Tuesday, January 11, 2011

NEW SUICIDE GIRLS ARTICLE and ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS


There's a new article by me on the safe-for-work Suicide Girls blog. Go here to read it. Yay!

A couple of days ago I attended my first ever Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. No. I'm not an alcoholic, nor am I particularly anonymous. But I was staying with a friend in Virginia and he was going, so he invited me along. Seeing as how I'm from Akron, Ohio, where Doctor Bob started AA, I felt it was my duty to go.

It was quite interesting and I'm still processing what I felt and learned from attending. There's a lot to be said for fellowship and social support when you're trying to do something difficult. Kicking addictions is not easy. The only physical addiction I ever had to kick was to caffeine. And that was really hard because I was so addicted to the stuff. I had a headache and nausea for a month and I knew all I needed to do to cure it was go out to the vending machine on the corner and buy some Boss iced coffee for 110 yen.

That's just because I'm not much for getting addicted to substances. My addictions are much deeper and harder to kick.

The false sense of self is very much like an addiction. And one way to make it easier to beat such an addiction is through fellowship with other people who have realized they're addicted to it and want to kick the habit. A Zen monastery is a lot like an AA meeting but more intense since the addiction everyone is trying to root out is much deeper and more pernicious.

The basic ideas behind AA and Zen have a lot in common. Part of the methodology is based on shared faith and belief. Both AA and Zen also have the idea that you don't really have to believe exactly the same thing as the rest of the members of the group. It's enough to sort of pretend you do.

In AA one must acknowledge a "higher power" in one's life. It doesn't matter how that higher power is defined. And, at some level, it doesn't even matter if you really even believe in your higher power deep down. You just have to say that you do and play along with the game.

I think that's a tremendously brilliant strategy. It brings something more basic than the thinking mind into play. Going through the motions even if you don't believe in them does have a real effect. I tend to believe that the really harmful parts of religion start with the thinking mind's involvement in things. And the thinking mind doesn't really need to get involved.

Anyway, that's my little rant about AA. Thank you very much.

142 comments:

Seagal Rinpoche said...

Not always so.

bizarro seagal said...

I have this weird thing that if I sleep with someone they're going to take my creativity from me through my vagina.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

Thanks for posting about AA. There is often a tendency to equate the "higher power" with the Christian God, which is OK for Christians, but obviously does not work for others.

It's important for people to know that AA is compatible with Buddhism and a variety or religious beliefs, including no particular belief whatsoever. And it really can be incredibly helpful, literally a life-saver for many people.

Soulagent79 said...

Funny coincident. I ordered a book by Zen teacher Mel Ash today called "The Zen of Recovery". The author is an ex-alcoholic who got rid of his addiction by using zen.

PA said...

Good stuff, Brad! Call me a traditionalist, but this reminds me of your earlier writing...and I like it :-)

Manata said...

I agree with Brad's observation on the 'playing along' with the acknowledgement of a higher power and how one often 'jumps through the hoops'. We can get into trouble when we begin to justify and rationalize this going-through-the-motions, either to our selves or for the benefit of others; as if we feel the need to defend it's potentially perceived insincerity.

gniz said...

Great SG article, one of the best one's yet!

Anonymous said...

One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps

rex said...

As somebody fairly new to AA and Buddhism, I appreciate your post. The pragmatic nature of both practices reinforce each other nicely. A healthy person should be able to undertake the 12 steps whether you higher power is a bearded omni-dude on a cloud, or the true nature of reality.

In my experience, another observation common to both practices: Only about a third of the people at any given AA meeting are actually working the program. I find this proportion is consistent at the priori as well.

Kanye West said...

"No more drugs for me, pussy and religion are all I need."

Uku said...

Anonymous wrote:

"No more drugs for me, pussy and religion are all I need."

That's an awesome quote!

Great post, Brad (I haven't read your SG piece yet). It's interesting how we human beings remember again what's really important in our daily lives when we're in some deep situations such as funerals, AA meetings or when we find out our family members are dead etc. Crucial points in human life, human beings' life. And it's even more interesting how we fail to notice those important things when everything is fine. The core of zazen. Boom!

Major Wedgie said...

AA saved my life, I've been sober almost five years now. There are many ways AA and Zen are similar. Lots of speakers at AA meetings openly talk about ridding themselves of attachments - first to drugs/alcohol, but then to other things as well. They also talk about being engaged in the present "living in the present", leaving the past behind, and not worrying about the future.

The question of a "higher power" and all kept me from engaging well with the program. Eventually, I just went with it, mostly by focusing on the "greater than myself" aspect of it. There are lots of things "greater" than myself, for sure. A lot of it has to do with surrendering to not being able to control the universe - "God's will, not mine" is something a lot of people talk about.

The "One Breath at a Time" book is pretty good, but not Zen in its outlook.

Scott B (from LI) said...

Hi Brad,

I am an AA with 6.5 years sobriety (and counting, one day at a time). I am also agnostic at best when it comes to belief in the supernatural. Initially the concept of a higher power in AA was tough for me to swallow, as its fellowship is overwhelmingly Judeo-Christian and the message was being delivered through that lens. For me, my higher power is the AA fellowship itself...I have accepted my higher power as being what will keep me sober, seeing how the last time I tried to do it myself I woke up naked in a trailer full of strange people, smoked crack and then rode my Harley home at 80 mph in the rain. I also see the Zen relationship of teacher & student to be remarkably similar to that of an AA sponsor and their sponsee...it's the sponsee's recovery and only they can do the work, however the suggestions of those further down the path are what guide us in our individual journey. And while I do not have to take every suggestion offered me, I realize that if I feel I know better than old-timers who are all saying the same thing, I am on shaky ground at best. And ala Kalama sutra, my knowledge of what works and doesn't in recovery is a result of my direct, personal experience.

Harry said...

Cool articles, Mr. W.

To link the two topics together... Check out GROW, an org who seem to be somewhat modelled on AA and who have a 12 step programme to tackle depression:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GROW

Regards,

H.

Anonymous said...

AA and other 12 steps programs are bullshit. They do not work.

Take a look at:

http://www.orange-papers.org/orange-effectiveness.html

and here you have more articles:

http://www.orange-papers.org/

And finally here there is a version of 12 steps for buddhists:

http://the12stepbuddhist.com/

http://realisticrecovery.wordpress.com/2009/05/29/a-buddhists-non-theist-12-steps/

Al said...

Brad,

That SG article was awesome! Reminisant of your first book. Good stuff.

The part about not paying attention to your thoughts during zazen is what I think should be your pat answer to the question, "What should I do with my mind when I sit?" That is the clearest response I've heard.

Al

Anonymous said...

Brad said: "I am not obligated to speak up for or against the things you believe I should speak up for or against. Sorry. Get your own blog. They're free."

Of course you are not obligated to speak out against a man impersonating a Zen teacher or a Zen teacher repeatedly sexually molesting his students or even a teacher using a questionable technique and calling it Big Mind. My only point was that I wish that you would. That someone with a little influence would ask some questions publicly about these situations before fifty years goes by and much damage is done. The tee-shirt comment was made only to say that if you are well known enough to sell a personalized tee-shirt you are well known enough to be listened to.

Ghost said...

Both posts were excellent. Caffine addiction, who knew? I will never look at my copy of Zen Wrapped in Karma Dipped in (sweet, sweet, caffeinated) Chocolate again. Glad you stopped chasing the arabica dragon.

-Peace

Samadhi Gecko said...

The arabica dragon still tends to pillage my village quite a lot :P

Very interesting articles, Bradsaurus - especially the SG one!

Though, if viewing our fundamental attachments to our 'self' concept(s) as an addiction is valid, trying to 'cure' the 'addiction' might just lead to reinforcing it further (aversion is still attachment). Also, how would one know if the 'addiction' is 'cured'? I'm still only a year or so into starting decent practice, so I'm still a newbie, but it seems like this train of thought leads to robot zen masters.

Actually, if there are laser-eyes, sign me up! Dogentron 8000 (batteries not included) - Instant Enlightenment through Instant Disintegration (of the self)! :D

Anonymous said...

GNITZ! good to see ya, buddy

Kanye West said...

Uku, that line is from "Hell of a Life" from my hellacious new cd: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

Speaking of pussy, I didn't read Brad;s article but if you go to that link and scroll down on the right hand side just below "Suicide Girls Guide to Living" and play the pillow fight video, the naked girl with the stars on her tits reminds me of Taylor Swift!

I'd so hit that shit. (TS, not the random Suicide ho)

KW PS said...

I mean, bitch can't sing, but.

Anonymous said...

Kevin Griffin
Griffin is a Buddhist dharma leader and writer. He's the author of "One Breath at a Time: Buddhism and the Twelve Steps"

http://being.publicradio.org/programs/recovery/

__________

Episode 46 :: Paul Saintilan :: Buddhist Recovery Network

http://www.thesecularbuddhist.com/episode_046.php

john e mumbles said...

Brad, nice post and good SG piece (snicker). I work with alot of folks who have had success with Narcotics Anonymous, and once-upon-a-time was an AA sponsor.

Oh yeah, and whoever you are, I LOVE that new Kanye album. He samples King Crimson, fer crissakes. And Gil Scott Heron...

Ananda said...

In my 20 year experience with A.A. I have found a lot of similarities to buddhism. As mentioned both approaches are pragmatic and encourage one to find their own understanding of truth to solve the problem of suffering.

While it is true that most who come to A.A. utilize a christian concept of god it's fewer than you might think. Much of this is simply due to the country of origin.

IMHO addiction is an extreme example of the The Twelve Links of Dependent Origination. Once the initial physical addiction is overcome the habit energy must be dealt with. This takes a Buddha, Dhamma and most importantly a Sangha.

One day Ananda, who had been thinking deeply about things for a while, turned to the Buddha and exclaimed: "Lord, I've been thinking- spiritual friendship is at least half of the spiritual life!" The Buddha replied: "Say not so, Ananda, say not so. Spiritual friendship is the whole of the spiritual life!"

Anonymous said...

Good to see you around these parts, Gniz. For real.

Anonymous said...

That photo was obviously taken before Brad told them what a Zen "master" really does with their time because they still seem interested and willing to be in documented as having been at the same party! No doubt you have to play those cards right!

Anonymous said...

Brad
re: new SG article
we are our biology. Second by second so many various chemicals are manufactured and secreted. Wondrous indeed, mysterious.

Some of us, to maintain a balanced state need to attend to blood sugar levels and need to have snacks on hand for when the level starts to plummet.

For some of us a regular excercise program is critical to well being. Doesn't have to be a rigorous one, a monderate one will do...

Full spectrum light for folks with seasonal affective disorder...just getting out in natural light for some part of the day...

Your article was well written, but I think it would benefit from including the above aspects.

Years ago I benefitted from a short course of psychotropic medication--1 year's worth. It was amazing to experience a brain with a full serotonin level! Exercise helped me maintain it. While I wouldn't push meds, I also wouldn't remain silent about them either.

I wish more people would speak up on behalf of 12 step programs as you have here. They are excellent programs. For those just starting--keep going to different groups at different times/places until you find one you 'click' with. The right group is out there!

Grant me the strength to change what I can change.
Help me to accept what I cannot change.
Give me the wisdom to know the difference.

(Am paraphrasing the serenity prayer)

Zulfi said...

lol allaroundarticle

Bizarro Seagal said...

The time Has Come Today.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the SG articles, Brad. At times I feel like a "bad Buddhist" if I have suicidal ideation, forgetting that it's just more delusion. I had a good therapist once who framed such thinking as a sign that one's life needed changing, which was helpful to me at the time to examine my life more and beat myself up less.

jason said...

Good article on SG. I've been to a lot AA meetings and one of the things which struck me immediately is the way both zen and the AA program seek to help one get out from under the notion that our created image of our "self". I noticed after a few years of meditation that the person who was emerging didn't act or think the way I thought I "was". AA seems to help the alcoholic to find that truer person underneath all the bullshit

Anonymous said...

Totally agree. I'm a newbie, just started last year, and find that AA is addressing my shame & anger imprints in a way that 10 years of practice in Buddhist communities hasn't been able to address. What I like about the recovery community is the group acknowledgement of the dark, as well as the light.

Uku said...

Hi John,

I checked Kanye's new album today, downloaded it from
Spotify and shit, I must admit... it's very good. As an old school hip hop fucker, I'm surprised. Usually I don't listen anything hip hop/rap related that's not '80's or '90's. Anyway, thanks for the tip. Power to the people!

R said...

- Sawaki Roshi said: - “Heaven and Earth perform giving. Air, water, plants, human-beings - constantly perform mutual giving. It is merely that within this relationship are lives are taking place. - Thankfulness isn’t what it’s about.”. (my free translation, - if you see others, they’re probably more accurate, - but mine is better, I [uncertainly] believe)

In the beauty of that quote you can see the ugliness of the AA practice.

Though I believe it works.


I could be very long about this but I’ll leave it at that.


I can’t really understand how many liked brad’s post.


I could hardly believe Dogen would.

john e mumbles said...

Glad you like it, too, Uku. My brother-in-law is a KW fan so I got a heads up. I remember buying the first Sugar Hill Gang record, that goes back aways!

...............

R: In the context of your translation of Sawaki's quote, that could be said of any superimposed process, and in that sense, you are right: "Life" is simply a matter of a recombination of the elements, nothing more. Or is it?

Anonymous said...

I love booze! Well, cider in particular. I love cider. I luuurve cider.

Anonymous said...

buddhist the 12 steps of liberation
By isabella mori

1. the truth of suffering. we experienced the truth of our addictions – our lives were unmanageable suffering.
2. the truth of the origin of suffering. we admit that we craved for and grasped onto addictions as our refuge.
3. the truth of the end of suffering. we came to see that complete cessation of craving and clinging at addictions is necessary.
4. the truth of the path. we made a decision to follow the path of liberation and to take refuge in our wisdom, our truth, and our fellowship.
5. right view. we completely see our life as it is. our goodness is indestructible. we are willing to acknowledge and proclaim our truth to ourselves, another human being and the community.
6. right thought. we are mindful that we create the causes for suffering and liberation.
7. right speech. we purify, confess and ask for forgiveness straightforwardly and without judgment. we are willing to forgive others.
8. right action. we make a list of all persons we harm and are willing and able to actively make amends to them all, unless to do so would be harmful.
9. right livelihood. we simplify our lives, realizing we are all interconnected. we engage in active compassion. we select a vocation that supports our recovery.
10. right effort. we acknowledge mistakes and relapse as part of the path. we continue to practice these steps with joyful effort.
11. right mindfulness. through prayer, meditation and action we follow the path of truth, being mindful moment by moment.
12. right concentration. open to the spirit of awakening as a result of these steps, we will carry this message to all people suffering with addictions.

Anonymous said...

After a fucked-up suicide attempt,
these folks proved to be very helpful:

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)

They know the territory
and can give you the inside scoop on
doctors, drugs, therapists, and
other related resources.

After long and difficult experimentation,
the right cocktail of drugs can make
all the difference. Maybe zazen helps,
but the right drugs help more --
too bad they're so expensive.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

"Once you’re settled into sitting, don’t try to stop thinking or manipulate your thoughts in any way. Just allow them to be as they are, but stop giving your attention to them. This is what Dogen called “thinking the thought of non-thinking.” Again, it takes a bit of practice to get it going. But hang in there and you’ll get it."

Or...

"Sitting upright, let delusion be."

malcolmmarkovich said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 (yes, it's me...google is playing silly buggers) said...

... Testing 17, 18...

(The "now you see it, now you don't" bug - been trying to post a thought for quite some time. Also, Google won't let me sign in...)

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

"Sitting upright, let delusion be."

That's it, 3.53pm!

- For a full exploration see KUGE, "Flowers in Space", by E. Dogen. Online here:

http://www.numatacenter.com/digital/dBET_T2582_Shobogenzo3_2008.pdf (from page 13)


(Excerpt:

"It is like person who has clouded eyes
Seeing flowers in space
If the sickness of clouded eyes is cured,
Flowers vanish in space.


The idea that once flowers in space vanish they will never reappear is a small belief...If you only know flowers in space as something to get rid of, then you will never come to know the profound matter that follows from flowers in space...[Some] understand that flowers in space exist only when eyes are clouded, and do not see the truth that it is flowers in space that cause clouded eyes to exist. Remember, as long as you are following the Buddha’s way, when your eyes are clouded, you realise your original nature, you realise something subtle, you are a buddha, a person of the three worlds,transcending the state of buddha. We should not be as stupid as to believethat clouded eyes are to be avoided and that reality is to be found somewhere else. That is a restricted view. If clouded eyes and flowerswere delusions, the person attaching to that wrong view must also be a delusion, and the attachment must be a delusion. If all is delusion, we can never establish anything true. If we cannot establish what is true, there is no way that we can assert that clouded eyes and flowers are delusions..."
)

anon #108 said...

All seems ok now. Worth waiting for, huh?

It would appear that those comments that look like they've been posted and then disappear without trace are victims of a recurring google/blogger glitch (nothing to do with Brad). If you've got an account try signing in again (I had to change my PW). While the bug's active it will delete "Name" and "anonymous" comments too. If you want the world to hear what you have to say, persist. It comes...and goes.

Anonymous said...

Further thought by anonymous.

People feeding the false sense of self is like watching a child blow up a balloon. Keep blowing all the hot air into that balloon, realize that more hot air makes it grow larger and the excitement grows at the now massive size of your balloon. Of course, as adults we know what happens next - the last fateful breath and the balloon bursts in a deafening and stunning BANG. Tears flow, snot drips and shards of shrunken ego lie scattered about the scene.

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

Hey Brad, It looks like there's a
steaming pile of some really nasty,
toxic, incestuous bullshit
stinking
up the Zen Studies Society in NYC
and its associated spiffy monastery.

They need a new teacher.
(Maybe you should volunteer ;)

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

Hi 9.41pm,

Hey Brad...the Zen Studies Society in NYC...need a new teacher.
(Maybe you should volunteer ;)


Looks like the post is filled -

"The Zen Studies Society is pleased to announce that on January 1, 2011, the Ven. Shingeshitsu Roko Sherry Chayat Roshi was installed as the second Abbot of Daibosatsu Zendo Kongo-ji. From January 12th through 17th Shinge Roshi will conduct her first sesshin - Martin Luther King Jr. sesshin - as Abbot at DBZ. The Founding Abbot of Kongo-ji is retired and will not be present. Shinge Roshi will preside over all sesshin activities."

- from the ZSS board, via Zen Forum International.

Sherry Chayat is a dharma-heir of Eido Tai Shimano.

(No comment. Just FYI.)

Anonymous said...

Every time I read of a former female student of Eido Shimano, I can't help myself, I always wonder..

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

Ran, I am sorry to say that you never understand what other people mean, and according to you,nobody understands what you mean. I don't have the time or inclination to get into a long drawn out explanation for you to disabuse.

Time after time here you get into these situations. Use some discrimination. I say this not to criticize, but to "point to." And that is all I will exchange with you on this subject.

Its a shame, because I truly believe you have often have alot to contribute.

Mysterion said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Every time I read of a former female student of Eido Shimano..."

Is there a tale to tell

or

is there a tail to tell?

the devil is in the details...

I posted a bunch of info re: harassment but it didn't stick.

A zen temple is NOT a work place and sexual favors do not always constitute hostility, &ct.

If not Brad, someone somewhere IS limiting what can be posted.

Cheers,
Chas

Mysterion said...

Blogger john e mumbles said...
"...I am sorry to say that you never understand..."

This is the VERY reason people should sit Zazen. After 20 or 30 or 40 sessions of Zazen, sometimes - just sometimes - something starts to make sense.

There were many things that I never quite understood (e.g. mentally processed to a synthesis) as a younger person. Some of them remain a mystery. But many others - having been churned up, exposed, and attended to during Zazen - have been put to rest.

And that "put to rest" is not metaphorical.

Und Zat ist So!
the R1a guy.

P.S. I discovered 'cousins' in Afghanistan - where Buddhism was alive and well for centuries.

Serenity East said...

Hi Brad, great to hear you experienced your 1st AA meeting congrats - i know you're not an Alkie, but it's great you got to see what it's all about.

I don't ever speak for AA as i only speak for myself. The only requirement for attendance at AA meetings is a desire to stop drinking.

No where in the literature does it say you have to believe in anything. This is a misconception of AA, especially when it comes to the religious undertones people assign to the language in the Big Book or meetings.

I'm not religious and i don't believe in god. I have chosen a higher power, and that has changed over time. But, unlike Zen, Alcoholism is an illness.

AA isn't about holding hands until we feel better it's a programme of action. I've learnt that my body is different from temperate drinkers. It does crazy sh*t to me which includes the mental illness part of it too.

I love your work, love your books and like your energy. Look forward to reading more :)

R said...

Had a long post but couldn’t get it through.


So I’ll just say one thing: -


I believe Brad borrowed the term "thinking mind" from Shobogenzo Hotsu-bodaishin.

john e mumbles said...

In a recent interview, Jeff Bridges talked about how an actor puts on many masks, taking on "roles," assuming he knows who he is to begin with. Then, he said, when the masks are all stripped away and there's no one there.

"I understand" then, means something like "i get that I don't really know."

I know that I don't know.

john e mumbles said...

Correction: Then, he said, when the masks are all stripped away there's no one there.

Anonymous said...

Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder Bill Wilson once
said that the program he helped create is, "utter
simplicity which encases a complete mystery."
Our guests reflect on the Twelve Steps and
how they resonate in their personal stories
and in Buddhist and Christian teachings.

http://being.publicradio.org/programs/recovery/

Anonymous said...

connecting the dots

Anonymous said...

I wish I could have an in-depth response to Brad Warner's post here, as well as his post on depression here. However, to summarize, I was taken aback by both of them. In the first blog post about AA, if you've read the Stinkin' Thinkin blog, well, enough said, I hope. But in case it isn't enough, let me point out that Zen practice requires about as much faith, I'd say, as getting in the pool to swim when one is completely out of practice, or for that matter, taking up 書道 when one's writing has been decried as chicken scratch*. Twelve step groups do not function that way. Zen wasn't predicated or founded on quack science. Zen Buddhist tradition and practice does not have what can in any way be called an undercurrent of narcissism. And the founder of AA's "root heritage" predecessor teacher wasn't any better.

In the second case, I'm taken aback because Warner can't bring himself to say simple words here: if you are deeply troubled by depression, get help. In fact, if you have a substance abuse issue get help. Just like with anything else caveat emptor.

http://mumonno.blogspot.com/2011/01/guess-where-im-going.html

Anonymous said...

The Marriage of Buddha and Freud

"His self-alienation had divided him in two. Sometimes he was the Zen master Mitsunen (the name meant “Now Mind”), who got up before dawn each morning to sit selflessly for hours in meditation. Mitsunen received dharma transmission, by which teachings are passed from master to disciple, in the Soto school of Zen and was ordained a Zen monk in the Soto and the Rinzai schools"

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/26/magazine/26zen-t.html?_r=1&ref=magazine

1/5 said...

Anyway, just for the record, I looked here for what the AA is.

2/5 said...

First you’re supposed to admit you are powerless over alcohol. That is to say, as long as you have hope of recovering by your own power, - you can not use it. Unless you lie. Which many I guess don’t care that much about.

What’s worse about that is that people tend to see this as something to rejoice in. This is really ugly. And in case I’m right I’m not just saying “in my view", - though I’m not familiar with the AA.

3/5 said...

Second you’re supposed to claim you believe in whatever it is they [or anybody else] call it. - Again this is an ugly attitude. You might just say let’s suppose it exist and see what happens. - And I’m saying this is meaningful. - Though it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t otherwise work. Definitely not. I’m just saying it would ugly our soul on the way.

4/5 said...

- And thirdly - one follows a moral path without reasoning. Doing it merely as a means to escape one’s obstacles is not something to cheer at either in my view. I’d say true moral could only depend on the fact all is but one. I could guess what some would say to that, but fuck’em for now. Again - it is true you cannot expect belief in it just for the sake of recovery, - that would again be self deceit, - but the point might at least be made. - Though again, in the dry lifeless intellectual western culture - however self esteemed, - you don’t even expect them to think of it.

5/5 said...

I guess it’s mainly these three points.

Though it does seem like a wise idea fundamentally, but through the little I know, - it certainly seems like it could use some refinement.

R said...

This I couldn’t get through yesterday as one piece.

Else said...

----- - - - - - -----

- “I tend to believe that the really harmful parts of religion start with the thinking mind's involvement in things. And the thinking mind doesn't really need to get involved.”.

----- - - - - - -----

If Brad implies we should abandon thinking in spiritual [or whatever he calls it] practice this could hardly be seen as seeking the best way. - To say the least. - I couldn’t see a way in which it could be seen as wise. - But we should recognize its limitations - which Brad does not ever seem to dare pointing to or declare.

- In other words:

- Men will not accept their baby is fucked up. - So instead of telling them that you just dump it with the water.



I do think certain things can be said. Slowly and cautionately. Though it would effect your popularity.



Jesus said it is not the healthy that need a doctor but the sick, but at the same time the masses do not necessarily seek quality. - Don’t be “cool”. - Screw “coolness”. Speak the truth, - and if you can’t, - sit down and shut up.

As much as possible - i.e.


You’re gonna use your thinking mind. - I don’t necessarily mean what I say word by word.

Harry said...

Yes, it's not a matter of just our thinking or our not-thinking, or our non-thinking. Master Dogen clearly indicated this in Genjo-koan.

He was concerned with right thinking, with realised thinking as informed by the right sort of effort.

The four views of Genjo-Koan have been interpreted selectively though to degrade thinking, how we label things etc, but that's hardly Master Dogen's intention as he repeatedly extols the potentials of every thing including words (which he repeatedly encourages us to understand and clarify). In the four views Master Dogen was setting up a number of foci to indicate something, he wasn't negating or degrading anything like thinking.

I don't agree with the 'enlightened intuition' idealism that seems to do the rounds in Zen, which includes the presumption that thoughts and understanding are some way excluded from 'authentic' practice/realisation. It's certainly not what Master Dogen advanced, and it's not balanced, or particularly relevant to thinking animals like human beings as far as I can see.

Regards,

Harry.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1/5 said...
"Anyway, just for the record, I looked [at wiki] for what the AA is."

There's Second Chance.

and there is also the street - where more people are landing each and every day following the financial meltdown.

Crime statistics for the first quarter of 2010 show that nearly 6 percent of bank robberies were committed by women.

Bizarro Seagal said...

I don't care whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.

Posted earlier but lost said...

108, - how’s that as an example of human stupidity?

the correct link said...

It won’t post with the correct link, but it would post with the wrong one.

Neither Blogger nor Anonymous - 78 - has said...

Charles @ 8:28 [am] says: “[at wiki]”.

Check at the address below.

Same - word by word.

http://www.aa.org/bigbookonline/en_bigbook_chapt5.pdf

anon #108 said...

Hi Ran/"the correct link" (I'm assuming Ran/"Posted earlier but lost" meant to post the correct link but was thwarted - although you don't seem too impressed with that one either ;)),

"Bedouin man accused of rape after posing as Jewish pilot"?

I read it. Yep. Pretty stupid.

But the stupid can only do/are only doing their best...Which doesn't mean we have to leave them to it. Whoever feels a response is appropriate will do their best - by posting a link and comment on the Hardcore Zen Blog, perhaps.

the correct link, aka Posted earlier but lost - said...

The stupid I related to are definitely not doing their best. Nobody seems to be thinking of changing the law.

And I wasn’t about the blog, - it’s just about showing you how stupid can humanity be. Since you won’t take my word for it. [And I don’t mean you should]

[+ it wouldn’t take the link as part of the comment, or rather it did, - but it would get deleted. - though when I linked the “name” at the top it survived. - it's sometimes like that.]

anon #108 (yes, it's me...google is playing silly buggers again) said...

Ok Ran. OK.

R said...

OK what?

anon #108 (yes, it's me again...google is playing silly buggers again, - what can I do?) said...

Just OK.

Harry said...

I have heard the Christian teaching, “You devise your way, but God directs your steps”—you desire and choose and seek as you please, but it is God who decides whether or not your wishes are to be granted.

So, too, Buddhism does not say only to throw away all desire, to toss aside all seeking. It is especially in the Zen sect that we seek, that we knock at that door through a practice so intensive as to be like carving up our very bones. Buddhism points out, however, that after all the seeking, what we attain is the realization that what we have sought was always, from the first, already ours; after all the pounding away, we awaken to the fact that the door was already open before we ever began to knock.

So you see, Zuigan Roshi [the author's teacher] pointed out the most basic truth right from the start when he said, “From the first, in people and in things, there is no such thing as trash.” Unfortunately, I did not understand him. I went on pretending to be a disciple who trusts his roshi, while inside my heart I criticized and resisted. To tell you the truth, I found almost everything he said irritating.


from Novice to Master: An Ongoing Lesson in the Extent of My Own Stupidity by Master Soko Morinaga (a dirty Rinzai-ist... boo! hiss!).

He was a teacher very concerned with stupidity, his *own* stupidity, that is.

Concerning ourselves with the stupidity of others before we've fully appreciated the considerable depths of our own is, well, particularly stupid. It's also a lamentably easy human trait to indulge as we're very inclined to stupidly and habitually accept simple conclusions about others before we're willing to take a 'backward step' and accept real facts about our selves.

Regards,

Harry.

R said...

As Rinpoche said at the beginning ...

Harry said...

I'll defer to Gump Roshi on that point: "Stupid is as stupid does".

+ said...

- And as Nishijima says – “it depend upon the concrete situation”. One may speak of S because he sees it, and another because he likes to think he does. And the ultimately wise would altogether negate its existence. - I’d say. [!]



Though this isn't realy the best subject of discussion.

- said...

really

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

Ran -

By "we can only do our best" I mean:

Given who and what each of us are, whatever we do is, in that moment, the best we can do; whatever we do is an expression of our psycho-physical state acting as a result of and in interaction with conditions/circumstances; a co-dependently arisen event.

Any thoughts of 'coulda/shoulda/woulda done better' are only thoughts/ideas. We can and do judge ourselves and others with reference to such thoughts/ideas and such thoughts/ideas might motivate us to do 'better' next time, but they can never change what has been done. What has been done is always the best that could have been done at that time, in those circumstances, by that person, animal, or thing.

It seems to me.

john e mumbles said...

That's pretty good, Malcolm, you can interchange, of course, "worst" and "worse" for "best" and "better" in your statement and its equally okay.

"It is what it is" a drunken biker said to me once lurched over the beer keg as the spigot ran out. (I was waiting to refill my glass, too - talk about emptiness!)

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

Thanks, it was the best/worst I could do - and LOL, john.

Will this never end? said...
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Will this never end? said...
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+ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...

Ran -

The "OK"s @10.58 and 11.04am were not me...they are now.

Catch you later :)

anon #108 (yes, it's me...google is playing silly buggers) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
pfff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anon #108 said...

Ha! Fun aintit!

--- --- --- said...
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anon #108 said...

Hey anon #108 (yes, it's me...google is playing silly buggers) - -

You took down your "OK"...and the next two fine interventions!
Why? It was all so perfect!

What a stupid thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Where is my comment on Brad's possible addiction to sex ?

Did someone delete it, huh ? ;)))

Mysterion said...

John E:

I always consult my half-astrologer® before attending biker conventions...

Mysterion said...

1953 a "Classic" but not as good as "Reefer Madness."

The latter is a GOP cornerstone!

john e mumbles said...

Johnny: What are you someone that makes sandwiches or something?

(later)
Mildred: What're you rebelling against, Johnny?

Johnny: Whaddya got?

john e mumbles said...

Anybody here read this?

All is Change: The Two-Thousand-Year Journey of Buddhism to the West

I've read two biography's by the same author, Lawrence Sutin, one on Aleister Crowley, and one on Philip K. Dick. I thought the PKD bio was great, not so much the Crowley...

Anyway, Daedalus Books has it for cheap in hc, but I won't bite unless I get an outside endorsement...

Mysterion said...

Buy it used on Amazon for 36¢

it gets above average reviews

Perdurabo is the definitive Crowley bio, IMO...

john e mumbles said...

Thanks Mysterion! Have a thing about cheap brand new 1st ed. hc's though so may do the Daedalus deal.

EYE IN THE TRIANGLE, in conjunction with AC's CONFESSIONS, remains my fave, but have not read PERDURABO, so may check it out, thanks...Also, Colin Wilson did an AC bio, a slim, readable one...

For that matter, WHITE STAINS is highly autobiographical, and the MAGICKAL DIARY of course...

Mysterion said...
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Mysterion said...
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Anonymous said...

1. People want to be liked,

2. People want to be right,

3. People want to be free,

IN THAT ORDER.

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

Is there a teaching that gets to the heart of Zen more profoundly than that of Plato's cave?

Barry Graham - 13-1-11

john e mumbles said...

Crowley's friend and teacher Allan Bennett was one of the first to bring Buddhism to England. One of the best IMO anecdotes about their time spent together conjuring spirits via some grimoire or other, relates how they went out to dinner and returned to find demons ransacking their flat. They literally played Hell getting things back in order and jinns back in their bottles...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Henry_Allan_Bennett

Harry said...

Never mind those English toffs; was the first ordained 'Western Buddhist' a freethinking, working class Irish man?

Laurence O’Rourke / U Dhammaloka, who was ordained in Burma in the 1890s:

http://www.globalbuddhism.org/10/cox09.pdf

Regards,

Harry.

Mysterion said...
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Ran said...
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Anonymous said...

Get ready for your world to change forever.

Capricorn: Jan. 20-Feb. 16.
Aquarius: Feb. 16-March 11.
Pisces: March 11-April 18.
Aries: April 18-May 13.
Taurus: May 13-June 21.
Gemini: June 21-July 20.
Cancer: July 20-Aug. 10.
Leo: Aug. 10-Sept. 16.
Virgo: Sept. 16-Oct. 30.
Libra: Oct. 30-Nov. 23.
Scorpio: Nov. 23-29.
Ophiuchus: Nov. 29-Dec. 17. (Yep, this one is new)
Sagittarius: Dec. 17-Jan. 20.



Read more: http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/01/13/horoscope-hang-up-earth-rotation-changes-zodiac-signs/

Anonymous said...

Magnetic Shift On Earth
13th Zodiac Ophiuchus Serpentarius The Serpent Holder

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WLJanokEP8E

Anonymous Bob said...

"Get ready for your world to change forever."

I know man. It keeps doing that.

john e mumbles said...

Harry: Who's on first?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfmvkO5x6Ng

Harry said...

Bhikku O'Who.

Regards,

H.

Anonymous said...

A Twitter Revolution? Wikileaks started it.

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

Japanese Teens, Married Couples Losing Sex Drive

Anonymous said...

the revolution will be twitterized

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

A friend of mine has just read my response @ 11.40am yesterday to Ran’s “stupid judge” link post (addressed to me and since deleted) and found it to be, as Ran did (since deleted), ‘a meaningless statement’. So, for my own peace of mind and to see if I knew what I meant in the first place:

An important strand in the web of conditions that produce an act is the innate desire to do the right/appropriate thing. I don't believe any of us set out to do the wrong/inappropriate thing. I don't believe the judge who makes a 'stupid' decision intends to do so. He is doing what he believes is right and appropriate. He believes he is being wise, not stupid. That is the relevance of making the obvious point that “what we do is the 'best' we can do” rather than “what we do is the worst that we can do.” It's more than a simple determinist statement; it's an attempt to include recognition of the fact that no one consciously tries to do what they believe to be wrong, even if their acts are judged by others to be so.

Much of our social interaction is concerned with judging others and trying to influence them to do what we think they should be doing (to behave better, not worse); we correct our family, our friends, even strangers on the internet. It’s part of being human. So what is gained by judging others as 'stupid' or 'bad'? It may satisfy us to know that we are wiser and better, but such a belief can, and often does, lead to a confidence in our own rightness that is very likely to render us stubborn and inflexible; characteristics that tend to create suffering for ourselves and for others. Surely the only useful application of such a judgement is to act so as to influence the judged to stop being stupid; to do better next time. Judging others and trying to influence them can be useful (advice is sometimes appreciated and acted on), and can help us understand, question and clarify our own motives, beliefs and ethics. But unequivocal judgement addressed only to our peers - for example announcing on a blog that someone has, in our opinion, done “a stupid thing” - is nothing other than a confirmation of our own feelings of superiority.

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

...I'm not at all sure what role, if any, "the innate desire to do the right/appropriate thing" plays in what we do. It may be that such evaluative notions of what causes us to act are illusory and imposed after the fact. It may be that very little of what I just wrote would pass muster in a philosophy/ethics exam.

I stand by the last sentence though.

anon #108 said...

Perhaps I should have written "...not sure what "the innate desire to do the right/appropriate thing" is...And perhaps I should have made it clear that you can have feelings of superiority and still be a good person. I do hope so. My ability to function successfully depends on it :)

TerryW said...

Hello Brad,

Sorry to tell you this Brad, but it looks like your blog has been hacked/zombified to redirect folks to a malware application site if they click on the "New Suicide Girls Article...", the comments link seems to be okay at the bottom of each blog article.

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

Hmm. I still failed to link my two arguments (the first and second paragraphs), I think.

...If we recognise, or believe, that "no one consciously tries to do what they believe to be wrong" then our feelings of outrage and superiority might be modified; our confidence in our own rightness might become less important and we might be less likely to be 'hooked' by it; less dependant on it; less likely to be disappointed when we're wrong and not so insistent on being right - which might make us more useful, both to ourselves and others.

Maybe.

The links work fine for me, Terry.

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

Hi Mysti,

"...there are people who don't give a rats ass about right/wrong or morality/ethics."

I'm not talking about socially agreed norms of "right/moral" behaviour, but about what a person believes about their own behaviour.

Nevertheless you may be right that some, perhaps many people are driven by the conscious desire to do wrong - to fuck things up. Certainly most people think that's true (of others - never of themselves...do they?). But I'm not so sure - not sure that it's true, and not sure how useful such a view is.

"But words like right and wrong have no intrinsic meaning in Buddhism as is also the case with the oxymoron 'inate desire."

Sure. But you gotta say something. I did my best. It might not be very good :)

john e mumbles said...

Do you think I know what I'm doing?
That for one breath or half-breath I belong to myself?
As much as a pen knows what it's writing
or the ball can guess where it's going next.

-Rumi

Anonymous said...

Brad, you should rather write on Anonymous Sexoholics than on Alcoholics ! :)

I suspect you might me addicted to sex. If needed there are many groups like to seek help:

http://www.sexaa.org/
http://www.slaafws.org/
http://www.sca-recovery.org/
http://www.sa.org/
And here is The Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST) - to find out if you have sex problem:
http://www.sexhelp.com/addiction_tests.cfm

ernie said...

Very... Nicee... Blog.. I really appreciate it... Thanks..:-)

Anonymous said...

Another feature which the Gods offer as a clue is very foreboading and ominous. Mt. Zion is a mountain to the north of Diablo (the eye of The Beast) and one which has a working quarry at its base. Consistant with the decay we experience in society, Mt. Zion is being eaten away, slowly stripped of its resources, until one day paradise will be gone forever.

7 billion in 2011. Only 1 billion in 1800 and 2 billion in 1900.
Population explosion is a clue::::The gods are sending everyone back for The End.
There must be some purgatory-like place. Or individual. Like an animal.
Now the gods have sent everyone back to try for one final time to fix their problems and ascend into heaven. Avoiding an animal would have been a big positive because those thrust into this decayed enviornment have less of a chance than those who enjoyed the god's generosity of a slowly decaying enviornment with frightening clues, like the Depression, World at War, the Holocaust, etc.
Anything that can get the poeple frightened and praying is a good. thing. Contentment never motivated anyone.

As we approach the Apocalypse the gods are removing "wrath of god" material from xtian dogma.
As we see wickedness spread throughout the country, like preditory behavior, godlessness, social changes, etc, using cable TV and the spread of "Californication" as justification, they changed xtianity, appropriatly with Catholicism first.
xtianity has changed radically in the 20th century, and everyone should be mindful of the way it was, because the people are in a process of slipping out of god's favor into a state of Damnation, from which the vast majority will never survive.
They used to scare people and make them too afraid to make mistakes. Now people aren't afraid of anything and don't think twice about doing something wicked and evil which will hurt their chances.

Employment charity:::Was W able to do his job as President?
I suspect there are many frat-boy types who couldn't or wouldn't study nor do the work necessary so they signed on to this "benefit" telepathically. This could have been extended to their professional life as well::In most of these cases they don't have what it takes to do their jobs. It is a temptation which buys their confidence for life, ensuring no progress is made.
I think employment charity is FAR more common than people may believe.
Another example how they tempted people in this manner is the procurement of sexual relations.
Keep raping these poor girls. You're going to end up as one in your next life (80s).

If people only understood the importance of good parents. You won't be going anywhere without them. And it won't happen unless you are one first.

Whimsical management=Unstable pathology:::
*Tuscon-waffles
*2006 Hawaii-Jewelry
*Ivan/Wilma-SCUBA
*Haiti-slaves
*Chile-crappy fruit
I'm sure you got some excuse. Just like Mustang Ranch.
You've compromised your integrity so hard you no longer deserve the label "gods".

The gods used the Italians to ruin life in the 20th century.
The gods used the Italians to ruin life in A.D..
"The West Bank, where the end of the world will begin."
And they were reincarnated into the ghetto to be punished as crack babies and in drive-by shootings, ironically poetic justice for inflicting these horrors on their hated enemies.
On their brothers.

Tales of the giants in Ireland were not myths. They were the remaining population of Neanderthal.
Expect the tales of friendly, helpful individuals was true, and the wicked among the Irish (McArdle/Mitchell) killed them off, envoking the rage of the gods and apprpriately so.
Don't be sruprised if their hard-core alcoholism can be attributable. Makes me wonder about the Russians.
The Irish are trash for a reason.

Anonymous said...

Hey Brad,

I have been clean (no drugs or alcohol) for some time. Even though I have been clean, I found that my thinking and ego were still running amok and causing myself and those around me suffering. Early in recovery I had started to learn about Zen, but never took the plunge. It wasn't until a life-changing event in recovery that I realized that I was getting in the way. What to do?!

The 11th step is very clear. "We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact...". I sought out my local Zen group and have been practicing zazen for about a month. The changes have been noticeable.

I can't recommend Mel Ash's book, The Zen of Recovery enough. A sponsee gave it to me and it has been my constant companion as I travel across the country to work.