Can_050d95_2115606Only 37 more hours on our fundraiser for the Hardcore Zen Movie Tour. People keep asking about DVDs. The ONLY way to get a DVD of the film is to contribute $25 to the fundraiser. We aren’t planning to make any more after this. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/brad-warner-s-hardcore-zen-the-tour

We are funding this tour on our own money. And it’s costing a pretty penny, let me tell you! Every little bit helps.

Here is an exchange that appeared on the comments section of the previous post:

Daniel Layton December 12, 2013 at 8:32 am

It seems that typically teachers, when asked, will tell the potential student what they should expect and what is expected of them if they do indeed become a student. Or they say I expect you to do such and such first, and then we can talk about it. No offense, but what it hear when I read this is that you don’t want to be burdened with taking on individual students in the traditional Zen sense. Which is fine of course: I think you have a excellent way of teaching people outside of the standard zen model. But I think what people are asking you to do is basically what Nishijima did for you. Their expectations are their own problem.


mtto December 12, 2013 at 10:53 am

Hi Daniel,
“If you want to sit with me, you can join me most Saturdays in Santa Monica and most Mondays in the Silverlake section of Los Angeles. I say most Saturdays and Mondays because I’m not always there due to my traveling schedule. However, the meetings go on whether I’m there or not. The Saturday group meets at 10 AM at Hill Street Center 237 Hill St., Santa Monica, CA 90405. The Monday group meets at 8 PM at Silverlake Yoga, 2810 Glendale Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90039.”

This is basically what Nishijima did for Brad. I know because I’ve been a regular at Hill Street Center for years.

One thing Brad didn’t mention in this post is that after sitting practice he answers questions. He very rarely comes in with a prepared talk. So, if you have questions and you’re OK asking them in front of the group there is plenty of opportunity. The other thing is that it is typical for the group to go out for lunch or frozen yogurt after class, and Brad is available then for questions or discussion in a less public format.

My advice for anyone who wants Brad to be their teacher is: you don’t need to ask, just show up.

This is true. I never asked Nishijima “Can I be your student?” Nor did I ever say that to Tim McCarthy. I just showed up at the advertised time and sat with them. The relationships developed organically.

In some sense someone I barely know asking “Can I be your student?” feels to me kind of like someone I barely know coming up and saying “Can I be your girlfriend?” My first gut response is something like, Woah! Hold on there a minute!

You get to be someone’s girl/boyfriend by going out on dates with them for a while and then, maybe after a couple months or whenever it starts to feel appropriate you ask “Can I be your boy/girlfriend?”

Again please understand I really, really, honestly and truly am not trying to be mean or say I don’t want to be burdened or any of that. I am just asking people to think a little differently about what they’re asking when they ask this sort of thing.

Maybe I ought to say, “I expect you to do such and such first, and then we can talk about it” or have some kind of program or whatever. But I don’t. And my teachers didn’t have that either. In fact a whole lot of Zen teachers do not have anything even remotely like that in place. This is just my eyeball guesstimate based on the traveling I’ve done, but I would say the places that do have a program like that appear to me to be the exceptions – although the ones who do have such programs are generally the very large and well-known institutions and hence the practice of having such programs in place may appear to be more widespread than it actually is.

Thank you!

 *   *   *

Dec. 13 we’ll show the documentary about me in Portland, Oregon. Again, you gotta get your tickets in advance. Here’s the link!

I will be at the screening to do a Q&A afterwards and sign books and generally hang out with people.

This is some of what people are saying about the film:

“…I saw it in Seattle last night. I enjoyed the film. When I got home my wife asked what I thought of it and I hesitated. Having thought about it on the way home I realized that despite the film being in part about expectations for spiritual teachers, it had rammed up against my expectations for *films* about spiritual teachers. Ah, the delicious irony!”

–Dave Fulmer

Then going to the screening and meeting Brad and seeing this BRILLIANT film made by Pirooz Kalayeh and I Like Nirvana has stayed with me and I would love to see it again.  Well, if you don’t get “it” from his book that he is just a punk rock dude who is also a Zen Monk, then you definitely get it meeting him. It made me realize and see Buddha in a new light as well.

Nora Beth Crest

If you want to send reviews or offer quotes for our posters and websites, you can send them to booking@bradwarnershardcorezen.com

*   *   *

As usual, this blog and my being able to go to these film screenings are supported by your donations! Thank you!

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36 Responses

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  1. zucchinipants
    zucchinipants December 13, 2013 at 1:34 pm |

    So, you equate the teacher-student relationship to boyfriend-girlfriend? Hmm… Calling Dr. Freud!

    What if someone walked up to you and asked to be your friend? Would you give him the same 20 questions? I’m thinking of the “spiritual friend”/”noble friend” tradition. What’s wrong with that?

    It sounds like, based on the previous post, that you basically told the guy, “sure” and then proceeded to forget about him until he reminded you, and then passive aggressively dismissed him on your blog.

    Some friend!

    1. Hungry Ghost
      Hungry Ghost December 15, 2013 at 8:08 am |

      The ‘spiritual friend tradition’ includes things like Marpa making Milarepa build and then take down towers for years and generally treating him like garbage, in China and Japan you might get beaten, routinely screamed at, or made to sit outside in the cold to prove your dedication, but Brad’s a dbag because he would like people seeking a teacher to clarify what it is they really want?

      1. zucchinipants
        zucchinipants December 16, 2013 at 7:15 am |

        Milarepa never blogged about how annoying it is for total strangers to ask him to be his friend…

        1. Hungry Ghost
          Hungry Ghost December 16, 2013 at 2:06 pm |

          I’m not picking up annoyance or a lack of wanting to be friends with people from his posts, he seems pretty ingenuous to me

  2. Proulx Michel
    Proulx Michel December 13, 2013 at 2:07 pm |

    No, I think it’s the same. If someone walked up to me and asked to be my friend, I’d tend to be more suspicious than the same person just doing what it takes to befriend me: just show up once in a while, talk, have lunch together, eventually phoning to invite me to dinner or whatever. Nothing formal, but after a while, if things click, you become friends.

    But asking formally to be friends would be, to me, just as awkward as asking to be my girl/boyfriend…

  3. zucchinipants
    zucchinipants December 13, 2013 at 2:50 pm |

    Huh, if somebody in person genuinely asked to be my friend (or girlfriend), I’d be flattered. I don’t feel much need to be immediately suspicious of someone, unless the person seems malicious.

    In Brad’s example, it wasn’t even a total stranger — they met on a retreat. You’ve got to admit that it can be awkward to communicate that you’d like to stay in touch with someone, or know them better, or whatever. I don’t know what the guy’s intentions were, but I see no reason to shut him down.

    Hey, hey could be MY friend! Although, I haven’t written any books on zen, so I wouldn’t be much use…

    1. mtto
      mtto December 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm |

      At the top of this page, on the right, it says “Zazen with Brad.” Anyone who is serious about staying in touch with Brad as their Zen teacher can and should show up. You don’t need an invitation or permission. The classes are donation-based, so you don’t even need any money. Although, I just noticed that the Monday night info is out of date; soon to be remedied.

      If your life circumstances (family, work, geography) prohibit showing up to Brad’s Zen classes on Saturdays or Mondays, that is an understandable reason not to show up. However, (this is a real, non-rhetorical question) if you can’t make it to Zen class, what would it mean for Brad to be your Zen teacher?

  4. lisa
    lisa December 13, 2013 at 3:49 pm |

    Asking someone to be your teacher takes courage. It is acknowledging that you can’t or don’t want do this practice alone. It is acknowledging that you respect another’s practice and want to see more and see it more closely. Sure, it must be done by showing up at the location of the teacher. But, what in the world is wrong with putting it into words? That means taking a risk. Risk is something important.

  5. mtto
    mtto December 13, 2013 at 3:59 pm |

    If you put it into words AND show up, then nothing is wrong with that. If you put it into words, but don’t show up, then what do your words mean? Maybe something, but I don’t know what it is, and I’m interested.

    1. lisa
      lisa December 13, 2013 at 4:56 pm |

      That is the only question I think is worth asking, “will you show up?”

  6. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 13, 2013 at 8:33 pm |

    “I see an important difference between the relationships in a family and in a sangha here. A sangha consists of adult practioners. A family consists only in part of adults. So although I view family life as a model for bodhisattva practice, I don’t think that life in the sangha should be exactly the same. Parents take care of their childs without expecting any reward. Ideally, they don’t even hope to be taken care of in return when they are old, although their final aim will be to help their children grow to become mature adults as well. Bodhisattvas help others without expecting any reward as well. But the aim of this help is to help the others to help themselves, and help still others as well. The aim of bodhimind is to save others before one self is saved, but this means to help others to give rise to the same wish, i.e. help still others without expecting to be help themselves. So if a bodhisattva is someone who rows a boat to the shore of liberation, then the other people in the boat will not be just he guests, but they will have to become bodhisattvas as well. And when everyone rows the boat together, they might realize that liberation isn’t on the other shore, but that everyone in the boat has been liberated long ago.

    … So, anyway: The teacher shouldn’t be like a parent for the student, and the student shouldn’t relate like a three year old to the teacher. In general it can be said that many people in the begining of their practice think that you only have to find a good teacher and everything will be taken care of. Actually, that is what Dogen writes in the Gakudo-yojin-shu: The teacher is like a good sculptor that will make an excellent piece of art even with a crooked piece of wood (i.e. an imperfect student). But this is only half of the truth. Not only does the teacher create the student. What is more important for the student is that on his side, he or she has to create the teacher as well.” -Muho

    from here

  7. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon December 14, 2013 at 6:55 am |

    Obaku addressed the assembly and said, “You are all partakers of brewer’s grain. If you go on studying Zen like that, you will never finish it. Do you know that in all the land of T’ang there is no Zen teacher?” Then a monk came forward and said, “But surely there are those who teach disciples and preside over the assemblies. What about that?” Obaku said, “I do not say that there is no Zen, but that there is no Zen teacher.”

    Hekiganroku, Case 11

  8. Fred
    Fred December 14, 2013 at 8:29 am |

    Please explain exactly what this means:

    ” Yes, when you live at Antaiji, you have to share those 1800 hours of zazen each year, just as you share the remaining 7000 hours of the year.”

  9. Fred
    Fred December 14, 2013 at 8:37 am |

    It is possible to do some type of mindfulness 16 hours a day. If you get beyond
    meditation or not meditation that is particular to each sect/tradition, does it

    The people at Diamond Mountain are sitting in huts for a 3 year retreat. I guess
    that they have Antaiji beat.

  10. anon 108
    anon 108 December 14, 2013 at 9:47 am |

    I reckon I’ve done my bit for Brad’s comment section over the last few years. So, in a spirit of (almost) shameless self-promotion, I’m using this page to tell you where you can find my own very first, very new blog (they made me do it!):


    You should be very relieved to hear that there’s no Buddhism in, on, or anywhere near it at the moment. But I wouldn’t be surprised if something smelling suspiciously similar were to raise its ugly head screaming for attention sooner or later.

    As of now there’s only one short post about something else. So go for it. Make an old man happy!

    1. anon 108
      anon 108 December 14, 2013 at 2:53 pm |

      Mark has helpfully informed me that some browsers (Chrome, for example) might give you a “multiple download’ warning when you click on my blogpost. That’s true – there are 4 soundfiles embedded in the first post. Takes just a few seconds to fully load. It’s all perfectly kosher. Promise.

      1. anon 108
        anon 108 December 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm |

        I mean to say – nothing will be downloaded onto your computer. Soundfiles are being dowloaded onto the blogpage. That’s all.

        1. Mark Foote
          Mark Foote December 14, 2013 at 7:16 pm |

          Actually, on Chrome the files do start downloading as soon as the page is open, just FYI on that Malcolm.

          1. anon 108
            anon 108 December 15, 2013 at 4:04 am |

            Thanks, Mark. But ‘m not sure what you mean. On my PC Chrome asks that I allow Quicktime Player. When I do, the soundfiles load onto the page. (In FF the page starts loading the files straight away.) I see no sign that Chrome is dowloading and SAVING files to your computer. Perhaps that’s what I should have said…That’s what I thought the concern was. Is it different for you?

        2. Mark Foote
          Mark Foote December 16, 2013 at 5:25 pm |

          Right, I’m seeing the behaviour you describe in FF in Chrome, on Windows Vista: the music files start to download to my machine right away. Maybe something to do with the way you embedded them?- I see an “onload” google gadget associated with the music file, have no idea what that’s about.

          I’m more used to being able to choose whether or not I want to download a file.

          Like yer latest post.

  11. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 14, 2013 at 2:22 pm |

    Maybe it means that the business of running the temple sometimes requires folks to do other things besides zazen, even though they came to Antaiji to sit like Bodhidharma (the “parasite of Shaolin”, as Yuanwu described him).


  12. Zafu
    Zafu December 14, 2013 at 5:33 pm |

    “In some sense someone I barely know asking “Can I be your student?” feels to me kind of like someone I barely know coming up and saying “Can I be your girlfriend?” ” — Brad Warner

    Wow, you Zen Masters really are a sexy crew. Is there always an expectation of sexual relations?

  13. Proulx Michel
    Proulx Michel December 15, 2013 at 5:46 am |
  14. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 15, 2013 at 9:31 am |

    Alas, Proulx Michel, that video is “not available in your country” (U.S.A.)!

  15. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 15, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  16. senorchupacabra
    senorchupacabra December 15, 2013 at 11:26 am |


    The website says the fundraiser is over. I’d still like to give you some money if you’d take it. And I’d really like a copy of the movie, if possible.

  17. shade
    shade December 15, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

    pretty, pretty doggie.

  18. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 15, 2013 at 8:34 pm |

    Thanks, John.

    Wonder if it would be as mesmerizing if I knew French (but it’s beautiful)- thanks Proulx Michel!

  19. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 15, 2013 at 8:35 pm |

    shade, go home. Go home, shade.

  20. Senjo
    Senjo December 16, 2013 at 4:09 am |

    Yeah, Brad, I’m with Senorcuperchubra (above). Can you reopen the fundraiser so I can contribute?

    Many thanks.

  21. Ken
    Ken December 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm |

    As one who wrote asking to be your student, I would point out that you have never seemed to address what prompted me anyway. In Sit Down and Shut Up you tell us Dogen says that to study Zen you need a teacher – and you agree with Dogen.

    Do you still agree with this? And if so, what does being a teacher mean to you? What encouragement can you give to people who live far from any Zen teacher? I can imagine that you would naturally teach in the style you learned – which helps those who can be in your presence. Do you have a list of teachers you might recommend? Or Zen Centers that you recommend?

  22. mtto
    mtto December 22, 2013 at 7:10 pm |

    Hi Ken,
    Where do you live? I’ll bet there is a Zen teacher closer than you think. If you really live in the sticks you might only be able to see them once a month, but that is probably plenty at the beginning. Soto Zen in every region of the United States, including the South and Midwest.

  23. Ken
    Ken December 24, 2013 at 10:52 am |

    Thanks for the reply. The closest Soto Zen teacher to me that I know of is a 16 hour drive (I do live in the sticks of Canada), and I make it there at least once a year for sesshin and I’d like to up that to twice a year. Canada has not yet caught up with the States for availability of teachers.

Comments are closed.