Saturday, February 11, 2012

CAT ZEN


I'm pretty happy with my life in most respects. I wish I could afford an Electro Harmonix Ravish Sitar pedal and an Italia Rimini 12 String Electric Guitar. But then again, where would I put them? Besides material possessions are always a burden. And the cause of all suffering is desire for guitar equipment, right?

I've still got Crum the Cat. I'm having to learn to modify my mudra during morning zazen. A mudra is a hand position. The one you use during zazen is called the Cosmic Mudra. You can see an example of it in this photo set that I put up forever ago.

Problem is that Crum likes to sit in my lap and purr during zazen. So I need to accommodate by finding a place for my hands that works when a cat is there. I'm working on this.

Zen and cats have a very long history. In Japan zen temples almost always have several cats. I've never been to one that doesn't. The one at the end of the road where I used to live had at least half a dozen that just hung around all the time. I'm not really sure where this tradition got started. But even Dogen moans about it somewhere in Shobogenzo. I'm not talking about his famous commentary in Shobgenzo Zuimonki on the koan "Nansen's Cat." I know there's some chapter near the end of the Shobogenzo proper where Dogen is bitching about how degraded temples have become "these days" (the 1240s CE) to the extent that they even keep cats as pets. But I can't recall exactly where that was anymore.

Then there's the old story about tying up the cat during zazen. That one's pretty funny.

"When the spiritual teacher and his disciples began their evening meditation, the cat who lived in the monastery made such noise that it distracted them. So the teacher ordered that the cat be tied up during the evening practice. Years later, when the teacher died, the cat continued to be tied up during the meditation session. And when the cat eventually died, another cat was brought to the monastery and tied up. Centuries later, learned descendants of the spiritual teacher wrote scholarly treatises about the religious significance of tying up a cat for meditation practice."

I've been busting my balls for the last few days writing. Hope this next one sells a few copies. I owe pretty much everything I made in Germany last year to the hospital I went to who insisted I needed a spinal tap and a CAT scan. Speaking of cats...

I've also put a bunch of blasts from my past up on YouTube. Here's a sampling:

Here I am as American News reporter Bradley S. Warner in the theatrical feature film Ultraman Zearth from 1996.

The French reporter is Nathalie Delin, another person who worked for Tsuburaya Productions' International Division. Nathalie was probably a lot more "professional" in terms of the TV and film biz than I ever was. And perhaps as a result of that she didn't last nearly as long as I did at the company. But she made it through a few years. I haven't seen or heard from her since then.

**

Here I am in the late-night horror TV series Moon Spiral. I'm playing a vegetarian ghost.

The star of this show was Mariya Yamada who went on to become a huge star in Japan for a while. She also appeared in the Japanese edition of Penthouse magazine, though she did not remove all of her clothes for the shoot. She was just 16 when she appeared in this TV series playing a psychic girl who works with a couple of detectives. It was sort of X-Files-ish. I think there were only six episodes. But not because it got canceled. A lot of shows in Japan just run a few episodes. The mini-series concept is much stronger over there.

This show was written by Masakazu Mighita who also wrote The Calamari Wrestler, Executive Koala and Pussy Soup (which I first heard of just now when looking him up on IMDB. I gotta ask what that was!)

**

Here's a clip of me getting blowed up real good in Ultraman Tiga episode 51

I wrote about this in Hardcore Zen. I had a crappy copy of this up on YouTube for a while. But now I've replaced it with this better one.

**

It's harder to spot me in this. But I'm in most of the crowd scenes in the Ultraman Neos pilot film.

I'm also the guy on the right at the end of this, the one who points up at Ultraman Neos flying overhead.

**

I'm playing the monster Powered Baltan in this Tsuburaya Productions commercial from 1995.

The best view of me comes at about 1:00 or 1:01 in this clip. Those are my big blue lobster claws waving in the air. I was selected to play Powered Baltan because he was a monster from the only Ultraman TV show produced in the United States. Unfortunately, that happened to be the worst Ultraman TV show ever made, as well. Noboru Tsuburaya is the singer you see at the beginning. He was the president of the company and the man who hired me to work at Tsuburaya Productions.

69 comments:

Anonymous said...

First?

Anonymous said...

The ghost of Bugs Bunny?

That actually looks like a quality production. The girl is way cute too.

Japanese guys sure do a lot of yelling in the movies. But J-guys I've met in real life have been very soft spoken. Except one guy who kept insisting that the U.S. World Series was not really the World Series. I told him it was when they started playing it and they weren't going to change it now.

Anonymous said...

My vietnamese zen temple has cats and im about to "donate" my cats there because I can't have them at my house anymore. Except im still going to have to buy all the food

gniz said...

Brad, do you miss working at Tsuraba productions?

BTW not sure if my word verification is any indication of the quality of my comment...

Verification: fartica

gniz said...

I meant Tsuburaya Productions

Anonymous said...

GNITZ!

How in the heck are ya, chief?

Moni said...

Is there any reason why they prefer cats as pets at zen temples?

Anonymous said...

Because there's not enough room for elephants.

Bruce said...

I had a friend was a big baseball player
back in high school
He could throw that speedball by you
Make you look like a fool boy
Saw him the other night at this roadside bar
I was walking in, he was walking out
We went back inside sat down had a few drinks
but all he kept talking about was


Glory days well they'll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days

Well there's a girl that lives up the block
back in school she could turn all the boy's heads
Sometimes on a Friday I'll stop by
and have a few drinks after she put her kids to bed
Her and her husband Bobby well they split up
I guess it's two years gone by now
We just sit around talking about the old times,
she says when she feels like crying
she starts laughing thinking about


Glory days well they'll pass you by
Glory days in the wink of a young girl's eye
Glory days, glory days

My old man worked 20 years on the line
and they let him go
Now everywhere he goes out looking for work
they just tell him that he's too old
I was 9 nine years old and he was working at the
Metuchen Ford plant assembly line
Now he just sits on a stool down at the Legion hall
but I can tell what's on his mind

Glory days yeah goin back
Glory days aw he ain't never had
Glory days, glory days

Now I think I'm going down to the well tonight
and I'm going to drink till I get my fill
And I hope when I get old I don't sit around thinking about it
but I probably will
Yeah, just sitting back trying to recapture
a little of the glory of, well time slips away
and leaves you with nothing mister but
boring stories of glory days

Anonymous said...

thanks for posting the clips/vids.
I remember you mentioning them in your books, but hadn't yet seen them.
Must have been pretty cool !!

gassho

Sam said...

It seems more Buddhist just to move your hands, rather than tie up the cat. But I can't meditate when my parrot is out of his cage. He will sit on my shoulder and start using his beak as a kyōsaku.

Maneki neko said...

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/03/how-your-cat-is-making-you-crazy/8873/?single_page=true

Korey said...

Brad, will your new book be released in physical copies? You're selling yourself short if you limit it to just e-books.

Can you give us a release date?

Seagal Rinpoche said...

With unfailing kindness, your life always presents what you need to learn. Whether you stay home or work in an office or whatever, the next teacher is going to pop right up.

Cidercat said...

Cats do seem to be intrigued by sitting. It's as though they see we're trying to join them in the world of pure relaxed attentiveness, and can't help but join in in their helpful (but slightly mocking) way. Purring has got to be the ultimate mantra.

Anonymous said...

it's so funny to see you in those movies! what a great life you're having :)

Mark Foote said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Foote said...

I really enjoyed the films. I didn't realize you were a star, Brad. Guess I'll take my hat off. Mr. Sir.

Good luck with the book, change the world, in a ghostly, corner bar stool, leering character kind of way. I like that.

You remind me of the cats I've known and the one golden retriever who had to get in on the action when I sat. Mixed blessings, I guess.

As I reflect on it, this journey is a lot like that bar scene- strange, full of sound and drama that seems somehow foreign in reflection. I really like the dance scene with the claws going and the singing, too short!

Mysterion said...

Anonymous Moni said...
"Is there any reason why they prefer cats as pets at zen temples?"

Cats reduce, and sometimes eliminate, the population of rodents. That leaves more rice for the monks to eat.

Of course rat terriers do too but the Japanese didn't have terriers until after the Brits invaded in 1868. Yorkies are popular now.

Mysterion said...

Anonymous Bruce said...
"I had a friend was a big baseball player..."

Well I was never a baseball player but I was mistaken for one 25 years ago.

Mysterion said...

Strike 3

I recall THIS picture of D.T. Suzuki...

Anonymous said...

mysterion said: "Well I was never a baseball player but I was mistaken for one 25 years ago."

Yawn.. How many more times will we be subjected to this boring story?

Anonymous said...

You are correct about the guitars.

Hungry ghost realm. Painted cakes. Etc. blah blah.

Considering cat allergy is very common I wonder if such practice is wise at temples. At least in cohabitation "pet" form and not as practical animals to catch mice.

Mark Foote said...

A friend posted a link to an interview with Shunryu Suzuki on her Facebook page. Here's an interesting paragraph, imo:

"As soon as you have a title—monk, priest, etc.—you become involved in some idea of rank or position or something like that. That is not always so good. It is anyway easier to practice without that kind of idea, and there is not much difference between laymen’s life and priest’s life nowadays. Very close. We don’t know which is which. But as we are, maybe it is time to have some more priests. So my idea is to continue to exchange students between Japan and America and if possible to study Chinese or southern (?) or India. To learn the Indian Buddhist way if possible to have some more good teachers."

(September 16th, 1969

Ron Popeil said...

Jesus fucking christ, MYSTERION, give your fucking stupid ass stories and posts here a rest..... a permanent vaction would be best, actually.

Anonymous said...

I like Mysterion's stories!

Youngun said...

I like them too. Isn't that what this blog is all about? Just look at this blog entry's sub topic videos, we've been down this Ultraman road many many times. Old men forgetting the stories they've told before updating and retelling them again. Like Bruce said above, they're just revisiting their glory days when they could actually get up out of the chair and do something besides type.

Anonymous said...

I like them too! They're great. It's great to have this old asshole dropping link after link in here and posting one on top of the other. Great stuff.

The guy is obviously squared away!

Anonymous said...

Don't listen to the detractors, Mysterion. You're loved here. Keep posting!!

John Baker said...

From studying the Buddha's discourses we learn things like, the Buddha never taught zazen or shikantaza. Nor did he teach that all sentient beings are samyaksambuddhas, i.e., fully perfected Buddhas. Such a belief, in fact, is contradicted in the Mahayana Mahaparinirvana Sutra. This Sutra never misses the opportunity to remind us that while sentient beings have the Buddha nature, which is like cream, they still have to perfect it, that is, turn it into butter. This is what the Buddha-to-be, Siddhartha, did when he was still a Bodhisattva.

True meditation is about turning our cream into butter; not learning to believe that cream is already butter. Where Soto Zen misses the boat is not realizing the difference between potential and actual. It is like a man who buys a tract of land next to gold producing property. First of all, he may not know what real gold even looks like much less the proper equipment to buy to obtain gold. Still, he believes that he is quite wealthy.

Anonymous said...

"I like Mysterion's stories!"

Well then go over to Mysterion's Prostate blog and read them. The stories aren't good enough to be repeated over here. And keep in mind he's using someone else's blog to retell these stories that only he loves. We're a captive audience which is why he does it. Maybe he's not the worst egocentric in the world but saying that he's loved on Brad's blog is a bit of a stretch.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous immediately above me,

All of the pro-Mysterion posts belong to me. I was being sarcastic.

Youngun said...

Not ALL of them were yours! And I am not being sarcastic.

Anonymous said...

subtle

proulx michel said...

John Baker said...

From studying the Buddha's discourses we learn things like, the Buddha never taught zazen or shikantaza.

Well, I'm afraid he did quite consistently tell everyone to sit with spine erect, and always told idle monks "go practice dhyâna", so I think you may have it all wrong, here...

(...)Mahaparinirvana Sutra. This Sutra never misses the opportunity to remind us that while sentient beings have the Buddha nature, which is like cream, they still have to perfect it, that is, turn it into butter.(...)
True meditation is about turning our cream into butter; not learning to believe that cream is already butter. (...)


What you rant about fills hundreds of pages of Zen litterature; you couldn't be more wrong here either...

"Oy ve" "Oy veg-omatic" said...

Mr. Veg-o-matic:
Ron has redesigned mysterion's stories and they are better than ever!

Slice an onion without tears!

Dehydrators - it's all in the family.

There is a 20 question quiz following the video so take notes!

If you answer all 20 questions, you receive a coupon for $9.95 off your next "Fi-Tek VII" purchase.

Fi-Tek means fictional technology.

as seen on TV said...

Brad:

When you are in Germany, who does your translation?

IXEUS said...

JFC...

Anonymous said...

The stories aren't good enough to be repeated over here.

What's your name? Mara?

We're a captive audience

Yes, I think so!

Anonymous said...

Hi john baker
Turning cream into butter sounds like a big project. Why make anything?

John Baker said...

It is easy to get sucked up into Dogen's brand of Zen if one hasn’t read very many of the Buddha's discourses (Sutta/Sutra) sticking, instead, to a Soto Zen interpretation of Buddhism.

John Baker said...

Did you even realize that the Sixth Ancestor Hui-neng was against formal sitting for the sake of just sitting? Unfortunately, this "just sitting" seems to be the practice in Western Zen centers, which has led to the questionable practice of marathon sitting otherwise called in Japanese, sesshin, literally meaning, “collecting the mind”.

Hui-neng believed that oftimes sitting missed the whole essence of Zen. He was also against the practice of trying to still the mind in order to make it empty. For Hui-neng, in the midst of ordinary thought, one must try to discover the pristine animative self-nature which continually gives birth to such thoughts. What Hui-neng mainly objected to was equivocating sitting meditation with seeing one’s true nature.

Bobby Darin said...

I'd like to dedicate this next song to the late...great...Whitney Houston.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oMCsc4Iqvqc

"...and IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII
will always love youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu..."

LTBHTF said...

Dude, that was in very poor taste.
RIP Whitney.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sO_QntXc-c4

Anonymous said...

Hui bent didn't. Know anything
What do you know, john?

Anonymous said...

Bobby Darin, except off key:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRMGnMgBFwQ

Anonymous said...

bath

I get it

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha,

ha... not.

Mysterion said...

My sister sent me the DVD "Avalon."

I'm not a 'gamer' at all but the movie is worth watching - for a price (e.g. 0.00¢).

It's poster on YouTube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ua6DXXv5sU8

It is as religious as anything else I've seen on the silver screen.

Cheers,
Chas

P.S. I heard about Whitney Houston from a Tokyo buddy - see my blog.

Mysterion said...

It's posted on YouTube


'd' is one row below 'r'... I just overshot the qwerty keyboard.

buddy said...

John Baker said 'Unfortunately, this "just sitting" seems to be the practice in Western Zen centers, which has led to the questionable practice of marathon sitting otherwise called in Japanese, sesshin, literally meaning, “collecting the mind”.' This is not a strictly Western tradition- sesshins are held in Japan (hence the Japanese name, duh) and are usually longer and more gruelling than the Western ones.
'Hui-neng believed that oftimes sitting missed the whole essence of Zen.' Yeah, no shit. But there's always next time.
'He was also against the practice of trying to still the mind in order to make it empty. ' Yeah, so is Dogen, Brad and every Soto Zen teacher I know of.

John Baker: for sale by it's owner!

Fred said...

John Baker said " while sentient beings have the Buddha nature, which is like cream, they still have to perfect it, that is, turn it into butter. "

John, this is funny because there
is no one there to turn the cream
into butter. There is no agent that
does something to become
enlightened and see his/or her
original nature.

Gudo says that zazen is action.
What does it mean?

Anonymous said...

Whoa...

that last vid was like
a very creepy acid trip.

Anonymous said...

Yeah I'm Mara.

BOO!!!

Stupid twat.

Anonymous said...

Mara, you are FUNNY!


captcha = sherpood

(you did that, didn't you?)

Mysterion said...

Anonymous Ron Popeil said...
"Jesus fucking christ, MYSTERION, give your fucking stupid ass stories..."

Dear (dildo head) Ron:

For a while, people thought Randy Bass was dating Mayumi Itsuwa around Kanagawa Prefecture.

Mysterion said...

HOT LINK attached.

Mark Foote said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Foote said...

Sesshin, "touch mind".

Shikantaza, maybe "pure hit sit"?

"Ch’an monk P’u-hua said:

When they come in the light, I hit them in the light;
When they come in the dark, I hit them in the dark."

(“Dogen’s Manuals of Zen Meditation”, Carl Bielefeldt, pg 156, ©1988 Regents of the University of California)

Eihei Dogen, said:

"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)

Mark Foote said...

oh yes, let's see, WHERE AM I!

right at home.

How can you stand to look in the mirror, when your hands are stained with the churning of all that butter! The distance we feel with our heart is the lack of sound of a tile on bamboo, and the lack of sight of a peach blossom, and where am I when I feel my heart? Home...

Mark Foote said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Khru said...

I'm more of a dog person.

This thread is embarrassingly horrid. Especially after *this* comment.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I am really happy I did not have to grow up with such crappy and amateurish TV. Is that as good as it gets?

Anonymous said...

Mysterion wrote:
"see my blog."



--no. and you continue to need reminding that this isn't your blog.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely. It's Brad's blog... and Brad's comment section. Are you Brad?

Shodo said...

John Baker said...
"John Baker said 'Unfortunately, this "just sitting" seems to be the practice in Western Zen centers, which has led to the questionable practice of marathon sitting otherwise called in Japanese, sesshin..."


LoL sorry buddy but that was stupid.

So, what you are saying here the practice of "just sitting" here in Western Zen Centers have led to bouts of marathon sitting that the Japanese conveniently have a word for already.... sesshin?

You speak as if the world never before heard of sesshin until Zen hit America, or that the Zen folks somehow erred when they set aside a week of intensified practice.

Quick!
Nobody tell the Theravadins - they outsit th' Zen folks with their 10 day Vipassana retreats!

Anonymous said...

I'm with Khru this time: these comments suck donkey balls. Up the game, folks. There's more to Zen than kitties and Saturday morning Japanese TV.

Anonymous said...

My kitties love to lie beside me and purr when I'm sitting too!

John Baker said...

Dogen Fukan zazen gi is pretty much a copy of an earlier Chinese work. Dogen says nothing original at all. In his Fukan zazen gi, there is no treatment of 'parimukhasati', that is, 'recollecting the thoroughly antecedent'. In other words, that the beginner is supposed to strive to be anterior to the in and out breath in nowhere mentioned in the Fukan zazen gi.

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