More Thoughts on the Boston Bombings

godzilla1954a1Sometimes I get a little experimental with this blog. In my last entry I tried something that had once been very helpful for me, but in a new context.

When I first started practicing Buddhism the big, scary bugaboo in the world was not terrorism but the Cold War. Throughout the Reagan Years the world sat perched on the verge of total nuclear annihilation. It would’ve all been over for humanity in mere seconds if the doddering right-winger who believed that Jesus was on his way back any minute had decided to push the button that sent a strike against the Soviet Union. And I who was raised on a steady diet of Godzilla films, which were allegories of nuclear destruction, and Black Sabbath songs like War Pigs, was scared shitless.

But when I got into Zen I started thinking that being scared shitless was not the Zen Way. The Zen Way was to be cool and calm in the face of everything including the looming fear of being wiped out by hydrogen bombs, I thought. One time I was talking to my first Zen teacher, Tim, and I said something like, “I used to be worried about nuclear war, but I’m not anymore.” I said it because I thought that was the thing I was supposed to say and because I had convinced myself that’s how I felt.

Tim’s reply really surprised me. So much so that I still remember the conversation although I’m sure Tim has long since forgotten. He said, “Really? Because I’m pretty worried about it!”

It was so freeing to hear him say that. Ultimately, I mean. At first it was just confusing. But then I realized that I wasn’t really unafraid. I had just forced my fear into a dark corner where I couldn’t see it anymore. Understanding that it was OK to be afraid, or to be angry, or to be sad, or to feel any of those “negative” emotions that I thought were forbidden was like having an enormous weight lifted off me.

So when I heard the news of the bombs in Boston and felt that surge of anger against the perpetrator, I wondered, “Should I express this?” And I thought about that conversation with Tim. So I decided to go for it and see what happened. I wrote, “I, for one, hope they find the piece of shit who did this and rip him to shreds. He deserves it.”

I think most people understood the sentiment as it was intended. But predictably several did not. I got sent a number of hastily written but deeply impassioned essays about how I was not expressing the proper Buddhist sentiments. One guy kept trying to draw me into a debate on the subject in the comments section of Facebook. But you cannot have any kind of reasonable dialogue in the comments section of Facebook, so I declined. This just got him posting more and more increasingly longer comments. He declared that he was a pacifist and that he had the moral high ground. So I told him he could have the moral high ground and wished him a happy life there.

I’m not laughing at him, though. Because I know exactly how that feels. It’s a painful situation. The moral high ground is a lonely place. It seems like there’s only ever room for one up there. I used to try to stay there. But it was too sad. So I came back down.

I don’t feel that my declaration of my feelings is going to inspire any angry mobs in Boston to rip anyone to shreds. That’s not what’s going to happen here. There will be a few weeks of investigation after which the perpetrator will be found and brought to justice. It will be a media circus and soon all of us will know his name. I’ll even indulge in a bit of speculation. I believe the perpetrator will be a white male, around 30 years old with a bizarrely twisted political manifesto. He will not belong to Al Qaeda, the Taliban or the North Korean military. He won’t really be right-wing or left-wing. His ideas will be all over the map. He’ll get on the cover of all the papers and news magazines. There will be a long and spectacular trial after which he will be convicted. Since there is no death penalty in Massachusetts, he will spend the rest of his life in prison. After the furor dies down he’ll be largely forgotten by the public.

What I feel about him won’t change his fate in any way. I’d hoped, though, that maybe my expression of those feelings might prove useful to those who struggle with and feel guilty about their “bad” feelings when they’re trying to be good Buddhists. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it won’t help at all. But you gotta try.

I really like what my former fellow Suicide Girls columnist Patton Oswalt had to say, though. So I’ll quote it here,

Boston. Fucking horrible.

I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”

But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem. One human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me).

This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evil doers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak.

This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

I agree with him. It’s something we all ought to remember.

As for my comments about Buddhism and its relationship to the military, I will refer you to an essay called Spaces in the Sky by Stephen Batchelor. He said it a lot better than I’ll ever be able to. The link will take you to the full essay. But here’s my favorite bit:

That “hatred will not cease by hatred but by love alone” is true because the statement is a tautology. If an old lady were being driven to distraction by noisy neighbors, how would she benefit from being solemnly told: “Noise will not cease by noise but by silence alone”? The Dhammapada verse, like this hypothetical advice to the woman, is true at such a level of generality that it offers little help in dealing with specific situations. It merely states the conditions under which a long-term solution to hatred would be possible. It may reinforce one’s faith that human beings can relinquish hatred and inspire one to seek to love others unconditionally, but it doesn’t answer the question of how to respond to an act of violence that threatens one’s way of life here and now.

The challenge for Buddhists is not to let a commitment to the principle of nonviolence blunt one’s critical acumen or deflect one’s gaze from looking steadily into the nature and origins of violence. It is far too simplistic to think of violence as originating solely in the psychology of hatred and anger. Violence is intrinsic to the function of the nation-state. Our freedoms and privileges in a liberal democracy are ultimately guaranteed by the willingness of the state to use violence to protect them.

 

When I first read that back in 2001 it angered me the way my comments along the same lines anger a lot of people who read me. But I’ve reflected on it over the years and, much as I would like to deny it (and believe me, I would!), Batchelor is right. I think it’s really crucial that we as Buddhists do not refuse to face reality.

In his new comedy special, Louis C.K. talks about slavery and how horrible it was. But then he holds up his Smart Phone and says� something like, “But without slavery we wouldn’t have these!” This refers to the established fact that the workers in the factories in Asia that make our Smart Phones, our Nike shoes, the computer you’re reading this essay on and so forth are living under conditions often worse than those suffered by the Africans captured to work the plantations of the Old South. Louis C.K. concludes, “We could have candle light and horses and buggies and all be nice to each other, or we could have these!”

Denying the facts doesn’t change them. It’s important to face the fact that your freedom to openly hate the government and the military without fear of reprisal is guaranteed by the government and military and by their willingness to kill those who would try to stop you. I don’t say it’s good that it’s that way. I don’t even say it has to be that way. But I know that it is that way and that’s important.

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138 Responses

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  1. Caodemarte
    Caodemarte April 18, 2013 at 1:44 pm | |

    Uhh…no. I don’t believe slavery played a positive role in US industrialization (the development of the cotton industry may be different). In fact, the perceived incompatibility of of the Southern slavery based agriculture and Northern killed worker based industrialization was one of the rallying calls of the South. Sweat shop work is not comparable to slavery. We could indeed pay a little more for our iPhones if that money went to the workers and still have iPhones. The companies could even, dare I say? make less profit. There is nothing inevitable about this. CK is wrong.

    That said: I agree with you and am not an absolute pacifist because I believe that some people have to stopped by force. Some Japanese ( I think also your teacher) have written about how grateful they were for for the US nuclear bombings. They believed at the time that their and others’ death from starvation/fatigue or in combat was certain in the immediate future and that only the bombings abruptly stopped the war and their inevitable fate. You can argue about whether they are tactically or historically right. However, the moral argument is still valid. As far as I know, in Buddhism as well as in mainstream Christianity, war in self-defense, the defense of others, or to prevent a greater evil is allowed and may be necessary. One can choose to accept death as an individual rather than inflict it. However, there are no general grounds to criticize those who make a different choice. There may even be a moral imperative to save the lives of others by the use of force, as argued by Buddhists. I seem to recall that Askoa swore off aggressive war for empire, but affirmed the need for defensive war. The trick, of course, is figuring out how and when these general principles apply in specific circumstances.

  2. Caodemarte
    Caodemarte April 18, 2013 at 1:47 pm | |

    In a rash of many typos I wrote “Northern killed” instead of “Northern skilled (or semi-skilled).” A Freudian slip?

  3. boubi
    boubi April 18, 2013 at 1:54 pm | |

    Hi Brad

    I agree with you, you had a feeling and you express it in the last blog.

    In this one you, like a lot of other people, like to put all the blame on that bunch of #$@% of republicans from Reagan to Bush the second.

    I partly agree they are a bunch of $@#&, on a nastiness scale from 1 to 10, they could be something around IMO 2-3, then have a look at the “progressive forces from the democratic republics” and i would give them a 6 for nastiness, the arabs dictators Qadafi, Assad, Iran’s harse holes easily a 7-8, Pol Pot a 9.

    Now to forget that the URSS had as many nukes and was ruled by a serie of dictators is a very big mistake.

    They were more likely that Reagan to push the nuke button, they had gulags and a whole repressive apparatus.

    As said in a former post, we were not saints, but we were the better ones, by far; and still are.

    I disagree with the guy who said that without slavery we wouldn’t get Iphone, we would get it, more expensive, and being more expensive maybe we would have slightly more expensive socks that would last like the ones gefore the china rush, we would be at Iphone1 instead of mark5, maybe less product turn over and for sure less environment destruction.

  4. buddy
    buddy April 18, 2013 at 2:00 pm | |

    The fact that this is a really well-written and thoughtful piece for the most part is negated for me because of your misrepresentation of what your facebook pal was saying. His main point (and something expressed here by myself and others) was the hypocrisy in your calling for blood in the Boston bombing, but silence on the more constant and devastating bombing that your government (I’m Canadian) has been carrying on for years in the Middle East. You don’t mention this at all in this post, and instead turn it into being about his pacifism, ‘true Buddhism’ and need to be on the high moral ground, none of which I remember him saying. But I guess we’ll never know- when I went to your facebook page to re-check the conversation, his comments had all been deleted. You had said in response to him something along the lines of, ‘this isn’t the place to address this.’ Apparently you’re not interested in addressing it at all.

  5. boubi
    boubi April 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm | |

    “your government (Im Canadian) has been carrying on for years in the Middle East. ”

    Have you ever met any former soviet military who served in Afghanistan or the in Caucasian region (Chechnya etc)?

    You should, this would give you some measure on which to measure horror.

    By the way i would downgrade US nastiness to 2.

    I would be good to remember that all those tight assed self righteous people don’t ever criticize anyone excepted western governments. Strange …

  6. boubi
    boubi April 18, 2013 at 2:17 pm | |

    your government (Im Canadian) has been carrying on for years in the Middle East.

    Did you ever realized that the same people were butchered on a regular base (1) but nobody of those bleeding hearts didn’t seem to notice it?

    That these dictators used they own subjects as human shields, while eating and stealing their countries?

    =======
    (1) this not justifies to go on killing them though

  7. buddy
    buddy April 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm | |

    Boubi, saying that so and so is worse doesn’t negate one’s own moral responsibilty. The reason this particular ‘tight assed self righteous’ person is criticizing western governments is because that’s where I live, that’s where my tax and consumer spending happens, that’s where my voting decisions have their effect etc. We are doing horrible things which are creating conditions for more horrible things to be done, which then justify our further horrible things etc.. This doesn’t deny ‘their’ nastiness, but it’s important to take responsiblity for one’s own first. You seem to be such an expert on the Middle East- how much time have you spent there? Oh I see. Well then, how many people from there have you spoken to about the effects of American foreign policy on their lives? Hmm yeah I thought so.

  8. boubi
    boubi April 18, 2013 at 2:27 pm | |

    You don’t see anything at all, i spend quite a time there buddy, can actually speak some “middle eastern” too … so what?

  9. boubi
    boubi April 18, 2013 at 2:28 pm | |

    “Oh I see. ”

    ” Hmm yeah I thought so.”

    Right pal !

  10. boubi
    boubi April 18, 2013 at 2:38 pm | |

    ” Well then, how many people from there have you spoken to about the effects of American foreign policy on their lives? Hmm yeah I thought so.”

    Well then, how many people from there have you spoken to, about the effects of their bloody bunch of local butcher policy on their lives? Hmm yeah I thought so.

    After the fall of Saddam gang i saw on a tv channel “from there” some videos from Abu Ghraib “saddam’s happy times”.

    People burned with blowtorches till the flesh fell apart, you know you can carve the guy apart, like butter with a hot knife.

    Acid thrown on people.

    People hacked with axes and then angry dogs released to eat the guy alive from the stumps of what was left of their arms and legs.

    People skinned alive and let howling till they died.

    People to whom they broke limbs with crowbars and then were thrown from windows and left there to the dogs …..

    …………………

    What the fuck do YOU know about what is out there kid?

  11. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 18, 2013 at 2:43 pm | |

    Something about Gozilla in that photo reminds me of my cat, Buddy- Buddy has grace and authentic wildness that are beautiful to me, and I kinda see that in Godzilla, even though he is swallowing up a train that’s probably full of people and committing other murderous mayhem.

    Ahem. Where was I.

    Oh yes: “I think its really crucial that we as Buddhists do not refuse to face reality.”

    I finished the second draft of “Letting Go in Action: the Practice of Zazen”, and I put it up on my website; it’s here:

    http://www.zenmudra.com/zenmudra-the-practice-of-zazen.html

    Here’s a description I supplied in a letter to a friend:

    “This is a manual of zazen. My interest was in bringing the classical descriptions of the practice of mindfulness and the induction of meditative states into a basic instruction on zazen; as I concluded in the piece, it’s about being alive to my own nature, a nature which includes phenomena of the hypnogogic states (between waking and sleeping) as a matter of course in daily life.”

    Zazen is about a reality of our own nature that must be intimately realized, rather than faced.

  12. buddy
    buddy April 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm | |

    Boubi, thanks for reminding me what happens when I stoop to your level of discourse: the main point I was making got lost. None of what you’re saying justifies what the Americans (and as intermittant allies Canadians as well )have been doing, there or in Central America or wherever.

  13. buddy
    buddy April 18, 2013 at 2:47 pm | |

    And at any rate, my original comment was for Brad, not you. I will henceforth resume my usual practice of skipping any comments you post, life is too short for that bullshit.

  14. boubi
    boubi April 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm | |

    All this was the fruit of Saddam’s sick sons, Huday and the other one, you don’t need to see horror movie in the middle east onward, just piss off some powerful people and you get the (last) scare of your live.

    You seem (1) to have live a pampered life, away from reality, a sanctimonious finger poised against the “evil west”.

    I don’t like the tea-bags, neo-cons, chicago-school republicans, bleackwaters and so on, really.

    I consider them responsible for all the shit that fell on us after the fall of USSR and i think that they should be jailed (the big finance guys (2)), they ruined millions of people and jeopardised our future, but they are shoplifters compared to what those monsters did.

    ——–
    (1) maybe i’m wrong, maybe you are from “there”, who knows

    (2) see Too Big to Fail[2011]

  15. boubi
    boubi April 18, 2013 at 2:55 pm | |

    Sorry Buddy

    You were the one who wanted to start a pissing contest with those sanctimonious Oh I see… Hmm yeah I thought so.

    Please notice that you just did what you reproached to Brad “I will henceforth resume my usual practice of skipping any comments you post, life is too short for that bullshit.”

    Right kiddo, drop the bullshit.

    “And at any rate, my original comment was for Brad, not you”
    The offended virgin attitude, you’re so pathetic

    LOL LOL LOL

  16. boubi
    boubi April 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm | |

    “Boubi, thanks for reminding me what happens when I stoop to your level of discourse”

    Maybe you fall down on earth? Get in touch with reality? Step out of the “campus parallel universe”?

    You can always go back to your dorm, light up one and fell like the judge of humanity.

    Why not?

  17. buddy
    buddy April 18, 2013 at 3:07 pm | |

    For those interested in a little bit of U.S. history regarding Saddam, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2002/dec/31/iraq.politics

  18. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | |

    you guys are fun to read! -sorry.

    Just that Boubi has such great images, except for the gruesome ones of course, and Buddy is absolutely right except when he’s angry, I guess.

    kids, you have friends in high places http://media.web.britannica.com/eb-media/15/74815-004-48960E20.jpg

  19. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 18, 2013 at 3:13 pm | |

    wow, good one, Buddy.

    “The details (of a Washington Post report based on declassified documents) will embarrass Mr Rumsfeld, who as defence secretary in the Bush administration is one of the leading hawks on Iraq, frequently denouncing it for its past use of such weapons.

    The US provided less conventional military equipment than British or German companies but it did allow the export of biological agents, including anthrax; vital ingredients for chemical weapons; and cluster bombs sold by a CIA front organisation in Chile, the report says.

    Intelligence on Iranian troop movements was provided, despite detailed knowledge of Iraq’s use of nerve gas.”

  20. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 18, 2013 at 3:15 pm | |

    better shot of friends:

    http://www.crystalinks.com/yei.jpg

  21. Fred
    Fred April 18, 2013 at 3:21 pm | |

    “To study Buddhism is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things. To be enlightened by all things is to be free from attachment to the body and mind of one’s self and of others. It means wiping out even attachment to satori. Wiping out attachment to Satori, we must enter actual society.”

    To forget or drop the self is to become all of life, the good and the bad, the
    butcher and the butchered.

    To drop the attachment to the distinction of this mind and body, is to feel no
    anger because there is no place for anger to arise.

  22. Mumbles
    Mumbles April 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm | |

    Mark, How did you teach your cat to comment on the BradBlog, let alone get into a pissing contest with boubi?

  23. Terrytrueman
    Terrytrueman April 18, 2013 at 3:39 pm | |

    Nice job Brad. Clarifying.

  24. adam fisher
    adam fisher April 18, 2013 at 3:58 pm | |

    When my younger son was young, one day he came to me and said, “Papa, I want to build a gun.” What he meant was not that he wanted to gun down his classmates or stick up a 7-11: He wanted to know the mechanics of how to engineer a pretty sophisticated piece of engineering.

    One of the responses I made was to take him and my two other kids to an armory museum that was jammed to the gills with swords and bayonets and muskets and pistols and repeating rifles and machine guns and … well, you name the implement of war and it was probably there.

    While the kids wandered around starstruck by all the fire power on display, I got into a conversation with a park ranger, one of the fellows who ran the place and offered bits of historical information about the implements in glass cases. And the thing he said to me that really struck home was:

    “This place represents the history of diplomacy.”

    Diplomacy, of course, is the make-nice stuff where people talk and negotiate and otherwise depict humanity at its civil best. But it is also the stuff which carries with it an implication … if we can’t work this out by talking, violence becomes a very real and sometimes inescapable option.

  25. boubi
    boubi April 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm | |

    To Michel

    Talking about the Waco explosion i didn’t notice anyone on french media having any thought about AZF 10 days after 911 …

    I think that a good portion of viewers had some circuits clicking in their brains and wondered “… tiens tiens …”

  26. boubi
    boubi April 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm | |

    This place represents the history of diplomacy.

    Chairman Mao, a guy rather knowledgeable about reality, said “power comes from the barrel of a gun”.

    Problems come when people want to build and believe and make others believe some pipe dream world, some kind of Barbie house and let the real bad guys in.

    Because, of course, if you treat well and don’t point fingers the world will be heaven and bad guys will turn good guys.

  27. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 18, 2013 at 4:53 pm | |

    Mumbles, it wasn’t easy..

    didn’t realize I was throwing my link after a collection of body parts until I entered it, oh well. Dinner for the cat.

    1. intokyo
      intokyo April 18, 2013 at 5:41 pm | |

      Hey Mark this might sound like a weird question but were you the Wanderling?

  28. King Kong
    King Kong April 18, 2013 at 5:32 pm | |

    WHO LET THE DOGS OUT ????

  29. CosmicBrainz
    CosmicBrainz April 18, 2013 at 5:38 pm | |

    Brad Warner, you are sensationalizing this. Stop it.

    The fact is, infinite horrors and beauties occur around us at all times. Right now, in downtown, people are dying from homelessness. Next door, a child is probably spending quality time with a cat or dog. This all occurs simultaneously.

    By fixating on this Boston Massacre, one event, you miss the trends that depend on peoples’ mindset. The problem with America is how people are not encouraged to exhibit a choiceless awareness, which pays attention to everything, without getting obscured in biases. People, moreover, are more alienated than ever in this brutal, industrialized society. Globalization, consumerism, wage slavery, and etc. could all be tied to the progression of this degeneration in America.

    Obviously, since you are a tool, you do not bring attention to these trends or problems, but rather you do the same thing everyone else does, dwell on individual events, as if all suffering is ebbing from their centres.

    Andr3w was much better. Through his use of koan-like language and bashing me, I came to understand how, by taking things personal, I was creating my own self-made hell. Understand that you cannot dissolve this hell through forced “love” or forced ‘this’ or ‘that’ from ‘I’.

  30. boubi
    boubi April 18, 2013 at 5:55 pm | |

    Same place another view

    http://qunfuz.com/2007/05/22/blaming-syria-fisk-and-others/

    WOW ! What was it? Gojira rampaging?

    Anybody crying “MURDER”, nobody even noticed!

  31. Muddy Elephant
    Muddy Elephant April 18, 2013 at 5:59 pm | |

    The trend of criticizing Brad is obviously contrived for the most of you. Chiming in like kids blindly swatting at a pinata.

    The candy you seek exists only in the sweat of your fears.

    Anyways.

    Good ol’ bless his soul RAW says:

    “It isn’t only political power that grows out of the barrel of a gun. So does a whole definition of reality. A set. And the action that has to happen on that particular set and on none other.”

    North Korea is the extreme modern example of this. But are we all not immune to our own warped reality?

    If you say no, you probably aren’t doing it right.

    1. boubi
      boubi April 18, 2013 at 6:04 pm | |

      That hallucinated Kim something know very well, he even prefers a nuke to a gun.

      Who would dare say he’s wrong?

  32. boubi
    boubi April 18, 2013 at 6:01 pm | |

    Grozny

    http://militaryanalysis.blogspot.com.br/2011/10/grozny.html


    Most of what you see here is the result of the Second Chechen War [2000]. The Russians employing massed heavy artillery, aerial bombardment, concentrated rocket and missile fire, big-bore direct gun fire from tanks and tube anti-tank artillery! The Russian also not hesitant to use all manner of fuel-air-explosive and thermobaric bombs! Kaboom! Cracking the egg with the proverbial sledgehammer. And the results show!!”

    Anybody making a march, some social network activism? Occupy my ass (1)?

    Who gave a damn shit, the US or the West couldn’t be blamed? So it’s not worth to get sweaty about it, dude.

    ———–
    (1) Although right, it was just a upper middle class mini cry, they should have gone to the real working class, the macdonald worker and with some humility and sense of reality started a grassroot movement

    1. boubi
      boubi April 18, 2013 at 6:06 pm | |

      Maybe they would have even rediscovered Marx, who knows.

  33. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 18, 2013 at 7:53 pm | |

    knew somebody would do that, thanks, Mumbles.

    Boubi, you seem to be particularly knowledgeable about the new modalities of civil suppression. It is depressing, I agree; could happen here, in spite of all the folks who declare they will revolt when the authorities come for their guns.

    @intokyo, no, last time I checked, not the Wanderer- googling doesn’t reveal much about the Wanderer, which would be intentional I guess.

    My object in writing is the same object I had in putting stuff on paper when I was doing math in college; helps me understand relationships that are complex, to me. Putting it up online, to me is like performing at an open mike; helps me take it to another level, and inspires me. So I do that. So far I had one piece I wrote that was useful to one other person, but I’m not discouraged. I think what I’ve just written will be useful to me.

    I’d like to do an open-source kind of instruction in zazen. Wonder if that’s possible, without using Github!

  34. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 18, 2013 at 7:55 pm | |

    Oh, wait, that’s what Brad’s blog’s comment section is! Ha ha.

  35. Khru
    Khru April 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm | |

    I don’t understand…there has been no sex-y talk in the last few posts…what the heck is going on?

  36. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 19, 2013 at 7:03 am | |

    There is nothing wrong with your sex-y blog. Do not attempt to adjust the text. We are controlling transmission. If we wish to make it sex-y-ier, we will bring up the limb shots. If we wish to make it less sex-i-er, we will tune it to treeleaf or something. We will control the content. We will control the messaging. For the next five blog entries, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your sex-y blog. You are about to participate in a great adventure. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to — The Sexless Hardcore Zen Blog.

  37. Fred
    Fred April 19, 2013 at 7:22 am | |

    You are right Boubi.

    “The bitter fighting in Grozny in 1999-2000 reduced it, the United Nations reportedly said, to “the most destroyed city on earth”. Basayev himself was killed in 2006.

    From mid-2008, though the jihadist movement in Chechnya began to gather momentum again. In November that year, jihadist leader Umarov declared himself the amir, or supreme leader, of a so-called Islamic Emirate of the Caucasus. Early in 2011, he gave an interview warning Russians: “God-willing, we plan to show them that the war will return to their homes.”

    He kept his promise—and, as the Boston attacks show, unleashed forces perhaps greater than he anticipated.”

  38. boubi
    boubi April 19, 2013 at 7:36 am | |

    The two chechens who bombed Boston didn’t do it because of what happened in Grozny and surrounding, if that were the reason they should have bombed Moscow instead.

    My believe is they did it on some global jihad shit.

    They probably did it as muslims angry at “the great satan” (1) and the West, for the same reason Binladen, a former rich playboy, took on the West.

    Some occupy wall street (right cause) others bomb Boston (wrong), young adults looking for some meaning.

    But look at the difference.
    In the first case drawing from their cultural heritage (Jefferson, Martin Luther King etc), they do a civil protest, though confusing reality for some Facebook page.
    In the second BOOOM, also drawing from some “cultural” heritage, jihad.

    ——
    (1) copyright Khomeiny

  39. Fred
    Fred April 19, 2013 at 7:39 am | |

    “The candy you seek exists only in the sweat of your fears. ”

    The human seeking the candy is what is between the enlightenment that always
    was and the enlightenment that is manifesting.

    Focusing on the permutations of form isn’t zen. The emptiness of I is.

  40. Fred
    Fred April 19, 2013 at 7:43 am | |

    Back to Zen, Boubi.

    The world has been running this shit off for ever, and it always will be. There is
    nothing to be done about it.

  41. boubi
    boubi April 19, 2013 at 7:46 am | |

    Hey yo boy, kiddo, buddy !

    Since you feel sooo righteous, and i think you boycott some products from some places and feel righteously outraged at “illegal occupations”, why don’t you

    1 – go back to where you forefathers came from, educated guess … Europe?
    Because you are actually illegally on indian territory, so go, hat in hand, to the nearest indian you find, give him/her the key of your car, of your house, your credit card, everything and just keep enough to go to “white man homeland”.

    2 – Stop buying anything produced in the Americas (north and south), in China, Pakistan, Iran, most of Africa and whatever other country you fancy to punish.

    3 – Stop buying and using any petroleum derivate, including synthetic products, because some of this money is used to brain wash people in doing 911 and other crimes

    4 – So finally work hard, under the above conditions, buy yourself a couple of goats and find a place in some alpine valley, going back to where your, our, ancestors came from.

    Be happy, stop texting.

    :)

  42. shade
    shade April 19, 2013 at 7:53 am | |

    Okay, in response to part two I’m going to make an amendment to my reply from part one, regarding the Brad’s “rip em to shreds” comment. Speaking for myself, I realized that Brad wasn’t being literal when he said this. It was the level of vitriol displayed that I took issue with. But on reflection, I may have been unjust. I don’t expect “zen masters” or professional holy men of any creed or denomination to be living statues, devoid of intense emotion – even ugly or irrational ones. I certainly have plenty of those myself. And after all, even Jesus got angry sometimes (rather frequently, actually, if we are to believe the gospels)

    I’m not going to attack the issue of military power or state sponsored violence here because I think it’s just too big a ball of wax for the comments section of an internet blog; besides I don’t feel myself enough of an authority on the issue to spout off at this point. I gotta say though, real quick – this business about slavery being necessary for the manufacture of iphones and computers and other technological marvels? First, I’m by no means convinced that that’s the case – or that it HAS to be the case; that such devices couldn’t be made and distributed under more humane and equitable economic conditions. But if it that IS the case – then we’re be better off doing without.

    1. Terrytrueman
      Terrytrueman April 19, 2013 at 9:00 am | |

      I agree with all of shade’s remarks above and would add that, as limited as my understanding of economics is; in my opinion, capitalism that puts profit above all other considerations will always lead to things like the conditions in Chinese sweat shops. How can anyone not see that if you have your retirment in an investment that pays you a $1 profit per year, you’d rather have it in an investment that pays you $100 per year, especially when you have no desire or interest (or opportunity for that matter) in looking at the different conditions out of which these profit margins are gained/created? The job of govt’s is to maintain social order and stability. Where there is tremendous economic unfairness and huge spreads between the have’s and the have-nots, if the have-nots feel too much despair, they blow shit up. It’s all connected and a circular, unending cycle; welcome to understanding the world in terms of commerce.

  43. Proulx Michel
    Proulx Michel April 19, 2013 at 9:14 am | |

    Caodemarte wrote

    “Uhh…no. I don’t believe slavery played a positive role in US industrialization (the development of the cotton industry may be different). In fact, the perceived incompatibility of of the Southern slavery based agriculture and Northern killed worker based industrialization was one of the rallying calls of the South. Sweat shop work is not comparable to slavery. ”

    I think slavery has little to do with economics. Already in the Antiquity, it would seem that many thinkers (I can’t remember who) had determined that a slave was more expensive than a paid worker, since you had to feed him, lodge him and also clothe him etc.

    The experience of the last century was also that productivity increases when you pay your workers decently for decent hours, and that a burned out worker for working 15 hours a day is less productive than one who works 7 to 8 and especially if the latter is proud of his work.

    I think slavery is more of a no-self experience, in the sense that it is the ultimate power situation. The matter of no-self makes people feel incomplete, and try to fill up that incompleteness with whatever they fancy will make them “complete”: money, sexual conquests, collectibles, land and housing, but most of all power over others. With naturally, the erroneous idea that “more” will do the trick. Which it never does, of course.

    Which is also probably the reason for the rich and powerful to want us to regress to an early 20th century situation, where people are poor, the poorer the better, living in slums, the dirtier the better and in poor health, the worse the better: the more the gap between “ordinary” people and themselves will widen, the more they think they will be able to feel their privileged situation.

    1. Terrytrueman
      Terrytrueman April 19, 2013 at 9:17 am | |

      Interesting and rings true to me.

  44. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote April 19, 2013 at 9:33 am | |

    I think Boubi is right-on today.

    Brad, why would you write something to explore other people’s responses? Something to do with thinking yourself a Zen teacher?

    A pattern is emerging in the recent wave of violence in America; young white guys who feel they’ve reached a dead end in their lives in their twenties, and who want to lash out at as many people as possible, assuming that they will probably end up dead but would be better off anyway.

    In California, a bill has been passed to allow companies to become “benefit corporations”; this means that they are allowed to consider social welfare as well as shareholder profits in their decisions.

  45. shade
    shade April 19, 2013 at 9:54 am | |

    I’m being rather deceptive calling for more equitable economic conditions – in fact, I’d prefer a world with no economic conditions at all. That is to say, I believe all economies that use “money” as this basis of exchange to be bullshit – a form of black magic, basically.

    Feeling this way, does that make me immune to the spell? Alas, no. I worry constantly about money. And when I do have a little extra cash in my pocket to spend on beer and skittles (well, more like vampire novels and anime)- yeah, it gives me a little buzz. I’m not necessarily thinking about people starving in Africa or whatever. Or dashing off a check to Unicef, for that matter.

    1. Terrytrueman
      Terrytrueman April 19, 2013 at 10:07 am | |

      LOL Alan Watts’ 70′s book DOES IT MATTER, ESSAYS ON MATERIALISM while rather dated in many aspects, still makes some powerful points of perspective about $$ etc. The best point in my opinion is his view that $$ is simply a symbol used to try and give value/perspective to goods, services, everything, so I don’t have to figure out how to trade my 80 lbs of potatos for some chickens or a down payment on a pick-up truck. True materialists value and love material things, objects of beauty or function or etc. People who worship $$ are deluded and are worshiping something without genuine material value in and of itself–kind of like loving a picture of a gorgeous woman, rather than the woman herself.

  46. empishet
    empishet April 19, 2013 at 12:46 pm | |

    I’m new to this blog but not new to BW’s books, which I find refreshing in their intelligence. I was a little taken aback, therefore, with his comments – which struck me as uncharacteristically superficial – on the Boston bombings.

    First, it seemed to me that in the course of two comments – one arguably in the heat of the moment, but the other, surely, after some reflection – that the brutal attack was presented out of all context, as if the core question were the legitimacy or illegitimacy of capital punishment for the individual perpetrators. Yet surely the problem raised by the attack is much larger. I also feel that the blanket endorsement of the police and the military – in a state that spends more than the entire rest of the world on the military, a state that assumes the right to dominate the world – is too general and goes way too far. And a thing pushed too far turns into its opposite.

    That there’s no justification for blowing up innocent people at the Marathon goes without saying. But in fact since we ARE dealing with innocent, random victims here, we must carefully look at what could prompt the perpetrators to undertake such random violence. It was evidently not out of some sort of personal resentment, and therefore attempts to ‘resolve’ the matter by punishing the individual perpetrators risks missing the source of the problem altogether. Today the media are telling us that the suspects are young Chechen Islamists. If so, then we are looking at an event with a highly complex background – particularly since the US government itself has historically played a major role in backing Islamic fundamentalist groups as part of its geostrategies.

    In that context, it is particularly off the mark to respond to the Boston bombings by voicing unqualified endorsement of US military campaigns around the world – under the mistaken belief that they make ‘us’ more secure so ‘we’ can quietly 坐禅 zuo chan /za zen. US strategy against the ex-Soviet Union and now again throughout the Arab and Islamic regions regularly, and as a matter of policy, has encouraged just this sort of Islamic fundamentalist activity in other countries in a grossly short-sighted effort to ‘destabilize’ ‘unfriendly’ and often relatively enlightened regimes. Washington’s policy of backing Islamic fundamentalists against leftists and nationalists in the Arab and Islamic world and ultimately inside Russia and China as well, is breeding the sort of mentality – and even teaching the lethal ‘skills’ – that create the conditions for the recurrence of such sick actions.

    If there’s a lesson to be learned, surely it is that ‘what goes around comes around,’ and that we need to try to comprehend the complex, dependent origination of events – even those that don’t directly impinge on our personal peace and quiet.

  47. buddy
    buddy April 19, 2013 at 1:12 pm | |

    The unfortunate thing about my ‘pissing contest’ with Boubi yesterday is that the main point of my first comment was lost, which is that, in this post, Brad deliberately misled the readers of this blog as to the nature of the disagreement with the guy on Facebook, then deleted all evidence of that conversation, and still hasn’t had the balls to address either this misrepresentation nor the original disagreement, which was the disproportionate anger and compassion between victims of bombings in Boston and Afghanistan. All this in a post attempting to justify his earlier post as an expression of being honest with what one is feeling in the face of such events instead of having a contrived, ‘Buddhist’ response.

  48. boubi
    boubi April 19, 2013 at 2:33 pm | |

    “and still hasn’t had the balls to address …”
    No more than the aforementioned kiddo has got the balls to address the mount of sanctimonious judgements on what he thinks he knows … to discover latter that he doesn’t.

    “justify his earlier post as an expression of being honest with…”
    An expression of being honest would be to recognize your own ignorance and ignorance caused arrogance.

    So when are you leaving the amerindians alone? You bloody colonist!
    “I see” … you brought them hospitals, schools … “just what i thought” the usual colonialist excuse, did you give them some glass beads too?

    boy

    This has been my personal answer, i think Brad is old enough to answer for himself.

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