Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Saskatoon, Karma and Charlie Sheen

I leave tomorrow morning at nothing o'clock for my gigs this weekend in sassy Saskatoon. You can find all my tour dates on this convenient webpage. It's always the first link on my blog. The links are on the left side of the page, about midway down.

The Saskatoon gigs are as follows:

• March 17, 2011 (Thu) 7:30 PM McNally Robinson Booksellers 3130 8th Street East, Saskatoon, SK, Canada
• March 18, 2011 (Fri) 11:30am-1pm University of Saskatchewan Room ARTS 146 Saskatoon, SK, Canada
• March 18, 2011 (Fri) 2:30 pm Meditation at the Multi Faith Centre at Rugby Chapel, 1121 College Dr., Saskatoon, SK (old church on west side of St. Thomas More College on College Drive)
• March 18, 2011 (Fri) 7:30pm Introduction to Meditation at Ken Sailor’s House 422 10th St. E., Saskatoon, SK, Canada
• March 19-20, 2011 (Sat & Sun) 10am-3pm Zazen at Ken Sailor’s House 422 10th St. E., Saskatoon, SK, Canada (Dharma talk & discussion at 3pm each day)


I've been seeing a lot of nonsense about karma regarding the recent disasters in Japan. There's a webpage going around that supposedly lists dozens of Facebook status updates saying the earthquake and tsunami were karmic retribution for the attack on Pearl Harbor. Now Glenn Beck is saying it was some kind of message from God. Pat Robertson has apparently learned his lesson and is keeping mum about what he thinks.

The people who post these things about karma haven't got a clue in the world. I've said it before and I'll say it again, you cannot ever know someone else's karma. You can't even figure out your own.

I've often talked about how I can see karma operating in my own life. When I say that I am not referencing things like natural disasters and so-called "acts of God." I'm talking about how, when I act out of anger, angry action seems to come back to me, often from sources other than the object of my original anger. Same with greed, jealousy and all the rest. I am not talking about things like, I dunno, a bucket of soup falling on my head from a third floor window after I stole a copy of Penthouse from the newsstand or whatever. Get those kinds of ideas out of your heads, people!


And finally, Charlie Sheen. The other night a friend in Tokyo called me up. She was pretty shaken up by the stuff going on over there and she wanted to talk about anything but earthquakes and nuclear meltdowns. So I ended up sending her a bunch of videos about Charlie Sheen (including this one I just found. Jeez, talk about "bi-winning!" Hubba-hubba!).

Charlie's stuff didn't make the news much over in Japan. I don't think Two and a Half Men ever showed over there. So all Sheen is known for is his long dead movie career. He's not very newsworthy. Anyway, the videos seemed to cheer her up a bit and got her mind off of stuff she couldn't do anything much about anyway. So Charlie Sheen has provided a valuable public service! And I'm not even joking about that.


As for all the panic talk about those nuclear reactors, can I ask everybody a favor? Just PIPE DOWN WITH THAT SHIT FOR A MINUTE. OK? Because the uninformed panicky garbage you spew out over the Internets travels to people who are really, personally affected by it.

I don't care if you think the politicians over there are lying. EVERYBODY thinks the politicians over there are lying. That is not an original thought or in any way unique. No one in Japan believes anything they hear from the government. They don't need your dire predictions of disaster based on what you learned by watching the movie The China Syndrome on VHS back in 1986. There is plenty of that out there already. Trust me. Plenty. So shut up.

See you in Canada!


Anonymous Bob said...


CAPTCHA : preamer : I kid you not

Randy said...

For Glenn Beck and all of those haters:

Don't be a jerk!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sanchez said...

Nuclear power is an abomination that should be outlawed. It is the equivalent of shitting in your own bed on a global scale. The people in Japan might not need to be further stressed right now, but they do need to be mightily concerned. Whoever decided (politicians or industrialists) to build nuclear reactors on the east coast of Japan should be there right now suffering with the workers who are trying to cool down the failed reactors.

I get the wisdom of not knowing but sometimes you have to call the bastards out.

Lee said...

All I have to say is....Charlie Sheen liked looking at boobs, and look at him now!!!!

Seagal Rinpoche said...

Treat every moment as your last. It is not preparation for something else.

Anonymous said...

How is Nishijima Roshi doing?

Anonymous said...

charly sheen is so zen! love that guy!

Jundo said...

Tonight, my friend the respected nuclear physicist in Europe, telephoned (he calls me each day, emails several times a day now) with a very very insistent recommendation to move Leon 500k away from Fukushima. While he thinks the scenario he is envisioning is still unlikely, if it were to happen, there would be short term effects in Tokyo that could have serious ramifications for children (adults too, but not as serious as for growing children). So, we are heading for Osaka tomorrow (probably get a chance to see my old friend Taigu while I am there too).

Again, he still believes the "worst case" scenario unlikely (one or more core breaches, with a large explosive release of serious radiation ... not the light kind ... I am not a scientist, so just relaying what I was told as best I understand it), but it cannot be ruled out given the information coming out at Fukushima to the scientific community. Hopefully, nothing will happen.

He advised that the effects, however, would be --temporary-- anywhere but at the immediate vicinity of the reactors. He emphasized that he is primarily worried about short term radiation effects accompany a core breach, except in the immediate vicinity of the reactors. So, even in the worst case, we would be able to return to our home in a few weeks ... he assured me. I will accept his assurances.

If I am exaggerating any of what I was told, may I burn in Buddhist nuclear hell. I hope to hell my friend does not know what he is talking about in this case.

It sounds like a bad dream. It is just what is. It is a lot to "just sit with" ... but still sitting. Even as we run for the hills.

Gassho, J

Anonymous said...

On Wednesday the Japanese government raised the legal limit on radiation exposure for reactor workers from 100 millisieverts to 250.

This is because virtually all of the plant workers have been exposed to 100 mvs. They were pulled off site yesterday but can now return with the new regulation.

Mr. Reee said...

Our friends at General Electric, maker of the Mark I nuclear reactor, have created a short and informative movie that puts everything in perspective.

It's easy to understand, and it shows that there is no real reason to fear anything:

Ron Kurtus said...

Are Atoms Tiny Solar Systems?

The Bohr model—or solar system model—of the atom describes atoms as consisting of a nucleus with a number of electrons in orbits around that nucleus, similar to a solar system. Because of this, people have speculated that perhaps atoms are like tiny solar systems.

Since our own Solar System consists of a sun in the middle with eight smaller planets rotating around it in their orbits and the element Oxygen has a nucleus and eight smaller electrons rotating around it in their orbits, you could imagine that there is a similarity between the two. Likewise, perhaps our solar system is an atom in some larger entity. Although recent studies have shown that the Bohr model of the atom is probably not correct—or at least incomplete—the concept of tiny solar systems has captured the imagination of many people.

Mumon said...

Absolutely right on "PIPE DOWN."

So many people are in this mode of prognosticating fear and lecturing - I'm reminded of the "Poison Arrow" Buddha metaphor.

But I will make one prognostication: somebody in a high position in Tokyo Denryoku is going to commit 自殺 (jisatsu, suicide) over this.

Anonymous said...

the charlie sheen stuff, and others in similar positions of 'winner' (or is that 'weener'?):

what is a problem?

is it when you experience that you have a problem:
when other's don't see that you have a problem;
or when other's also recognize that you have a problem.

if you don't experience you have a problem--is it a problem when other's say you have one, 'cause they have one with you?

what does the word 'problem' refer to?

It would seem people with money/status have different kinds of problems with their problems; one being that the means at their disposal to resolve most 'problems' may make things difficult to see and may even mask the kinds of 'problems' not resolvable in this manner.

what is such a person to do? Perspective may not be there.

Lone Wolf said...

Glen Beck's got issues:

Lone Wolf said...

More Glen Beck issues:

Anonymous said...

Lone Wolf.. Glen Beck? Slow day in groupieville?

Paul F. McDonald said...

In a bit of shameless self-promotion, how about an article about Darth Vader and karma, featuring eclectic Zen writers like Alan Watts, Cheri Huber, and our very own Brad Warner!

At the very least it will get your mind off tsunamis and Charlie Sheen.

Rick said...

Charlie Sheen is supposed to "perform" at the Fox Theatre here in Detroit. I hope Eminem shows up and makes him cry.

mysteriosis said...

San Francisco Police Begin Enforcing Sit/Lie Law

awesome comments

Anonymous said...

I love it that Brad surfs Charlie Sheen You-tube videos. Winning!

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

I definitely enjoy these type of blog posts as opposed to the negative, Brad vs. guru # 1001 posts.

How is Nishijima Sensei? He was the very first thought that came to my mind when I first heard the earthquake news.

Anonymous said...

Saskatoon... oh, look out they mine a lot of uranium there...

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


Anonymous said...

truth hurt?

Mr. MonkeyMind said...

I agreee Philbob. This was a good post, especially the part about karma. I've read and heard so much bull, particularly from japanese buddhists, about karma over the years. How this or that is due to collective karma or how an earthquake or other natural disaster was due to human conflict and mindstates. How many of us westerners exchange our own cultural bologna for eastern bologna? "Jesus turning water into wine? Ha ha silly. But wow, karma definitely caused that tsunami."

I hate the negative Brad vs guru #10001 too. It's so transparently self-serving and ego-enhancing. Brad is capable of so much more, imo.

Anonymous said...

"This has taught me to feel happy to be alive," said Mr. Kameya, whose family all survived. He looked toward a big fishing boat balanced on the manmade sea wall that was supposed to protect the harbor. "It has also taught me that life is painful."

Brad Warner said...

As far as Nishijima Roshi is concerned, I wish I knew. I could have sworn I said this here before. But maybe I didn't. I haven't heard a word from Nishijima since around October, 2010.

As far as I'm able to tell, he got ill and went to the hospital. At that point his daughter took charge of him. She never liked the fact that her dad did all that useless Zen stuff. She has only communicated sporadically with one of his Japanese Zen students in the months since then.

Because Tokyo wasn't too badly affected by the earthquake, I would assume that Nishijima Roshi is fine. Or as fine as he was before the earthquake, anyway.

I have no way of contacting him or obtaining any more information. This makes me sad.

Anonymous said...

My fiancee's cousin is stopping by McNally for me to grab a signature, as I live in Calgary! Sorry to miss it!

Kayla (your cow town admierer ;) )

proulx michel said...

For those of you who understand Japanese...

Blake said...

In my humble opinion, bi wins every time.

Anonymous said...

My fiancee's cousin will be getting a book signed for me at McNally tomorrow. As I live in Calgary and do not own a car I can't make it :( Catch you next time!!

Kayla (your Cow Town admirer ;) )

Anonymous said...

Charlie is going down. Maybe i lack sense of humor, but i didn't find that video fun at all. You can see the desperation in his eyes. Good luck, Charlie.

earDRUM said...

I don't watch TV so I only hear reports about Japan on ther radio news. I have seen enough photos and videos on the internet to have an idea of how devastating this disaster is. But I refuse to sit glued to a TV set watching other people suffer.
When I was 10 I realized that watching horror movies gave me nightmares, so I stopped watching them. And in recent years I realized that watching TV and TV news was having the same effect. It is all bad news. It is all depressing. So I pretty much cut that out of my life too.
I believe that there are a lot of fatalistic fundamentalist types running our media conglomerates who like presenting bad news. Especially so with huge disasters like 9-11, the Indonesian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and now Japan. I call it "disaster porn", because it is just as seductive as sexual porn.
So I limit my access to it.
It isn't because I don't have compassion for those poor Japanese people that I am not glued to a TV set. It is because I do care about them. I can't watch.
I know that it would be different if I had a loved one over there, but I don't.
I honestly don't think it does me any good to watch people suffer. I know enough about suffering already.
I think that I can contribute more to society by limiting the "bad news" that I ingest. I think it is better for me to concentrate on my own reality, here and now... on helping my neighbours, and trying to live an authentic life.
Am I being selfish? Am I just hiding my head in the sand? Maybe. But that's where I'm at.

Wish I could come see you in Saskatoon Brad. So close to Winnipeg... but my calendar is too full for me to get away.

Mysterion said...
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Soft Troll said...

Mysterion, reading your posts is increasing like listening to an old relative with dementia harp on about the 'darkies'.

I start reading... and then: oh that again. I kinda skim the rest, out of some sort of politeness - wincing a little by the end for having done so.

I'm sure I'd give your comments more time again - what with the obvious intelligence and wit you have the ability to bring to your subjects - if you let go of what comes across as a very dogmatic prejudice.

Perhaps leave the good fight to those with a fresher approach, refreshing your own in the process?


Anonymous said...

Soft: There's no convincing mysterion that he is a bigot. If there is a common thread running through his comments it is his intolerance and hatred. Of course he doesn't see it that way, no hater ever does. In his mind he is a wise buddhist seeing the truth. Your analogy of the old relative with racist tendacies is perfect. I have no doubt that mysterion would go there too if it wasn't politically incorrect. That is his god, political correctness. He is about a stone's throw from being a right nazi.

Anonymous said...

By the way, I looked back after Brad's admonition to lay off all the panic talk of a nuclear disaster. It was mainly myterion spreading that joy.

john e mumbles said...

Charlie Sheen may be one of those reverse polarity individuals who needs booze to feel and act (relatively) normal. 'Cause yeah, he has a crazed, desperate look in his "sober" eyes.

I used to think I had reverse Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), because I had an aversion to sunlight. I rather preferred gray, dismal weather...

Then the mothership arrived and I went back home behind the Pleiades.

Soft Troll said...

Anonymous@ 12.00, I wouldn't go so far as to say Mysterion is a bigot.

More that my experience of reading Mysterion's posts are often like my experience of listening to an old person's talk, stuck in some decaying orbit, where 'darkies' forms part of the wince. Note 'darkies' and not something more severe.

My wishing to listen to the old person is my attachment that contributes to my wince. The old person in my view was past any talking to on the matter, or maybe I'd have responded, as I have with Mysterion.

'We're in it together and we haven't got much time'.

Calling Mysterion a full-on Bigot would feel like just batting the rotten ball back, for a full-on rotten return.

Of course, 'Darkies' does suggest, but I hope it suggests mostly something softer.

I feel softer today.

Anonymous said...

Soft: If you want to sugar-coat things that's fine.. But a bigot is a person who is intolerant of any ideas other than his or her own, esp on religion, politics, or race. That describes mysterion to a tee. It's not like I said he beats his wife.

Soft said...

Point taken. I sprinkled a little sugar, because I often taste a little sugar in Mysterion's posts.

Tomorrow, maybe just bitter. Sometimes I hold a similar stance to yours too.

Although framing things in terms of Nazi/ PC etc seem too often to obstruct the issues they are used to address.

snakehead said...

I think the actual motives are baser than all that: he just wants some attention and is not interested one way or the other whether the person(s) react positively or negatively to what he says, primarily because he is not interested at all in other people's opinions.

Brad Warner said...

Disaster porn! That's exactly what it is!

Peter B said...

Hey Brad,
I just wanted to let you know that everyone at the U of S has you down to speak on the 17 (Thurs), not Friday. And, quite a few people turned up today...

uncle squiggly said...

mysterion is totally gay. I think that best describes him in non-pc terms.

Anonymous said...

Brad.. So is porn cool or not?

Anonymous said...

The voice on the phone was calm and dignified, as befitted a proud Japanese mayor, yet this somehow made his fury more forceful.

Hours after the tsunami struck, Katsunobu Sakurai told me, he had sought advice from the government on whether to evacuate the 71,000 people in his city, which is just 12 miles downwind of the Fukushima nuclear plant.

At first ministerial officials simply ignored his calls. When he did manage to speak to them, they assured him there was no cause for concern; a message he accepted and dutifully relayed.

He had toed the line because that is what Japan's civic leaders invariably do. But yesterday, far too late, the mayor of Minamisoma finally realised that he had been deceived, at best, and perhaps even lied to.

'Of course I am angry,' he told me through an interpreter yesterday. 'I was ignored and then badly misled, and as a result the people were abandoned here to die.

Fish said...

@Ron Kurtus:

The bohr model of the atom was abandoned sometime ago. Rather than orbits in the sense we think of when we talk about planets, elliptical in shape, electrons have different "paths" based on the layer they occupy. I say "paths" because the other thing that's been found is that electrons do not really follow a path at all. Rather, they flit around, going from spot to spot instantaneously. Their "orbit" is just a function of probability.

In some ways this is unfortunate. Having the behavior of really big things (solar systems) be reflected in really small things (atoms) is a pleasant idea that would wrap up the cosmos very nicely. But I think that theories like this say much more about human beings than they do about the world around them. The cognitive areas of our brains are highly advanced, we are literally wired for connections. Oftentimes, we find these connections simply because we are looking for them. If you'd like examples of this you need only turn on the news.

Mysterion said...
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john e mumbles said...

“Things get very clear when you’re cornered.”

-Chogyam Trungpa

Lone Wolf said...

"Lone Wolf.. Glen Beck? Slow day in groupieville?"

I'm not sure what this means, but I was simply pointing out that Glenn Beck has got issues (like mental issues) and posted some links as examples.

I think Beck and others on the Fox News Channel (but especially Beck) spout illogical nonsense that provoke anger and fear in uneducated people who watch the right-wing propogandaian news channel.

At least people on MSNBC, like Rachel Maddow (whose a Rhodes scholar), have a sense of logic and often back up their views with accredited statistical facts.