Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Spirit of St Louis


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 spoozilla@gmail.com.

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 spoozilla@gmail.com. If you just post something in the comments section, I will not see it.)

92 comments:

Anonymous said...

1st

More rolls please said...

..at Seki’s Japanese Restaurant ??


"Hello, I'm Brand Warner, I will be your server tonight."

Falling back on your Tassajara training?

Yueheng said...

3rd

R said...

Pointless? Or do you mean aimless? [Which would still be inaccurate]

Anonymous said...

More rolls please:

..at Seki’s Japanese Restaurant ??


"Hello, I'm Brand Warner, I will be your server tonight."

Falling back on your Tassajara training?


Or perhaps Brad is just taking gigs what he gets? And besides, restaurants, pubs and bars are probably the best places to talk about Dharma: there are real living people, not just some fake-ass-hypocrit-Buddhist-wannabe-fuckers. Spreading Dharma in the places where people really are is the most important thing!

Seagal Rinpoche said...

Speak or act with an impure mind and trouble will follow you.

Hot towel? said...

Anonymous 9:21: Whats next, Zen men's Room attendant?

♥ said...

Erin said...

Seki's Japanese Restaurant ??

And here I thought it was such a great idea...

Well, they're closed Tuesdays, and Mr. Seki is letting us use their space for the talk. It will be like a private party, only open.

Anonymous said...

Don't hand out Dharmas.

What with Xtian Pirates waiting to hijack your talks...

Blake said...

What do you mean, "pal"? I thought that we were "peers" working on porn parodies that should never be made!

Bizarro Seagal said...

I don't agree with the concept of award ceremonies, but I'm prepared to make an exception for the ones I'm nominated for.

tei said...

"Stan Lombardo"?

STANLEY LOMBARDO? FROM KANSAS? THE CLASSICIST? Oh my god, okay, the writer of a blog you follow's having met Stanlet Lombardo is not exactly a brush with celebrity per se (ahaha), nor is Lombardo exactly a, er, celebrity (I mean, I would throw him under a bus in an istant if it would bring Richmond Lattimore back from the dead) but STILL. YOU KNOW STANLEY LOMBARDO. THAT IS SO, SO AWESOME. I AM SO, SO AMAZED.

Harry said...

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.

I've no problem with this in a certain context really... until the inevitable happens and it's adopted as dubious macho Zen jingoism and, when shitty nests are built in it, all of a sudden it becomes quite contrary to the original intention. This happens.

If we're doing it just to do it, then the doing of it is already the point. If we're doing it for some imagined point (even imagining that we're 'doing pointlessness' or have 'pointlessness' as our goal!) then it's neither the point of actually doing it nor (obviously) the imagined point... so 'pointlessness' may be just another way to 'point' our pointy noses in the right general direction.

What's interesting, and what Dogen acknowledges and explores, and what is not not covered in the 1-D, direct-but-simple neo-Kodo utterance of Brad's (it may have been very appropriate at the time however, I don't know that point) is that we will necessarily have to sit through dropping off all points and even pointlessness or anything in relation to points. If it wasn't for the real doing-point, and however many fantasy 'points' we can throw at it, there would be no grist for the mill, no point in doing it, in that there'd be nothing/no one to realise/be realised.

Regards,

Harry.

Seagal's prostate said...

Makes sense if you don't think about it.

Zombie Seagal said...

Garb bleeb bluuub ....BRAINS BRAINS BRAINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

merciless said...

Hi Harry: Did you arrive at this impressive byzantine comprehension through intuition or was it a lesson learned from a book or teacher?

Regards

Regards

Merci

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

Yes indeed, Charles - Who in hell is Banksy?

Banksy's true identity is known to very few for Banksy prefers to remain unidentified other than by his wall art, of which there's loads about in Bristol and (particularly east) London - a couple of fine examples within 100 yards of my house - and now some in the US.

Doh! Perhaps you were teasing...again???

anon #108 said...

http://www.banksy.co.uk

- Or am I wrong? said...

Bansky does rather seem like Mysterion's cup of tea.

Anonymous said...

Mysterion is so out of it. This happens to seniors.. They lose track of time. To them, the 60's seems cutting edge.

Dani said...

It's not just Mysterion. California is like that.

- #25 - said...

http://artthreat.net/2007/02/banksy-replaces-paris-hilton-albums-with-altered-version/

- #25.1 - said...

http://www.banksy.co.uk/shop/index.html

Tao of Now said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
"Mysterion is so out of it. This happens to seniors.. They lose track of time. To them, the 60's seems cutting edge."

I get it... Zombie Seagal... "cutting edge"

Zombie Seagal's Favorite Movie
* Night of the Living Karate Dead

- #25.1 - said...

I seem to have repeated 108’s @ 2:57. His links over there (“Outdoors”, “Inside”, “Shop”) didn’t seem to be working so I didn’t notice that.

- #25.1 - said...

7:59 am is a fake.

- #25.1 said...

8:01 is correct.

- #25.6 - said...

Notice a line missing @ 8:04.

All others are true.

+ said...

http://www.banksy.co.uk/indoors/kiddingme.html

http://www.banksy.co.uk/indoors/rickshaw.html

http://www.banksy.co.uk/indoors/grannies.html

- #25.1 said...

There is no line missing??? This is my name. no second line. Very different from your name - #25.1 -.

- #25.9 - said...

I thought you’d say that.

http://www.banksy.co.uk/indoors/artists.html

- #30 - (- Genuine -) said...

- I didn’t fully get the last one at first. Serves him right. (PP) - Give it a second thought.

Regards,

- #35 -.

- #28.6 - said...

Most people don't need the second thought.

Anonymous said...

what are people?

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

Mysterion said "like is an illusion theme."

If you hadn't admitted to the mistake no one would have noticed or thought twice. It sounded like your typical twaddle.

Anonymous said...

No one pays attention to Mysterion. He's in the way in here with all his crap he posts. I have made these sort of statements repeatedly in here, and they're true, but the guy won't reform his annoying yet irrelevant ways.

It'd be best overall if he simply just went away, but I know he won't do that.

Posted Elsewhere said...

Recently my former teacher, Barry Graham, has been under scrutiny as to the legitimacy of his claims of Dharma Transmission. I won't detail all of it here but you can read these blog entrys --

http://gomyo.livejournal.com/39124.html

http://gomyo.livejournal.com/39560.html

http://tinyurl.com/ctgg6b


It really piqued my interest as I was a formal student of his and had received Jukai ...

I started to ruminate and gather information as best I could ... I remember he had told me personally that he entered training at twenty in 1985 or 1986 ... which is interesting in itself as he entered the USA at least thirteen years ago ... meaning that it seems he did all his training culminating in becoming a Roshi between 1986 and 1996. That must be a record of some sort in Zen training.

He has stated publicly that he trained for some time at the River of Dharma Sangha in Glasgow, Scotland ... I do not know how long ... but then he related to me personally he moved to Edinburgh and discontinued contact and did not know if the ROD is still in existence or the whereabouts of the sensei. I could find no record of past nor present existence.
I have written various Glasgow based Sangha leaders but have received no reply as yet.

He also told me he had studied in Japan at the Butsudo Zen Center in or near Kyoto.
This is also a matter of public record as he posted this on his blog.
He personally told me he had put in four years there. He remarked in conversation with me that he had been given dharma transmission and was in fact a Roshi. Barry said he thought he was given transmission just to mess with his fellow monks heads in that he was the only foreigner at the monastery more than anything else.

So I tried some searching on the temple and the teacher he mentions on his website. It appears to be that Google has never heard about any Yamashiro (山白) roshi/sensei/osho. While this appears to be an incomplete list, there seems to be no Butsudo (仏道 means simply Buddha Way) temple in Kyoto, only one near Hikone City and something called 仏道寺田中 in Nanto (by Google Maps). I asked for and received help with searches in japanese by concerned monks that are fluent.

I wrote to various temples and organizations asking if anyone had any record of the center or it's sensei. I wrote to the head org. -- the Sotoshu --- I received this reply ...

Posted Elsewhere said...

From: "Daigaku Rumme"

: jamesa2u@yah00.com

Dear Chugai James Atkerson,

We have received your email in our small office in San Francisco via the Shumucho in Tokyo. After making inquiries about Ando Yamashiro Roshi and the Butsudo Zen Center, we have found no person or center with those names in the Sotoshu.

If you come up with more information (e.g. a telephone number or specific address, etc.), it may be that we could help you further, but at the present time, this is all we can do for you.

Best wishes.

Gassho,

Soto Zen Buddhism International Center
San Francisco


So I have drawn the conclusion that it seems to be that Barry is misrepresenting himself and his credentials.

I see no problem in a layperson setting up a place for zazen practice. But posing as some official personage in order to gain status and students is against basic ethics.

I urge all to give this information I have provided the gravity that it deserves. There is a vast reservoir of critical examination that I am attempting to chronicle and post (it is pouring in like a river down a mountain) but I wanted to get this information out and available so that my fellow buddhists could make as informed a decision as possible.

Well Reed said...

"It sounded like your typical (mysterion) twaddle."

absolutely

Anonymous said...

Libya's ex-justice minister on Wednesday was quoted as telling a Swedish newspaper that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi personally ordered the Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 people in 1988.

"I have proof that Gadhafi gave the order about Lockerbie," Mustafa Abdel-Jalil was quoted as saying in an interview with Expressen, a Stockholm-based tabloid."

Abdel-Jalil should just shut up.

Anonymous said...

Having no goal while doing zazen makes sense. what I don't get is when you decide to go sit, what is the motivation to start if there is absolutely no goal or aim.

How can we say we have no aim in sitting when we puposely sit down to do the PRACTICE??

♣ said...

doing something reinforces the sense of a do-er. non-doing is reception.

something along those lines?

Anonymous said...

no lines. No Lines. NO LINES!

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

Did I ever tell you about the time Brasky went hunting? Well anyway, Brasky decides he's gonna hunt down all four members of the Banana Splits. He stalks and kills every one of them with a machete. They all beg for their lives, except Fleagul.

Moon Face Buddha said...

Has Zen Buddhism degenerated in to Satori-do.

Swami Osama Van Halen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tattoozen said...

We begin to do lots of things for reasons which eventually go away. We might get married for romantic love but stay married for compassion, co-dependence, or inertia (or all 3). I came to zazen because I wanted to be less stressful and to see the world clearly, now I do it because I feel like poop when I don't. I was hoping for one thing and found after some practice that while my reasons no longer applied that zazen was still important to me so I stayed.
Getting into zazen for the "wrong" reasons is no detriment to zazen in the long run.

- #28.6 - said...

I just wanted to state I never made the statement @ 9:39 am.

Notice there is no line missing so no excuses this time.

- #28.6 - (- the real one, - trust me on that) said...

Now this is ridiculous.

- #28.6 - said...

OMG.

- #28.6 - said...

Mysterion's dreaming of getting his void filled again.. Oy

œ™Ã±ÇÖdÊÙ said...

And Mysterion goes on and on, paying no heed to the fact that he's being kindly asked to leave.

œ™Ã±ÇÖdÊÙ said...

Now that’s my name.

- #28.6 - said...

Common name, I guess.

+ said...

I wouldn’t vote for Mysterion, but 6:13 am is not me.

- #28.6 - Rosenfeld said...

Hi +,

I guess that makes it clearer.

Papa Squat said...

Well I vote for Mysterion. He has a right to be here just like you trolls. His posts are more thoughtful than most, and include more useful links. His opinions? are like assholes...just as valuable as yours.

- #28.6 - Jacobson said...

I see what u mean. OK than.

+ said...

You have the right to vote, PS. But you’re on the minority.

- #28.6 - Rosenfeld said...

I’ll second that.

Anonymous said...

Bruce Lee- Ping Pong

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

DharmaWheeler said...

Brad, thanks for sitting with us at CRZC and leading our "zen party". Safe travels and hope you'll join us again!

Launching From Harry's Comment said...

So, 'Pointlessness', or having a 'point' are examples of how we reify (treat abstract concepts, ideas, thoughts etc as real). I'll stick with reify here, anyway.

Terms employed in an attempt to practically address the processes of reification, being terms that fall under the remit of these processes, inevitably fail to be anything other than more of these processes at work.

Simply put: I can say or think it (of practice), but doing it is another thing.

However, there is a problem even with the above formulation. For it can be taken to derogate the activities of saying and thinking for some holier-than-living 'another thing'.

It also places 'I' as the foremost, sole, creative or controlling function, rather than as one involved somewhere amidst thinking and saying: orchestrating, editing, filtering and so on.

And so the 'doing it' of Zen practice must include saying and thinking. Even if, say, one sits in silence the processes involved in 'saying' will arise. After all, the doing of sitting in silence will involve the effort of 'not saying' which is part of 'saying' processes.

I could go further and say that all experiences become reified as something experienced (form), and the putative beginner's point or goal of practice being to experience the not-something-in-particular-ness, the contingency, of that something (emptiness).

Emptiness as a reified goal of practice, in other words, misses its pointlessness, and must be realised as such: Emptiness is emptiness/ form is form.

In living, this form is form could take the form of aims or as aimlessness. Having aims and being aimless describe experiences and activities that comprise a being's doings from which there is no escape.

Perhaps better to say there is a thorough involvement in what I find myself doing or what is going on; or there is thorough involvement in activities - mental or physical - that distract me from being aware of this thorough involvement (which we could call a partial involvement to help matters or non-matters such as being miserable over something or nothing.

This description I would say (wouldn't I) includes all notions involved in forms of doing, negative or positive, that feed in and out of 'Zen' practice.

To be fully involved with a goal is to realise its goalessness, its contingency, to the extent that it is neither goal nor goalessness and can't be reified.

Not being reified doesn't have a reifier, and can hardly then be identified as a particular experience at a particular time, other than as the close involvement in an experience which ghosts such a 'non-event': reifying the dream of awakening from that 'non-event' in traces in forms and experiences that encourage further involvement, whether consciously realised as so or not. I imagine some weirdness.

Isn't the goal of practice the goal of life. What goal would that be? Pretty odd if it didn't have any goals - the dog would starve for one thing.

If I am only the clothes I wear, and these clothes are clothed likewise, maybe the dropping off of my clothes is always looming.

Hence a man wearing an active loom is a silly metaphor for something or someone dangerous to stand next to if it weren't impossible.

A man claiming to be the whole loom looming and inviting you to find out you were too is also speaking metaphorically, but may ask you to adopt some loom-like tailoring to show willing.

Perhaps it does well to beware of clothes tailor-made to impress, regardless of what is done in them, or fresh ones adopted at a high price for want of a few painful stitches and scrubbing, or those who enjoy serious, potentially life-changing forays into the same old wardrobe as a hobby.

All clothes might be real and smell some, but saying so might just be the whiff of deodorant (Zen Mist or Lotus Fresh).

Harry said...

"And so the 'doing it' of Zen practice must include saying and thinking. Even if, say, one sits in silence the processes involved in 'saying' will arise. After all, the doing of sitting in silence will involve the effort of 'not saying' which is part of 'saying' processes."

Hi Anon,

I think we can be relatively quiet; but is there any such thing as silence in sitting?

Isn't saying already 'cut off' from the real instant/event of not saying anything? It's already 'leaping clear' of itself and any opposite that we can imagine such as 'silence' or 'not saying'.

The way of conduct indicated by Master Dogen is contained in a line that caught my attention some time ago (I'm still not sure why!)...

"The buddha way, in essence, is leaping clear of abundance and lack; thus there are birth and death, delusion and realization, sentient beings and buddhas."

... in not getting caught up in the abundance of activity or a lack of activity it allows for the whole drama of birth, death, delusion, realisation, sentient beings and buddhas to unfold... not as pairs of abstract, relative designations, but as real, express momentary facts.

So, it's not really just a question of the nature of self, of a reifier, although that question can certainly be asked; but we should be wary of answers that come in reference to what we think 'self' is, and certainly what we want in relation to ideas of self... 'enlightenment' etc (which is why Brad's statement is useful at times).

The real facts, the real selves, are actually happening here before we enter into that sort of narrative.

Isn't the goal of practice the goal of life. What goal would that be? Pretty odd if it didn't have any goals - the dog would starve for one thing.

Despite your goals or lack of 'em, I don't think you'd really let the dog starve! Sometimes really doing something, something we just know we have to do, might be to let go of a some goal/s or other.

Regards,

Harry.

Mysterion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gustavofilho1984 said...

I´ve been practicing zazen for over a year and I´ll go to my first sesshin. Any advice, encouragement, tip, anything???? Thanks

sit, walk, work, eat sleep said...

don't over anticipate anything

check what the weather will be like

dress appropriately

check the schedule
http://www.zbtc.org/sesshin.html
http://www.cedarrapidszencenter.org/GreatSky.htm

or whatever

relax

just go with the flow

experience it

chill without being chilled

Anonymous said...

You should come to Seattle!

proulx michel said...

gustavofilho1984 said...

I´ve been practicing zazen for over a year and I´ll go to my first sesshin. Any advice, encouragement, tip, anything???? Thanks

And most of all, do some exercises for suppleness
http://zenmontpellier.voila.net/eng/lotus/lotus_intro.html
http://zenmontpellier.voila.net/eng/lotus/suryanameng.html
http://zenmontpellier.voila.net/eng/lotus/lotuseng.html
http://zenmontpellier.voila.net/eng/lotus/zazeng.html

Anonymous said...

Not likely Brad. I'm way sicker of hearing about what's his name than you are of writing about hm. Of this, I'm sure.

Cori

Not sick enuf said...

An ad for Genpo in Tricycle from 2008 does not mention Big Mind at all, but says he can help people have "healthier relationships." Heh.

Just threw up in my mouth said...

Correction: it was Buddhadharma magazine, pg 66 top right. The ad says:

Experience the revolutionary teachings of Zen Master D. Genpo Merzel

Unlock the power, greatness and love within yourself.

Untie knots, break down barriers.

Enhance your relationships.

etc.

-Sorry, someone gave me a pile of old buddhist mags and I've been skimming...

Anonymous said...

Anybody here ever bump uglys with old Den Menz?

captcha: sundecay

R said...

How about you don't get 3\4 or half of the trolls? (SM @ 12:51 pm)

+ said...

If you ever realize how stupid you are you won't easily make it through.

+ : (- Ran still) said...

- “Intelligence has its limits while stupidity has none". [!]

I think this the third time I come across this dry minded fool making the same quote. (+ I'm not really his ardent follower, - so I don't not know how many I've missed.)

Is it the truth or is it its approximate opposite?

It doesn't take great wisdom to tell.

- Just a bit of cleared eyed common sense.

+ said...

The rest of the quote can be referred to as well.

Perhaps I will some other time.

Though this point is more easily evident.

- I never seem to have come across any more “profoundly stupid individual” than our dear and precious ykw.


(- Though it does take some intelligence to be “profoundly stupid”.

- A stone, - for example - couldn’t be.)


- I haven’t read the whole thing. Just the first two paragraphs and the last one. - Is it wiser to read M or is it wiser not to? - Mind the gap.

84 said...

Correction to 2:59 am: “this is the third time”.

Anonymous said...

Has R or Ran or whoever he is ever had non-consensual sex with Genpo or not? That is the real question.

Captcha: widenn

Up a troll’s ass said...

Non-consensual” on the side of whom, - troll dear?

Anonymous said...

Yo mama's, R.

Out in the open said...

You’re inconsistent, troll.

Anonymous said...

Out in the open, eh Ran? Is your mama? You sayin...what? You the king of inconsistency. Spit it.

Over and out said...

Reread your posts, t.

Anonymous said...

You re-read it, over and over again.