Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Why All Spiritual Teachers Other Than Me, Nishijima Roshi and Dogen SUCK ASS!!!!


My Facebook page gets all kinds of goofy ads for just about any vaguely "eastern spirituality" related thing that advertises on Facebook. I often wonder how FB knows to target me with these ads. It's kind of scary. I certainly didn't call Mark Zuckerbeg and tell him I was into that stuff. The Facebook folks also seem to think I want to date younger women. But that's a whole other subject.

Lately whenever something particularly silly appears on my page, I take a screen shot of it and post it with a comment. The other day I posted the ad you're seeing now on this blog with the following comment:

"But can Reggie Ray help me stay in the Alpha state or can Omharmonics help me step more deeply into the river of my life? And can either of them get the gunk off my shoes?"

This upset some of the fans of Reggie Ray who subscribe to my FB page. They thought I was dissing their dude. But actually I had never even heard of Reggie Ray before this ad appeared. The only Reggie I know of is Archie's rival from the Archie comic books. Maybe he got all spiritual when he grew up.

I really do not follow the Buddhist scene in America, or anywhere else for that matter. That seems to surprise people sometimes. But I honestly have pretty much zero interest in who's who in the land of famous spiritual masters. Occasionally when some dill weed starts advertising that he can get you enlightened for more money than I've made in the past three years combined I might take notice.

But generally I don't care about any of these people. Some of them are probably nice, well meaning guys. Others are clearly in it for the money. It's like rock and roll or movies of any other form of mass entertainment. Most of what ends up being big is garbage calculated specifically to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Though on rare occasions something good breaks through. Spirituality in 21st century America is one more form of popular amusement.

In any case, I thought what I said was pretty clearly not a put down of Reggie Ray. It was just a comment on his ad and on the fact that it was paired with an ad for Omharmonics in such a way that they seemed to be competing with each other.

One of my FB friends said I ought to attend one of Reggie's retreats because "he is a genuine dharma conduit." Maybe so. But I'm over that stuff. Years ago I kept hearing about this particular Buddhist master who was supposed to be really great. So I went and saw one of his things. I was appalled. The guy was a master all right. A master of working the system. He was playing his followers like they were an accordion and he was Weird Al Yankovic. I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

Maybe Reggie Ray isn't like that. Maybe he really is great. I don't know and I'm not all that interested in finding out. No disrespect to Mr. Ray intended. It's just that I have a teacher. I don't really feel any great need to find someone else or to sample all the flavors out there on the spiritual buffet table. I'm just not into that sort of thing.

One response I got to my FB post was, I think, pretty typical of what happens when I say absolutely anything about any other teacher. It went, "I'm forever grateful to you Brad for writing Hardcore Zen. It brought me to the practise. But you really seem close minded when it comes to any other teacher. Is it because of your dislike of the fakes out there that you're skeptical? Or is it something else?"

It's like what happened when I mentioned Thich Naht Hanh (did I get the spelling right this time? I honestly tried!) the other day. I knew that titling the article "Thich Naht Hanh is Wrong" was bound to cause some consternation. But read the article and you'll see that it's about a particular statement attributed to TNH and the way that statement was taken out of context and presented. Unfortunately, little soundbytes like that seem to be the way most people approach Buddhism or spirituality in general these days. They're too busy to go into Buddhism or anything else in any kind of depth. So they look at a couple of Twitter postings and think they've got it down.

Be that as it may, I do not think all other spiritual teachers suck ass. On the other hand, I'm generally not terribly impressed with most of the people currently working in the area of "commercial spiritual teacher" -- by that I mean spiritual teacher types who write books, who do lecture tours, who get movies made about them etc. like me, for example.

There is a whole other class of spiritual teacher who are entirely different from "commercial spiritual teachers" who I (generally) respect a lot more. These are people who work mostly anonymously, who nobody ever hears of, whose next door neighbors don't even know what they do -- whose next door neighbors are, in fact, many of the people who say, "There are no teachers near me! Why can't I just do my Zen training on line?"

Anyway, those anonymous people are almost always better than anyone you've ever heard of who also does this "spiritual teacher" thing. The supposed superstars of the spiritual world and most especially me -- though I'm a C-list spiritual celebrity at best -- are no match for most of these anonymous humble teachers.

The idea that people sell spirituality as a commodity bugs me. I don't mind people who sell books about spirituality. That's fine. Or books about their own experience of a practice. Also great. But what a lot of these guys are selling is clearly not that. They advertise themselves as being able to grant you enlightenment, realization, peace of mind, or whatever, for a price. But they can't do that. Nobody can do that. If someone really could, that would be great.

But you cannot buy that kind of thing. Just like you can't buy genuine love. Even though you can buy a night with a very good prostitute, some of whom are adept at the "girlfriend experience" which means they can simulate genuine love. But that costs you extra. And a lot of what I see advertised sounds to me like a Zen version of the "girlfriend experience." That's what Genpo Roshi is selling with his personalized five-day retreats for only five people in a luxury hotel.

Also the idea that we must not question anyone as pure and lovely as Thich Naht Hanh or Reggie Ray or whoever worries me. When we lose our ability to be critical, we're stepping into a very dangerous area. We're no longer looking at things in a balanced way. That's when trouble begins.

152 comments:

pickles! said...

OMG!!!!


#1

?

Indigo said...

Without sound bytes we don't have much going on. I'd like to pretend at least some of them are really haiku or koans but they're not. They're just sound bytes.

Commercial spirituality (great phrase!) is an all-American hobby. Apparently, everybody should have a religion or two, it makes them seem wholesome, even if they're not.

I'd like to blame George Bush but he's not really the perp in this case. Neither is Thich Nhat Hanh.

Shodo said...

Oh brother here we go again...

Juergen said...

Dear Brad,

I've read all your books and read your blog regularly and I feel like hugging and snuggling you because you have taken away so many illusions about masters and enlightenment from me. I feel very much relieved and I just want to say you are doing a great and important job and I thank you so very, very much !

Jürgen

Ross said...

DING DING SING NAILED IT BRAD. When I first got into "eastern spirituality" it was through the krishnas that would come with free food to all the local hardcore shows. Well that didn't quit click me but I liked some of there points. When I stumbled upon Buddhism I really liked the teachings but I was put off by all the new-age cheesiness. I like Osho cause he said we should chant "fuck it" as our morning mantra lol. That was punk. One day I googled "Buddhist hardcore" and found you and Noah Levine. Noah Levine is cool but still kinda cheesy. We like alot of the same bands. And then there's you. Hardcore Zen wasnt incredibly entertaining. But holy shit was it true. Everything you said made so much sense. But then after reading that and Sit Down & Shut Up, I began saying "there's no soto zen teachers here!". There's a little vietnamese zen temple down the street from me, so I went to check it out. Incredibly good teacher. The english sitting group only consists of about 8 of us total. It has nothing to do with soto zen or dogen or anything like that. Just reality. It just goes to show you that the underground will always be superior to the mainstream.

Mark Foote said...

"But read the article and you'll see that it's about a particular statement attributed to TNH and the way that statement was taken out of context and presented."

Close, but not a match. The board goes back (as they used to say on "Concentration").

The difficulty for most teachers is that they don't quite have the science. Even if they did, the folks who are into religion are not usually into science; religion and philosophy majors usually have a very different psychological profile from math and science majors, for example.

So the teaching is a cross between Aesop's fables and the Wizard of Oz, and Brad's right, in the U.S.A. it's "enlightenment-light" for the busy supermarket spirituality householder.

Great stuff.

Give 'em hell, Brad, they all suck! The action that is zazen, how do we teach that without science; we hide it between the lines, right?

Mysterion said...

"Most of what ends up being big is garbage calculated specifically to appeal to the lowest common denominator."

But so many people got "it."

It being EST and the whole mining of people's 'ego' for lack of a better word. In one way or another, most of these movements (unlike my bowel movement) simply stroke egos. End ego stroking brings reward$.

I once had an EST graduate in my department - clearly a direct report and his favorite saying was: "I will work with you but not for you." He often came in late and left early. But those were the halcyon days and his errant ways were easily overlooked.

And I later worked for an EST graduate and his main problem was that he was an EST graduate.

EST provided thousands of PTSD clients for clinical psychologists around the country. Apple has done the same thing by abandoning the enterprise market.

These Huxters are selling no more than the old snake oil salesmen in the wild west. For a real reality check - from the 1960s, no less, see "Salesman."

It's a documentary about door-to-door bible salesmen. They are selling cathoholic bibles to impoverished cathiholics who filled out an 'interest card' at the local parish. (Hint: Mother Church got her split!) It's a wonderful movie - befitting our own times in the current Great Bush/Cheney Depression.

Anonymous said...

You should listen to the buddhist geeks podcast more brad, conversations are really interesting and you get educated on the big buddhist names, regardless of whether you like them or not (i know you AND genpo roshi were on it)

krum said...

well said!!

Mysterion said...

There was "a (24 hour) film made about the est 6-Day Course." Yeah, in the early 1980s. I was on the crew - not as an est junkie but - as the senior ranking technician. The film was for a "pay per view" cable TV event that est threw 'only once.' (Hint: it was repeated after it brought in $3 or $4 million.)

The est people brought in a hundred + hours of videotape which - in the course of a few weeks - we cut down to the 'best 24 hours.' (Hint: the word 'best' is being used sarcastically) My garden was never so green...

I almost listed the editor (Jim), VTR operator (Milt), producer (Ziggy), and second unit cameraman (Scott) by full names - my bad.

Question: Did anybody here 'buy' the est pay-per-view?







sucker!David Hannum said it: "There's a sucker born every minute."


Just go to the local "Assemblies of God" megachurch - you'll see a belly full!

Senshin said...

Svaha!

Chad Ferguson said...

Very well said!!

Anonymous said...

Oh SNAP! Sweeping Zen has some words for ya Brad...

http://sweepingzen.com/2012/03/28/the-narrow-way-brad-warners-writing/

I’ll keep this very short.

Most of you probably already know Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen blog, where Brad (a Soto Zen priest) writes about Zen and other stuff – typically the other stuff being his music. At the risk of calling the kettle black, I sometimes am left just shaking my head when I visit there. Everything is ‘just so’ and Brad has the inside scoop on Zen practice; HE is the Real McCoy. He constantly writes critically on subjects he admits he doesn’t know anything about in his writings. As a perfect example, check out Brad’s most recent piece on Reggie Ray.

In it, he writes, “I really do not follow the Buddhist scene in America, or anywhere else for that matter. That seems to surprise people sometimes. But I honestly have pretty much zero interest in who’s who in the land of famous spiritual masters.”

Why would it surprise people? See groupies for an explanation on who cares.

He then goes on to say, “But generally I don’t care about any of these people. Some of them are probably nice, well meaning guys. Others are clearly in it for the money. It’s like rock and roll or movies of any other form of mass entertainment. Most of what ends up being big is garbage calculated specifically to appeal to the lowest common denominator. Though on rare occasions something good breaks through. Spirituality in 21st century America is one more form of popular amusement.”

These quotes provide the perfect snapshot of my issue with Brad’s writing. First, note the most obvious inconsistancy. He doesn’t know who these people are or follow the “Buddhist scene in America,” but he constantly opines about said other teachers and the Buddhist scene in America. That to me doesn’t make a bit of sense.

I also note his self-assuredness. While the title of his piece “Why All Spiritual Teachers Other Than Me, Nishijima Roshi and Dogen SUCK ASS!!!!” is tongue-in-cheek, it also fairly accurately reflects Brad’s writings. He often does this, actually, where he’ll say one thing in jest to try and lessen the narrow-minded impact it has on the reader.

Brad writes later, “Maybe Reggie Ray isn’t like that. Maybe he really is great. I don’t know and I’m not all that interested in finding out. No disrespect to Mr. Ray intended. It’s just that I have a teacher. I don’t really feel any great need to find someone else or to sample all the flavors out there on the spiritual buffet table. I’m just not into that sort of thing.”

This is like Brad’s mantra. One needs only one teacher, and his is the only one he will listen to. Yikes! To my eyes, at any rate, isn’t this attitutde dismissive and narrow-minded? Just because you have a teacher doesn’t mean you shut your eyes and ears off to anything else. That’s just weird to me. What Brad calls a spiritual buffet is what most of us call being open and not knowing everything.

I’m just wary of anyone who sets themselves up as the guy who is authentic – the real Buddha dope. I think people should seek out all kinds teachers in life. To decide you’ve settled that matter, case-closed, strikes me as stagnant, arrogant and childish. Anyway, not sure why I felt like putting my foot in this but there it is.

Anonymous said...

A free mind is a terrible burden, that is why so many people are foolishly willing to give theirs up to "zen" teachers, a corporation or even the military.

Kyle said...

That Sweeping Zen article is just silly. They claim to find Brad's "narrow way of writing" or his "narrow-mindedness" to be "weird," basically implying that they are somehow more "open-minded" than Brad. For this and on the basis of this they go on to ridicule Brad for not being like them in approaching life or Zen. Oh, here we go. This to me is the biggest hypocrisy. However, that is not the biggest problem. All people on some level are hypocrites -- this is the usual thing. No, the worse issue is that they don't seem to even recognize that they themselves are hypocrites. Just like everyone is. That is the main insight that must be grasped. In essence, to use Carl Jung's idea, they don't seem to really understand or jive with the concept of "the shadow self" -- otherwise, they would not have written what they have written.

It's a lot like that story Alan Watts once told of when some of the first Westerners got a whiff of Zen so they came to see a Zen master in Japan. They had many legends in their heads of what he would be like, so they were excited. However, when they met him, on the first day they found out he drank alcohol and slept in late sometimes. This bothered the Westerners -- oh how "unholy"! -- but they let it go. The next day they found out he smoked, and again they were bothered -- really bothered by this one -- but they let it go. Finally, on the last day of the week they found out he had a girlfriend. At that point the Westerners left in a fury, feeling that they had been duped. But the Zen master just laughed. They had really missed the point.

I think that is a lot of what is going on here. Oh, the puritan ethic that runs so deep to be 'perfect' in all ways runs so deep in our culture (and in many cultures), it is a bit sad how far and how thoroughly it permeates our thinking. Only with the greatest effort we can begin to become at least a little bit aware of it, I think, and not freak out as much.

In any case, great post, Brad. I myself enjoy your words and you seem to be a lot more in touch with yourself, which is what really counts, than lots of others out there in the same "field" -- keep it up.

Jamal said...

Rachel Ray is the little ho who has a cooking show on TV. I think it's pretty fucked up how you keep referring to her as 'Mr. Ray' when you know damn well that she is a woman and her name is not Reggie..

The idea that people sell spirituality as a commodity bugs me too. I don't mind people who sell books about it like you do. That's fine. But any other form of selling spirituality is fucked up.

BTW If you are interested in the "Girlfriend experience" of simulated genuine love, I can help you with that. All my girls are young and good looking too.

pickles! said...

Wow, thanks for the warning Brad!

Anonymous said...

Rock on Brad!

Adam said...

"Also the idea that we must not question anyone as pure and lovely as Thich Naht Hanh or Reggie Ray or whoever worries me. When we lose our ability to be critical, we're stepping into a very dangerous area. We're no longer looking at things in a balanced way. That's when trouble begins."

To be clear, I wasn't arguing in my piece that we not be critical. But in the two examples provided, Brad has said in both posts that he doesn't know much (if anything) about either of them. So, that to me doesn't sounds like the dangerous area, really. That's where trouble can begin.

Adam said...

Typos! eh. I meant to say "that to me sounds like the dangerous area."

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nurse said...

How does one simulate genuine love?

pickles! said...

By trying harder!

nurse said...

Genuine love is impossible to simulate. One either experiences genuine love or they don't experience it . If it's simulated then it's not genuine.

Mysterion said...

If you see the Buddha, kill him!

If you see the Buddha, you are deceiving yourself.

_You_ are Buddha. You do not see yourself in this realm of shadow and light. Even after having lived 300 lives as foxes, you do not see yourself (your true Budh nature). It is when you cease being reborn into this realm of shadow and light that you see there is neither 'self' nor 'other.'*

You are what you are
and not what you think.
To a blind horse a smile
is as good as a wink.

Give the blind horse a carrot, not a smile or a wink. Do something beneficial.

Pointing to the mote in your brother's eye _IS_ helpful. By cleansing his eye, he can help you remove the splinter from your eye.

Matthew 7:3, properly interpreted.

And, Brad's mote, when compared to "Big Hind, Big Fart®" Buddhism, is just mote - eye goo.

You only see your Budh nature when you have learned to stop looking. Perhaps, after living 300 lives as foxes, I will attain that state too. Wait and see...

It's only a matter of time.

What did the Buddhist Monk say to the Hot Dog vendor?

pickles! said...

Try harder!

Khru said...

We should have a rule that each comment can be NO longer than three (3) sentences. If you can't express your idea that succinctly, then too bad. But that may just be the weed talkin'.

Anonymous said...

Khru, That was three sentences.

mysterion loves to hear himself talk. He's a wanker is what he is.

two sentences. A HCZ haiku

Anonymous said...

wasting my time here
why do I keep coming back?
don't have any friends :(

Anonymous said...

mysterion sucks.
why do I keep coming back?
mysterion sucks.

Brad Warner said...

Adam said:

This is like Brad’s mantra. One needs only one teacher, and his is the only one he will listen to. Yikes! To my eyes, at any rate, isn’t this attitude dismissive and narrow-minded? Just because you have a teacher doesn’t mean you shut your eyes and ears off to anything else. That’s just weird to me. What Brad calls a spiritual buffet is what most of us call being open and not knowing everything.

I’m just wary of anyone who sets themselves up as the guy who is authentic – the real Buddha dope. I think people should seek out all kinds teachers in life. To decide you’ve settled that matter, case-closed, strikes me as stagnant, arrogant and childish.


I don't "shut my eyes and ears" to all other teachers. I chose to go very deeply into one specific lineage. This is really the only way to truly pursue Buddhist practice. Don't take my word for it. Look at what's been written about Buddhism for the past 2500 years.

One doesn't have to sample every dish on a buffet to know whether the buffet is good or not. Man! I went to a Chinese buffet restaurant off the highway down south once and I definitely did not need to sample every dish they had on offer!

I am definitely the real Buddha dope, though. They don't come much dopier than me!

Adam said...

Going deeply into a lineage is fine, as is having faith in the path you've chosen. But that's not what you said in the post. Someone suggested you might go hear what Ray has to say, and your response was, "It's just that I have a teacher. I don't really feel any great need to find someone else or to sample all the flavors out there on the spiritual buffet table."

What was suggested was one flavor, not all flavors. Now, I don't know Reggie Ray or much about him outside of what you know, for one. But yeah man, why not go check him out if the opportunity arose? Why would that be a competing force somehow with Nishijima, and why can't one have a favorite on the buffet while still trying new things? I think that's how we learn and grow as humans. Thank God I didn't have one teacher for all classes in school, because they would be strong in some areas and weak in others.

Adam said...

And, of course, the metaphor can only go so far. We're discussing human beings, not dishes on a buffet. If I'm in college and am going to write a dissertation on the philosophy of Plato, you bet I'll be pouring over what the dude put forward and such. Otherwise, I don't really have much of a dissertation to offer up and I don't much know what I'm talking about.

Your criticisms of Genpo were dead on because you provided examples, like quotes of how much he charged for retreats and the things he would promise folks. But, the examples are absent in these. The argument is that they should be fair game for criticism, but you don't really highlight what it is they are being criticized for (just that we should be able to criticize them). Sure, we should be able to - but on what grounds?

ryozan 1/2 said...

Three words... Retreats, Store, Colorado. I learn from the lies.

M. Mouse said...

Anonymous ryozan 1/2 said...
"Three words... Retreats, Store, Colorado. I learn from the lies."

Crowd of 1

Richard Baker is just all right with me.

Anonymous said...

"And Hung Mung slapped his ass and cried, 'I don't Know! I don't know!"



Hail Eris -><-

Ross P said...

Mainstream will always suck no matter what the subject matter is. And the majority will always argue that mainstream is good because "if it wasnt then how come its so popular". That's all there is to it.

Ross P said...

And the mainstream will always claim that the underground is "close minded" for not accepting watered-down garbage.

Doug said...

Why in the seven layers of hell that is a Taco Bell crunch wrap is Thich Nhat Hanh's name so hard to spell?

Anonymous said...

The mainstream is loathe to accept that truth is not a popularity contest.

mtto said...

Hi Adam,

What was suggested to Brad was that he attend a Reggie Ray retreat. Attending a retreat is a pretty major commitment of time and money, even if the cost of the retreat itself is minimal: plane tickets or gas money.

Brad has been on the road for the past few years visiting various Buddhist centers, meeting other teachers. He's attended lots and lots of retreats.

There are so many schools of Buddhism in the West now, and so many teachers with a variety of approaches, which is wonderful. But this make it unreasonable to expect anyone to be thoroughly familiar with all of it. I think it is better to say "I don't know about that," than to learn a little and think you now know all about it.

Uku said...

Adam,

you wrote:

But yeah man, why not go check him out if the opportunity arose? Why would that be a competing force somehow with Nishijima, and why can't one have a favorite on the buffet while still trying new things? I think that's how we learn and grow as humans. Thank God I didn't have one teacher for all classes in school, because they would be strong in some areas and weak in others.

But Buddhism isn't about tourism. Buddhism is sticking to one teacher until you find her/him useless and find another. That's what all Buddhist figures have done through the history of Buddhism. Take Dogen for example: he studied Tendai, he studied Rinzai under Myozen, went to China and studied there Chan under Wuji Liaopai. But he didn't felt satisfied with them, so he tried to find another teacher again. And then he found Rujing and he felt Rujing was finally THE teacher he searched so long. Dogen wrote a lot about finding a good teacher and after finding, just sticking to him/her.

Now, you seem to suggest that it's a good thing to search other teachers AFTER you've found your teacher. You're even suggesting to Brad to try new things. But Buddhism is not about Buddhism. Why bother to go on and check other teachers if you're happy with your current? Of course, if you're not happy, then do just like Dogen did and keep on searching.

I have noticed that people who don't have a good teacher or who don't yet know if their teacher is good for them, keep on promoting tourism and searching other teachers. Perhaps this is your situation, Adam?

Buddhism is not about tourism. But don't believe me. There's a lot of Buddhist teachings about this principle.

Uku said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Uku said...

Geez, another try:

I meant Buddhism is not about tourism. I wrote But Buddhism is not about Buddhism. But this is not a metaphysical bullshit discussion. This is practical. Buddhism is not about changing teachers like diapers, it's all about sticking to one teacher if you find your teacher to be YOUR teacher.

Uku said...

And oh Adam, I just checked your site and regarding to your bio, you're not a Buddhist? You're hosting your site and some virtual place, but you're not practicing Buddhism? Or at least there are no mentions about that. If you're not a Buddist, perhaps that can explain your opinions about Buddhist tourism?

Uku said...

And oh Adam, I just checked your site and regarding to your bio, you're not a Buddhist? You're hosting your site and some virtual place, but you're not practicing Buddhism? Or at least there are no mentions about that. If you're not a Buddist, perhaps that can explain your opinions about Buddhist tourism?

Harry said...

Uku,

I thought you were right the first time: "But Buddhism is not about Buddhism".


I hope that we reamin open to the possibility that we may just be wrong sometimes about 'Buddhism'. Certainty is such a cold bedfellow, although we court it so energetically it seems. And it's interesting how we people are so keen to portray history as consistant with our own current values... that old holy grail of 'lineage' which has always been prone to retrospective reinvention when it suits a purpose.

'True Buddhism', when it's a nest of opinion to hide in and shoot from, is the worst sort of shitty diaper. As a teacher we know of once said (he doens't 'put himself out there' much): 'Buddhism is characterised by doubt, not by faith'... how quick we are though to make ourselves closed circuits when we get a bit of insight, or confidence, or faith, or if we just think we're right.

If people trusted their practice more, and themselves more (the real source of authenticity), and their own spurious ideas and values less, I'd be inclined to agree that it was a matter of just 'one teacher', but that's not the case. It seems to me that strong opinions, and a need to project them, are more often about doubt, not faith, in our practice and our selves. Doubt about who and what? Such questions aren't commonly broached because we're too busy dissing what other people are doing to consider the real issue. We avoid it, and set up shit storms so as to avoid it... and/or we try unconsciously to work it out in other ways. Messy, often ineffective ways.

Yes, I think Brad is pretty dumb, because he's prone to shooting his mouth off before he brings his intelligence, and his practice, to bear on it. That's dumb because we're not getting the full extent of his dumbness, and, although I've met Brad only briefly, it really doesn't seem the sum total of who he is (I got the impression he had a lot to say, but he hadn't quite worked out how to say it yet, he just regurgitated what Gudo said). It'll always go down well 'round here' though, which is a slightly worrying situation, because it suggests an incentive for the Brand Warner line, with a gallery to play to. I think when Buddhism descends into groups of people who shore up each other's pathologies that it is no longer fit to purpose: And it doesn't matter if its a groups of tea party right wing nutjobs, or a group of edgy, neo punk rock shock jocks... its the same process. Is buddhism really that sort of effort? Pretty shitty model of 'freedom' if it is.

Besides, it was common practice in Old Japan for monks to go 'on tour' to avail of the teachings of other teachers, sometimes it was even insisted on by their teachers.

Rambled a bit there...

Regards,

Harry.

Uku said...

Harry,

I think the principle of sticking to one teacher is pretty practical: we all have to find our own path and we usually do it by searching and testing different teachers until we found a teacher that suits for us. Ain't it same like choosing a partner, flying from nest to nest until settling down? I think this clumsy analogy is valid for Buddhism too.

But I think it's different to suggest or even underline that it's a good thing to keep on searching and searching a teacher because that would also suggest that you don't have to trust to yourself. By sticking finally to one teacher you have tested her/him and you've saw it's a good teacher for you. For now. But because our practice is constantly doubting and testing ourselves and others, I think it becomes naturally to change teacher if necessary. Sometimes married people get divorced. Same goes for Buddhist student-teacher relationship too, I think. But underlining trying new things, like Adam suggested, it's kind of same like suggesting that if you're married, go on and fuck some other lassie/lad if you feel like it.

Harry said...

Uku,

If it wasn't the case that some of the Dogen Sangha posse are of the thoroughly 'right' opinion that, in having been given transmission or whatever, they have 'arrived' at True Buddhism (and so don't have to keep learning anything else, or enquire, or consider their practice from other perspectives, or enagage with people in different ways, or bring their practice to bear on areas of their life...etc etc etc) then I might agree.

At best, Dogen Sangha is a practical and apporachable introduction to the vast range of zen thought and practice as represented by Dogen Zengi in his writings.

At worst, it is a stripped down, simplified and distorted version of it devoid of its much fuller context that has been formed due to later day sectarian assumptions and perceptions and simple, absolutist dogmas

Uku, why wouldn't a person just go and visit another teacher... no big deal... what's the worst that could happen (we know what it is: we could start to doubt our 'certainties', well, in that case, maybe we ain't so certain). It's not like you have to convert to another religion, or initiate into a cult or something... it's just going and listening or, god forbid, talking a bit even. The koan literature is bursting with accounts of various masters interacting and testing each other in conversation. This is a much better model than people sitting around wallowing in their own, safe 'rightness' and 'certainties'.

What's so wrong with uncertainty? It points to a lack of maturity in practice if someone cannot take on board the views of others, and be uncertain. What is the worst that could happen in listening to someone else... would we challenge our indoctrination of 'True Buddhism'? Ooooooh, scary.

That's what I mean, people are taking refuge in the shifting sands of their very own values and opinions, they have no confidence in their practice. No 'faith' (zazen style). In seeing these 'others' as a threat to our beloved adopted principles we are exposing our lack of confidence in our practice. The only people we expose as 'phony' are ourselves, but we are the last to know about it.

There are flashes of doubt in Brad's writing, and he exposes it well. I wish he would continue to 'turn the light in' in this regards though, to turn it on his adoption of the calcified thinking of his teacher and expose the source of this 'True Buddhism' in a way that is consistent with the practice. As it is he's just going through the 'bad boy' motions in an unreflective way.

Regards,

Harry.

proulx michel said...

I think I agree with Harry that "Buddhism is not about Buddhism".

I also think that the "tour" thing should be the thing to do, especially here in France where the "proprietary dojo" thing reigns supreme (I mean, where the practicioners in one given dojo are supposed to be the personal and private pupils of the "referent" teacher of the dojo; dojos a recruiting places).

On the other hand, the mere fact that Brad often states to have met other teachers, to have exchanged with them, to have shared retreats with them, is also a telltale sign that he is not that close to other people as this argument might suggest.

But expressing oneself, even in person, is always a redoubtable task, since we tend to develop one string of thoughts, which tends to obscure other important strings of thought, and encourage confusion.

proulx michel said...

As for the Dharma transmission being proof of having "arrived" at True Buddhism, it is not an exclusive feature of Dogen Sangha, far from it.

But it is also true that Brad has always insisted that it was in no way the case, and I also stick to this.

anon #108 said...

Brad wrote: "I don't really feel any great need to find someone else or to sample all the flavors out there on the spiritual buffet table. I'm just not into that sort of thing."

Maybe not any more. But Brad was into 'that sort of thing' at one time - when he was younger. Didn't Brad start out with a general interest in Eastern religions and philosophies, hang out with the Hare Krishnas for a little bit then sign up with Tim McCarthy's Zen class then find and settle on what Gudo Nishijima was offering?

As for what people should do...does anyone ever do what they should do? People just do what they do, don't they?

Henry Gibson said...

A short poem to help people remember the correct spelling of "Thích Nhất Hạnh".

N before H
by Henry Gibson

Niggas before hoes.
Niggas before hoes.
'Cause your niggas are your bros
But those hoes are just hoes.

anon #108 said...

pm wrote: But expressing oneself, even in person, is always a redoubtable task, since we tend to develop one string of thoughts, which tends to obscure other important strings of thought, and encourage confusion.

True dat.

BillZ said...

"But generally I don't care about any of these people. Some of them are probably nice, well meaning guys." I understand that. But Brad, if you don't care how can you describe them as "sucking ass"? You ask for depth but you attract with the worst sort of sound byte. The integrity of your article did not merit the ignorance of your title - a title you evidently don't believe.

Anonymous said...

T before h

c before h

N before h

n before h

Uku said...

Well, I think Buddhism is all about Buddhism. If we're not sticking into one teacher, one lineage and one practice, we're just mixing things. Probably we 21st century people are more intelligent than old folks like Dogen in the 13th (yes, I'm being sarcastic), so we can think that it's suitable to keep on flying from teacher to another. But how can we ever learn a one thing if we're doing another thing at the same time?

And Harry and Michel, it's different to listen other teachers and their lectures than trying to find a new teacher. Adam suggested "trying new things" and that's more than just listening some talk.

Anon 108: Dogen had many teachers like Myozen and Liaopai before finding Rujing. After that, he didn't find necessary to search another teacher and why would he? He already found his teacher. Same goes for Brad and for other Buddhists, like me too. 

But it's more suitable to leave a teacher if the thing is not working between a student and a teacher. But before accepting or abandoning: test, doubt and test. Focus on one teacher, one lineage and one practice. We modern people are tend to be some kind of multibuddhists but that's just bullshit.

Harry said...

Hi Uku,

I'm not saying that what you're saying isn't true... to an extent... just that you don't make a particularly good case for it, and are not presenting a particularly good light of it.

I think you'll find that you are engaging in a sort of absolutist, black and white, all-or-nothing thinking that Master Dogen did not subscribe to. Master Dogen was an advocate of our appreciating the truth wherever we find it and however we express it... among many other positions.

If people were more concerned with their own sincere practice, and not the dim projections of their own minds regarding other people, lineages, questionable legends, teachers, 'Buddhism' and 'bullshit' I think the matter would be much clearer for all concerned.

Regards,

Harry.

anon #108 said...

Hi Uku,

You wrote: Anon 108: Dogen had many teachers like Myozen and Liaopai before finding Rujing. After that, he didn't find necessary to search another teacher and why would he? He already found his teacher. Same goes for Brad and for other Buddhists, like me too.

I'm not sure why you addressed that to me. Perhaps you misunderstood my point? Perhaps I'm misunderstanding yours?

My point - which wasn't a response to anyone in particular - was that most of us investigate all sorts of different things when we're young and 'settle down' as we get older. My other point: To discuss what people in general should do is pretty pointless.

Anonymous said...

Buddhism is not about changing teachers like diapers, it's all about sticking to one teacher if you find your teacher to be YOUR teacher.

Agreed!

Buddhism is about sticking to your teacher. But sticking to your teacher does not mean that you need to express doubt in the ability of other teachers.

Adam said...

Hi Uku,

My argument had absolutely nothing to do with having found a teacher or a lineage, and everything to do with doing your research before you criticize someone or something. That was the whole point. If you found a teacher that works for you, that's terrific.

You state, "I have noticed that people who don't have a good teacher don't yet know if their teacher is good for them, keep on promoting towards him and searching other teachers."

You provided good reason why I would not submit myself to one teacher absolutely, because you have nothing to back up your argument other than that it's the supposed way it's always been. That said, I'm headed for a retreat this weekend. When I decide what it is that works for me in my life, the last thing I taken into consideration is what a conservative movement has to say on the matter. I don't look for Buddhist truths, and I don't stop to ask birds for their singing licenses. I'm just interested in truth. That and I'm headed out for a weekend retreat tomorrow.

In your follow-up statement, which is related to this, you said, "And oh Adam, I just checked your site and regarding to your bio, you're not a Buddhist? You're hosting your site and some virtual place, but you're not practicing Buddhism? Or at least there are no mentions about that. If you're not a Buddist, perhaps that can explain your opinions about Buddhist tourism?"

So you went to a website and checked out someone's byline, and that provides you with the information you need to understand them? That's about how much time Brad puts into researching some of the people he criticizes.

This is also just a handy way of attempting to silence or discredit someone. Silence and discredit away. I don't go on about any of my credentials as it were because I don't much see how they are relevant, seeing as how I don't even try to teach Buddhism. When I write, I don't stop and check to see if this is a Buddhist piece of writing or if it's in accord with whatever Dogen Zenji said in the 13th century. I try to write from a practical standpoint, and from a practical standpoint I don't see why anyone would criticize others without doing one important thing: offering a reason for the critique. Maybe I need Zen credentials to point that out in your mind but, again, the traditionalist teacher/lineage thingy wasn't at all a part of what I was saying. What happened was that I suggested maybe Brad do some research, and one way people do research is to meet with someone they are criticizing. You don't have to do it that way, but to dismiss it because you already have a teacher you've committed to and some lineage doesn't make much sense. Just loosen up a little and don't fix your ideas so rigidly, that's all I would say to that. Enjoy life. Meet with all kinds of different people, and try to understand them! What's wrong with that?

You also asked how one can learn anything if they don't commit to only one thing; that's like saying you can't learn anything in school if you don't commit to only one class. Actually, if you commit to only one teacher or one class in school, you're doing yourself a severe disservice. Again, I'm just coming at this from a practical perspective – not some 13th-century perspective or because Buddhists have done it this way and it's the only way we could ever do it going forward perspective. It's isolationist, limiting, and ignorant. Life just doesn't work the way you propose it does, and I think anyone looking at this objectively can see that. I don't think Zen works that way either. Finding a teacher is important, but to the exclusion of all others? Well, I don't buy it. I've no interest in reading one newspaper, listening to one band, or anything else like that. I wish to expand my horizons, not shrink them, and I don't place a premium on being ignorant.

Uku said...

Hi Adam,

thanks for your response.

And thanks for clarifying that you're not a Buddhist. That explains a lot why you're not supporting traditional Buddhist approach to student-teacher relationship and why you're touring around traditions, being a tourist. And that's good! But that's not Buddhism.

Practicing Buddhism is not reading one newspaper or listening one band. Practicing Buddhism is reading all newspapers and listening all bands but only through one newspaper and one band.

pickles! said...

What is 'straight edge'?

Anonymous said...

here ya go pickes... this is straight edge..

"If Others Disrespect Me Or Give Me Flack
I'll Stop And Think Before I React =
Knowing That They're Going Through Insecure Stages
I'll Take The Opportunity To Exercise Patience
I'll See It As A Chance To Help The Other Person
Nip It In The Bud Before It Can Worsen
A Change For Me To Be Strong And Sure
As I Think On The Buddhas Who Have Come Before
As I Praise And Respect The Good They've Done
Knowing Only Love Can Conquer In Every Situation
We Need Other People In Order To Create
The Circumstances For The Learning That We're Here To Generate
Situations That Bring Up Our Deepest Fears
So We Can Work To Release Them Until They're Cleared
Therefore, It Only Makes Sense
To Thank Our Enemies Despite Their Intent
The Bodhisattva Path Is One Of Power And Strength
A Strength From Within To Go The Length"

Mysterion said...

Three Cardinal Discourses of the Buddha

translated by Ñanamoli Thera

worth reading

Mysterion said...

Artist: Beastie Boys
Album: Ill Communication
Song: Bodhisattva Vow

Anonymous said...

old pond . . .
a frog leaps in
mysterion sucks!

Harry said...

Hi Adam,

Just to point out that Uku is not a spokesperson for either me (as a Buddhist who is tangentially involved with the strange puff of smoke that is Dogen Sangha) nor my teacher (who Uku used to identify as his teacher on his web pages).

Thanks for your efforts, and I hope the retreat goes well.

Regards,

Harry.

Uku said...

Hi Harry,

interesting that you needed to clarify to Adam that A) you disagree with me and B) that you're also Peter's student and you and I disagree. :)

Peace!

U

Anonymous said...

Peace!
Really?
Interesting.

Uku said...

Anon, yeah, peace! And here's a good video my friend emailed me today:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHyy5l8Cbm8

It's all about.... peace!

Peace!

john e mumbles said...

THE CULT OF PERSONALITY
Brad is interested in attending a retreat as long as he’s the one leading it. The vast majority of folks that attend his lectures and retreats are not DSI, they are the interested public. He depends on the “tourists” to buy the books, come hear him, and feed his “C-list” celebrity ego. He even allows in this post that the “spiritual teacher types who write books, who do lecture tours, who get movies made about them etc.” ie; the competition; are just like him.

So what is he doing? “I knew that titling the article "Thich Naht Hanh is Wrong" was bound to cause some consternation.” He knew that. He knew that it would generate a low-ball controversy, create some blog comments, and, yes, feed his “C-list” ego.

Why? Probably because this is a way he can troll for tourists. I don’t know (I am not on Facebook) but maybe its cheaper than a FB ad.

Adam said...

Best wishes, Uku. Thank goodness we have you, a real Buddhist.

Harry said...

Hi Uku,

I just didn't want Adam to get the impression that your idea about what constitutes 'Buddhism' (which, in your case, I certainly disagree with!) represents either the position of Dogen Sangha or that of my teacher. Simple point, and I'm glad it's of some interest to you.

Regards,

Harry.

Uku said...

Umm, ok. Why are people always so sensitive in the internet? You should learn from Harry. He stays cool all the time, not losing his temper or ending up being passive-aggressive. I think we can talk to each others like adults, not have to be like some NambyBambyGassho-dudes.

But take care, Adam! I also wish you a good retreat! I hope it's a Buddhist retreat!

Just kidding. Peace!

Uku said...

Hi Harry,

just clarifying, my comment above was for Adam.

I think everyone can understand that what I'm saying or what you're saying are our own opinions. You're opinions or my opinions are not representing DS or Peter. Brad's opinions are not representing DS or Nishijima. They are Brad's opinions. Our opinions are our opinions.

That would be scary if you or I would say that we're representing here some loose organization or some teacher!

Anonymous said...

Uku,

In your next life may you be born to a couple of NambyBambyGassho-dudes :)

Peace!

(seriously it wouldn't be that bad for you)

Uku said...

Anon, hahhaa! Yeah, that would be something! But I actually know what it's like to be a NambyBambyGasshoDude because I've been one of those. And I occasionally still am. It's some scary shit!

Anonymous said...

ya me too ;) What a great thing this internet is.

Adam said...

To be clear, I don't much care what you think I am or am not. I'm not so beholden to a Buddhist identity that it would bother me that someone who doesn't even know me would affirm my practice or discount it. I might think it's a bit silly to assume such things so that they may fit one's argument, but that's up to you.

I don't know that passive-aggressive was quite the right word for how I last addressed you. You set yourself up as the guy who decides who is and isn't Buddhist, so I was just saying how great it is we have a bonafide Buddhist among us to keep such matters clear. Curious that you never really addressed what my piece was about, though. I'll have a great retreat, thanks.

PS: And thanks, Harry.

john e mumbles said...

Hey Uku!
"Why are people always so sensitive in the internet?...passive-aggressive"

Clearly, Brad sets the tone here.

Harry said...

Hi Uku,

On your zendo webpage you present yourself as 'leader' of a zendo where you teach 'under the guidance' of Peter Rocca. It would not be unreasonable to presume therefore that your views on Buddhist matters represented his in some way.

Regards,

Harry.

Uku said...

Hi Harry,

yes, you're right. In some way indeed. Under the guidance. Peter is my teacher. But do I have to agree with Peter about everything? No. That would be cultish.

Uku said...

And here's the link Harry mentioned:

http://www.kajozendo.org/in-english/

Mark Foote said...

Everything changes. Work out your own salvation.

I have the same thing Brad has, to a certain extent, I guess- I don't like the smell of authority. I liked mathematics, where the student is expected to see the truth in the logic for themselves. Mathematics has transformed the world. Can we separate out what was the part that is verifiable in the teachings of Gautama? I think we can. Can we present these truths in a way that folks can relate to them even if they are coming from disparate backgrounds, that's what Brad's up to, if you ask me.

Being a showman is part of being a mass-media teacher in America, is it not? I agree, to pick out the methodology or presentation of another teacher is not as useful as a substantive statement of one's own experience, but we can hope that this will be forthcoming. I'm excited when I read the comments on Brad's blog; folks here cut to the chase, as they say, and occasionally they even talk about practice and verification, as the ancients described it. I know I do!

Mark Foote said...

sort of.

pickles said...

be patient!

Headline Editor said...

"...Me, Nishijima Roshi and Dogen SUCK ASS!!!!" - Brad Warner

Jinzang said...

For those who don't know, Reginald Ray taught Buddhism at Naropa Institute (the liberal arts college Trungpa Rinpoche started) and an acharya (authorized teacher) for Shambhala International (the organization set up by Trungpa Rinpoche and now managed by his son).

He decided to go freelance (don't know why) and was disowned by Shambhala for giving "pointing out" instructions without their authorization.

Basically he's one of several teachers teaching a modernized and streamlined version of mahamudra. It's a market niche waiting to be served.

Not my cup of tea particularly, but as we used to say back in the Seventies, different strokes for different folks.

The whole market yourself as a freelance spiritual teacher scene so prevalent on the West Coast strikes me as rather crass and unfortunate. But that's more an aesthetic judgement than a moral judgement on my part. Lots of teachers I don't particularly care for have done some good.

Fred said...

Uku said, " I wrote But Buddhism is not about Buddhism "

That is true, Buddhism is about
deepening what is there, not the
next story about Buddhism.

Why go listen to someone else?

"You study the self, to forget the
self" More stuff isn't going to set
you free.

SlapChoppedbyVince said...

I have a bit of a weird observation.

Brad throws a lot of criticism at other zen teachers I've noticed. He doesn't like koan style, doesn't like forms or rituals, seems sectarian/skeptical regarding other lineages - and seems to have forgotten th' Buddha in the title of this very thread.
But from lurking here for the past few months, I can't really tell much of a difference between him and any beginner practitioner at the local once a week sitting group... Some may say "ahhhh yes, no trace of Buddhism, how advanced!"
But I'm not so sure - I am skeptical of Brad's credentials.

He has monk robes but has never lived in a monastery and wouldn't want to.
He is a "teacher" but refuses to take students.
Sits... what...? 30 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes in the evening? Maybe a zazenkai a few times a year?
Thinks koans are bullshit - because there is not anything to see? (He hasn't seen that of course.)
Enlightenment is bullshit too, (he's not enlightened just ask him.)
The only teacher worth having is his, and the only lineage worth practicing in is his.
Blogs for a softcore porn site...(??)
Has a life indistinguishable from, hell, a 40 something generation x'er...?

I guess my observation is, that if you are indistinguishable from a 40 something generation x'er - why should I think you are an authority on zen?
(Hell, *I* am a 40 something generation x'er who practices zen, and I wouldn't go to *ME* for any teachings in Zen)
Why would I want to listen to you?
Or care much about your opinions on other lineages or teachers?
Is it your papers?
The fact that somebody who had papers bonked you on the head with a stick?

I dunno.
I don't trust that.
Your zen life is not hardcore to me... It's not wild, it's mild. Very much not something that has penetrated the bones at all. You seem to be just a guy who happens to do zen.

Just another bloke who rips on folks who have years more experience, sit more, take students, live in monasteries, (sometimes pass koans!) have marks of being transformed by their life in "the dharma".

You don't have any marks as far as I can see - but that doesn't seem to me a mark of "advanced" practice, or "authenticity" - your criticisms seems to stem from the fact that the folks who have these marks are simply more hardcore than you, and you can't seem do what they do, you know that deep down so therefore you dismiss it and discount it.
And THAT's what you call "hardcore"?
That's weak tea dude.


Sigh - I guess I must seem harsh don't I?

Feel free to convince me otherwise.

Jinzang said...

Mark Foote said:

The difficulty for most teachers is that they don't quite have the science. Even if they did, the folks who are into religion are not usually into science; religion and philosophy majors usually have a very different psychological profile from math and science majors, for example.

I have a science background (majored in physics and astronomy) and I don't see the relevance. We're talking on Buddhism about a non-conceptual grasp of reality, while science is entirely conceptual. Moreover, they are directed to different ends. Buddhism is directed towards liberation and science toward strictly utilitarian ends. I wouldn't trust a "scientific Buddhism," it seems a hopeless intellectual muddle to me.

Best moncler sale online shop said...

Do best, no regret. Now beats by dr dre are very popular, I love the Monster beats studio nfl green bay packers most.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

No science, no Buddhism, no concept, no liberation...

...no you.

Willow from The Gathering said...

~ I ~
Celebrate
Openness
in
Exploring
Spiritual
Frontiers...

Blissings!

Anonymous said...

scientific Buddhism = Jinzang

I'm just saying

Anonymous said...

WOW! Me too! FB thinks I want to date younger men! (And they're right.)

I have this mental image of Brad, sitting in his undershorts at the keyboard, cackling all evil-like and saying, "what will I post today that can stir up some shit?" And then he sits back, and happily watches the responses roll in.

I love it! I wish I'd have thought of it first.

Mysterion said...

Brad dares to say:

"Shit stinks."

He further elucidates with:

"Some shit REALLY stinks."

Wake up, and smell the shit.

BTW Shiro's farts are always stinkier after he eats cottage cheese - which he loves. I don't give it to him often because there is a down side.

If I give Shiro what he thinks he wants, his shit stinks MORE.

How is that so different from Big Hind, Big Fart®?

Anonymous said...

Sam Harris on "Free Will"


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCofmZlC72g&feature=youtube_gdata_player

The Committee For Respect said...

Disrespectful way to talk about your Zen teacher, Mysterion.

Mysterion said...

I respect Shiro.

Anonymous said...

Moonlight slants
through

The vast bamboo grove

mysterion sucks

Anonymous said...

Brad--'more like a C-list celeb?' you? c'mon man, definitely D, mos' def'

Anonymous said...

No he's a C-lister, no doubt. He's been in Tricycle Magazine. I don't think he's been in Buddhadharma Magazine. If he was I might bump him to a C+. As far as I know he hasn't been invited to any conferences. I don't think he has an agent either. He's up-and-coming, give him time.

anon #108 said...

Thanks for Sam Harris on Free Will, 3.27am.

Anonymous said...

Time? Brad's pushing 50. Its "hurry up" time!

Anonymous said...

Its shit or get off the pot time.

Anonymous said...

Its Chambers Brothers "TIME"!

Leni Riefenstahl said...

Sam Harris on "Triumph Of The Will".

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

Anonymous said...

Who is this Brad guy? I bet he smells like cheese.

Mysterion said...

Sam Harris is a neuroscientist. He received a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Stanford University and Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA (2009). He is a proponent of scientific skepticism and is the author of The End of Faith (2004), Letter to a Christian Nation (2006), The Moral Landscape (2010), and others.

If he were "East Coast," he would be Dr. Samuel Harris, or Samuel Harris, Ph.D.

Welcome to the West Coast, where folks are folks and people are people.

p.s. where DID you all go to grad school?

















just kidding.

Mysterion said...

Brad started out as an orderly in a mental hospital.

How else would he be able to put up with the peanut gallery?

Anonymous said...

Grad school: for people who don't want to get a job yet. Or maybe ever.

Anonymous said...

The wind in the pines

An owl calls across the field

Mysterion sucks

Shiro said...

Mysterion: where did you go to grumpy grandpa school?











Did you eat all the cottage cheese (farts)?







Again? (farts twice)

Mysterion said...

I went to grad school while I was working full-time. My wife was an undergrad at the time.

It was painless - no college loans for either of us.

As for the cottage cheese - no. I got a gallon of the home-made organic stuff and it lasts a full week. That's with 2 growed up people and a 14.5 pound terrier woffin' it down.

As for grumpy grandpa school, most grandparents are grumpy. They've seen almost every flavor of sheer stupidity - including the reelection of republicans.

Peace

Pax und Lux

don't forget your majik mormon talisman!

Silver

Be prepared for your Moronic Angel!

More Moronic Reading

And you just KNOW where my vote will be cast... (into the river Jordan). 1963 - when most TV was still black and white.

Pretaville said...

"Would the procedure be to trade some mormons or sunday schoolers for..the cowards posting as Anny? And then like put a bullet in their white trash heads?

Yes. We were discussing De quincey and Coleridge--Huxley and the Dhammapada. Not Marley and legalization, frat trash."

Guess who wrote that Zenny hardons..

Guru Schopenhauer said...

Pretaville said...

"inept irony--the sure sign of a white trash morm-xtian invasion.


when you meet a Romney supporter on the road, carjack it."


Guess who wrote that Zen Geniuses..

Corpse of L-Bong Ron Hubblard said...

Does anyone think mysterion isn't a full blown wacko.. What does it mean for him to announce he took two months off from Brad's blog but then to continued on anyway as fill-in-the-blank whoever.. Why did he bother keeping up that charade? He is nutz is the canswer.

Mysterion said...

When I took 2 months off, I did not post.

As for my perspective, it fails me well.

Ga-Sho-Nuff

p.s. No bullets for anyone. no gunpowder, no guns. If they want to engage one another in tribal warfare, let 'em do it in the old fashion barbaric way: Psalm 137:9

or let them join the 21st century - if they can.

peanut gallery said...

Ga-Sho-Nuff Brother..

What-eva-you-say

Mark Foote said...

Jinzhang said:

"I have a science background (majored in physics and astronomy) and I don't see the relevance. We're talking on Buddhism about a non-conceptual grasp of reality, while science is entirely conceptual. Moreover, they are directed to different ends. Buddhism is directed towards liberation and science toward strictly utilitarian ends. I wouldn't trust a "scientific Buddhism," it seems a hopeless intellectual muddle to me."

Mark said:

"Can we separate out what was the part that is verifiable in the teachings of Gautama? I think we can. Can we present these truths in a way that folks can relate to them even if they are coming from disparate backgrounds?"

Science to me is the observation of relationships and the description of those relationships in such a way that someone else can understand the description and observe the same relationship. So again, I describe a practice of waking up and falling asleep by saying "when I realize my physical sense of location in space, and realize it as it occurs from one moment to the next, then I wake up or fall asleep as appropriate." A man in New York asks me for a clarification of what I mean by "physical sense of location in space", and I describe our sense of the location of awareness when we fall. He experiences a sense of the location of awareness, and is able to fall back to sleep seven nights in a row through the practice.

Is this a Buddhist practice? In the Gautamid's description of mindfulness of the body, a monk is described as:

""(one) who acts in full awareness when walking, standing, sitting, falling asleep, waking up, talking, and keeping silent." MN 119

Is that the same practice I'm describing? I think so, and I'm excited to think so, because I have no use for the explanations of mindfulness I have heard so far from Buddhist teachers, and it has been a mystery to me.

Anonymous said...

The Most Astounding Fact

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D05ej8u-gU&context=C4761103ADvjVQa1PpcFP9Vuwe5qRFLwL_nxlratdFXSrUmJ7Qg_8=

ARO said...

Q: I once heard a Buddhist teacher say: “There is no thought in the mind of a Buddha.” How does that equate with the teaching of Dzogchen? There seems to be some contradiction here?

KD: It’s not really possible to comment on that without knowing the whole context of what was said. However . . . there is no attachment to thought in the Mind of a Buddha. There is also no conceptual limitation in the Mind of a Buddha . . . there are often problems with translation.

NR: Was this statement made in English?

Q: No, it was translated.

KD: So really we have no idea of what was actually said.

NR: You see . . . the idea that Mind without content is the conclusion of the path is almost like saying: ‘enlightenment is becoming a statue of a Buddha’.

KD: [laughs] Or the non-existent statue of a Buddha.

NR: There seems to be the notion among many people that: ‘The longer you sit in the thought-free state, the more enlightened you’ll become’.

KD: But when asked: ‘What process is at work in this empty-state which leads toward complete enlightenment?’ the answer is usually that: ‘Such things are ineffable and cannot be expressed in words’. It is true that words are limited and that enlightened experience is beyond concept – but if we are speaking of process, that can always be described by someone who experienced that process. Unless your practice continues into the process of integration – you stultify. You need to open yourself to flowing with whatever arises within the empty state we have discovered. Unless we are prepared to engage in that practice you will not evolve into full recognition of what you really are. Without this recognition, the general character of your life-experience will not change much – you will continue to experience unsatisfactoriness, frustration and turmoil.

—from the book Roaring Silence

john e mumbles said...

“Past humanity is not only implicit in each new man born but is contained in him. Humanity is an ever-widening spiral and life is the beam that plays briefly on each succeeding ring. All humanity from its beginning to its end is already present but the beam has not yet played beyond you.”

― Flann O'Brien, The Third Policeman

Mysterion said...

scientific Buddhism is called Psychology - clinical psychology.

When L. Ron was in Oak Knoll, he was in the psych. ward.

That's why CoS is anti-psych. They fear that which they need most. Poor lost souls*...

*a ghost with levers? give me a break! these folks are neither lost nor souls. Their thetans just aren't operating, that's all... LOL

chairman wao said...

Mc Billy Bob, pinkboy, you're tooo stoopid even for bad Darwinism ala EO. You're no scientist, having flunked the first year of yr LVN studies. You're a........ scientologist! (and hope yr preacher doesn't catch you posting Darwin! .. .you'd lose yr..firm handshake rights at First Church of the Blessed Yokel).

Guess who?

Fred said...

"‘Such things are ineffable and cannot be expressed in words’. It is true that words are limited and that enlightened experience is beyond concept – but if we are speaking of process, that can always be described by someone who experienced that process."

If you drop the body and mind, and
are transformed into something
else, do you think that the duality
can comment?

The Universe sees Itself through
the fiction of the ego.

The enlightenment of an ego is
fiction too.

Sam Antrabhada said...

As is an ego "transformed into something else."

Anonymous said...

If you drop the body and mind, and
are transformed into something
else, do you think that the duality
can comment?


Hmmmm. Don't know. If the chicken vomits at noon will the beagle *finally* shine my shoes?

The Universe sees Itself through
the fiction of the ego.


Hi !!!!

The enlightenment of an ego is
fiction too.


I do enjoy a good read now and then.

Anonymous said...

The beagle will shine your shoes at midnight; take care not to foul them, and bring the falcon with you.

Jinzang said...

Mark Foote wrote:
Science to me is the observation of relationships and the description of those relationships in such a way that someone else can understand the description and observe the same relationship.

I'm very tired and will turn in after writing this. So I hope it isn't completely incoherent.

A couple of posts back Brad wrote about teaching writing. Do you think there is a scientific way to write an article? Or a repeatable way to write clearly? Certainly there are rules for writing. But as someone said (can't remember who) "there is no rule that can't be broken for the sake of more beauty."

Writing is an art, meaning it is drawing out what is best and unique within you. The art can't be separated from the artist, it is an expression of the artist.

The same is true of spiritual practice. An analogy I have used here before is that a scientist holds a test tube over a bunsen burner. A spiritual practitioner is in the test tube getting cooked. Meditation is not something you can do at arm's length or with a control group or from a flow chart. It is a living process.

Mark Foote said...

Jinzang,

I appreciate your remarks, and I agree that fatigue is a factor here this evening!

I had the great pleasure of having a professor who was delighted with mathematics, Gerhard Ringel Sr., who has one of the important theorems in combinatorics named after him. What I got from him was that he was an appreciator of natural beauty, first and foremost, and mathematics to him was a way to come to know a particular aspect of the beauty of nature. I guess I've heard Monet described as a painter of light, a similar fascination with a particular aspect of the beauty of nature.

What I've read in the Pali Canon is not so different, to me. The man is describing a particular aspect of the beauty of nature, having to do with the human experience. He intended his descriptions to be repeated, examined, tested, and verified; he tells us so. He made mistakes, as when he taught the meditation on the unlovely to monks who then committed suicide.

Gautama said that whatever a person might think the meditative trance state was, it was something other. I would assume that's what you're driving at. Yet I think we can say things in modern language that people can use to discover the natural beauty of the human experience for themselves.

That's a lot of what spiritual teachers do, they offer folks a glimpse of the natural beauty that they have come to see in the human experience, in each aspect of the human experience. Is it possible to describe how a person can do absolutely nothing, and yet they sit upright, they stand and walk? I think if I can do that in way that people can understand, it's only a matter of time before they begin to experience what they already had, when they weren't thinking too much about it.

Anonymous said...

Lady Gaga
perfumes wings by floating
mysterion sucks.

Anonymous said...

Spirituality in 21st century America is one more form of popular amusement.

It's true. Everyone wants to be different or special, find a cure, find something new to play with, improve their lives... It's the bodies desire.

I would like to say that meditation will sort everything out but...it never sorted out the kamizake pilots. It never stopped Buddhist wars in the past.

But, I think that if a person thinks they are doing the right thing(meaning that is all they have to work with at the moment)...then they are doing the right thing. You can't blame them even if you think they are wrong.

Anonymous said...

Although, I would add that it's stupid to forfeit your life due too someone elses stupidity.

jason

Anonymous said...

"I often wonder how FB knows to target me with these ads. It's kind of scary. I certainly didn't call Mark Zuckerbeg and tell him I was into that stuff."

Facebook and also other websites are collecting huge amounts of data, which are not only text but also Images. What they do is called datamining. They train mathematical models which are based on assumptions of the behavior of other Facebook members to predict the interest a visitor of your Facebook-Profile has based on your data. These Pattern-Systems are just a best match by the means of the data which is collected, which doesn't mean it actually fits your interests or reactions. I think these systems have a hard time separating the multidimensional room to find input vector combinations which can be assigned to clusters, when it comes to search for logic in human actions.

Anonymous said...

Episode 53: Buddhism and Naturalism with Guest Owen Flanagan

http://www.partiallyexaminedlife.com/2012/03/26/episode-53-buddhism-and-naturalism-with-guest-owen-flanagan/

Juno said...

What if I'm the bad guy?

And if I'm the bad guy, who is the good guy? And why does this matter. I think it is not important who is who. But some people think it is and for them it might make sense.
Buddha thought the middle way which is staying in balance. But what is the balance, is it going with the stream or against it? Fighting is a natural habbit which occures out of hatred against oneself. The fighting is not a bad thing as it gradualy can help to get closer to oneself.

Kobun: "When all the teachers are gone, who will be your teacher?"
Student: "Everything!"
Kobun: - paused -
Kobun: "No, you."

How can one be oneselfs teacher? According to buddhist philosophy the universe is god. So god is your teacher, and the life in itself is a teacher. But following the life is not easy sometimes. If we are following the daily life we meet a lot of challenges, day by day. But everyday life is not spiritual, it is just about getting a lot of stuff done. But we can use everyday life to integrate it in our practice, buy just sitting.

I'm tending to see a lot of spirituality as a kind of entertainment. We pay a lot of money to go to huge events or so called Buddhist masters, so they can help solving our problems. But you can also get hypnotised if you go to a specialist, you probably don't have to pay for it cause normally there is an insurance for this cases.

People nowadays get way to easy scared, and a lot of other people are using this to take profit out of it.

Anonymous said...

Brad loves MINDFULNESS

Anonymous said...

hey Mysterion...


you'll like this video

Mark Foote said...

Anonymous, thanks for the link. Tried to figure out who the author was, couldn't find a credit!

The gist:

"Where the history of sati's translation in the English language is concerned, it has been suggested by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, among others, that the British scholar who coined the term "mindfulness" to translate the word sati "was probably influenced by the Anglican prayer to be ever mindful of the needs of others — in other words, to always keep their needs in mind. But even though the word 'mindful' was probably drawn from a Christian context, the Buddha himself defined sati as the ability to remember..."

(from The Dharma Overground)

I believe the translation of "zikir" in the Sufi tradition is also "remember".

Juno, thanks for the Kobun quote, like that!

The short version of what gets remembered (in any tradition, I suspect):

"... making self-surrender (one's) object of thought, (one) lays hold of concentration, lays hold of one-pointedness of mind."

(SN V 2 , Pali Text Society volume 5 pg 175-176, ©Pali Text Society)

Anonymous said...

Brad, is there any news of Nishijima-sama? I hope he knows the positive effect he has had in my, and many others, lives. I wish him the best.

Mysterion said...

There is a 'slight of hand' in Pat Robertson's comments...

"every time the liberals pass a bill they (meaning congressional republicans) stick a criminal penalty into it."

Liberals have been advocates of decriminalizing marijuana since the 1950s. It is the looney-tunes right (and the cotton cartel) that have been behind hemp criminalization. Why? Hemp fiber is an alternative to cotton!

William F Buckley (another conservative) also wanted to end the 'war' on drugs. The privatization of prisons is a BIG growing industry and congressional republicans are nearly 100% in favor of criminalizing more, not less.

The "gods, gays, and guns" foggers have led their illiterate supporters down the merry path to hell - toting Fascism wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross.

Thank whatever gods may be that that Oxycontin cowboy Rush is leading the charge!

Anonymous said...

Mysterion is like the cat who got into the sand box.

It's just not as much fun to make castles here anymore..

Anonymous said...

BREAKING NEWS:::::

Ashton Kutcher to play Steve Jobs.

Couldn't Resist said...

Anonymous is like the sandbox under the cat- pissed, for no good reason.

Anonymous said...

like is like like

Anonymous said...

The only 2 scenes worth watching in a movie that has Ashton Kutcher playing Steve Jobs would be:

#1 - Ashton Kutcher asking Kobun Chino "Dude, where's my karma?"

#2 - Ashton Kutcher dying at the end.

Anonymous said...

...too loud Brad. People know ads suck. Teach first! You have a good practice and teacher and nothing to lose by learning from both.

Daishin Sunseri said...

Thich Nhat Hanh walks very very slowly.

nfdr said...

C'mon, you know that the language of ad copy and commodification is inescapable: see "Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen," a nice buzzy header on a site that commodifies both sex and hip subcultures. Are you sure you're just selling books, and not some other commodified ethos or lifestyle? Let me rephrase--I believe that it is not your intention to sell or promise a lifestyle and/or the illusory satisfactions that we hope it promises us, but it is nearly impossible to sell anything today, to simply make it available, without having it be tied into existing marketing categories and strategies.

Let's be honest, "Hardcore Zen," as a title, is just the flip side of the Ohmharmonics coin. Marketing copy that panders to spiritual materialism, whether new age or indie or whatever, isn't necessarily a bad thing, as long as the actual teaching doesn't do the same.

Speaking as a Reggie Ray student, that ad copy makes me gag, and basically misrepresents him. (Sure, you'll step into the river of your life, but most of the time it is a river of fucking molten lava.) He doesn't pull any punches, and is very critical of the commodified Buddhist scene, but hasn't tried to turn that into a marketing hook, which is why you've never heard of him. Most of the people who expect a cool, soothing, alpha-wave-inducing river of life just don't stick around, but some do, recognizing that what they were looking for before was bullshit. I think that's why people got offended on facebook--this marketing, probably from his publisher, is an easy target for a critique of new-age flim-flam marketing, but reggie in person is not.