Hello Ithaca! Hello Philly! See You Very Soon New York!

Randy0DFx3Tonight March 11th, 2014 at 7pm, the documentary about me, Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen, will play at Cinemopolis 120 E Green St
Ithaca, NY 14850. Tickets are available at  http://local-screen.com/hardcore-zen/ithaca-ny/

Unfortunately neither I nor director Pirooz Kalayeh will be there. We had scheduling problems and just could not make it. Not to mention it’s damned expensive to fly out to these screenings, which we have never even come close to breaking even on financially.

Plus, I just moved to Philadelphia, PA! Hello Philly! My first day walking around South Street I was recognized by a fan of my books. Hi Brian! You made my day!

People keep asking if I’ll be starting a Zen group here. I’m pretty sure I will. But I will need help and support from local people to make it happen. I can’t do it alone. If there is interest in Philly it will definitely happen. Write me at bw@hardcorezen.info if you want to be a part of that.

Also, the Akron screening originally announced for March 12 has been postponed. We’re looking at a better venue than we first had in mind. I think it’s gonna happen probably sometime in June.

This weekend, New Yorkers will be able to see me twice! On Friday evening March 14th, 2014 at 6pm I will be speaking at Namaste Books 2 W. 14th St. NY, NY 10011 in Manhattan. You can find more info on their webpage at http://www.namastebookshop.com/events/

Then you can take the train over to Brooklyn on Saturday March 15th, 2014 and see the movie Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen on screen. It’s at 285 Kent Ave at S. 2nd St in Brooklyn , NY 11211. For tickets go to http://local-screen.com/hardcore-zen/brooklyn-ny/

In May, Zero Defex will play our first show in over a year on May 16th, 2014 at Ripper’s Rock House 2727 Manchester Road, Akron, Ohio 44319. The event’s Facebook page has all the info. It is a benefit show for our friend Logan Lestat who was just diagnosed with Stage 4 esophageal cancer. There will be a lot of bands and I have a good feeling that a special guest metal superstar will also be in attendance to do a couple songs with Zero Defex. I can’t tell you who but it might be the heavy metal superstar who appears in the documentary. Stay tuned for details.

Furthermore, we are looking into another Living Room Tour this June and/or July. Just like we did last year, we will open things up to readers to request we come to their living rooms, tattoo parlors, libraries and other sundry non-traditional venues to host screenings of Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen followed by Q&A sessions with me and the film’s director. I can do zazen stuff, mini-retreats and other such Zenny things as well. Just ask. I’ll post more about that very soon.

Rock on, brothers and sisters!


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17 Responses

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  1. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer March 11, 2014 at 1:30 pm |


    Need, need, need a picture of you in your bunny suit, hands raised in victory at the top of the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

    CheeseSteak sandwich optional but it might help…


  2. Bizzle
    Bizzle March 11, 2014 at 4:02 pm |

    Why PA? Did I miss something? Japan radiation fallout?

    1. esfishdoc
      esfishdoc March 12, 2014 at 5:15 am |

      Bizzle, He’s in love!

  3. sri_barence
    sri_barence March 11, 2014 at 4:18 pm |

    Welcome to the East Coast! I actually have two tickets to see the movie in Brooklyn on the 15th, but I won’t be going. An opportunity came up to do a 3-day retreat with Richard Schrobe (Zen Master Wu Kwang), on the same weekend. I decided to sign up for the retreat. I still want to see the movie though. Maybe I will try to set up a “Living Room” event or something. We’ll see…

  4. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote March 14, 2014 at 11:12 pm |

    “what do ____________ do?

    Relax, eat, sleep, forget, and protect.”


    Very important to forget, the gentleman says. All this emphasis on waking up– forget about it!

  5. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote March 15, 2014 at 2:17 pm |

    Video above 38:37, conditions that respond favorably to cannabis. I’m impressed.

  6. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer March 16, 2014 at 10:08 am |

    I was sitting this morning in my usual daze and at one point wondered if it is possible for attention to observe thought.

    By attention I mean that state of mind that just observes without thought.

    Even posing the question this way seems kind of dumb, but I am thinking of a part in one of Brad’s books when he talks about being able to watch a thought form and grow.

    It would be nice if anyone who chooses to answer this question could use ordinary English (not some ancient quote or snippet of a mystic sutra) and also if they could speak from direct experience.


    1. mb
      mb March 16, 2014 at 12:16 pm |

      Alan –

      I’ll take an inept stab at your question based on my somewhat limited and inconsistent meditation practice.

      First the answer: yes, it’s possible.

      Now let’s back up a bit. What’s your definition of “thought”? Just the internal verbal portion of arisings that constitute “words in your head”? Sometimes in meditation I find myself in a place not where thoughts stop (that’s rare), but where they slow down, sometimes there are empty spaces between bursts of verbal thought, and very often I find myself hanging out in what seems like an “emotional substrate” of thought, i.e. a feeling state where the word-component is not really happening, but nevertheless feels “pregnant” with potential thought, and the slightest identification or attempt at manipulation will bring the words and sentences back in full force.

      This is so subjective it’s almost impossible to talk about, but I believe there’s some commonality in the way the human mind operates and meditation of whatever stripe does seem to be the key in gaining some kind of larger perspective on the nuts and bolts of what it is to be human. Much of the vipassana approach to meditation involves learning to recognize and untangle verbal thoughts from mental imagery from physical sensation from emotional reactions to all of these modalities. So it’s not only just “thought” that can be observed by “attention” but a whole mess of other inter-related doings. Verbal thought is the tip of the iceberg fueled by a multiplicity of underpinnings that you, the individual meditator, have voluntarily undertaken in order to understand “yourself”.

      OK, enough silliness. That’s my fumbling attempt to answer your question. Hope it’s relevant enough to be useful to ya.

  7. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer March 16, 2014 at 12:31 pm |


    Thanks much. Very relevant. I know that the words get kind of problematic (but then again, aren’t they always?) but your description seems useful.

    It seems that the state you describe as pregnant with potential thought could exist (pre-thought?), but it just seems unlikely that you could observe a fully formed thought.

    I’m can’t say impossible but I’ve always felt that I can’t have two thoughts at once.

    This reminds me of a friendly argument I had with a friend (many decades before I ever meditated). He insisted that he thought in words and I said bullshit, you think in images that you assign words to so rapidly that you don’t notice.

    He did come back a few weeks later and admitted that he thought I was right.

    Me right? It could happen…..


    1. Fred
      Fred March 16, 2014 at 1:28 pm |

      “I’m can’t say impossible but I’ve always felt that I can’t have two thoughts at once.”

      You can have 3 thoughts at once. One is that there is an ” I ” who is experiencing
      something. 2. is a witness observing this ” I “, a self reflective center part of a
      meditative technique and 3. the everflowing flotsam and jetsam of every day

    2. mb
      mb March 16, 2014 at 7:47 pm |

      It seems that the state you describe as pregnant with potential thought could exist (pre-thought?), but it just seems unlikely that you could observe a fully formed thought.

      I’m can’t say impossible but I’ve always felt that I can’t have two thoughts at once.
      It only takes the briefest of mind-moments to observe the content of a mind-moment. How big (or small) is a “fully formed thought”? How long does a “fully-formed thought” last once it’s fully-formed? The “pregnant pre-thought emotional substrate” I mention above is akin to the “I-thought”, an amorphous “psycho-physical something” that separates itself from indescribable unity and provides the basis for concrete thought (and lots else) to arise, to remain for however long, and then to disappear over and over and over and over again.

      I think meditation is useful in becoming familiar with the subtle doings of the mind-landscape and learning after a while to stop interfering with that process – it’s going on by itself anyway!

      Also, as I kind of alluded to above, I tend not to restrict the definition of “thought” to concrete verbal events. A physical sensation is a particular flavor of “thought”. Mental imagery is a different particular flavor of “thought”. And yes internal words-and-sentences is also a another particular flavor of “thought”. And certainly all of these can arise simultaneously, or at least so close in “time” sequentially that you can’t really discern the chicken from the egg, so to speak. What is the smallest unit of time that “you” can discern anyway – maybe 1/5 or 1/6 of a second?

      Hey, didn’t mean get all koan-like with these questions. Please don’t make any attempt to answer them. If you do, you’re a very bad person! I’m just indulging my penchant to make semi-meaningful descriptions of my meditation “experiences” after the fact. It has its place, momentarily…

      Cheers back at ya…

  8. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer March 16, 2014 at 2:03 pm |


    Thanks for the reply.

    I don’t understand how experiencing something is a thought.

    I can experience gravity but unless I think about feeling heavy and why that is, it’s not a thought. At least in my book…

    Does your statement reflect personal experience? In other words, have you had three thoughts at once?

    I’m not trying to be confrontational asking this, but as I wrote above, I am curious about people’s direct experience.


    1. Fred
      Fred March 16, 2014 at 4:12 pm |

      Sure. ” I ” is a thought, the Witness of I is a thought, the experience of I is a

  9. Bizzle
    Bizzle March 17, 2014 at 7:05 am |

    FWIW, I was taught that the Buddha distinguished consciousness from objects of consciousness (forms, such as thought), and that consciousness coming in contact with form conditions sensation, perception and mental formations as a result of ignorance (it happens too quickly for an unfocused mind to see directly).


  10. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote March 17, 2014 at 10:23 am |

    A big part of my life has been learning to accept trance, absorption, falling asleep, and action out of volition on an equal footing with awareness, waking up, attentiveness, and action out of trance in the absence of volition.

    When I am absorbed in thought, I’m not apart from it, watching it. I’m just thinking. Writing code for the web involves a lot of that. Hours disappear, like magic.

    Shunryu Suzuki walked into the water at Tassajara and nearly drowned. Kobun got drunk and insisted on driving, but Chadwick wouldn’t let him, and instead dropped him off with a woman friend; Kobun referred to David as “that evil monk” after this incident, ha ha! Were the two teachers absorbed in something?- you bet.

    The last thing I wrote on my site, “letting go in action”, concerns the absorptions that happen naturally, but particular when a ” body-position challenge” is adopted and held for a period of time (that’s how they describe the postures of yoga and Tai-Chi in the article on proprioception on Wikipedia). Turns out that as far as my experience goes, Dogen’s “non-thinking” is really just the distinction of all the senses, which takes place of necessity in the movement of breath at some point in a body-position challenge. It’s not about closing down to exclude absorption in thought, it’s about opening up to all the senses out of necessity, absorption in well-being that is going to include thought, and action on the basis of the belief formed from thought and experience, whether volitive or involuntary.

    Question is, can you find the place where volition ceases in the movement of breath, with your eyes open?

  11. lmlnunya
    lmlnunya March 17, 2014 at 11:00 pm |

    You sonaf@#^&%%#.
    I am in Ecuador, sitting local zazen, but you would not know it unless you were here.
    Thank you for all your words, or I would not be here right now. I laugh, cry, and stay here because I could hear someone else think similar thoughts.
    Yes I keep a “home” in Ithaca, yet I am 8K miles away, but at home wherever I am.
    Gracias, de todo,

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