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


• 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.

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69 Responses

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  1. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote March 19, 2013 at 2:50 pm |

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

    It’s very simple: where are you? Relax, relax!

  2. boubi
    boubi March 19, 2013 at 4:23 pm |

    The scariest new

    After just 20 years of finding new planets for the fisrt time we can get this kind of detail about faraway places … and we keep shouting “WE ARE HERE” since the ’70s … when will an alien “mining cum blakewaters” company find us?

    Will we look cute as “avatars” or just dumb and dead ?

  3. anon 108
    anon 108 March 19, 2013 at 6:07 pm |

    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?

    Hi graforlock,

    Of course there are times you need to think about and plan for the future; to make preparations for things that need to be prepared for. “Being in the moment,” “living in the here and now” doesn’t mean giving up all effort, losing interest, doing nothing.

    To me, “living mindfully in the moment” means understanding that everything we do – including our thinking, planning and preparing – we do now. So we pay attention to whatever needs to be done, endevour to do it well, and move on to the next thing.

  4. Mumbles
    Mumbles March 19, 2013 at 6:50 pm |

    I’ve certainly moved on, but why?

    1. anon 108
      anon 108 March 20, 2013 at 3:30 am |

      Yes, John – why? And Hi!

  5. A-Bob
    A-Bob March 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm |

    Hi graforlock, People from Brad to SSuzuki have noted that the practice of zazen can cause memory issues which might result in bad planning for retirement. I’m guessing that retirement isn’t something most bootyists give much serious thought to. Brad, 108, mumbles.. Do you have your 401K or equivalent in order?

    1. anon 108
      anon 108 March 20, 2013 at 3:28 am |

      A-Bob, I’ve never paid into a private pension scheme and I have no savings. But here in the UK, I, along with everyone else, am guaranteed a basic state pension on retirement – currently age 65 for chaps and 60 for ladies. Exactly how much you get depends on how many National Insurance contributions have been made or have have been deducted from your working-life earnings. There are gaps in my NI contribution record so I doubt I’ll get the full state pension (currently £107.45). The government’s online state pension calculator predicts I’ll get about £90 per week – and housing benefit will pay my rent. I just turned 60 and as a result of recent legislation will be entitled to pre-full-pension ‘pension credits’ from age 63, gently easing my passage to full entitlement at age 60. So, asssuming I live just a few more short years, I will very soon be RICH!

      Clear evidence of the generosity of the welfare state and/or the poor quality of my meditating.

      1. anon 108
        anon 108 March 20, 2013 at 3:33 am |

        @ note-takers: make that “…to full entitlement at age 65.”

  6. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote March 19, 2013 at 8:06 pm |

    “Mumbles” rocks.

    Memory issues that might result in bad planning for retirement… did you read in “Crooked Cuke” about how Suzuki would ride hours past his stop due to absent-mindedness (or perhaps Mumbles’ M.C. was on the train).

    Zen Bootyist giving serious thought, everywhere, we must retire them.

  7. Mumbles
    Mumbles March 20, 2013 at 4:45 am |

    You guys all rock. Yep, Hi to Mark and Malcolm, its been a while. Why retire? Retire from what? To do…? Life is an entitlement…like sitting, which now we know will kill you. When they fire me, or I fail to show up to work because I can’t remember my name, I will just start walking…

  8. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote March 20, 2013 at 8:29 pm |

    Hi, John, great to hear from you here again!

    I’m attached to John, Malcolm, Boubi, gniz, Fred, AnneMH, Andy, SoF, senorchupacapra, Stephanie (when she comes by), Proulx Michel, A-Bob, Khru, Kong, Harry B, everybody, Brad… even Brad! How Buddhist is that!

    Stephanie wrote of giving up on the lotus, due to pain and numbness and NDE at 20 minutes, in favor of Burmese. I will hope she drops by, here’s a bit I hope applies, regardless of lotus, half-lotus, or Burmese:

    “The three sets of ligaments that connect the sacrum to the pelvis bear weight and cause activity in response to the natural pitch, yaw, and roll of the body in the movement of breath. The ligaments that run diagonally from the sacrum to the left and right front of the pelvis are especially utilized in the relaxed extension of the spine, and the role of the arms and hands in the translation of stretch in these ligaments into activity in support of extension is suggested not only in the illustrations from the temple of Egypt, but also in the use of a staff as an aid to upright posture in so many aspects of human life.

    The use of a thin rod in the healing dances of the African bushmen or the use of a short teacher’s stick by a lecturer in the Zen tradition demonstrate that relaxed extension of the spine and a feeling for the placement of the hands relative to the ground are intimately connected. I would suggest that the sense of the placement of the hands relative to the ground serves to facilitate the rhythm of stretch in the ligaments that control yaw in spinal extension, relative to the rhythm of stretch of the ligaments that control pitch and roll.

    The bushmen also wear strings of small rattles that completely encircle their legs below the knees, providing sound for the contribution to place of the lower legs. The favored pose for the practice of zazen is usually considered to be the lotus, and the lotus similarly advances the contribution to place of the lower legs as feeling in the legs contributes to a relaxed extension through the sacrum and the lower back.”

    The nyoi- Kobun had one that was about a foot of straight stick topped with a bend that circled out and then wound inward on itself like a spring. Extension touches the ground, and says: “rock and roll, twist and shout!”

  9. AnneMH
    AnneMH March 21, 2013 at 6:54 am |

    I believe I see the value in the zen masters who had attendants or helpers. If I did as much meditation as I planned to do I probably would not recall enough things to get through the day. As it is my children and employees tend to point out what I forget on a regular basis until I am covered in sticky note reminders and little alarms on my phone that tell me to eat.

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