Friday, September 02, 2011

What's Tassajara Like?


People wanted to know what Tassajara was like. That's an easy one so I'll tackle that now.

For me, this time, Tassajara was mostly like chopping vegetables and washing dishes. I was invited down by Greg Fain who is the tanto (practice leader) of the place and a good friend of mine. Each summer guest season the tanto and various other staff members can invite people down on a work exchange basis. These folks come to Tassajara and get to enjoy the place for a few days in exchange for doing some kind of work. One guy was a masseuse and gave free massages to residents, one guy was an accupuncturist. I was invited down to give some talks to the students.

The first time this happened was last year. But last year I decided that it was kind of boring just to lounge around for a few days and then give some talks. So I asked Greg if I could enroll as a Tassajara student for a month and give my lectures during that time. He said OK, so that's what I did. This year I did the same thing, but for just three weeks instead of four. I figured I needed a bit more time at home to get ready for my upcoming European tour.

Last year I got assigned to the dining room crew wherein I was basically a waiter most of the time. This year I was on kitchen crew where I mostly chopped and washed (see above).

How Tassajara works is like this. During the Fall/Winter and Winter/Spring its a full-time Zen monastery. Only those enrolled as monastic students are allowed in. They follow a strict monastic schedule, rising at 3:40 AM, sitting lots of zazen, working to keep the monastery running, and studying the classic Buddhist texts.

In the Summer, the place is open to the public as a hot springs based resort. Tassajara was operated as a resort from sometime in the late 19th century until the late 1960s when it was bought by the San Francisco Zen Center. The Zen Center is now funded in a large part by the money brought in during Tassajara's summer guest season.

The costs of running Tassajara are kept down by staffing the place entirely with unpaid Zen students. These students can earn credit to attend the Fall or Spring practice periods free of charge by working as resort staff. There are also other benefits. The students eat great food (albeit not always as great as the guests), get free room and board, and get to experience most of what Tassajara offers its guests.

Students also adhere to a modified version of the practice period schedule. They're woken up at 5:20 AM to sit an hour of zazen and attend a service. There are two other services during the day and a 40 minute period of zazen in the evening. In between they work at various jobs to keep the resort running. They may make beds, clean rooms, fix the gardens, or, like me, prepare the food, among other jobs.

There is no Internet access in Tassajara. Your cell phones won't work. There is one communal telephone, but this is shared with the guests. There's another phone in the porch behind the office that students can use in the evenings. But you risk your call being heard by everyone else hanging around out behind the office playing board games or reading.

Most students have a room to themselves. The rooms are small, but mostly nice. You're almost always going to have a few rodent friends in your room. But Tassajara is deep, deep in the wilderness. You soon learn that you're in their world, not the other way around. It's not so bad as long as you don't leave lots of food laying around your place.

Students are required to follow Tassajara's monastic rules. These are not nearly as strict as the Southeast Asian vinaya rules for monks or even the kind of rules one must follow during training at a Japanese monastery. But there are rules. You're supposed to keep silence during the hours after evening service and before breakfast. You must attend zazen and services. And you can't have sex unless you either enter Tassajara as a couple or both members of the couple have been there at least six months. They don't want their monastery being used as a place to hook-up.

My days were usually spent in the kitchen. The kitchen is run according to the model provided by Dogen in his Instructions to the Cook (Tenzo Kyokyun). Work is done in silence except for functional speech. Each day near the start of work a portion of the Instructions to the Cook is chanted by all members of the kitchen staff in unison. Then the tenzo (head of the kitchen) gives a short talk about the passage and what it means to him or her.

In reality the work isn't done in complete silence. There's always a bit of chatting. But not much. This is a great relief actually. You don't feel the need to constantly come up with things to say. Awkward silences are no longer awkward. It's much easier to pay attention to the work at hand.

If you want to socialize there' always ample opportunity. The work schedule is very humane and you always end up with free time during the day. It's really not that much different from working a secular job in some respects except that the day is much more structured than most people structure their own working days. It's a lot like my days at home actually. Except with less mindless viewing of stupid YouTube clips about cute animals.

I learned to bake cookies. The last time I baked cookies at home for myself it was a catastrophe. But I baked several batches of delicious cookies at Tassajara without burning any of them. The cooks are generally amateurs. This surprised me because I'd always assumed that they were pros. But normally the chief cooks on any given day are pretty new to the job. But there are enough experienced people around to keep things from going terribly wrong.

The main inhabitants of Tassajara, though, are blue jays and squirrels. There are always far more of them than people. The jays are extremely clever and can dive bomb food right out of your hand if you're not careful. The squirrels know they're cute and work that to their advantage. Many of them walk right through the enclosed student dining area and sit there munching on whatever gets dropped on the dirt floor. Mice and rats are a bit more cautious, not having the cute factor to work with.

In addition to my two lectures, I led two services. One was a memorial to the people killed in the shooting incident in Akron last month. I also led evening zazen once. I had to wear robes for that stuff.

I attended dharma talks by several of SFZC's priests. One of those, by Norman Fischer, was about the Garrison Institute's Buddhist conference earlier this year. I found Reb Anderson's talk a bit confusing. It was something about his taking a vow to study delusion. But I never quite got what he meant by that. Linda Ruth Cutts played us a song about the Zen Hokey Pokey.

Loads more happened but that was all internal. Hope that explains things a bit.

153 comments:

Flip said...

Say cheese!

Joel Schooling said...

"Deluded about realization or great realization of delusion"? If Truth is ineffable, study what you think is truth and find why it isn't. This is studying delusion.

(Google is making me type the word "spite" below to prove I'm a human. So just in case I'm gonna say gassho, thanks for the blog Brad!)

Khru said...

This is probably the best comment thread I've ever seen on Bradley's blog...

scarlette said...

Brad said, I've never slammed Loori as a person. At least not that I can recall. But based on what he wrote I would imagine attending a retreat of his would have turned me against Zen forever.


OUch. Wow. I guess you are slamming now brad.

Brad could you be a little more specific about how his retreats would of turned you against Zen forever? Is Loori's monastery a place not to learn proper zen.
Should people beware?

Blake said...

Thanks for posting! I can't imagine that many of us will get to experience an extended study session like this.

Brad Warner said...

Scarlette is that "slam?" I don't really know.

I just feel that, after reading what he wrote and hearing about how he taught, Loori's Zen was very different from the Zen I learned.

As far as I know his center is perfectly legit. He wasn't a cheater like his Dharma brother (son?) Gempo. His pedigree is real. Nothing to beware of in that sense.

He appears to have taught a type of Zen in which students were encouraged to announce their so-called "Enlightenment experiences." Students were, I've heard, often singled out in public meetings as having had or not had such experiences. These experiences were, from what I've gathered, considered the goal of the practice.

I'm not into that sort of thing. It seems to go very much against what is actually important. It turns practice into a contest.

Having not been there myself, my 3rd hand reports about his place might be wrong. Go see for yourself if you want. It's still there even though Loori himself is gone.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Reb Anderson is confusing. He likes it that way.

As for Loori, whatever one may think of his Rinzai approach, his group does put out one of the finest dharma publications around:

http://dharma.net/mountainrecord/archive/

Anonymous said...

John Daido Loori was a teacher who taught zen both in the koan tradition and in the non-koan (more or less conventional Soto) style.

I think Brad is likely referring to his koan-based teaching. The 'goal' (if one could call it that) of koan study is ultimately identical with non-koan based zen.

My experience is that some folks are attracted to koans and others are not. Perhaps because of this there are zen teachers who use koans and others who do not.

(Note to Brad: you might want to get some first hand verification that Daido Roshi encouraged students to openly announce/discuss their 'enlightenment experiences').

Rounded shoulders said...

Scarlette and Brad
I've been practicing at Fire Lotus( loori's place in the city of Brooklyn) for five years and I have not witnessed any enlightenment call outs at all. I have also not heard of any goal of enlightenment taught. although brad might think they might sit too much whatever that means. Can one sit too little. At Antaiji they sit 1800 hours a year. Is that too much or too little? Any who, Shugen Sensei is the teacher there and I find him to be a kind,warm teacher that cares deeply for his students and sangha.

Anonymous said...

Brad said: "But are you sure that what I was describing was what you think it was?"

Well you got me there Brad. I'm not sure of anything.. But I think you were either describing something that really happened (unlikely) or you were embellishing an experience to make a good story (probable).

Good stories sell books. Stories of enlightenment are Buddhist porn. Your story was steamy. Was it just a day dream to sell some books?

Nick S. said...

I was really curious during Norman's talk at Tassajara what your impressions were. I thought it was pretty interesting, although I'm not exactly sure how these younger zen teachers propose to increase diversity in the sangha. It generally sounds like a great idea, but it seemed like the conference didn't produce any strategies for how to do that, nor did it define what actually needs to be done. I also still don't understand what the point of the conference was. What are your thoughts on that, and did your opinion of the conference change at all after hearing Norman's talk?

Anonymous said...

'course what you wrote isn't "what Tassajara is like"

'My three weeks at Tassajara this year'
Would be more accurate.

It is a fact: bills must be paid and the means to bring in money must be found
So this is San Francisco's arrangement--donations and Tassajara's paying guests and unpaid summer staff residents...

Glad you had a chance to work in a kitchen, believe it or not your life will never be the same for having done so

Jason McCaffrey said...

That explains things a bit, but I'd be curious what you feel you got out of the experience. I don't know if that's too personal a question.

Harry said...

Brad: "Loads more happened but that was all internal."

That happens to me too when I eat my own cooking.

There's a good precedent in Dogen for unreasonable, crabby sect denouncement; but in this day and age it's probably better to have yer facts straight.

I'm not too sold on Loori Roshi's Shinji Shobogenzo commentary myself, but then Nishijima Sensei's is pretty subjective too. It's interesting to compare both commentaries with Dogen's own actual exploration of the koans that he elaborated on in Shobogenzo: He was more Rinzai than Rinzai, and more Soto than Soto.

Regards,

Harry.

Connor said...

The Instruction to the Cook link doesn't work. Could you post the correct one? It seems very very interesting.

Anonymous said...

That all sounds like some kind of cult to me.

captcha = flymeted

Fly me, Ted?

Anonymous said...

There's a good precedent in Dogen for unreasonable, crabby sect denouncement; but in this day and age it's probably better to have yer facts straight.

Mysterion said...

Since Tassajara doesn't accept dogs (the 3003 manifestation of Krishna) I haven't been able to go down that road... so to speak.

But it's a way kewl place.

Purchased by SFZC? Yes, at far below market value.

"The area was first occupied by and the springs were used by native Esselen people for a thousand years or more..."

When Bush said "homeland" he was, of course, speaking for native americans - thos that had been here 7,000 years or so...

current thinking is more like 3,000 or 4,000 years...

Anonymous said...

I explored some Soto in the cleveland area--I found a mini-cult totally devoted to Reb Anderson. The (very nice) woman gave talks in the context of "Reb wants us to study this..."

Bizarre, to me at least.

May be pestering Akron folks next.
--Matt

Anonymous said...

There's a good precedent in Dogen for unreasonable, crabby sect denouncement; but in this day and age it's probably better to have yer facts straight.

Mysterion said...

re Dogen: Brad is in the processing stage of rethinking the Dogen Myth.

Almost every story starts with a point to be made, is expanded to a story line, given some sort of face (edifice), and solidified into a legend.

john Loori said...

Master Obaku said to a monk: Old veteran monks from many districts are all on the head of my staff.



The monk prostrated himself.


On a later occasion, the monk went to the temple where Master Daiju was staying and told him what Master Obaku had said.



There's a good precedent in Dogen for unreasonable, crabby sect denouncement; but in this day and age it's probably better to have yer facts straight.







Master Daiju said: Master Obaku said that? Has he met these monks from many districts?


The monk returned to Master Obaku and told him what Master Daiju had said.


Master Obaku said: Those words which I said have already spread throughout the world.

Seagal Rinpoche said...

To see the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wild flower, to hold infinity in the palm of the hand, and eternity in an hour.

Doug said...

This was a fun read, thanks for sharing!

Mysterion said...

LOL Segal Blake...

A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions.
A Dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.


source

the other BLAKE

Mysterion said...

Cognitive science holds that perception - like a fingerprint - is individual. Although perceptions may (like fingerprints) have certain groups of patterns in common, no two are identical.

Therefore Tassajara is a uniquely individual experience - regardless of when you go or who you are with.

This is why "Zen" is ultimately a party of one.

Anonymous said...

Huh?

He appears to have taught a type of Zen in which students were encouraged to announce their so-called "Enlightenment experiences." Students were, I've heard, often singled out in public meetings as having had or not had such experiences. These experiences were, from what I've gathered, considered the goal of the practice.

Anonymous said...

man, I STILL scroll past Mysterion whenever he writes ANYTHING! I just can't bring myself to tolerate what he posts...

gniz said...

So I take it comment moderation is going to allow sic hundred wiki-spam posts by Mysterion now?

Just when the blog was becoming readable again...

Anonymous said...

I don't know how to say this w/o sounding hokey so here it goes...

Evidently I've had some sorta "realization" over the last couple of days and I don't have anyone else to discuss it with. BUT, no discussion is necessary.

Thank you Brad and various other contributors to this blog for pointing to the moon over the last few years.

I'm liberated....and NOW the real practice begins.

Mysterion said...

Yes, Aaron, there is a Santa Clause.

And Esselen (above) is a quickie wiki link while Esalen is not. (BTW read the entire Hagman interview).

I did some old Esalen in the 70s. It reminds me that "the good old days" ended just 20 minutes before you were born. Pretentious Esalen was replaced by a somewhat more authentic Tassajara through the efforts of Rev. Suzuki.

My pretentiousness is a result, no doubt, of the waters at the former... It certainly wasn't the tantric massage...

Another BOOK to read...

The so-called "human potential movement" was a spin off of the old Yogananda movement - or fellowship.

BTW, my mentor a decade ago who passed at the age of 91 (in 2002) was a student of Yogi Nan des (as I call Yogananda).


Thank santa claus...

and the easter bunny, too.

one more LINK

bit it.

Anonymous said...

mysterion, Do you think you could take maybe six years off from blogging here just to prove to us that you can do it? We don't think you can.

Odd that the shameless censor lost his job at the same moment mysterion reappears.

Maybe they were traded for each other.. I never thought I would miss the shameless censor.

Brad Warner said...

Anonymous said:

Note to Brad: you might want to get some first hand verification that Daido Roshi encouraged students to openly announce/discuss their 'enlightenment experiences'

The questioner asked my opinion. I told her and reiterated several times that my info on his monastery was unreliable. I think it's abundantly clear that I'm not stating facts, just things I've heard.

Though I have read the man's books for myself and my opinions there are first-hand.

I'm not much interested in what Loori did or didn't teach or do. I'm not much interested in what Rev. Drucker in Midtown, Indiana teaches either. Or Rabbi Horwitz in Feral Springs, Utah.

Loori is, I suppose, "important" in the sense of being popular. But he means virtually nothing to me. I know some folks thing he ought to. But I don't see why.

Brad Warner said...

Nick S, said:

I was really curious during Norman's talk at Tassajara what your impressions were. I thought it was pretty interesting, although I'm not exactly sure how these younger zen teachers propose to increase diversity in the sangha. It generally sounds like a great idea, but it seemed like the conference didn't produce any strategies for how to do that, nor did it define what actually needs to be done. I also still don't understand what the point of the conference was. What are your thoughts on that, and did your opinion of the conference change at all after hearing Norman's talk?

Yeah. It wasn't what I thought it was. But calling it a Maha Sangha Council sure tends to indicate that the aim was to somehow lead the direction of Buddhism in America.

As for diversity, I'm with you. It's all well and good to say you want it. Almost nobody is going to argue with you. But what do you do? SFZC has tried lots of stuff including special events for people of color or LGBT. They've had some success with the latter. But their clientele is still mostly white folks, even when they're "sexual orientation/gender queer" white folks.

Mysterion said...

Brad:

Say the secret word and you win $50.

"Maha Sangha" was close - but no cigar...

BTW, thanks for the report. I hope Tassajara becomes an annual happening for you. I just might go next year - for a reforestation effort in the wake of that big fire*.

Anonymous said...

Brad said: "But their clientele is still mostly white folks, even when they're "sexual orientation/gender queer" white folks."

I find this most offensive. White folks? Really? Can we ever get to the point where we don't identify groups of people by their skin color? I am offended by this. So let's stop using it.

Mysterion said...

sorry...

Here is the missing Rev. Suzuki link [a PDF].

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 9:36. Please, you want to be offended. We can say black, we can say white, we can probably say brown, yellow and red, but those are actual charged words.

Brad is fine. if that offends you, here, then you're in the wrong place, m'friend.

Anonymous said...

use hakujin instead.

or pale

I beheld, a pale hakujin...
(Revelation 6:8)

red man

orange men

yellow men

green men

blue men

violet men

I prefer "Them" and "Us."

Us'n folks ain't like them.

Them folks ain't like us!

friggin

get

over

it

Anonymous said...

anonymous @ 9:45

My comments were somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Brad is offended by "paki-dot" but not by "white folks". To me they are the same. Designations to be laughed at rather than be offended by.

Brad Warner said...

I never said I was offended personally by the term "paki dot." But it's rude.

White folks like me can say "white folks." If you're Pakistani, I'll forgive the use of the term "paki dot."

Exblahblahblah said...

Words and letters will only confuse you.

Yes, I'm talking to you.

Specifically.

You.

Anonymous said...

Brad said "White folks like me can say "white folks." If you're Pakistani, I'll forgive the use of the term "paki dot."

Is this not the essence of political correctness? It's the same phrase but only allowable within your own subgroup.. It's completely political. It's the spurious idea of subgroups that's really offensive.

Anonymous said...

Talk about misleading! I'm surprised Brad made a comment about Loori. It obvious that it really rubs his anus the wrong way. Brad states" abundantly clear"? To whom? And how does he know this? Socrates was right when he feared the technology of the written word. Has he ever been to the monastery? I don't think so? Has he ever met Loori? I don't know? Does he know what goes on at Zen Mountain? Well, gee, I guess so. Talk about misleading! I hear that Brad is really nice guy. But his books are sanctimonious , bitchy and selfish. I read one of his books and knowing that he hangs at Tassajara turns me off to the place for ever. For Ever? How do I know that ? Because the bible tells me so.

Mysterion said...

When I was in Japan, working for a small Japanese start up (35,000 employees), I would sometimes call myself a long-nosed round-eyed hakujin - like after a few beers with the boss.

Needless to say, after I retired they chuckled about this - but never when I was there.

Once, when we were rolling out a new studio TV camera, the simple version was nicknamed "for round eye" while the complex version was nicknamed "for slant eye." The basic idea was that - owing to the lack of technical expertise (and education) in the Americas - there was no benefit (and much liability) in exporting a product that could NOT be safely used in an undereducated region.

Now, in the wake of the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, the Japanese ruling elite have egg on their faces because the training for Nuclear Safety for the working underlings came from... GE. Obviously, we lacked the education and expertise to train them properly and effectively.

Now the question is, how can GE [a PDF] ever apologize?

How can we? (With sincerity?)

The Japanese have, however, generously shared the radioactive contamination with us.

Anonymous said...

Good line about Socrates concern about the written word. Here is a interesting link: http://www.ascentstage.com/papers/heresy.html

At the end of the day, what Brad and I have to say in theory does not seem to differ so much. But then again, theory does not count. When it comes to practice in real life, we could not differ more. But when I say "differ", I do not mean "differ" as in "good and bad", but rather as in "salty and sweet". It is up to you to pick which you prefer.

Mysterion said...

The trial of Socrates, the most interesting [de-facto] suicide the world has ever seen, produced the first martyr for free speech. ...just as Jesus needed the cross... Socrates needed his hemlock... source

Synthesized from a primary source

Moral to the story: You can speak against whatever gods may be as long as you don't provoke the jury!

Exception:

(John 8) The Pharisees brought a woman who had been accused of adultery, and placed her in their midst. They said, “Teacher (rabbi), this woman has been accused of adultery. Now the Law Moses commanded us to stone guilty women. So what do you say?”

Jesus meditated on this. And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let he who is utterly without sin throw the first stone.”

When they heard thid, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones. Jesus was left with the woman standing before him.

Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, why are you here?”

She said, “I am accused of adultery.”

And Jesus said, “I do not accuse you. Go your way, and sin no more.”

(Codex Sinaiticus)

**********************************
Jesus said, "Damn the Pharisees! They are like a dog sleeping in the cattle manger: the dog neither eats nor [lets] the cattle eat." - Thomas 102
**********************************

It is increasingly obvious that Jesus was modeled after a Buddhist Monk!. (Like John)

It is also increasingly obvious that the modern 'western bible' ain't a lot like the old Alexandrian or Byzantine Bibles.

Cheers,
Chas

alan sailer said...

Mysterion,

The Christian religion, like it or not, exists.

Deal with it in private.

Please.

Cheers.

bexa lemon said...

(3:59 GMT) Looks like loads indeed. They make beds and clean rooms, you buy (sex, death, karma and/or zen) and donate, and Brad will continue. Myself, I will stick to sitting. I suppose. And hope it'll help me make up my mind about the up part of shut.

anonymous anonymous said...

dude is such a hick. He should take a couple of years off commenting here and think about things. Right on Alan.

Mysterion said...

Scientology exists...

Jehovah's Witnesses exist...

Crimen Sollicitationis [a PDF] exists...

where evil exists, expose it! (so others can avoid it)

"If a viper lives in your room and you wish to have a peaceful sleep, you must first chase it out." -Dharma

I think the xtian perversion of Buddhism is evil... think, not believe.

ga sho nuff,
chas

proulx michel said...

Mysterion said...

The trial of Socrates, the most interesting [de-facto] suicide the world has ever seen, produced the first martyr for free speech

Socrates was condemned for having perverted the youth: indeed, all but one of his students had taken part in a bloody coup d'état to overthrow democracy.
Up to this day, the only one of his students to have stood at all times and against all odds in favour of democracy remains the most reviled and vilified of them all: Alcibiades.
The surviving others were condemned to exile (amongst which Plato). Exile was the typical penalty for murder...

Anonymous said...

Scientology exists...

Jehovah's Witnesses exist...

Crimen Sollicitationis exists...

Mysterion exists...

where evil exists, expose it! (so others can avoid it.)

I know that Mysterion's perversion of Brad's comment section is evil... know, not believe.

Anonymous said...

P.S.

"If Mysterion comments on your posts and you wish to have a peaceful blog, you must first chase him out." -Dharma

Anonymous said...

Brads comments on Loori is really proof in the pudding that his practice is still very immature and childlike. It is not adult practice.

spitball said...

Well all righty then. It looks like everything's back to normal. The blind man returns on his high horse. The shameless censor is back under his rock. The anonymice still afraid of their own shadows and Brad confused about it as ever.

anon #108 said...

Hi 6.03am,

Care to explain?

What is immature, childlike practice?
How does it differ from adult practice?
How does Brad's opinion of John Daido Loori lead you to the conclusion that Brad's practice is childlike, immature, not adult?

gniz said...

As to the comments section being back to normal...

Water does find it's own level, no?

Anonymous said...

"If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond like an echo." - Bruce Lee

Anonymous said...

"You cannot force the Now. But can you neither condemn nor justify and yet be extraordinarily alive as you walk on? You can never invite the wind, but you must leave the window open." - Bruce Lee

Anonymous said...

test

Anonymous said...

cool!

I like the idea of zen, and I enjoy the drama here even more.

Anonymous said...

haha! post of the day over at Mike Cross' place:

SAUNDARANANDA 11.41: Unprofitable Enjoyment

Having enjoyed in heaven
The utmost sensual objects,
He falls back, beset by suffering:
What has the enjoyment done for him?

Anonymous said...

Don’t you see? Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva has never understood what compassion is.

Pinhead the Great said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S.

"If Mysterion comments on your posts and you wish to have a peaceful blog, you must first chase him out." -Dharma

3:45 AM

What wuld you like to see as the moto of Dharma? Be fit or be a nitwit!

alan sailer said...

Mysterion,

Obviously you are choosing to completely ignore my point.

I used to (a long time ago) read your posts.

I don't anymore.

Anymore it seems like they are just hyperlink lectures.

When I did read them it felt like I was having a conversation with someone who would talk for a while and then pause to hold hold up an all caps sign to illustrate a point.

Not much fun.

As a side issue, I frequently scare myself with stories I read about the antics of the Christian Right.

I also remind myself of my sisters family, ardent Christians, whose kids are better people than I will ever be.

So as a small kindness to my sister and her family, please don't imply that Christianity is bad.

Because it isn't.

metzmash said...

Can you put the other Dimentia 13 records on Spotify? I'd love to hear them. Just picked up Hardcore Zen, and I'm really enjoying it. Thanks for writing such a good book.

Ghost of Mumbles Past said...

Somewhere in this blog mash up John E Mumbles posted about the movie How To Cook Your Life about Edward Espe Brown.

Lots of inside looks at Tassajara and Suzuki Roshi in this wonderful film:

http://www.snagfilms.com/films/title/how_to_cook_your_life/

tattoozen said...

Im sad to see the moderator go, the anonymous shit stirrers ran over to poop the comments up again instantly.

I would love it if people posting in this section had to register with a real name and contact info.

As for Tassjara, after reading "Crooked Cucumber" I really appreciate the work that the SFZC put in to make it happen. It already existed yes, but apparently in a dilapidated, barely usuable form before Suzuki and his students went to work on it.

The summer work/practice thing sounds really really appealing i might have to look into it, Ive worked in kitchens and it can be really fun to feel like a part of a functioning crew like that. . .

Anonymous said...

it is possible to be batshit and nice. christianity is very bad.

Mysterion said...

my posts ARE just hyper-linked structures.

I refer to the common body of knowledge (CBK) that has been nicely expressed on 'the cloud' over the last decade.

I am not the source of knowledge. Nor am I the channel of that knowledge. I have been able to water witch a small portion of the CBK for your edification.

Perhaps my observation of the CBK changes (degrades?) it in some molecular way - ask a quantum thermodynamics physicist about that (e.g. it's above my pay grade).

But why am I writing this - knowing that you (and others) will not be reading it?

Is it all for NOTHING?

But isn't that NOTHING the entire non-point?

Anonymous said...

nice to see Mysterion admitting his whole purpose in hijacking someone else's blog is to literally inflict himself upon others.

Kong Achoo said...

"You cannot force the Now."

? Green Hornet's side kick (pun intended) ?

alan sailer said...

Mysterion,

Are you at all interested in addressing another person?

Or just on some theoritical, annoted, footnoted term paper level?

Your hyper linked response is to my post is just what see from you on a daily basis.

If you want to respond to this, please respond in a non-lecturing , non hyperlinked level.

Another aside.

My sister is a Christian.

I have lots of problems with Christians in the abstract.

As I said, I try to scare myself with their extreme antics on a daily basis.

She and her children are really (and absolutely) great people.

So please, please, please stop dissing Christians.

I am only interested in engaging you on a "real" level.

Not on a hyperinked, pedagogical level.

Give it youir best shot :-)

gniz said...

Mysterion said:

"But why am I writing this - knowing that you (and others) will not be reading it?"

It's a good question. Perhaps you'd like to tell us what you've gotten out of it. Not with some B.S. zenny answer but with an answer that actually makes sense in a tangible way. I have no problem with a "zen" answer, but now when it's used as a cop out.


"Is it all for NOTHING?"

Using other people's work to express things that are not benefiting or informing others might be pretty much the definition of all for nothing.

"But isn't that NOTHING the entire non-point?"

Maybe I'm just missing the post-modern zen art that you've been subjecting me (and others) to for years here. But I don't think that Nothing is the point or the non-point.

There are people out there, including Brad (or perhaps even Mike Cross) that seem to have a flair for expressing some "non-thinking" ideas. But I believe they don't just spew pages of wiki links to do that. Rather, they take time and effort to consider and choose their own words.

And if they use someone else's knowledge to express a point, they typically add something to it, and also willingly engage others in truthful and honest dialog along those lines.

My feeling is that if you're doing something quite different, very atypical, and something that 99.9 percent of people don't understand--then you're subject to a higher degree of scrutiny and thus the standard for why you're choosing to express yourself in this way is a more difficult standard to meet.

You have not met any such standard that I can tell, nor have you tried, nor do you seem to know the difference.

Anonymous said...

now... break out the champagne!

Anonymous said...

I Damien Echols posted on the comments sections of Brads earlier post. What that really him? Damien can you verify?

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Shut up G-Niz.

I like Mysterion's rants.

Mysterion said...

I carefully selected my words when I said:

"Ultimately, Zen is a party of 1."

Perhaps I should have added that there is, in fact, no maître d'hôtel, no reception, no table, no waiter, and no menu. Room reservations are not required because, for this purpose, space in unlimited - and unreserved.

This may seem intuitively wrong for a person who was brought up with a Castle in the Sky, a Sky Pilot to guide you there, and rooms reserved for only the elite few.

On one level - the introductory - there are multiples of individuals playing the part of maître d'. Many have ad hoc hotels in other spaces - an industrial warehouse, a home for unwed Jewish mothers, a UU assembly hall, and the like. Waiters bring you a menu and you are guided to a choice of the meal you are expected to ingest.

And after you have ingested the meal, you go home hungry. The meal did not meet your expectations. The maître d' was, you thought, a bit arrogant because you didn't get all the jargon. He did not show you enough respect and attention because, you think, you were not well versed in the manners and customs of the hotel.

Later you discover that it wasn't a hotel that you were looking for at all, it was a library. And in the library you were able to quietly read:

Ballou

Suzuki

and Kaye

You see, Brad has already made a difference - a BIG difference.

Anonymous said...

"Ultimately, Zen is a party of 1."

Mysterion whacks a stick that could burst the boils off J. Dildo Loori's arse.

Bows

Mysterion, Lake and Palmer said...

Welcome back, my friends, to the show that never ends...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeQsZOQqO6I

Anonymous said...

IT'S CLEAR WHY BRAD HAS A BUG UP HIS ASS ABOUT LOORI. LOORI HAS WRITTEN MORE BOOKS. HE HAS MORE FANS. HE NEVER ABANDONED HIS SANGHA. HE HAD STUDENTS. HE IS IMPORTANT.

JEALOUSLY IS A MERCURIAL ANIMAL.

BRAD HAS BECOME WHAT HE IS PRETENDING NOT TO BE.

ZEN MASTER RAMA

THE FOX NEWS OF ZEN

Anonymous said...

I suggest brad watches this if he's confused about post in his comments page http://youtu.be/3-son3EJTrU

Brad assumes that he's abundantly clear on something but is clearly saying else. A great zen master like brad is quite clear in what he is really saying

gniz said...

Philbob, If you like his posts and I guess so does Mumbles--maybe two people out of two hundred is enough to warrant letting the spam continue. I guess it might be...

Mysterion, if all of your posts were more like your last one, I would have a lot less of an issue with you.

Maybe you just got lazy for awhile. If so, please don't continue to be.

Anonymous said...

Brad is a really nice guy. I don't think hemingway was like his writing.

anon #108 said...

...maybe two people out of two hundred...

Make that three, gniz.

I don't 'like' Mysti's posts, but they don't bother me - not in the way they seem to profoundly annoy a few others...which doesn't tell us very much, other than that some are bothered and others aren't. Me, I'm more bothered/annoyed/disturbed by the sometimes - no, often - viciously personal, relentless attacks on Mysti by one or two anons (particularly when he wasn't here; anyone who believes he was posting as a whole bunch of other names during his absence has paid very little attention to the detail of Mysti's missives and has no grasp of his writing style, IMO. I could be wrong.) And while your language is more moderated and you do at least argue your case, it's clear that you share the gut reaction of the less articulate haters. I just don't get why he generates so much anger and frustration. My loss, I guess :)

Anonymous said...

Make that FOUR!

Anonymous said...

I find a lot of the anti-Mysterion posts, often by Anon(s), to have a bullying, self-satisfied tone; and a form of address that implies that everyone else is in agreement with that attitude. These, even when displaying some authentic critique, are often counter-productive.

I don't think it's in the main a consequence of 'gut reaction' though. I think at least one of the Anons has just given up the greater part of critical dialogue in favour of shit-slinging: a strategy of mirroring what has been interpreted as Mysterion's own hatefulness that has become a sour habit.

This stratey is perhaps in part due to Mysterion's ability to maintain a textually thick - or rather cyberpervious - skin to even polite responders with reasonable concerns (although I do detect signs bruising in some of his rejoinders).

I think most who have problems with Mysterion's posts have read what he writes closely enough, but over time have often given up reading closely. For some this might just be an experience of mild annoyance inducing benumbed or benighted midge-swatting along to another comment (as has now become my own experience - although I will occasionally pause to update).

But some responses seem to have been amplified from irritation by the manner of his continual attacks on Christianity entangled with the entrenched didactic or self-satisfied address that can often come across as simple arrogance.

That some take Mysterion as an arrogant religious intolerant is surely reason to understand why he is responded to in variously negative ways. Although I don't think this fits all he contributes, I think it would be difficult to argue that such labelling is totally unfounded.

Perhaps clearly find him to be persistently and deliberately rude in this area, and others have openly suggested he has been merely showing off under the guise of agitator at the expense of others' sensitivities, or at the expense of authentic dialogue on matters that folk are sensitive to.

Also Gniz has made a point of calling Mysterions posts a form of 'spamming'. This I interpret as meaning he finds that the bulk of Mysterions posts in the same style have a negatively pollutant effect on the comments section. I think Gniz's view is part of his wider view that comment posters take responsibility for the comment section environment as a whole.

For my part, I find Mysterion's style often a blur of cyber-buffet pellets, which sometimes provoke responses or reactions that he in turn could respond to in a different style of address out of respect or compassion - instead of more pellets. And as Gniz has pointed out, he has put forth a character that attests to high (almost holier than thou) standards - intellectually, ethically and linguistically. So a strong group response maybe follows as night does day. Some more measured, some more rudimentary, others perhaps unfortunately more nasty.

There is a sense of post-modern play in his efforts. But there is also a sense of how those who adopt post-modern linguistic modes fall into the trap of having 'liberated' themselves into stultifying conventions of address that have become as reactionary and exclusive as those from which they were perhaps meant to be freed or transformed.

If 'gut reaction' does describe an attitude consonant with my own, it is that too much of Mysterion can effect a kind of irritable gut syndrome, leading to the need for smaller doses or perhaps different means of preparation.

Of course, one must be wary of folk ganging up on Mysterion. But I don't think it's even a case of smoke leading to fire - his own words bear witness to his often deliberately inflammatory agendas. Whether this be good or bad all sorts have been drawn to the flames.

Soft Troll said...

I find a lot of the anti-Mysterion posts, often by Anon(s), to have a bullying, self-satisfied tone; and a form of address that implies that everyone else is in agreement with their attitudes. These, even when displaying some authentic critique, are often counter-productive.

I don't think it's in the main a consequence of 'gut reaction' though. I think at least one of the Anons has just given up the greater part of critical dialogue in favour of shit-slinging: a strategy of mirroring what s/he has interpreted as Mysterion's own hatefulness, and which has become perhaps its own sour habit.

This strategy is, I think, in part due to Mysterion's ability to maintain a textually thick - or rather cyberpervious - skin to even polite responders with reasonable concerns (although I do detect signs of bruising in some of his rejoinders).

I think most who have problems with Mysterion's posts have read what he writes closely enough, but over time have often given up reading closely. For some this might just be an experience of mild annoyance inducing benumbed or benighted midge-swatting along to another comment (as has now become my own experience - although I will occasionally pause to update).

But some responses seem to have been amplified from irritation by the manner of his continual attacks on Christianity entangled with the entrenched whimisically-didactic style that can often come across as arrogant, and maybe deflect from what he is intending - if his intentions are in the main to entertainingly inform or add to a debate.

But then, as even his 'Maitre-d' post shows, with its extended conceit, Mysterion prefers to sex up his messages in perfomative or playfully recondite diversions, rather than a more intimate, direct address. And sometimes a less evasive mode, on occasion, might help others - not to 'get' him - but to feel that their efforts to understand him are worth the bother, or that is pronouncements have some genuine heart behind them, and not some form of self-reflexive display.

That some take Mysterion as an arrogant religious intolerant is surely reason to understand why he is responded to in variously negative ways. Although I don't think this fits all he contributes, I think it would be difficult to argue that such labelling is totally unfounded.

Soft Troll said...

...cont

Some clearly find him to be persistently and deliberately rude in this area, and others have openly suggested he has been merely showing off under the guise of agitator at the expense of others' sensitivities, or at the expense of authentic dialogue on matters that folk are sensitive to.

Also Gniz has made a point of calling Mysterions posts a form of 'spamming'. This I interpret as meaning he finds that the bulk of Mysterions posts in the same style have a negatively pollutant effect on the comments section. I think Gniz's view is part of his wider view that comment posters take responsibility for the comment section environment as a whole. I think it's unfair to suggest, as #108 seems to, that Gniz and others don't get Mysterion's posts or their style and to group these all together into some hateful mass of ignoranti.

For my part, I find Mysterion's style not to my taste - often a blur of cyber-buffet pellets, which sometimes provoke responses or reactions that he in turn could respond to in a different style of address out of respect or compassion - instead of more pellets. And as Gniz has pointed out, he has put forth a character that attests to high (almost holier than thou) standards - intellectually, ethically and linguistically. So a strong group response maybe follows as night does day. Some more measured, some more rudimentary, others perhaps unfortunately more nasty.

There is a sense of post-modern play in his efforts. But there is also a sense of how those who adopt post-modern linguistic modes fall into the trap of having 'liberated' themselves into stultifying conventions of address that have become as reactionary and exclusive as those from which they were perhaps meant to be freed or transformed.

If 'gut reaction' does describe an attitude consonant with my own, it is that too much of Mysterion can effect a kind of irritable gut syndrome, leading to the need for smaller doses or perhaps different means of preparation.

Of course, one must be wary of folk mindlessly ganging up on Mysterion. But I don't think it's even a case of smoke leading to fire - his own words bear witness to his often deliberately inflammatory agendas. Whether this be good or bad all sorts have been drawn to the flames.

Anonymous said...

90

Jundo said...

Mysterion is what this entire blog, articles and all, is all about: a bunch of online talk that takes you people away from your cushions. Brother Brad would be well-advised to shut this waste of cyberspace down.

anon #108 said...

Hi ST,

Generally, I agree with your careful, insightful description and analysis of M's posts and the reactions they engender in some. But you wrote:

I think it's unfair to suggest, as #108 seems to, that Gniz and others don't get Mysterion's posts or their style and to group these all together into some hateful mass of ignoranti.

- That's not what I meant to suggest at all, and not what I believe I wrote. My reference to those who "do not get..." was only directed at those who spammed the comments section with attributions of all sorts of comments to M in his self-proclaimed absence. I didn't hear M's voice any of those comments. Also, it's my impression of M that whatever else he might be, he is a man of principle - if he says he wasn't posting anonymously, I believe him.

Being more bothered by the language and attitudes of the aggresive wing of the anti-Mysterion camp than Mysterion himself, I wanted to express some support for him, not by apologising for or justifying his views, style or approach, but by pointing out that I, for one, am not bothered by M's posts. A hollow gesture, perhaps, but one I wanted to make. I'm one of the people who rarely what he writes these days; I skim but am rarely engaged enough to check the links, the essential element of his contributions, it seems to me.

gniz said...

Hey Anon #108,

You're right. Mysti's posts really do get under my skin. I'm somewhat puzzled by it myself. But not everyone gets along in life.

I remember feeling very taken aback when I went on Mike Cross's blog a few times to try and talk with him and he bit my head off. He just didn't like me--something about my style, the way I write or express myself--really annoyed him.

Some folks just don't get along.

I feel like I am pretty straight forward with Mysterion and haven't really made personal attacks. I don't like the way he posts so often and with such verbosity that it's almost impossible for me to just ignore/skip his posts. And then others are responding to his posts and I can't get away from it.

Is it a big deal? Heck no. Nothing on this blog is really worth a second thought.

And I usually can gauge my own tension or current state of mind based on how I react to Mysti and other such posts that I differ with. If I start getting into the back and forth stuff, it usually means I'm having a bad hour/day/week/month.

No doubt, my reactions to Mysti's posts says much more about me than they do about him.

gniz said...

Soft Troll, That's a great analysis IMO. Almost makes me feel that Mysterion's presence here IS really contributing, if only to lead us into a further understanding of our reactions to him and what it means for each of us. Why we react so differently, what a "dialog" online is actually for anyway?

I'm still up in the air on the benefit or lack thereof to this whole online "talking" thang. Like Brad, I sense the very real lack of an actual person in front of me has grave consequences, making so much of this just more hot air that we spout at one another.

But I'd rather that if we are going to "tolerate" or enjoy Mysti's rather voluminous contributions to this blog, that we who have difficulty understanding him perhaps take time to discuss it with those who claim they're getting something out of it.

Maybe that would bridge the gap.

Anonymous said...

Jundo is that really you?

anon #108 said...

ST,

...I should add that I did 'have at' M shortly after I started posting here a couple of years ago...annoyed by many of the same things that annoy others and that you've identified. But he never got personally abusive - ignored (I felt) my point, dismissed me maybe, but never engaged in abusively ad hom responses... And so I backed away and left him to it... And so I find it hard to understand why others become so hooked by him. Not a superior position, just different.

-- gniz, just seen yours at 11.24am:

Some folks just don't get along.

Yep. Totally :)

gniz said...

Maybe posting online in forums is no different than becoming part of the celebrity culture to some extent.

We see ourselves reflected back in the words of the people who respond to us. Or maybe that's just me.

I noticed that I often re-read my own posts (including emails to people) over and over again, whereas I spend usually much less time reading what others have to say.

I read Soft Troll's most recent analysis a couple of times, and felt that I quite enjoyed it. But then, why wouldn't I? After all, he mentioned me!!

Maybe somehow, in some round about way this explains something of M's mission in this comment section as well. Who cares what people are getting out of your contributions, as long as they notice and respond?

There is satisfaction in the reflection itself, whether the reflection be murky or pristine.

Maybe M knows this. Maybe M wants to point us to it.

I don't know. I just feel confused :)

Jundo said...

Yes.

anon #108 said...

gniz - re your last @ 11.43am ("Or maybe that's just me.") --

Nope. Two and counting.

Anonymous said...

How do I know that is really you Jundo? Can you post on your site?

Mr. Berne's said...

Gniz said...
"Maybe somehow, in some round about way this explains something of M's mission in this comment section as well. Who cares what people are getting out of your contributions, as long as they notice and respond?"

Transactional Analysis says...
"Transactions and Strokes:
Transactions are the flow of communication, and more specifically the unspoken psychological flow of communication that runs in parallel. Transactions occur simultaneously at both explicit and psychological levels. Example: sweet caring voice with sarcastic intent. To read the real communication requires both surface and non-verbal reading.
Strokes are the recognition, attention or responsiveness that one person gives another. Strokes can be positive (nicknamed "warm fuzzies") or negative ("cold pricklies"). A key idea is that people hunger for recognition, and that lacking positive strokes, will seek whatever kind they can, even if it is recognition of a negative kind. We test out as children what strategies and behaviours seem to get us strokes, of whatever kind we can get.

People often create pressure in (or experience pressure from) others to communicate in a way that matches their style, so that a boss who talks to his staff as a controlling parent will often engender self-abasement or other childlike responses. Those employees who resist may get removed or labeled as "trouble".

Transactions can be experienced as positive or negative depending on the nature of the strokes within them. However, a negative transaction is preferred to no transaction at all, because of a fundamental hunger for strokes."

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

gniz said...

I really don't think that's Jundo. He has a blogger account--or he did--for one thing.

Anonymous said...

Regarding M and reactionary comments: We could just avoid picking and choosing.

Anonymous said...

I just come here for the Zen talk,
and if M's comments aren't specific
to that, they are irrelevant. So
there is no benumbed gnat swatting
at tangential pronouncements.

Troll away.

Mysterion said...

Reflective thinking is certainly an asset.

There's an old story about an IBM exec. who, having lost around $100 million dollars on the PCjr development project in the early years (e.g. 1984) offered his resignation.

"Do you know how much it cost IBM to train you?" asked the CEO - who tore up the letter of resignation.

Mistakes are mistakes and we all make plenty of them. Even "god" changed his mind a number of times (e.g. Exodus 32 and Exodus 32:14).

However, if you try to dwell on the past, you could develop clinical depression.

On the other hand, if you try to dwell on the future, you could develop anxiety (angst).

With the emphasis on 'now,' Zen mitigates the two detrimental urges mentioned above. "Now" is the only place in which we will ever live as mere mortals so this is where most of our attention should be placed. (e.g. Part of our attention remains on the dinner invitation a 5:30 and the conference on Saturday &c.)

Published in 1968, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values" was serious attempt to define “quality” in a world seemingly indifferent to responsibility.

If a manufacturer made a defective product and you were so foolish as to buy it then whatever problems you had with the product were your problems and NOT the problems (or responsibility) of the manufacturer.

Sad, but we are being told THAT is, once again, the correct mindset (e.g. no regulations of industries).

So, living in the now means noticing what needs to be done and, if you are capable of the task, doing it. If you need help, you need to find responsible assistance. Good luck with that one!

I'll be off line for a couple of weeks starting Sept. 8th.

Enjoy the interval!

Josh Haber said...

Jundo pretty much lives online and cruises by here all the time. I'm fairly sure that was him, just like the time he tried posting anonymously and made those anti-gay slurs. He was cold busted then and he's cold busted now.

gniz said...

Soto Wars....The Play!

Characters:

Yoda: Gudo Nishijima
Darth Vader: Jundo
Luke Skywalker: Brad
C3P0: Uku
Darth Maul: Mike Cross
R2D2: Mysterion (understudied by Gniz)
Princess Leah: Nina Hartley
lando calrissian: Anon #108

Okay, I'm too tired and don't know enough Star Wars trivia to keep at it.

gniz said...

Hmm..and I might have made a better Lando because he's a betrayer and I've kind of waffled in my allegiance to Brad.

We still need Chewbacca, Obi Wan, Han Solo....

scarlette said...

You're a real idiot, Gniz.

Mr. Berne's said...

Don't project. The guy is a selfpublishing wizard so he's no dummy. He's just a bit of an overactive thinker and too much of an online geek. Nothing wrong with either of those two facts.

Anonymous said...

Methinks that we're not far from the guy who kept posting questions about Brad's penis size. Mysterion appears and back down the crapper this comments section goes.

gniz said...

Frankly Scarlette,

I don't give a damn.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

Yay! Hardcore Zen as Star Wars!

I wanna be the modern youngster, not unlike my 12 yr old son, who watches the movie and says "the fx sucked back in the 70s!"

Anonymous said...

There really hasn't been an "attack on Christianity." He hasn't made anything up in that department (in the few things I've read). Alas, Xtianity (as Mysti likes to call it) speaks for itself.

That Mysterion takes it on himself to pepper the comments section is really unfortunate.

It's annoying, it makes what he has to say much less credible (which is too bad because he has interesting things to say sometimes).

But in this forum it's incredibly ineffective. I don't know how to tell him this. I wish someone could. I wish he would read it. I think he thinks he's teaching people something. But there's a weird dose of ego-maniacism that comes out ("one time I was fucking my JAPANESE wife..., etc...") and it's totally bizarre.

Mysterion. Stop? Please?

star wars edits said...

gniz... close!
my edits:

C3P0: Mysterion
R2D2: Harry
Dianoga: Gniz
(http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Dianoga)
Obi Wan: Anon #108
Han Solo: Mumbles (currently frozen somewhere)

gniz said...

Nice edits. I guess being the resident trash monster who is basically harmless but does nothing except eat trash is kind of cool.

I sort of was hoping to be cast in a more...exciting part. But that's entertainment!

Mysterion said...

The CRUX (pun) of the matter is this:

when I was 11 (eleven) I got kicked out of Sunday School for asking questions. I'm still asking the SAME questions (e.g. why is it so OBVIOUS that Xtianity borrowed extensively from Buddhism?)

Remember, my Grandfather in Idaho had the "Harvard Classics" which, out of sheer boredom I would occasionally pull one from the shelf and read. The Buddha part is here.

I invite each of you to COMPARE the various Xtian parables with their Buddhist equivalent.

It's not just "Whose on first," it's who WAS first?

So when someone asks: "what is Buddhism like?" you can answer: "It's christianity without the cross, jews, romans, or christ."

It was obvious then... it is obvious now.

anonymous anonymous said...

mysterion might pull the wool over some of your eyes. But he is as clear as a cataract in mine.

Jundo said...

OK, I've posted on my site, so now you know it is really me.

anon #108 said...

Chas,

My guess is that most of the readers of this blog aren't Christians in need of correction. My guess: many of the readers of this blog have come across the 'Jesus is Buddha/Christianity borrowed from Buddhism' notion and aren't bothered either way. Why is it so important to you that the readers of this particular blog accept the theory(/fact...whatever), and what tells you they don't?

Cordially yours,
Obi-wan-bleedin-Kenobi (In.your.face, g-man.)

Anonymous said...

Mysterion said...

'So when someone asks: "what is Buddhism like?" you can answer: "It's christianity without the cross, jews, romans, or christ."'

That looks like one of the least accurate and most misleading descriptions of Buddhism I have ever seen. It wouldn't work to apply it in reverse either. Christianity is not Buddhism with the Cross, Jews, Romans and Christ added to it.
When someone looks at the world through a Christian reality tunnel they interpret everything according to Christian reference points. If you only have a hammer every problem looks like a nail (no Christian pun intended). Get some more tools and make your reality tunnel wider. If you can't do that, then at least learn to realize that you see the world through a reality tunnel and learn to appreciate and understand other people's reality tunnels.

tattoozen said...

Can i be Boba Fette?

Mysterion said...

Although I wouldn't go quite THIS far:

"The 27 books of the New Testament, as known, constitute the fundamental holy scripture of Christianity.

Without the four Gospels according to Matthew, to Mark, to Luke and to John, Christianity is virtually null and void.

Recent epoch-making discoveries of old Sanskrit manuscripts in Central Asia and Kashmir provide decisive proof that the four Greek Gospels have been translated directly from the Sanskrit.

A careful comparison, word by word, sentence by sentence shows that the Christian Gospels are Pirate-copies of the Buddhist Gospels (combined, of course, with words from the OT). God's word, therefore, is originally Buddha's word.

Comparison reveals that there is no person, no event, no locality mentioned in the four Christian Gospels not already present in the Buddhist Gospels that, for sure, are far earlier in time than their Christian copies."

one author did...
http://www.jesusisbuddha.com/CLT.html

Mysterion said...

Back in the day, my dissertation was about "The Law of Moses as Folklore."

Now THAT is not quite the exact title and it may, some day be published on line (as that was a goal of the library before the budget crises).

But anyone who has been following archaeology in the Levant over the last 25 years knows:

"Ha'aretz.com Friday, October 29, 1999

Deconstructing the walls of Jericho
By Ze'ev Herzog

Following 70 years of intensive excavations in the Land of Israel, archaeologists have found out: The patriarchs' acts are legendary, the Israelites did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, they did not conquer the land. Neither is there any mention of the empire of David and Solomon, nor of the source of belief in the God of Israel. These facts have been known for years, but Israel is a stubborn people and nobody wants to hear about it."

http://individual.utoronto.ca/mfkolarcik/jesuit/herzog.html

1999? that was 12 years ago.

just sayin...
Cheers,
Chas

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! Never thought to extend the discipline of Comparative Literature to cookbooks.

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

Hi #108

Thanks for clearing up the connections I made.

I think it was your use of 'gut reaction' that lead me to conflate: "paid very little attention to the detail...",

which nominally referred only to those who believed he had posted under other names, with

"you share the gut reaction of the less articulate haters", where you grouped Gniz and the less articulate haters together.

Because having a 'gut reaction', as I understand it, refers to behaviours such as forming reactive views or holding assumptions without paying attention to what's been written or said, it seemed to me you were suggesting that the anon haters and Gniz could be grouped together as responding from such a similar core behaviour, but that Gniz's mode of responding was more articulate - as though he were covering up a similar base response with sophistry.

Apologies for my meaning making on that one!

I must say though, I don't think most of said M hater(s) are inarticulate. From what I can glean - more meaning making - I think that one particular hater at least has given up arguing for a strategy of labelling (there have been a good few instances where a hater has expressed this attitude).

I'm not even sure if the hater really completely believed Mysterion was posting under other names. I think s/he just went for the wide-spray effect, every time s/he suspected it. Sometimes I have suspected Mysterion of going underground.

It happens often that some will resort to more guerilla warfare, when they feel that another is holding an entrenched non-negotiable position that's anathema to them - especially if they feel that their enemy is getting away with the supposed crime unchecked. An often hateful, self-hurting and ultimately counter-productive strategy, but not necessarily inarticulate nor unintelligent.

Of course, the hater might just have been using the 'hating' mode as a ploy from which s/he was emotionally detached.

On the other hand, I've also noticed that articulate and intelligent bullies, especially established ones, can often surreptitiously 'load' their discourse in order to garner group support by inducing their critics into angry shit-flinging.

Politicians, for example, can be very good at this - the worst appear to enjoy it (I would even go as far as to say that one can't get far in politics without that secret weapon!).

I think my main point is, amidst all the implicature generated, inferences drawn, and self-justifications, it's also important to understand what has contributed to shit-flinging, even when the shit-flinger is the only one who can responsible for the shit they are flinging.

I might think someone is an idiot or a fool, but how I respond to them could just encourage more of the same from them. And Mysterion, himself, has often labelled certain groups or affiliations in such provocative broad terms.

Anonymous said...

Jundo, I don't see the posting? Do you have a link?

anon #108 said...

[8.25am corrected]:

Re Christian Lindtner (who I became aware of about four years ago, after I'd been studying Sanskrit for a year):

"We don’t have an “Ur-“ version of the Gospels nor the SDP or MSV-V which we would need to establish this kind of “translation-assimilation” procedure...The “translation”-technique used by the Buddhist to create the Gospels as presented by CL is such an astonishing nonsense, that no scholar could possibly take it serious. CL refers to keeping sometimes the meaning of the alleged source text, sometimes consonant values (a Semitic concept alien to Indo-European languages!) or both with as many exceptions and modifications as to make the evidence fit into the hypothesis (German: Hinein-Interpretation): Thus consonants may represent any other consonants of the same group, Liquids sometimes are dropped or interchanged, the meaning sometimes shuns the letter by letter riddle-translation. With Robert Countess I would advise CL to take a arbitrary narrative – even some with a similar (religious) development structure like Goethe’s Werther and apply his method upon it: It would work. CL here very dangerously deviates from sound scholarship into the dungeons of half-insane amateurism...Unfortunately, the same is true for CL’s new obsession: Gematria or pseudo-pythagorean number-speculations: Cave insaniam!
Having said that, what rests? Is there no Buddhist influence in the gospels? Since more than hundred years Buddhist influence in the Gospels has been known and acknowledged by scholars from both sides... So there is “much Buddhist stuff going on in the Gospel”. But its not the only source, not even a main source for the NT."


- from http://www.jesusisbuddha.com/scherer.html


Perhaps I have the time, but I certainly don't have the inclination to study the original languages and texts for myself and come to my own conclusions about CLT. There are other things to do.

You didn't answer any of my questions, Chas.

gniz said...

See, this conversation M is having about Christianity originating from Buddhism is a good example of why his style irks me.

M's most recent rejoinder to this discussion following a break last night, has him again picking up the Christianity discussion even though nobody else really was interested in it. Nobody said, "Hey, M, tell me your thoughts on Christianity vs Buddhism."

And yet here he goes, starting this same discussion up, much like the 9/11 conspiracy spammer who visits here now and again.

M's contributions often have little or nothing to do with the discussion at hand. However he will grab at some minor mention and then use that as a jumping off point to circle back to his favorite topics (the stupidity of Judeo/Christian worldviews, how Alan Watts sucks, etc).

We all have subjects that interest us. I like to talk about breathing meditation and when there is an opportunity to discuss it here, I'll take it.

But I don't continuously bring up my little pet peeves and then ram them down people's throats over and over again. The closest I've come to doing that lately is in my persistence at pointing out what M is doing here.

At the end of the day, M is not hurting me or anyone else. And he has every right to come here and discuss whatever he likes. But I also have the right to discuss his postings, and if it can lead us into conversation that I personally find more interesting, then good for me.

And if M can manage to steer us back into yet another rumination on Christianity and sanskrit and Alan Watts, then good for him!

anon #108 said...

Apologies for meaning making accepted, ST.

Again, an interesting analysis.

Re the "less articulate haters" - my meaning may have been clearer if I'd identified the objects of my concern as those who (unlike gniz, Alan Sailer and yourself, for ex.) choose not to articulate their feelings about Mysterion in other than abusive terms; I didn't mean to use "inarticulate" as a synonym for "stupid" or "unintelligent".

Anonymous said...

Let us have a dharma debate betwixt Jundo and Mysterion.

Shiro said...

"gniz said...
At the end of the day, M is not hurting me or anyone else."

Sometimes Mysterion hurts me in my pooper.

Shodo said...

Brad said
"He [Loori] appears to have taught a type of Zen in which students were encouraged to announce their so-called "Enlightenment experiences." Students were, I've heard, often singled out in public meetings as having had or not had such experiences. These experiences were, from what I've gathered, considered the goal of the practice."


Wooo brother.... as a MRO student, what you have heard is DEAD wrong. There is no announcement of enlightenment experiences...:P

Anonymous said...

Shodo ,
I get the feeling brad knows he's wrong about a lot of things but he seems to have this gadfly practice. Why?

Shodo said...

"Shodo ,
I get the feeling brad knows he's wrong about a lot of things but he seems to have this gadfly practice. Why?"

No clue...
But damn Brad, If all that you have is 3rd hand knowledge about Loori and ZMM - why in the world would you form an opinion on it? Better to remain quiet and actually get yourself some 1st hand sources

It seems that everything you know about or read about with Loori is colored by this Soto/Rinzai/East Coast/West Coast jazz where Shikentaza is awesome and koans are evil and personally I feel that it is a shame. They teach BOTH Koans and Shikentaza at ZMM, depending on which one the student feels most at home.

Mysterion said...

I am so happy you are all blinded to my point - NOT.

When you take up the scriptural study of Buddhism - beyond the wading pool of Alan Watts and the mesmerizing effects of facing the wall - you discover some familiar patterns (assuming you have studied a bit of the Abrahamic Traditions theretofore).

CL is am extreme (Gematria - Hebrew/Greek/Christian Numerology and Tarot Cards) to which I will not go. I think mystics are frauds.

Nor do I attribute the concordances to a Cosmic Consciousness, another alternate theory.

I look at 'this stuff' as reasonably obvious second-order evolution.

From the Hindu to the Buddhist to the Christian. I think the geography and archeology are becoming fairly clear on this recently - despite the recent Taliban efforts in Afghanistan and the Bush/Cheney Christian efforts in Baghdad.

If the Iraqis wanted Saddam out, they would eventually have found a way. Saddam was never behind 9/11 at all (although 40% of US citizens still believe that he was).

Ignorance is the cause of so much suffering. Bush/Cheney capitalized on that for the benefit of Carlyle Group's partners. Researching topics on your own is a very good thing to do.

I am not advocating burning christian scripture - to the contrary - I am for a careful comparison (story-by-story, saying-by-saying) to the older local, regional, or infused (by trading) traditions.

And, once in a while (like once a month) read another book - with some pedigree behind the writer(s).

Who knows? Perhaps someday you will follow "Lord of the Rings" back through the Eddas to the Vedas.

Tolkien published The Hobbit in 1936 and Lord of the Rings in 1954. Tolkien found his source in the works of a Norse 'Elder Edda' (put to print between 800-1200 CE).

But there are so many parallels between the Eddas an Vedic literature that...

Remember, Buddha wasn't a Buddhist - he was a Hindu.

Anonymous said...

O.K. Enough of this childish behavior. Mysterion with his Non-sequitor self indulgences. Brad forming misinformed OPINIONS about John Loori. I say we VOTE!!

ALL IN FAVOR OF MYSTERION AND BRAD BEING BANNED FROM THIS BLOG AND COMMENTS SECTION SAY ( I ). ALL AGAINST SAY (NAY)

Anonymous said...

I

Anonymous said...

I

Anonymous said...

I

Shodo said...

Personally, why doesn't Brad just go to Zen Mountain Monastery for a month...?:)
Rub up with some folks who are doing it 24/7... hell, make a blog post all about it. Least then you can get your information first hand.
Ango just started, Dogen's Bendowa is the fascicle being studied - hell, you just got back from Tassajara, so it'll be like putting on a old shoe.

I think some of your opinions of the place and teachings there may change... or not.
But at least then you would have the first hand knowledge, and how bad could that be eh?:)

(I think monks even get to go for free... you'll have to double-check that tho.)

Anonymous said...

I think Brad will bring out the sock monkey pretending it's Loori before he goes to ZMM sadly.

I vote "I"

Anonymous said...

Brad going to ZMM would be as likely as George Bush going to M.I.T. and hanging with Noam Chomsky for a month.

Anonymous said...

"When you take up the scriptural study of Buddhism - beyond the wading pool of Alan Watts and the mesmerizing effects of facing the wall - you discover some familiar patterns"

Beyond zazen you have the Buddhism of mysterion. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

I

Anonymous said...

LMAO

Brad going to ZMM would be as likely as George Bush going to M.I.T. and hanging with Noam Chomsky for a month.

Bobby said...

Shit. I did the hokey pokey and I'm still here. It happens every time like that.

isshin said...

Hey Brad,

It's isshin. I spent the same amount of time @ Tassajara this summer as well and overlapped your stay by two weeks. Just wanted to comment that your description of your time there this summer was spot on and positive.

Don't know much about the Daido comments, but I sat a sesshin with him years ago and feel that his Mountains and Rivers Order has a very good thing going on in Mt Tremper. Announcing kensho experiences is not uncommon in Zen.

Both sesshins I sat with Harada Roshi in Japan during the 90s announced kensho experiences of students at the end of the week. Daido Roshi did not do that during my stay in New York. Yes, Daido was a student of Maezumi and the White Plum Sangha, which I am member, have a tradition of training in both Koan Kofu and Shikantaza.

First time visiting your blog. Great work and keep it going!

-isshin

Anonymous said...

Suzuku Roshi told his students that they are all enlightened ............until they open their mouths.

Perhaps that can pertain to Brad and the John Loori opinions.

Maybe that's why writing books on Zen might not be the best thing.

www.muebles-en-chinchon.com said...

This cannot have effect in actual fact, that is what I think.

Infinity said...

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