Tuesday, June 20, 2006

CLEVELAND'S SCREAMING DOCUMENTARY

This is the most flagrant misuse of this forum yet. But hold on & I'll give you some Zen stuff at the end of this post.

I just put the trailer to my movie "Cleveland's Screaming" up on YouTube. The link to it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDqEOpF4QXY

Please go look at it even if you've seen it before so that it gets more hits & becomes popular. Thanks! Your support will be good for the cause of promoting Buddhism in America. Here's why.

I was in Japan last week and while I was there I visited Nishijima Sensei. We talked about lots and lots and lots of stuff. One of the things was his view that Buddhist teacers should earn their livings through "real jobs" rather than trying to earn their keep solely as Buddhist teachers. He practices what he preaches too. He finally retired at age 84 (I think, or 85). But he kept his day job throughout his career as a Buddhist Master. We talked some about the movie I'm making and about my job with the company I work for. Given the current state of that company, he encouraged me to try and make it apart from them with the film. Not that this movie in particular is ever gonna earn me enough for rent -- I can't believe how much I've spent on what was supposed to be a "no budget" production! -- but it could be a good start.

We also talked about his blog. In spite of everything, he is still very optimistic about the possibility for blogging to be a great way to spread Buddhism. Even though the comments section of his blog has been largely hijacked by people with agendas which have nothing at all to do with what he is trying to teach, he still maintains a very positive view towards blogging. It was pretty inspiring to hear that. I may just start mine up again....

In the meantime, go post some relevant comments on his blog, would ya? Somebody! Maybe the serious comments might eventually overwhelm the noisemakers. I feel so bad that it's gotten so awful in there when he's still so positive about the whole thing.

Before I start blogging again myself, though, I need to prepare for the first screening of my film at 8PM on July 1st at the Jigsaw Tavern in Parma, Ohio. I'll be there if anyone wants to talk Zen or punk or buy me an orange juice.

64 Comments:

At June 20, 2006, Blogger oxeye said...

Nishijima Sensei could easily close up his comments section and just respond by e-mail to any questions he feels are worthy of being answered. Yet he continues to answer all questions on his blog in a manner so even tempered that it makes everyone else seem hysterical by comparison. His balance is amazing.

 
At June 20, 2006, Blogger Lone Wolf said...

It does seem as if Mike Cross is trying to hijack Gudo Nishijima's blog. It would be nice if he saved all his spouting and ranting for his own blog. But I am very happy that Gudo Nishijima is putting so much effort in answering and commenting on are questions and comments. If anything Mike's misunderstandings and unbalanced actions (misbehavior) is a good reference to understand Gudo Nishijima Roshi's correct understading and balanced behavoir.

It would be awsome if you started up the blog again Brad. Nice Trailer. It would be cool to check out the screening of Cleveland Screaming. I probably won't be able to make it up to Parma, Ohio from down here in Dayton, Ohio July 1st, but-hey, you never know.

 
At June 20, 2006, Blogger DB said...

Nishijima's thoughts on Zen folks having a "real" job closely mirror those of another Japanese treasure: Ueshiba Morihei, founder of aikido. It also corresponds, doesn't it, to the last of the oxherding pictures, wherein the practitioner is shown heading back to the marketplace?

If you're looking for new opportunities to make a living, have you thought of translation work (if your Japanese is good enough) within the Court system? Depending on your location, I'd think there might be some growth in that area. And yet, the hours are irregular enough to support a laid-back "I'm gonna make a movie" lifestyle.

 
At June 21, 2006, Blogger earDRUM said...

Cleveland's Screaming looks like a fun and interesting movie Brad. I want to see it. Nice editing job, by the way.

Okay, now I'm gonna sit down and shut up... but not on a chair.

 
At June 21, 2006, Blogger ryunin said...

thank you for your input and care about roshi Nishijima and us all - i think i understand why you closed your blog and why you consider starting again - in the past i didn't know why you refused to tell ppl what specifically is good for them or what is bad - now i think i understand - everyone's situation, karma is different and there is no universal rule for all of us - Zen teachers can't be responsible for our actions - so when i do something now, be it good or bad or whatever, it is my action and I have to be responsible, i have to understand my own life and how i affect others with my actions - so roshi continues his blog and comments because he probably feels it is a good thing and helpful, and you stopped - because you felt it was good to stop and so it is with everything - everyone has to find his or her own unique, irreplacable way - be it punk, motor racing, career, money, poverty, women or men

but zazen is good universally, for everyone everywhere because it is beyond personal situation, beyond karma, there is something we all share and we should not lose that something - thumbs up brad

it took me a while to let go of my excitement when i encountered Brad's written experience, Mike Luetchford's teaching me directly and roshi Nishijima's personal encouragement for me, it is not so easy to let go of such encounter with such peopple but it is necessary, sooner or later to let go of this excitement and attachment and grasp our own stuff, job, everyday life, fun, without quitting zazen and buddhist studies - this is my experience so far since I encountered these modern Buddhists last year

 
At June 21, 2006, Blogger oxeye said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At June 21, 2006, Blogger oxeye said...

Brad, yeah.. what ryunin said. except, for the life of me, i cannot understand why you spend more of your blogging time expounding on punk rock instead of teaching buddhism.

 
At June 21, 2006, Blogger Brad said...

Oxeye, it's because less people bug me when Iit's usually lots more fun to talk about punk. But, actually speaking I think I put out about 1000 times more stuff about Zen than I have about punk. I lecture about Zen once a week. I wrote a book about it. I go out on speaking engagements all the time. Every person I meet wants to chat about their Enlightenment Experiences or whatever...

 
At June 21, 2006, Blogger MikeDoe said...

ryunin:

I mostly agree with you, apart from...

"but zazen is good universally, for everyone everywhere because it is beyond personal situation, beyond karma, there is something we all share and we should not lose that something - thumbs up brad"

This!

Zazen can allow things in the mind to surface that have long been buried - say deep trauma. This will not be a good idea for everyone. Sometimes things are best left buried.

It's probably better not to grasp onto anything/anyone too tighly - it is a cause of suffering.

 
At June 22, 2006, Blogger oxeye said...

Brad, of course.. Look at it as a compliment. It is only because I find your Buddhist writing so interesting that i wished you had no life and no fun. :)

 
At June 22, 2006, Blogger Jinzang said...

Zazen can allow things in the mind to surface that have long been buried - say deep trauma. This will not be a good idea for everyone. Sometimes things are best left buried.

I don't agree with this. Sure, painful stuff can come up, but they're only thoughts. Thoughts can't hurt you as long as you don't act on them. It's good to have someone to talk to when stuff does come up. But as long as you see it as just another thought, no problem.

I had a pretty messed up childhood and I'm still plenty neurotic because of it. But nothing ever came up in meditation that I couldn't handle. I'm miles better than if I had stopped practicing because some anger or other negative emotion came up.

 
At June 22, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

No one here finds it even remotely odd that Brad is blogging/not blogging based upon the whims of his teacher. "I'm taking my stuff down, no-I'm putting it up. I hate comments, no they;re ok. Gudo said its good. I'm blogging again. No, this sucks."
Up until recently i thought Brad had his sh--t together, but my bullshit detector has gone off.
I vote "fake" on this dude.

Aaron

 
At June 22, 2006, Blogger rchinn72 said...

I love it when people get so huffy puffy about other people, especially in the Blog world.
comments about comments about comments are funny too.
yeeeeehaaaaww!

 
At June 22, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

i'm not really huffy.
brad has no effect on my life whatsoever. just pointing out that like many other self proclaimed zen masters, he seems to be totally full of ka-ka, inconsistent in his words and actions (based upon saying he isnt blogging, than he is sort of stuff) and basicaly not much different than anyone else here. Except maybe he's a better writer.

 
At June 22, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At June 22, 2006, Blogger rchinn72 said...

huffy..

...puffy...

 
At June 23, 2006, Blogger Dan said...

an full of guffy

 
At June 23, 2006, Blogger Dan said...

lets talk about some other stuffy

 
At June 23, 2006, Blogger me said...

he seems to be totally full of ka-ka, inconsistent in his words and actions (based upon saying he isnt blogging, than he is sort of stuff) and basicaly not much different than anyone else here.

He's pointed out plenty of times that there is no real difference between a zen "master" and a regular joe, just a ritual and piece of paper or something... The problem, it seems to be, is that you think there should be some difference. Same old story the buddha was on about - reality in the head isn't jiving with reality in the world.

But it's not the world that is wrong. The facts are simple - Brad is a zen master. Your complaints about him suggest you have a rigid concept of what a zen master should be like. Most people untrained in zen have rigid concepts of what life should be like (and since it isn't like that, well, we all know how it goes... time to start a war to fix things to be like how we think they should be!)

 
At June 23, 2006, Blogger earDRUM said...

Jizang, I agree with your comments about leaving thoughts buried. In fact, I think it could be dangerous to leave things buried in the deep recesses of our minds.
The way I see it, when a disturbing thought comes to mind, I want to understand why it disturbs me. If I don't understand it, then it has power over me. And ignoring it won't make it go away. So it seems best to deal with it. If it is a really disturbing thought, then maybe it is time to see a professional.
If my car's transmission breaks, I take it to a specialist. I don't want to learn everything there is to know about transmissions and fix it myself. And I don't want to just wait to see if it gets better on its own. The same applies to psychologists. They are trained to take care of thinking problems. Nothing wrong with admitting that you don't know how to deal with every strange situauion that comes along.
I think zazen is a wonderful tool for letting our minds settle. And when they settle, sometimes our subconscious minds bring important things to our conscious attention. This is a gift... not something to run away from.
I think we all want to live better lives. Taking care of ourselves is the nicest thing we can do for the ones who love us and depend on us.

 
At June 23, 2006, Blogger Jules said...

eardrum wrote: I think we all want to live better lives. Taking care of ourselves is the nicest thing we can do for the ones who love us and depend on us.

EXACTLY! I think it's so sad that many Westerners think of zazen as a 'selfish' practice. Both people who practice with an enlightenment-seeking attitude, and people who refuse to consider practicing it because they perceive it as nothing more than introverted selfish navel-gazing.

Sometimes people have such a hard time seeing that we're all interdependent, and that positive energy is contagious.

 
At June 24, 2006, Blogger Jinzang said...

If my car's transmission breaks, I take it to a specialist. I don't want to learn everything there is to know about transmissions and fix it myself. And I don't want to just wait to see if it gets better on its own. The same applies to psychologists. They are trained to take care of thinking problems.

I'm all for letting a professional solve problems. The problem is that psychiatrists are part of the allopathic medicine establishment, which I view as a mischievous and non-healing art.

 
At June 24, 2006, Blogger Jinzang said...

Up until recently i thought Brad had his sh--t together, but my bullshit detector has gone off.
I vote "fake" on this dude.


You should think of Brad as a friend who's learned something useful and is willing to share it with you, but otherwise is a normal person, pretty much like yourself.

There's nothing wrong with the concept of spiritual teacher, except that it can't bear the weight of our hopes and expectations.

 
At June 25, 2006, Blogger MikeDoe said...

jules:
"I'm all for letting a professional solve problems. The problem is that psychiatrists are part of the allopathic medicine establishment, which I view as a mischievous and non-healing art.
"


In a large part you are correct but there are some things that do work more than just talking to a friend.

One of these things is called Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. This is based on finidng out what beliefs that you have about reality that are 'wrong' and either letting go of them or replacing them with more accurate beliefs.

For example "Everyone hates me" or "I'll never find a job" are both beliefs about reality which are probably wrong and it is the wrongness of the belief that leads to suffering.

Yes, CBT does have something in common with Buddhism but it is more formal and more directed.

 
At June 25, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

To those who speak of Zen masters being just like us, and how my statements show my lack of "zen training" and fixed ideas about Zen masters...first off, ye dont know me either, anymore than i know Brad.
But i have come across someone who I believe to be enlightened, and he isnt Brad. He doesnt act like Brad. He doesnt gossip like Brad, bitch like him, or change his mind every five minutes like him.
This guy I am referring to IS different than us. Sorry to burst YOUR fixed ideas about enlightened people being "just like you or me."
They aren't. Yeah, they're human, they can say weird crap, etc. But they have some attributes which are quite different, and some of Brad's written words speak to the fact that he's more than a little full of shit, thus, just like me and you...and not really an enlightened zen master.
Sorry if that doesnt fit with your PC view of zen masters being just like all of us.

Aaron

 
At June 25, 2006, Blogger Jinzang said...

This guy I am referring to IS different than us. Sorry to burst YOUR fixed ideas about enlightened people being "just like you or me."
They aren't. Yeah, they're human, they can say weird crap, etc. But they have some attributes which are quite different, and some of Brad's written words speak to the fact that he's more than a little full of shit, thus, just like me and you...and not really an enlightened zen master.


I'm glad you found a good teacher and have such respect for him. Respect is important, as I found out in my martial arts days.

Just one word of advice. It's always good to have some humility and realize that one's opinion on a subject may not be the last word. Tomorrow I will know more than I will today, but the words I write on the Internet today are recorded until the death of human civilization.

Usually it's not necessary to say someone/something is full of shit. If it's obvious to you, it's probably also obvious to everyone else. If you do feel it's necessary to warn or admonish, try prefacing your remarks with "In my opinion" or "as far as I can tell." It will make what you say go down easier and will give you some wiggle room if things tomorrow cause you to change your opinion.

 
At June 25, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

yeah well, the internet makes it easy to say things without necessarily worrying about consequences...my stupid opinions may be recorded forever, but then again, every other word out of my mouth is ridiculous.
I'm just trying to point out that Brad has said some things of late that i find odd. Based upon MY own personal experience relating with someone whom I consider to be a "master" in this realm.
One of the most striking things about him is how little he cares what others think or say. Brad, on the other hand, gets all bent out of shape about comments on Gudo's blog! C'mon, theres something really strange about that.
And his pulling all those articles off his site, stopping blogging, then suddenly saying he is starting again. It indicates that he changes his mind a lot, worries about what others are saying, etc etc.
None of this necessarily MEANS Brad is full of crap. But i think it definitely points in that direction. Again, you can say that he is "just like us" but i dont agree with those kinds of PC statements.
Yes, a zen master is human, but part of what they supposedly understand is the temporary nature of things, the fact that others are deluded, etc etc. My Guru pretty much laughs at the infighting and those sorts of things and i could never imagine him getting all bent out of shape about some blog comments.

Aaron

 
At June 25, 2006, Blogger rchinn72 said...

huffy

 
At June 25, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

Its so "Zen" to say goofy things in response to blog comments, just to show how aloof and calm and blissed out you are all the time. Nothing gets you riled.
Then why read comments or blogs at all? The very reading of these things shows you care.
You aint fooling me, mr. blissed out goofy comment man.

g

 
At June 26, 2006, Blogger Grim said...

Important to note:
Many Taoist and Zen masters have clearly stated that balancing on the razors edge of reality is a never ending challenge. Reality can never truely be mastered fully.

A master might see reality much more clearly than a beginner, but they don't necessarily automatically perform right actions at every moment.

Not to say I know what a 'right action' actually is. And if the 'rules' change moment by moment, then I don't believe I can accurately judge a masters actions in this respect.

 
At June 26, 2006, Blogger Dan said...

gniz,
well at first i thought "how boring, another troll" but now i'm in the mood to get all huffy myself! lol. and i know that everyone's always like
"why do u feel the need to 'defend brad?" when people like me have a go at defending him but you know, why not? can't do too much harm can it!?

the thing is brad has consistently denied that he is or ever will be 'enlightened' (or has acheived 'second enlightenment' as nishijima puts it.) as long as he denies that i don't see anything wrong with him changing his mind and getting sad when nutters try to hijack his master's blog. besides, dogen and many others have consistently said that second enlightenment is nothing to worry about if you never experience it. all that really matters is first enlightenment - sitting zazen.

it's pretty safe to assume that the majority of people who bother reading/contributing to this site don't think brad is a fake or full of crap or whatever. so to come along and start claiming he is is... i mean what do you hope to acheive by doing that? that I'm gonna read your comments and suddenly think, " o my god this guy who taught me about the benefits of sitting zazen changes his mind and reacts emotionally to people abusing his master on the internet. that means that gniz is right and he's a fake!"

it's not like he's set up his own cult and is charging people stupid amounts of money for teachings. that's what real fakes do.

the main reason why i respect brad is that he has been sitting zazen twice a day since he was my age and has been doing it consistently ever since. and as far as i can tell, he is much happier for it. anyone who can actually do that is worthy of some respect. as i've recently been finding out it's dam hard to do it twice a day! (out of curiousity gniz, do u sit zazen everyday?)

even mike cross is worthy of some respect for his years of sitting (although i suspect that there may be some truth in people's claims that what mike has been doing when he sits can't really be called zazen)

go find some real fake 'masters' to attack. with beards an jewellery and funny looks on their faces like they're high on drugs all the time who write books called things like ' the shortcut to nirvana' and stuff. those guys are worthy of having people like you go on their sites and denounce them (maybe). those guys prey on people's insecurities and delusions and make money out of them.

brad may not act like an 'enlightened master' but he was never claiming that he was an enlightened master so what's the big problem?

 
At June 26, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

Hey Dan,

I'm not a troll but there are some parallels between how I tend to write and how trolls write, in that I tend to say things in very arrogant, distorted ways. Because I do, for whatever reason, get annoyed and feel like being nasty.
Thanks for your thoughtful reply to my trollike comments.
I read Harcore Zen and really enjoyed it. I even corresponded with Brad a couple of times about a particular question I had with something he wrote.
I dont dislike Brad. What bothers me in regards to his bloggin and comments is that he goes back and forth a lot and says differing things.
I can be critical of some of his views and opinions, cant I?? Its the internet! I've been on here a long time and I was reading his articles before this blog.
So i'm not just Mr. Johny Come Lately. I find him to be a really interesting writer.
But I think he may be somewhat disingenuous in regards to his motives for doing certain things. I frankly dont understand his getting up in arms about comments on his blog or Gudos. I think he should be judged on his stupid opinions the same was I am judged on my stupid opinions.
And i find his latest opinions on bloggin etc. to be stupid and they strike me as the comments of someone who is pretty caught up in a lot of petty BS.
Again, just like me!

Aaron

 
At June 26, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At June 26, 2006, Blogger karen said...

I've noticed that whenever Brad puts up a comment there is almost always something in it that causes a ruckus. Why would a "genuine" zen "master" waste precious time pointing out to people that there is a crazy person on his teachers blog? I've read Gudo's blog a few times and had to stop because I said long ago that Mike Cross seems mentally unstable. It's not worth wasting my time. And it makes me not feel very well. Some people have attempted to raise some good points on this blog and have intelligent, adult discussions. But as soon as Brad posts something it dengenerates into a lot of b.s. It's obvious that this blog is for Brad Warner fans because whenever someone is critical of him, they are attacked, whether in a silly way or a "I am holier than thou" way. I don't think Brad is a zen master. He is a young zen priest who has a long way to go. He's dished a lot of dirt and has shown that he can't take it. Does anyone out there know a true zen "master" who uses their time to blog and start disagreements? I don't. And I agree, the very few people that I have met and studied with that I think have some understanding of what this life might be about are different. You can sense it when you are in their company. While there is a tradition of debating the finer points of buddhism, these continual arguments over who is right and who is wrong are a useless waste of time. I would rather waste my time sitting under a tree reading a good book.

 
At June 26, 2006, Blogger MikeDoe said...

Karen,

I am in general agreement with you.
In particular:

"And I agree, the very few people that I have met and studied with that I think have some understanding of what this life might be about are different. You can sense it when you are in their company"

Which also ties in with what gniz said earlier, which I also agree with.

Regardless of whether or not they have the official paperwork if you spend any time with someone who IS a Zen Master in essence rather than name you get a strong sense of how they are different to everyone else and that how this is a pleasant thing both for you and them. It is not superficial it is fundamental to their being.

 
At June 26, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

I like what Karen said. First off, there's nothing wrong with critiquing Brad, certainly since he has no problem critiquing and being dismissive of others. So dont feel so quickly defensive of the guy; he's gonna be fine!
Secondly, i think its an important point, this idea of Zen masters being just like us.
I could say they are both "just like us" but also very much not like us. And I happen to KNOW that some of these blog commentors have gained most of their information about Zen through reading and almost no real contact with Zen Masters of any kind.
Why is this distinction important?
Its NOT!! These comments are just a way for all of us to pass the time--dont worry, i get it, so please dont keep telling me to bliss out and be less huffy. I am bored, people--i know this already.
Back to the point.
Why are Brad's actions (aka words) being picked apart? Because anyone who has had PRACTICAL experience with a "zen master" (someone who appears enlightened) will tell you that these folks ARE in fact different from ordinary bumbling fools.
They are alert, they pay attention, they tend to be light hearted and clear sighted. They tend to laugh a lot and not worry about what others think. Do you worry when an 8 year old makes fun of you or gets mad at you? What about a hundred 8 year olds?
When I am in the presence of my "guru" for lack of a better term, i feel like that 8 year old. How silly my bickering, my questions, my panic attacks, etc.
Brad seems like just another 8 year old to me. He is still primarily concerned with what others think, say and do. This is suspicious.
If you dont allow yourself to question authority, you will be duped.

-g

 
At June 26, 2006, Blogger Lone Wolf said...

If someone states an opinion or idea, it's funny how others label that as some permenent quality or the complete truth of that person.(I do this all the time) Alot of the time I say things that I don't even mean or say things in a certain mood that I would disagree with the next day. I'm sure we all do such things from time to time. Maybe if you think a person is "enlightened" and they act contrary to your standards of what an "enlightened being" is, I can see where people might get all critical. And one must be pretty "enlightened" to know what such standards of "enlightment" are.

But I feel what we say can never hit the truth exactly. I also feel what other people might say about me can never hit my truth exactly. So are opinions of other and their comments, whether good or bad, can never really hit the truth of the matter such as the comments themselves. But I think they can help guide us to truth, therefor have value. Reality is action. Action is change. What you say one moment might be completely oppisite in what you say the next moment and still be correct( or incorrect) because the situation has changed.

I don't find it helpful to just agree with people to keep everything calm in peaceful. I also don't go out of my way to start trouble. I just say how I feel and try to hit the truth with words that can not express the truth. If people get all bent out of shape about it and cause a rukus then that is what happens. But sometimes the truth shatters are ideas of what we think is reality. I call it the Wrecking Ball of Reality. Truth sometimes get people in a huffy unpeaceful state because it's uncomfortable when are fake reality we have been holding on to for "security" has been ripped away from us. We may even build it back up or try to build another. But one never tastes reality or freedom doing that, they just live in their prison of ideas. Just my thoughts at this time.

 
At June 26, 2006, Blogger Lone Wolf said...

I do think there is a diffrence between being disrespectful and stating some logic that may ruffle someones feathers. I always try to be respectful thought I may not always be respectful.

There is a big difference between calling someone names and making general claims that I know it all then pointing out some idea or logic that hits someone where they might not like to be hit or shines the light on something they don't want to see.

 
At June 26, 2006, Blogger gniz said...

Okay so Brad calls people names and also acts like he knows it all. By the way, i have no problem with his style.
Whats good for the goose is good for the gander, no?
Dont hold everyone to different standards, people.
Me calling Brad fake and full of s--t is no different than things he has said about various people many times in his writing and his blog.
How about the well-intentioned Zen sangha he ridiculed on his blog, laughing at their intellectually ham-handed questions?
If you didnt read it, dont comment on it--but the fact is, he made a lot of disparaging remarks after speaking at this zen center. And admitted that he didnt say any of that to their faces, just went back and tore them apart on his blog.

Food for thought, friends...

g

 
At June 26, 2006, Blogger Dan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At June 26, 2006, Blogger Jinzang said...

Gniz,

The problem is that you think Zen is about being special. It's not. It's about being ordinary. You're thinking, my teacher is so special and maybe if I meditate a lot I can be special just like him. Special is like walking on stilts. That's not being PC, that's how things are. In my opinion, of course.

 
At June 26, 2006, Blogger Lone Wolf said...

Ginz- Actually, Brad mentioned that the questions from that paticular Zen center were good questions and that if they weren't good questions he would have not answered them. This is not defending, this is simply correcting.

 
At June 27, 2006, Blogger Justin said...

Hmm...seems quite straightforward to me:

Brad isn't enlightened
Brad is sometimes full of shit
Brad sometimes says insightful things
Brad doesn't deny any of the above

So why get upset gniz?

One this that does sometimes piss me off is when other people defend Brad as if he could do or say no wrong or was omniscient or something - in other words they distort reality to fit a preconception of what they want Brad to be. I didn't see that happening here.

Brad is just Brad - a Zen priest who writes well and is quite funny, quite insightful and sometimes a bit of a jerk.

 
At June 27, 2006, Blogger oxeye said...

karen, no one has ever started a disagreement. not brad, not you or me. they just happen, and that is about all we can say on the subject. It’s that crazy old causality thang again. because mike cross seems at times to be mentally unstable does not necessarily mean that he is. there might be some other factors involved in his behavior. things that we know nothing about. because brad doesn't always seem to have that certain zen something that you think can "sense" doesn't mean a whole lot. your "sense" might not really exist or might have be off a little one day. so brad doesn't act the way you think he should act? I get that feeling too, about almost everyone. But unless he is doing a lot of harm we shouldn’t take much meaning in that. This format leads to easy misunderstandings. the more we talk the more contradictory we get. whenever we call brad or whoever out on a point, we should just do it with respect and kindness even if we "feel" we do not detect the same in them. I might even try doing this myself.

that kindness and respect part sounded really cheesy but was sincere. :)

 
At June 27, 2006, Blogger Dan said...

well done guys you nailed it. i wrote a reply that basically sed the things that justin, lone wolf oxeye an jinzang sed but much less well so i decided to delete it knowing that someone else would probably write the exact same points except better. and thats what happened!

 
At June 27, 2006, Blogger karen said...

I could be wrong in all that I pointed out. It just hasn't been my experience that the people who I have met and studied with, Tibetan, Theravadin and various Zen monks, priests and nuns, have been in the habit of making provocative statements about others. They tend to focus on practice and what that entails for the student, not on what other teachers or students have decided to do or not do. And the sense that they are well grounded individuals does come across when you are in their company. It's not anything fantastic or trippy. It's all in their words and actions that they have met themselves and moved beyond what most of us cannot seem to move beyond.

 
At June 27, 2006, Blogger Justin said...

Yes I've met such well-grounded people too - I know what you mean. If Brad doesn't seem to be that way should that upset us?

 
At June 27, 2006, Blogger MikeDoe said...

I'm quite happy for Brad to just be Brad - whatever that is. Sometimes I like what he writes. Sometimes I think he writes crap.

He doesn't make any claims about himself beyond that which is true. He claims to be a Zen Master and technically that is correct - he has the paperwork and the lineage.

So, I don't see any issues.

With Mike Cross in contrast we have something quite different. There is a definite inconsistency between words and actions between teaching and actuality. He makes all sorts of claims about himself and about his understanding of other's understandings / realisations but the gap between these claims and reality seem to be extremely large.

At the moment he is burbling on about all-sorts-of-buddhist-things and somehow relating it to the 2nd law of thermodynamics. This is complete nonsense.

This shows his misunderstanding of Buddhism, physiology, psychology and physics.

For those who want a reasonable summary of the 2nd law then Wikipedi sums things up nicely.

I have come to a general conclusion about Buddhism - the more complicated the person's explanation the less they are likely to understand it.

 
At June 28, 2006, Blogger Sutta said...

Sappurisa Sutta: A Person of Integrity

 
At June 28, 2006, Blogger karen said...

Thank you sutta. I think that's what I was trying to say.

 
At June 28, 2006, Blogger me said...

I wonder how many children these super calm and collected buddhists have running around their houses?

 
At June 28, 2006, Blogger me said...

I wonder how many children these super calm and collected buddhists have running around their houses?

 
At June 28, 2006, Blogger SteveP said...

From www.dipama.com

Drawing from traditional vipassana teachings, Dipa Ma crafted extraordinary methods to induce her students to practice mindfulness in the course of their busy lives. Mindfulness, she said, could be applied to every moment of every activity: speaking, ironing, cooking, shopping, caring for children. "The whole path of mindfulness," she repeated tirelessly, "is this: ‘Whatever you are doing, be aware of it.’" Dipa Ma had so much faith in the power of meditation amid the hubbub of daily life that one admirer dubbed her "The Patron Saint of Householders."

When asked about the difference between formal meditation practice and daily life, Dipa Ma adamantly insisted, "You cannot separate meditation from life."

Dipa Ma persuaded her sister Hema and her children to practice as well. Among the austere, saffron-clad monks, the two middle-aged mothers and their six children followed a strict practice. The young Dipa’s commitment to meditation practice was especially gratifying to her mother, who wanted to give her daughter something of enduring value, the "priceless gift." Again and again she would tell Dipa that meditation offered the only way to peace.

 
At June 28, 2006, Blogger SteveP said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At June 28, 2006, Blogger MikeDoe said...

karen, sutta:

I would agree with the link. However, sometimes and rarely being silent or only speaking well of a person is not the most approriate thing to do. In particular in a court of law.

 
At June 28, 2006, Blogger MikeDoe said...

yellowcup:

I personally rate Mindfulness very highly - mainly because it fits easily into everyday life.

I also think it builds a more powerful meditation ability than just sitting on a Zafu - which is (deliberately) and totally artificial.

 
At June 28, 2006, Blogger SteveP said...

mikedoe - yesyesyes. lately i'm looking into the instructions for 'right speech' because i'm coming to appreciate how morality (improving the quality of interpersonal relationship by restraining from actions motivated by greed/anger/delusion) is truly the gateway to everyday mindfulness for me. With speech, I've just decided to start being mindful of whenever I speak or type (like now). No judgement needed, just am I speaking/listening or typing/reading now? The more I look into this, well you know, the more that gets revealed. I guess my point is that I trust the path laid out by the Buddha (morality-concentration-wisdom) and I'm beginning to try morality and am discovering it to be mindfulness 101.

 
At June 28, 2006, Blogger SteveP said...

ps: I read your blog and am inspired by your investigations. i'm working in a similar way to you - thanks for putting it out there. The pali term for this is "Dhamma Vicaya" - investigation of the teachings, and it is one of the Seven Factors of Enlightenment (as you are likely aware).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_factors_of_enlightenment

 
At June 28, 2006, Blogger door knob said...

It's funny, really. Brad makes a rather innocuous post, and suddenly, everyone comes out of the woodwork, foaming at the mouth, to air their preconceived ideas about him (including me, of course--I've only made a handful of posts and some of them have been rather odd, indeed).

If you're praising Brad, you're really just praising yourself. If you're criticizing Brad, you're really just critizing yourself. I hope everyone realizes that what you have to say about Brad says more about youself than about Brad, right? Of course you do. You're all Zen folks and you all know that.

 
At June 28, 2006, Blogger MikeDoe said...

Yellowcup:
Thank you. No I wasn't aware of this idea.Compared with many I've done very little 'study' of Buddhism.

My take on it has always been that if it has any truth in it then meditation alone will reveal it to you. I was meditating for stress control (since Buddhism claimed that meditation is a way to end suffering) and mindfulness was the thing that I found most expedient for it.

So, you can imagine my shock when through my meditation I started to realise that I was beginning to see the truth of some of the teachings and beginning to behave and think like a 'buddhist'.

Because of my own path then, I am not hung up on particular subsets within Buddhism. I can see the same truths expressed in different words and wrapped up with different pretty paper.

Your link is my breakfast reading.

 
At June 29, 2006, Blogger MikeDoe said...

Yellowcup:
With speech I apply mindfulness to it as well. I am aware of what I say and the emotions and thoughts that surround what I say.

Sometimes I say things that are not 'nice'.

I do not try and force myself to say only 'nice' things. Instead, I look at and examine the causes of what I say - after the event.

As I address and let go of the causes of my speech my speech (and the tone of my voice) naturally changes.

The important thing for me in this approach is that the Ego need not involved. When the Ego is evolved then I would become hooked on what I 'should' say and saying the 'right' thing and worrying about saying the 'wrong' thing etc. etc.

Of course, sometimes I do say things that I regret. I examine that regret mindfully and see from where the regret arises.

For instance, when I was last at the Sangha and we had a discussion about 'right action' and Karma some of what I was saying (in response to a couple of Karma related anecdotes from other people) did distress some people. The fact that people became distressed caused me to be distressed - for several days!

I meditated deeply on why it was that I was upset, from where it arose and whether or not what I said was right in the moment.

In the end I concluded unfortunately that my speech was right at the moment and that the reason I was really upset was because by forcing someone to face the truth of their actions (and there was no nice way to say it) I had made them upset and I didn't want to do that in part because I wanted to be thought of as a 'nice' person and in part because I did not want to cause anyone else temporary suffering - even if that suffering would result in some spiritual growth.

So, really in this case what I needed to do was be mindful of being artificially 'nice' as opposed to being naturally nice.

Mindfulness can be a bitch at times ;-)

 
At June 29, 2006, Blogger Justin said...

I agree that it is not good to always be 'nice' when it may be best not to be. We shouldn't fool ourselves or force ourselves to act in a way that runs against our true feelings, nor should we put on a show of niceness for others in the belief that if it looks like a Buddha, quacks like a Buddha than it is a Buddha. However, by paying attention to what we do and say and feel I think we may naturally act in more compassionate and less ego-filled ways.

But that is a Buddhist ideal. And if Brad doesn't completely match that ideal why get upset? Is it because we feel that Brad rejects this idea?

 
At June 29, 2006, Blogger Sutta said...

Panthaka Sutta: About Cula Panthaka

 
At June 29, 2006, Blogger SteveP said...

MD: When the Ego is evolved then I would become hooked ...

Yes I notice this too and observe it as arisen phenomena - equal on the shelf with vision, displeasure, etc. The whole gamut of phenomena are lateral on the same shelf of transience. It seems that the mindfulness counters the attachment which lessens future arisings. Perhaps like morning light burning off the fog.

BTW, nice recollection of the things happening around your speech! It's almost a sport, no? Sometimes I feel like I'm working on a level in a video game (sorry! I'm of that generation.)

From my reading it seems that the Buddha defines right speech by the 5 T's (one for each finger) Timely, Truthful, Trustworthy (non-slander), Tranquil(not harsh) and To-the-point(useful/non-gossip). I put them in T's to remember them. Apparently aligning speech towards these motivations will protect me from too much regret and will also help others not to say something they might regret. (Something like helping myself and others not to get mind-stuck?) I'm starting with Timely - just making sure I don't overlap someone else's speech, like an actor. I reason that if I get mindful of my delivery I will be in a much better place for being mindful of the content of my speech. Mindful meaning seeing the mental objects that arise and motivate the speech, like you're doing, then choosing not to engage in Wrong Speech.

After several years of casual introspection, followed by several years of intent introspection, I am deciding to work primarily within the Buddhist language/instructional system as an internal framework. Beginner with teachers. Even my theraapist has been meditating for 30 years. I still draw inspiration from everywhere of course, like Dogen and everyone in these blogs, but I'm beginning to see the truth in sticking to one system after awhile to really get somewhere. At least that's what some people I know further down the path are saying.

Anyways, I really appreciate the opportunity to speak openly about my practice and to read of what others are doing in our multi-poly-omni
simultaneous-parallel
interpenetrating-realities
!!!

peace all.

 

Post a Comment

<< Home