As I’m 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 Roshi’s 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. Cohen’s 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 I’ve recently been able to reconnect with an ex-girlfriend with whom I’ve had a rather stormy relationship for the past 15 or so years. We’re friends again now and it’s 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 Roshi’s 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 I’d 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, I’d 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 Roshi’s 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. I’ve just traveled all the way around the world and had a lot of really interesting adventures I’d 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.

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

246 Responses

  1. Justin
    Justin September 27, 2009 at 2:50 pm |

    – Buddha

    He also taught the path to the extinction of that fire – the noble Eightfold Path.

    Buddha also taught that there are 10 perfections (paramitas) that develop in Buddhist practice:
    1. D?na parami : generosity, giving of oneself
    2. S?la parami : virtue, morality, proper conduct
    3. Nekkhamma parami : renunciation
    4. Paññ? parami : transcendental wisdom, insight
    5. Viriya parami : energy, diligence, vigour, effort
    6. Khanti parami : patience, tolerance, forbearance, acceptance, endurance
    7. Sacca parami : truthfulness, honesty
    8. Adhi??h?na parami : determination, resolution
    9. Mett? parami : loving-kindness
    10. Upekkh? parami : equanimity, serenity

  2. Smoggyrob
    Smoggyrob September 27, 2009 at 3:11 pm |

    Hi everyone:

    Judge Brad by his students? Works for me. Dogen Sangha Los Angeles is made up of intelligent, creative and compassionate people. Visitors comment that we're the friendliest, most-welcoming group they've ever sat with. They also often remark on the openness of our discussions. One new person recently listening to a rather average engaged exchange between a student and Brad said, "I thought you were going to throw [the student] out!" I view my fellow sangha members as one of the immediate fruits of practice, a circle of mutually-supportive good friends. I love the members of DSLA and am grateful for their company. Online… different animal all together. If you don't like that I cuss, fine. If you think of me as angry, again fine. If you think I reflect poorly on Brad, also fine. If you don't like what Brad teaches, that's fine. If you think Buddhism is about making yourself better, it's all completely fine. There are lots of places where you can go and find teachings (and students) more to your taste. Brad is in no way everybody's ideal teacher and people that don't care for him should find someone else. But there is not time enough in the world to give a damn about your opinions. We have some Dogma, I mean Dharma, about the world's only True Buddhism to discuss. Descriptions of Brad's travels in dusty lands to hear about. Non-buddhists to be pointed-out. Deep commentaries on all the major sutras to be debated. The whole World Domination thing.


  3. Rich
    Rich September 27, 2009 at 3:48 pm |

    From anon 2:23
    "Rich, are you assuming that those who disagree with you or Brad do not have a regular sitting practice?"

    No, its just that some of the people who comment here have stated they don't sit regularly. Disagreeing with me is not a problem.

    PhillySteveinLA said
    "Then Jundo posted those private e-mails. Dirty pool my friend, dirty pool…And I blatantly disregarded Brad's advice when I got involved.
    I try to be fair and balanced, but the Philly in me often comes out. Which means I'm blunt. Sometimes to a fault…I get that from my dad, not Brad…Oh, and from Seung Sahn. He was a brash old bastard;)"

    I shouldn't get involved either but a couple years ago Brad released some of Jundo's private emails right here. But it doesn't really matter who's to blame or who did what to whom. This is between them and watching it I may learn something. I really respect Brad for all the sitting, teaching and traveling he has recently completed. I also deeply respect Jundo for the tremendous effort, teaching and support he provides to the Treeleaf Sangha. As SS would say 'only go straight, try try try'

  4. Zago
    Zago September 27, 2009 at 4:02 pm |

    Is this what I can expect after 25 years of meditation? Fuck that!

  5. Jinzang
    Jinzang September 27, 2009 at 4:31 pm |

    "Finding fault with others is a disease. One of the few things I remember reading from Gurdjieff is, "if you are criticizing someone, you are asleep."

    Does this apply equally to Brad and all of his diatribes against the various people who don't agree with him?

    If you take what I said and hurl it at someone else, you missed the point of what I was saying.

  6. Jinzang
    Jinzang September 27, 2009 at 4:34 pm |

    Jinzang said…

    Actually it was Anonymous @ 5:50 PM.

  7. Jinzang
    Jinzang September 27, 2009 at 4:37 pm |

    Is this what I can expect after 25 years of meditation?

    After 25 years of meditation you can expect to give up your expectations.

  8. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 27, 2009 at 4:49 pm |

    Does this apply equally to Brad and all of his diatribes against the various people who don't agree with him?

    If you take what I said and hurl it at someone else, you missed the point of what I was saying

    Got it. It only applies to those that "re-hurl" it, not to the original hurler (you). Naturally.

  9. Zayin
    Zayin September 27, 2009 at 4:56 pm |

    Really bizzare behaviour from Mr Cohen. May you honour your promise to your teacher.

  10. Jinzang
    Jinzang September 27, 2009 at 5:08 pm |

    Got it. It only applies to those that "re-hurl" it, not to the original hurler (you). Naturally.

    One of the best dharma teachings I ever got was from a Communist. A group of Communists was on a talk show and of course everyone in the audience was hurling abuse at them and telling them how terrible things were in the Soviet Union. (This was before the fall of the Soviet Union.) A woman replied, "I don't see how your eyesight can be so sharp to see all the problems on the other side of the world and not see the problems right in front of your face."

    Almost the only person whose problems you can solve are your own. Talking about someone else's problems is only a way of avoiding your own.

  11. Zago
    Zago September 27, 2009 at 5:10 pm |

    After 25 years of meditation you can expect to give up your expectations.

    Huh. Brad clearly hasn't given up his expectations.

  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 27, 2009 at 5:16 pm |

    Nor has Jundo. Both these guys sound like total asshats. On top of it Cohen is suing a message board. Holy Buddha on a stick…it's the farking interweb. Calm down.

  13. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 27, 2009 at 5:43 pm |

    "Almost the only person whose problems you can solve are your own. Talking about someone else's problems is only a way of avoiding your own."

    Yep. Sounds right. But you'd have more credibility if you had also posted this sort of thing when the author of this blog engages in similar behaviour…criticizing others. When Brad says something mean, it's justified because he's a zen master…or he's only human…or he's showing his warts….or he's being really upfront and honest and punknstuff. When others do the same to Brad you and the choir never fail to chime in and be all righteously indignant. Why don't you tell Brad the same thing?

    When you direct it here to people commenting on the blog, you are still 'hurling' it at someone and guilty of the same offense you accuse others of. But yeah, it is good advice…we should all take it….maybe you too.

  14. total asshat
    total asshat September 27, 2009 at 6:09 pm |

    Brad is not a True Buddhist?

    From Esangha files:

    "Brad Warner's Soto Zen teacher; Gudo Nishijima, has a stance on Buddhism which is in conflict with Esangha's Terms of Service; namely he refutes post-mortem rebirth, so this should be a good enough indication as to Brad Warner's grounding with regards to the authentic Buddhism as found in the scriptures (which mention post-mortem rebirth at length), and which this Buddhist Forum is concerned with adhering to.

    Brad Warner's teacher doesn't teach him authentic Buddhism, and therefore Brad Warner is not an authentic Buddhist and doesn't teach authentic BUddhism himself. Period.

    .Just because Brad Warner hasn't seen the toothfairy doesn't mean he is advocating the tooth fairy's existence. He is a apparently a nihilist by his "Dead, dead, dead" approach – and therefore not a true Buddhist.

    Looks like Brad and co. have much in common with the fundamentalists of Esangha. "No! You are not a True Buddhist!" Yes! I am a True Buddhist, YOU are not a True Buddhist!" Asshats all around.

  15. Ob1
    Ob1 September 27, 2009 at 6:20 pm |

    1. Recognize that gossip doesn’t undo the situation you’re talking about. It only puts in motion another situation based on negative feelings.

    2. Know that comparing yourself to others is useless. Everyone has his or her own talents. In this way, give up jealousy and the wish to put others down.

    3. Be aware of and transform your own thoughts, words, and deeds rather than commenting on those of others.

    4. Train your mind to see others’ positive qualities and discuss them. This will make you much happier than gossiping ever could.

    5. Forgive, knowing that people do harmful things because they are unhappy. If you don’t make someone into an enemy, you won’t want to gossip about him.

    6. Have a sense of humor about what you think, say, and do, and be able to laugh at all of the silly things we sentient beings carry out in our attempt to be happy. If you see the humor in our human predicament, you’ll be more patient.

    7. Practice saying something kind to someone every day. Do this especially with people you don’t like. It gets easier with practice and bears surprisingly good results.
    (from Bhikshuni Thubten Chodron’s “The Truth About Gossip,” Tricycle, Summer 2006 )

  16. Mysterion
    Mysterion September 27, 2009 at 6:23 pm |

    His Bradness sed:
    "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."

    Mr. Cohen may only be green with envy. That is his problem to deal with… There is no identified marker (yet) with green.

    As for Brad, well, I think he is a big boy and can get by.

  17. Jinzang
    Jinzang September 27, 2009 at 6:29 pm |

    But you'd have more credibility if you had also posted this sort of thing when the author of this blog engages in similar behaviour. … Why don't you tell Brad the same thing?

    I intended what I wrote as general advice for everyone: you, me, and Brad, if he reads my comments. I tried to avoid calling anyone in particular out, because what would be the point in that?

    I've disagreed with what Brad's written often enough in the past. But I like him, just as I like all the regular (named) contributers to these comments.

  18. Religiously Right
    Religiously Right September 27, 2009 at 7:27 pm |

    never argue with a cohen…

    e.g. there was no exodus from Egypt.

    "from Ha'aretz Magazine, Friday, October 29, 1999)

    "Following 70 years of intensive excavations in the Land of Israel, archaeologists have found out: The patriarchs' acts are legendary stories, we did not sojourn in Egypt or make an exodus, we did not conquer the land. Neither is there any mention of the empire of David and Solomon. Those who take an interest have known these facts for years, but Israel is a stubborn people and doesn't want to hear about it."

    CHESS FOR ROSHI September 27, 2009 at 8:20 pm |


    CHESS FOR ROSHI September 27, 2009 at 8:21 pm |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

    CHESS FOR ROSHI September 27, 2009 at 8:23 pm |

    Comment deleted
    This post has been removed by the author.

  22. Mysterion
    Mysterion September 27, 2009 at 8:28 pm |


    why not avoid 'what's his name' for five life cycles?

    His roots are: "He missed the boat."

    Life Stages in Buddhism

    It is difficult to provide an overview of Buddhism's approach to the stages of human life. This is because in most cultures the observances of the life cycle were developed before Buddhism entered the region. Buddhism forms more of an additional layer or veneer on top of older rites than the rites' cores. Often, Buddhist monks do not even officiate at these ceremonies; the rites are instead performed by some sort of lay "folk priest." The monk's role may consist of doing nothing more than saying a few blessings. In addition, the local character of these ceremonies causes them to vary widely from culture to culture and from country to country. So Buddhism usually plays a secondary role in the rites of life passages, and a role that shows no consistency across the many cultures to which Buddhism has migrated.

    Death stands out as the one area where Buddhism plays a large role and where the monks are most intimately involved. This is because it is death that most obviously marks the suffering of samsara. It is a time for discussing the impermanence of life, the journey towards rebirth, and the importance of merit.

    Indeed, funerals, some of which may last for many days, include rites transferring merit to the dead, ordinations of monks, and funeral processions.

    In Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana), it is believed that it is possible for a person to attain nirvana between their death and their rebirth. The Tibetan Book of the Dead provides an elaborate description of the stages through which a soul passes on the way towards rebirth. The stages parallel the three aspects of the Buddha, beginning with his ultimate cosmic character and then, as the soul gets closer to rebirth, works towards the earthly character of his appearance on this earth. Passages from the Book of the Dead will be read to the deceased, helping them recognize the stages through which they are passing and instructing them in the choices that will lead to nirvana rather than rebirth.

    In southeast Asia, Theravada Buddhism also plays a key role in the passage of young men from adolescence to adulthood. These young men will temporarily enter the sangha for a period of time ranging anywhere from the three-month period of the Rain Retreat to a year or more. While in the monastery, they will learn about Buddhism, undertake to follow the Ten Precepts of the monks and other regulations for the sangha, and essentially live the life of a permanent monk. When they complete their time, they will be considered adults by the community and be eligible for marriage.

  23. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 27, 2009 at 8:37 pm |

    I shouldn't get involved either but a couple years ago Brad released some of Jundo's private emails right here. But it doesn't really matter who's to blame or who did what to whom.

    He also put them in his latest book too, and from some other people (page 83 and 84). But like you said, it really does not matter who did what to whom.

    Still, would that also be, in Brad's words, a breech of privacy that is the most utterly inappropriate thing I have ever seen carried out in the name of Buddhism??

  24. door knob
    door knob September 27, 2009 at 8:53 pm |

    Ignore all the BS in the Comments section, because here's some truly important news: the original Ultraman TV series is being released on DVD in North America on September 29, 2009. Be there or be square.

  25. Mysterion
    Mysterion September 27, 2009 at 8:53 pm |

    It can't be tit for tat.

    Few Buddhists have nice tits and even fewer have nice tats.

    "The original was Tip for Tap, a very old expression that evolved into tit for tat in the mid-16th century. Tip meant a hit, a shove. Tap was a retaliatory hit. The meaning is a punishment meted out to pay back an offense, measured to be equal and proportionate. You hit me, I hit you, tit for tat. By the way, tit for tat turns out to be the optimal strategy in Game Theory to guarantee cooperation from an opponent." source

    also here

  26. The Aitken-Shimano Letters
    The Aitken-Shimano Letters September 27, 2009 at 9:23 pm |

    This is not the only crazy Sangha. Check out what was just released today on thezensite.com. Holy sex scandal, Batman.

    In May of this year, we received a CD collection of letters held at the University of Hawai’i at M?noa Library Archives. Robert Aitken R?shi, the founder of the Diamond Sangha, an international Zen sangha, has donated his extensive files to the university library. The letters were, until recently, part of the sealed section of Aitken’s voluminous papers. The collection is accompanied by a signed letter dated August 14, 2008, from Lynn Ann Davis, Head of the Preservation Department of the library attesting to their authenticity, and every page of each letter is stamped with the library’s stamp. The letters cover the period of 1964 through to 1984 and are devoted to the interactions, directly and indirectly, between Aitken R?shi and Eido Shimano R?shi of the New York-based Zen Studies Society. Although there are some letters between Shimano and Aitken, and between Aitken and his Japanese teachers S?en R?shi, Yasutani R?shi, and Yamada R?shi, many are to others in the wider American Zen movement. The letters are concerned primarily with the “Shimano problem”, a problem about the alleged sexual misbehaviour of Eido Shimano R?shi that first arose in 1964 in Hawai’i, where Aitken R?shi is based.

    Following is a summation of the extraordinary story, as explicated in the Aitken letters, of a Zen master teaching in America for some 35 years, who has been accused of sexual misconduct numerous times and yet was never called to task nor properly investigated. A thorough, open and public inquiry into these accusations is long overdue. It is inappropriate that in today’s climate, when many religious figures have been accused and found guilty of inappropriate sexual activities, that Zen Buddhist teachers should be exempt from similar inquiries and not be held to the highest standards of propriety.


    Will we someday see the Brad-Jundo-Gudo letters on the zensite?

  27. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 28, 2009 at 12:07 am |

    Jundo acted in very decent way, if we judge by his words and actions in all this. Did any of you actually read what he was saying, or only what you want to hear? Did you talk to the guy? Man, blame the peacemaker, why don't you?

    I think some of you are upset at Jundo for having acted in an obviously Buddhist way, while the actions of your Brad are more ambiguous and seem wrapped up in himself.

  28. PhillySteveInLA
    PhillySteveInLA September 28, 2009 at 12:42 am |

    Rich, my friend, I certainly am tryin'…Just seems I got a few years left on my ten thousand.

    And as for Brad posting private e-mails here, well, that was before my time, and I didn't know about it. But it would indeed be a case of dirty pool on Brad's part if it was done in the same fashion.
    Everything in his book, however, referred to "Gummo". And, yes, if you know the players it is easy to guess who Gummo is, but until this whole series of unfortunate events I had no idea Gummo was Jundo Cohen.I would guess it's the same for the average reader.

    But I don't know…all I can do is go straight, try try try for 10,000 years non-stop, save all beings.

  29. Blowjob for Buddha
    Blowjob for Buddha September 28, 2009 at 1:06 am |

    Yes, Brad releases private emails from time to time. The most famous was this one from Jundo where Jundo was protesting Brad's "lap dance for the Dharma" article and its effects on their teacher. This is what Brad printed at Suicide Girls. Brad later changed his article, by the way, to make it seem less like he was getting a blowjob.



    Los Angeles, CA
    JAN 31, 2008 09:14 AM

    Thanks for all the comments. I do appreciate them.

    You guys might be interested in this e-mail I received from one of my "Dharma Brothers" regarding the article. His name is Jundo Cohen. I'm sure he'd enjoy hearing your opinions on his teachings.

    Here's his e-mail to me:


    You wrote this?

    I met a stripper with a Three Stooges tattoo the other night at a bar called Tigress. She bitch slapped one of my companions hard while she gaveher a ferocious lap dance. Threatened my balls with spike heeled platform shoes. Hissed in my face that she was into edgeplay. She got giant fishhooks stuck through her back with which they hung her bleeding body fromthe ceiling till her screams careened off the hard brick dungeon walls. They pierced her labia with five-inch needles.

    Ms. Edgeplay stripper wrenched my friend's nipples and stage-whispered to her how wet she was getting. As if I couldn't hear. Humped her leglike a dog in heat. God wasn't far away at all. If I ever doubted Her presence She showed it to me by grabbing my cock and telling me how She wanted to feel it inside Her.

    I am going to go public, with every resource I have privately and on the internet to make you a laughingstock, to tell folks what I think of you, to embarrass you. I will speak out (you can fool others but you can't fool me … you embarrassment to yourself, our teacher, all of us associated with this). It's not "edgeplay, man … it's a 12 year old who giggles at the graffiti he drew on a bathroom wall. I will do what I can upon my return to Japan next month to stop the September Retreat at Tokei-in.

    You are free to to turn your hanging out in nudie bars, getting "lap dance" from strippers into a profound "teaching" (there are fools born every minute who will buy it too. I think you are just a clown). But you are free to do it, and I am free to take the action I think is right.

    You are a joke, and it is not a dirty one.

    Gassho, Jundo

  30. proulx michel
    proulx michel September 28, 2009 at 1:09 am |

    In honesty, considering the posters who hold that Jundo is perfect and Brad is not, I have often tried to serve as a peacemaker between Jundo and others of the Sangha. Once, Jundo clearly insulted me for trying to do that. The second, he just blatantly refused to acknowledge what I was saying.

    Password was "aphorici"…

  31. More Blowjobs for Buddha
    More Blowjobs for Buddha September 28, 2009 at 1:12 am |

    by the way, Jundo has since explained and apologized for that email several times here.


    Believe it or not, until very recently (when I really decided to wash my hands of the situation), I was very protective of our teacher Nishijima, who I thought was really in a fog, really getting confused, and really unaware of what was going down with Brad (the rumors of sleeping with students and all that). This was the time many of us were hearing rumors about all the stuff going down described in his book (I don't think the book tells the whole story), and I was upset about what I perceived as his complete disregard for the shame he was casting on our teacher (believe it or not, I once cared about that. I don't care so much anymore). I think the trigger was some article he wrote about getting a lap dance in an S&M; club or something as a "Great Buddhist Teaching". Something like that was the spark.

    Thus, in a moment of passion, I wrote him the above stupid irate e-mail.


  32. Philly SteveInLA
    Philly SteveInLA September 28, 2009 at 1:22 am |

    Well, it appears there was some dirty pool here. A poor choice and I don't condone it, however the feelings evinced by Jundo are far more disturbing.
    What can I say?
    In this world of shit NOONE comes out smellin' like roses.

    Also, it was done on his own blog- he didn't invade another's, and I can see the choice to post it as a warning. Me, I'd of probably just gone with excerpts of the important stuff…I mean, if someone promised to make a laughingstock of me- basically destroy me- I'd probably warn people not to listen to them too.
    Does that make his choice right? No. But in my mind (and remember, this is my OPINION) it is an understandable mistake under the circumstances.
    I'm sure, as evidenced by some of the comments here, that there are also people here who feel Jundo made an understandable mistake. I'll concede this may be the case. I don't know the man and probably never will.
    I honestly gotta say, I'm over it.

    I probably haven't given up enough ego-clinging yet to stop defending myself, but I'm sure as hell done arguing sides in this.


  33. In Jundo's Words
    In Jundo's Words September 28, 2009 at 2:31 am |

    Jundo posted "his side of the story" over at Treeleaf. Seems reasonable and rational to me, and much simpler than Brad and some others are trying to make it. Maybe they should have just sat down and had tea, been done with it.


    Now, this is a good time to also mention the situation with Brad Warner and me. Those who know me by now, I hope, will take what I am about to say as the straight story, at least as I see it through my eyes. There is really not much to it.

    Every year, when Brad comes to Japan to lead a retreat for Dogen Sangha, I invite him to have tea with me, sit Zazen together. He refuses each year. I believe that Buddhists, especially when there has been some tension in a Sangha, should sit Zazen together, break bread, try to have a positive discussion and try to put it behind them. There has been some conflict between us in recent years, mostly because I also thought a few years ago that he was involved in some behavior that was not appropriate (no need to go into details), and I criticized him for it at the time and for how our teacher, Nishijima Roshi, was being impacted by it. Part of the story (or, at least, an inaccurate version of it) ended up in his most recent book. But this was now many years ago, so I thought we should put it behind us, sit Zazen and let it be water under the bridge.

    Truly, that is my attitude: Buddhist Brothers should share a glass of tea, and sit Zazen together once in a long while … and especially if there have been problems between them. This was a missed opportunity. 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.

    I hope people around Treeleaf long enough can feel they know me well enough to think that, naive or not, Jundo really believes that.

    This time, Nishijima Roshi agreed to host the tea and Zazen in his apartment, and twisted Brad's arm a bit to get him to come. At the last minute, Brad changed his mind and did not show up.

    Now, where some people might fault me is that I did a bit of "acceptance without acceptance", and felt a token Gandhi-like protest to this state of affairs was in order. People within a Sangha, sharing a common teacher, should speak to each other even if (and especially when) there is some tension. My "protest" was I said that I would come and sit a day of "protest Zazen" somewhere at discreet distance so as not to interfere with the retreat (at a corner of the temple property where I would not disturb others in any way), and chant Metta and have the tea cups ready for others to drink, just to show that not meeting is not good. In the end, I did not do so as I thought I had gotten my point across. My "non-demand" in the protest was that people in Nishijima Roshi's lineage should make the effort to share a meal, have a couple of hours of civil conversation, and sit Zazen together, once per year.

    And that, pretty much, is the whole "Udo(Brad)-Jundo" story from my side. There are a couple of other things that happened, but not worth talking about.

    If there are any questions, I would be happy to address them. Whatever else there is to say, all this was based on my naive belief that, whether they are friends or not (and I, for my part, wish to be friendly), Buddhists in the same Sangha should meet once a year and talk in a civil way about their common interests.

    Gassho, Jundo

    PPS – In a post on his blog about this, Brad is upset because I disclosed an email he wrote to Nishijima Roshi apparently threatening to quit as the head of Dogen Sangha if Nishijima Roshi insisted he (Brad) meet with me. I am not sure if I should have released the email, but I did want to publicly wag my finger at Brad for canceling the meeting and then leaving Japan. I am sorry for the situation.


  34. Michael Hafner
    Michael Hafner September 28, 2009 at 4:22 am |


    I considered joining a sangha in the past months. I'm so glad I didn't…

  35. Thrities Guy UK
    Thrities Guy UK September 28, 2009 at 4:59 am |

    I remember the overwhelming impulse to commit suicide, the continual pain, the exhaustion, the anger, and that there was no escape.

    I remember at these times the feelings of resentfulness for the love for my wife which came up like an echo of the pain, which seemed to bind me from doing so, and the misery of that too.

    You would not believe me if I told you how right I had been about some things, how I was the only person who could have done something about these things, how much it cost to attempt to prevent them, and how they happened anyway, for all the reasons I had seen. Nor, I imagine, would you believe me if I told you that doing nothing would have been just as awful.

    I remember the despair of finding out how many people, especially those I thought were there to be there for such painful times, turned away, at the very times one reached out for help. It appears the pain of confronting pain can often be too painful. My wife and I could hardly bear each other's pain.

    At this time, going across the road to buy a paper each morning, and saying a polite thanks to the shopkeeper– a quick mile and a glance– who returned in kind, felt like the most honest value in the world.

    Even as I write this, the burden of being right: the burden of mistakes, the burden of failure, the burden of being wrong, groups in my gut like a huge, still undigested meal. And that will pass when I stop writing.

    I had that feeling when I went to some buddhist websites and when I glance through some of these messages. What I would like to say is I how found reading Mr Warner's blogs and books have– kind of– the opposite effect, as do the efforts in words of Katagiri, S.Suzuki, Mr Nishijima, Steve Hagan, Robert Aitken, Stephen Bachelor and translations of Dogen I have read.

    I interject a 'kind of' there becaus, I still get that feeling, but in these cases, that feeling seems approachable and acceptable.
    When I have read the words of these writers, I seemed to be being reminded that the reading itself needs to stop, that I've chewed on too many of these sorts of words– better go and read a John Ashbery poem instead, perhaps, if I want to read something.

    My wife read Brad's latest book a while back, and quite out of the blue came into me one day, and apologised for where she had not loved me enough, and not taken care of herself/us, enough. It took a like courage her to do that. She has been and felt a victim of many cruelties in her life, and that can make feeling responsible for things and taking responsibility for oneself enormously difficult– it makes one fearful even of happiness. She now sits for ten minutes in the morning each day, and sometimes she feels the benefit of it pop up out of the blue too.

    I, however, have some work to do before I sit down again. I did it all wrong for a time… So I'm doing what Dogen seemed to say and having a good honest look at why not. Painful.

    So much mistake and failure! And funny how some mistakes make the world seem OK and liveable, and others just seem to provide more food for my own undigestededs to want to feed on.

    I suppose I let them nibble enough this time to write this, which now feels a bit stupid, but I'll post it anyway.

    Like I say, I like they way Brad seems to get things wrong– if indeed he does– and have found some small, but substantial benefit in chewing over his words, with my own sense of integrity and fallibility watching over as I do so.

    With no Sangha and no else anywhere close who finds as I do that the heart of Zen teachings point to the best way I have come across to deal with life and the difficulties we wrap ourselves into, I understand the importance of the tiny, often splashed-up, oasis such distant and 'mis-takeable' voices provide.

    I am very much looking forward to the up-coming Nagarjuna translation, and to glancing now and again at this site to remind me of something I already know in my gut, so to speak– I have had it sussed in my head for a long time and that's done me no good!

  36. Lauren
    Lauren September 28, 2009 at 6:14 am |

    Thirties Guy UK

    – enjoyed your post…thanks.

  37. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 28, 2009 at 6:30 am |

    I did too thirties guy.

  38. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 28, 2009 at 6:40 am |

    me too..

  39. gniz
    gniz September 28, 2009 at 6:56 am |

    Anyone who has read the Aitken-Shimano story, Shoes Outside the Door, or this saga, among many many others…Who can really believe that these Zen teachers are really different than most power hungry politicans?

    Brad, Gudo, Jundo and the many others trying to insinuate themselves at the top of some bizarre religious food chain.

    When you step back and look, it becomes so obvious that 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.

    I do believe meditation has some value. I'm not sure how much value. But i dont believe the value of Buddhism or Catholicism or any religious teaching can outweigh basic human decency.

    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.

    End of soapbox rant.

  40. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 28, 2009 at 7:20 am |

    One of the most troubling points of this weirdness is that both Brad and Jundo have implied that the other is being less than honest in retelling the story and that does in fact seem to be the case for both of them.

  41. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 28, 2009 at 7:39 am |

    I think the two men have different motivations even though they both are probably true believers in Buddhism. Jundo seems to want Buddhist fame (This is probably why he seems desperate to attach himself to Brad's rising star) while Brad seems more interested in success/fame outside of Buddhism (This is could be why he has come off as such a groupie at times).

  42. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 28, 2009 at 7:41 am |

    Of course the above view might might only be an expression of my own cynicism.

  43. mtto
    mtto September 28, 2009 at 7:50 am |

    From the top of this page:


    I enjoy getting your e-mails. But please be aware, if you send me e-mail, I may use it in a blog either here or on Suicide Girls.

    If you email Brad, he might use it in a blog either here or on Suicide Girls. This notice has been on this page for years. The difference in the situation last week (as described by Brad) is that Nishijima apparently replied to an email with Jundo CCed by mistake. Nishijima is very internet savvy for an old dude, but he is an old dude.

  44. Rick
    Rick September 28, 2009 at 8:03 am |


    Ah, such a cynic. Unfortunately, most of what you say is dead nuts, so I guess I am a cynic too.

    I don't know about 99% though – I don't know 100% of the teachers out there. But most of the ones I do know are very humble. They don't take on the mantle of "teacher" willingly, and usually just prefer to be called "friend." But generally these aren't the ones heading of some huge international sangha, write books, and who have no use for fame or fortune. They just want others to be happy.

    (And I know some who are the king or queen of their little sangha and if you don't like it, go take a flying leap.)



  45. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 28, 2009 at 8:07 am |

    Jundo, if you are reading this, I think your explanation of your motivations was clear and lovely. Some of these people want to read dirt into anything. I think that you are acting like a Buddhist teacher should act, and that several people here sense that and it is driving them crazy. They need to find some ulterior motive in your actions because they are secretly afraid of your being for real.

  46. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 28, 2009 at 8:22 am |

    One of the most troubling points of this weirdness is that both Brad and Jundo have implied that the other is being less than honest in retelling the story and that does in fact seem to be the case for both of them.

    You see, I don't get this. I can see a couple of cases where Brad has been stretching the truth here, like how the explanation for why he canceled the meeting smells a little. Then one minute he denies he knows Jundo, then it turns out he wrote pages about him in his books.

    But I don't see what Jundo has been caught lying about here. Can someone fill me in? He's been up front about how he got the mail, and his explanation of his motivations seem in keeping with his actions. I think that people are just finding what they want to find because it scares them that he might be acting for sincere reasons.

    Boy, wouldn't that frighten people around here to find that Brad's nemesis is actually a decent guy not trying to pull a scam.

  47. Rick
    Rick September 28, 2009 at 8:30 am |

    Isn't that often the case when we find out the boogie man was really the tooth fairy?

    Christ, we shot and killed the tooth fairy.

    The reverse side has a reverse.


  48. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 28, 2009 at 8:51 am |

    Here's what I'm reading:
    Jundo: Meet with me!
    Brad: No thanks!
    Jundo: Daddy, make him meet with me!
    Gudo: Brad, let's all sit down.
    Brad: Um, really, no thanks!
    Jundo (now screaming): Dammit, why won't you meet with me!

    Yeah, there are no clean hands on either side.

    But demanding that someone meet with you after they've refused in the past is stalking/bullying, IMO.

    If Jundo sent a polite, private request to Brad to meet every year, and Brad politely declined, that would be one thing. But posting the request on Brad's blog — in other words, trying to publicly pressure him into carrying out an action which he had previously declined in private — is highly manipulative.

  49. Gizmo
    Gizmo September 28, 2009 at 8:51 am |

    "Boy, wouldn't that frighten people around here to find that Brad's nemesis is actually a decent guy not trying to pull a scam."

    I liked Brad's writing but had never heard of Jundo Cohen until I started reading this blog. Though I disagree with both teachers on some points, judging from their writings (I know neither man personally) I tend to see Jundo as having a better grasp of the dharma and being a decent fellow. Brad writes well though.

  50. Anonymous
    Anonymous September 28, 2009 at 9:01 am |

    And here's what I'm reading:

    Jundo: Brad, meet me for tea.

    Brad: No thanks…and btw fuck off!

    Jundo: Daddy, please insist that Brad meet with me!

    Gudo: Now boys, can't we just sit down and meet over tea?

    Brad: No daddy! I hate him! He was mean to me. If you try to make me meet with Jundo I will run away and never speak to either of you!

    Gudo: Oh, I'm so sorry to bother you with this my son, nevermind. Please don't run away, I take it all back. You don't have to meet with the bad man afterall. You get your way now, so don't cry anymore.

    Spoiled brad…er…brat.

Comments are closed.