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.

Sharing is caring! Tweet about this on TwitterShare on TumblrEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponDigg this

119 Responses

Page 3 of 3
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 11, 2007 at 9:26 am |

    A neighbor comes to Nasreddin Hoja.
    “Would you lend me your donkey today, Hoja?” the neighbor asks, “I have goods to transport to the next town.”
    The Hoja answers: “I’m sorry, but I’ve already lent her to somebody else.”
    Suddenly the donkey is heard braying loudly behind a wall.
    “You lied to me, Hoja!” the neighbor exclaims, “There is the donkey!”
    “What do you mean?” the Hoja replies indignantly, “Whom would you rather believe, a donkey or your Hoja?”

  2. MikeDoe
    MikeDoe August 11, 2007 at 12:49 pm |


    “If anything, I just stopped being stupid.”

    Well that’s more than me. I just realised how stupid and unthinking and hurtful I could be at times.

    I guess you have a great attainment…

  3. Koudelka
    Koudelka August 11, 2007 at 1:16 pm |

    you can twist words to mean anything you like, especially ambiguous words like “stupid”

    sometimes the best way to help someone is to kick them in the face.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 11, 2007 at 2:05 pm |


    good to see to paced down a bit. still, i would enjoy more acceptance, but thats just me.

    it was not about winning or whatever for me, i recall you entered the pub and you were the guy shouting at people without any apparent reason.

    still, you stopped “being stupid” (at least for yourself, other migh disagree), thats great. but others did not stop “being stupid”. so theres a difference. they are still “stupid”. you are not. that doesnt feel right for me.

    permanent liberation is a metaphor and not something you could live at all. best you can really attain is awareness of your “karmic” structures. you might change for the better, but you might not. you will do bad things in the future, too.

    i think acting like a “strict zen master” in the old-school style with beating people and stuff is misleading at best and dangerous at worst. i agree, no need to be gentle to all the people all the time, but its still creating loads of shit inside oneself.

  5. Koudelka
    Koudelka August 11, 2007 at 2:34 pm |

    I have no idea if others are still “being stupid.”

    Stop thinking and start living.

    Good luck. See ya.

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 11, 2007 at 2:59 pm |

    no need to be embarrassed, mate.

    perhaps, one day, i can also stop thinking and start living like you did.


  7. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 11, 2007 at 3:23 pm |

    bodhisatvas Alphonse and Gaston as they approach the door to get in for the big ‘E’

    “After you,”
    “Mais non, after you”
    “Please, after you,”
    “I insist, you first”
    “Non, non, je t’empris, you go”
    “Mon cher ami, of course you will go before me”
    etc. etc.
    But there’s a coupala bodhisatvas for you, always putting others first…

  8. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 11, 2007 at 3:25 pm |

    bodhisatvas Alphonse and Gaston as they approach the door to get in for the big ‘E’

    “After you,”
    “Mais non, after you”
    “Please, after you,”
    “I insist, you first”
    “Non, non, je t’empris, you go”
    “Mon cher ami, of course you will go before me”
    etc. etc.
    But there’s a coupala bodhisatvas for you, always putting others first…


  9. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 12, 2007 at 2:50 am |

    one thing to note about ‘the secret’, is that all examples are material, while all explanations are spiritual. nice to provide spirituality and make it attractive to many (and the secret does this), but the fact that everyone is looking for their ‘dreamhouse’ ‘dreamboat’ ‘dreamvacation’ is telling.
    dreams of sitting with the grandchildren outside, were also dependent on the ‘dreampool’ that we get to sit next to…

    if we’re into chasing dreams, it can’t be ‘over here’.

    the network-marketing thing is closely linked. also built on the dream of having money without working.

    but – how many people get a kick of energy and start moving, because someone gave them a dream they can relate to?

    might this movement lead some of them to look at themselves?

  10. gniz
    gniz August 12, 2007 at 10:47 am |


    You said: “sometimes the best way to help someone is to kick them in the face.”

    Please give one concrete example of when this tactic is helpful.


  11. farmhenjen
    farmhenjen August 12, 2007 at 10:13 pm |

    When it comes to the nitty-gritty of zen practice I don’t see any essential difference between Brad’s teacher, Nishijima Roshi, and my teacher– Genpo Roshi.

    Yup! Here we go, folks!  No, I didn’t drop here from outter space, I’ve read Nishijima Roshi’s work, love his blog– also read Brad’s.  Brad’s teaching essentially is no different from Genpo’s: ‘Sit down and shut up’ says it very nicely.  The only difference is that Brad appears to be in the grip of servitude to his own opinion / prejudice when it comes to anything about BigMind. The LAST thing Genpo does is cling to opinion and prejudice– any opinion, any prejudice.

    You don’t think so?  Read Margaret’s experience:
    And I know so.  I keep an eye like a hawk on Genpo– he himself teaches to doubt and question everything, and I do, you bet!

    For sure I know Genpo better than Brad does and this whole thing is really, really sad. Ranting is lots of fun– I’m here aren’t I?  😉   But an excess of un-informed ranting, especially by one looked upon as teacher…  I don’t think I’m alone wondering if it can lead to something more than verbal ranting.  Sentient beings can be discouraged by it. Even the Buddha was poisoned, no?  The sixth Patriarch was hunted down to be killed rather than “loose the Dharma”, no?  Holding to mis-information, could we please not go too far down that path? ?

    Here’s a few facts:
    The BigMind trade mark is exactly to protect against scams.  Think about it.  If your business is to scam, do you pay someone for a franchise into their trademark?  No, you start your own scam and keep all the proceeds yourself.  Even pyramid scams don’t pay someone else money up front.  geez!

    BigMind is not something “new” and “McDonald’s-American”.  It’s Bankei’s “Unborn” mind, it’s “Original Mind”, it’s the Sixth Patriarch’s “Sudden School”.  Did I have to scrounge research on this?  No, I heard it from Genpo Roshi.  geez.

    If someone has been to a BigMind seminar and didn’t hear that the method was adapted from the work of Hal and Sidra Stone, they either came in late or had best see their doc for an ear cleaning.  Hal and Sidra wrote one of the reviews of Genpo’s book on BigMind. < --fact!  geez, gimme a break, peeps! BigMind is not a teaching imposed from the outside in any way.  It completely differs from other teaching in that it employs methods of both eastern and western ‘Study-of-the-Self’ to let it become known to the seeking person what is simply real and there already (but is hidden by our “noise”).  It in no way differs from Master Mumon’s commentary on “Mu”. (see Mumon’s commentary)

    Ok, I’ll shut up after this one.  Do you take antibiotics if you are sick, or do you go to a barber and get leaches put on your arms?  Noooo, there must be something wrong with antibiotics… they are a new invention.  If you’re going to visit Tibet, do you walk from here to there?  Do you send your child into surgery without the best modern anesthesia available?

    Do you really, really think Buddhist practice is forever, without question, required to look exactly like Northern India in 594 BC ?  Do you think it ever has looked like 594 BC in any of the years since?

    Thanks 😀 I love a good rant too!

  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 13, 2007 at 2:36 am |


    You said: “sometimes the best way to help someone is to kick them in the face.”

    Please give one concrete example of when this tactic is helpful.”

    like maybe of they had a really really big itch on their nose?

  13. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 13, 2007 at 2:56 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.

    6:02 AM

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

    geez, all i did was link to a website which provides countless amounts of real evidence from people who have a clue what they are talking about that debunks all the 9/11 ct nonsense. i double dare you guys to go on there and actually argue with sceptics who care enought to take the time to actually show you you are talking out of your arse rather than trolling a blog about zen. the fact that james randi was a magician has got nothing to do with the level of knowledge and expertise posessed by some of the members of his forum and you know it.


  14. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 14, 2007 at 12:12 am |

    Nice to see someone with actual experience of Big Mind posting here 🙂

  15. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 14, 2007 at 11:51 am |

    “The BigMind trademark is exactly to protect against scams……”

    Hmmm let me see now, this scam is protection against scamming….how noble!
    Zen Buddhism enters other culure/other countries and becomes part of everyday life–because it is in essence everyday life.

    BigMind trademark is Zen Buddhism as it enters this country and the culture of capitalism, consumerism: the legality of proprietary protection and intellectual property as it seeks vendor status in the marketplace.
    This is to Zen Buddhism as a human or a corporate interest ‘owning rights’ to DNA code sequences is to mother nature.
    A BigLaugh.
    Can it take being commercialized? Can it withstand the scrutiny through www and media? Can it live up to its hype?

    All it’s teachers end up being humans! All its followers–students and practitioners end up being humans!
    All anyone gets out of it is nothing!
    Tradition tells us humans wanting for nothing have wanted this nothing–indeed, have given everything to get it! Tradition tells us with this nothing there is no more wanting.
    Zen Buddhism is the anti-dote to the three-legged milking stool upon which capitalism/consumerism sits frequently when we take out our wallets and give out our cash, our credit card numbers. (The three legs of the milking stool: our fears, hatreds, delusions (otherwise known as the three poisons, greed, anger and ignorance) The practice of Zen cuts these three legs right off the stool: we can not be preyed upon, we do not prey on others.)

    Just what will the effect of zen buddhism have on everyday life?
    The answer lies in how your practice manifests itself right now in your day to day activities.

    Do you think a seminar will give it to you?
    Do you think you need to attend one and get a certificate to prove it to yourself? to others?
    Do you need a seminar to find out that you don’t need a seminar?
    Do you need to go to a seminar that tells you you don’t need a seminar?

    Isn’t this, after all, what our capitalism/consumerism culture ultimately shows us over time? That our dissatisfaction with ourself is only momentarily assuaged by products–that distraction, whether painful or pleasurable is only temporary and is not satisfaction–and that ultimately contentment is never found externally.

    Can consumeristic/capitalistic culture trivialize Zen out of existence?
    Zen is for BigKids, Zen is for GrownUps, Zen is for more and more of LessNLess. Zen is the Art in artifice and the Gnat in Gnatural.

    Is Zen more Zen when it is trendy and popular or when it isn’t?

    What’s all the flap over nothing?
    What is this nothing?

    Where can I get me some? Who’s going to sell it to me?


  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 16, 2007 at 9:38 pm |

    “He who works for merits does not slight others; and on all occasions he treats everybody with respect. He who is in the habit of looking down upon others has not got rid of the erroneous idea of a self, which indicates his lack of Kung. Because of his egotism and his habitual contempt for all others, he knows not the real Essence of Mind.” Learned Audience, a man unenlightened may be unperturbed physically, but as soon as he opens his mouth he criticizes others and talks about their merits or demerits, ability or weakness, good or evil; thus he deviates from the right course.”
    —chan master hui neng / platform sutra

  17. BlinkStefaans
    BlinkStefaans August 17, 2007 at 1:09 pm |

    And in the end , everyones FART stinks, enlightened or not.

  18. Anonymous
    Anonymous August 20, 2007 at 8:56 am |

    I want to attend your appearance on November 7,2007 at the Akron Public Library. You did not say what time.


  19. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 2, 2007 at 3:31 pm |

    Thanks for exposing quackery. In my younger years I fell for the same thing. And all of those that were having so much fun trying to convince us that the network marketing system would work are now doing other things. I once bought my way into one of those vacations by buying a lot of products to qualify. I could have gone to the same place for less money.

Comments are closed.