s mythology notwithstanding, Dharma transmission is only an institutional sanctioning of a teacher bestowing membership in a teaching lineage and may be no more than, as Buddhist scholar Holmes Welch said “like [getting] a Flash Gordon pin.” Dharma transmission tells us actually nothing of spiritual attainment or character, and it was designed that way from the beginning."


at the Zensite page

Mike Port
Kyogen Carlson-Sensei


I for one have great respect for Brad roshi not because of any title, but because of himself, for his grasp/understanding of the dharma, his ability to articulate the dharma skillfully(upaya) in his books/podcasts/blog/etc.
And I have great respect for him for being a vegetarian.
My respect for Brad (and Nishijima, and Dogen) is for him, not some title. Even though I'm part of a Soto group as well, I can name more great teachers who I respect greatly who are not "Soto" than I can name "Soto" teachers.
Like Thích Nhất Hạnh(Vietnamese Zen), Heng Sure(Chinese Chan), Stephen Batchelor(formerly Tibetan and Korean Zen), Adyashanti, Lewis Lancaster, etc..etc..etc..

katy.anders said...

Great words. I'm not as convinced of the historiocity of Jesus Christ, though I'm not sure how important that is to the faith.

There's a tendency to want to show the similarity between major religions - the old "same mountain viewed from different paths" thing.
I sort of like the differences and the personalities, though.
Alan Watts once said something about how the words Jesus spoke could be twisted around until he sounded like he was speaking straight Vedic wisdom.

Anyway, for a lighter take on Jesus' potential trek to the East, try Christopher Moore's "Lamb," if you haven't already!

Anonymous said...


"There's a tendency to want to show the similarity between major religions - the old "same mountain viewed from different paths" thing.
I sort of like the differences and the personalities, though."

you would REALLY like

After Words: Stephen Prothero, "God is Not One," interviewed by Sally Quinn
Great video interview


Anonymous said...

After Words: Stephen Prothero, "God is Not One," interviewed by Sally Quinn
Great video interview



Anonymous said...

A Zen student asked me if everyone has the same amount of ability for awakening, or if it varies in the same way that athletic or artistic talent varies.

I told him it varies just as much as any other innate ability. It is a Buddhist truism that, because all beings have Buddha-nature, everyone can awaken. The reality is that some people awaken deeply and quickly, others take a long time, and some never do, because, as Joko Beck puts it, "They're not strong enough."

I also told him that, just as with athletes and artists, determination can be as important as innate ability.

Barry Graham 12-23-2010

Dogen Haggard Swaggart said...

Mysterion, did you really just refer to my post as 'long-winded'....really? From you?
Sincerity must be difficult to judge via the internet, since my book rec's were indeed sincere. Sorry if my booklist offended you.

Mysterion said...

my posts are not long winded because they are the breath of life...

i am about to pass it on...

when you get here, you may know what i mean.

Mysterion said...

Anonymous Dogen Haggard Swaggart said...
"Sorry if my book list offended you*."

your book list didn't offend me.

my advice to you is "Give the first step." The rest of the journey is to be determined by the profane (those who are outside of the temple).

on another point:

Non Deos vulgi negare profanum; sed vulgi opiniones Diis applicare profanum.

"It is not profane to deny the existence of the gods of the people: the profanity is in attributing to the gods what the people believe of them." - Diogenes Laertius

"The only bacon that is kosher is Francis Bacon - and he's not kosher."

*Don't anthropomorphize your book list. It doesn't like it!

anonymous anonymous said...

hysterion said: "my posts are not long winded because they are the breath of life... i am about to pass it on..."

You confuse passing it on with passing gas. If you had something to say you would be published.. Maybe you are. But I somehow doubt it.

Barry said...


We were robbed of our Blogisattva awards... I post 4 times a day and you average 100 plus comments each post.. what the fuck?

proulx michel said...

buddy said...

The supposed founder of zen, Bodhidharma, liked to say stuff like: 'A special transmission outside the scriptures,
Not founded upon words and letters;
By pointing directly to mind
It lets one see into one's own true nature and attain Buddhahood.'

So if Brad is being heretical in a strict Buddhist sense in his attitude towards sutras etc then he is at least being faithful to the school of zen. Not that I necessarily care one way or the other.

Those verses are based upon the Lankavatara Sutra which Bodhidharma was said to teach. You'll find their contents in the Sûtra, but with the following caveat: "There are those who say that we should not study the sutras. But how would have the Dharma reach us without them?" So it seems that those verses are a bit too easily misinterpreted

Captcha: mettabl

Rich said...

Reading and thinking is fine,
But just sitting is divine,
Once you make the plan,
Don't mistake it for the land.

OsamaVanHalen said...


R said...

Every time you come across all the shit YKW (wwnn, snm, snm) posts and you feel like - “why the fuck do I have to see this”, - [!!!] look on the bright side: -

You’re not the one posting it.





All things must come to an end.

Neither Harry nor Hare said...


H said...


H said...


H said...


M said...


Dancer said...


Anonymous said...

telling it like it is

Anonymous said...

be careful what you think
santa and his elves are watching

Anonymous said...

Brother Thay,
Thích Nhất Hạnh Zen monk, poet, and peacemaker.


Anonymous said...

Glad to have you in knoxville, tn brad! Hope you enjoy your stay again this year.

Chris said...

For Buddhists to criticize the lack of historical authenticity to Jesus' life without at the same time examining the very same problems with proving Shakyamuni's existence is grotesquely hypocritical. The man that said Jesus is close to enlightenment must be too caught in his own deluded thinking to see that Jesus' teaching and Shakyamuni's are the same ONE TRUE WAY. [gets off soap box]

Mysterion said...

Blogger Chris said...
"For Buddhists to criticize the lack of historical authenticity to Jesus' life without..."

Oh, but many of us DO apply the same litmus test(s) to The Buddha that we apply to The Christ.

Without dwelling on the subject, the Buddha is well supported in history and archaeology while the Christ is not. However, the good news is that - on closer examination - the Christian fables parallel the earlier Buddhist fables to the point that the current claims of plagiarism could easily be prosecuted in the academic sense (e.g. your Jesus fellow - if he existed - would be thrown out of college).

I am not in the least insincere in this claim.


hint, check the:
Mythology and Folklore

* 7th C. Heart Sutra (Chinese)
* Buddha in Wagner's Parsifal
* Buddhism Everywhere
* Dainichi
* Jesus, as recycled Buddha?
* Jesus, the adaptation?
* Languages of the World
* Mahavairocana
* Mithras/Xmas/Vatican 376CE
* Mûlasarvâstivâdavinaya
* Ugaritic Language

over at my blog.

I talked about these matters folklore from 1999 until I retired in 2004.

p.s. even called by students, parents, and administration I refuse to return - even for a day. I respond: "Go train a younger person."


Item 1

Item 2

Item 3

The Western Bible is a constrained collection of regional folklore that was under fairly constant revision right up to the Holy Roman Empire (e.g. 1000 CE). That is why older manuscripts are so highly prized by scholars and so highly despised by True Believers®.

That there are differences between the Byzantine Bibles (present day Turkey) and Alexandrian Bibles (present day Egypt) should come as no surprise. With the Bishop of Rome not even attending Nicea, you start to realize how insignificant the "Western" empire really was when compared to Byzantium Orthodox) and Egypt (Coptic).

Oldest Standing Xtian Church - 4th century.

Chris said...

Ok Mr. Breath-of-Life, you got me to comment back:

Historical authenticity of a teacher's life isn't the point. That's my point. Both teachers (mythical or otherwise) may be victims of permutation, as is natural with culture (and btw Jesus didn't have the archaeological benefit of being born to royalty - hence no reason to have record of his birth), but what's important is that somehow we find truth among the controversy and do a little good in the world.

Your comment about Jesus being kicked out of college for plagiarism is funny. Dharma cannot be owned, it just is. One might say that Shakyamuni plagiarized the Hindu and Vedic teachings. Come on now. There is just teaching of the true way! Some teach it well, some do not. Relying on historically certifiable facts as the basis for following some teaching, you miss the point. And the corollary - if this person never existed then people who follow the teachings ascribed to them are dumb! - is equally foolish. That's the second part of my point.

"when you get here, you may know what i mean."
Where the hell are you? I hope I never get there. Higher education is better off without you, but you should maybe find a different hobby than haunting blogs.

I just want to close with two versions of the same teaching (and I take it as applying to me first and foremost, but since I feel it is applicable to blog-commenting in general I am posting it...)

Take the plank out of your own eye before removing the speck of sawdust from your neighbor's.

When you point a finger at someone, three fingers point back at you.

Mysterion said...

Blogger Chris said...
"Ok Mr. Breath-of-Life, you got me to comment back..."

Fogging if fine but we are commenting about neither beam nor mote (Matthew 7:5), we are talking about archaeology and history.

It is not hypocritical to point to the presence of evidence in the case of the Buddha and the complete and utter lack of evidence in the case of The Christ.

In 1930 an American attorney named Joseph Wheless published "Forgery in Christianity: A Documented Record of the Foundations of the Christian Religion" as a prosecution of his case. It remains valid today.

It's just that in the last 25 years that it has become obvious to scholars that the myth of Jesus was hatched to replace the old Empire with the new Empire - Byzantium. The three easy books you should read are:

Byzantium (I): The Early Centuries
Byzantium (II): The Apogee
Byzantium (III): The Decline and Fall
John Julius Norwich (Author)

Also, buy the BAR on CD and read it over the summer. I was able to read the last 12 issues (1998 - 2010) as they were published... wherein Solomon's Temple was shown to be Ain Dara and the United Monarchy a fable*.

In short, no foundation, no story.


*"It's Not There: Archaeology Proves a Negative" in the Biblical Archaeology Review, July/August, 1998
Margaret Steiner

Mysterion said...

Byzantium: The Early Centuries
Byzantium: The Apogee
Byzantium: The Decline and Fall

Three Book Set

I bought the set as used paperbacks in very good condition for $48 including shipping.

Fact Checker said...

You can't stack books and "facts" against Belief. It is far more powerful than opinions. That is my belief, and of course, its not like yours.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Check Facter said...

"share this identical problem with True Believers® in Islam, Xtian, Santeria, &t."

Of course they do, just like people who believe they know what they are talking about.

Mysterion said...

at the present moment, the preponderance of the evidence supports my position over yours.

I maintain that "the jury is always out."

I also maintain that "ignorance is bliss" and YOU should follow your bliss.

tafc heckcre said...

Oh, you don't believe what you are saying is true?

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chunk fetcher said...

So its the old "opinions are like assholes..."

Bill said...

Back in 1841 Unitarian Minister Theodore Parker said, "So if it could be proved. . . that the gospels were the fabrication of designing and artful men, that Jesus of Nazareth had never lived, still Christianity would stand firm, and fear no evil. None of the doctrines of that religion would fall to the ground; for if true, they stand by themselves." By the time I found the quote on google I forgot why I was looking it up and so I am going to end this comment.

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

"In Germany we have a fellow who claims to be a catholic monk AND a Zen master at the same time. How is that possible?"
catholicism seems to have quite a few folks comparitively being both zen and christian, most famously with Friar Thomas Merton who was a Catholic Monk who wrote a few books on Zen. In Christianity there is a tradition of meditative contemplation from the founding of the religion, some folks even think that this was shoved to the backburner when Christianity was formalieed when the councils decided what would be the bible and what was heresy a few hundred years after Jesus... i think the idea that Alan Watts put forth is correct, and even relatable to Buddha as well. They both had similar ideas but had to place them in the context of the religion of the time, Jesus's teachings were a little more revolutionary to the religion of the time even though this got downplayed (much of what we think of as Christianity, in the fundamentalist sense,is contradictory to the teachings of Jesus). My thoughts are that the miracles and supernatural aspects were added after the death of Jesus to make him fit into the messiah role, and also to allow for his influence to be more controlled by the government of the time

mezame_woken said...

Although not historically accurate, one of my favorite books in college was "Lamb: the Gospel According to Buff, Christ's Childhood Pal" by Christopher Moore.
It made me wish the lost years were truly like Moore's narrative

Sean said...


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