First off, note that I now have a link (on your left) to a very crappy looking page of links to all my on-line interviews. Now here’s an updated gig list:

North Hollywood, California:
• Thursday August 9th, 7PM at Many Paths Bookstore, 5152A Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood Arts District, cross-streets are Lankershim and Magnolia Boulevards

New York City, New York:
• Sunday August 26, 2007- 7 PM at Bluestockings Radical Books on the Lower East Side 172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington – 1 block south of Houston and 1st Avenue.
• August 27, 2007 at 7 PM at The Interdepedence Project at Lila Center 302 Bowery at Houston (this will be the most like a formal lecture among all the NYC appearances) RSVP soon, space is limited.
• August 28, 2007 at 7:30 PM Barnes & Noble in Greenwich Village 396 Ave of the Americas at 8th Street, New York, NY 10011

Montreal, Quebec:
• August 30, 2007 at 7 PM at McGill University’s Education/Counselling Psychology Department 3700 Rue McTavish Room 233

Boulder & Ft. Collins, Colorado:
• Monday September 10, 2007 – 7:30 pm Boulder Bookstore 1107 Pearl Street – Author Event

• Tuesday September 11, 2007 Noon – Colorado State University Bookstore – The Lory Student Center at CSU Ft. Collins, CO

• Tuesday September 11, 2007 7 PM – CSU Anthropology Club The Lory Student Center at CSU, Ft. Collins – Author Event

Shizuoka, Japan
• September 22 to 25, 2007, Tokei-in Temple, 1840 Hatori, Shizuoka City, 421-12 (Prior registration is required. See for details)

Akron, Ohio:
November 7,2007 at the Akron Public Library

OK, so last night a friend of mine needed a ride to meet a friend of hers. Let’s call the first friend Sally and the second friend Tabitha. Tabitha had invited Sally to a Network Marketing thing out in Silverlake. Silverlake is a hipster area of Los Angeles.

This was my first chance to see a Network Marketing event. Network Marketing is like Amway or Herbalife or maybe Avon. There are these companies that don’t do advertising. They just throw fake parties where they try to get you to buy their stuff. But they don’t just want you to buy the stuff. They want you to beocme a salesperson for their stuff.

The atmosphere was pretty much like what you get at a religious cult gathering. A number of people are planted throughout the audience who are already converts. Their job is to yell, “Woo-hooo!” at certain scripted points in the presentation. Or sometimes they get more subtle and just say things like, “Wow!” or, “Unbelievable!” on cue as if they just happen to be there and are impressed with the Power Point presentation.

At the end of the presentation converts walk around and ask newbies, “What did you like?” I got asked this three times by people who apparently didn’t realize how fucking obvious they were being. I said, “It’s a nice house.” Because it was. That left every one of them stupified. Get a little more creative people!! At least say, “Yes and this house was bought by money earned from being a member.” Shit. Even I could’ve done that. Don’t just stand there slack jawed because I didn’t say something about the stupid presentation. Dipshits.

ANYWAY this particular scam — er, scheme — was some kind of cheap vacation deal. The idea was they form a big group who can buy bulk and reduce the prices of vacations for their members (oops! I wasn’t supposed to say that, they told us so at the end of the presentation). Nice, I guess, if you want to go on generic vacations with a bunch of zombies from their group.

As I watched this thing unfold I realized I’d seen exactly the same thing twice before. Once was on the video of The Secret and the other was on the You Tube clips of Gempo Roshi’s Big Mind® seminars. As I said, it’s a religious cult type atmosphere at these marketing events. All the folks from The Secret and Big Mind® have done is apply the network marketing philosophy and techniques to so-called “spiritual” practices. Which, in itself, were reverse engineered by profit seekers from religious cult techniques. Clever, really. But in the end valueless.

This is why Genpo Roshi ought to be kicked in the ass very, very hard. In the case of The Secret, the whole thing is a load of horseshit right to its core. There’s not a smidge of value to be had in it at all. It’s not even as useful as Herbalife or cheap zombie vacations. But Genpo is trying the same bullshit with Zen which, at its core is the most practical and useful philosophy and practice to be found. Like I’ve said before, if you wanna go attend one of Genpo’s idiot conventions, be my guest. But that is not Buddhism and anyone who says it is ought to have his butt thoroughly booted.

The entire network marketing thing — of which Big Mind® and The Secret are examples — is based on two ideas. One is that what you really want out of life is OVER THERE somewhere. Not here. The other is that the dude running the show has what you need and can sell it to you. It’s pure confusion created and sustained by collective thought.

Also, interestingly, both the network marketing scams and Big Mind® espouse the same idea that this stuff used to take a lot of time, effort and energy, but now a new technique has been developed that’ll give you the same effect right away without all the muss and fuss. In the case of the network marketers the goal getting rich, in the case of Genpo and all the rest of them it’s getting enlightenment. Believe whatever you want, suckers.

Listen. I’m just telling you what I can see. I don’t give a shit if you believe it or not. I’m not trying to convince you I’m right. But I do think there’s some value in expressing this point of view even if nobody pays much attention. So there.

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119 Responses

  1. Mysterion
    Mysterion August 9, 2007 at 9:14 am |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. gniz
    gniz August 9, 2007 at 9:41 am |

    Well, isnt this appopriate…from Gudo Nishijima’s blog:

    “3) In your view, can a teacher make a mistake in giving the Dharma Transmission to a student?

    (Gudo’s opinion) I think that there might be several times to make my mistakes in giving Dharma to them, and especially in my case I have sometimes given my Dharma for encouraging my students before they haven’t matured yet.”

    Its hard to tell–BUT–i think Gudo just admitted he made mistakes.

    So now I stand corrected.


  3. Mysterion
    Mysterion August 9, 2007 at 11:03 am |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. dood
    dood August 9, 2007 at 11:20 am |


    Thanks for saying what you did – we all know that those are scams.

    Brad, Nishijima, Dogen, random Buddhist Master – i can’t understand any of them anyway…

    Brad has made some semi-coherent books though…

    take care,

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 9, 2007 at 11:35 am |

    i’m in ur zendo…

    shitin’ on ur zafu 🙂

  6. Jinzang
    Jinzang August 9, 2007 at 11:47 am |

    So in other words,a con-artist is someone who breaks with tradition?

    If you call yourself a Zen teacher, but you don’t teach Zen, aren’t you conning people? If you call yourself a Pastafarian, no problem.

  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 9, 2007 at 11:49 am |

    Mysterion, as your attourney I recommend to pop all the pills at once. I’d like to inform you that I have reserved a nice high roller 4000 sqft suite for us at the MGM Grand. We should sell the suicide girls to the truck drivers.


  8. Jared
    Jared August 9, 2007 at 12:11 pm |

    Because I have nothing to constructive to add to the conversation about Big Mind and Ramen-Noodle Englightenment (just add water!), instead I’ll address one of Mysterion’s numerous posts:

    There’s more evidence to suggest that I wrote Shakespeare than there is for Francis Bacon being the author. The whole theory, which fails to take into account anything about sixteenth and seventeenth century English society, writing, and history, is absurd. The ENTIRE idea of Francis Bacon having written the plays stems from the psychotic ravings of Delia Bacon, self-proclaimed decendent of F. Bacon in her “book”, “Philosophy of the Plays of Shakspere [sic] Unfolded”, which for all intents and purposes is random babble.

    Personally, I don’t give two shits about who wrote the plays. But it’s a bit in the vein of a conspiracy theory, or the theater equivalent, to say Bacon did. Then again, Jesus was a Buddhist, so…

  9. Ken
    Ken August 9, 2007 at 12:39 pm |

    Thought you might like this….a spoof on “What The Bleep Do We Know?”

  10. Mysterion
    Mysterion August 9, 2007 at 1:17 pm |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 9, 2007 at 1:51 pm |

    I don’t understand this BigMind thing, but still feel that I can comment on this E thing.

    Zen teachers in Rinzai (and also in Soto but not so much) tradition use private meetings with students to trigger something in them to happen. This is combined with zazen of course. Usually the student practices koans, but not always.

    My own kensho experience: I sat trough night and then WHAM, everything was different. In the morning I went to my teacher and we both sat still. I did not tell him from my experience. Next day I passed my koan. He probed me on my koan (who am I?), Answers came out of my mouth. I felt totally normal, no trace of the WHAM thing remained. Still my answers were different and came freely. My actions were different. I had different perspective witch I could not notice without Roshi poking me with questions. Passing your first Koan in Rinzai zen is considered as real beginning of zen practize. I did 12 years of zazen to get into that point.

    I am really doubtful that BigMind can make this happen faster. On the other hand it happens that certain few people have this kensho thing happen to them almost immediately when they start to practice.

    What I really don’t like in BigMind attitude is the fact that you need decades of zazen after your kensho (if it really happens in BigMind training) to be able to actualize it. If people get their E and happily go away without starting daily zazen, they have wasted more than $250 and know nothing of zen.

  12. Justin
    Justin August 9, 2007 at 2:52 pm |

    …you need decades of zazen after your kensho (if it really happens in BigMind training) to be able to actualize it. If people get their E and happily go away without starting daily zazen, they have wasted more than $250 and know nothing of zen.

    I can’t comment on whether BigMind does what it claims and provokes kensho experiences, but I have heard Genpo Roshi in interview deny that BigMind is a substitute for Zazen – it is just a kensho experience and should be treated the way any other kensho experience is treated.

  13. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 9, 2007 at 3:16 pm |

    Conspiracy theorists/terrorists and related lower species enjoy to disable certain logic circuits in their brain only in those cases when they feel it nourishes their theory. Once they’ve made their point they continue in “logical” habits from there on.

    To mix up “What if…?” and “Why not…?” with serious inquiry or even science is actually insulting for any sane person.

    It’s just like kids who cannot accept that the world is just like it is, without Santa Claus but with all the nasty stuff in it, even Shakespeare, Jesus, Tricky Dick, Dead Elvis, Dead JFK, 9/11, and also evil Genpo-roshi.

    But Brad Warner is actually the last survivor of an ancient alien culture that crashed on earth 108 Million years ago. Why? He had used the number 108 several times. Or the square root of it. And he is Vegetarian, don’t you understand?

    How can you, dear ole Mysterion, really feel smarter than us whilst brabbeling bullshit about some personal faked alternate reality like you do here without even being slightly on topic?


  14. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 9, 2007 at 7:03 pm |

    Um, sorry IceBucket, but in the
    case of 9/11, the burden of proof
    lies upon you.

    How, for example, do you explain
    the 6.5 second (rate of free-fall)
    symmetrical (no toppling over)
    collapse of World Trade Center 7
    without the use of explosives?

    Perhaps you should study some

    Or talk to some knowledgeable people.

    It appears that the real terrorists
    have got you fooled.

  15. Mysterion
    Mysterion August 9, 2007 at 7:48 pm |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 3:18 am |

    the real question is: why are you icebucket the only one that get’s so riled up about mysterion’s random postings? unless you are mysterion’s sock puppet….. of course.

    to the mystery wtc conspiracist, do you ever hang out at:

    you should. they will tear you apart. not that you’d ever admit that of course.


  17. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 5:25 am |

    “9/11 inside job” anonymous points to
    the website of a physicist who worked
    for the Naval Research Laboratory for
    over 30 years, David L Griscom, PhD.

    “9/11 some guy in a cave” anonymous
    points to the website of James Randi,
    a stage magician. Very appropriate.

    So easy a caveman could do it?
    Sounds like zazen!

  18. Jinzang
    Jinzang August 10, 2007 at 6:01 am |

    How, for example, do you explain
    the 6.5 second (rate of free-fall)
    symmetrical (no toppling over)
    collapse of World Trade Center 7
    without the use of explosives?

    The collapse of a building is a complex non-linear process. I wouldn’t draw conclusions either way based on a back of the envelope calculation.

    Perhaps you should study some

    I majored in physics. How about you?

  19. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 6:02 am |

    After the next false-flag attack and
    consequent declaration of martial law,
    I, for one, will be sure to thank dan
    for his well-informed analysis.

  20. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 6:27 am |

    When Hillary becomes prez and we get attacked by al quada I will hope dan finally gets it.

  21. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 6:40 am |

    jinzang said:

    I wouldn’t draw conclusions either
    way based on a back of the envelope

    Agreed. So after 6 years and millions
    spent, why won’t NIST release WTC7
    finite element analysis simulations
    to the engineering community?

  22. Peter
    Peter August 10, 2007 at 8:11 am |

    Let me tell you what instant-enlightnement means to me; sitting on my balcony early sunday morning and seeing a bit of dirt in the form of a midget or drinking a cold glas of water during a hot summers day, or even better; feeling the ripples and holes in an old stone I found somewhere in the woods.
    Shall I continue?

  23. Gregor
    Gregor August 10, 2007 at 8:31 am |

    Instant enlightenment for hire at top dollar — Some people might love it, sure. But, does that make it Buddhism? My humble opinion is that what the Buddha taught had to deal with the Four Noble Truths,The Eightfold Path, — does Big Mind teach this in an accurate and balanced manner?

    Honestly I don’t know, but if the awnser is no, then Brad’s right “BM” is not Buddhism. But then again what is “real Buddhism”
    I’d argue that its simpley objective free practice, something done for it’s own sake as a lifestyle — we cannot really categorize and label it, only do it.

    Good luck to all in following thier practice.



  24. Mysterion
    Mysterion August 10, 2007 at 10:45 am |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. Mysterion
    Mysterion August 10, 2007 at 11:12 am |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  26. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 11:31 am |

    If you’re charging for it–it ain’t the real deal,
    it’s a commercial, for-profit, enterprise.
    I think this is the trickiest part of the trickier path: how do we sustain ourselves and our practice.
    If we don’t charge, how will we live?
    We don’t live in forests. We don’t live on farms, hell, we don’t even have vegetable gardens! ( In this US of A homelessness could not be taken on by a religious movement–although it is the manifestation of trickled down consequences resulting from the societal beliefs we actually act on and act out– Jesus, Buddha and entourage would be rounded up as vagrants–What, no permanent address? (although I guess both could give their Dad’s home address–and I’m talking the flesh and blood dad–not the bearded grey haired guy in the sky).
    Begging isn’t something we condone in this culture–but advertising is…
    Advertising is a hustler’s way of begging.
    Except that you are supposed to give someone something in exchange for their money.
    And in zen there’s nothing to give, nothing to get (and it takes a considerable period of dedicated, diligent time to get or give this nothing).
    Big Mind ™ sounds like a meditator’s vibrator. Something quick and easy. Yeah, it might ‘take you there’, as a localized event. I’m not putting down vibrators here, all manner of skillful means has it’s place in the bedroom, But a vibrator does not replace an inventive, interested lover who takes their time.
    Just who you are–there on the zafu or there on the bed– to force anything is to by pass the naturally occurring means to arrive at your own pace in your own time.
    The fact is there is no short cut to sitting on the cushion, facing the wall, facing yourself, facing this life.
    Charging for “enlightnment experience” is pimping the practice.
    There, I’ve said it.

    Zen Buddhism steps out of monasteries and no longer as monks, but as lay practitioners,
    priestly practice enters into and is confronted by daily life–
    The temptation is to charge for it–join the self-help movement, follow the footsteps of other religious groups–charge for lectures, for levels of membership–platinum circle, golden circle, silver circle, bronze circle–plum circle, lotus circle, daisy circle…
    I would like to think that it just becomes very normal and ordinary–that as I walk through the farmer’s market or my grocery store, I am in the company of lay priests, practitioners who all have regular jobs and don’t have to charge for ‘showing us their enlightment’ but can just live it out in ordinary activities.
    I’m betting that we can because we are clever, clever, clever humanses.

    If we really love this practice we won’t make it our milk cow. Unless, of course we are dairy farming and can truly say of our zen practice ‘It’s the cheese.”


  27. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 11:48 am |

    I apologize if someone didn’t get my humor in the first place, I had laugh loud when I saw that I really woke up the hilarious 9/11 denial crowd. Please go back to some adequate place… Not at all I want to read anything about this un-topic anymore.

    No one wants to hear that. Your parents are right when they said you should shut up.

    Go out into the sun, care about your family. Hug someone.

    I really enjoy Mysterion’s posts even he is little strong on the weird side of stories, I love that. I also enjoy a casual provocation every now and then, I actually got him angry once or twice but he deleted his posts, this genius chap.

    Chapeau, mon ami!


  28. Koudelka
    Koudelka August 10, 2007 at 12:17 pm |

    You know, I don’t know why all you fucking wankers keep flapping your meat about “skillful means” and all of these retarded technicalities and “fine points” of buddhism. Most of you don’t even have a fucking clue as it is, so get over what you read in a book.

    Just be yourselves, damn.

  29. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 12:26 pm |

    Long time no post
    good to see you back

  30. Koudelka
    Koudelka August 10, 2007 at 12:43 pm |

    Also, here’s an unfortunately novel concept around here:


    I usually try to steer clear of the comments here, since they make me retch… but, hi, whoever you are. 😀

  31. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 12:56 pm |

    koudelka, you dont know shit about other people and whether they have a clue or not.

    why is it so that many people in buddhism say other people dont have clue even they only seen fractions of what these oithers are?

    why is it so that those people who indeed “have a clue” (otherwise they couldnt tell) would deny it?

    why would those people criticize others if they say someone else does not have a clue?

    this makes feel you worse.

  32. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 12:57 pm |

    but koudelka, if you were posting more comments here, there’d be less ‘retched’ ones!

    skillful means a given example by way of definition in buddhist writings is: a father as he approaches sees his house is on fire. He calls to his children, telling them he has candy and toys for them and they come running out of the house to him eager for their presents.

    skillful means as used above in comment was meant to be funny in its playful use between zen and sex contexts

    but if ‘skillful means’ got you to break your silence on the blog, I’d say that was some pretty skillful use of skillful means rot thar!


  33. Koudelka
    Koudelka August 10, 2007 at 12:57 pm |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  34. Koudelka
    Koudelka August 10, 2007 at 1:01 pm |

    oh, I wasn’t commenting about your sex comparison, I thought that was kinda funny..

    The fact that you’re still here means that you don’t have a clue.

  35. Mysterion
    Mysterion August 10, 2007 at 1:04 pm |

    Zen is Zen. Zazen is Zazen.

    In my later years, every sitting was a somewhat new and unique experience. Or I forgot, it doesn’t really matter.

    If you have expectations (anxiety) before you sit, you may be disappointed. If THIS Zazen experience was just like the last one, then perhaps you either brought in a little baggage or were a bit judgemental. If you seek some kind of narrow legalistic interpretation or definition of Zen or the Zazen experience, then a few graduate classes in philosophy might better suit your needs.

    If you want the Zazen experience, then you need to learn how to sit (posture – requires external eyes – e.g. teacher) and you need to ‘just sit quietly.’

    No bullshit.

  36. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 2:03 pm |

    I’ve long thought koudelka was filled with anger disguised as youthful arrogance.

  37. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 2:06 pm |

    I also think he’s smart and brave.

  38. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 2:13 pm |

    waka waka!!!

    -Anony Mouse

  39. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 2:14 pm |

    stroke it!

    -Anony Mouse

  40. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 3:11 pm |

    I think koudelka is the koudelkiest


  41. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 3:45 pm |

    koudelka for Prez!!!!

  42. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 3:48 pm |

    “The fact that you’re still here means that you don’t have a clue.”

    and the fact that you are still here means you alone have a clue, indeed. teach us, master. you are special. you always knew it.

    its good for you to wake up and know that you are so fucking enlightened. and the inferiors are not.

    i know i have to sit a billion years to reach your level of realization. and i honor your impressive compassionate contribution you gave to the dharma and people. hail thee!

    actually i am just envious of your life. thats all. i want a hat like that.

  43. August 10, 2007 at 4:36 pm |

    When shit stinks, Koudelka says so, when Koudleka’s shit stinks plenty of folks tell him so.
    Why do we spend so much time telling each other that other’s shit stinks.
    You’d think none of us had noses.
    We can each smell for ourselves that shit–ours and others–shhhtinks!
    Can we find a way to point this out (just in case someone’s shnozola isn’t working) in the least personally perjorative way possible and move on?
    I can tell by the temperature of the zafus no one has sat on them for a while now…

  44. Jinzang
    Jinzang August 10, 2007 at 5:12 pm |

    The fact that you’re still here means that you don’t have a clue.

    Who do you think does have a clue? And how does one get clued in?

  45. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 10, 2007 at 7:42 pm |

    one clue is when you shhtep in it and it
    schquishesh between your toes


  46. Koudelka
    Koudelka August 11, 2007 at 1:06 am |

    I’m not going to nitpick, because I know that’s the fucking stupid game that gets played here.

    All I’m saying is let go of your obsessive chasing and your ideas about buddhism because that’s exactly not life. As long as you think anyone “knows” something that you can’t, then you’re never going to be living.

  47. Koudelka
    Koudelka August 11, 2007 at 1:10 am |

    As an addendum, my “realization” or what-the-hell-ever was that all of the foggy painful feelings that I felt “around me” were exactly me.

    And as soon as I accepted fully, without anything left behind, that I was this massive pain, things flipped and I was just myself again.

    Seriously, what are you chasing? Do you even know?

  48. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 11, 2007 at 4:50 am |


    i thank you for clarifiying that you really think you obtained something special. next thing is to realize that it is something really common. then next thing is to “somehow” forget about it. and even after that theres something. but thats not the point here.

    and you know by sure that all these nice people have not experienced what you have experienced? thats great because you can show me the trick to know a person by reading 2 sentences. without even knowing if someone is smiling on the other side.

    bragging with your “level” or even comparing your “level” to other peoples achievements or the lack thereof was always a very bad pratice for me, you actually “lose” all you might have alledgely achieved right in the moment when you think you are something special. some teachers told me similar things, too. its also in the diamond sutra if you are into reading.

    to answer the question: i am chasing holy people.

    take care, mate, take care…

  49. Koudelka
    Koudelka August 11, 2007 at 8:42 am |

    Actually dude, I don’t think I “got” anything special at all. If anything, I just stopped being stupid.

    I believe that people wind up in buddhism because they go insane at some point and create a false problem to worry about. I don’t consider it a “spiritual path”, I consider it psychotherapy for very very desperate people.

    I don’t have a “level”, people are just people, dude. Everyone eats, shits and dies, we just do different things in the meantime.

    Anyways, I seriously do not want to bicker, I’m being dead honest. You’re right man, You win this AWESOME ARGUMENT. THE GOOSE WAS NEVER IN THE BOTTLE IN THE FIRST PLACE LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. WE’RE REALLY HELPING PEOPLE WITH THIS ARGUMENT. fag.

  50. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 11, 2007 at 9:24 am |

    Nasrudin returned to his village from the imperial capital, and the villagers gathered around to hear what had passed.

    “At this time,” said Nasrudin, “I only want to say that the King spoke to me.”

    All the villagers but the stupidest ran off to spread the wonderful news.

    The remaining villager asked, “What did the King say to you?”

    “What he said — and quite distinctly, for everyone to hear — was ‘Get out of my way!'”

    The simpleton was overjoyed; he had heard words actually spoken by the King, and seen the very man they were spoken to.

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