I HAVE NOT RESIGNED AS PRESIDENT OF DOGEN SANGHA

As Im certain most readers of this blog are aware, Mr. James Cohen (aka Jundo), President of Treeleaf Zendo, has recently uploaded a number of comments to this blog regarding my status as president of Dogen Sangha International. These comments appear in the post below this one entitled Bye Bye Tokio. There are only two people who can erase any of these comments, me and Mr. Cohen. I have chosen to allow them to stay up permanently. If you check and they have been removed, this is the work of Mr. Cohen. I am keeping this material in the form of a PDF file in case the original versions are altered later.

First of all, allow me to assure everyone that I have not resigned as president of Dogen Sangha International. In fact, just the opposite has happened. On Friday September 25, 2009 at around 11:00 AM Japan Time I made a personal promise to Nishijima Roshi that I would remain president of Dogen Sangha International (DSI) at least until Nishijima Roshis death. Putting aside, for a moment, exactly what it means to be president of DSI, I intend to honor my promise to my teacher.

I must say that I was quite shocked to see Mr. Cohens comments on my blog. The emails between me and Nishijima Roshi that he posted appeared to me to be quite clearly sent to Mr. Cohen in error. Remember that Nishijima Roshi is now 90 years old. Even I have sometimes forgotten that an email from someone else was appended to one I was sending to a different person. And I was far less than 75 years old when I first began using email technology!

Furthermore, even if Mr. Cohen would have us believe that he did not know these emails were sent to him in error, I believe they were absolutely unambiguously and unquestionably private emails that were never intended for public consumption. I believe there can be no doubt at all about this fact.

This extreme breach of privacy is the most utterly inappropriate thing I have ever seen carried out in the name of Buddhism.

I have no idea why the president of one Buddhist organization would feel it necessary to make public such private correspondence concerning the president of another Buddhist organization. I can think of no reasonable cause to do so. This seems to me to be a highly unethical and immoral act.

Mr. Cohen is not a member of Dogen Sangha International and has no authority to make public statements on behalf of the organization. He certainly has no authorization at all to make public statements on my behalf.

For the record, the private email from me to Nishijima Roshi that Mr. Cohen made public was part of a much larger discussion between myself and Nishijima Roshi that Mr. Cohen was not privy to, and which I do not find any compelling reason to explain here.

Furthermore, I have not spoken to or communicated with Mr. Cohen except in a few very brief emails for the past two years. I chose to break off my relationship with him at that time because it became clear that every interaction between us always went very badly. There are times in life when the only thing you can do with certain relationships is put a stop to them. Sometimes, if the people involved stay away from each other for a while, they can resume some sort of relationship later on. In my own life Ive recently been able to reconnect with an ex-girlfriend with whom Ive had a rather stormy relationship for the past 15 or so years. Were friends again now and its nice. But we would not be friends now if we had not stayed away from each other completely for several years.

In that case, she and I were once very close. We went through a lot together including an attack on the streets of Akron by a pair of men who seemed intent on killing me for no apparent reason (they appeared to be high on some kind of drug — drugs suck). In the case of Mr. Cohen and myself, we were never anywhere near that close. I can clearly recall meeting him only three times. Once at a Nepalese restaurant in Tokyo called Mt. Fishtail, once at an Indian restaurant in Tokyo called Raj Mahal and once at an overnight trip to Tokei-in Temple in Shizuoka. I suspect we must have met a handful of times other than this, but I do not clearly remember those meetings. It is entirely possible he came to some of Nishijima Roshis talks at Tokyo University. But I do not recall seeing him there. As far as I can recall he was not one of regulars who came every week. Be aware that my memory is pretty dodgy. But this is my honest recollection. In any case, we were never friends.

When Mr. Cohen left Dogen Sangha International in 2007, I sensed that the time was right to end the relationship between us. As I said, it never seemed to go very well and once he was no longer part of the organization I could see no compelling reason to keep up what I found to be an utterly fruitless relationship with him.

And, yes folks, I did once send Mr. Cohen an email that said, “Go fuck yourself.” But this was not a hastily scrawled missive sent in anger. In fact I first wrote him what I believed to be a very reasonable email stating why I no longer wished to carry on our relationship. But then I reflected on the fact that I’d sent him what I believed to be very reasonable emails before and they never seemed to work. I thought that one very rude statement might convey what I wanted to say far more effectively. So I scrapped my longer email and just sent one sentence. I reasoned that most people who received an email saying “Go fuck yourself” would sense that the person who sent that email no longer wished to carry on communicating with them.

Personally Id prefer to cease all communications with Mr. Cohen for a period of five years. If, sometime in September of 2014, it seems that we might be able to have a reasonable conversation with each other, Id be willing to do so. I think it will take at least that long for the current series of emails to become mere water under the bridge for me (you are only seeing the very tip of the iceberg here, there must be a couple dozen emails from Mr. Cohen similar to the ones he posted on this blog sitting in my inbox).

The thing that worries me most about this situation is the effect it is having on the health and well-being of Nishijima Roshi. I firmly believe there is only one person who can put an end to all of this, and I believe that person is Mr. Cohen. All he needs to do, I think, is to keep Noble Silence on the various issues that seem to be bothering him. I really hope he chooses to do so for Nishijima Roshis sake. Nishijima Roshi is a very old man and when I visited him last week I could see the visible toll all of this was taking on him. It was the cause of the only argument I have ever had with Nishijima Roshi in the many years I have known him.

This post is not intended as the beginning of a discussion with Mr. Cohen or anyone else on this matter. It is my final word on the subject. I am going to be quite stubborn over the next few weeks about this. Even if the comments section of every article I put up is filled with nothing but hundreds of postings about the supposed Jundo vs. Brad War, I will steadfastly ignore them. Ive just traveled all the way around the world and had a lot of really interesting adventures Id rather talk about.

But there is one last thing I would like to add. I have noticed a few comments over the past weeks from someone who identifies him/herself as another DS guy on the outs. I have no idea who this person might be. I would very much appreciate it if he or she would send a brief email to me at brad.warner@mac.com so we can discuss whatever the issues he/she has with Dogen Sangha and see if some solution can be worked out.

246 Responses

Page 5 of 5
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 9:12 am | |

    I don't find Brad Warner's style of teaching in your face. Having looked at some videos of his teaching, I'm struck by his reticence and shyness.

    As for the writing style, my impression is of a rhetoric which is aimed at a western, contemporary demotic, one which would appeal especially to younger readers.

    A 'voice' as such in writing has to negotiate between the poles of public and and private, personal and impersonal. Much of what Brad writes has personal information, and so it is enabling to be able to incorporate one's own personal register, especially if that register will reach the 'ears' of those personally in tune with that register.

    Sometimes I find that style a little jarring, but rather than putting me off, those moments have led me to question why I do. And often it is the case that this is due to a pre-existing tendency of mine to get irritated at– for want of a better phrase– the language of 'cool youth' and its posturings, eg know-it-all teenagers wearing mass produced Che Guevara T shirts (ant-capitlaist, of course), reciting the first few lines of Ginsberg's Howl to themselves whenever they've screwed up (the over-thirties one's can really grate!)

    I like Ginsberg, but to swallow whole the 'I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix' is to mistake the verve of the style with the clearly bullshit content– no you didn't Allen, you saw some very special people waste their lives perhaps (and you signed off your your mom to be lobotomized.).

    So it is with Brad, I can separate the energy of the style, from what I find important about what he is attempting to convey.

    And if anything, I would say it was 'get out of my face' more than in my face.

    Besides, I have much more mistrust of voices that sound like they are acting up to my, or their expectations of what some serene zen guy in a robe should come across as.

    A style is an inevitable and necessary kind of stable mask, a masquerade for public consumption, in a way. Lies that do work.

    I find stilted serenity, or fatherly calmness, more 'in my face' these days, and such ways of teaching give me the impression of one trying to paper over cracks which would actually be more communicable in an age where we are often encouraged to feel insecure about mistakes and to mark out our voice as though it weren't in the end the product of the babel of the world, a mosaic of so many interesting voices.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 9:21 am | |

    Wow, this has degenerated nicely.. Things were rather civil here until someone decided to stir things up By revealing another's private correspondence. Only that guy knows his true motivation but if he wanted to to take a big smelly public shit in someone's living room, he certainly succeeded. Hey guys.. You don't have to take sides you know.

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 9:27 am | |

    And sometimes you should, though it does create waves.

  4. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 9:29 am | |

    'Brad smells of poo'
    'Your hair's on fire'
    'Jundo smells of poo'
    'Your hair's on fire'
    'Brad smells of roses'
    'Your hair's on fire'
    'Jundo smells of roses'
    'Your hair's on fire'
    'What's that smell?'
    'Your hair's on fire'
    'What does Brad think I should do?'
    'Your hair's on fire'
    'What if Brad's wrong?'
    'Your hair's on fire'
    'What does Jundo think I should do?'
    'Your hair's on fire'
    'What of Jundo's wrong?'
    'Your hair's on fire'
    'Fuck – my hair's on fire…'

  5. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 9:30 am | |

    I love the smell of burning hair first thing in the morning

  6. jundo cohen
    jundo cohen September 29, 2009 at 9:34 am | |

    I think there is a feeling on both sides that the other has kind of "got it wrong" and thats where a lot of this anger truly stems from.
    Brad is my Dharma uncle. As is Jundo. I wish both my uncles well. If they are pissed with each other and want a fight in the parking lot then that's up to them.

    Hello,

    I feel I must jump in here for a brief minute, because of extreme comments like these.

    There is no "anger". I honor my Brother Brad, who is a great teacher whose voice speaks to so many people. Nor do I feel that there is "fighting". There was a mild "wagging of the finger" on my part about a situation that is small, yet which is also important (that people in a Lineage should communicate), but a 'tsk tsk' and an offer of tea is not a "fight'.

    Many days ago, I posted a handful of brief, softly worded and mild comments civilly objecting to a missed opportunity to meet and drink tea, a situation I termed "not right" (the strongest words I used). I also said that anger is not "the way to go" for this Buddhist path is – as one of its major themes – about making peace.

    I have looked back at what I have written to folks since this all started. If it is a 'fight', it is with pillows. Yes, I have made a mild protest of a breakdown of communication, and of holding long grudges, among people who share the same teacher. But as my "protest", I threatened the very dangerous act of "protest Zazen"! I said that I would sit a bit of Zazen a discreet distance from others, waiting for someone to come and join me … tea at the waiting. Is that someone's definition of "fighting"? I do not believe it can be.

    I said that I might stand from time to time outside where folks are gathering, softly chanting Metta (loving kindness), hoping they would agree to chat or chant or sit with me. Is that fighting?

    I see each as a brief bit of civil, symbolic and harmless protest to a little situation that, I think, was just "not right". If we could sit Zazen together, break bread together, share a few calm words together … something positive might result.

    I am a pacifist, and I am proud of that (yes, Buddhists can be 'proud' of some things). Over these past weeks, I have never raised my voice or hand to anyone, except in Gassho (even at times when others around me were not reciprocating my pacifism). Not once did I ever forget to maintain that pacifist attitude, and I am proud of that.

    Some folks may not agree with my posting here, but I do so very rarely (I only do so, for example, when Treeleaf or my specific name are written about in a post or book, and in this case, I think that the brief "finger wag" protest was also reasonable cause). I am sorry and apologize too if I disclosed email that should not have been … it may have been stupid of me to do so, and to be honest, I still do not fully grasp the protocols for 'ccd mail that seemed directly related to the subject. But I apologize.

    For several days, folks around here on many sides have been jumping around like angry and agitated monkeys, and I wish everyone would stop. Stop it now, calm down everyone. Again, this is not about fighting and anger, and it is not nice or pretty. Stop.

    (continued in next post)

  7. jundo cohen
    jundo cohen September 29, 2009 at 9:35 am | |

    (continued from above)

    I do not care if people are cynical about my offer of tea once a year and Zazen. It was not politics, but simply about tea, peace and Zazen.

    As I wrote to my Dharma Brothers when this all started and throughout:

    Buddhists of the same Lineage, sharing a common teacher, should share a glass of tea, and sit Zazen together once in a long while to discuss Lineage affairs … and especially if there have been tensions. It is not really a matter of choice, any more than a father or brothers would be justified in not speaking of important family business. A little time can be spared, even once a year. Buddhists should not be hard hearted, and should let all hard feelings float away, like water under a bridge. Whatever people feel, it is just a viewpoint. It is all just thoughts, and passed time. Whatever else there is to say, my actions are based on my naive belief that, whether they are close friends or not, Buddhists in the same Lineage should meet once a year and talk in a civil way about Lineage affairs, their teacher's situation and pressing subjects.

    Anyway, I think it is time to end all this discussion and move on. Again, pending some extreme situation that pulls me back, I will not post more here.

    Really, this is all about tea … peace and Zazen. I do not know if I will offer tea and Zazen again next year … I have a whole year to sit with that. But if I do, it is only to signify that there are important matters to discuss, and the door remains open.

    Gassho, Jundo Cohen

  8. jundo cohen
    jundo cohen September 29, 2009 at 9:35 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. m
    m September 29, 2009 at 9:42 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 9:43 am | |

    I've just eaten an apple

  11. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 9:47 am | |

    Geez. Nice post, Mr. James Cohen (aka Jundo). Sensible.

  12. m
    m September 29, 2009 at 9:49 am | |

    gotta say, as I was sifting through this trying to figure out what to make of it, the "Ghandi-like" reference made me recoil from my keyboard a little bit.

    "Alas, I was just a bit too Christ-like, it seems…"

    Almost….TOO awesome….

    yyyyyeah, good rule, Rob. But I think Gniz's observation is pretty durned spot on about the two opposing styles. I even troll around on Treeleaf from time to time. Not my cup of tea (nyuk nyuk) but I never really thought it was a bad place.

    Hope this crap blows over soon. Hard for me to go "oh yeah there's this websit you should check out…ignore the children."

    –matt

  13. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 9:51 am | |

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Whbc5YJz7OU

    Watch this and all will become clear!

  14. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 9:55 am | |

    Mrs Doyle: You'll have some tea… are you sure you don't want any? Aw go on, you'll have some. Go on go on go on go on go on go on go on go on GO ON!

    Word verification: tedia (boring media?)

  15. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 9:55 am | |

    Mrs Doyle: There's always time for a nice cup of tea. Sure, didn't the Lord himself pause for a nice cup of tea before giving himself up for the world.
    Father Ted: No, he didn't, Mrs Doyle!
    Mrs Doyle: Well, whatever the equivalent they had for tea in those days, cake or something. And speaking of cake, I have cake!
    [holds up a cupcake]
    Father Ted: No, thanks, Mrs Doyle.
    Mrs Doyle: Are you sure, Father? There's cocaine in it!
    Father Ted: WHAT?
    Mrs Doyle: Oh, no, not cocaine. God, what am I on about. No, what d'you call them. Raisins.

  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 10:08 am | |

    St Jundo of Treeleaf: Buddhist Patron Saint of Passive Aggression?

  17. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 10:09 am | |

    The devil knows the bible like the back of his hand.

  18. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 10:12 am | |

    St Jundo of Treeleaf: Buddhist Patron Saint of Passive Aggression?

    Passive aggression is one of those terms. So Jundo is not a complete pussy, and pushes for something. So, for that, he is passive agressive?

  19. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 10:21 am | |

    Health and safety gone mad that's what it is. Dharma Brother? Tsk-tsk? Metta? Tea and peace? Finger pointing? The world's gone to pot I tell you. In my day a good teacher would hit me with a stick, I'd wipe my arse with another stick, and I'd meditate 25 hours a day for 900 years before I shaved off my own skin and then cooked rice for everyone in Asia. Cup of tea? Not bloody likely. Those were the days eh?

  20. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 10:22 am | |

    Jundo said: "I am sorry and apologize too if I disclosed email that should not have been … it may have been stupid of me to do so, and to be honest, I still do not fully grasp the protocols for 'ccd mail that seemed directly related to the subject. But I apologize."

    Of course.. Perfectly understandable. It is not like you are a lawyer or something.. You are just a humble priest unfamiliar with these things..

  21. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 10:25 am | |

    The passive aggressive protests that others unfairly accuse him rather than owning up to his own misdeeds. To remain above reproach, he sets himself up as the apparently hapless, innocent victim of your excessive demands and tirades.

  22. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 10:29 am | |

    Watch Passive Aggressive Man (the Superhero) at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1RxKedYy0s

  23. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 10:33 am | |

    Anon 9:51AM
    Father Ted – LOL!

  24. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 10:33 am | |

    "Buddhists should not be hard hearted, and should let all hard feelings float away, like water under a bridge"

    Pinch me. For a moment I thought I was in Shangri La.

    When I first encountered Buddhism, anachronistic language like the above was like a frozen river, frosting over the original symbolism, used hundreds of years ago.

    When I take poetry writing classes, I help folk get away from writing like that, so they can express themselves within a tradition, not just be satisfied with dimly echoing a past age, in order to sound 'poetical'.

    When they do that the real stuff flows, like a blown gasket.

    A sincere tip.

  25. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 10:36 am | |

    For several days, folks around here on many sides have been jumping around like angry and agitated monkeys, and I wish everyone would stop. Stop it now, calm down everyone. Again, this is not about fighting and anger, and it is not nice or pretty. Stop.

    Ooh. I like it when you talk like that. Grrrr!

  26. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 10:38 am | |

    Ok. Brrrad

  27. Buddhist Esq.
    Buddhist Esq. September 29, 2009 at 10:50 am | |

    Of course.. Perfectly understandable. It is not like you are a lawyer or something.. You are just a humble priest unfamiliar with these things..

    I'm a lawyer too (okay, a patent attorney). It is not illegal, and I am not sure it was even unethical.

  28. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 10:54 am | |

    "Buddhists should not be hard hearted, and should let all hard feelings float away, like water under a bridge"

    used hundreds of years ago.

    Ok, William Carlos Williams it is not, but what is anachronistic about "hard hearted" and "water under a bridge"?

    Now you fault the guy for being a passive aggressive bad poet?

  29. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 12:02 pm | |

    "I'm a lawyer too (okay, a patent attorney). It is not illegal, and I am not sure it was even unethical."

    I can't say I'm very surprised that a lawyer isn't sure whether publicly posting another person's private correspondence without permission is unethical..

  30. Leaf Dharma
    Leaf Dharma September 29, 2009 at 12:05 pm | |

    FTW Dharma Queens, or should I say Drama Queens.

  31. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 12:21 pm | |

    "Now you fault the guy for being a passive aggressive bad poet?"

    We can forgive Jundo for many things, but subjecting us to his bad poetry..

    Never!

  32. gudo dorkus
    gudo dorkus September 29, 2009 at 12:49 pm | |

    I share the concern of some of you about newbies to zen coming to this blog and seeing the arrogant, narrow-minded, childish, angry rants.

    But I'm concerned about some of the stuff they might read in the comment section too.

  33. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 12:59 pm | |

    "Ok, William Carlos Williams it is not, but what is anachronistic about "hard hearted" and "water under a bridge"?

    Now you fault the guy for being a passive aggressive bad poet?"

    My comment had no mention of passive aggressive and I was pointing out the use of language.

    There is little to mention with regards to "hard hearted" and "water under the bridge" on their own, other than that they are dead metaphors commonly used today– no problems there.

    But, and I have done this before, if you get even a bunch of kids to read the passage out loud, even they would bring out the deliberate tone, the deliberate rhythm, placing an extra burden on those two phrases.

    The writer is trying to bring those dead metaphors alive, with a didactic and serene instance, echoing the language of ancient scriptures as they have been translated into English, and as refracted through romanticism and the new age. A kid might not know why, but they know how to parody it instantly– just as we might an English Vicar giving his quaint sermon in some dew-lapped village on a Sunday, sending the parishoners to sleep with his comforting lullaby's.

    I did this with a class, with two different modern buddhist texts, both with something valuable to say, but where one got the class giggling and mocking.

    The writer is attempting a poetry and using it to persuade, to have an emotional effect, to fulfil expectations.

    Scientists often inflate and often blur research by writing popular works drenched in myth and symbolism, without realising that they have slipped into a mode outside of scientific research, while at the same time criticizing religious or other symbolic modes from which their language has been borrowed.

    Likewise, the use of the term 'passive aggressive' should be handled with care — western rationalist symbolism, often spoken or written in a sardonic, throwaway, or 'get real' tone.

    Poets are not just people who write sonnets, they are all of us the moment try to grasp the ineffable in language, and in doing so we cannot help but draw from tradition, writers and readers alike.

    Translations of Thich Nhat Hanh, have also felt, to me, often stifling to read, to the extent that my first ever encounter with Buddhism left me cold, which is a shame. I cut through that later, having read more contemporary voices.

    Moreover, experienced writers and readers can make a contribution by pointing out, where they can, how practice might be improved upon, and to help people bring to the surface aspects of language use that might have detrimental effects or even push a few buttons in the service of an agenda.

    Buddhism has certainly helped to bring out aspects of poetry I might not have been aware of.

    There is no need for me to criticize the writer on a personal level, any more than I would need to criticise Hanh or his translator. That I leave to my own translator, infallible as it is.

  34. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 1:08 pm | |

    re previous post: 'float away' with 'water under the bridge' were the two phrases I meant to refer to when I mentioned 'burden' placed.

  35. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 1:19 pm | |

    My name is Dunjo and I am from Mars. I come to look see your Buddhist belief system but my forehead is warm from the con-templation. Some book say Buddhism is noble truths and middle way and precepts and meditation and shit like that but Blog scenario is most excellent motherfuckindudewon'tdrinktea event and mulchos posthumous bitchfest. Now I eat Zafuton and Zabu and cough up bile of great liberation. Thanks you mutchly – I now much more compassion-ate and fuck you Jo I enlightened now bitch. Treeleafblogbeard Mwa xxxx

    Obviously this isn't for real but what would an outsider make of all this – certainly far from Nishijima's teachings and the old bugger's not even dead yet!

  36. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 1:23 pm | |

    Comments aren't teachings. They are comments. Give some non-buddhists a little credit.

  37. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 1:28 pm | |

    and outsiders too!

  38. Jundo
    Jundo September 29, 2009 at 2:10 pm | |

    Like sands through an hourglass, so are the days of our lives..

  39. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 29, 2009 at 6:04 pm | |

    Thank you, Jundo. You may be the only sane one here.

    (other than me, of course)

  40. Stephanie
    Stephanie September 30, 2009 at 6:47 am | |

    What I see when I look at this recent ruckus between Brad and Jundo is two boys fighting. Freud might draw a parallel to the latency stage, a regression to the childhood era of fantasies of knights and noble superheroes battling it out for the good of the universe. Brad and Jundo each want to be a superhero; in Jundo's mind, he is a Gandhi-like noble champion of peace (even as he threatens public humiliation and legal action for failing to submit to his 'peaceful' wish for 'just a cup of tea'), while in Brad's mind, his Godzilla roar and fiery breath are going to save the world from all false Dharma teachers! This primitive playground battle with sticks as swords has just as little impact on the world of reality as other boys' battles.

    I find this par for the course in the world of Zen, where even the best and brightest teachers, well versed in spiritual phenomena, have demonstrated over and over a blindness to the psychological dynamics of their inner lives. Seeing this sort of thing would cause me to despair over the value of zazen if I hadn't already resolved this matter for myself: knowledge of the absolute nature of reality is not enough to guide a person clearly through life in the world.

  41. Martin
    Martin September 30, 2009 at 10:33 am | |

    I owe a debt of gratitude to both Brad and Jundo.

    Some years ago, Hardcore Zen was the right book for me at the right time, my introduction to Zen. I've continued to visit Brad's site and (occasionally) this forum ever since, though I haven't posted here for a couple of years.

    Some while after reading Hardcore Zen I came across Treeleaf. Given the commitments I have and the unpredictable nature of my life, Treeleaf is the only sangha I have. Treeleaf works wonderfully well for me; equally
    I assume that this forum, which has a very different character, serves those who use it regularly, and give it that particular character, just as well. And I am often struck by the extent to which Brad and Jundo say the same thing, though as has been noted, in very different ways.

    So they don't get on? That's sad for them, in so far as either of them are saddened by it. But the only learning I can take from this incident is that Zen teachers are people like the rest of us, and are no more likely to display "enlightened behaviour" than the rest of us. Which is something that, from both Treeleaf and this site, I know very well that both Brad and Jundo agree on entirely, and both teach.

    Gassho

  42. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 4:47 pm | |

    Stephanie said:
    What I see when I look at this recent ruckus between Brad and Jundo is two boys fighting. Freud might draw a parallel to the latency stage, a regression to the childhood era of fantasies of knights and noble superheroes battling it out for the good of the universe. Brad and Jundo each want to be a superhero; in Jundo's mind, he is a Gandhi-like noble champion of peace (even as he threatens public humiliation and legal action for failing to submit to his 'peaceful' wish for 'just a cup of tea'), while in Brad's mind, his Godzilla roar and fiery breath are going to save the world from all false Dharma teachers! This primitive playground battle with sticks as swords has just as little impact on the world of reality as other boys' battles.

    Thank heavens a psychotherapist arrived to help us all see what's really happening here. Only someone with extensive training and years of insight could have helped us see this. We are blessed that someone so far beyond the mundane, petty conflicts that Jundo and Udo foster has the patience to break it down for us testosterone driven little boys who are prone to such conflicts. If only they were female all of this could have been avoided. But maybe it's not too late. Chemical castration? Hormone therapy? Oh well, at least we know now.

    . . . pause . . . Excuse me I just threw up.

    Anyway, I suppose I had it backwards. I thought all of the old, experienced folks had wisdom, but it turns out it is the young, still in college chicks who have all of the knowledge.

    Stephanie, are you, by chance, available for sanzen?

  43. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 30, 2009 at 5:59 pm | |

    No, you're all wrong. I'M the most jesus-like person here, and you're ALL just a bunch of little children squabbling over who's the most enlightened.

  44. Jundo Cohen
    Jundo Cohen September 30, 2009 at 6:06 pm | |

    So I was in my room and I was just like staring at the wall thinking about everything. But then again I was thinking about nothing. And then Brad came in and I didn't even know he was there. He called my name and I didn't hear him and then he started screaming: Jundo! Jundo!
    And I go:
    What, what's the matter?
    He goes:
    What's the matter with you?
    I go:
    There's nothing wrong Brad.
    He's all:
    Don't tell me that, you're on drugs!
    I go:
    No Brad I'm not on drugs I'm okay, I was just sitting you know, why don't you get me a cup of tea.
    He goes:
    NO you're on drugs!
    I go:
    Brad, I'm okay, I'm just sitting.
    He goes:
    No you're not sitting, you're on drugs! Normal people don't be acting that way!
    I go:
    Brad, just get me some tea, please
    All I want is some tea, and he wouldn't give it to me
    All I wanted was some tea, just one cup of tea, and he wouldn't give it to me.
    Just a cup of tea.

    They give you a white shirt with long sleeves
    Tied around you're back, you're treated like thieves
    Drug you up because they're lazy
    It's too much work to help a crazy

    I'm not crazy – Institutionalized
    You're the one who's crazy – Institutionalized
    You're driving me crazy – Institutionalized
    They stuck me in an institution,
    Said it was the only solution,
    to give me the needed professional help,
    to protect me from the enemy – Myself

  45. Stuart
    Stuart October 2, 2009 at 1:55 pm | |

    gniz said…
    > Who can really believe that
    > these Zen teachers are really
    > different than most power hungry
    > politicans?

    "Power hungry politicians" is practically redundant. It's hard to imagine anyone going through all the effort and grief of gaining political office or influence, were they not attracted to power.

    Along with terrible evil, politicians often accomplish things that are helpful and necessary. I sure as hell don't want to be tasked with defending the country from foreign attack, or with preventing disaster in our fiscal or energy or health-care policies. Having SOMEONE dealing with these things, however imperfectly, may be necessary.

    Point is, politicians and zen teachers alike may be doing important jobs, regardless of their flaws. If I'm lost in the woods and encounter someone holding a flashlight, I try to make good use of that light. It's almost irrelevent whether the holder of the flashlight is admirable in any way. The job he's doing is important, it needs to be done.

    Because I lack the ambition or energy or desire to create or lead a zen school that brings Dharma to masses (or to maintain a system of public health-care or national defence), I personally won't be doing these important jobs. I do my own job; it may be smaller, but it's my job.

    Often, focussing on my own job is more effective than judging how others are doing their. If I expect or want something from a zen teacher, that in itself may be a distraction from doing my job.

    I may judge the zen teachers and politicians for being more power-hungry than I… but I recognize that they do I job that I won't or can't do, that it's a job that can help people, and their very "faults" (hunger for power etc) may be a necessary factor in their doing this job.

    > this religious stuff is a farce.
    > Our wishes and desires to find
    > someone to trust, someone who
    > has discovered the answers,
    > keeps us rationalizing and
    > defending these folks.

    "Religious stuff" isn't necessarily about trusting anyone else. It can be a path of sincerely bringing up the great questions and exploring them for oneself, examining one's own experience.

    During this process, having a teacher to point you in a direction may be at times helpful. It may at times even be helpful to have a deluded belief in the teacher's superior attainment… if that's what it takes to get me to try practicing and get a first-experience of what it offers. At other times, I may have a sufficiently clear direction, and belief in myself, that a teacher is less important.

    > And most regular folks i know,
    > muddling through their lives,
    > appear far more decent and kind
    > and honorable than 99 percent of
    > these so-called Zen teachers.

    Being kind and honorable are wonderful qualities in a friend. In particular situations, the world is sometimes helped by people depending on different qualities.

    The qualities of a good soldier are far different from that of a good friend. But I recognize that in some situations, the soldier performs a vital service, of great help to all of us.

    Stuart
    http://stuart-randomthoughts.blogspot.com/

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.