Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Guided By Voices?

First up. Here is a very nice review of the new audiobook edition of Hardcore Zen. Thanks, Punk Globe!

But it's not all positives! Oh no! Gempo Roshi has lashed out against the audiobook in this new video:


Also, Zero Defex has been hard at work on a video shoot. Here's a still from what we did on Monday at Wadsworth High School (of all places).


 We'll be playing in Kent, Ohio this Saturday May 5th, 2012 at the Stone Tavern 110 E. Main St. in Kent. The show starts at 9. We go on later than that, though. Come and see Mick Hurray's head float through the air!


I got an interesting email the other day that went like this:

I read Hardcore Zen when I was in college about 8 years ago, thought it was pretty excellent and then promptly forgot about it.  In between my mind exploded, I was diagnosed with probably every major mental illness that existed and I've been drugged to the gills by people who think they are 'helping'.  I heard voices and still do occasionally.

The only thing besides a really incredible wife that has really helped me not put a bullet in my head is meditation and Buddhism, even though I hate almost everyone and everything that surrounds it.  After losing my mind a few times, I remembered reading somewhere something to the effect of "I don't understand why people that hear voices listen to them. I'd tell them to fuck off and get a body".  And for a long time, I thought, whoever this guy is a total fucking asshole who has no idea what he's talking about.  It's about as funny as a dead baby joke to someone who actually has a dead baby., It's bad advice, too.

So a few days ago I'm in a hippy-dippy used bookstore and I found your book and read it again.  And it resonated with me much more than it had 8 years ago, it's a fantastic book and it's wonderful to hear someone else's frustrations with the bullshit that surrounds Buddhism.  And then I found the quote that had stuck with me so long - in your book - and it sort of reflected everything else about Buddhism - that most people in these communities don't know shit about mental illness, they're just terrified of it and want to get away from it.

Why am I telling you this? Not to pin the blame on you over one fucking sentence in a book you wrote years ago and not because I believe you are intentionally perpetuating this prejudice.  Because if you consider yourself a teacher, I want to tell you that statements like these, while funny and true, cut deep.  They drive away people like me that need to know reality and need to know they aren't alone at the same time that many mental-health practitioners are pushing shitty drugs and Orwellian doublespeak under the banner of mindfulness.


This is how I replied:

I just recorded the audiobook version of Hardcore Zen and when I came to that line I wanted to change it. This was before I even read your email. But I left it in because I feel really strongly that people who change works of art suck. Like George Lucas did with Star Wars. Ugh!

The reason I wanted to change it is that I'm now a lot more aware of the realities of mental illness than I was in 2003. So I realize now that joke is not really very good. On the other hand, it's an honest statement of what I thought at the time. I feel like that's often useful even when it's wrong. Does that make sense? If people are put off by that statement, maybe they should be. It shows that I don't have all the answers and people ought to know that.


Anyway, I know now it's not as easy as what I wrote. I think I knew it at the time too. I think possibly what I was getting at was the Buddhist notion that you have to learn not to believe your own bullshit. Not everyone hears actual disembodied voices. But everyone tells themselves things & then believes those things. We all need to learn to tell ourselves to fuck off.


I'm really sorry the statement caused you trouble. I'm glad you're getting better now. 


The issue of meditation and mental illness is really complex, especially these days. Traditionally, Buddhists have almost always touted meditation as a better treatment for mental illness than the standard medical methods. For example, somewhere in Shobogenzo Dogen gives a list of advice for practitioners. One of these is, "Don't take medicine for mental illness."

Of course the medicines prescribed for mental illness in Dogen's time (13th century CE Japan) were not like the ones we have today. It's hard to even imagine what he might have been referring to. Nor was mental illness understood in the way we understand it today. Which isn't to say we have a complete understanding of it even now. But I think it's safe to say our understanding of metal illness today is objectively better than it was in Dogen's time.

Even so, these days a lot of meditation teachers still insist that meditation is a better treatment for mental illness than drugs. I tend to agree somewhat but only with some very significant reservations. I think ultimately, in the very long term, if one is extremely committed to meditation practice, with an exceedingly patient and loyal teacher, that meditation is probably a better way to go. But I think it's extremely rare for all these conditions to come together. For example, I don't think I could be patient enough to deal with a student who was seriously mentally ill no matter how dedicated he was. It also depends on the severity of the illness in question. These days medication for mental illness is prescribed for a lot of people who really don't need it. That's a whole debate in itself, which I'm not going to get into. 

There are a lot of people who really need these medications just to have any semblance of a normal life. There are a lot of people who might benefit from meditation, but who will not dedicate themselves to it enough for it to be really effective. In the real world it isn't always possible to establish ideal conditions.

It's kind of like dieting and exercise. I think it's pretty clear that the best, most natural, least complicated way to slim down is through diet and exercise. But it's a very different thing for someone who is twenty pounds overweight than it is for someone who is three-hundred pounds overweight. Somebody who weighs 450 pounds might die before diet and exercise could have a significant effect — even though he can take off twenty pounds through diet and exercise just like a slimmer person. He may therefore need something more drastic. Meditation and mental illness work something like that. But this is still a very incomplete metaphor.


*****

In case people don't get the joke with the video above, I was referencing a series called Ask Roshi. You can find several examples on YouTube. There's one about The Law of Attraction in which Genpo tries to draw in fans of The Secret. There's one on Why We Suffer in which Genpo identifies himself on screen as a "Zen Master." Like I've said before, anyone who would use such a term except as a joke doesn't have a single clue what Zen is about. These videos each have well over 10,000 views. 

It's really warped what the general public thinks is significant and serious in terms of Zen or meditation in general.  I aim to spend the next couple years doing some significant damage to this bullshit.

99 comments:

Anonymous said...

!!!!!!!111111111111

Anonymous said...

Hey Brad,

Big fan of your stuff here with a question for ya,,,

I recall you writing that when HCZ was in the publishing process, that Wisdom Pubs passed it by a senior teacher for comment and that teacher suggested you practice a bit longer before publishing - or something to that effect. Was Genpo Roshi the person who Wisdom had look at your book?

Thanks I'll take my answer offline.

Mysterion said...

Welcome to the double-whammy.

First: Funding is cut for social services programs.

Second: The George W. Bush memorial de-recession continues for another decade.

To sum up: "Nowhere to go, nothing to do."

Mark Foote said...

I guess archery practice is easier with a target.

As a Zen Master, Genpo has nothing left to attain, I suppose. Apart from all beings entering nirvana. Doubtless it's his compassion that leads him to speak, and in order to continue to work toward all beings entering nirvana, he himself needs food and shelter (that all beings should enter nirvana before him, how does that work, anyway!). That he puts a price tag on personal access to his teaching, maybe that just gives him a way to say no to some people, because he's so in demand.

Is Genpo concerned with successors in the lineage he represents, I wonder (& how about Brad, for that matter)? My guess is that there's a private side to the teacher that is concerned with this, as the debt that he owes for having received certification in a lineage tradition.

My heart goes out to the man.

Brad Warner said...

It wasn't Genpo who read Hardcore Zen and said I needed to practice more. The exact quote from the Famous Zen Master was, "There's nothing wrong with Brad that a year in sesshin wouldn't cure."

Ray Mustard said...

That video made laugh.

Anonymous said...

MYSTERION,

YOU FUCKING CUMSHOT!

Mark Foote said...

Hey thanks, Brad, I went and watched a couple of Dennis Genpo Merzel's videos, he has a lot of them out there and I give him credit for believing in what he's doing and putting it out there.

His instruction on the posture of zazen is here:

The Meditation Posture

The technique of speaking to a larger part of oneself, or to a part of oneself that is connected to the whole universe, that's interesting. The triangle that includes small mind, big mind, and the compassionate heart (to use Merzel's phraseology) is interesting to me. The difficulty I think in his approach is that the connection with hypnogogic phenomena is not clearly stated, and the notion of action witnessed in a state of waking up or falling asleep is not developed.

Of course, for me the emphasis on being awakened, or waking up, seems misleading. My Pali Text Society translations of the Gautamid's teachings seem straightforward, and his followers referred to him as the Exalted One, the Happy One, but at least in these translations never as the Awakened One (as far as I recollect). Could the emphasis on awakening be a vestige of Hindu teachings? These ideas tend to end up all in one pot after awhile, and the assumption gets made that all the descriptions are universally interchangeable.

In the language of mathematics, the starting assumptions are critical, as far as the ability to describe relationships without contradiction. In the language of the immaterial, the experience that is being described may be universal, but the vocabulary used in the description must be limited to preclude the development of contradictions, if the descriptions are to be reliable.

Anonymous said...

"I give him credit for believing in what he's doing"

Is that sincere on your part?

Misha said...

"But I left it in because I feel really strongly that people who change works of art suck."

What? Writers correct their earlier editions all of the time. Especially to correct what is an egregious or known error. Writing may be art, but not all writing is art, and to suggest that one doesn't correct an error in nonfiction writing is really to place one's writing on a pedestal where good nonfiction writing does not belong.

I think you didn't change it in the audio edition because you like controversy. Controversy is fine to build a brand, but thoughtless or reckless controversy, esp. in the field of nonfiction dharma writing (and touching on the field of mental health), is really not very 'dharmic.'

Genpo is a bullshit artist. To keep clear of his tainted sphere, we all need to be thoughtful and careful about what we put out there....

Khru said...

I've found Zen to be contrived and incredibly pretentious.

I've found myself to be contrived and
incredibly pretentious.

Anonymous said...

Another thing regarding medication vs. meditation: sometimes, in the case of what I think you might call "less serious" versions of mental illness such as clinical depression, OCD and anxiety disorders, a drug regimen can help a person get to the point where they can seriously devote themselves to a meditation practice (not to mention other helpful habits like eating healthy and exercising regularly). It can act as a crutch in a positive way in that it lets a person "walk" with the assistance of the "crutch" until he's healed enough to "walk" on his own.

Harumpff. said...

Dude, you are. But it's okay.

Dr. Blunt said...

Isn't the point of the HC audio-book version to hear voices in your head? Where else do you hear voices, anyway?

Anonymous said...

Dr. Blunt, take your koans elsewhere. Please.

Anonymous said...

I hear voices too.. It's driving me to distraction. The voice never stays on topic. It always says the same things over and over again.. Bush, Republicans, Christians, Something about a poodle.. I CAN'T TAKE IT MUCH LONGER!!

Harry said...

Nice use of rainstick in the new promo video.

Collective Unconscious said...

music at beginning of new gempo vid sounds like intro to boy's don't cry. coincidence?

Anonymous said...

That is one strange promo pic for the band. If you had DEVO hats on it would make some sort of sense except when you spot Jimi down at the bottom lurking like he's about to give you both hand jobs or somethin'.

Mumon said...

Brad,
Speaking of "Genpo" you can be a "friend" of his "Big" "Mind" for a tax deductible one-time yearly donation of $120, or monthly donation of $10.
Of course that'd help keep him in business, so you could continue to fund Sock-Roshi.

I bet it's not really Genpo's "Big" "Mind" and it's really not Big at all.

Brad Warner said...

Misha said:

I think you didn't change it in the audio edition because you like controversy. Controversy is fine to build a brand, but thoughtless or reckless controversy, esp. in the field of nonfiction dharma writing (and touching on the field of mental health), is really not very 'dharmic.'

If that were the only thing I wanted to change but did not, you'd have a good point. But mein gott in himmel! There were sooo many things I wanted to change. Almost every page had some little detail I wanted to fix.

There were a number of factual errors relating to Zero Defex that I also didn't correct. I wasn't in the band for 2 years, as it implies, but only for just about a year. When you're 18 and 19, time just feels longer somehow.

Harry said...

...Everything feels longer when you're 18 or 19. Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

DB said...

Brad wrote: "It's really warped what the general public thinks is significant and serious in terms of Zen or meditation in general. I aim to spend the next couple years doing some significant damage to this bullshit."

I, for one, can't wait.

DB

Anonymous said...

"Big Mind is great. Kicks ass."

~ Brad Warner

Squib said...

I came across a mindful meditation class when my brain went haywire. (Also meds).

A counsellor recommended this blog (right around the time you posted about why "mindful" is a four-letter word.

Started zazen - which will continue long after I'm off the meds.

moral of the story is: who the fuck is Genpo?

Mysterion said...

I hear voices...

from far far away

if you listen mindfully,

you can hear them say:

"Welcome to the Hotel California!"

It does look like a mission.

Music?

Occult?

In Hotel California?

No way, Jose.

There are enough f*cked up folks to cover ALL the bases. And I do mean ALL.

Cheers,
Chas

Danny said...

Hi Brad,

do you breath slowly and deeply (abdominally) during zazen?

I don't mean if you do so by intention but if you check while sitting for half an hour, do you do so?

Thank you,

Danny

Mark Foote said...

Khru brooks no nonsense.

'Anonymous said...
"I give him credit for believing in what he's doing"

Is that sincere on your part?'

You can present evidence of insincerity? You have the smoking fun? He is red-handed? inflagrante? what!...

Mark Foote said...

ok, a little tired today, I meant you think Gpeno does not believe in what he is doing? He puts forward "Bug Mind" (avoided trademark issues, there), but really only considers it a beginner's prop, a crutch, a toy? He himself is practicing "nonthinking", or excruciatis curse, or something like psychology? $120 a year, that's what I pay at the local Zen center, if I wish to be a sustaining member. Watching him instruct on the sitting posture on the video, I may wonder what he has witnessed about the efficacy of "Big Mind", but he doesn't make me feel like Brad is dirty by association... sometimes I think that's what Brad is feeling, when he wants to dis Gnepo, straight up...

Anonymous said...

Genpo Roshi is a person who is doing something that Brad does not want him to do.

Brad wants Genpo Roshi to stop doing what he does not want him to do.

Therefore, Brad is doing something that Genpo Roshi most likely does not want him to do.

He is making fun of Genpo Roshi so that other people might notice this and question what Genpo Roshi is doing.

If less people want Genpo Roshi to do what he does, it is possible that Genpo Roshi may stop doing it.

mysterion's mom said...

Harry said:

"..Everything feels longer when you're 18 or 19. Nyuk nyuk nyuk."

Wait a few years Harry. Everything WILL be less harder, better, faster, stronger.. Sad but true.

Anonymous said...

(Reuters) - - Nearly 15 percent of people worldwide believe the world will end during their lifetime and 10 percent think the Mayan calendar could signify it will happen in 2012, according to a new poll.

If that were true why would Brad be accepting gigs at Wadsworth High?

Anonymous said...

GBV GBV

Anonymous said...

The world will end EXACTLY at the end of my lifetime.

Mysterion said...

2012???

The world has already ended.

You missed the closing credits.

The sound track was o.k.

Sam Jones was the Best Boy.

The popcorn was stale.

The Courtroom scene was o.k.

Anonymous said...

mysterion, You are a double-whammy. It's time for a break again. A real one this time.

Pjotr said...

Thanks to the person who wrote the personal story about voices. And let you publish it.

I went trough a big deal of mental shit myself. Medication and therapy helped me to get back on track. And made it possible for me to dedicate myself to, eventually zazen leaving medication and therapy behind. Quitting medication forced me to face myself, it was hard. But with good friends and teachers and the will to heal myself it was possible to get over it.
I think for me, due to a lack of knowledge about my mind and spirituality I had no clue what was happening to me, I concluded I had to be crazy, telling people my experiences (who did'nt know shit about 'the mind' like myself) Also concluded I was crazy... ending up believing I was crazy. But nevertheless starting to open myself to spirituality and stuff like that showed me something completely different. Opening to that also meeting new people and possibilities. And now I can be thankful for those hellish experiences and the good friends I've met. Amen!

Anonymous said...

ok-from now on genpo roshi has to do what brad warner wants him to

Anonymous said...

yes!

genpo roshi should stop using words that connect his big mind exercise to zen.

is that it?

Hey Brad - what *exactly* should Genpo Roshi stop doing??

Seriously, can you make it clear for us readers in a sentence or two?

Mysterion said...

I really don't get THIS.

Wa ist los mitt mein Berliner???

Techno mix???

It must be Zen. It's interesting.

It's 99% mental.

Mysterion said...

a little MORE confusing...

but then confusion is good...

Confusion say: "Support bacteria -- it's the only culture some people have!"

Anonymous said...

If you take your analogy to an idiotic extreme then you're saying something like 'Zen is mind fitness'. Being enlightened, you're the Serena Williams of mental tennis (...or something) and over there's some fat kid. The fat kid is fat because a) he's lazy and eats too much b) he has some sort of physical ailment c) his chakras are out of alignment.

Even though you're Serena and are really good at tennis, you probably have a little bit of insight on a), none on b) and think c) is total hokum.

If you got together a spiritual leader, a fitness instructor and a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders, you might come up with some greater understanding of the big picture of "why is this kid fat and Serena is so athletic".

I'm going to venture a guess that this isn't the case with mental illness, the entire science has an incomplete picture.

The serious question then - does being enlightened give you any insight - from a theoretical perspective, not how to fix it - or what mental illness is? Or more broadly, do eastern spiritual leaders have something to say about this more than similar edicts about booze or sex?

Anonymous said...

Mysterion,
You're doing a heck of a job. You fucked up the hypertext links to THIS and MORE.
What's with this music and the hyperlink errors? Have you been experimenting with The Spirit Molecule?
Have a groovy day.
:)

Mysterion said...

THIS = http://www.blogger.com/www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNClVf4pXWQ

anyone with the slightest experience with the web will parse

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNClVf4pXWQ

from the HTML in the URL bar.


and MORE = http://www.blogger.com/www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aEtmPmdn04

is parsed to:

http:www.youtube.com/watch?v=7aEtmPmdn04

Blogger built them with the added:
"//www.blogger.com/"

so I left it (//www.blogger.com/) as a Zen 'experience.'

Mysterion said...

add:


Cheers,

Chas

Anonymous said...

"I meant to do that."

The 2nd most common excuse in the book.

#1?

"She told me she was 18."

Anonymous said...

add:


Friends,

Anonymous

Anonymous said...

http://www.hulu.com

www.hulu.com

katageek said...

Wouldn't it be great if there were actual Zen retreats where the roshi was ACTUALLY a puppet?

Heh.

I want a retreat run by Statler and Waldorf.

Misha said...

Brad:

If I were your editor, I'd want you to focus your writing (and you do write well, when you want to...) on a "hardcore" approach, but one that makes use of your intellect, and less of the sense of the 20 something rebel. Many people see Kerouac as a visionary, but my own sense is that he was a bit of a nutcase,alcoholic, and an a-hole to people, including his own daughter.

My point is that one can take a rebel or hardcore approach, and yet maintain a sense of dignity and speak more from the point of view of the grizzled sage, and less from the 'crazy wisdom' point of the kind of guy that drives his car into a joke shop and paralyses himself.

Zen and Dharma essays are challenged enough in the US without skilled writers adding more wasabi to an already nearly indigestible product.

If you weren't intelligent, and were not a good writer, I would not bother to write these missives...I just think you're capable (at the age of cough, nearly 50) to do better.

You don't need to be hardcore, to take a hard look at Zen, and get at the core of what Zen practice is about.

From one 50'er to another...

Misha

Misha said...

Oh, and the Gempo hand puppet thing is just kind of silly and stupid, for you. I think that once you're out of Ohio, and living again in So. Cali, you'll be far more invested in other, perhaps more sophisticated activities and less apt to spend time with knuckleheads doing hand puppet shows. Sorry to sound like a dick, but that's my two cents.

I think you have talent, and you're just not using it the way you should.

katageek said...

Seriously Brad, you need a "Sock Roshi" retreats with Sock Roshi Dokusan. Perhaps you can get Jeff Dunham to help you make a puppet. Or comment on my blog and I have two professional puppet makers I know who have done stuff for the Children's Television Workshop.

Imagine this. You've been in Zazen for the morning. And you go into Dokusan and there is a snarky ass puppet giving you real Zen advice. He insults you. Taunts you. Makes fun of your hair. Tells you useful ideas.

Man, I would pay DOUBLE for such a retreat if it was free. And I would pay something for such a retreat if it wasn't free.

Of course, the "Teacher" would need a fabricated past with tales of his womanizing, boozing and mishandling of funds.

Anonymous said...

Brad,

A while back, I recommended Hyperink to you. Other commenters immediately jumped in and felt the need to make their own recommendations. I think my message got lost in the mix.

I'll re-urge you to contact these guys. I truly believe that they offer a perfect service for something that could make you good money and could produce an excellent product.

Take a look at these articles:

Hyperink Launches Blog to Book: Your Blog Published in a Month

Next-Generation Publishing Platform Hyperink Wants To Transform Blogs Into Books

Hyperink launches service to turn your blog into a book - Now bloggers can turn their existing content into an eBook

(I have no stake in this whatsoever other than being a regular reader of your posts and hoping to see you make enough to scratch out a living.)

Mark Foote said...

The sock roshi can introduce him or her self as the cosmic consciousness of the individual who sits in front of them, and can point to the shared compassionate heart of both individuals. Sock roshi can tell the individual that they can speak to their cosmic, greater consciousness, and encourage them to do so.

John Upledger found that when he could generate a "still point" in a person's cranial-sacral rhythm, he could sometimes speak to their "inner physician" and get an answer back.

"Although it is just this one thing that we all stand on, ultimately you yourself must mobilize and focus your energy. Only then will you receive the use of it." ("Zen Letters of Yuanwu, by Cleary & Cleary, pg 95).

Thanks for the DMT link, anonymous. Thanks also to Mysterion for the description of his surgery.

"...You cast aside the tile that was used to knock at the gate, the provisional means that were used to get you there, and there is absolutely nothing occupying your feelings.

Actually practice at this level for twenty or thirty years and cut off all the verbal demonstrations and creeping vines and useless devices and states, until you are set free from conditioned mind. Then this will be the place of peace and bliss where you stop and rest.

Thus it is said: 'If you are stopping now, then stop. If you seek a time when you finish, there will never be a time when you finish." ("Zen Letters of Yuanwu, by Cleary & Cleary, pg 98-99, italics added by the sock monkey's within).

Ok, sock monkey, let's stop somewhere and get some of that one thing peace and bliss we're standing on- did you have some mind in place?

katageek said...

Here is the website for Peeler-Rose Designs if you want to make your own puppet. They do more than puppets these days, but they still do custom puppets.

peeler-rose.com

Soto Zen with a comedic puppet doing a functional dukusan would ROCK. Oddly enough, I think it could work as an occasional novelty.

It would solve some of the "Teacher Attachment" problems in a creative way.

Of course, much of the replies would have to be canned and rehearsed to pull off the snarkiness and hilarity necessary.

STUDENT: "I'm noticing my mind is wandering."

MONK-E: "ZzzzzzZZ ... Hmm? Oh yes, sit straight and the dana jar is outside the door. NEXT!"

The raw irreverence of such a method begs for a working model.

Mysterion said...

Guided by voices - in the lecture hall.

I blogged about a collection of lectures that have been published into a (dated) book that is still worth the read.

Why all the politics within Japanese Buddhism? Because Japanese Buddhism was born of the politics of the Imperial Clan, the Nobility, and the welfare of the Institutions that supported them.

Why is the authority of Gautama Buddha superseded by the authority of ecclesiastical offices (and officials)? The book that I recommended addresses this issue.

Thus, Big Hind, Big Fart®, Brad, Jundo, and the rest are just so much ripples in the down stream currents which were born in the upstream squabbles.

None of this should represent the slightest obstacle to one who is on the path (where neither Northern nor Southern masters may be found).

Buy and read an anthology of Suttas.

Then decide...

Manny Furious said...

I have strong opinions about "mental illness" but I won't go into them this time.

Suffice it to say that I think it's best to leave it up to the individual and how they want to go about dealing with their issues. If they believe drugs will help them out and they're happy with the results, then they should continue on that route. If they prefer not to take drugs then that's fine, as well.

Anonymous said...

Manny F said: "I have strong opinions about "mental illness" but I won't go into them this time."

I get you Manny. mysterion has issues. I think he might be beyond help. But, maybe not.

Mark Foote said...

Mysterion, I'm gonna have to stand in a bookstore and read one of these translations to find out what "jhana" is translated by these days- no more "trance", I guess the association with Dracula and mesmerized corpses is too much to associate with the Gautamid's teaching.

Mysterion said...

In Buddhistic Sanskrit the term is Dhyana.

In Pali, jhana is willful (mindful???)concentration upon an object, for introductory purposes at least.

BOOK

*********************
Four "Steps" (Jhanas) on the Way

or not.
*********************
Jhana is a Pali word meaning "absorption."
*********************

Yoga Bear.

*********************

The nice thing is the shades of modulation that Dhyana is subjected to its use in CONTEXT. Although the word is frequently used, it takes on somewhat different meanings - usually subtle - and, in isolation, means anything from step, stage, increment, graduation, arrival, and so forth.

Reading a few DIFFERENT scholarly interpretations of the same sutta is a start. Seeking out a scholar from Nepal or Lankasri is a second step, stage, or increment.

I'ld say: "Go for it."

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

Have either of you experienced Jhana?

anon #108 said...

Mysti: The nice thing is the shades of modulation that Dhyana is subjected to its use in CONTEXT. Although the word is frequently used...in isolation, means anything from step, stage, increment, graduation, arrival, and so forth.

DhyAna can be said to derive from a root - dhyai (or in some sources dhyA). The Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary gives the following as meanings of dhyai:

"to think of, imagine, contemplate, meditate on, call to mind, recollect; to brood mischief against (in the taittiriya samhita); (alone) to be thoughtful or meditative; to let the head hang down (said of an animal); Pass. to be thought of."

For the noun dhyAna MW gives: "meditation, thought, reflection, (esp.) profound and abstract religious meditation."

All Sir Monier-Williams' translations will have been arrived at from examination of use of the word in CONTEXT.

anon #108 said...

Have either of you experienced Jhana?

Me? Yes.
As, I'll wager, have you.

Anonymous said...

But have you ever experienced Dirty Dhyana?

Anonymous said...

108... Nope, not yet.

anon #108 said...

6.20am - You've never experienced a "state of profound stillness and concentration in which the mind becomes fully immersed and absorbed in the chosen object of attention"? Perhaps something you're listening to, or looking at, or thinking about...or not thinking about?

Anonymous said...

Does porn count?

Mysterion said...

Anonymous said...
"Have either of you experienced Jhana?"

Anonymous,
To which, of the many, so-called 'Dhyana' states (or stages) do you refer. (the answer being probably)

I fear that People who think (or believe) Dhyana is just one thing are being a bit simplistic.

To me, it akin to thinking that everybody's Jesus if the same "spiritual being." Each "Jesus" is a manifestation of the individual mind that creates it.

Cheers,
Chas

anon #108 said...

Does porn count?

Doesn't score well on "profound stillness". Not IME.

Mark Foote said...

I'll take Bela Lugosi, because the powerful phenomena in religious experience involve the relinquishment of self, of volition, of action. They are hypnogogic phenomena to me, meaning they concern a state of mind that occurs naturally in falling asleep or waking up. "Making self-surrender the object of thought", as the Gautamid put it; that's the only part that's volitive, and it could be argued that even that is a karmic thing.

Folks look at teachers who have presence and figure they are "awakened", and certainly the story left by the Gautamid was that he had not only a transcendent experience but one coupled with his insight into the four truths; in an instant, his life was transformed, so much so that the first person he met on the road, to whom he revealed his transformed world-conquering status, walked right on by him and said "good luck". Fortunately for me and all of us I think, the Gautamid did eventually persuade those curmudgeonly five ascetics to listen to him, although at first they just figured he was a loser (from an ascetic point of view). Anyway, I think maybe the presence that is so charismatic has more to do with repeatedly waking up and falling asleep as appropriate, rather than with being permanently awakened. Toothpicks to hold the eyelids open, not the happiness of the four jhanas ("comb hair!", says Lugosi, gesturing hypnotically)

Mysterion said...

Bela Lugosi is a good example.

Bela Lugosi is Bela Lugosi and not Dracula. There are people who believe that Dracula exists or once existed. Beyond that there are people who believe that Dracula hypnotizes or once hypnotized. And, far-fetched as it seems, there are people who believe Bela Lugosi accurately or reasonably represents Dracula.

So too, people want to compare 'Dhyana' states as if they are a 'figure of merit.'

Such people often crave charismatic Shamanism. It is a genetically encoded characteristic that runs in families, tribes, and occasionally cultures.

Your 'states' are your business and no concern of mine. My 'graduations' are likewise of little or no concern to you.

When does this stage leave for Yuma?

gniz said...

Mysterion,

That last post @10:51 AM is probably the first time I've read something you wrote and considered the possibility you might just know something.

I wish that happened more often.

Anonymous said...

How about stream entry? Who's got stream entry?

anonymous anonymous said...

mysterion has a certain lack of charm that might be considered the opposite of charisma. But even I liked his last comment until he said, "It is a genetically encoded characteristic that runs in families, tribes". Gosh, I wonder what he meant by that???

Anonymous said...

good man.
ben.silvana@virgin.net

Anonymous said...

How about stream entry? Who's got stream entry?

Do urine streams count?

"You could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you." Heraclitus of Ephesus

Mysterion said...

until he said, "It is a genetically encoded characteristic that runs in families, tribes".

Personality characteristics, like hair and eye color, seem to be genetically encoded.

Therefore SOME characteristics - like 'compulsive addictive' or 'compulsive obsessive' or even 'compulsive' traits - can be traced to family lines.

Studies of alcoholism in Eskimos is one of a thousand + examples.

OTHER characteristics - like schizophrenia - are apparently developmental.

The characteristic that interests me is that of the hermit (INTJ). My father lived out the last 17 years of his life as a hermit. At this stage in my life, I find the concept appealing.

Perhaps I am transitioning from an ENTJ to an INTJ. (wait, and see).

As for others, they also carry genetic markers that determine many of the choices they make. The myth of 'free will' is just another myth that is biting the dust.

Sam Harris may just be on to something. Neural science is causing some rethinking [an obvious pun].

Even the distinction between plant and animal is blurring. An animal, it appears, is a plant with a brain - for mobility.

Since we are mobile and do move about, the genome is useful for separating the pepper from the fly sh*t.

Generally, charismatic shamans favor the fly sh*t. But since even this is contained within their genetic make-up, there is nothing to do about it.

Call it genetics, call it karma. Just don't call it Shela.

Cheers,
Chas

john e mumbles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
john e mumbles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jinzang said...

Brad, have you checked your royalty statements carefully? Here's one author who says she's been screwed by her publisher on her blog. It got hacked shortly afterwards.

Mysterion said...

Blogger Jinzang said...
"Brad, have you checked your royalty statements carefully?"

Jinzang,

It's not about individual incomes. It's about corporate incomes.

Taxes? Corporations don't pay those. Only individuals pay taxes.

Privatize the assets.

Socialize the liabilities.

Who will pay for the two illegal wars by which corporate profits doubled and redoubled?

Individuals.

Who will keep the profits?

A few corporations - a very few corporations.

It's the Republican way!

Zenleo said...

This guy even sort of looks like an old version of Brad:

http://gma.yahoo.com/going-without-money-hurt-economy-one-mans-quest-211049892--abc-news-topstories.html

Wish I could figure out how to do HTML on here, better yet they should have an interphase that makes it uneccessary.

Cheers!
Dale

Zenleo said...

Everyone on this board should send Brad $7 to stay in Ohio, either that or send him $7 to move to Maine.

Cheers!
Dale

Mysterion said...

Blogger Zenleo said...
Wish I could figure out how to do HTML on here, better yet they should have an interphase [interface] that makes it uneccessary [unnecessary].

inside < > you write:

a href="http://etc"

after your link word, inside < > write:

/a

it looks like this:

LINK to Universally Recognized (U.R.) Swami Hoo U. Tinka.

under the "Leave your comment" box you see inside < >

b for bold, begin
i for italic, begin
and
a for address, begin

but they don't put:

/b for bold, end
/i for italic, end
and
/a for address, end

and they don't let us use:

font

div

and a bunch of other stuff.

In the day, the interface was Netscape Communicator.

PhilBob-SquareHead said...

R.I.P. Adam Yauch

You old dudes on here don't know no Beastie shit

Jamal said...

You the old dude Phil.. My boys ain't dying on me yet.

Anonymous said...

Myst, thanks for HTML info, I once used Netscape Communicator because I could edit a website I had with it, was more easy to edit with and I could upload to the remote directory (which is the way it worked then before these sort of blog things appeared). I will have to give it a shot
Cheers
Dale

Anonymous said...

fuck yer Mom, fuck yer Mom's Mamma
Fuck the Beastie Boys and the Dalai Lama....ICP

Anonymous said...

<b>bold text</b>
bold text

<i>italic text</i>
italic text

<a href="http://www.website.com">link text</a>
link text

Anonymous said...

Adam Yauch was a Buddhist.

ICP are either idiots or willfully ignorant.

"Magnets, how the fuck do they work?"

A brief lesson on HMTL links.

Anonymous said...

mysterion ^

Anonymous said...

^ Pretaville ^

Anonymous said...

gniz ^

Anonymous said...

Zen Master get neurosis because of zen:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/26/magazine/26zen-t.html

Anonymous said...

As someone who suffers from bipolar I love the concept of telling the voices in your head to shut the hell up and go find your own body. Their talking to you, tell them to shut up.

I have never heard voices but I do experience emotions that have no validity to them at all. I tell them to fuck off and do my best to ignore them. It's hard work but worth it. My take on most people with mental illness is that they are not willing to do the hard work.

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Hakuin said...

"OTHER characteristics - like schizophrenia - are apparently developmental." --Schizophrenia is genetic at its base. So is Schizoaffective. You'll often find it runs in families along a genetic, rather than developmental, pathway.

Many Mental Illnesses are, in fact, a combination. You find someone with a genetic predisposition and a series (or single) triggering event.