I'm more sick of writing about Genpo Roshi than you are of reading about him. And I have totally neglected plugging my tour here. I've been putting updates on Facebook and Twitter. But not here. So here's the latest updates:
TONIGHT: February 22, 2011 (Tue) 7 PM I'm at Seki’s Japanese Restaurant 6335 Delmar Blvd., St. Louis, MO (door open 6:30)
THIS WEEKEND: February 26, 2011 (Sat) 7 PM I'm at Missouri Zen Center, 220 Spring Ave., Webster Groves, MO 63119
On March 5, 2011 (Sat) I'll be in Cocoa, FL, Zazenkai from 9 AM, Talk at 2 PM Brevard Zen Center 1261 Range Road Cocoa, FL
From March 16-20 I'll be in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in the Great White North! I'll post a schedule of events soon. There are several planned.
The tour has been going really well. I just spent several days with the indomitable Zuiko Redding, head of the Cedar Rapids Zen Center. Last Sunday I was the doshi (practice leader) at their all-day zazenkai where I also gave the dharma talk. I love the word zazenkai because to me it means "zazen party." People who aren't familiar with Japanese probably hear it differently. But the suffix "-kai" usually refers to some kind of gathering and is the common way to refer to a party for a given occasion. Zazenkai is a legitimate Japanese word, not an American invention. Still, I always hear it as "zazen party."
It was a cool zazen party. And Zuiko is one of the coolest Zen teachers in the US if you ask me. She went to high school with Janis Joplin in Port Arthur, Texas and settled in Cedar Rapids some years ago. She was a university professor and world traveler. In many ways she's kind of the opposite of me. She's very well-spoken and polite, but she can be quite strict in some areas of practice where I am very lacking and loose. She has a three-legged cat named Sanbon (Japanese for "three legs").
Before that I was hosted in Lawrence, Kansas by Judy Roitman and her husband Stan Lombardo. I gave talks at Judy's place, the Kansas Zen Center in Lawrence, Kansas as well as at the Unity Temple in Kansas City, Missouri a gig that was set up by my pal Blake Wilson, a writer over at Elephant Journal.
Judy is a teacher in the Kwan Um School, a Korean Zen order. I've done talks at a number of Korean Zen places and it's always really interesting. They do things a bit differently. They have certain services that involve enormously long periods of chanting, sometimes over an hour, and lots of prostrations (108 in a row each morning at some temples). The chanting always makes me think things like, "Y'know Inna Gadda Da Vida feels like it goes on forever but it's barely half as long as this and far less repetitive." Also, when I go from a Korean Zen place to a Japanese style one I always feel like I'll never complain about the length of services again.
Still, I really like the Korean Zen lineage teachers I've met and when it comes time for the zazen, we pretty much do the same thing. Judy is one of the best teachers I've met. If you're out in Kansas you should go see her.
The Zero Defex show at the Matinee was a hoot! Randy Blythe of Lamb of God guested on two songs, which was amazingly amazing. It's not often we get a guy whose band can sell out stadiums all over the world and regularly tours with Metallica to join us on stage. If you missed that show you can see us on April 9th at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights, Ohio supporting MDC and The Subhumans. We used to play shows with MDC back in the 80s. At one point we were supposed to do a split EP with them. The master and cover were prepared, but the record never happened. Sad.
I'm talking to a number of people about possible talks in Europe this Autumn. I learned that calling that season "Fall" is an American thing and not understood by some people over there, so Autumn it is. It looks pretty definite that I'll be hitting Germany, Holland, Finland, France and England this time out. Anyone who has any good ideas for other places I can talk can write me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My talks on this tour have been split into two topics. One is the Sex, Sin and Zen talk, where I talk about sex, sin and zen. The others have been talks about zen practice, particularly why zen practice is pointless and must be pointless. Any time you introduce a goal into zen practice you ruin it.
OK. Now I gotta go write a piece that the magazine Zen Monster has been asking me about for ages.
See you in St. Louis!
(I’m still taking a break from reading the comments section of this blog. If you have something you feel you must say to me in response to this, write me an email at email@example.com. If you just post something in the comments section, I will not see it.)