Friday, April 28, 2006

open letter to Brad

Brad,

I was glad I got to attend your talk Thursday night, April 27th at the Atlanta Soto Zen Center, but I've got some suggestions to improve this sort of thing next time.

First off, instead of just walking in and sitting down, you really need to have one of your attendants announce you. You know, build some anticipation in the crowd. After that, you can appear and bestow your blessings on the audience. They'll really eat it up.

Speaking of appearance, you've got to do better than that. No robes? Jeans? And glasses, you wore your glasses for Pete's sake. Didn't they tell you that enlightened beings always have perfect eyesight? It ruins the image.

I think it was a big mistake to sit so close to your audience, I mean, right down on the floor like that. They might get the mistaken impression that you're just a guy. You should maintain some distance, preferably vertical distance, between you and the peons to whom you're speaking.

Oh, and speaking. Well... how to put this? You've got to stop saying, "I don't know" so much. A Teacher (with a capital T) does not admit to not knowing something. Geez, make it up why don't ya? Quote Dogen. Quote Buddha. Quote the Marx brothers if you want to; just don't say, "I don't know."

And buddy, you missed out on some golden sales opportunities there. You didn't bring any books for the audience to buy (charge extra for autographing them, you know). And where were the tapes? And CDs? And the DVDs? You mentioned the book, sure, but you didn't make any sales. One would think that you forgot about the money angle or something.

And when you did talk, you were too deferential to the audience, and took way too many questions and comments. You actually acted like someone else might have something to contribute to the conversation other than you. That's not right. Didn't they teach you how to dominate a room? You need to proclaim more, not just yak like a regular guy, especially about Ultraman. You want to inspire adulation, remember?

Other than these little points, I thought you did fine, and I think as you do more of these gigs, your take should improve tremendously.

You're the next star, babe.

(with tongue firmly in cheek)
DB

11 Comments:

At April 28, 2006, Blogger DA said...

Man, you people seriously want to blow the guy, I swear.

 
At April 28, 2006, Blogger aumeye said...

DB ~ Well done!

 
At April 28, 2006, Blogger Bob J. said...

That's hilarious. I meant to go to that talk and got derailed at the last minute from driving down to Tennessee for it. When Brad led our retreat here in Nashville, he did put on robes, for an opening, and that was the end of 'em.

DB, are you a regular student at the ASZC? I have recently formed a relationship with them and will be there next Friday for the weekend retreat. Will you be there? If you are, introduce yourself.

 
At April 29, 2006, Blogger DB said...

bob j. said "DB, are you a regular student at the ASZC? I have recently formed a relationship with them and will be there next Friday for the weekend retreat. Will you be there? If you are, introduce yourself."

Sorry, no I'm not a member. That was the first time I've ever been to the place. I doubt I'll ever be anything like a regular there; it's about a two hour drive for me to get there and since I'm just a rural country boy, I hate the Atlanta traffic I have to drive through to find the site (what do you mean there's more than one lane?).

And in all seriousness, I don't really know why I'd want to sit regularly in a group like that. Guess I'm just anti-social or something.

DB

 
At April 29, 2006, Blogger Jinzang said...

It's nice that Brad doesn't put on airs, but more important than that is if he had something to say. Probably so, considering his posts. Maybe you'll write something about it in a later post.

Man, you people seriously want to blow the guy, I swear.

Well, I'd like to shake his hand and if I really get carried away slap him on the back, but anything more than that would be unseemly and unsanitary.

 
At April 30, 2006, Blogger DB said...

jinzang said "more important than that is if he had something to say."

Well, if you've read his book already, he didn't really say anything Thursday that's not said better in the book. However, since I think I might have been the only person there who had read the book, it was probably new to most others there.

In terms of the conversation or Q&A session or whatever you want to call it, there were really only a couple of things people said that interested me personally. The most interesting thing was also the least informative from my point of view. The whole reason for Brad being down in Georgia in the first place was to participate in a study at Emory University. The guy doing the study was there (Sergey I think was his name?) and he touched a little bit on the study, but not on the results. I'd be VERY interested in what, exactly, his results are and what he's trying to find out. I got the feeling he's looking for physiological changes in the structure of the brain in people with years of zazen practice, but since he didn't really go into it very much, I didn't learn much about it. That, to me, was the most interesting topic of conversation all night. If and when he publishes I'd like to read it, since I suspect that there ARE permanent physiological changes in brain structure that correspond with, and may be a result of, long years of zazen.

About the only other thing of interest was a guy asking for what amounted to a cost/benefit analysis of doing zazen. He seemed to want to know if it's worth the time invested in it, which is a good question, though I don't think anybody, including Brad, got very deeply into the subject.

Frankly, I'd have been more comfortable having the same bull session over a glass or two of beer somewhere. It sorta reminded me of the types of conversations we used to have sitting around in dorm rooms at college. In other words, occasionally interesting, but not particularly earth shatteringly important.

DB

 
At April 30, 2006, Blogger ryunin said...

db, if you are interested in what scientists found out about brain after a period of zazen with people who have practiced zazen for years, you can find it in one of my previous posts, called Biology of zazen

 
At May 02, 2006, Blogger Dan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At May 02, 2006, Blogger Dan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At May 03, 2006, Blogger DB said...

ryunin said...

"one of my previous posts, called Biology of zazen"

Maybe I'm the world's biggest dumbass or something, but I can't find this particular post. Where is it?

 
At May 04, 2006, Blogger ryunin said...

db, dont' worry, it is deep in the lower part of this pile of texts, in the February archive

 

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