“Hate Rock” and (completely unrelated) My 2012 European Tour

People have been asking me for my thoughts about the shooting at the sikh temple outside of Milwaukee. It’s hard to say much except to once again state that there are too damned many guns in the United States. But I’ve already given that rant.

Lots of people are speculating that the shooter probably believed that the Sikhs he killed were Muslims and that this was some sort of revenge for the attacks in New York and Washington, DC on Sept. 11, 2001. Some have said that he was a white supremacist. Some are saying he was in a punk rock or heavy metal band supposedly called End Apathy. The Huffington Post has the most information on that aspect of the story. According to them the guy played bass in some of what they’re calling “hate rock” bands.

Of all that stuff, it’s the idea that he was a punk rocker that bothers me the most. The other things are all kind of obvious. White supremacists are bad. People who kill others for their religion are bad. People who can’t tell the difference between Muslims and Sikhs are stupid. Blah-blah-blah. I agree with all that. Who needs to hear yet another person say those things?

But I’ve always been one of those people who said that violent music or art did not necessarily lead to actual violence. I still believe that. But I also believe that violent art and music definitely can tend to make unbalanced people believe that real violence is OK. That appears to be at least part of what happened here.

All of the punk rock that I liked was very left-wing. But there was plenty of hateful stuff in there. The Dicks, who Zero Defex (the band I play bass in) played with a few times had songs like Dicks Hate the Police. MDC, whose name at one time meant Millions of Dead Cops, often had violent messages in their songs. MDC were big supporters of Zero Defex back in the day and we even played with them in Cleveland this year.

The photo of Zero Defex I put on this blog bugged some people who saw it when I posted it years ago because there’s a Nazi flag behind us. That’s me on the far left, just under the logo for The Dale, the bar we were playing at that night. The scowling skinhead in the middle is Tommy Strange, our main songwriter and guitarist. Although this was apparently taken during one of the songs that he sang while Jimi, our vocalist, played guitar because you can see Jimi just behind and to Tommy’s left with a guitar strapped on. I Photoshopped the picture to bring out the duct tape “No” symbol we put over the swastika on the flag to make it clear that we were against the Nazis and not for them. A lot of people didn’t catch that when I originally posted this picture. I still wonder where we ever got a Nazi flag. Think of the money we could’ve made selling that! A lot more than we got for the gig, I’m sure.

In any case, I never really thought those violent anti-police and anti-government messages were to be taken literally. To me it was a verbal working out of the frustrations we all felt at the way police and government power was abused. I didn’t think those bands were trying to incite people to literally go out there and murder police officers. Perhaps I’m naive, but I still don’t think it was meant to be taken literally.

Then again, maybe I’m like the dumb guys in the comedy heavy metal band Spinal Tap who said, “We say love your neighbor. Well, we don’t literally say it. And we don’t literally mean it either. But in any case that message should be clear.”

I feel like the problem isn’t so much the violent messages, even if some of the people who send them possibly really do want us to commit violent acts. It’s people’s inability to differentiate between art and reality. Even if you might argue that this isn’t the root problem, I still think it’s the problem we have to deal with because violent art is not going away. It’s been with us as long as art has been with us. And in the age of the Internet it’s as impossible to control access to violent artistic images as it is to control access to pornography. So rather than trying to make all art conform to some kind of arbitrary code of niceness I think it’s better to try and educate people that it’s one thing to say “kill the cops” or even “kill the Muslims” and a whole different thing to actually do that stuff.

In Buddhism there is an idea that right thought leads to right action. Conversely non-right thought can lead to non-right action. Thích Nhat Hanh cautions his followers not to consume what he calls “poisonous entertainment” that feeds our agitation. Dogen, too, told his followers much the same thing 800 years ago. I do not disagree with this approach. And yet I wonder…

As I have said many times, in my own case punk rock saved my life. It literally did. I was a suicidally depressed teenager. And one of the few things that kept me going were the so-called “negative messages” in punk rock music as well as in horror films and other supposedly “poisonous entertainment.” These messages let me know that I was not the only one who was frustrated by the status quo and wanted things to change.

Without these supposedly “negative messages” I would have felt totally lost and alone in the nice, clean suburbs of Ohio. Who knows? My frustration at all the supposedly “positive messages” I was receiving, which really just reinforced the false notion that everything was OK in the world, might have led me to take up a gun and shoot all preps and the jocks in my school. So-called “positive messages” are often just propaganda intended to help big corporations and the like control the populace, keeping them docile by insisting that everything they do makes life peachy keen.

It’s impossible to say anything really conclusive about all this. But I think it’s good to say something non-conclusive. I don’t have the great answer to this problem and neither does anyone else. I think it’s really vital, though, to look at all sides of this issue.


Just moments ago I did an interview on Freedomizer Radio out of Houston, Texas. You can listen to it at www.freedomizerradio.com

From August 11 until September 11 I will be at Tassajara Zen Mountain Monastery. I’ll be working there as a student/worker or whatever they call it. Probably serving food or cutting cucumbers or something like that. At the end of my stay I’ll give a couple lectures about Dogen. I’ve done this every year for a few years now. It’s good for me to have to get up every morning at five, put on my robes, do some zazen, be an indentured servant for most of the day and then do some more zazen at night. I kinda need that experience to keep from getting too weird when I do the other stuff I do.

Speaking of weird stuff I do, I am going on yet another European tour less than two months after I get out of Tassajara. Here are the dates as far as I know them right now.

Oct. 26-28 Weekend Sesshin Kajo Zendo in Finland
Oct. 30 – Nov. 4 International Lay Buddhists Forum in Malaga, Spain
Nov. 9 Dogen Zendo Frankfurt , Germany
Nov. 10 Balance Yoga Frankfurt, Germany
Nov. 11 – 21 Possible dates in The Netherlands and/or Germany (Most likely Nov. 16-18 in Amsterdam or Rotterdam, but nothing is confirmed yet)
Nov. 23-25 Weekend Sesshin at Fawcett Mill Fields, Penrith, Lake District  UK Sponsored by Yoga Manchester
Nov. 25 Manchester, UK Sponsored by Yoga Manchester

People want me to come talk to them. Isn’t that bizarre?


Your donations to this site will not be spent on violence against anyone but may be spent on vegetarian food in Europe.


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34 Responses

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  1. videojay
    videojay August 8, 2012 at 2:34 pm |

    “Thích Nh?t H?nh cautions his followers not to consume what he calls ‘poisonous entertainment’ that feeds our agitation. Dogen, too, told his followers much the same thing 800 years ago.”

    You seem to be writing as though the term “poisonous entertainment” means the same thing to everyone. For you, it seems to not consume poisonous entertainment would mean not to consume the falsely positive messages you alluded to that are designed to make everything seem okay, no?

    I think not consuming poisonous entertainment is good advice. I just don’t expect anyone else to know what that means for me. I’m with you and The Minutemen: “Punk rock saved our lives.”

  2. Fred
    Fred August 8, 2012 at 3:00 pm |

    Krishnamurti says that violence is within the human animal and is a product of

    “There is war outwardly and war inwardly within each one of us, is it possible to end it immediately, psychologically turning your back on it? Nobody can answer that question except yourself except yourself when you answer it, not depending on any authority, on any intellectual or emotional concepts or formulas or ideologies. But as we said, this demands a great deal of inward seriousness, a great deal of earnest observation – observing when you are sitting in a bus the things about you, without choice, observing the thing within oneself that is moving, changing, observing without any motive, just everything as it is.”

  3. Noah
    Noah August 8, 2012 at 3:27 pm |

    The relevant text from TNH’s Five Mindfulness Practices, his interpretation of the precepts is: “Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations.”

    This is a reinterpretation of the precept on intoxication. As I understand them, in no tradition are the precepts “commandments”, and they certainly aren’t in TNH’s tradition. Instead, they are guideposts and good practices on the path.

    I love Rage Against the Machine. Listening to them in times of anger can be comforting. Also fun. But so could drinking. And I’m sure someone’s life somewhere was saved from suicide because they were able to drown away the misery in consumption of alcohol or drugs or destructive art.

    The point being that just because its a “best practice” doesn’t mean there’s not some kind of benefit in it. The benefit just may be short term, no? I’m as unwilling to give up some of my more edgy art tastes as anyone else, but I think the point here is that if we’re serious about transforming our mental habits, we need to be mindful about how we indulge negative emotions and the kinds of reaction that kind of consumption perpetuates.

    If we’re not interested in this path, if we’re a high school kid in Ohio whose just looking for a “fix” of community, or aggression or whatever, then go for it.

  4. Ted
    Ted August 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm |

    This is pretty much my favorite teaching on the topic:

    [1] “In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

    [2] “In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

    [3] “In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.

    [4] “In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

    [5] “In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

    [6] “In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings.”

    Of course, we are not the Tathagata, and don’t always do as well as an enlightened being, but these are words to live by. It seems to me that the punk rock you found helpful falls squarely into condition [3]. But only when it is being true, which isn’t always the case.

    A good friend of mine who’s a pacifist was really into MDC back in the day, so I think it’s fair to say that he didn’t take what they were saying literally.

  5. poepsa
    poepsa August 8, 2012 at 3:34 pm |

    Hi Brad,

    Having spent some time in the TNH camp, I can assure you that you are correct that many (if not most) of those in that camp would find much of what you like in music, literature and movies to be ‘poisonous.’ But Thay himself has written more than once that he does mean it as Videojay takes it.

    In “The Sun My Heart” he says with mindfulness one can watch even a bad film, or read a trashy novel (the term trashy is not his, but I forget just what word he uses) and not become a ‘victim of the film or novel.’ We can ‘keep the sense doors open and not get caught.’ We can even bring a ‘dharma eye’ to such art. BUT, he does suggest if one is not able to do this, it may be best to ‘close the sense doors until your capacity changes.’ It’s in this spirit that my film series shows films like “After.Life,” “Creation of the Humanoids” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

    In the 14 Vows of his Order, the 4th encourages practitioners to not avoid contact with suffering while the 7th offers a balance of not losing oneself in dispersion and in also being in touch with the “wondrous” qualities of life.

  6. pavelpenev
    pavelpenev August 8, 2012 at 4:19 pm |

    As somebody who got saved by hardcore punk as well, I agree, completely on the subject of “poisonous art”.

    As for gun violence, I think it was through your blog that I found the great podcast Hardcore History, the most recent episode of its sister show, Common Sense, talks about it in a very down to earth, lets find the root cause and see what we can do about it, way. link: http://www.dancarlin.com/disp.php/csarchive/Show-234—Aiming-for-Effectiveness/guns-shootings-firearms

    A very very short summary: The problem isn’t the guns, its that americans want to kill each other. The show cites a lot of statistics, and takes the “If we can’t get rid of the guns, what can we do to reduce gun violence” aproach.

  7. mika
    mika August 8, 2012 at 11:51 pm |

    Well, the problem of course is that people want to kill people. If nobody wanted to hurt anyone else, we’d hardly need any laws. 🙂

    But, alas, that’s not how the world works. While it’s true that you can butcher a dozen with a knife and guns don’t necessarily kill people, the easy availability of them with the relaxed gun laws you have there in the States certainly makes it easier for someone who as a killing mind to achieve his set goals.

    If feel safer knowing that most of the passerbys I meet daily are probably not carrying a concealed weapon, and while I don’t have any statistics to prove it, I would guess it also makes those unlawfully interested in my possessions less likely to resort to deadly force in fear of retaliation.

  8. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon August 9, 2012 at 3:53 am |

    “If you meet the Buddha, kill him.” Linji

  9. Senjo
    Senjo August 9, 2012 at 5:05 am |

    Hi Brad

    Afraid the link to your radio interview isn’t working.

    Any possible London visits on the tour?

  10. anon 108
    anon 108 August 9, 2012 at 6:11 am |
  11. anon 108
    anon 108 August 9, 2012 at 6:17 am |

    …Brad’s interview, that is. The interviewing of Brad.

  12. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 9, 2012 at 10:20 am |

    The guy who did the temple killings in Wisconsin apparently was unable to manage his addiction to alcohol. That’s why he was discharged from the military, and he lost at least one job because of alcoholism as well, from what I’ve read.

    Not sure about James Holmes, but I think everybody noticed his odd demeanor on his first day in court; that left me wondering if substance abuse wasn’t a problem for James, as well.

    Andrew Weil writes in “The Natural Mind” about the human urge to alter consciousness, and he advocates for accepting this as normal. He points out that there are many, many addicts functioning just fine in society- of course he adds that there are also folks who never arrive at a stable maintenance level for their addiction, and these folks have a problem functioning in society.

    I was interested to read about the possible krumping at “hate” rock concerts. Lots of people have difficulty letting themselves go physically, in such a way as to interact physically from a place beyond judgement. Judo is interesting, because it took the skills and techniques of martial arts to another level; judo allows the participants to experience the heart of the teachings of the martial arts gently, without violence and injury. Krumping and the soft slamming I experienced at Mabuhay gardens seem to be attempts at arriving at a similar practice through dance, and this is the practice I associate with zazen.

    Ripley sez, …

  13. Broken Yogi
    Broken Yogi August 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm |

    “A good friend of mine who’s a pacifist was really into MDC back in the day, so I think it’s fair to say that he didn’t take what they were saying literally.”

    Or it may be the case that he didn’t take his pacifism seriously.

    Same problem is often the case with Buddhism. People do things out of line with Buddhism, often because they don’t take Buddhism seriously. Just because one identifies strongly with Buddhism, doesn’t mean one is taking it seriously. That may be a sign of precisely the opposite.

  14. SoF
    SoF August 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm |

    Wait and see.

    If the shooter had been deployed in the Persian Gulf for a third and forth time, then his state of mind might have been twisted by that experience.

    Remember, soldiers are not always “human beings.” Boot camp and subsequent training creates ‘killing machines.’

    As the State-imposed Shinto religion created an atmosphere in which the rape of Nanking was a real possibility, so to has State-imposed Xtianity created an atmosphere in which the Dawood Military Hospital in Afghanistan is a real possibility.

    Welcome to hell… now burn.

  15. Ted
    Ted August 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm |

    BY, I’ve known the gentleman in question for over two decades, and have no reason to doubt his commitment or question his behavior at this point. Of course, things change, and perhaps he will turn into a violent skinhead next week, but this would come as a surprise to me.

  16. Broken Yogi
    Broken Yogi August 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm |

    Jesus said that if you think of committing adultery, you already have.

    Likewise, if you fantasize about committing violence, you are not a pacifist.

  17. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 9, 2012 at 5:33 pm |


    Written on a Matchbox, It Would Be?

    I’m sittin’ here wonderin’, will a matchbox hold my clothes
    I ain’t got no matches but I still got a long way to go.

  18. Ted
    Ted August 9, 2012 at 8:25 pm |

    BY, Jesus wasn’t a Buddhist, and that’s not what the Buddha said—it contradicts what the Buddha said. Of course, I don’t think Jesus was speaking literally anyway. Wishing ill on another is its own negative deed, entirely separate from acting on that wish.

    A pacifist is someone who refuses to commit violence even in self-defense: someone who rejects the wrong belief that hurting others for any reason can ever lead to a good result. How this relates to what you said is somewhat difficult to decide, since I can’t check the internal state of another person’s mind (perhaps you can). What he was thinking when he was listening to MDC, I don’t know, but I certainly never heard him talk about wanting to do violence to anyone. So it’s a bit weird that you would be so insistent about this, when you don’t even know whom I am talking about.

  19. Broken Yogi
    Broken Yogi August 9, 2012 at 9:20 pm |

    I’d say Jesus was a much better Buddhist than most Buddhists.

    He understood that our mind is the root of our problem, like the Buddha did. A violent mind is not a pacifist mind, no matter how much we refrain from outer forms of violence. We can tell ourselves we are pacifists, and try to act the part, but our minds tell a very different story. Unless our mind is pacifistic, the rest is just for show, a charade.

  20. Broken Yogi
    Broken Yogi August 9, 2012 at 9:23 pm |

    The easiest way to tell what kind of mind someone has, is to see where their attention goes. If their attention is drawn to violent entertainments, you can count on their mind being violent also. I would know about this first-hand, btw.

  21. mtto
    mtto August 10, 2012 at 1:23 am |


    You may condemn those who watch or read Othello, or play Pacman, or chess, as having violent minds, but I’m not so sure. I’ve spent a lot of time with many people who don’t exhibit any violent behavior or language, yet love Shakespeare’s plays. Your belief doesn’t match up with so much of my experience I’m inclined to think your belief is a fantasy.

    There is a ton of violence in the koan literature. There is violence in the Pali canon: the story of Angulimala, the attempts on the Buddha’s life by Devadatta.

    Violence is an important part of storytelling, and stories are important part of being human.

  22. Ted
    Ted August 10, 2012 at 3:51 am |

    Also, BY, have you ever listened to MDC? I haven’t, so I have no idea what the lyrics say. I suspect you haven’t either.

  23. Jean
    Jean August 10, 2012 at 5:21 am |

    The violence problem is where the breast cancer problem was 40 years ago, nowhere, never discussed, untreatable, few survivors. A lot of things happened to help women with breast cancer, most importantly, people started talking about it in a personal way.
    A classmate of mine in jr high was shot in the foot while at a City Park. She thought it was an insect bite at first. The police said someone must have shot a rifle into the air up to a mile away. No permanent damage.
    Right after high school, the father of a friend was shot to death in his pharmacy. His youngest child, then in her early teens, was raised by my friend & her husband. Her mother had died of cancer several years earlier.
    30 years ago. My husband’s first day driving a cab, a passenger got in holding a gun. My husband got out & walked away quickly, abandoning the vehicle. An off duty policeman nearby saw this & arrested the guy.
    25 years ago my partner at work was beaten to death in his home w/a baseball bat by an insane person who stole his car & was caught when he told a family member what he had done.
    10 years ago when my son was at Tulane U, renting a cheap apartment w/friends, his apartment was destroyed by an Uzi attack at 7 AM one morning. My son was not there. He was at his girlfriends place. Only one guy was home & he was in the bedroom in the very back. Only 4 bullets made it back there. It was what locals call a shotgun house. One roommate had a gambling problem. There was a crack house on the block. Another roommate had some kind of issue with someone involving an argument over ownership of a dog. Who knows why. After that my son only roomed with studious nerds.
    Almost 4 yrs ago my older brother shot himself in the head with his favorite handgun, the one he kept in his truck. He was a vet w/a history of mostly untreated depression. He didn’t believe in psychiatry. He left a note. It was not a spur of the moment decision. His explanation made no sense, though he was going through a very bad time.
    My other son is very hard of hearing, a pinch away from completely deaf. He’s also sun sensitive so he needs to walk at night. I’m worried that someone is going to decide he’s scary & shoot him. People speak to him. He can’t hear them but can tell from their body language that they are not happy because he didn’t reply. If he notices he tells them he’s deaf. We live in Florida. Stand Your Ground. Shoot People If They Are Scary. Bleah.
    We’ll get gun control when people stop shopping & going to the Malls. My husband & I are already there. And no, we are not shopping online. What would we need? The cat doesn’t care what we own or look like. And he is unarmed as long as we trim his claws every few weeks. On the upside, our savings for a very theoretical retirement are on the rise.
    On the subject of people killing with or without guns. I’m arthritic but I’d still rather be running away from a knife than a gun. I have a lot of experience knocking people down accidentally & think given the opportunity I could knock them down on purpose. Or at least they might trip over me when I fall because I just go down like a rock. I know as soon as I finish this I’ll remember several more personal stories involving violence. This is all stuff we are not supposed to talk about so we tend to forget it if we can. We need to look at it & talk about it.

  24. Ted
    Ted August 10, 2012 at 5:30 am |

    Thanks for sharing that, Jean. You’re making me feel very fortunate; I’m sorry you’ve had so much violence in your life, and I totally agree that transparency about violence is the only way to get people to wake up about it. The more able we are to cocoon ourselves away from the problems of the world, the worse they get.

  25. karate monkey
    karate monkey August 10, 2012 at 5:46 am |

    “Violence is an important part of storytelling, and stories are (an) important part of being human.” Indeed. We are all killers; every time I take a shit I send 10 billion e. coli to the hell realm of my septic tank. Maybe they’re being blessed by passing through the asshole of a Zennist, maybe not. Perhaps they’ll be reborn as protozoa or amoebas. Perhaps not. Ash does not “become” firewood and shit does not “become” Shinola. I think there’s a middle path here… somewhere.

  26. Fred
    Fred August 10, 2012 at 8:45 am |

    The violence in samsara is not going to go away in America.

    You can live in Canada and never see or think about violence, death, etc.,
    although it is there in small doses.

    Kobun died with his child for no particular reason, and that’s about as deep as
    I think about it.

    Death stocks this aging body. It’s no big deal.

  27. Broken Yogi
    Broken Yogi August 10, 2012 at 1:52 pm |

    I’m not condemning anyone for having a violent mind, I’m just pointing it out. Don’t shoot the messenger. But if you have a violent mind, you probably can’t help it anyway. That’s how it works.

    Buddhism seems to require that we observe and recognize that we have violent minds. If you’ve got a problem with that, it’s with Buddhism, not me. The precept to practice non-violence is not a way of pretend that we are suddenly no longer possessed by violent minds. It’s a way of allowing us to concentrate our attention on the mind itself.

    I’m not being righteous about your friend or anyone else. I have a violent mind also. What a shock, I know. Get used to it, in yourself and others. It’s not going to change by denying it, and pretending we are all such good pacifists. Buddhism requires harsh realism.

  28. Broken Yogi
    Broken Yogi August 10, 2012 at 1:58 pm |

    Oh, I’ve listened to lots of violent rap music in my day, MDC included. I just don’t pretend that merely by being nice to others, my mind is suddenly clean. There’s a reason I was attracted to gangsta, and it’s important for me to be honest with myself. There’s reasons Brad is probably attracted to punk, that aren’t altogether clean also. On the other hand, these can also be ways of allowing us to inspect the violence of our own minds by proxy and feel. So they can be useful in that sense also. It depends on how one approaches them. Even visiting the whorehouse was at times a traditional practice. It’s best not to have illusions about oneself bolstered by outward adherence to moral precepts. That’s not their purpose.

  29. SoF
    SoF August 10, 2012 at 2:22 pm |

    His Bradness sed: “after I get out of Tassajara…

    What were you sentenced for this time? [dumb pun]

    Were we to ever plumb the depths of ignorance, we would discover the warp (curvature) in space-time.

    p.s. Brad: I’ll send SFZC $50 to cover your rice and tofu at Tassajara. Just lighten up on the oatmeal cookies.

  30. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 10, 2012 at 4:01 pm |

    I have read the remarks of several Zen teachers to the effect that the precepts are the gate of Zen.

    I suppose that all this really means is “… making self-surrender (one’s) object of thought, (one) lays hold of concentration, lays hold of one-pointedness of mind” (SN V 200, Pali Text Society V 176). Taking the precepts is, in short, making self-surrender one’s object of thought, and this is traditionally the gate of concentration.

    How do we explain the happiness of the meditative states, so that our friends and neighbors will entertain a thought to sit cross-legged setting mindfulness in front, or even to krump at the local bar to their favorite tunes?

  31. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote August 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm |

    some tunes from SVT, with Jack Casady on bass- Love Blind is good for starters. They still raise the hair on the back of my neck.


  32. AnneMH
    AnneMH August 11, 2012 at 6:36 pm |

    I have spent most of my buddhist time being solo because I still like punk music. I am pretty much stuck in the 80’s alternative or whatever it was. For me the same mental state that attracted me to the music also attracted me to buddhism. I wasn’t going to go along with anyone and their thoughts, but I would listen to the scrawny screaming guys and see what I thought. It was going pretty well until some people starting thinking I was rascist because of my hair. That was so offensive to me that I grew it out and looked more mainstream, I wanted nothing to suggest that I was inagreement with racism. However I still avoided buddhist groups because I assumed that they would just have a different list of right and wrong, like I would be a better buddhist if I didn’t love the Dead Kennedys at times.

    I have however felt the difference between what feels poisonous and what does not. It has changed some of what Iwatch and read, but only as I feel the effect. Women’s magazines, argh, they are poison to me. Who really needs to learn how to put on makeup, shave their legs and have sex every month? I don’t feel focused on the right things at all when Iread those. However I watch FightClub a few times a year and I have never committed a violent act.

    It wasn’t until Hardcore Zen that I even thought I could publicly admit to both being buddhist and loving the entertainment I do.

  33. luckymortal
    luckymortal August 26, 2012 at 10:15 am |

    To me, those “negative messages” are just a paraphrase of the first noble truth.

    Yeah, that saved my life, too.

    Think about the early Buddhists going around in this “Brahman” society where everything is supposed to be a perfect image of celestial harmony and even “outcasts” are just living out their proper role, their “dharm.” And these Buddhists were telling people, “man, this status quo life is fucked up and unsatisfactory. Fuck that, it’s a burning house, find your way out!”

    That’s exactly the same thing I got out of my “negative” entertainment.

    On the other hand, the “positive” entertainment out there today just lulls you back into accepting injustice and suckiness. Many of those “positive” messages, especially the “Buddhist” ones put you straight on the road to hell.

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