Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I've decided to add a Buddhist service to the daily fun at my upcoming retreat in Bielefeld. I may even wear robes like in this photo. But my mohawk has grown out.

Here are the texts I've chosen.

Those of you who are doing retreats with me in England and Belgium, if you'd like to add this to the stew too, let's do it!

Woo-hoo! Chanting!

All Buddhas ten directions three times
All honored ones, bodhisattva-mahasattvas
Wisdom beyond wisdom
Maha Parjna Paramita


Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, when deeply practicing prajna paramita, clearly saw that all five aggregates are empty and thus relieved all suffering. Shariputra, form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. Form itself is emptiness, emptiness itself form. Sensations, perceptions, formations, and consciousness are also like this.

Shariputra, all dharmas are marked by emptiness; they neither arise nor cease, are neither defiled nor pure, neither increase nor decrease.

Therefore, given emptiness, there is no form, no sensation, no perception, no formation, no consciousness; no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind; no sight, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realm of sight... no realm of mind consciousness. There is neither ignorance nor extinction of ignorance... neither old age and death, nor extinction of old age and death; no suffering, no cause, no cessation, no path; no knowledge and no attainment.

With nothing to attain, a bodhisattva relies on prajna paramita, and thus the mind is without hindrance. Without hindrance, there is no fear. Far beyond all inverted views, one realizes nirvana. All buddhas of past, present, and future rely on prajna paramita and thereby attain unsurpassed, complete, perfect enlightenment.

Therefore, know the prajna paramita as the great miraculous mantra, the great bright mantra, the supreme mantra, the incomparable mantra, which removes all suffering and is true, not false. Therefore we proclaim the prajna paramita mantra, the mantra that says: "Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha."

Kan ji zai bo satsu. Gyojin hannya haramita ji sho. Ken go un kai ku. Do issai ku yaku. Sha ri shi. Shiki fu i ku. Ku fu i shiki. Shiki soku ze ku. Ku soku ze shiki. Ju so gyo shiki. Yaku bu nyo ze. Shari shi. Ze sho ho ku so. Fu sho fu metsu. Fu ku fu jo. Fu zo fu gen. Ze ko ku chu. Mu shiki mu ju so gyo shiki.
Mu gen ni bi ze shin i. Mu shiki sho ko mi soku ho. Mu gen kai nai shi mu i shiki kai. Mu mu myo yaku mu mu myo jin. Nai shi mu ro shi. Yaku mu ro shi jin. Mu ku shu metsu do. Mu chi yaku mu toku. I mu sho toku ko. Bodai sat ta e hannya haramita ko. Shin mu ke ge mu ke ge ko. Mu u ku fu. On ri issai ten do mu so.
Ku gyo ne han. San ze sho butsu. E hannya haramita ko. Toku a noku ta ra san myaku san bodai. Ko chi hannya haramita. Ze dai jin shu. Ze dai myo shu. Ze mu jo shu. Ze mu to do shu. No jo issai ku. Shin jitsu fu ko ko setsu hannya haramita shu. Soku setsu shu watsu.
Gya tei gya tei hara gya tei
hara so gya tei
Bo ji so wa ka.
Hannya shingyo

(Kannon Sutra for Prolonging Life)


(Kanzeon: Veneration to the Buddha. With Buddha I have origin; With Buddha I have affinity; Affinity with Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha; Eternity, joy, self, and purity. Mornings my thoughts are Kanzeon; Evenings my thoughts are Kanzeon; Thought after thought arise in the mind; Thought after thought are not separate from mind.)


The mind of the Great Sage of India is intimately transmitted from West to East. While human faculties are sharp or dull the Way has no northern or southern ancestors. The spiritual source shines clear in the light the branching streams flow on in the dark. Grasping at things is surely delusion according with sameness is still not enlightenment.

All the objects of the senses transpose and do not transpose. Transposing they are linked together, not transposing each keeps its place. Sights vary in quality and form sounds differ as pleasing or harsh. Darkness merges refined and common words, brightness distinguishes clear and murky phrases. The four elements return to their natures just as a child turns to its mother. Fire heats, wind moves, water wets, earth is solid. Eye and sights, ear and sounds, nose and smells, tongue and tastes, thus for each and every thing according to the roots the leaves spread forth.

Trunk and branches share the essence. Revered and common each has its speech. In the light there is darkness but don’t take it as darkness. In the dark there is light but don’t see it as light. Light and dark oppose one another like the front and back foot in walking. Each of the myriad things has its merit expressed according to function and place. Existing phenomenally like box and cover joining according with principle like arrow points meeting.

Hearing the words understand the meaning don’t establish standards of your own. Not understanding the Way before your eyes how do you know the path you walk? Walking forward is not a matter of far or near but if you are confused mountains and rivers block your way. I respectfully urge you who study the mystery don’t pass your days and nights in vain.


Buddha was born in Kapilavastu,
enlightened in Magadha,
taught in Varanasi,
entered nirvana in Kushinagara.
Now we set out Buddha's bowls;
may we, with all beings,
realize the emptiness of the three wheels:
giver, receiver, and gift.

We reflect on the effort that brought us this food
And consider how it comes to us
We reflect on our virtue and practice
and whether we are worthy of this offering.
We regard greed as the obstacle to freedom of mind.
We regard this meal as medicine to sustain our life.
For the sake of enlightenment we now receive this food.

First, this is for the three treasures;
Next for the four benefactors;
Finally, for the beings in the six realms.
May all be equally nourished.

The first portion is to end all evil;
The second is to cultivate all good;
The third is to free all beings.
May we all realize the Buddha way.


Buddham saranam gacchami
(I go to the Buddha for refuge.)
Dhammam saranam gacchami
(I go to the Dhamma for refuge.)
Sangham saranam gacchami
(I go to the Sangha for refuge.)

Dutiyampi Buddham saranam gacchami
(For a second time, I go to the Buddha for refuge.)
Dutiyampi Dhammam saranam gacchami
(For a second time, I go to the Dhamma for refuge.)
Dutiyampi Sangham saranam gacchami
(For a second time, I go to the Sangha for refuge.)

Tatiyampi Buddham saranam gacchami
(For a third time, I go to the Buddha for refuge.)
Tatiyampi Dhammam saranam gacchami
(For a third time, I go to the Dhamma for refuge.)
Tatiyampi Sangham saranam gacchami
(For a third time, I go to the Sangha for refuge.)


anon #108 said...

Good morning Brad,

I've decided to add a Buddhist service to the daily fun at my upcoming retreat in Bielefeld. I may even wear robes...



deTerrence said...

Question: in your translation of the Sandokai it says "according with sameness is still not enlightenment."

In the one I've chanted to death it says, "to encounter the absolute is not yet enlightenment."

Am I grammatically challenged or are these two at odds?

Brad Warner said...

Why, Anon #108?

I don't know. Dressing up can be fun sometimes.

Mysterion said...

now repeat after me...



Alternate longer chant HERE

The longest VERSION

Chris said...

I sit zazen in the morning, then I bang my little drum and chant the Hannya Shingyo. I don't know much, but I know what I like.

Fred said...

. "Grasping at things is surely delusion according with sameness is still not enlightenment." and
"to encounter the absolute is not
yet enlightenment."

If something is glimpsing the
absolute there is still duality.

Mysterion said...

DRESSING UP can be fun.

Seagal Rinpoche said...

To talk much and arrive nowhere is the same as climbing a tree to catch a fish.

an3drew said...

the sandokai was is likely a cut down form of  this

what i find with these things is they are "cut and paste", documents put together to "sell" certain viewpoints imbued with the tiniest amount of sense to give the appearence that it's not nonsense

from my own experience i have found this document (the xinxin ming or faith mind sutra) to be particularly destructive and it has been a big stepforward for me to work out there is no WAY, i.e. it's just crap !

i don't object to the following lines from the more original “mind inscription” :

“ there is no end to coming and going, and no matter how much one seeks, one will never realize it!

when everything is inactive, then the bright stillness will manifest by itself.

Before one it will be like emptiness, and thereby one will know how to dispose with confused doctrines. ”

some of the old documents specially

the platform sutra are really quite

anti what is currently regarded as

zen !

Mika Rantanen said...

Have you seen Jill Taylor's talk at TED or read her book about it? I browsed through it at the bookstore the other day, and lot of what she puts forward sounded familiar from buddhist concept.

Any thoughts / comments on that?

PS. No more anonymous commenting?

an3drew said...

oh well, got the sandokai confused with the xinxin ming or faith mind sutra !

imo the "mind inscription" linked to in my previous post is the superior document !

Mysterion said...

Your own salvation starts - and ends - with your own effort.

"In the long text of Buddha's Parinibbana there is an ascetic, Subhadda, who wonders whether all who claim they have understood the Truth, really have. Buddha answers, "Do not trouble yourself as to whether all or some have realized it [the Truth] or not." And to his aide-in-camps Ananda Buddha says, "Devote yourself to your own welfare . . . be intent on your own good." His last words are "strive diligently". From this it stands out that the proper faith is one that leads to devoting oneself to the good for oneself, as specified by Buddha. [Bht 260, 264, 268]." source

see also THIS

anon #108 said...

Mika Rantanen - Thanks for the link to the talk by Jill Bolte Taylor. Truly smashing! What a performer!

The 'present moment' stuff did sound similar to aspects of Zen teaching. The 'universal mind'/'compassion' stuff did sound similar to some Buddhist teaching...and to that of most other spiritual traditions. Overall, the experiences the doc describes sound more like a report of an LSD trip than a prescription for more useful living.

Kensho might be a similar thing, I imagine. Fascinating to experience and a real ego boost (for the left brain?), but useful only as a referent memory...I imagine.

Soft Troll said...

To Mika Rantanan

This is so cool, this is so cool. How many brain scientists have the opportunity to study their own brain from the inside out.

What a wonderful talk by Jill Bolte Taylor. I really recommend folks take a look. Thanks for the link, Mika.

Alongside resonances with Buddhist (and other) teachings, I think that talk contains an important message for scientists.

We appear to be living in times where many scientists involve themselves in kinds of reductive myth-making, above and beyond what their research furnishes them with, and often beyond their areas of expertise or understanding.

Moreover there's certain strains of philosophy, pseudo-science, and atheistic crypto-religiosity (sorry) soaking into all sorts of commentary, which finds licence in what strikes me as a form of collective, cultural hubris growing in the scientific community.

It's really pleasing to listen to one who has discovered a new depth of humility and wonder that has transformed how she engages with her life and work.

an3drew said...

mysterion, zen is not buddhism !

it's heavily fused with taoism

and actually poetry

that seeing for oneself and not relying on bullshit buddha stories or faith !

my full reply  here 

Rowbear said...

Brad, maybe a dumb question but, do you carry your robes around incase need them, like Superman or do you find some when you get there?? Seems like a lot of bulk to carry if you don't use them regularly.

Soft Troll said...

To Anon#108

Kensho might be a similar thing, I imagine. Fascinating to experience and a real ego boost (for the left brain?), but useful only as a referent memory...I imagine.

Yes, interesting point. Her talk was very evangelising - especially toward the end. But then, I suppose it's easy to find a prejudice in that form of speaking, what with so many whip em up like crazy hucksters on the air waves.

I think I was a little too quick off the mark to assume an increase of 'humility' after the fact, on the part of Dr Taylor. For all I know she could be as much exploiting the experience as working to develop further from it.

Perhaps sudden openings up for various reasons is how we got our prophets (or megalomaniac visionaries) in the past. And I (also) imagine that there can be a danger in such an experience supplanting or diverting long-term devotion or practice, notwithstanding the putting out a message or suggestion that sudden life changing experiences is what it's all about - whether 'it' is practising a form of religion or just renewing that good ole way seeking mind.

Nevertheless, I'm glad a neuroscientist got a prod from x.

My take is its good to have a few of these things happen, to make folk take another look.

Fred said...

"you can really see lewis carroll was just using autistic spectrum people he knew" Lewis Carroll was
Aspergerist. Like you I was
attracted to his work.

The ego sees its reflection in a
one way mirror, but can't see behind the mirror.

Fred said...

Die Praxis besteht zum einen aus Zazen.

Fred said...

I'm sure there will be scientists
who can shut down parts of our
left hemisphere, but that's not
what the praxis is about. And
those who taste the momentary
release, just like 8 hours on LSD,
are left with a wonderful memory.
It isn't a deepening.

Mysterion said...

Blogger an3drew said...
"mysterion, zen is not buddhism !"

I agree, in the SAME WAY Catholicism is not Christianity - it is heavily infused with Mithras.

Zen (Chinese Chu'an) means "Fist." And that alludes to the thrust of Buddhism.

Tai Chi Chu'an or "Big Force Fist" (a.k.a. Supreme Ultimate Fist) becomes Dai ki Zen.

The ki in Rei-ki is chi.

The force behind Zen is the same as the force behind Buddhism.

The perversion behind Catholicism (Mithras) is not the same force that underlies ancient Christianity (that being Buddhism).


my comments HERE

That may help...

or not.

an3drew said...

soft troll writes

"It's really pleasing to listen to one who has discovered a new depth of humility and wonder that has transformed how she engages with her life and work."

at least four "super trite" cliches in one sentence !

you win the day's most cliched anonymous poster award !

congratulations, you face stiff competition !

you have been entered for the world's major hypocrite competition !

reply in full

an3drew said...

jill taylor actually has aspergers syndrome and her brother is probably autistic rather than schizophrenic, a common diagnostic mistake !

in fact aspergers used to be called schizophrenia

males are much more damaged for any given amount of autism/aspergers syndrome than females

as you all know !

Mysterion said...

what about half aspergers?

just asking...

Soft Troll said...

To An3drew

Yes, I was being a tad flakey there! Nice to get all enthusiastic sometimes.

#108's comment brought me back down to earth though.

Take care

Brad Warner said...

I found the TED talk about the woman who had the stroke mildly interesting. But I think the whole matter has been blown way out of proportion.

It's very special. One can only have this experience if one is a neuroscientist who has a stroke. It is therefore safely removed from our everyday lives. I think that's one of the reasons it's so appealing on a mass level. It's unattainable and therefore the special one who has attained it becomes an object. People like that.

an3drew said...

mysterion, jill taylor is fully on autistic spectrum, gender blurring, speaking in monotone, and of course the very early health issues

if you look at the stories about jesus and buddha they are very autistic !

i like the one about buddha staring at the bodhi tree after enlightenment for a week !

you cannot begin to think sanely until you realise with certainty that jesus and buddha are stories

one of the reasons for that is their lives don't make sense, the insight which really only comes from a lot of solitude and hermiticity as per schopenhauer or heraclitis cannot be married IRL to the very social lives these people led.

if you see god what is religion to you ? what are people to you? a nuisance !

none of you actually believe in the possibility of seeing god or buddha or whatever and get stuck in stupid notions like practice and meditation !

call me crazy or egotistical if it makes you happier but it doesn't alter anything !

the main point of wisdom literature or the stories is you have to understand the world enough to discount the common herds received garble so you can recognise and value infinity when it occurs,

of course this notion is completely strange to you or you wouldn't bother with the rubbish you do !

Mysterion said...

I would agree with Brad re TED talk.

Yes, I'm certain her testimonial was 'from the heart' but then aren't they all?

Jill Taylor did explain hemispherical differences during her riff but so did a class I took in the early 1990's. When I retired, I shredded ALL my class notes and ephemeris matter.

see THIS for a general discussion of left/right brain research.

I used to tell some my classes: "Wear the cheep motorcycle helmets. That's where all our best brain research comes from - that which you lose in head injuries."

One of the kewl things of that period was that I was allowed to examine (in the previous SEM lab) a slice of Einstein's smaller, lighter Brain! [in the custodial care of Dr. Diamond (UC Berkeley)]

helper or gliel cells The Data

there is nothing that the rational mind can not sort out - except nothing itself.

Tink said...

@Mysterion: hahaha.. funny..

that looks pretty relaxing :)

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