Buddhist Movie Promotion

HCZDVDA couple days ago I wrote a piece intended to be sent to people promoting the screenings of Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen. I thought it might be interesting to regular readers of this blog. It’s written in third person as if I am not Brad Warner. So you’ll have to deal with that. Here goes:

Thank you for being part of our team working on screenings of Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen across the country! As you know, this is a completely independently made and financed film with no studio backing and no massive corporate supported advertising campaign. We are completely reliant on people like you to make these screenings happen.

Sometimes when we work with people who are trying to promote Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen locally, we get a message back from them saying, “We tried contacting the local Zen/Buddhist center but they never even replied to us!” Or worse, they received a terse, vaguely nasty reply. This isn’t what always happens. Usually local Zen and/or Buddhist centers are extremely helpful. But not all the time.

Although it might at first appear that the best way to promote this movie is to contact the local Buddhist or Zen center, that’s not always the case. This is not to say that you shouldn’t contact those places. You should contact them! Please do! Often they are very supportive! But you also might want to look into other options.

Case in point. One of the people working on promoting the movie recently got the cold shoulder from their local Zen center. The Zen Center in question was a Rinzai sect center (Brad is in the Soto sect) in the lineage of a teacher, who, in recent years has been much maligned by allegations of improper sexual behavior. There are a great many reasons why they might not want to be involved in a movie like this. 1) It’s about a teacher from a “rival” sect 2) It touches upon sensitive issues about sex and spirituality 3) The film includes a lot of punk rock and other pop culture elements usually not associated with “Zen” forms of art 4) It challenges the prevailing ideas about what Zen practice “should” be, especially by not being “serious” in the way many conventional people define seriousness. There are many other possible reasons as well.

To understand how this film looks to the average person who considers themselves “into Zen” take a look at this trailer for a film about our good friends at the Berkeley Zen Center (who are very nice, very good people, and actually quite supportive of Brad’s work):

Now look at the trailer for our film:

We show this not to criticize the BZC movie. We’re sure it’s a fine film. But we want to make very clear the contrast in approach these films take and the BZC trailer makes a really great example of how different this film is from what folks who look at Buddhist movies are used to seeing. (In fact, the practice Brad teaches is almost identical to what they do at BZC, but the films couldn’t be more different!)

Think of it this way. It’s kind of like having a wild, loud, in-your-face film about a guy who is trying to reform Christianity by making it accessible to gays, punk rockers, metalheads and drug addicts and then trying to promote that film by reaching out to the head of the local Catholic parish. And the reformer guy is in a bunny costume on the movie poster! The folks who run the local Catholic parish may see such a film as threatening to their position and their power base. Or maybe they aren’t threatened but they just don’t get it. Also, remember that there is as much rivalry and sectarian nonsense among Buddhists/Zennies as there is among the various types of Christians, Jews and Muslims.

It’s not usually as bad as that. More often than not you can get support for the movie from Zen or Buddhist groups. So we’ll say it again, please do contact those places! Just don’t rely on them to be your only supporters.

It may be better to also target the people that go to those places rather than the people that run those places (unless they’re known to be kind of reformists themselves, some folks who run Buddhist centers very much like what Brad Warner does). Back to the Catholic parish analogy: Even though the people that run the local Catholic parish might want to bury a movie about a radical reformer of Christianity, those who attend that parish might be extremely interested in such a film.

Getting to those people is tricker. But we’ll try to give some hints of things that have worked. For example, when Brad wanted to run a retreat in a certain city in Europe he did not go thru the local Zen center founded by a teacher in his own lineage (who happen to be very nice people and quite supportive), but through a local Yoga center. This eliminated a lot of the sectarian stuff, which tends to get uglier the more the groups in question are like each other. But Yoga people are often very interested in Zen and meditation. Even the folks from the local Zen group seemed to like it this way because it relieved them of the burden of somehow being held responsible for some of the views Brad holds that tend to ruffle the feathers of their congregation.

It may be effective to try to reach people who are into Buddhism by pitching it to things that Buddhist folks tend to like such as yoga studios, pilates studios, health clubs, bookstores, health food shops like Whole Foods, coffee houses and so on.

But please keep in mind this movie is not really for people who are already converted to the Buddhist way. It’s more for people who are interested in Buddhism, meditation, spirituality and so forth, but may never have actually tried it out for themselves. It’s also for people who are into punk/metal and its more deep and philosophical aspects. These folks are not at the local Buddhist/Zen center.

Is there an anarchist bookshop around? They might be into it! Is there a local university? A lot of college students find the movie appealing. Try the record stores if there are any in the area.

Among Buddhist groups there is one very popular international organization who are quite friendly to Brad’s message. That is the Against The Stream organization founded by Noah Levine, author of Dharma Punx. They have centers all over the world. If there’s one of those groups in your area, very definitely you should talk to them!

There is an audience out there for this movie! We packed a theater in the sleepy little town of Ojai, CA, did very well in Seattle and Portland, and even did pretty good  in Denver and Boulder in spite of some real handicaps to getting people out that weekend. It’s just a matter of finding the people who want to see this movie. Sadly, they do not all hang out in one convenient location with a sign on the front that says “Zen.”

I hope this helps!

*   *   *

In 2013 I made about $6000 from book sales. That’s not enough to live on.  The biggest support I have is your donations. Your continued donations are my lifeline that allows me to continue working. I work much harder now than I ever did when I had a “real job” and not having a “real job” enables me to keep touring and working with people all over the world (it’s hard to find a “real job” where they’ll let you run off to Europe to hold meditation retreats for six weeks  – and trust me folks, what I do now is very much real work!).

(If you get a warning about an expired security certificate, ignore it. It’s just some company trying to get money from us. We’re gonna fix that. The PayPal link is not associated with my blog and is completely secure.)

• February 18-23 I’ll be hosting a retreat with Kazuaki Tanahashi  at Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico

You can see the documentary about me,  Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen, at the following locations (I’ll be at all screenings):

• March 11, 2014 Ithaca, NY

• March 15, 2014 Brooklyn, NY

• April 20, 2014 San Francisco, CA

104 Responses

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  1. minkfoot
    minkfoot February 10, 2014 at 1:58 pm | |

    Also, remember that there is as much rivalry and sectarian nonsense among Buddhists/Zennies as there is among the various types of Christians, Jews and Muslims.

    No, there isn’t. There’s a tendency to absolutism in monotheism that fuels intramural strife.

    In my experience, Buddhists tend to get along with any religionists who would like to get along, especially other Buddhists. Sure there’s exceptions, but there’s a lot more crossover and cross-training than in doctrinal, tribal religions.

  2. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 10, 2014 at 3:57 pm | |

    Thanks, Brad, I am looking forward to going to Berkeley Zen Center and Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen movie soon, possibly both in April.

    “When you find a place
    Where you are,
    Practice begins.”

    (Eihei Dogen)

    Nice Bukowski, catsareinfinite.

    “that stone Buddha deserves all the birdshit it gets
    I wave my skinny arms like a tall flower in the wind”

    Ikkyu

  3. boubi
    boubi February 11, 2014 at 7:07 am | |

    Congrats for the target focus ™ centered article.

    Free* marketing advice. (Pat. Pend.) :
    Try also the “occupy Wallstreet” bunch of nerds, they got their parents money ($), so they feel rather at ease spending it, they are rather on the “alternative” side, they are nerds on a rather mystical side.

    rather rather :)

    ——–
    *
    You can assimilate to a “donation” don’t give fish …
    After the free advice about some christian congregation you know the “divinity thing” see : http://hardcorezen.info/gudo-wafu-nishijima-1919-2014/2506
    or was it roger-roger ? :)

  4. Andy
    Andy February 11, 2014 at 7:21 am | |

    The Strawman Smelt Fish In His Zazen

    Time lay heavy blessed
    alert as blackberries
    wet as a grouse in long grass.

    Sniffing along a bee-line
    sea-lion coast for the
    movement of like

    its knock-kneed drawbridge
    and all the old day
    swept up to the valley.

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 11, 2014 at 1:33 pm | |

      Are you trying to draw me into more squabbles? I made it clear that was a typo. I meant “movement of life”!

      Also, how am I making a strawman? I practiced Soto Zen for 3 years. I feel as if I had justified criticisms. I don’t care if you don’t things the same way as me, but don’t disparage my remarks in your haughty ways…

  5. Fred
    Fred February 11, 2014 at 7:35 am | |

    Very good. I especially like the part about ” the movement of like “

  6. Jundotreeleaf
    Jundotreeleaf February 11, 2014 at 9:25 am | |

    Hi Brad,

    You are always welcome at Treeleaf Sangha, and in fact, we have encouraged all our members to see the film and kick a couple of bucks toward it. I believe I am in it! (I have not yet been able to receive a copy myself). You are a voice standing for many things that need to be said, and you do reach people that many others cannot reach.

    You have said that you are coming to lead an online Zazenkai and offer a talk for our Treeleaf members (and anyone else I suppose who wants to sit in online) within the next couple of weeks or so, and we look forward to it. In fact, we have people on a waiting list to sit with you.

    Gassho, Jundo

  7. jiesen
    jiesen February 11, 2014 at 11:31 am | |

    “that stone Buddha deserves all the birdshit it gets
    I wave my skinny arms like a tall flower in the wind”

    Ikkyu

    what is this l0l!?!?! i love it!

  8. jiesen
    jiesen February 11, 2014 at 11:57 am | |

    hahaha….i look forward to this docu :0

  9. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 11, 2014 at 1:25 pm | |
    1. Fred
      Fred February 11, 2014 at 3:03 pm | |

      Thank you.

  10. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 11, 2014 at 1:31 pm | |

    “I thot I saw a stwaw-wabbit!”

    Why is it that I continue to see both catsareinfinite and Fred as absolutely right?

    this ink painting of wind
    blowing through pines
    who hears it?

    Guess-who

    1. Fred
      Fred February 11, 2014 at 2:54 pm | |

      The Great Suchness?

  11. CatsareInfinite
    CatsareInfinite February 11, 2014 at 1:39 pm | |

    I haven’t even posted here and people talk about me.

    The conversation in the last message post is done with. Let it go.

    I made it clear I don’t think the fluidity of truth can be realized through a rigid means (e.g., a disciplined regiment of Zen). It’s like trying to answer a koan with a set procedure. I prefer being more flexible and not doing endless sitting which has been shown to be bad for the joints and knees.

    I am not convinced by stuff like Realizing Genjokoan or Sit Down and Shut Up. While they have many gems of wisdom, they tend to get bogged down in dogmatic views that treat Zazen posture like a holy act. They think by imitating the Buddha Statue they are one and the same with the Buddha Nature, that functions as a chain of Now’s. It doesn’t work like that…

    One has to be more spontaneous and find one’s own creative expression within oneself. The light cannot be given.

    “Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you
    bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is
    within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”" – Gospel of Thomas

    This is why I liked Toni Packer. There is no enforced schedule of anything. Discipline comes within and is spontaneously created through something else, not in reference to imitation of the Buddha Lotus Posture.

    1. Fred
      Fred February 11, 2014 at 2:49 pm | |

      How the hell would you know that it doesn’t work like that. You’re a punk
      who’s been sitting for 4 years, if that.

      You haven’t seen anything, other than some words in a book.

      1. CatsareInfinite
        CatsareInfinite February 11, 2014 at 3:00 pm | |

        So now your throw the ad hominem again?

        Why don’t you look deeply into yourself, rather than look out to try to find something external from oneself? You will never experience the truth through mere imitation of those you think that “have it right”.

        40 years deluding oneself in a ghost cave is worse than 3 years of hopping on one-leg singing fairy tales and doubting their significance.

  12. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 11, 2014 at 2:29 pm | |

    I’m throwing fuel on the fire over at Sweeping Zen, in the comment section to Koun Franz’s article on “thinking about non-thinking”; the first part is from a comment I reposted here the other day, the rest is new (relatively!) and I hope folks will find it useful:

    ‘Now I would suggest that the eyes are open in zazen for their influence in resetting the vestibular sense and providing a continuity in the sense of location, yet in zazen the proprioceptive sense must be allowed to influence the sense of location almost as though the eyes are closed. It’s a trick, a lot like falling asleep with your eyes open.’

    I had success a few years back in describing the practice of falling asleep as a focus on the location of awareness in space, with special attention to the freedom of that location to move- I say success because a guy on the East Coast who was having trouble falling asleep picked up on what I had to say and discovered he could use it to get back to sleep (when he woke up at 4am).

    Thinking over the comment I made on Victoria’s article (above), I conclude that the freedom to move of the location of awareness in space is more readily experienced with the eyes closed. Checking Wikipedia under “proprioception”, I find the following description:

    ‘The proprioceptive sense can be sharpened through study of many disciplines. Examples are the Feldenkrais method[25] and the Alexander Technique. …Standing on a wobble board or balance board is often used to retrain or increase proprioception abilities, particularly as physical therapy for ankle or knee injuries. Slacklining is another method to increase proprioception. Standing on one leg (stork standing) and various other body-position challenges are also used in such disciplines as Yoga, Wing Chun and T’ai chi.[26] Several studies have shown that the efficacy of these types of training is increased by closing the eyes,[citation needed] because the eyes give invaluable feedback to establishing the moment-to-moment information of balance.’

    The gentleman who utilized what I described as “the practice of waking up and falling asleep” (it’s on my website) was also able to experience the same sense of the location of awareness in the daytime with his eyes open (after weeks of experiencing it falling asleep). He reported that the experience was accompanied by a feeling of great peace.

  13. Fred
    Fred February 11, 2014 at 2:51 pm | |

    Franz was polite

  14. Andy
    Andy February 11, 2014 at 6:06 pm | |

    CatsareInfinite

    Are you trying to draw me into more squabbles? I made it clear that was a typo. I meant “movement of life”!

    Also, how am I making a strawman? I practiced Soto Zen for 3 years. I feel as if I had justified criticisms. I don’t care if you don’t things the same way as me, but don’t disparage my remarks in your haughty ways…

    Easy Tiger! I meant it when I wrote that I liked your phrase, “the movement of like”. Whether it was intentionally idiosyncratic or or a typo was irrelevant: I like language that twists my mind inside out. And if anything operating when I wrote another of my “Strawman” scribble-pomes, it was that phrase. Indeed the pome reads to me more like a celebration of a few of the things you have been pointing out, but maybe it’ll mean something else tomorrow.

    The straw man arguments you’ve been weaving into your posts, and which have muddied some interesting points, are another matter. The most obvious example is where and when your arguments have made reductive and generalised assumptions about folks’ practice.

    But I’m glad to see that you’re less cosmically angry than when you were threatening to kill him on this blog a year and a half ago! Btw if you see Daniel from the last thread, again, could you ask him if he owns a time machine. In October 2012 he knew little about Soto Zen, but a month or so later he’d been sesshining it 3-4 times a month for five years, and seven years before that twice a year.

    Other than that, I humbly apologise for insinuating straw men all over the shop, because you do make some interesting and valid points, and I love cats too.

    1. Andy
      Andy February 11, 2014 at 6:08 pm | |

      by “kill him” I meant An3drew.

      1. CatsareInfinite
        CatsareInfinite February 11, 2014 at 6:27 pm | |

        Never did that.

    2. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 11, 2014 at 6:40 pm | |

      “Btw if you see Daniel from the last thread, again, could you ask him if he owns a time machine. In October 2012 he knew little about Soto Zen, but a month or so later he’d been sesshining it 3-4 times a month for five years, and seven years before that twice a year.”

      Sounds like you want to blow him with your gung-ho attitude. “Yeah, baby, all that Zazen turns me on!”

      I did a couple of Zazenkais (about 5) and whenever I came home my dad would be like, “What are you doing alternating your leg in a hot and cold water outside in 2 buckets?” My response: “I spent too much time doing meditation. My ankles are in pain.” And my dad, in confusion, said, “That’s not true religion,” while reading Sa’di,

      It took me a long time to understand what he was getting at. You guys really are pieces of shit. That’s really the only way I can sum it up.

      1. Andy
        Andy February 11, 2014 at 6:59 pm | |

        I stand corrected, you didn’t threaten to kill him. I think words like the quote below lead me to remember incorrectly.

        “Andrew, the reason I would rather want you dead is become you defile the Dharma. I would recommend committing suicide, you aspie. We live in a time where competition for resources is becoming harder, and it is kind of necessary to judge who’s lives are worthless or not. People like you, who do nothing but piss people off, are better off dead, Andrew. Either kill yourself or find some mental help. Do not fuck with people anymore, or I will continue pulling on your strings much harder than you’ve done to anyone else. I really mean it: you are a lonely fucker who has made Zen into a ideological squabble.”

        We can all be shits sometimes, Cats. And perhaps getting a bit psychotic about an3drew was the reason it took time too see the value in his ideas and words.

        You know, I hurt my knees too when I first started sitting, and I was a pretty angry guy at the time and I think that, as much as anything, was what screwed with my attempts to sit. Anger and idealism can be a bad cocktail for sitting – and it made mine very rigid.

        1. CatsareInfinite
          CatsareInfinite February 11, 2014 at 7:23 pm | |

          I hope you realize I DO see value in sitting. I just don’t think it’s right to make a spectacle out of it. I like Sheng-Yen’s approach to it.

          “Whether you use the methods of the Lin-chi or Tsao-tung sects within the Ch’an tradition, once enlightened, you realize that enlightenment has nothing to do with the practice that brought you there.”

          http://www.chancenter.org/chanctr/ddp/channews/02-1995.html

          My issue is with Japanese Zen in particular. They bastardized it. Korean Zen Buddhists and obviously Chinese Chan Buddhists were more on track.

          Japan is like the America of Asia. They jump onto any fad an totally bastardize the good out of it, making it into some dogmatic -ism’istic shit.

      2. minkfoot
        minkfoot February 11, 2014 at 7:02 pm | |

        So you were an asshole about sitting in postures that injured your legs, yet you blame Zen? And what’s with the projected fellatio fantasy?

        If you want respect, you really ought to try giving it. You could try actually discussing your issues with Zen, rather than proclaiming how bad zazen is to people who have been sitting for decades.

        1. minkfoot
          minkfoot February 11, 2014 at 7:06 pm | |

          The above is addressed to CAI, though it sounds like Andy was an asshole about sitting, too.

          1. Andy
            Andy February 11, 2014 at 7:09 pm |

            Still am.

        2. CatsareInfinite
          CatsareInfinite February 11, 2014 at 7:23 pm | |

          Japanese Shikantaza is not the be-end-all of Zen/Chan.

          1. CatsareInfinite
            CatsareInfinite February 11, 2014 at 7:23 pm |

            Especially with the rigidity of its posture and trivial crap.

        3. CatsareInfinite
          CatsareInfinite February 11, 2014 at 7:25 pm | |

          I’ve explained numerous times in a polite way. Fred is the one who began making it personal… It doesn’t really matter though.

          1. Andy
            Andy February 11, 2014 at 7:33 pm |

            Artificial hierarchies are a great way to encourage unity, alright.

            Yeah, you can continue sitting, encouraging complacency/passivity, and urge people to push through broken knees. You’re just an anti-intellectual unwilling to immerse your mind into great poetry such as Emily Dickinson, Bukowski, or etc. Just wallow in your dullness and parroting.

            Wasn’t the above your opening gambit (as Cats)? That wasn’t the politest or most respectful way to introduce your ideas.

          2. CatsareInfinite
            CatsareInfinite February 11, 2014 at 8:12 pm |

            I admit, I could have started off as more polite. You are looking way back and just cherry-picking my impolite moments. Why don’t you look at my direct, well thought-out criticisms? I made a list of 4 criticisms I have with Soto Zen (i.e., 1. Will to Blobject 2. Overemphasis on Japanese rituals that foster a me vs. them mentality 3. too much rigidity in regards to “proper posture” and a gung-ho attitude in amount of sitting 4. A suffocating, non-practical limitation of what constitutes Dharma).

            I feel as if the Zendo saps out all the creative in people, and a group mind is formed where each person repeats blanket statements such as “no separation of self and other” or “living in the present moment”. People do not speak strongly from personal experience or daily activities.

            There is also a lack of diversity in what people do. Why not, put Shikantaza to the side ONE DAY, and just take a hike? Go hiking, gardening, or whatever. It would be interesting if people discuss things like permaculture, random poetry they find inspiring, cool concepts, enviornmentalism, or etc. in relation to their daily lives. Basically, the poetry flow through you out of the stillness, like Toni Packer encourages.

            I ultimately feel like Soto Zen encourages a complacency within stillness that people mistake for enlightenment. In truth, the stillness is the source of all divine and creative inspiration! It like The Man Who Planted Trees! It is what fueled Jadav Payeng to plant a 1400 acre forest single-handedly in India.

            It is what I encountered within myself, and in doing so, I saw the corrupted nature of Soto Zen. I cannot make you see it, but if you put aside your prejudices and cultural conditioning for one moment, you’d see I am not speaking out of my ass unlike many people here and Brad Warner.

  15. Mumbles
    Mumbles February 11, 2014 at 7:04 pm | |

    Um, er, back to Brad’s post here… Sorry Brad but the constant exhortations to the minions to promote! And not give up! On! Local Zen Centers! Etc. Sounded sort of weirdly creepazoid… Reminded me somehow of the Scientologistic 1960′s cult called… http://www.forteantimes.com/features/articles/508/the_process.html

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot February 11, 2014 at 7:10 pm | |

      Oh, man! Those female missionaries in their roman collars and purple-lined capes! Hadn’t seen anything prettier until the Rajneeshis!

  16. Andy
    Andy February 11, 2014 at 7:04 pm | |

    Sounds like you want to blow him [Daniel]with your gung-ho attitude. “Yeah, baby, all that Zazen turns me on!”

    Just a Doctor Who fan. Although… I am a bit short for cash, so if that’s a proposition…(just don’t tell my wife – she’d want to watch and it might put us off).

    x

  17. Mumbles
    Mumbles February 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm | |

    They made movies, too, (can’t find any on Youtube, sorry) and many many recordings (“podcasts”)…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4Vxk1Zzm1U

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot February 11, 2014 at 7:36 pm | |

      Y’know, I am very grateful I encountered Zen before all that shit started coming up. It gave me a kind of very basic metaphysical common sense that made all the bullshit the would-be gurus were throwing up very transparent.

      Acid sure made the weirdest spiritual pronouncements seem sorta plausible.

  18. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 11, 2014 at 8:45 pm | |

    “Whether you use the methods of the Lin-chi or Tsao-tung sects within the Ch’an tradition, once enlightened, you realize that enlightenment has nothing to do with the practice that brought you there.”

    Gautama did mention that after crossing on a raft made of sticks and twigs and whatnot, the natural thing to do would be to hide it under a bush or sink it under the water.

    He also said that his practice before enlightenment and the Tathagata’s way of life afterward was the setting up of mindfulness that is mindfulness of in-breaths and out-breaths. The setting up of mindfulness, of which the setting up of mindfulness that is mindfulness of in-breaths and out-breaths is a particular instance, was also the method he described for being a lamp onto oneself.

    He usually started his description with “sitting down cross-legged and holding the body upright, one sets mindfulness in front” or words to that effect. He talked about the roots of trees in secluded places as suitable spots to do this.

    It may be that Gautama would agree that enlightenment had nothing to do with the practice that brought him to it, but he described the practice that was the Tathagata’s way of life after enlightenment with exactly the words he used to describe his own practice before enlightenment.

    In my class about left brain-right brain stuff at University of California extension, the professor spoke about how the Polynesians who can navigate from one island to the other over the horizon on a starless night had words to explain how they did it, but scientifically their explanations were garbage, meaning the right side of the brain can understand how to do something and the left side can try to explain it but the two are not necessarily connected.

    You’re right, catsareinfinite, but your anger says to me that you are upset at not being able to succeed at sitting the postures in the gung-ho style, in spite of giving it all you had. Me too! So my work was to carefully rely on my own compass, not overdo it, keep at it to see if I could find a way I could do it without hurting myself and without pain, even for 10 minutes. Or 20, 30, or 40.

    Now I have to rely on teaching myself how to sit the lotus, because as you have noticed, the Zen scene does not concern itself with that. My posture is not the best, but there is a way to do this without pain, if only for one sitting.

    Hey! Me! I’m talking to Me! Pay Attention Here- here

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 11, 2014 at 9:29 pm | |

      I am considering to check out other schools of Zen. I heard some others are a bit more liberal in regards to sitting formalities.

      It has its uses, but overdoing it can also become problematic depending on the individual. Everyone has their different physical limits, and those physical limits don’t necessarily increase or decrease one’s level of understanding. Just because one sits on the chair doesn’t make him anymore or less “aware” than one who chooses to sit on the floor.

      I like this manga. If you have time, read it. It’s short:

      http://www.anymanga.com/walking-man/001/001/

      I think this manga catches the true meaning of Zen. It’s very simple in its premise, but very deep in its message

  19. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 11, 2014 at 8:56 pm | |
  20. Andy
    Andy February 11, 2014 at 10:57 pm | |

    “It is what I encountered within myself, and in doing so, I saw the corrupted nature of Soto Zen. I cannot make you see it, but if you put aside your prejudices and cultural conditioning for one moment, you’d see I am not speaking out of my ass unlike many people here and Brad Warner.”

    Cats, you’ve exaggerated and lied about your experiences to give your arguments some authority. After dropping CosmicBrainz, you did it as Daniel and you have done it as CatsareInfinite. You make some good points heavily dependent on your reading of others. You also present some very poor arguments, such as the one below, which you have made over and over again.

    There is also a lack of diversity in what people do. Why not, put Shikantaza to the side ONE DAY, and just take a hike? Go hiking, gardening, or whatever. It would be interesting if people discuss things like permaculture, random poetry they find inspiring, cool concepts, environmentalism, or etc. in relation to their daily lives.

    The above, alone, says much about your experience and understanding, even without the outright lying.

    Why don’t I give up brushing my teeth too, just for one day. Then I’ll be able to have some hobbies!

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 8:14 am | |

      I don’t even know who Daniel is. You’re crazy.

      All of you morons are just throwing ad hominems now and not responding to my individual points.

      I don’t like Sheng Yen much. I just agreed with him on that point.

      I would like it if you respond to my 4 individual criticisms I wrote before.

      Seriously, you Soto Zen Buddhists are big assholes when people challenge you. All that talk of “no separation of self and other” and you turn out to be even more of a vigilant asshole when people criticize your double-standards.

    2. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 8:15 am | |

      How did I exaggerate and lie? I went to 4-5 Zazenkais and did Zazen seriously for 3 years at ASZC. I was a big tool back then.

    3. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 8:20 am | |

      Brushing teeth is not essential. It actually worsens teeth.

      Cut out the HFCS, processed foods, sugar, and etc., and just drink raw Jersey Cow Milk or raw goat milk, eat grass-fed offal, or etc. Eventually, you won’t even need to brush your teeth.

      When I was boxing, I brushed my teeth 2-3 times a week, and everyone said my teeth were sparkling.

      However, college got the best of me. I smoke now and am very jaded. I still think fluoride toothpaste is bad.

      You’re kind of stupid, you know that? Your metaphors are worse than a child’s. I think you need to take a step back from all the entertainment saturated shit you watch on Youtube and TV. Spend some time with art-house films, you douche.

  21. Fred
    Fred February 12, 2014 at 4:59 am | |

    Cosmic Brainz:

    “Yeah, I’m autistic too, in my own way. I tend to annoy people with my constant need to categorize things and when I was a kid I would carry around a list of my favorite stuff to show off and talk about them endlessly. Since you guys respect Andrew’s autism, please respect mine”

    What’s your official diagnosis? Is the narcissism part of the Asperger’s, or do
    you have some other type of disorder?

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 8:16 am | |

      I was kidding.

      I am almost done with my B.S. in Neuroscience. If I really had a problem, how could I get this far?

      You can shut the fuck up now.

  22. minkfoot
    minkfoot February 12, 2014 at 6:45 am | |

    “Whether you use the methods of the Lin-chi or Tsao-tung sects within the Ch’an tradition, once enlightened, you realize that enlightenment has nothing to do with the practice that brought you there.”

    From the absfg faq:
    3-10.

    A funny thing happened in the bookshop today. I was looking in the New Age section for Zen books. They were spread all over the place. I turned to the assistant behind the counter:
    “Excuse me?” “Yes, sir?” “Why aren’t all the books on Zen together?” “Because Zen has nothing to do with itself, sir.”

    CAI, you don’t really know what this means. As John Tarrant put it, there’s something acausal about kensho. Practice doesn’t cause kensho, which is kind of an accident. Practice just makes you accident-prone.

    You have no idea how funny you are invoking Master Sheng Yen. His disciples say that, in his earlier days in the West, he would use the stick for the least movement. But it had an adverse effect on Westerners, so he softened his approach. Not that the above quote has anything to do with that.

    You might be surprised at how much meditation goes on at his lineage centers. Shifu was no Toni Packer. Hell, I don’t think Toni Packer was your Toni Packer.

    If karma worked the way most people think it does, misrepresenting and maligning sincere and diligent teachers and practitioners would have you cruisin for a bruisin. As it is, I can’t see it being very helpful to you on your own pilgrimage. It doesn’t even get you the respect you needlessly crave.

  23. minkfoot
    minkfoot February 12, 2014 at 7:09 am | |

    While we’re speaking of Master Sheng Yen, it’s no surprise that he had a fondness for Master Dogen’s Dharma Great-uncle, the magnificently poetic author of the Book of Serenity, Master Hongzhi. As Dharma heir of the Caodong [Soto] lineage, that’s not too surprising. Hongzhi was perhaps the first to formulate the practice of Silent Illumination. Shifu thought Shikantaza, “just sitting,” described the earlier practice of SI, which would naturally ripen into “the method of no-method.”

    The following poem is a teaching text, but haunts one with its images. In another translation, Hongzhi likens the awareness of a person fully realized to “a dreaming crane flying into the mist.” I hope to join you all in that dream.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    From Sheng Yen’s book: “Getting The Buddha Mind”
    http://ddc.shengyen.org/mobile/text/09-03-1/75.php

    SILENT ILLUMINATION By Hung Chih Cheng-Chueh (1091-1157)

    Silently and serenely, one forgets all words,
    Clearly and vividly, it appears before you.
    When one realizes it, time has no limits.
    When experienced, your surroundings come to life.
    Singularly illuminating is this bright awareness,
    Full of wonder is the pure illumination.
    The moon’s appearance, a river of stars,
    Snow-clad pines, clouds hovering on mountain peaks.
    In darkness, they glow with brightness.
    In shadows, they shine with a splendid light.
    Like the dreaming of a crane flying in empty space,
    Like the clear, still water of an autumn pool,
    Endless eons dissolve into nothingness,
    Each indistinguishable from the other.
    In this illumination all striving is forgotten.
    Where does this wonder exist?
    Brightness and clarity dispel confusion
    On the path of Silent Illumination,
    The origin of the infinitesimal.
    To penetrate the extremely small,
    There is the gold shuttle on a loom of jade.
    Subject and object influence each other.
    Light and darkness are mutually dependent.
    There is neither mind nor world to rely on,
    Yet do the two interact, mutually.
    Drink the medicine of correct views.
    Beat the poison-smeared drum.
    When silence and illumination are complete
    Killing and bringing to life are choices I make.
    At last, through the door, one emerges.
    The fruit has ripened on the branch.
    Only this Silence is the ultimate teaching.
    Only this Illumination, the universal response.
    The response is without effort.
    The teaching, not heard with the ears.
    Throughout the universe all things,
    Emit light and speak the Dharma.
    They testify to each other,
    Answering each other’s questions.
    Mutually answering and testifying,
    Responding in perfect harmony.
    When illumination is without serenity,
    Then will distinctions be seen.
    Mutually testifying and answering,
    Giving rise to disharmony.
    If within serenity illumination is lost,
    All will become wasteful and secondary.
    When Silent Illumination is complete,
    The lotus will blossom, the dreamer will awaken.
    The hundred rivers flow to the ocean,
    The thousand mountains face the loftiest peak.
    Like the goose preferring milk to water,
    Like a busy bee gathering pollen,
    When Silent Illumination reaches the ultimate,
    I carry on the original tradition of my sect.
    This practice is called Silent Illumination.
    It penetrates from the deepest to the highest.

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 8:21 am | |

      I spoke too soon. I don’t like Sheng Yen.

      He seems pretty dogmatic too.

      There is no ultimate way.

      1. minkfoot
        minkfoot February 12, 2014 at 9:38 am | |

        Is that your ultimate dogma?

  24. CatsareInfinite
    CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 8:35 am | |

    Let’s just be honest. You imbeciles are getting worked up and throwing ad hominems because I brought up good criticisms. In the process of my debates with you, idiots, here is some bullshit you’ve said. Let me respond to each point:

    1.) I claimed to be lying/exaggerating about my experience.

    I’m not. I did Zazen for 3 years and went to a couple of Zazenkais.

    2.) Me being autistic.

    I am not autistic. I am getting Bachelor’s in Spring 2014. The truth is, however, I do come off as more scathing over the Internet because I repress my true feelings in real life. I received lots of racism during Middle School and the beginning of High School, so I generally approach white Americans in a very awkward kind of way where I become meek and quiet. I do not have this problem with Russians and people in professional settings. In regards to political views, I like the Tudeh party of Persia and Mossdegh.

    3.) I am speaking from books.

    I just told my story about the ankles, buckets, and my dad. Moreover, I gave 4 criticisms I DEVISED in the past. Let me repeat them.

    1) Will to Blobject (i.e., There really is just one concrete particular, viz., the whole universe). I do not think original Chan was monistic. The no “separation of self and other” also includes a plurality, so it has separation in a sense.

    2) Over-emphasis on rigidity of posture and too much sitting. I made it clear I think the fluidity of truth cannot be encountered through a rigid means. This is akin to saying one can be open-minded by being stubborn. Fucking morons.

    3.) Japanese rituals. In the process of trying to retain the rituals, one fosters a “me vs. you” mentality, and it is also bastardized in the process of cultural transition… Just, let go of them, kinda like Toni Paker. I was always critiqued by other people when I didn’t walk with my left foot into the Zendo. One of them actually patronized me because I forgot to bow to the Buddha statue while walking across.

    4) A suffocating limitation of what constitutes Dharma. It saps out creativity too. Seriously, I would like to walk sometimes, talk about permaculture, read diverse books, and etc. Zazen is not the soul of Zen. LIFE is. That was the purpose of the manga I linked. This really encapsulates point #4:

    http://www.anymanga.com/walking-man/001/001/

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot February 12, 2014 at 9:43 am | |

      Let’s say your a priest trainee at the temple. I am a newcomer to ASZC. Tell me the basics of sitting.

      1. CatsareInfinite
        CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 10:17 am | |

        “Always approach the Zafu as if it’s your first time. Do not aim for anything or cling to certain transient experiences, for memory distorts them.

        Without intention to attain or lose anything, simply sit while maintaining an awareness that does not grasp at any sensation, thought, or so forth. Simply let them come and go without judging them as either good or bad. If your mind chatters to itself, simply observe it without adding more to it, so it may dissolve on its own accord. Simply maintain a non-judgmental awareness of all bodily sensations and everything without trying to attain this or that. Just sit.

        If you feel pain, change to a different posture or mentally distribute the pain between your legs. Do not sit to the point of chronic pain, but discomfort is also a part of practice. Occasionally adjust your spine so it is vertical. Keep your tongue at the roof of your mouth and breathe through your nose. If you find your mind overly distracted, you can bring your awareness back to your breath, but the point isn’t to mindfully maintain on just, but to simply sit as you are which is enlightenment” *barf – can’t believe I typed this*

        … AND YADA YADA

        I know my shit, minkfoot. I was going there for 3-4 yrs. I gave my criticisms, respond to them, if you want to. I’m done with the practice. You can stick to it if you want. I hold no ill will if you do.

        Like I said, I see no problems with occasional Shikantaza. I see it is as being destructive to herald it as the best means. It is fine to do it 20-60 minutes a day, but Sesshins are insane. Why would anyone put their bodies through that gung-ho shit? Why fixate on Zazen to the point where one loses the beauty in walking alone, letting the poetry through in by the stillness, playing sports, or whatever? There is so much to life that it’s ridiculous to waste it on endless Shikantaza. People like Wang Wei did diverse activities like poetry and walking alone in the woods. While sitting meditation was useful, it by no means the fucking focal point of their Zen.

        1. minkfoot
          minkfoot February 12, 2014 at 11:53 am | |

          Cut and paste. I was hoping for your spontaneous directions.

          Still, if these are the instructions at your place, you didn’t follow them.

          1. CatsareInfinite
            CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 12:20 pm |

            I didn’t copy-paste you idiot.

            After going there for 3 years, that kinda stuff gets ingrained into you.

    2. Alan Sailer
      Alan Sailer February 12, 2014 at 10:48 am | |

      CatsAreInfinite,

      I’ll try and address your four points. Please remember that I don’t speak for all of Soto Zen (what ever that is).

      1) Will to Blobject (i.e., There really is just one concrete particular, viz., the whole universe). I do not think original Chan was monistic. The no “separation of self and other” also includes a plurality, so it has separation in a sense.

      *** Sorry that I don’t really understand what you are saying here. I believe that zen does say that there is only one universe, which fits what I have seen so far in my life (even before practicing zen).

      2) Over-emphasis on rigidity of posture and too much sitting. I made it clear I think the fluidity of truth cannot be encountered through a rigid means. This is akin to saying one can be open-minded by being stubborn. Fucking morons.

      *** I sit about a half hour every day in half lotus. I used to sit full lotus but I hurt my knee on a backpacking trip last year and full lotus is too painful. Both my teachers encourage sitting full lotus, but neither insist on it and tell me to avoid too much pain during sitting.

      The two three day retreats I have attended (run by Brad Warner and his students) didn’t involve a massive amount of sitting. There were also twice a day yoga sessions to keep things flexible.

      3.) Japanese rituals. In the process of trying to retain the rituals, one fosters a “me vs. you” mentality, and it is also bastardized in the process of cultural transition… Just, let go of them, kinda like Toni Paker. I was always critiqued by other people when I didn’t walk with my left foot into the Zendo. One of them actually patronized me because I forgot to bow to the Buddha statue while walking across.

      *** I am also torn by the Japanese rituals. The teachers I study with (both students of Nishijima) don’t have a lot of ritual other than that directly connected to zazen ie bowing and turning in the proper way when sitting on the zafu.

      At one sitting all Hill Street with Brad’s group I showed up with a SpiderMan pillow from my local Target. Brad’s comment was that he had never seen a SpiderMan zafu. So much for blind obedience to tradition…

      4) A suffocating limitation of what constitutes Dharma. It saps out creativity too. Seriously, I would like to walk sometimes, talk about permaculture, read diverse books, and etc. Zazen is not the soul of Zen. LIFE is. That was the purpose of the manga I linked. This really encapsulates point #4:

      *** Both of my teachers have put no limits on what the Dharma is. I can’t conceive of any true teacher of zen saying that this is the Dharma and that isn’t.

      In conclusion the picture your are painting of Soto Zen doesn’t match with my experience. What you are describing sounds pretty darn intense and I agree with your decision to leave.

      One, possibly incorrect observation, is that you don’t seem to like zen as it was presented to you.

      Which is more than fantastic. As Brad has written more than once, hating zen is a perfectly useful path. And even though I’ve chosen zen, I think that there are many other perfectly useful paths.

      Cheers.

  25. Fred
    Fred February 12, 2014 at 10:09 am | |

    “I received lots of racism during Middle School and the beginning of High School, so I generally approach white Americans in a very awkward kind of way where I become meek and quiet. I do not have this problem with Russians and people in professional settings.”

    I saw your picture Sepehr G. You look like a white man to me.

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 10:41 am | |

      I have a thick accent, Fred… for some reason… even though I was born here.

  26. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 12, 2014 at 10:13 am | |

    Nice manga, ‘cats!

    ‘Just because one sits on the chair doesn’t make him anymore or less “aware” than one who chooses to sit on the floor.’

    That’s true, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that zazen is in large part a training in proprioception with the eyes open. The Wikipedia text I quoted previously notes some of the Western methods for such a training:

    ‘‘The proprioceptive sense can be sharpened through study of many disciplines. Examples are the Feldenkrais method and the Alexander Technique. …Standing on a wobble board or balance board is often used to retrain or increase proprioception abilities, particularly as physical therapy for ankle or knee injuries. Slacklining is another method to increase proprioception. Standing on one leg (stork standing) and various other body-position challenges are also used in such disciplines as Yoga, Wing Chun and T’ai chi.’

    Note the reference to retraining proprioception abilities as physical therapy for ankle or knee injuries. The inference is that the exercise of the sense of proprioception is a way to avoid or recover from ankle or knee injuries. Also note that methods such as a balance board or a slack rope (which was also advocated by Issho Fujita when he gave instruction on zazen at Sonoma Mountain Zen Center) involve the sense of balance or equalibrium in connection proprioception.
    That is perhaps why sitting in a chair can make the practice of zazen more difficult for some people- there isn’t a balancing act that engages the sense of proprioception automatically, as there is on a slack rope or in the lotus.

    I’m not saying zazen can’t be done sitting in a chair, or walking- Gautama the Buddha reported that when he was on the highway trucking along, with no one in front of him or behind him, he got so into it that sometimes he didn’t answer the calls of nature. I’m only saying that there’s a particular sense that many Westerners are challenged to experience consciously, at least with their eyes open, and the only reason I was able to walk twenty feet of tight rope (actually a steel cable about 1 foot off the ground) a few years back was practice in the lotus.

    You can definitely stand like a stork, or do any other practice that engages a little bit of balance; you can sit on the edge of a chair.

    You are reading something that has never been said before about the practice of zazen, to my knowledge. I thank you.

  27. Andy
    Andy February 12, 2014 at 10:26 am | |

    1) Will to Blobject (i.e., There really is just one concrete particular, viz., the whole universe). I do not think original Chan was monistic. The no “separation of self and other” also includes a plurality, so it has separation in a sense.

    Will to Blobject is a another straw man. You claim to have read Genjokoan. Show me the Blobject in that, or ask the guy who thought it up for more clarification.

    2) Over-emphasis on rigidity of posture and too much sitting. I made it clear I think the fluidity of truth cannot be encountered through a rigid means. This is akin to saying one can be open-minded by being stubborn. Fucking morons.

    Straw man again. Rigidity of posture is a potential pitfall for practitioners, not a flaw in the teaching. Likewise, being stubborn is a potential pitfall for human beings, not a flaw in humanity. I’ve never seen a rigid mountain, despite the fact that I can say it is.

    3.) Japanese rituals. In the process of trying to retain the rituals, one fosters a “me vs. you” mentality, and it is also bastardized in the process of cultural transition… Just, let go of them, kinda like Toni Paker. I was always critiqued by other people when I didn’t walk with my left foot into the Zendo. One of them actually patronized me because I forgot to bow to the Buddha statue while walking across.

    With respect, I don’t give much credence to your anecdotes but, having said that, I’ve met folk I trust more, who take a similar line to you and many who fall somewhere along the spectrum of attitudes about this issue. There are always going to be contrasting poles in human affairs along the lines of those who are more or less traditionalist. Again, there are pitfalls to be found in expressions of either, and in any areas of human life. What is right for you or Toni Packer is not necessarily right for someone else.

    4) A suffocating limitation of what constitutes Dharma. It saps out creativity too. Seriously, I would like to walk sometimes, talk about permaculture, read diverse books, and etc. Zazen is not the soul of Zen. LIFE is.

    First two sentences are unsubstantiated claims. As for the next, what’s stopping you? Who are these Straw men and women who have no other interests or activities because they spend a relatively small amount of time each day sitting on a cushion, and take a few days or weeks a year for more intensive investigation? Your final two sentences are flaky truisms.

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 10:59 am | |

      I thank you for actually responding to my criticisms. Now, we can have a substantial discussion.

      “Will to Blobject is a another straw man. You claim to have read Genjokoan. Show me the Blobject in that, or ask the guy who thought it up for more clarification.”

      “Reality prior to division –
      Herein lies the unlimited depth” – page 126

      Okumura frequently mentions Shikantaza coinciding with sitting “in” interpenetrating reality as it is. This seems to lead to a kinda monism where an undifferentiate whole has precedence. ” When we study the self, “I” is the self, and there is “I” apart from the activity of the studying. Subject, object, and activity are completely one thing” – page 76. I question whether Chan originally intended this. If you read Blue Cliff Record, you’d find koans that seem to repudiate this. “In one there are many kinds; In two there is no duality” – BCR page 13 Clearly translation. The point is, I don’t Chan originally was meant about seeing oneself as undifferentiated to the world. It was about something else…

      —-

      “Straw man again. Rigidity of posture is a potential pitfall for practitioners, not a flaw in the teaching. Likewise, being stubborn is a potential pitfall for human beings, not a flaw in humanity. I’ve never seen a rigid mountain, despite the fact that I can say it is.”

      In the Zendo, there was a feeling of tenseness whenever people try fixing their posture. Also, the priests would talk about how the upright posture leads to greater understanding, while using lots of pseudoscience explanations. I do not like this anthropocentric, xenocentric attitude that prevents people from trying things themselves.

      “There are always going to be contrasting poles in human affairs along the lines of those who are more or less traditionalist.”

      If the unbound boat on the river is bounded, it becomes limited in its expression. Its expression therein will always be insincere, for it is not its own expression.

      ” they spend a relatively small amount of time each day sitting on a cushion, ”

      This is plain false. They spend MOST of their time sitting on a cushion. Heck, people speak of it like it is a holy act. “We’re just here, sitting, in the present – with the totality of existence as it is,” people would say… But my issue is why not partake in it? Why not let one’s own creative express flow in from stillness and craft, create, or do something that is not in relation to a cult. Soto Zen is an -ism that fosters the herd mentality

  28. Fred
    Fred February 12, 2014 at 11:06 am | |

    Here’s a man with a thick accent who’s a better man than me:

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

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 11:26 am | |

      I do not like how VS Ramachandran popularized mirror neurons. They are actually very controversial. Read this:

      http://www.theguardian.com/science/neurophilosophy/2013/aug/23/mirror-neurons

      I think it’s better to rummage pubmed articles to get the idea of the current state of a science. You have to be careful when listening to popularizers of science, especially when they make claims without referencing the experimental data and statistics.

  29. Fred
    Fred February 12, 2014 at 11:28 am | |

    “Okumura frequently mentions Shikantaza coinciding with sitting “in” interpenetrating reality as it is. This seems to lead to a kinda monism where an undifferentiate whole has precedence. ” When we study the self, “I” is the self, and there is “I” apart from the activity of the studying. Subject, object, and activity are completely one thing” – page 76. I question whether Chan originally intended this. If you read Blue Cliff Record, you’d find koans that seem to repudiate this. “In one there are many kinds; In two there is no duality” – BCR page 13 Clearly translation. The point is, I don’t Chan originally was meant about seeing oneself as undifferentiated to the world. It was about something else…”

    There was an “I”. Being the undifferentiated whole, it is seen that this “I” is
    illusionary.

    Koans don’t repudiate non-duality. They challenge the I to demonstrate its
    own solidity.

    Chan may may be about something, as well as the undifferentiated whole, but
    it cannot be comprehended by the intellect as you know it.

    You may sit or not sit, and see it or not see it, and that is inconsequential. No
    one cares.

  30. Fred
    Fred February 12, 2014 at 11:38 am | |

    I’m not saying there is anything wrong with Autism Spectrum Complex.

    There is a complex of behaviors that so called ” normals ” find difficult to
    interact with. It would appear that you have some of those characteristics.

    This is Brad’s blog, and he is paying for it out of a limited amount of yearly
    income. So if you don’t have anything nice to say about Buddhist practice,
    maybe you should move along.

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 12:14 pm | |

      If you don’t care, then don’t respond to me.

      I compel you to respond because deep down you understand the merit of my criticisms.

      For letting go of the “I” you sure do get offended!

      How are my 4 points autistic?

      Also, the non-dualism of Chan MUST include multiplicity. This is kinda my point. I like how Deleuze goes about this:

      ” For Deleuze, there is no one substance, only an always-differentiating process, an origami cosmos, always folding, unfolding, refolding. Deleuze summarizes this ontology in the paradoxical formula “pluralism = monism”.[20]“

  31. minkfoot
    minkfoot February 12, 2014 at 12:12 pm | |

    CAI said:
    Moreover, I gave 4 criticisms I DEVISED in the past. Let me repeat them.

    [My comments will be in brackets, to avoid the clunky formattingof this blog service.]

    [I'm sure you think the criticisms you DEVISED are insightful. To me, they indicate that we may not have a common framework about these topics. Perhaps that is why no one has remarked on them as yet. (Now I note that at least two others have.) Another reason is that some of them are plain silly. Nonetheless, despite feeling like I'm probably wasting my time, here is my response.]

    1) Will to Blobject (i.e., There really is just one concrete particular, viz., the whole universe).

    [We start off with a derisive name, rather than a serious discussion. There's been a lot of philosophical discussion about the ultimate unity of reality over the ages. I won't get into that here, except to ask, Are natural laws applicable everywhere? Why is that?]
    [I will say instead that you are bucking the teachings of most schools of mysticism. It's a common psychological phenomenon in spiritual practice to have a perception of the ultimate oneness of everything. This could be because of a common trait of our nervous system, though what survival value it may have is hard to see. It could also be a genuine insight into a true aspect of everything.
    Please note that the recognition of oneness does not contradict the dualities and individual beings of the relative way of seeing things. But nothing is truly separate, everything being a nexus of influence with everything else.]

    I do not think original Chan was monistic.

    [The Third Patriarch far enough back for you?]:

    [http://terebess.hu/english/hsin.html]

    [From the version by your new favorite teacher]:
    [ Do not abide in dualistic views;
    Take care not to seek after them.
    As soon as there is right and wrong
    The mind is scattered and lost.
    Two comes from one,
    Yet do not even keep the one.
    When one mind does not arise,
    Myriad dharmas are without defect.
    Without defect, without dharmas,
    No arising, no mind.
    The subject is extinguished with the object.
    The object sinks away with the subject.
    Object is object because of the subject;
    Subject is subject because of the object.
    Know that the two
    Are originally one emptiness.
    In one emptiness the two are the same,
    Containing all phenomena.
    Not seeing fine or coarse,
    How can there be any bias?]

    [I would point out to you that the "official" teaching is not that oneness is a goal, but that even oneness must be transcended to realize the Real. So, in a sense, you are correct and Zen was never monistic. Nonetheless, things are just as connected as they are separated. Zen tries to avoid getting hung up on oneness by using the term "non-dual." If you insist on claiming an actual, independent being to a thing, you will have to explain how such a being can come into existence, and then fade back out. Good luck, Plato!]

    The no “separation of self and other” also includes a plurality, so it has separation in a sense.

    [What the fuck does *that* mean?]

    2) Over-emphasis on rigidity of posture and too much sitting. I made it clear I think the fluidity of truth cannot be encountered through a rigid means.

    [Someone likened zazen to being very still so that the shy creatures deep within will come out to drink at the stream. The subtler the experience, the quieter you have to be to perceive it.]

    This is akin to saying one can be open-minded by being stubborn.

    [No, it's not.]

    Fucking morons.

    [What do you call someone who calls other people names, and then whines when they return the favor?]

    3.) Japanese rituals. In the process of trying to retain the rituals, one fosters a “me vs. you” mentality, and it is also bastardized in the process of cultural transition…

    [Disagree. So?]

    Just, let go of them, kinda like Toni Paker.

    [Why do what Toni already did? Why not let each group go the way they feel best, and see who prospers the Dharma best? Why not let some groups be innovative and others more conservative, and see which serves one's needs best? Why don't you stop bellyaching and just go practice at Springwater already? Are you afraid of having your illusions punctured again?]

    I was always critiqued by other people when I didn’t walk with my left foot into the Zendo.

    [Let me guess --- proper etiquette is to enter the zendo with the left foot. You were corrected for not following the etiquette. Poor baby!]

    One of them actually patronized me because I forgot to bow to the Buddha statue while walking across.

    [In a place where one trains in mindfulness, you were corrected for a lapse of mindfulness! Poor baby!]

    4) A suffocating limitation of what constitutes Dharma.

    [Everything constitutes Dharma. Next!]

    It saps out creativity too.

    [Yes, I've noticed a distinct lack of Zen in poetry and other arts. Must be something in the nature of the training that makes zennies dull to paining and other aesthetic pursuits.]

    Seriously, I would like to walk sometimes, talk about permaculture, read diverse books, and etc.

    [So do it. Why are you complaining that people about whom you know nothing aren't doing things you assume they are not doing? Kind of a fascist sort of thing, isn't it? This kind of shit makes me think your exposure to actual Zen people is pretty nonexistent. This is the strawiest of your straw men.]

    Zazen is not the soul of Zen. LIFE is.

    [What a fucking meaningless platitude. Zazen and life are not two, unless you make it so, and then you're not practicing as well as you could be.]

    That was the purpose of the manga I linked. This really encapsulates point #4:
    http://www.anymanga.com/walking-man/001/001/

    [The dude just got up from sitting for an hour in page -1.]

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 12:26 pm | |

      MinkFoot, check my response to Andy.

      Most of your points were addressed there. You can see my responses to Andy and think about those.

      Also, you need to learn to think critically without flinging ad hominems. I do not know your “level” of awareness, but you keep judging my level of insight as a way to better yourself.

      The truth is I did immerse myself in Soto Zen for 3-4 years and understood the fundamental points, not just intellectually.

      You misinterpreted my points. In truth, I could write a page of each to elaborate my views more clearly.

      Read my response to Andy.

      As it stands, I think you Soto Zen Buddhists are kinda tarnishing the Dharma and making it dogmatic. For example, since I left my Zen Center, our convos are making me want to stay away EVEN MORE. This is kinda my first real convo about Soto Zen. When I went to my center, I would just sit and sometimes chip in during Dharma talks. I went for several Zazenkais but chose not to go to Sesshins or become a priest. My Sensei offered me to become a priest, and while I was keen on it then, I am not so much anymore. You guys are implicitly furthering my criticisms.

  32. CatsareInfinite
    CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 12:43 pm | |

    “What is Enlightenment?”

    In short: it is the reconciliation of magick and meditative insight. This is understood in solitude within natural scenery when the words flow into you through stillness. Only then is form emptiness and emptiness form. A rigid means, such as Zazen, cannot bring wholly, and a egoistic means, such as magick cannot bring it fully either. So then what can?

    ME:

    What does the poem by Emily Dickinson point at, Andrew?

    Forever – is composed of Nows –
    ‘Tis not a different time –
    Except for Infiniteness –
    And Latitude of Home –

    From this – experienced Here –
    Remove the Dates – to These –
    Let Months dissolve in further Months –
    And Years – exhale in Years –

    Without Debate – or Pause –
    Or Celebrated Days –
    No different Our Years would be
    From Anno Dominies –

    Read poem alongside manuscript for full comprehension of poem:
    http://scontent-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/t1/s720x720/1528706_1454881084732776_999393936_n.jpg

    Andrew’s Response

    everybody understands the first bit

    “Forever – is composed of Nows –
    ‘Tis not a different time –
    Except for Infiniteness –”

    what they do not understand which is basically true enlightenment is the next bit

    “And Latitude of Home –”

    and actually neither dogen nor j. krishnamurti understood that last bit until near the end of their lives which is sorta sad to waste one’s life that way :o(

    this is where you are better to spend time in natural scenery or at night looking at the stars or wandering over/through a moonlit landscape to let the infinite soak in and remedy you to itself :o)(

    and you

    will

    find

    that

    the

    poems

    come

    and

    the

    words

    come

    :o)(

    Matthieu’s Response to Andrew

    What do you think about the meaning of what you have said now, Andrew, and this quote? Is it rubbish or good work?

    Do you imagine the universe is agitated? Go into the desert at night and took out at the stars. This practice should answer the question. The superior person settles her mind as the universe settles the stars in the sky. By connecting her mind with the subtle origin, she calms it. Once calmed, it naturally expands, and ultimately her mind becomes as vast and immeasurable as the night sky.

    Hua Hu Ching, verse 5

    Andrew’s Final Reponse

    yeah it’s the same thing, bit garbled

    you have come up with something very unusual, i’m just trying to sort out what the story is !

    this supposed “oral” taoist tradition is in fact made up by hua-ching ni ?

    it’s very good voynich (his way of saying rubbish), mostly wrong but it’s also sorta right in parts

    the hua hu ching is an unusual book, sophisticated voynich !

    I don’t know what role brian walker has in this !

    sophisticated scams always have a touch of the real in them like in quality forgeries being passed off as previously unknown paintings of the great masters !

    congratulations, you picked a real hot coal from the fire :o)(

    My response

    Hey, Andrew, what do you think of my friend’s experience?:

    “It started in California in 2012. I was driving through the night and had this intense spiritual experience with the open night sky. I have no words to express it, so just take my word for it. I had the same intense experience on the top of a mountain in the mountains near Los Gatos California. I’ll try to explain. It was like I was immersed in the total obscurity and bewilderment of things, one with the sky. The moon was like a focal lens drawing me further in. It was blissful and calm, and it was like my mind flew as a bird. My first thought was that this is what ancients must have felt at the idea of the deity Nyx, the Greek deity of Night. It was very nocturnal and open and free. Let me continue.

    Then, I had the same experience back in Florida a few months later, with the night sky, night winds, and the moon. I performed a ritual to Nyx and Hekati, an ad-hoc ritual so nothing orthodox or anything like the ancient Greeks would have been doing I’m sure. It was very calming, but afterwards I felt very free and hesitant to be contriving on myself or adopt any ideas I had not really felt sincerely, like I was opened up. Continuing..

    I started a project called the Scrolls of the Night where I would go out at night every month or so and draw whatever the night was “telling” me. I then went inside and on black vellum with silver ink would draw and write with sigils whatever it seemed like to me, like the night was a muse. I have five such scrolls now. I developed a magical language to make these scrolls, as well as a number of sigils which are now very important to my daily use and practice. One of them is called “Zaa” and the other is “Uub”. I won’t go into them too much right now because there’s more. Continuing.

    Next, I went out frequently during the night to a private little area of the small woods behind Jo and I’s house in Florida. I would meditate in the night wind, silently, before rising and gazing into the night sky, feeling the wind, and generally letting my spirit soar. It is very blissful and unfettering, like meditation. I began to feel some sort of presence was looking or observing me. It inspired me to create another Scroll of Night, where I drew this huge beastly creature, like a Llamassu with an owl’s wings, a great beard, a snake for a tail, and holding a censer in each hand, while flying through the clouds, the censers billowing mist and birds. I dubbed this spirit “Ur’Nimbu”. I went outside with this scroll and would invoke its name into the night, more or less doing the same sorts of things I had done before with the night sky and meditation. Every time I did, the wind would pick up tremendously, sometimes till I couldn’t stand. It was some pretty magical stuff. I began to gradually gain some… “understanding” of this spirit. It’s a spirit of obscurity and the cryptic, but also a spirit of unfettering and boundlessness. The phrase “soaring will” comes to mind when I think of it. Like an owl that flies about in the night, totally mindless and focused and clear, but immersed in mystery. It can’t arise in the Day because that is too sharp and clear and defined for it. It speaks with clouds, which are unformed and changing always, undefined, unburdened.

    It made me stop smoking any cigarettes, drinking alcohol, or smoking pot. I wasn’t doing any of those things often, but I stopped entirely. I felt like my lungs were now a holy temple to this spirit of the night wind and that to fill them with toxins was to desecrate it, and that anything that dulled my senses was a fetter.”

    “It has taught me a lot, this spirit. Initially, in usual fashion, I tried to figure it out. What is it? What is this thing about? etc. It made me realize that by its very nature I cannot grasp it; it’s nature is to be obscure, and I shouldn’t be caught up in trying to box it up as a concept, as that only fetters my Will. Then I thought “should I be devout to it”? I realized no, because the greatest devotion to it is to not be devoted.”

    -end of his story

    He cannot scan his artwork because it’s on vellan:

    “They are on black vellum, so whenever light is shown behind them it actually inverts them and the paper looks amber brown and the ink turns black.
    It’s actually a really cool effect and somewhat metaphoric, like if you put these scrolls of night up to an open flame in the dark they look kind of like they are scrolls of day.”

    Andrew

    maybe a you tube would give a good idea of the artwork ?
    (indicating it may be close to his past experiences of enlightenment)

  33. Fred
    Fred February 12, 2014 at 1:11 pm | |

    http://hardcorezen.info/sexism-and-religion/1204/comment-page-6

    So, a year and a half ago, you were telling Andrew to go kill himself. Now you
    kiss his ass, and are becoming just like him. Good stuff.

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 1:23 pm | |

      Fred, do you practice at a Soto Zen Center? If so, why aren’t you keeping you precepts?

      Why don’t you respond directly to my statements rather than criticize me for the past?

      Also, most of that message is from my other friend, not Andrew. I won’t disclose his name because he doesn’t like that, but he’s artist. He says many similar things as Andrew, but he practices Magick more. He does do some Daoist occult practices too.

    2. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 1:26 pm | |

      My friend was also greatly inspired by Han Shan’s poetry. SO yeah, instead of flinging red herring for shit I said ONE AND HALF YEAR AGO, why don’t you fucking respond to the message? It’s pretty long and includes a lot of substance. At least attempt to. If it’s too much for you at this time, get back to it at another time.

      Do you even understand a fraction of what that message is getting at?

      It’s getting at the original message of Chan which was lost in its transition to Japan.

  34. Fred
    Fred February 12, 2014 at 1:25 pm | |

    Sepehr «ELIDED» , Zen Troller and Spammer of the year

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 1:27 pm | |

      Okay, now you’re using my last name.

      I have not trolled anyone. All I did was challenge their beliefs. The fact you actually got my FULL name and posted it there, without saying anything of value, makes you the troll.

      How old are you?

    2. stonemirror
      stonemirror February 12, 2014 at 2:18 pm | |

      If you children don’t start behaving yourselves, and that right quick, I will bring the Big Banhammer down on both of you so hard, so fast, with so little notice, that you will remember me as having done it a week and a half ago.

      This, in particular, goes for the posting of Personally Identifying Information, including but not limited to full names, addresses, and phone numbers. Do not do it, no matter how petulant you happen to be feeling.

      Life’s too short and I get paid too little to be wasting my time having to “fix” stuff like this. Knock it off.

      I trust that my position here is fairly clear.

  35. Fred
    Fred February 12, 2014 at 2:03 pm | |

    “The Buddha-mind seal, whose customs and traditions extend to all things, is found in both India and China, both in our own world and in other worlds as well. It is simply a matter of devotion to sitting, total commitment to immovable sitting.”

    Dogen

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm | |

      Fred, we simply have to disagree on this: “It is simply a matter of devotion to sitting, total commitment to immovable sitting.” It seems no amount of argumentation may convince you otherwise. Everyone has their different approaches, you can stick to it whatever you want. I was hoping to, perhaps, open your eyes to other possibilities, but I blame it on my poor approach and caustic remarks.

      After 3 years, I do not agree with “It is simply a matter of devotion to sitting, total commitment to immovable sitting.” People like Sa’di, Emily Dickinson, Bukowski, Toni Packer, John D. Liu, Jadav payeng, or whatever, did not have to sit endlessly to get where they are. Sitting to observe nature in solitude and quietness is universal to mankind, but to make it formal, rigid, and delineate what is proper and improper posture… it is Japanese cultural artifacts to me. It just takes a bit of common sense to understand that the fluidity of truth can only be comprehended through a fluidity or practice and not a rigid, imposing mind.

  36. Fred
    Fred February 12, 2014 at 2:38 pm | |

    ” People like Sa’di, Emily Dickinson, Bukowski, Toni Packer, John D. Liu, Jadav payeng, or whatever, did not have to sit endlessly to get where they are”

    And where are they? Did Emily Dickinson become Head Abbess of a Zen
    Monastery?

    The flaw in your argument is the way you are comparing apples and oranges.
    Of course Emily Dickinson did not have to sit endlessly to write poetry. What’s
    that got to do with the practice of enlightenment.

    There’s something peculiar in the way your brain perseverates on particulars.
    I’m going with Asperger’s. Is that why you went into neuroscience, to understand
    how you operate?

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 2:51 pm | |

      Fred, you sound like you have Asperger’s more than me. Actually, I would venture and say you have ADHD because of your inability to understand wth I am saying. I have never taken drugs and every check-up I have been to, I have been diagnosed mentally healthy. Iranians/Persians tend to be very healthy, in general.

      I don’t know how I can sum this up for because you’re so dense. Seriously. You’re getting on my nerves with your constant attacks on me. Can you cool it, please? I already apologized for my previous rudeness.

      Also, I got into Neuroscience because people like Clive Wearing and Henry Molaison astound me. Sometimes I feel like Soto Zen Buddhists would equate Clive Wearing as being an enlightened Zen Buddhist, lol.

      I’ve probably read more Dogen than you, and I’m not sure which of us has sat more, but that’s not the point, since sitting is not something you can “accumulate experience” with.

      Emily Dickinson’s creative expression and act of writing of poetry IS enlightenment itself. My friend experienced it too. Amazing artwork emerges from that stillness of mind. It’s not enough to just live in the present and enact prajna-paramita. You have to also bring the “And Latitude of Home -” to the forefront, which is why I value creative expression. You have to make it your own creative expression, your own understanding, devoid of societal and authoriative influence.

      Wang Wei (a Chan Buddhist), Han Shan (another Chan Buddhist), Stonehouse, and etc. all wrote poetry in natural solitude. While sitting was part of their practice, it wasn’t it’s focal point. They were not exclusionist in regards to what constitutes awakening. Awakening is not analogous with sitting.

      How does becoming Head Abbess mean anything? Buddhism is ultimately about the End of Becoming. Read the Pali Suttas. This is one thing I agree with, and I don’t think Andrew agrees with me either. Buddhism is about the end of Becoming, and this end of Becoming is accomplished in a fluid, non-rigid way.

  37. Fred
    Fred February 12, 2014 at 2:44 pm | |

    I’m done with this place.

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm | |

      Seems like you never got done with your “I”, huh? Get ‘er done!

  38. boubi
    boubi February 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm | |

    1. “All human cultures are creole,” John M. Bennett writes. Our language and our world view are hybrid, influenced by and adapting influences from the global village and our post-global home. They are inevitably syncretic and creole.

    Absolutely. But Bennett’s use of the term ‘creole’ brings to mind the other meaning of creole. Creole as in the ‘creolisation’ of languages. How the language of a colonizing or dominant culture devolves into a pidgin and then develops into a creole, a rich communication tool with its own grammar, form and traditions, though often with a vocabulary based on the dominant language. So: Haitian Creole and its relationship to French.

    So: what if visual poetry is a creole language, one that has created its own grammar, forms, and literature based on the ‘colonizing’ verbal and visual language of the dominant mode of communication/language/culture?

    2. Everything is a Face

    The vispo is pareidolic. (Isn’t everything? That potato looks like my mother. And my mother looks like Mother Teresa. Or the moon.)

    The image (‘Discipline,’ above) appears as some kind of creature (human, monster, jellyfish) with eye-like figures at the top of its ‘face’ (though the left ‘eye’ is also mouth-like.) The image is both face and body. The red y is limb-like. Or tongue-like. An ear? Something penetrating or escaping? Whatever it is, it seems to move toward the top of page and seems organic and full of agency. Those e’s falling from its right ‘eye’. Or flying up into it. But maybe the image is a gate. A doorway. A hat. An abstract field of markings. Engaging with the idea that we can’t help but ‘read’ into marks, into inscriptions. The piece has a powerful emotive quality. Trembling with the energy of the psyche. Vibrating with visual energy.

    3. Pictures ∴ Writing

    When do pictures become writing? When does looking become reading? Runes. Talking knots. Knob-sickles. Oracle bone-script. Tortoise-shell inscriptions. Marks that are pictographic, ideographic, mnemonic, hieroglyphic, or consumercapitalistoglyphic.

    So: protowriting. And thus the protoreader. What would post-writing look like? The post-readerly text? Or the post-reader? (The moon, Mother Teresa, my mom?)

  39. boubi
    boubi February 12, 2014 at 3:17 pm | |

    Twerking or not twerking?

    Ripped paper, rimpled text on torn paper. Bennett’s signature curly ink scrawlings, rubber-stamped letters which often call attention to the fact that they are glyphs pressed from ink. The physicality and gesturality of making marks. The materiel of language which comes together as constellations on the flat screen of the page. Often Bennett’s work explores different textures and different modalities (registers/of text, of mark-making, of drawing). It often involves collaboration with others. A kind of multilevel polyphony or heterophony (polyglyphony? heteroglyphony?) There’s an implied sense of community, of working together, of ‘jamming,’ exploring, of taking this thing on the road and seeing what happens. And the actual images: there is an engagement with the visceral, with the gargoylesque, the “ugly,” primitive, or grotesque. The childlike.

    *

    GB: How do you conceive of ‘reading’ in the context of your work? How do you imagine a reader approaching it? What would happen in their readerly head? What strategies would you hope or expect that they might use? Would they analyze or drool? Would they seek an overall sensory impression, or parse the visual in some way, weighing the resonance, associations, or possible associative or denotations of the images?

  40. boubi
    boubi February 12, 2014 at 3:19 pm | |

    We are proud to present you with the edited transcript of this historic event.

    DL:
    I am very pleasing to be here, modulating this fine-tuned events. All of us, and especially you, the next, must indeed be, or at least seem, tonight, to be with us now together…
    DL:
    They’re telling me I’m out of my time, so I will pretend a question to throw out on the floor before the luminances intending here today. Thank you.
    FC: By my green candle, I hereby declare that all blasphemous doings shall hereby be eliminated and the ‘Apostrophists will usurp all powers and steal all the beef, too. Merci.

    At this point, Mme. Chevalier snatched and devoured the prosthetic hair-piece of Professor Leathers.

    SF:
    Well, thank you very much ladies and gentlemen for the very warm welcome. It’s always a pleasure to see such an attentive, educated and handsome audience. You know, a funny thing happened to me on the way here tonight. But before I get serious, I would like to thank you very much for having me here. Thank you very much for having me here. No, really.
    DL:
    And now, we here all here will hear from, uh, Miss Landa Cloves. Miss Cloves? Uh, Miss Cloves?
    YC:
    I’m sorry. Hello. I’m sorry, what was the question again?
    DL:
    Do you have something to add to the floor?
    YC: I came here tonight to try to reconcile these unnecessarily hostile camps. We at NOFFOP believe that all forms of punctuation could live together in love and harmony.

    Here, the debate was temporarily interrupted as Ms. Crowes fell into a comma and had to be resuscitated by her linguist.

    YC:
    Thank you.
    SF:
    Thank you, Yolanda, on behalf of myself and this very prestigious and influential audience for your unique viewpoint. You know, at this point in the debate, I always look out into the crowd and think, “What are they thinking?” I’ve often wondered this. Now, you’re probably wondering what I’m thinking about. And that’s what this whole discussion is about.

  41. boubi
    boubi February 12, 2014 at 3:29 pm | |

    Yes but now what is our point facing the 26th patriarch’s movement to his gliding future? Shall we as supposed go forth with our lives or on the contary give way to our more rooted feelings towards another America, like our slippers who already went? Or should we say that instead?

    Because if we are here it is to meet our nature’s free being, outside of everyday communting to and from locations that are part of our dream time or yore versus planned schedules that/which (?) supperpose themselves (do they have a self too?) to our perceptions while the next man abide by his own ghosts on a slightly other topological position, a position that defines maybe something more than itself, but that is waiting for something that doens’t come, but when he will come we’ll be free, because we are waiting for it, or for him, because we still don’t know exactly, because the old man can’t dream and he have to steal childern’s dream or eat some sea creatures while in that sacry and quite dadaist building the butcher is eating some neighbors. So the lunch is naked said the hatter, mad, and you must chose the bklue or the red, while William is skating in his bunker, lost with his monkey, a fucking bloody monkey. And what about that girl, that skips stones in some water body,?

    Now really what?

    Beauty will be convulsive or won’t be at all.

  42. boubi
    boubi February 12, 2014 at 3:32 pm | |

    Me i’m just a lawn mower, you can tell it by the way i walk

  43. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 12, 2014 at 4:12 pm | |

    “Subject, object, and activity are completely one thing” – page 76.

    Is distinction of the senses in our nature? Are we reliant on the movement of breath to realize the experience of some of our senses, in particular to allow equalibrioception and proprioception working in tandem with the breath to provide the sense of self?

    Catsareinfinite, the posture thing was impossible for me for a lot of years. Don’t know that I will ever have the characteristic upright posture of some Zen masters, I think here of Reb Anderson, Koun Franz, or Issho Fujita. Mel Weitsman in the video, more like it. Nevertheless, posture is a part of the movement of breath, and I sometimes work with Cheng Man-ch’ing’s advice for the practice of Tai-Chi: relax from the shoulders to the finger tips, from the hips to the balls of the feet, and from the tailbone to the top of the head.

    The part that can’t actually be done except in the waking/sleeping induced by the movement of breath (as far as I’m concerned) is relaxing from the tailbone to the top of the head both in inhalation and in exhalation. I do the hatha yoga plow posture to remind myself of what this feels like, sometimes.

    “When at last you arrive at towering up like a wall miles-high, you will realize there are not so many things.” Yuanwu

  44. CatsareInfinite
    CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 4:39 pm | |

    I have to say minkfoot won this Dharma battle. He caught me off guard when he said, “[The dude just got up from sitting for an hour in page -1.]” in relation to the manga I posted http://www.anymanga.com/walking-man/001/001/.

    It left an impression on me when he said that, and I went outside to walk. My mind became chattery. When I thought back to when I did frequent, consistent Shikantaza, my mind was rarely chattery. I was not experiencing the beauty of my surroundings like I used too because of a division of self and other. I think I understand what my sensei was saying after this delusional episode.

    I think I’ll just go back to ASZC every Sunday after I quit my job because of rising amount of homework…

  45. CatsareInfinite
    CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 6:05 pm | |

    I apologize everyone. Shikantaza really is a good tool, and the tool itself is enlightenment (aka prajna-paramita). I had an experience while smoking outside:

    Smoking outside during the blizzard
    Everything cold, see a cat running, struggling
    Looked at cat, forget myself and the chatter subsides

    All of a sudden, 6 deer run
    with antler
    An epiphany of Love
    Call my Beloved to come See
    A moment of seeing how existence is struggle, yet
    In the core of the Blizzard there is Light of Life

    The Deer Family run away to the deforested woods,
    Beloved goes inside,
    Moment of reflection –
    The stray cat runs to the bowl

    Pour him the rest of the Vital Essential Raw Food
    More happy for himself and the giving -
    than my own self

    Back to my own struggle with the books -
    This is my struggle, the cold
    But to be a beacon light onto others,
    requires humility on my part, like Hui Neng who helped the fish*

    * “The title ‘Hui Neng frees the fish’ is when monks would go to small ponds that would dry during a drought, scoop up fish, bring them to the river and let them out….”" http://www.selfdiscoveryportal.com/4othergraphics/HuiNeng2.jpg

  46. Jinzang
    Jinzang February 12, 2014 at 6:12 pm | |

    Look, it’s really very simple. Buddhism says our fundamental problem is that we don’t understand our minds. We misconstrue a seamless reality into a perceived world and a separate perceiving subject. The only remedy needed and the only remedy possible is to look at the mind directly and see it for what it is. In other words, meditation. Seeing this takes a good while, ten years or more of meditation on average, I’d estimate. So while I’m sure Cats is sincere, I don’t believe he has the background to dismiss Zen.

    Zen is not for everyone. Hell, it’s not for me, so I can sympathize. There’s a lot to like, also a lot to dislike. But if it’s not for you, move on, a do what you think is best. Don’t be hanging around the front door of the zendo, grabbing people who are about to enter by the lapels.

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 6:15 pm | |

      Read my last 2 messages… Don’t beat a dead horse, lol…

  47. Andy
    Andy February 12, 2014 at 7:39 pm | |

    Well, enough’s been said, and most excellently by Minkfoot, so I’ll bow out of any further tickle and spank, Cats. One thing just for the record:

    “Reality prior to division –
    Herein lies the unlimited depth” – page 126

    That’s not from Genjokoan. Another quote or poem from a book about Genjokoan perhaps, but I don’t think it’s Dogen.

    1. CatsareInfinite
      CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 8:01 pm | |

      It’s from Realizing Genjokoan I said.

      1. Andy
        Andy February 13, 2014 at 5:16 am | |

        My response to your ‘blobject’ point was for you to find an example of such in Genjokoan.

      2. Brent
        Brent February 13, 2014 at 11:47 am | |

        Do your asignment!

  48. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote February 12, 2014 at 7:45 pm | |

    “We misconstrue a seamless reality into a perceived world and a separate perceiving subject.”

    “Subject, object, and activity are completely one thing” – page 76

    It’s a good thing I’m used to talking to myself. Was it not the late Gudo Nishijima, bless his soul, who said “zazen is action”? I do have to be careful, the Grimpen Mire is tricky, the will o’ the wisps with names like Mark Foote could tempt me to forget my senses big time.

    On the other hand, the hound of the Baskervilles downstairs is looking to grab my lapels, and I think I’ll just sidle out of the house and down toward the Petaluma River. There’ll be twenty egrets roosting in the redwoods next to the river tonight; a quick check with the ouiji board that is my entire being and I’ll be gone (most likely).

    “At leaving Nyoian, sending this to Youyu-osho,
    Living in this hut for ten days made my mind fidgety
    to my legs long red strings of the world get tangled
    if some day you come visit me go to a fish dealer, a tavern, or a brothel.”
    Crazy Cloud (Ikkyu)

  49. CatsareInfinite
    CatsareInfinite February 12, 2014 at 8:03 pm | |

    Good poem by Wang Wei. I wish I knew Chinese to get the most out of it.

    http://www.chinese-poems.com/peach.html

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