Never Give Up! Never Surrender!

nevergiveupSomeone wrote me saying he understands why I’ve given up blogging to concentrate on touring. I thought that was interesting. Does a half a week without a new post here constitute “giving up?” For the record, I have not given up this blog. But I am right now simultaneously traveling a lot and trying to finish up the loose ends of my forthcoming book, to be unleashed upon the world by New World Library in June.

God willing, I’ll be speaking in Chicago tonight. Details below.

The following is a list of quotations that I used in the book which I am carrying around with me as I tour to help inspire the talks I’m giving. Enjoy!

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“Wanting to be alone is impossible. When you become really alone you notice you are not alone. You flip into the other side of nothing, where you discover everybody is waiting for you. Before that, you are living together like that — day, sun, moon, stars, and food — everything is helping you, but you are all blocked off, a closed system. It is very important to experience the complete negation of yourself, which brings you to the other side of nothing. People experience that in many ways. You go to the other side of nothing, and you are held by the hand of the absolute.” – Kobun Chino

“We do not know what God is. God himself doesn’t know what he is because he is not anything. Literally God is not, because he transcends being”. -Irish theologian John Scotus Eriugena at the court of the Frankish king Charles the Bald 840 CE

“(People) should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being.” – Attributed to Saint Paul in Acts 17:27-28

“In the diligent exercise of mystical contemplation, leave behind the senses and the operations of the intellect, and all things sensible and intellectual, and all things in the world of being and non-being, that you may arise by unknowing towards the union, as far as is attainable, with it that transcends all being and all knowledge. These things are not to be disclosed to the uninitiated, by whom I mean those attached to the objects of human thought.” – Pseudo Dionysis

“Do not think of good and bad. Do not care about right and wrong. Stop the driving movement of mind, will, and consciousness. Cease intellectual consideration through images, thoughts, and reflections.” – Dogen Zenji

“If you don’t want to be grabbed by God don’t stare at a wall. Definitely don’t sit still.”- Jiyu Kennet

SPRING 2013 MICRO TOUR

• March 13th (Wednesday) 7:00 pm CHICAGO, ILZen Buddhist Temple of Chicago,  608 Dempster St., Evanston (near the Dempster Purple Line station). The event goes from 7-9pm.

•March 14th (Thursday) 7:30 pm CHICAGO, IL  – Logan Theater 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60647 Shoplifting from American Apparel screening. I’ll introduce the film and do a Q&A.

• March 17th (Sunday) 10:20 am MILWAUKEE, WIMilwaukee Zen Center 2825 N. Stowell Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53211-3775 My talk will start at 10:20 am but come at 9:30 am if you want to sit zazen with me too.

April 26-28 ZEN RETREAT AT MOUNT BALDY ZEN CENTER F0r more info or to sign up, click here. No groping.

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Donations to support the tour and this blog will be gleefully accepted.

69 Responses

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  1. Gregory Wonderwheel
    Gregory Wonderwheel March 13, 2013 at 10:58 am | |

    Dongshan, “You are not it. It is exactly you.”

  2. mtto
    mtto March 13, 2013 at 11:49 am | |

    Wow! What an intriguing set of quotes. Can’t wait to read the book!

  3. Fred
    Fred March 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm | |

    Several women were grabbed by God – some liked it and some did not.

  4. HarryB
    HarryB March 13, 2013 at 1:44 pm | |

    Ooh, you have to love good old John Scottus the Irishman.

    When the French king asked him, ‘Quid distat inter sottum et Scottum?’ (what separates a drunkard from an Irishman?) Eriugena replied: ‘Mensa tantum’ (Only a table!)

    He was represented on the lovely old Irish £5 note (before the Euro came along):

    http://www.banknotes.com/IE71.JPG

    Reading that quote you’ve provided, Brad, may suggest he had a sort of transcendental view of God, but his understanding was much more nuanced than that and included an infinite, universal immanence.

    Some favourite quotes:

    “[The Scripture] is not to be believed as a book which always uses verbs and nouns in their proper sense when it teaches us about the Divine Nature…. We must follow reason which investigates the truth of things.” (P I.509a)

    “And if anyone who saw God understood what he saw, it would not be God that he saw but one of those creatures which derive their existence and unknowability from Him.” (P V.920c)

    “No one may draw near Him who does not first, by persevering in the way of thought, abandon all the senses and operations of the intellect, together with the sensibles and everything that is and is not, and, having achieved a state of not-knowing, is restored to the unity—as far as is possible—of Him who is above every essence and understanding…. It is for the very few, wholly detached from earthly thoughts and purged by virtue and knowledge, to know God in these visible creatures.” (P I.510c; III.689c-d)

    “[God] surpasses every intellect and all sensible and intelligible meanings [and is One] Who is better known by not knowing, of Whom ignorance is true knowledge.” (P I.510b)

    Regards,

    Harry.

    1. 23Steve
      23Steve March 13, 2013 at 2:49 pm | |

      Great stuff, thanks.

  5. anon 108
    anon 108 March 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm | |

    John Scottus, the Irishman, wrote:

    “No one may draw near Him who does not first, by persevering in the way of thought, abandon all the senses and operations of the intellect…It is for the very few, wholly detached from earthly thoughts and purged by virtue and knowledge, to know God in these visible creatures.”

    no fair :/

  6. minkfoot
    minkfoot March 13, 2013 at 3:39 pm | |

    I used to be a member of that temple in Evanston when it was on Halsted St. in the Near North. I’d ask you to say hi, but both the old priest and his head disciple are long dead. Funny how there’s a “scent” of a lineage — I can still catch a whiff of it in Atlanta.

    In ’99, I took an online, Zen-curious friend to the temple there as I was passing through town on a meandering. A ripping Midwestern thunderstorm was threatening when we got there. At the very stroke of the first chime, a bone-shattering boom of thunderation ripped reality apart. She was impressed.

    Have a thought for old Matsuoka for me while you’re there, Brad. Kongo, too.

  7. Khru
    Khru March 13, 2013 at 7:07 pm | |

    -Drugs are exactly the same as zazen.

    Dogen Zenji

  8. chasrmartin
    chasrmartin March 13, 2013 at 8:52 pm | |

    God, Brad, you’re such a nerd.

    (I love that movie.)

  9. Fred
    Fred March 14, 2013 at 3:39 am | |

    Zazen – emptiness manifesting emptiness

    LSD – the ego on a rollercoaster ride through colo(u)r and sound

  10. Fred
    Fred March 14, 2013 at 3:58 am | |

    “You go to the other side of nothing, and you are held by the hand of the absolute.”

    And when a student wants you to fuck them because they want to hold the
    hand of the Absolute, from the deepest compassion, you don’t fuck them.

    Although it is just form fucking form, the DNA of the universe replicating itself,
    fucking the student feeds the illusion and diverts awareness away from emptiness.

  11. minkfoot
    minkfoot March 14, 2013 at 4:00 am | |

    Fred:
    “Zazen – emptiness manifesting emptiness”

    Not every sit.

    “LSD – the ego on a rollercoaster ride through colo(u)r and sound”

    Not every trip.

  12. HarryB
    HarryB March 14, 2013 at 8:13 am | |

    Brad,

    This is a nice, accessible overview of Eriugena:

    http://www.amazon.com/John-Scottus-Eriugena-Irwin-Traders/dp/0195113624/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363273467&sr=1-4&keywords=Periphyseon

    This fuller work looks at him in the context of philosophical history/traditions:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Philosophy-John-Scottus-Eriugena/dp/0521892821

    There are also translations of his major work, The Periphyseon, available on Amazon.

    Regards,

    Harry.

  13. Fred
    Fred March 14, 2013 at 8:22 am | |

    Brad : ” I just hope you know the quotation is from Kobun Chino, not Joshu Sasaki!”

    Yes, Sasaki said : ” Zen is the practice of manifesting yourself as emptiness. ”

    That sounds similar to ” no-self upon the Absolute ” ( Kobun ). He drowned while
    trying to save his daughter from drowning. He also gave in to the demands of
    the flesh.

    1. fightclubbuddha
      fightclubbuddha March 14, 2013 at 9:30 am | |

      Yes, but Kobun also enjoyed the occasional hot fudge sundae at Denny’s. at least, if the depiction of his relationship with Steve Jobs is accurate.

  14. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote March 14, 2013 at 2:35 pm | |

    I braved up and broached the subject of Kobun’s demise with David Chadwick, in an email; he responded that he didn’t think Kobun could swim, since Kobun always sat on the shore when David and a friend and Kobun were up at the Tassajara swimming hole.

    I know I have talked to other people who said they thought he could swim, I believe one went so far as to mention he’d heard Kobun saved somebody’s life in the water, but D.C.’s story is first-hand.

    Also per Eido Francis Carney, the pool at Vanja’s house was not deep. I’ve heard various accounts of this too, I think Eido Carney said three feet and others I’ve heard thought it was more like 6.

    Which makes the way Kobun died mysterious, in my mind, although I have no doubt he went in for his daughter. I have to believe it was selfless, and the accounts of his expression as he and his daughter laid in repose at the funeral reinforces my belief.

    Born Feb 1, 1938, was Kobun, so he 64 when he died. Wonder could I do it.

  15. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote March 14, 2013 at 2:43 pm | |

    Wrong question, I know; more like, would I do it, and I sure hope the answer’s yes.

  16. Terrytrueman
    Terrytrueman March 14, 2013 at 2:50 pm | |

    I have only recently discovered Brad W’s work and just today signed-up for this blog. I am new to a serious (funny/odd word to use but can’t think of a better one) effort to move into Buddhism and Brad’s books/thoughts etc feel very comfortable to me… so, here’s to moving in. btw, I think Mark Foote and I are FB pals–I’ll look that up but it’s always nice to have company for a flaming extrovert like myself. I wanna get one of those cool Hardcore tee-shirts, can I still order one?

  17. A-Bob
    A-Bob March 14, 2013 at 7:46 pm | |

    I’m a simple atheistically inclined pantheist.. Catholic theology holds that God is infinitely simple and is not involuntarily subject to time. Yet all this God talk just confuses me. I have no idea what people mean by it.

    1. Jules
      Jules March 15, 2013 at 10:08 am | |

      A-Bob wrote: “Yet all this God talk just confuses me. I have no idea what people mean by it.”

      Neither did I when I first got involved with Zen. I was attracted to Zen because Christianity made no sense to me; it seemed like morality fiction written for simple people and children.

      At Brad’s encouragement, I found a local Zen teacher and starting practicing regularly and attending retreats. I was a little uncomfortable with all the trappings of Zen and somewhat alien culture, but I had a feeling that I was doing something valuable. Eventually, through practicing Zen, I learned a new way to look at all the stuff about Christianity that I had dismissed earlier, and I developed a new appreciation for it.

  18. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote March 14, 2013 at 8:13 pm | |

    Terry, I was indeed in Mendo ’89-’99, and frequently in Fort Bragg, if that’s “FB”- can’t find a picture on your site and can’t put a face to the name. You’ll have to tell me how we met.

    Welcome to the Brad Warner fan club. He’s so unattached to Buddhism, ya gotta love ‘im!

  19. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote March 14, 2013 at 8:17 pm | |

    found the pictures, lord I have no clarity but you look familiar… then again, so did A-bob’s old avatar (when ya gonna repost that thing, Mr. -bob!).

  20. Hadashi
    Hadashi March 14, 2013 at 9:10 pm | |

    “To go to Rome –
    Is little profit, endless pain;
    The Master that you seek in Rome
    You find at home, or seek in vain.”

    Unknown 9th century Celtic Christian
    Translated by Frank O’Connor

  21. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon March 15, 2013 at 3:51 am | |

    Speculating about “GOD” again?

    God damn it…

  22. Terrytrueman
    Terrytrueman March 15, 2013 at 9:27 am | |

    Hey Mark Foote, the FB I was referring to was Facebook, not Ft Bragg. All I was saying is that I thought we might be friends on facebook. No big deal as I don’t spend much time there anyway and I am maxed out at the 5k friends for FB (long, stupid story). Anyway, I’m just needing to get the hang of this web/blog site to see if it’s anything I want to give much time to. I like Warner’s approach/books/ideas a great deal so far. We’ll see how things progress.
    TT

  23. Picard
    Picard March 15, 2013 at 11:49 am | |

    How does the view that the purpose of life is to demonstrate faith in God by serving others relate to Zen Buddhism?

  24. A-Bob
    A-Bob March 15, 2013 at 2:18 pm | |

    God is a subject difficult to discuss with believers. They don’t seem to want to examine the idea very closely. If you make some points they pull out the faith card. Game over.

  25. Fred
    Fred March 15, 2013 at 2:25 pm | |

    Locutus of Borg said : ” How does the view that the purpose of life is to demonstrate
    faith in God by serving others relate to Zen Buddhism? ”

    A Mr. Warner says that “God Doesn’t Have to Be Real to Exist” , so God exists
    without any reality much like you or I exist as illusions.

  26. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote March 15, 2013 at 3:48 pm | |

    Hey Terry, Ok then no not friends on FB. If you’re looking for instructions on zazen with pictures, try the back of “Three Pillars of Zen”, but if you read the first part of the book be sure to read “Zen Teaching, Zen Practice”, which is an anthology of pieces by his students about how all that koan stuff actually worked out in their lives (yes, you guessed it, not quite like the descriptions in “Three Pillars”).

    Also, here’s an interesting article from “the Blog that shall not be named” about transmission and Zen teachers in the West; maybe a little bit overboard, but news to me.

    “How does the view that the purpose of life is to demonstrate faith in God by serving others relate to Zen Buddhism?”- the teaching of Gautama the Buddha was concerned with suffering, and there are sermons where Gautama taught that “whatever one wills, or intends to do , or is preoccupied with” leads to suffering, regardless of whether the action that results from will, intention or deliberation is meritorious, not meritorious, or neither. The practice of Soto Zen buddhists is frequently described as “just sitting”, an experience of being wherever one is without will, intention, or deliberation. In a funny way, this is the end of suffering, at least the suffering that is identically grasping after a sense of self, and whatever purpose God may have I believe only begins when suffering is at an end.

    .

  27. Fred
    Fred March 15, 2013 at 5:21 pm | |

    “Also, here’s an interesting article from “the Blog that shall not be named” about transmission and Zen teachers in the West; maybe a little bit overboard, but news to me.”

    Very interesting.

  28. A-Bob
    A-Bob March 15, 2013 at 7:27 pm | |

    Why can’t we come to the conclusion that serving others is the best thing for ourselves without invoking the G word? The best way to be happy is by helping others to be happy on their own terms. I’m tired of all this strange god talk.

  29. thomas
    thomas March 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm | |

    That’s funny. The first time I went to Green Gulch the thing I was impressed by the most was the way everyone just sat there, facing the wall.

  30. Picard
    Picard March 16, 2013 at 1:12 pm | |

    Fred, you’ve brought new perspective to the phrase “It takes one to know one” :)

  31. Picard
    Picard March 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm | |

    Where did Picard go when Locutus of Borg was present?

    1. The Grand Canyon
      The Grand Canyon March 16, 2013 at 5:51 pm | |

      Where does your fist go when you open your hand?

      Where does your lap go when you stand up?

      If they go to the same place, what (if anything) do they do with each other?

  32. Fred
    Fred March 16, 2013 at 4:00 pm | |

    With solitary confinement, brainwashing and hypnotic suggestion the self could
    be submerged or altered.

    Where does the self go when a zen master speaks from the depths of unknowing?

    1. sri_barence
      sri_barence March 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm | |

      Maybe they go to Nebraska?

  33. Picard
    Picard March 16, 2013 at 5:53 pm | |

    Love it GC! Thanks Fred! Nice works to stop my brain this evening. Much obliged.

  34. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote March 17, 2013 at 10:43 am | |

    Hiya, Mumbles! Trying to kill me with that warning… (’cause I will do more hazardous things if I don’t sit, like walk on the streets of Sebastopol where crosswalk deaths outnumber those between vehicles).

  35. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote March 17, 2013 at 5:56 pm | |

    This is from the Sweeping Zen website; it’s titled “Invitation to the Vine of Obstacles”, dated March 8th, by Dosho Port:

    “Overview

    This post-traditional Zen training is designed for practitioners living at home who yearn to realize and actualize the great matter of birth and death. “Vine of Obstacles” acknowledges the difficulty of following through with our practice aspirations in the midst of daily life and the truth that this very bind can be a dharma gate.

    This program is intended to support you in this very entanglement.

    Vine of Obstacles Zen requires commitment to ongoing awakening and the capacity to carry out daily practice alone and regularly engage with Dosho via Skype and email.”

    Under “intended outcomes”, Dosho writes: “We will have a fun, lively, edgy time together.”

    Gonna start my own “program”, requiring a commitment to waking up and falling asleep, daily. Mark says, “we will have a sleepy, foolish, staggering-kind-of time together.”

  36. Picard
    Picard March 17, 2013 at 6:14 pm | |

    I’ve got a program in mind as well.

  37. Fred
    Fred March 18, 2013 at 11:44 am | |

    “Your ego will be Assimilated. Resistance is Futile”

  38. Khru
    Khru March 18, 2013 at 10:45 pm | |

    Fred, enough with the metaphors. Just spit it out, man!

  39. Fred
    Fred March 19, 2013 at 8:30 am | |

    There is direct seeing, but words aren’t it.

  40. Fred
    Fred March 19, 2013 at 8:34 am | |

    “Through one word, or seven words, or three times five, even if you investigate thoroughly myriad forms, nothing can be depended upon. Night advances, the moon glows and falls into the ocean. The black dragon jewel you have been searching for, is everywhere.”

    Dogen Zenji

  41. Picard
    Picard March 19, 2013 at 9:00 am | |

    What Fred said. For appreciation, we all read Huang Po to each other when we’ve got downtime on ‘the Cube’…

    …If you students of the Way seek to progress through seeing, hearing, feeling and knowing, when you are deprived of your perceptions, your ways to Mind will be cut off and you will find nowhere to enter.

    ~HP
    http://www.selfdiscoveryportal.com/cmHuangPo.htm

  42. graforlock
    graforlock March 19, 2013 at 12:15 pm | |

    ok, i’ve got a huge question guys..

    Two months ago i fell into a neurosis, very nasty thing, i thought i was going to end up as a schizofrenic, so it was pure Hypochondriasis-like condition. So, in order to combat these sweating and paranoidal states i plunged into Zen buddhism. Alone. No masters involved (just like the ol’ track “no gods, no masters”).

    Therefore, I’ve read Hardcore zen, OSHO (Grass grows…) , and also tried to read a zen book by Thich N. H.

    BUT now i have some kind of a problem in understanding this whole mindfulness/attention…

    I always end up fearing that a total effortless and mindless life (about future to be strict) would make me a plant like creature that does nothing, and sits like an authistic child. Because, i need to think about future! The bills i have to pay… Dishes to wash… Anytime i stop this i end up idle, just concentrated of what i actually do. I even stopped my pursuit for new music because of being aware of here and now, and not desires. Did i just take it to extreme or what?

    Anyway, this just doesnt seem right to me… Whats the problem?

  43. Fred
    Fred March 19, 2013 at 1:13 pm | |

    “Two months ago i fell into a neurosis, very nasty thing, i thought i was going to end up as a schizofrenic, so it was pure Hypochondriasis-like condition. So, in order to combat these sweating and paranoidal states i plunged into Zen buddhism”

    If your overactive mind is producing sweating and paranoia. you may have a
    panic disorder. Solution is anti-anxiety med and cognitive therapy under a doctor
    s supervision.

    Reading about Zen is not the same as practicing with a teacher.

    If you were to approach blowing a gasket, handling it yourself may be a great
    experiment, but not necessarily prudent.

    And Osho ( Bagwan Shri Rajneesh ) would probably encourage you to go for the
    meltdown.

  44. graforlock
    graforlock March 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm | |

    I no longer have any panic attacks, nor have sweats, i understand that those are only irrelevant thoughts and i let them go. It stopped after i stopped feeding the thoughts and combating them, trying to rationalize them.

    I dont fear that i go nuts but i feel that i shall become too idle while living zen life. The moment i stopped having high ambitions and stuff, i think i do too little, of course it is good to be here and now, but afraid to loose personality, and my interests, etc.

    thanks for the answer.

  45. Fred
    Fred March 19, 2013 at 1:44 pm | |

    Osho:

    “Buddha certainly says: Don’t just do something – stand there! But that is only the beginning of the pilgrimage, not the end. When you have learned how to stand, when you have learned how to be utterly silent, unmoving, undisturbed, when you know how to just sit…sitting silently, doing nothing, the spring comes and the grass grows by itself. But the grass grows, remember!

    Action does not disappear: the grass grows by itself. The buddha does not become inactive; great action happens through him, although there is no doer anymore. The doer disappears, the doing continues. And when there is no doer, the doing is spontaneous; it cannot be otherwise. It is the doer that does not allow spontaneity.

    The doer means the ego, the ego means the past. “

  46. Fred
    Fred March 19, 2013 at 1:57 pm | |

    “I dont fear that i go nuts but i feel that i shall become too idle while living zen life. The moment i stopped having high ambitions and stuff, i think i do too little, of course it is good to be here and now, but afraid to loose personality, and my interests, etc.”

    I could quote Krishnamurti with the perfect response, but I won’t.

    In the end you give up the identification with the “I” and its interests, desires,
    suffering, ambitions, etc., and live freely as action in the moment.

    The personality shifts moment by moment and day by day, so what is there to
    be afraid of losing. It’s about as concrete as the water from a flowing stream
    cupped in your two hands.

  47. boubi
    boubi March 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm | |

    Why people are always citing some wisdom, some tall order sentences, some great definitions, some patriarch?

  48. Fred
    Fred March 19, 2013 at 2:28 pm | |

    “Why people are always citing some wisdom, some tall order sentences, some great definitions, some patriarch?”

    It’s something to do while the grass grows by itself.

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