Thursday, December 15, 2011

Zen Prostitution


Now I know why I keep the comments section open.

Yesterday I sat at Angel Falls coffee shop (don't get the wrong idea, my friends in The Netherlands, this one only sells coffee, tea and pastries) wracking my brain for about three hours to come up with yesterday's post. I was trying to put my finger on the one single thing that bugged me the most about Genpo Roshi's latest enterprise.

I wasn't really satisfied with what I wrote. But I'd spent enough time on it and I thought it was OK if not quite what I wanted it to be. Then about fifteen minutes after I put it up, a commenter named Broken Yogi said in part:

"The relationship between student and teacher is supposed to be a sacred one that is untouched by worldly motives, and really is directed towards liberation and enlightenment, which by their very nature are free, in every sense of the word, including the financial sense. To transform these into a monetary business relationship of consumer and service provider is not only to debase the entire process of enlightenment, it actually brings it to a sudden end. Nothing good can possibly result from this."

And I'm like, THAT'S IT! That's the whole thing in a nutshell. What bugs me most is that he is turning the student/teacher relationship in Zen into a business arrangement. He is charging his students not so much for enlightenment as he is charging them for their relationship with him. This is Zen prostitution (I hastily added some words to that effect to the post below after reading Broken Yogi's comment).

The relationship between a Zen teacher and a deshi (to use Genpo's preferred term) is a very intimate thing. We're not talking here about someone who might occasionally attend a lecture or retreat. A deshi would be a long term one-to-one student. There would have to be some sort of formalized public initiation ceremony involved to get to that level.

To my way of thinking, saying, "You can be my deshi for a price" (which is precisely what Genpo is saying, you can read it for yourself) is like saying, "I will fall in love with you if you pay me for it." Even if you meant something like that sincerely you couldn't possibly do it. You can't decide to fall in love with someone and then just sort of will it to happen. And you can't put a price on that.

It's not that Genpo ought not to be allowed to do it. I'm saying it can't be done. It's just impossible. For anyone.

As I said before, I have no problems with Zen teachers who charge for lectures, seminars, books and so on. I also have no problem with Zen teachers who take donations. Everybody's gotta find a way to pay the rent. I can even see setting up a tuition system for priest training or setting up an ongoing donation system to help keep a temple functional. No problem.

But charging for the teacher/student relationship is not a good thing. Because it can't really be done. What you'd have if you charged for such a relationship could only ever possibly be an imitation of that relationship. It's like the difference between going on the Cedar Creek Mine Ride at Cedar Point amusement park and going on a real runaway coal cart in a real abandoned mine shaft. It's not even a good approximation of the thing. It's a poor imitation created for amusement and profit. The real runaway coal cart might kill you. If the Cedar Creek Mine Ride injured you, you could sue. Same deal here.

The reason I write about this is not to constantly point a finger at Genpo and go "shame on you." He's not gonna listen to me anyway. I'm concerned that if this goes unchallenged by someone like me who is in a position to challenge it, then it could become more widespread. It probably already is. What are these "Big Mind® Facilitator Training" things Genpo offers? My guess is people are seeing Big Mind® as a potential money maker and they want to get in on it too. Genpo's model for Big Mind® would appear to be based on a McDonald's type enterprise where you grant licensed franchisees the right to use the name and logo as long as they send part of their revenue back to headquarters.

If Genpo didn't insist on conflating Big Mind® with Zen I wouldn't be griping about it. It'd be just one more scam meditation thing. But he does by using the standard terminology of Zen, such as the word deshi as used in a Zen context.

Becoming someone's deshi is an organic thing. The ceremonies involved are more like an engagement ceremony or even a wedding. They are a public affirmation of a relationship that already exists. They're not like the first down payment on an extended tuition plan.

Maybe my saying this won't really matter much in the end. I doubt it will have any real impact on Genpo's business. But I gotta say it.

132 comments:

john e mumbles said...

Unh huh...

Moderator said...

That's IT! Comment moderation will be enforced again due to this type of irresponsible comment.

beshkno said...

Bravo! Thanks for saying what a lot of us think. You just get it out to a slightly bigger forum. Keep up the...whatever.

Anonymous said...

Great!! The fal$e teacher$ must be avoided!

But buddha had sit cross-legged because it was a non usual way of sitting in India, and the non special way of sitting in the west is in chairs...

Liz Fox said...

Having been a student of his for some time, it interests and amazes me that his current crop are all completely new folks. New, rich, and gullible, I guess. Gone are the long time students who will do the work of zen. So, just johns who can afford a really expensive prostitute. Sad, cause the guy has something, but he misses some very important points of how to live a life.

Apuleius Platonicus said...

It's not about the money.

Saying "I will fall in love with if X" is always horseshit, no matter what X is.

Mumon said...

Exactly. Now if you read that site closely, he doesn't come right out and say for $X you can be my deshi.

He's too smart for that - he puts it at a "deeper" level than the first - paid for with a minimum specified $$$ - level.

I get paid - sometimes - for my time and attention. (Usually it's for other stuff too.) But that's a business relationship. Extending that to actually helping people, well, even medical doctors have an oath not to turn away the indigent, which they sometimes live up to.

Even the most ambulance-chasing lawyer understands there's a responsibility to take cases pro bono

Merzel is setting himself below these standards, for something that should be way above those standards.

Anonymous said...

Ken Wilber should know this zen prostitution thing...

Anonymous said...

Great!! The fal$e teacher$ must be avoided But buddha had sit cross-legged because it was a USUAL way of sitting in India, and the non special way of sitting in the west is n chairs...

Unknown said...

Thanks Brad,
I'm not sure about this, but maybe the people who will pay Genpo for this kind of relationship
(whatever it is) somehow need to do that. It reminds me of certain Zen groups that I'm aware of that don't make sense to me, yet they are thriving with lots of students. I try not to judge them, because apparently they are good for some people, just not good for me.

Anonymous said...

100% with Brad now. Thank for making the effort to get yourself out of the way of the message, or rather to put yourself into it. Thanks Brad. Agree 100%.

BoqueronBecky said...

Thank you. It's unfortunate that this kind of corruption has infiltrated something that was intended to be loving & pure.

Swami Imaws said...

But buddha had sit cross-legged because it was a non usual way of sitting in India, and the non special way of sitting in the west is in chairs...

Uhhhh.... no.
It's because Buddhism evolved out of the Yogic tradition/context of Hinduism.

Anonymous said...

100% with Brad again here...

This topic was bound to come up in our USA place at some point and it's probably just the beginning. Buddhadharma in the old countries of past centuries was tucked in the monasteries right? And the cultures were set up so that the monks got their food from the villiage right? Money was as little a part of the equation as possible. The householders in town practiced basic precepts if anything but did not meditate. instead one of their kids would go to the monastery with the teacher where everyone went deep on the program. Now the dharma has come to this country and what I see different is that the householders (people in the economy world) are now learning and doing what just the monks used to do - back when monk meant someone in a monastery. When Buddhism came to the west it came out of the closet, so to speak, of out total culture. So it seems par for the course that there would be difficulty figuring out the exchange thing. Even the phrase 'minimum suggested dana' I see on mant reputed dharma organizations' websites makes me cringe a bit. But we're just working it out I guess. "Genpos" are bound to happen. "Brads" opposing them are right too. How to work this thing out? Brad's working on it. It's all good.

there some thoughts!

Kamakriad1966 said...

More to the point, just like a plumber, or any profession that bills you for a service, if you don't actually provide that service to the customer's satisfaction...they can demand their money back or sue.

By putting the student/teacher relationship on a "pay-for-enlightenment" basis, he is guaranteeing a service he can not necessarily deliver. At some point, a student is going to sue. At some point those words on his site about becoming Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi will bite him in his ass. He is basically saying he knows how to become the Buddha. He clearly doesn't.

I do share your concern Brad about franchising a brand of Buddhism and delivering it like a happy meal. In essence that is what is happening. This is the real "Westernization" of Buddhism we should fear. It is a lazy way. Pay to play.

Zippy Rinpoche said...

Hey, wow, look at this! We can make $4500 per day selling magic healing crystals at home in our spare time!

Anonymous said...

Zen for $ale
...Brad's next book?


This guy seems to be looking into it already.

Corbie said...

I'm reminded of the Eric Hoffer quote, "What starts out here [in America] as a mass movement ends up as a racket, a cult, or a corporation."

leslita williams said...

moo

leslita williams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elizabeth said...

Hi Brad, Appreciate your post. I've explored similar issues in E-Commerce: Enlightenment For Sale?

cheers,

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 10:03 AM: Cool link! Now all Brad has to do is plagarize the book and use THE EXACT SAME TITLE and he'll be able to cash in on it until somebody notices, gives bad Amazon reviews, and well, you know the rest.

john e mumbles said...

Hey Brad, in the title of your post yesterday, and down a ways into it you say,

"The Roshi has trademarked this term..."

You are calling Dennis Merzel "roshi." Now I am probably way wrong on this but my understanding of "roshi" is roughly "teacher" but may possibly be simply "old man," in a respectful use of that phrase, not a derogatory way.

Do you really think of him this way? As a teacher worthy of respect? I don't think so.

Tim said...

Angel Falls is a great coffee joint.

It does seem as if Genpo is positioning himself to franchise Big Mind™ - with great enlightenment, comes great profits.

There appears to be many others on the intraweb Buddhism community who are now being critical of Genpo. Mr. Warner is no longer finding himself a lone voice; however, it is a bit telling that it took such a great deal of time prior to now for folks to be critical of Genpo.

Anonymous said...

Charging for teaching also going on here:

http://www.vincenthorn.com/instruction/

Anonymous said...

Man-whats your fucking problem? You dont need to be Genpos student. You also dont have to go to prostitutes. You think everybody who is not behaving according your concepts needs to be saved? On what kind of mission are you? You think that is zen? Go and read bible. You can quote from it on trains.

Mysterion said...

I doubt if you will have any impact on Dennis' business also. Dennis' business is based on PRETENTIOUSNESS.

1. making claim to distinction or importance, especially undeservedly
2. having or creating a deceptive outer appearance of great worth; ostentatious source

And his 'marks' are generated by word-of-mouth recommendations at coke* and brandy parties around the country.

*cocaine and caffeine-rich kola nuts.

Who was Paul addressing in his letter to the Corinthians? Temple Prostitutes?

Like my daddy once said: "Get the dollar. But get it honest. If you can."

Seagal Rinpoche said...

A concentrated mind can know the arising and ceasing of all dharma’s appearances. Constantly and vigorously cultivate concentration.

Anonymous said...

Gee thanks for defining PRETENTIOUSNESS, Mysterion, here all along I just thought meant you.

Anonymous Correction said...

...thought IT meant you.

Zippy Rinpoche said...

Yow!! That's a GOOD IDEA!! Spooning up a whole can of orange juice concentrate should make you feel MUCH BETTER!!

john e mumbles said...

OK, I did some scholarly research (ahem), and Wikifreakin'pedia sez regarding "roshi":


"Traditionally, it was applied as a respectful honorific to an older (usually over 60) Zen teacher who was perceived by a sangha to have realized a superior understanding of the Dharma."

Somehow I really don't think you meant to honor the dude by calling him "roshi," Brad.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, like Seagal. He's over 60, over 300 lbs., and he's highly respected as a teacher of the dharma.

Anonymous said...

LOL, check this out!

"At the core of what drives Steven Seagal with all he does - his music, his Martial Arts and his acting - is his commitment to Asian philosophies and religion. As a Buddhist, Zen teacher, and healer, Steven lives by the principles that the development of the physical self is essential to protect the spiritual man."

LINK

Anonymous said...

"The relationship between student and teacher is supposed to be a sacred one that is untouched by worldly motives, and really is directed towards liberation and enlightenment, which by their very nature are free, in every sense of the word, including the financial sense. To transform these into a monetary business relationship of consumer and service provider is not only to debase the entire process of enlightenment, it actually brings it to a sudden end. Nothing good can possibly result from this."

THE ABOVE IS TOTAL FUCKING BULLSHIT AND BRAD KNOWS IT. IT'S MUCH DEEPER THAN THIS! COME ON BRAD QUIT FUCKING AROUND AND GET TO THE REAL DEAL. THIS IS LIKE SAYING I CAN SWIM BUT ONLY GO INTO THE WATER UP TO YOUR KNEES.

Anonymous said...

Three consecutive Genpo posts in a row.

Anonymous said...

C'mon Mysterion, how do you define OBSESSION?

Anonymous said...

you could leave out 'consecutive' or 'in a row'.

Anonymous said...

leaving in consecutive and row proves a point. Drives it home

Khru said...

Love, love, lovin' it.

Anonymous said...

A careless part of me just wants to say, look, who the hell cares? People buy stuff from snake oil salesmen everyday. But then I thought about it, and an individual that would purchase something like this, or give into the sexual whims of a "teacher" for a deeper spiritual experience is probably insane, has dependency issues, or is in a weakened psychological state? And who hasn't been vulnerable?

So in that sense it's a big problem when a teacher takes advantage of students. On the other hand, people can be idiots. They need something to believe in and buy into even if it defies rationality.

I find the traditional religious "expert" to student relationship highly suspect anyway, which I know you do as you've posted such and written about it which is why I'm probably drawn to your writing. I'm a bit of an iconoclast myself, and while I wouldn't say a teacher is completely unnecessary, I'm a grown man, and I can make decisions for myself. I wouldn't have it any other way.

In any case, this need for an "expert" religious teacher reminds me of that Seinfeld issue where Jerry's girlfriend feels the need for a mentor and he says he'll be her mentor. hahhah

I guess sometimes people just need to sack up, but at other times individuals are legitimately being taken advantage of (and maybe they don't have the intellectual faculty to know better).

Anonymous said...

i guess that's why doctors, lawyers, architects, etc are licensed.

Mark Foote said...

I will accept that Merzel's actions come from the heart in spite of appearances, along with many other teachers who have found themselves in the same hot water.

I think the debate is over the nature of enlightenment. Do we turn a corner, never to be able to engage in coitus again? The Gautamid clearly stated so.

Is it an ability to act beyond doubt, and the measure of impeccability the seeming continuity of such action? What is it that was sanctioned, when the teachers of these teachers approved of them and their enlightenment (as it were)? Zen is fairly unique in assuming the impossibility of anyone pissing for anyone else, while at the same time holding out that somehow a miracle can happen, if someone can just hold their pee long enough. Or something.

How do we transmit this, without teachers? Merzel is imtimating that good things will happen through association with him, even if it costs money. Other teachers go with good things will happen, if years of dedicated service and sacrifice are given freely and without expectation. Both could be true.

Non-Yogi Beard said...

@MarK

It may well be true. There is an element of physicality in some of this stuff.

If it is true it is either deterministic or probablistic. Either the teacher alone is responsible or the teacher somehow facilitates or provides a model for the student. A baby learns to walk by watching others walking and by trying to walk.

If Dennis said "or your money back" then that would show a measure of confidence in what he claims to be offering.

There is also the possibility of independent confirmation. "Degrees of attainment" for want of a better description can be verified by those with with "equal" or "higher" attainment levels. In Yoga the final "level" is called "No more meditation" which really says it all. If the answer to the question "Do you need to meditate?" is "Yes" then you're not finished. Whilst meditation is different from non-meditation it's not finished.

Recently I was in a shop buying stuff and flirting a little with the woman behind the counter. It was a hippy-dippy shop and we were each strangers to the other and yet we had an entirely non-dual conversation that was also teasing/playful and talking about the Christmas fayre that was outside and temptation and other things. At one point she said "Oh, I'm not sufficiently realized for that" (Enjoying the temptation of looking at nick-nacks in the stalls but not buying them was the nominal topic). My immediate response was "Oh please!" at which she smiled. We both knew the truth of the matter which is why we could joke about it.

So maybe Dennis can deliver on his promises and maybe not. It makes no difference. Some dynamics are healthy and some are not. People who CAN offer what Dennis promises are motivated out of love. Love of themselves and love of others who are also in a true sense themselves. But it's a love that also at the same time doesn't give a shit. It doesn't seek to control. It doesn't seek to take, it's seeks to give. It's very seductive, it's a relationship. Either you click or you don't and money doesn't change that. If you don't click nothing can happen. If you click then somehow each helps the other.

The problem is that Dennis's offerring doesn't look like Love but Business. Why would he ask "How much can you afford?" and "What percentage of your income is this?" How do either of these things tell either of us if we can have a relationship in which the work can be done. It doesn't convey useful information.

If my income is $10,000,000 and I offer Dennis $10,000 doesn't tell him anything. It could be that I also give $9,000,000 away every year to run a hospice and that the remaining $1,000,000 is spent providing employment to artisans. Or it could be that I just don't treat the matter seriously and am not willing to put any time or effort into the relationship.

Alternatively If I offer Dennis $10,000 out of a $15,000 does that show I'm serious or mis-guided and desperate and living on credit cards.

To me it looks more like a business plan than anything else. Zen teaching is not a 24x7 thing. Dennis could for example go and work 3 days a week at Wall-Mart and see students on the other 3 days and charge nothing. Dennis could set up a foundation and use fees from rich donors to fund work with students.

"Me enlighten you big time Joe! Me really good value only $2000".

What Dennis is doing does not look like Love. It looks like business. The two can be mixed but this doesn't look like it. I know of several Yogis who are also successful business people - but they run ordinary businesses, not yoga studios or enlightement sales and they do it with Love which flows out into superb customer care and value for money.

This doesn't look like that either.

catchpa: GamBilly

Anonymous said...

Have to agree with this post I think it does go much deeper than that. Just my two cents but I'm sure brad had made up his mind.


"The relationship between student and teacher is supposed to be a sacred one that is untouched by worldly motives, and really is directed towards liberation and enlightenment, which by their very nature are free, in every sense of the word, including the financial sense. To transform these into a monetary business relationship of consumer and service provider is not only to debase the entire process of enlightenment, it actually brings it to a sudden end. Nothing good can possibly result from this."

THE ABOVE IS TOTAL FUCKING BULLSHIT AND BRAD KNOWS IT. IT'S MUCH DEEPER THAN THIS! COME ON BRAD QUIT FUCKING AROUND AND GET TO THE REAL DEAL. THIS IS LIKE SAYING I CAN SWIM BUT ONLY GO INTO THE WATER UP TO YOUR KNEES.

Transparency said...

Doesn't really matter, who's to say Genpo's more or less deluded than you are? (by you I mean you)

Brad admits he's doing his own seminars next year. If he charges $100 a pop or $10,000 a pop, says he'll get you enlightened or doesn't say it, how is that any different? It's relative.

Poonjaji said if anybody charges money for satsang they're a fraud.

He was right.

Anonymous said...

Genpo is correct to charge. He's teaching a lesson. Americans feel they have to pay big bucks or else their not getting anything. There's been double blind test on this. They make two products or services available one is just about free and the other is ridiculously expensive. Consumers or the people always picked the expensive one thinking they want the better of the two or none at all . Thinking the one that was just about free couldn't be any good. Deep conditioning.

Anonymous said...

That's a good question. What's being transmitted really? These levels or ranks seem to me to be bs demarcations to keep a select group of "teachers" employed. I mean really. Isn't zen about standing on one's own (with others; I guess we are never alone.). Then standing on our own with others? Maybe as a child we need that but shpuldn't we realize we already have this. Whatever we search for from someone or something else is an illusion based on what we consider enlightenment to be? This all seems like a crock.

Fred said...

"I think the debate is over the nature of enlightenment. Do we turn a corner, never to be able to engage in coitus again? The Gautamid clearly stated so."

Yep, attachment is attachment and
rationalizations are ego ploys
attempting to stay in control.

Anonymous said...

i think the redundancy dilutes the impact. here, check it out.

Three consecutive Genpo posts.

Three Genpo posts in a row.

You could easily toss some punctuation on the end to liventhings up.

Three consecutive Genpo posts?

Three Genpo posts in a row!

Hey Brad, apart from any enlightenment promises or student relations issues, do you have any objections to the BM technique being presented as a Zen practice?

Non-Yogi Beard said...

@Anon 4:16

What you say about value perception is true but it's also mis-directed in this case. It may even be justifiable down in little-league Zen.

Unfortunately Dennis wants to claim to be in the big league - to be able to offer Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi and that changes the game. The people who CAN assist at this level do not charge for it or advertise it. They may not even be "in the business". Not only is it crass to do so but it's also counter-productive.

Not only do you have to find these people you also have to know what they look like. The Tea Seller could be your next teacher. Until you can see they may not even not help!!!

Those who are seeking such a thing will have already moved past Kensho and Satori and are not going to be influenced by trivial delusions such as "expensive=good". When you are talking about Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi you are talking about polishing diamonds, not making diamonds.

If you found a Yoga studio where someone could assist with this you would find that they would charge the usual $10 for a lesson and that is all. Nothing else would be on offer or needed.

For several years now the people I have sought out and have been willing to help have not charged me anything, offered me anything or promised me anything. Instead it's the case that in interacting with them (or just seeing them) I am able to work out what still remains to be done. There is no teaching, maybe even no transmission, just a sharing of love or something.

So in reality by promising such a thing for a fee Dennis is showing that he does not understand his target audience but also that he is himself not in a place where he could assist in such a thing. You see such a thing as Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi only seems important when you are quite new to Zen in the fuller sense. The closer you are to it the more you see and the less it matters. Even worse, the more you see how really it is also true that Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi is also itself not important, that in the end we are all human and it's our common humanity that matters. Nothing else.

Things are the way they are because each individual who is suitably realised also sees a lot of things and feels a lot of things that make certain behaviours natural and certain not. Charging big bucks for something you feel is worthless and know you cannot deliver just goes very deep against who you might be. When you see suffering the response is to help, not to run a credit check.

Any relationship in this realm cuts both ways. There is no student or teacher. Instead two people interact and change each other. Such things don't happen unless both want it to happen. That's the way it is.

When you make love do your partner do you think that it would be better if s/he charged more or gave it away for free. You might believe that paying more for a prostitute gets you a better prostitute but when it comes to love and romance everyone works on the basis that the best love is freely exchanged.

If Dennis is in the big league then he gets to play by the same rules as anyone else. He gets called out on his bullshit.

Sannyasin Willie said...

Un-Aired LOWE'S Commercial for "All-American Muslim"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQhls5PEmeQ

Anonymous said...

Jihad


Shame on Brad Warner.

Mónika Csapó said...

hmmm very interesting title. I will read your post more carefully now for a second time. But still congrats for being so brave to touch topics like this :).

Transparency said...

Broken Yogi, you sure have a lot to say. Maybe if you dropped all the labels you wouldn't need to shop around for a guru. Just sit. That's what most of us here do. Try it.

That's why nobody needs Genpo's OR Brad's seminars.

The gist of it is this, what Brad sells at his seminars is implied, what Genpo sells is up front.

No difference, little league or big mind league.

I bet you have a membership at a fitness club, too, huh?

Anonymous said...

Monika Gestapo it doesn't take one to be brave to point fingers. Bravery involves change. And thats not changing someones diapers.

Anonymous said...

Sheit, bro, she just trollin' for Bradong.

Mike Haitch 2 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

@Transparency

Errrmm "Broken Yogi" hasn't written anything here. Maybe you should pay more attention to labels!

If sitting is different from not-sitting then sit.

Fred said...

"What you say about value perception is true but it's also mis-directed in this case. It may even be justifiable down in little-league Zen."

This is the type of thing Praxis
would say. Your attainment is a
delusion of zen flavoured ego.

Fred said...

"When someone presents themselves as a sat-guru, or when we project sat-guru onto someone, we tread on dangerous ground. To be sure, some individuals are worthy of our devotion, but we have to be very careful. The legacy of the exploitative guru is a long one, and it has caused undue suffering.



There are many signs that we are dealing with an ungrounded and potentially untrustworthy spiritual teacher. For instance, they have one set of rules for you, one for them. They deny their unresolved issues. They see the body as substandard or entirely distinct from the soul. They reframe painful life experiences only in terms of spiritual learning. They see the world of emotions as illusion (except when it is convenient not to). They rely on their so-called purity as an excuse for not forming adult boundaries. They defend their behavior by reference to a higher knowing. If you complain about their actions, you are told that your complaints are emanating from the mundane world and that you just can’t grasp their lens. They may also re-frame their own dysfunction in heightened terms (“I quit the world because I had a higher calling”) rather than facing their shadow head-on (“I had too many issues to deal with the world”). A giant warning sign is the use of “the mirror” as a defense against wrongdoing. The guru claims that his (questionable) actions were not actually for his own benefit but done with the conscious intention of reflecting back to you the unresolved aspects of your own consciousness. If you felt betrayed, it was because you have issues around betrayal that you need to look at."

Mumon said...

I don't know why, since he's not my teacher, and there actually is stuff with which I disagree with him on, but I felt compelled to write a defense of what Warner does compared to Merzel.

However, the course of things I came upon something interesting with respect to the Merzel group.

Google "Xuanfa Dharma Center"...

Transparency said...

Yeah, thanks Anon, I meant to address that to Non-Yogi Beard.

Sorry about that Broken Yogi.

There, now its fixed. Yaay.

Fred said...

"HOLY VAJRA PILLS: Zhaxi Zhuoma Rinpoche reports in the book H.H. Dorje Chang Buddha III on her experiences with the vajra pill and its amazing power. Various rinopches were tested using the vajra pill to determine their levels of realization."

One of Merzel's students is
promoting this?

So you can have the voice dialogue
thing, get your instant enlighten-
ment, then take a pill to see if
you are a Buddha yet.

Hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Just read your post over at your blog, Mumon. Sorry, but I don't think you make much of a case in regards to Warner vs. Genpo in a battle for the $.

You are justifying Warner's money making on the one hand and dismissing Genpo's on the other outright. Either way, if gullible people give them money, what difference does it make?

As Mysterion's Daddy said (see above @ 4:30 PM).

Anonymous said...

Mumon, are you some kind of Zen teacher?

How much do you charge?

Mumon said...

Anon:

You are justifying Warner's money making on the one hand and dismissing Genpo's on the other outright. Either way, if gullible people give them money, what difference does it make?

Warner's pretty out front about his product. Genpo is not.

Mumon, are you some kind of Zen teacher?

How much do you charge?


For now I have a far better gig.

Or to put it another way, there's Zen everywhere these days. There's teaching everywhere these days. Do your own research.

Fred said...

Anyone want to become a Blue Buddha

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0EarugyrAA

Anonymous said...

zen practice tell us that we are perfect exactly as we are.
We don't need to become japanese...
Zen practice is great, because it is selling water besides the river!
Zen Teacher who sit practice in chairs have dificult to get students because most of them want to feel special, doing exotic things, like sitting like japaneses.
Seagal Rinpoche could create the 'Big Body™ (Belly)'.

Mark Foote said...

Fred, that was a beautiful rundown of warning flags. You didn't give the source.

Let's bring it home. If I am not writing on this blog with the intention of realizing the sign of the concentration, as the Gautamid referred to it, then "I have one set of rules for you, one for me", when it comes to writing comments here.

Brad teaches by saying what Zen is not. Most Zen teachers teach that way.

The example that Kobun Chino Otogawa provided me has been invaluable in my life, though I was never his student. He came to this country because Shunryu Suzuki invited him to help at Tassajara, and because there was a group of people in Palo Alto who wanted a Zen teacher and were willing to support him. And as he put it, because there was something going on in this country that he felt he could learn from. Kobun had some positive, substantive things to say; he frequently didn't make sense as I would normally expect someone to make sense, but he had some substantive things to say. Like, "take your time with the lotus". Like he knew and could advise that, positively!

Fred said...

Mark, it's Jeff Brown, but he's
selling something too.

Fred said...

The price for a one hour session is $150.00 US, to be pre-paid on PayPal, or by mailing a cheque/money order to the address below.

Pre-Pay Now

Mailing Address:

Jeff Brown/Soulshaping
PO Box 64
Acton, Ontario
L7J-2M2

Jeff does sliding scale downward for individuals in very challenging economic circumstances.

Anonymous said...

gOD THAT'S FUNNY!

Mark Foote said...

Thanks, Fred.

Occurs to me that Zen teachers were regarded as the prophets of the new age, by many Americans in the 'sixties and beyond. Maybe part of the reason Merkel charges and Brad searches is "a prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house" (Mark 6:2).

Maybe that's why Zen is mostly weddings and funerals in Japan, although I understand that Kobun's teacher mostly did weddings and funerals and not a lot of zazen but Kobun still referred to him as a "monster", and still stated that the only reason he, Kobun, was in the U.S. of A. was to introduce people to his teacher (you can walk along my back and meet him, said Kobun).

Anonymous said...

Genpo's not up front with his "product?" Where is he not saying what he has for sale? He even price tags and shit. come on Mumon. Try again.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm not interested in having you be my teacher, Mumon, just trying to call your ass out like Brad, you phoney. Your blog is all "Zen" and shit. You obviously want to "be taken seriously" as some kind of "Zen" authority.

DingleDangle said...

for the Anonymous who is obviously Genpo's student.

Genpo's not up front with his "product?" Where is he not saying what he has for sale? He even price tags and shit. come on Mumon. Try again.

Yes, both are upfront with their "product"...
Except Genpo is trying to sell something he doesn't have - and couldn't possibly give

Mumon said...

Really?

Ruh-roh ...I just plagiarized Hakuin Zenji.

Mark Foote said...

you have a way to tell a Zen authority from a huckster? Does lineage make a Zen authority, and preclude the huckster? Does being a huckster preclude being a Zen authority?

If everyone has Buddha nature, then isn't everyone a Zen authority, for at least 15 minutes?

Me too, I want to be a Zen authority! Or an authority on anything, apart from my own stinking mess! Ha ha!

Fred said...

Kobun of the " You go to the other side of nothing, and you are held by the hand of the absolute. You see yourself as part of the absolute, so you have no more insistence of self as yourself. You can speak of self as no-self upon the absolute."

No-self upon the absolute is a
duality. Is there a significanse
to stating it this way or is it
just Japanese to say upon rather
than within?

Anonymous said...

Well, then, DingleDangle -who is obviously Mumon- what does Brad HAVE that Genpo doesn't?

And Mumon (where'd ya steal that name?:)

"Ruh-roh"????? Now you're being racist??

Your credibility, like Brad's, is lacking, sir.

DingleDangle said...

WRONG!
Not Mumon.:)

Brad I suspect, answers questions, talks about his book(s), talks about effective ways to practice based on his experience.

Genpo sells enlightenment - from wee glimpses of kensho, to earth moving satori on up to the coveted Annutara Samyak Sambodhi...
...and depending how much you can pay determines what kind of student he will consider you as.

DingleDangle said...

You said:

what does Brad HAVE that Genpo doesn't?

They both have their experience to speak from - but Brad doesn't try to give people things he couldn't possibly give them.

DingleDangle said...

You also said:

"Ruh-roh"????? Now you're being racist??

I get that this is personal for you... people putting your teacher on the spot for being a money-grubbing charlatan and all, but the above charge makes you look silly and incoherent.

Anonymous said...

How do you know what Brad does or does not try to give people?

That's the point, neither he nor Genpo are giving anything away to anybody!

There's a price tag on books, talks, whatever. That one charges more than the other, or promises things the other doesn't, is irrelevant.

Oh, and btw:

Your mom is silly and incoherent!

DingleDangle said...

That's the point, neither he nor Genpo are giving anything away to anybody!

Wrong again.
I'll say it again...

Brad I suspect, answers questions, talks about his book(s), talks about effective ways to practice based on his experience.

And if that was what Genpo did as well nobody would have a problem with it.
However...

Genpo sells enlightenment - from wee glimpses of kensho, to earth moving satori on up to the coveted Annutara Samyak Sambodhi...
...and depending how much you can pay determines what kind of student he will consider you as.

Genpo is "selling" something he cannot possess - and could not possibly GIVE.

Jessica said...

long time listener, first time caller... (is that the expression?)

I think it's interesting to note the similarities between the zen Buddhist notions of "education" and those of oh, say, ancient Greece, i.e. Plato, Socrates and whatnot. I can't expand on this too much being no expert, but it seems to me the Greeks regarded the ideal relationship between teacher and student not merely as an authoritative method of imparting information or ideology onto an impressionable mind, but as a form of friendship and ultimately, even love (here's where the Buddhist might take exception, I suppose)
Of course, the issue becomes complicated when an erotic element is throw into the mix - as the Greeks were wont to do, natch.

Well, something to cogitate - or write a Philosophy 101 essay - on, anyway.

Anonymous said...

"Brad I suspect, answers questions, talks about his book(s), talks about effective ways to practice based on his experience."

Other than this blog (Genpo has a blog, too), show me where Brad does this without a fee attached.

Direct me to this place, oh sage one full of advice.

Show me three times, just in case I don't "get" your point.

Anonymous said...

http://mumonrestaurant.com/

DingleDangle said...

Other than this blog (Genpo has a blog, too), show me where Brad does this without a fee attached.

Direct me to this place, oh sage one full of advice.

Show me three times, just in case I don't "get" your point.


I think I will explain it three times - because you ARE missing the point.

1 - It's not that Brad or Genpo has a FEE (Though I am sure Genpo's fee is significantly more than Brad's,) It is the difference in what they are selling!

2 - It's not that Brad or Genpo has a FEE (Though I am sure Genpo's fee is significantly more than Brad's,) It is the difference in what they are selling!

3 - It's not that Brad or Genpo has a FEE (Though I am sure Genpo's fee is significantly more than Brad's,) It is the difference in what they are selling!

Do you see the difference in what they are selling??

Anonymous said...

No.

No.

No.


Get it? As far as I'm concerned, they are the same.

Mumon said...

you have a way to tell a Zen authority from a huckster? Does lineage make a Zen authority, and preclude the huckster? Does being a huckster preclude being a Zen authority?

"There are certain tells, or pantomimes...a man's got 17. A woman has 21, but a man's only got 17..."

Seriously there are certain tells.

Mumon said...

Wow...folks think I'm not only sock-puppeting, but that my Buddhist name isn't Mumon.

Well it is Mumon, and I've no sockpuppets. And at least I didn't transmute Gempo into Genpo.

DingleDangle said...

If that is the case anon...
Enjoy your time with him.

Anonymous said...

Alright, and you enjoy your time with, well, your DingleDangle.

Anonymous said...

Your "Buddhist" name? Your mean your Chinese restaurant name?

Ruh-roh -now I see you were plagiarizing Scooby Doo.

Broken Yogi said...

Since I apparently started this thread by quoting Poonja Swami, there's a couple of other quotes from him that I think are worth mentioning:

"This is the Kali Yuga. Everyone gets the Guru they deserve."

and

"There are no bad Gurus, there are only bad disciples."

If one looks at this situation from a wider angle, I think we can see that those who are drawn to Genpo's teachings are getting exactly what they deserve, even what they came for. They may not be getting enlightenment, but that's just a word with so many meanings, who can say they are not even getting that?

The problem here is not really Genpo and his somewhat twisted prostitute take on Zen teaching, it's the students who come to him. Without their craving, Genpo's offerings would lie empty and useless, like a prostitute who can't find anyone interested in her services.

I have nothing against prostitutes, they are just trying to capitalize on someone's cravings. They didn't create those cravings. Genpo didn't create the craving for enlightenment and fashionable paths with expensive trappings. The fault here lies with his students. They are not victims, they are the problem itself. One could even argue that Genpo is the victim of their craving desire for a kind of Buddhism that someone out there is going to have to manifest for these people.

From what I know of Buddhism, it's all about the understanding and cessation of craving, in all its forms. The problem with prostitution isn't that it doesn't "work" in some sense - obviously it does give people sensual pleasures of some kind - it's that it doesn't bring an end to craving.

One doesn't end craving by feeding it. And so Genpo's path can't possibly achieve "enlightenment" in the strict sense, in that it can't bring an end to craving, it can only create more of it. And this is the real distinction between various kinds of true or false teachers. The true teachers works to end craving, the false teachers work to multiply craving. No one fits only into one or the other category, not merely because no one is perfect, but because students themselves have mixed motives, and require teachers to fulfill both their cravings, and their craving to end their cravings.

This all boils down to the first noble truth: life is unsatisfying (dukkha). If one expects spiritual life to be satisfying, one has got the wrong idea about Buddhism.

Broken Yogi said...

Transparency,

Even if your first criticism of me was a case of mistaken identity, it now probably applies just as well. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Mumon-DingleDangle,

Brad's latest blog entry "Hardest Working Man In Zen Business" proves my point.

All he really wants is to be JUST LIKE Genpo.

100 said...

Hunnert

O paque said...

"craving to end craving" - sounds like a bitch! Is it easy to lose this one?

Is not Genpo suffering from this too? Is the whole pitch nothing more than an externalsation of this and projection onto others?

Do not Gurus create students? Do not People become Gurus to prove something to themselves?

To have something to sell is to separate yourself from others. To choose to be special is to fear the truth that you might not be any different to anyone else.

If there is no dukkha and no end of dukkha what is left to sell? Why not just 9-5 like everyone else?

DingleDangle said...

"All he really wants is to be JUST LIKE Genpo."

Is that a good thing?

Broken Yogi said...

Genpo certainly does seem to be suffering from his own particular craving ignorance. He's doing the usual projection games, and definitely becoming a Guru in order to feed his own appetites, spiritual and material.

But he is not creating students, he is not creating craving in anyone else. It's not a communicable disease, it is within each of us alone, and solvable only within each of us, alone. Be a refuge unto yourself, the Buddha said.

Genpo's students have their own problems, and are playing out their games in that relationship, just as he is. But no one is doing actual harm to anyone but themselves. People are drawn to Genpo because he seems just the right sort of guy to play out their inner karmic games with. And people resist or criticize him because he isn't playing the game they want him to play. This doesn't mean criticism of him is meaningless or unfair, it's just that the context of genuine elimination of craving is often missing from the discussion. One can dismiss Genpo because he's a fraud, which I think is rather obvious, and then go on to engage some other form of spiritual craving that is more enticing to us, and that doesn't end craving either.

There really is a relationship to truth that must be cultivated in all our relationships, including with our teachers, and that means a relationship in which cravings is renounced and dukkha is genuinely overcome in ourselves. That is a sacred thing, it's what Zen is all about, and it's also very fragile, easily broken or corrupted, and not amenable to the worldly cravings that shape our common relations with one another and the world. We have to examine ourselves, not each other, to find this craving and to be done with its rule over us. So Genpo is not the real problem. We are.

Anonymous said...

Ruh roh is not racist. It is originally from the cartoon scooby doo. Scooby often says ruh roh raggy. It is Dog for uh oh shaggy.

Anonymous said...

FUCKIN BRAVO BROKEN YOGI!!!!! TAKING IT DEEPER. THATS WHAT I"M TALKIN ABOUT . BRAD YOU READING THAT. POINTING THE FINGER TO OUR SELVES. DIGGING IT. THANK YOU BROKEN YOGI!

Anonymous said...

Durrrrr Anon @ 7:26 PM:

Ruh-roh, see my comment at 12:27 PM

Anonymous said...

Yeah! Broken Yogi!!

Er, oh,
who gives a shit,
too late,
on to the next blog post.

O Paque said...

@Broken Yogi:

Is having a teacher also feeding this craving - looking to someone else?

A teacher can just be part of the problem, so should all teachers retire or just be cushion retailers?

What about Brad? He doesn't appear to have or want students? Does that mean he's not a teacher, or is avoiding a pitfall or running away from his obligations?

Are teachers needed or do they just create need - like magic magnetic bracelet salesmen? Are we just looking at a subtle franchise or pyramid scheme that's called Zen then?

Anonymous said...

Brad, great post.
Broken yogi great comment.

zen practice tell us that we are perfect exactly as we are.

I would pay Genpo if he said to me that Big Mind™ is USELESS because we are already perfect just exactly as we are.

We don't need to become japanese, and not the japanese become western people...

Zen practice is great, because it is selling water along the river!

Zen Teacher who would sit practice in chairs would have dificult to get students because most of the beginners want to feel special doing exotic things like sitting cross-legged, and because they want to get something like enlightment and they have aversion to their ordinary life.

Anonymous said...

Despite the fact that the teacher Barry Magid, like Brad Warner Paramount, do practice on a special way of sitting (cross-legged), I like the school www.ordinarymind.com
Google this site for 'useless teacher' and 'zazen is useless'.
Brad, thanks. You are doing the best you can, like Genpo, me, everyone.

Broken Yogi said...

O Paque,

I don't think the having of a teacher feeds our craving, any more than the having of a stomach makes us gluttons. A teacher can be very useful if we use the teacher properly. It is quite natural to have a teacher, and even if we don't, the universe will teach us with just as much conscious care. We cannot help teach one another no matter what we do.

A true teacher understands that he cannot teach anyone, and a true student understands that no one can teach him anything. This is what the koan process is about. Craving does not come from teachers, and therefore it is not eliminated by teachers. It comes from us, and ends in us.

The problem of craving feeds itself, and even when we crave enlightenment, we feed this problem. If we go to a teacher for enlightenment, they cannot do anything but feed the craving for enlightenment we bring to them. The best they can do is turn that craving upon itself, and let it devour itself, by not feeding it, but instead making us sit with our craving and be burned up in it.

That to me is what zazen is about - rather than trying to fulfill our cravings, just sit in them, and do nothing with them. Let them merely be with us, unfulfilled. From that, who knows?

There are people who teach this form of Buddhism, and people who don't. Since most people want their cravings fulfilled, most will be drawn to Buddhist teachings that seem to offer that promise. But since no cravings are ever truly fulfilled, eventually everyone must come to the true form of Buddhism, and sit with their unfulfilled cravings burning up inside them. We can have faith in that. The craving to have other people see things the way we do will also be unfulfilled, and we have to sit with that as well.

We do not have to assert that everything is perfect in order to sit with ourselves, though if it helps, fine. Nothing needs to be perfect, if by "perfect" we mean fulfilling. Nothing is fulfilling, and craving never ends merely by asserting that things are already perfect. We have to sit in our imperfection and lack of fulfillment and accept it as it is, without trying to change it. If at some point, we see everything as perfect, or empty, or as suchness, fine. Nothing matters other than the cessation of craving itself, even for these.

Mark Foote said...

Broken Yogi, I have a different take on the four truths. My take is, when suffering exists, then there is an origin to suffering, an end to suffering, and the path leading to the end of suffering. This of course is very different from "life is suffering".

Note for example, from the Pali Suttas:

(Anyone)…knowing and seeing eye as it really is, knowing and seeing material shapes… visual consciousness… impact on the eye as it really is, and knowing, seeing as it really is the experience, whether pleasant, painful, or neither painful nor pleasant, that arises conditioned by impact on the eye, is not attached to the eye nor to material shapes nor to visual consciousness nor to impact on the eye; and that experience, whether pleasant, painful, or neither painful nor pleasant, that arises conditioned by impact on the eye—neither to that is (such a one) attached. …(Such a one’s) physical anxieties decrease, and mental anxieties decrease, and bodily torments… and mental torments… and bodily fevers decrease, and mental fevers decrease. (Such a one) experiences happiness of body and happiness of mind. (repeated for ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind).

Whatever is the view of what really is, that for (such a one) is right view; whatever is aspiration for what really is, that for (such a one) is right aspiration; whatever is endeavour for what really is, that is for (such a one) right endeavour; whatever is mindfulness of what really is, that is for (such a one) right mindfulness; whatever is concentration on what really is, that is for (such a one) right concentration. And (such a one’s) past acts of body, acts of speech, and mode of livelihood have been well purified.

(Majjhima-Nikaya, Pali Text Society volume 3 pg 337-338, ©Pali Text Society)

And this I think puts in context the following from Dogen:

When we let go of our minds and cast aside our views and understandings the Way will be actualized. One sage clarified True Mind (Reality) when he saw peach blossoms and another realized the Way when he heard the sound of tile hitting a bamboo. They attained the way through their bodies. Therefore, when we completely cast aside our thoughts and views and practice shikantaza, we will become intimate with the way… This is why I encourage you to practice zazen wholeheartedly.

(“Shobogenzo-zuimonki”, sayings recorded by Koun Ejo, translated by Shohaku Okumura, 2-26, pg 107-108, ©2004 Sotoshu Shumucho)

Let's get this water moving, here by the river, cups for $0.50, quarts for $0.25!

Anonymous said...

This is perfect Broken Yogi!!!! Do you accept paypal? We are on the same boat and river... I want 4 cups for 2$.

'We do not have to assert that everything is perfect in order to sit with ourselves, though if it helps, fine. Nothing needs to be perfect, that things are already perfect. We have to sit in our imperfection and ack of fulfillment and accept it as t is, without trying to change it. If at some point, we see everything as perfect, or empty, or as suchness, fine. Nothing matters other than the cessation of craving itself, even for these. at some point, we see everything as perfect, or empty, or as suchness, fine. Nothing matters other than the cessation of craving tself, even for these'

O Paque said...

@Broken Yogi

An eloquent response.

I've still no idea if the ceasation of all craving is possible. I no longer feel the need to take them too seriously. I o longer feel the need to make them stop. Sometimes I think I must be missing something. Sometimes I think they add color to the world. Sometimes I wonder if humans are the only species on the planet who worry about the right way to exist.

Can you imagine a dog asking "Does a human have Buddha Nature?"

Capcha: NOWsw !!

Anonymous said...

O Paque, I agree,
Zen is just the life as it is. After practice we accept things as they are, even when broken.

Anonymous said...

Zen isn't to become like the indian Buddha, sitting cross-legged.
Zen is to be the ordinary Buddha that we already are, sitting in chairs.

Broken Yogi said...

Mark,

Wonderful quotes. I am not trying to argue against the other three noble truths, for they follow naturally from the first. But do note that the cause of suffering in the second noble truth is "craving", and the elimination of suffering requires, in the third noble truth, the elimination of craving. So the Way, the fourth noble truth, is the Way that eliminates craving, the source of dukkha. Any other method for the elimination of dukkha, that sidesteps the elimination of craving, is not the Buddha's teaching.

What must be noted is how craving distorts us from head to toe, and colors all our perceptions and thinking. This is the source of "wrong view". One can even analyze this distortion biochemically, as a function of stress chemistry in the body and brain, as an example of how craving disturbs us and prevents us from grasping reality. But of course it is far more than mere biochemistry, it is evident in every aspect of our being.

It's also true that if craving is eliminated, a great happiness is revealed to have always been here. Even the body relaxes and produces a more favorable chemistry. But that is not the limit of this process either, the physical relaxation only begins the process of self-inspection, and allows us to see our more subtle cravings.

My favorite quote from the Buddha is:

No earthly pleasure
No heavenly bliss
Equals one infinitesimal part
Of the bliss of the cessation of craving.

The point here is that the cessation of craving is actually more blissful than the fulfillment of craving - infinitely more, which I think refers not merely to the "quantity" of the bliss, but that it is a bliss of an entirely different order altogether, like a transcendent order of numbers in math.

The problem comes when we get a taste of this bliss of the cessation of craving, and respond by craving that bliss. Who doesn't know that Chinese box-trap? Most of the problems in every form of non-dual teaching come from this paradox. Genpo's "Big Mind" game is to give people a taste of this prior bliss, awaken their craving for it, and then promise them they can fulfill that craving by following his path, and paying him money and service and so forth. It's a form of drug addiction exploited by a pusher who claims to have the best shit on the street, so you have to come to him if you want to get high. And all it does is get you addicted to a seductively entrancing form of craving, rather than eliminating craving. But that is what many people want. Who wants to actually bring an end to craving? That path would not be as glamorous or interesting or exciting as the paths of craving, so not many people follow that path.

Broken Yogi said...

cont.

I suppose the question breaks down to, "Is suffering real in itself, or is it just a consequence of craving?" If suffering is real, then we certainly do have to find some kind of cure for it, and apply that cure, and that could be a very expensive process. If someone like Genpo had that cure, it would be worth the price. But if suffering is merely the consequence of our craving, then it isn't actually real in itself, and all we have to do is cease our craving on all levels to be free of it.

It's not enough just to cease craving on one level, only to pursue craving on a different level. We have to cease on all levels that we are aware of, and by that process become aware of our craving on levels we are barely aware of yet. There seems to be a natural process that brings these to our awareness once we have let go of our more obvious forms of craving, and then we can recognize them and let them go also. This is very different than pursuing "Big Mind" and thinking that we will achieve bliss if we just do the techniques right and pay the prices requested by the teacher, monetary and otherwise.

The only price to be paid is the awareness of our suffering and our craving, and the relinquishment of these. Which is a pretty steep price, to be sure. That is all the Way is about, though the details do need to be worked out for each of us.

The idea that we pay that price to the teacher, however, is a complete illusion. We must pay this price to our own craven self, our karma, our dukkha, and to do that, we must get to know these intimately. They have bills to hand us that must be paid. If you pay Genpo instead, you are paying the wrong guy. The debts are non-transferable, and so what people pay him doesn't pay the actual piper we have to satisfy.

Zazen means facing up to that craven self in us that demands payment, and we must pay him with our attention. That is the only currency that will satisfy this particular demon. And if one does so, the demon burns up in a fire that reveals our native bliss. If not, the demon just tortures us endlessly no matter what we do, until we pay him directly.

So we can't crave that bliss and find it, we must give our attention to the craving, turning our craving upon craving itself, rather than upon any object of craving, even upon the bliss of non-craving, and let it burn up in that stillness. That is not hell, that is not heaven, that is the cessation of craving, which is far superior.

Eventually, the whole cycle of craving comes to an end, and that is freedom, when we have paid the full price of our attention.

And thanks for your blessings, anon, but I'm not aware that there is a paypal process wherein we can transfer either blessings or attention even to our friends. I think it requires something more direct and intimate.

Okay, I've blabbered on long enough. Thanks for the conversation guys.

Anonymous said...

Broken Yogi, thanks for the wisdom, and let's remember that we don't need to porsuit the 'non craving'... Everybody don't need to get or to avoid anything...

Mark Foote said...

hey yogi break-dancer,

how's this:

"Lately I've been writing for friends about waking up and falling asleep, about the role of the sense of place in waking up and falling asleep. If I can bring forward my sense of location and relax, then I can wake up or fall asleep; the trick is, the sense of location tends to move as I wake up or fall asleep.

These days I'm happiest when I can feel my action being generated from the place I find myself in, from the place and the things that enter into the place even before I know it. I can say that my sense of place is freed to move when I have an attraction or aversion to something I feel, and the witness of that attraction or aversion enters into my sense of place; that's how I find myself waking up or falling asleep, in the midst of my activity."

I left out ignoring something I feel, I realize, but you get it. Yes we are in agreement, the cessation of craving of again-becoming I believe is the classic description. Interesting how in the close of the first quote I gave above he says that all the components of the eight-fold path go to fulfillment in observing sense organ, sense object, consciousness, impact, and feeling as it really is with respect to each of the six senses. He goes on in that sermon to list all the other aspects including the seven factors of enlightenment as developing and going to fulfillment as well. Is it not consciousness, impact, and feeling that breathes at the sight of blossoms?

$0.50 per cup, $0.25 per quart, drink the whole river at one gulp free! Can only be done while waking up or falling asleep.

Casey said...

Brad Warner's master plan.

1) Compile list of all appearances.
2)..............
3) World domination.

Anonymous said...

well, I'm rather glad that Genpo isn't charging an arm or two and leaving his erstwhile disciples bleeding in the snow like one of his predecessors. Perhaps in an agrarian economy the most precious resource one had were one's limbs and so the cost of discipleship was to divest oneself of that to which you were most attached....in a market economy it seems one's most precious resource is one's bank account...or lack thereof. Different sides of the same coin. The real trouble will be if and when Mr. Merzel's image appears on the national coinage....then we'll know we're really in trouble. Then I'd be more than happy to give him all I have....

eko sinsay said...

i have no idea what youre talking about, but if your saying zen teachers can make money from teaching, then i want everyone to know i will do it for half price!

Anonymous said...

There are two things. Mr Merzel has sacrificed his life in order to help others including myself to discover the Absolute domain within themselves. Structures of consciousness that are emerging also as social systems are evolving constantly.

Mr Warner seems to miss these two aspects of reality. Based on superficial information and dogmatism he is presenting his projections and state of mind. Nothing more, nothing less.

It hurts.

Daniel said...

I'm an on-again, off-again reader and truth be told, I tend to skim the Genpo Merzel rants. I skim them because I've dealt with similar issues in my previous faith and you and I are of a like mind when it comes to scams like that.

What I'm wondering is: perhaps you need to diversify your rants. Instead of Genpo Whipping Boy, maybe branch out and take the keisaku to David Duchovny for the bone-headed jokes about his first retreat. "I paid them money and then they put me to work shoveling horseshit!"

Mark Foote said...

"There are two things. Mr Merzel has sacrificed his life in order to help others including myself to discover the Absolute domain within themselves. Structures of consciousness that are emerging also as social systems are evolving constantly.

Mr Warner seems to miss these two aspects of reality."

Do those two aspects of reality get up and walk around, sometimes? Not defending Brad, just wondering- sounds like the perception of reality as opposed to "things as it really is", as Shunryu Suzuki said.

Anonymous said...

the hardest working monster in the business:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xW2xKDJoL4

Mysterion said...

Mr Merzel is selling "comfort food" mislabeled as Zen, Buddhism, or both.

He can sell whatever he wants to whomever he wants at whatever price it brings.

It's just not Buddhist.

Mysterioff said...

Your mom's not "Buddhist!"

Mysterion said...

Dennis sez... HERE

a moment of candor?

Mysterion said...

BTW my mom was NOT Buddhist, she was confused.

Methodist
First Xtian
7th day Adventist
Christian Science
who knows what next?
it doesn't matter...

dead. reborn.

Anonymous said...

I agree on all points re: Merzel. I've practiced Zen for 25 years, since I was 19 (how can this be true?) Anyway, I never would have been drawn to any of Merzel's shenanigans. Just intuitively, its way off. So at a certain level, people have to be left alone to simply be stupid. But it is important to draw your own line in the stand.
Another guy who chaps my Zen hide, but on a scale so relatively paltry as to seem microscopic, is Barry Graham. At least Genpo has some actual confirmed bona fides. Graham (whose "teacher" and supposed ordination was proved fictional) has self-published a book of "zen teachings" (titled "Kill Your Self" - every 13 year old's idea of what Zen is, circa 1972), declared himself abbot of his own Zen temple, and "ordained" his girlfriend (recently declared "head of practice" at their temple - in the house she bought for them.) Not to mention his rants against America (his adopted country - lucky us), Obama, and for guns. he loves to blog about all the questions he gets from his "students".
He's a nasty piece of work.
And while we're ranting, how about Buddhist Geeks? The most positivist, acquisitive distortions of dharma to come over the pike in ages. WAY into ken Wilber, Andrew Cohen, and even Adi Da over there. Come on! Seriously?